Archive for April, 2012

City Kids

The other day, while walking with a friend who grew up here but now lives rurally, we noted how different a place can seem when you don’t spend your life there. For her kids its a difficult adjustment to suburban sidewalks, driveways with danger and the need to use the restroom inside the house (that last one is totally my favorite. Nothing like a mother’s mortification when it has to do with bathroom habits and the great outdoors. If he’s still dropping trou when he’s sixteen in semi-public places, that’s a different story. As a toddler, it is pretty much awesome).

For my kids? Well, they may have called this camping:

This may have been the very first time we let them roast things over an open fire:

They were fine with the Hebrew National, all beef, hot dogs with mustard and buns and all, but they did not love the marshmallows. Why was it crunchy? Why was it brown? Why did the pink ones suddenly taste awful? (They were right about that last one, but I thought the pink marshmallows were gross from the get go)

And then they played outside until it was time to shower up and lay down their sleepy heads. Nothing tastes as good as playing with dad feels.

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My favorite Tweet from this past week:
I survived the tornadoes yesterday, just hope I can survive hearing all the tornado stories today…

I don’t know if she wants me to put up her Twitter handle, so I’ll just let you figure out who wrote this. Yes, she is that awesome all the time, by the way.

In honor of the storms that swept through a place we used to live, I give you Piper’s interpretation of Spring:

From right to left: Piper cheesing, a tree, raindrops, grass, a flower, a tornado, more rain.

Enjoy!

What Pinterest Wrought

The other day, while nursing the baby, I flipped through page after page and picture after picture of delicious food and other people’s rock hard abs next to inspirational sayings and snarky comments. I was on Pinterest and I was zoned out. I hardly noticed Gideon sidle up to me. He was watching the pictures fly by too. And he set his heart on this one:

He has spring break this week and he was not happy about it. He loves routine and all things being just the same as they always are. I was trying to think of things to do this week that would be exciting and I figured this might be a good substitute for going to Cabo San Lucas. So I bought the stuff we would need:

Oreos (double stuff, cause we roll fancy)
Mini Oreos (didn’t know they existed before last week)
Chocolate Almond Bark or CandiQuick or whatever you call that fake chocolate that melts in the microwave and is super cheap compared to the chocolate I actually want to consume
Skewers (in spite of already owning a whole package of them — why don’t I ever look in my own cabinet before I leave for the store)

The kids made their own before supper tonight and then consumed them right before bed. I’m guessing sugar coma looks the same as going to bed.

Then I made the rest.

And it was messy.

And not as easy as Pinterest wants us all to believe.

That’s the thing about all of those pretty pictures. I have friends who are amazing at making things and making things that look so very very beautiful. I have children that are gracious and easily impressed. I’m thankful for all of them.

Now let’s eat.

Book Review: The Grace Effect

I started to write this book review on February 29. Today is April 3. My life is moving fast. Yours is too, which is why you are looking for books now that you will read this summer on vacation…right? Or sitting in your backyard while the kids play in the sprinkler. Or, like I did, while you nurse a baby round the clock for a day or two. That’s how long it took me to devour this book. Two days. And I’d just had a baby. That isn’t saying something about me or my reading skills. It is absolutely saying something about the book.

My friend, Neil, was going on and on about the book right around the time Greer was due. Honestly, I wasn’t really listening that closely to his book description, probably because he was focused on the big picture part of it. That part, which Neil should probably write about because he was STOKED about this information, has a bunch to do with a guy named Larry Taunton. The name wasn’t familiar to me at all, most likely because his Wiki description begins like this: is an American author, columnist, and cultural commentator based out of Birmingham, Alabama who serves as the Executive Director of Fixed Point Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to the public defense of the Christian faith.

And then there is this: Taunton has personally engaged some of the most outspoken opponents of Christianity, including Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Peter Singer. His often controversial and outspoken beliefs led to his dismissal from The Altamont School, an independent college preparatory school in Birmingham, Alabama. In 2007, he organized “The God Delusion Debate,” on the merits of Dawkins’ arguments against Christianity as set forth in his bestselling book, The God Delusion. The discussion was heard by over a million people worldwide. In 2008, he chaired a follow-up debate at the University of Oxford. In addition to producing several Fixed Point films, Larry, along with his team, launched LookUp316.com in February 2011, a project that displayed the message of John 3:16 before a Super Bowl audience. He has been a guest on a variety of television and radio shows, and has been quoted by the New York Times and Vanity Fair, among other newspapers and magazines.

I don’t know about you, but I’m just not that interested in the debates about Christianity and atheism. Not in the giant lecture hall, people boo-ing or cheering ideas and asking questions trying to stump people. It just all winds up feeling like posturing or at least like a Fox News/MSNBC panel and I stopped watching those a long time ago. The shouting just got too annoying. I’m tired of listening to people from opposing sides yell. When no one is listening, what’s the point of speaking, ya know?

Which is why a book by this guy seemed like something I would politely take and ‘read,’ ahem, skim and then return to said friend.

But then he gave me the book.

And I started reading.

And I couldn’t put it down.

Because it isn’t just a book about how one side is wrong and another side isn’t. It’s not that at all. And the title, though appropriate, just doesn’t cut it for me either. I would’ve never picked this book off the shelf based on just the title. It sounds like something I already know, something that’s been done before or at least a little tired. Of course, I don’t have an alternate title or anything, so that’s very convenient of me to pick on the current one. But, it’s true. Also true is that the book is fantastic.

It begins with the author’s very personal conversations with an atheist (see, doesn’t sound all that exciting) but it quickly moves to his personal story of adoption. So many friends have and are adopting. We are committed to adopting too. Not right now, per se, but sometime. Eventually. When we are sure it is the right time and this was a story of a family with that same mentality – when the time was right. And then it was. And the child was right. And the foreign country…well, what can you say about a place that hasn’t been touched by the common grace of Christian influence? You could write a book about it.

And Mr. Taunton did just that. He wrote a book and I cried and laughed and was painfully moved toward gratitude. I find myself caring just a bit more about the impact Christianity has on the whole and much more ready to read a book by a man who debates with people. I think you might be too.