Friday, August 31, 2007

Love and Respect, for the Ladies

He must love her, she must respect him, whether or not he or she is deserving of that love or respect. It figures that the hardest thing to show to your spouse is the very thing that God demands. Women easily and naturally love with abandon, and men good naturedly extend respect to their fellow man. How hard it is for a woman to respect her husband's God-given authority or for the man to love his wife as Christ loved the church!

It is the age-old struggle. Women consciously or subconsciously fighting their husbands for control in the marriage... Men struggling to step up to the plate and lead... Women not being satisfied with the attempts men make to help out around the house...nagging them to do it better, faster or differently altogether...

I think it is even harder to biblically submit to our husbands in this day and age when most women are working 40 plus hour weeks along side their husbands and then they have the house to come home to (and potential other responsibilities outside the home)! Men who have grown up in a home where their mom has done all the housework may decidely refrain from engaging in household chores leaving these duties to their working wives... and this is a source of friction in many a marriage.

What are ways that you have addressed this in your marriage? How do you communicate with your husband about who pays the bills? How do you divy up the chores? How have you set up your budget? Any advice?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Different Strokes for Different Folks

To begin with a cliche...It never ceases to amaze me how...two people can look at something and see different sides of it. Like that group of blindfolded people who grope that elephant, feeling different parts of it and coming to various conclusions on what it is they are feeling.

My idea of a vacation has changed since I married a Schoonover. P.S. (pre-Schoonoverization) I was content with a book and a vacation by the lake, without too many activities to do. Now A.S. (after-Schoonoverization) I want a plan and an itinerary of activities in addition to down-time.

Through this vacation experience I have learned that going on vacation with small children is not relaxing at all. Everything you do revolves around them: where you will go, how long you can stay there, feeding times, when you have to be back from your activity so they can be back in time for their nap...Perhaps, I am not ready or cut-out for parenting.

People keep telling me, "Oh you'll be great parents!" But when you are a parent your whole life becomes your children and their needs and wants and trying to train their naturally selfish behavior. It's one long life-lesson in self-control.

You can't sleep in anymore. You can't go out to eat at nice restaurants. You have to save the money you would normally spend on other things, on the baby. Everything revolves around them and their short attention spans and their unnerving ability to be fully awake in less than a minute. They don't have any morning fog they need to conquer, not like adults. Their eyes open, and BLAM! they're awake.

Is there life during parenting? Help me my friends with're my only hope.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Lone Sea Turtle Emerged

It's been our first official day of vacation and already, something amazing has happened. Right outside our beach house we found a protected sea turtle nest. A group of retired people comb the beaches every morning looking for turtle tracks and they find the turtle nests, stake them out, beach comb and mark a protected path to the sea and then they monitor the hatching of the eggs! These people are great! They go so far as to distribute tips and hot line numbers to beach residents...for example, on our fridge was posted a note when we arrived, "turn your lights out at night and if you have lights on inside, draw your drapes so that the turtles aren't confuse about which way to go when they hatch. Keep noise to a minimum because they won't come out if they are afraid of the noise etc. "paraphrased" The head turtle watchers even had these cool infrared pens they used to take brief glimpses at the nest, looking for hatching activity. Other curious people were outside with us and the "Turtle Patrol" as we watched for signs of movement from the nest.

Apparently, Friday night the nest hatched 102 babies. Tonight, just one hatchling made the journey across the beach in front of all those onlookers, to the mighty sea. We were instructed to stand back as the turtle entered the waves because he could get washed back in and people could step on him. They aren't much bigger than a sliver dollar. About 10% of the hatchlings survive the trip to the ocean grasses, three miles from shore, beneath the waves where they can find refuge from predators.

When the little one entered the water everyone clapped and quietly cheered. His perilous journey has only begun. Statistically speaking, only one in a thousand turtles survive into adulthood.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Choices and the Afterlife

I want to talk about two things today, making choices, and the afterlife.

First, choices. Have you ever been in a tight situation, one that forced you to make a tough choice? Were you ever forced to choose between scenarios or alternatives that could have eternal consequences?

All of us have choices that we make everyday: what to wear, who to befriend or ignore, what type of food to put in our bodies, and then we have the choices that we make that put us into categories: polictical views, sexual orientation, religion etc.

But there is a choice that carries eternal consequences. The ultimate choice each of us has to make that will have eternal significance is whether to accept or reject Jesus Christ as our saviour and Lord. Will we put out lives under the care and control of a man reputed to have lived over 2000 years ago, and who rose from the dead after dying for our sins?

If we believe the Bible is the inerrant, inspired word that God has given to men, then we must conclude that Jesus is God's Son and that he sent Him to die for our sins so that we could be reunited with him in heaven after we die. Would God have sent his only son to die in our stead if there were other possible ways to heaven. I don't think he would. This logic leads me to think that Christ's sacricfice is real, and that I am a sinner in need of Him.

It all comes back to the Bible. If you don't believe what it says, or if you only believe the parts that you agree with, then you might as well not believe in any of it. If you don't think it's culturally relevant today, and that people have evolved beyond needing God's laws to govern their lives, look at the behavior of people today, and it's ramifications on American society. If we're all living for ourselves instead of under God, making our own choices to truly live selfishly instead of by God's Word, we are doomed to moral decay and death.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Childrens' Books

I'm looking for opinions on popular childrens' books. Is anyone a Chlidrens' Lit. officionato? Do you have any suggestions?

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Let me preface this post by saying that everything is relative. A bad day in a third world country is vastly different from any bad day I might experience.

I woke up at 5 a.m. yesterday with very bad menstrual cramps, enough said. Then I went to work and was 10 minutes late because I didn't get out the door quickly enough.

On the way to a restaurant at lunch time, my friend pointed out I had torn the seam in the right wrist of my relatively new blouse. When we were walking into the restaurant, I tripped and fell while walking in my high heels (which I don't normally wear) because I didn't carefully watch where I was going. I scuffed my new shoes, abraided my hands and the knees of one of the last pairs of pants that fits me and I skinned my left knee and bruised the right. Good times.

After we were seated, our waitress visited us three times...once to take our order, the second to bring us our food, the third to bring my friend a new soda (the one she was brought was flat), then she never came back. We waited around for awhile and then had the hostess ring up our bill. It would all have been pretty funny, but then I had to explain to my boss why I was late getting back from my lunch.

What's a girl to do?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What are YOU processing right now?

My friends...I implore you to share first in prayer and then with a trusted friend, the thoughts your are thinking about this day. Tell someone you love and trust about your struggles or joys and have them pray with you. Is something troubling you? Are you worried? Or are you excited about some fabulous news? Rejoice and praise him!

All of us are being tested and tried, to refine our spirits and to shape us into the image of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is remarkable how different these trials may be...the forms they take and the degrees of difficulty that they reach. God's extends to us His sovreign grace and views us through the cleansing blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, His Son. I am glad for it.

I write to you today because of how important I feel it is to share and confide in one another when we are experiencing growing pains or troubles, these trials and temptations that we must deal with on a daily basis. We need to lift one another up in prayer, free of judgement, and to encourage one another in our daily struggles.

While it is not necessary to broadcast our sins, struggles and temptation to the entire body, I do believe it is important to have spiritual accountability with a mentor or within a small group. It may be most comfortable to share within a group of the same gender for some issues, other issues among couples, may be handled in couples counseling. What I do know is that we cannot experience growth without successful negotiation of areas of difficulty in our lives. What I advocate is ongoing godly counseling and accountability within a mentoring partnership.

We live in a very individualistic society where it is traditionally inappropriate or uncomfortable to share private struggles with anyone (even with other family members in some instances) especially in Christian circles where we consciously or unconsciouslly judge one another's piety on a regular basis. Imagine how difficult it must be to be a leader of anything in the church, to struggle with the sins and trials common to man, and NOT feel comfortable sharing your inner battles. It's very personal to share struggles, and it is human nature is to gossip. Therefore trust and confidence are essential elements of a sharing situation.

I cannot stress how important it is to establish a godly accountability relationship. I don't think it's healthy to pretend everything is sunshine and roses when it is not. I think this avoiding behavior leads to destructive outcomes. Without appropriate cleansing, reconcilliation and healing, an issue can bury you and those you love.

I think Satan would like nothing better than for us to isolate ourselves and to allow sins to control our lives, leading us to believe that our struggle with him or our own sins should be personal, isolating us from the prayers and support of the body of Christ. Placing this pressure on ourselves to fight exclusively against the devil, we give evil increasingly stronger footholds in our lives with every small concession we make in it's favor. That's how the devil operates. He erodes our resolve, one mite at a time.

That's why it's so important to build relationships with one another where we build eachother up and trust one another enough to know that if we share personal issues with one another we will receive the unconditional love and honesty that should be there when it's needed.

Monday, August 20, 2007

It's been awhile since I wrote anything too thoughtful. I think I'll make a topic list of things to potentially talk about:
  1. finding friends/teammates/acquaintences from high school on MySpace

  2. discovering how many of your friends (new and old) have kids and how old their kids are

  3. being back in school at age 30 and still having test anxiety

  4. spouse wars and deciding what's really important to fight about and what to let go

  5. wishing you had more money for "nice things" and properly planning to purchase some

  6. the fight for better posture, and how posture effects how others perceive you

  7. Thanatophobia: fear of death

  8. watching your parents and loved ones get older

  9. dealing with illness and its effects on you and your loved ones

  10. the battle of the bulge and how it effects your relationship with your spouse

Food for thought.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Vacation Anyone?

Where did you take your most restful vacation ever? Where did you go? What did you do? What did you see? What was your favorite part about it? I'd like to know.

Jeff and I are going on vacation at the end of the month to NC. We enjoy it. It's peaceful, there aren't a ton of people and I can wiggle my toes in the sand and take walks while listening to the birds and the waves. Jeff enjoys boogie boarding and casting his fishing net.

Where do you go to get away from it all?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Lord Of The Rings - Opening scene

Best movie opener ever...

A few questions for you

Anyone remember that DC Talk song about time ticking away? It just came to mind. When I was looking at my last post, I realized that we all have a limited amount of time to do things, on a grander scale than just a window of time before the next semester starts. Our days on this earth are numbered. We don't know the day when we will close our eyes for the last time, but God does.

So how do we make our time on earth count? What are your thoughts and suggestions?

Another thing...thinking about going to heaven is a wonderful thought, but the thought of dying is not. I've had this conversation with my friend Heather. It's not the thought of leaving this earth and going to heaven to finally rest eternally that really scares us, it's the thought of the process of leaving that frightens us. Death, and the unknown. Will heaven be fun? There are so many questions I have for God, that I wish He would answer now, but I know He doesn't speak audibly.

The sermon on Sunday was about discerning the will of God. God doesn't speak audibly, but he speaks through people, and circumstances. We were cautioned on listening to the circumstances though. They can be a little deceptive.

In order to determine the will of God, you must be in prayer, reading your Bible (so you know that your request is in line with the will of God as defined in His word) and you have to listen for a response through his people and through the circumstances he sends your way. Did anyone else get a different spin on that sermon? Let me here from you.

I'd also like to hear from anyone else who has an educated opinion. Thanks!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Just Do It

I have some things I would like to do and a limited amount of time in which to accomplish them. I would like to paint some rooms in my house, buy new curtains, and get a new comforter for our bed. I would also like to lose a couple pounds before I go on vacation, and set up my new schedule for the fall, while planning meals for our vacation later this month. Nike has it right..."Just do it!"

Anyone up for a painting party?

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Like a Little Child

Life was simpler living at home, being little. Under the umbrella of protection from Mom and Dad, we didn't have bills to pay, insurance premiums, or car payments, we just lived...sheltered from the ills of this world, like the murder count in Philadelphia on the news and late-night television in all its latent perversion.

Jesus seemed closer then. There were a lot fewer things in between us--me and Jesus. Fewer responsibilities, less stress, more time to think and reflect. No CSI, no scantily clad Victoria's Secret commercials, and adult novelty stores weren't on every corner.
Gay rights groups weren't rallying to make free speech a hate crime and weren't yet a political force. You could still buy a gallon of gas for under two dollars, and the Cosby show was actually on TV, not in syndication.

I enjoyed youth group, and driving to Perkins or Denny's for late night coffee or pancakes with friends, going over to Mamma Moodies house for cappucino and a chat. I went on short term missions trips, and life just seemed on the whole, more wholesome.
Now I have to worry about turning on the TV in my house. What images will come forth from its unholy depths?

Maybe there aren't more things, now struggling to get between Jesus and me, perhaps just different ones. The weight of adulthood is heavier than that of childhood or adolescence, and it begs the question: Is somebody out to get me? You bet.

It would be ignorance to think that the forces of evil could care less about "little ole me." Perhaps the full weight of the devil doesn't come to bare upon one suburban Philadelphian working at a small, Christian seminary, but I never doubt he wants me to fail at my Christian walk and that he constantly seeks to create stumbling blocks for me, no matter how small in the grand scheme of life. That's what his minions are for. Fortunately, I don't have to fear him or any of them, because of Jesus. Amen?

In the face of murder, despair, the loss of a loved one
In the face of inequity, prejudice, tragedy
In the face of fear, trapped miners underground in Utah:

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness,
I dare not trust the sweetest fame but wholly lean on Jesus name
On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Daydreaming the Day Away

Come and daydream with me.

Is there something you would rather be doing with your time right this very minute? If you could just put down that project at work, grab your stuff and walk out the door, where would you go? Think about it.

If you were unfettered of a job or responsibilities at home, where would you go? What would you plan to see? What would you do?

Oh, I almost can spend a modest amount of money, money is not a problem. We're not talking being independently wealthy (though the concept is worth exploring at some point) we're just talking feeling comfortable doing things you would like to be doing.

Post a comment! I want to know your thoughts on the subject.

I think that I would send people I love, gifts in the mail. I'd go shopping on line and have some of their favorite things delievered to their houses. Flowers and candygrams all around!

I'd buy fabulous gifts and decorations for my friends' baby shower this weekend.

I'd put a bigger check in the offering plate, AND the benevolence fund...and heck, I'd even make a contribution to the building fund!

I'd give money to the local volunteer fire department!

I'd adopt another pet from the animal shelter (maybe that's getting carried away).

I'd go and visit my family in WNY.

I'd call my grandmother.

I'd book a rental at a romantic spot for me and my hubby someplace new for the weekend!

What's your story?

Friday, August 3, 2007

Boot Camp

Well...I'm gonna do it. I'm signing up for boot camp. I'm tired of being out of shape and fat so I've decided to enroll in an exercise program run by an ex-marine. OOOO-RAH! Check it out: His name is Dr. Aaron Oberst and he's a chiropracter. The name of the program is Preventative Health Boot Camp and it's a ten-week program, running in the fall-winter and spring-summer. You attend three times a week from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. in Lansdale and soon in Hatfield. I'm very excited!

I've just gained so much weight being behind a desk and being back in school full-time. I've gotten lazy and lost self-discipline. I'm hoping that the team environment and exercising I'll get from boot camp will rekindle the flame inside of me to be the best I can be! Dang.

If I had the guts, I'd post before and after pictures. I hope he has an eating plan too.