Why Not Just Embrace Homosexuality?

Alan and Kathi with Ronald McDonald copy“Excuse me, surely your friend’s sibling is enjoying one of the happiest times of his/her life and you(r friend) are GRIEVING?? Outrageously selfish.”

I knew if I touched the topic of homosexuality, even to address the issue of how to encourage those who grieve, I’d get some diverse responses, because it truly is a hot topic right now! However, it seems like the best way is usually an attempt at open communication, so I’m going to share why I don’t think grieving over a loved one who has headed into homosexuality is necessarily outrageously selfish. In fact, I think it can actually be a sign of deep love.

However, I want to begin by pointing out that people who are offended because it will cause them personal embarrassment probably aren’t grieving; they are more likely frustrated or angry. I’m not talking about those people, although I empathize with them, because I’ve been guilty at times of feeling more concern for my own reputation than loving my neighbor, and so I am not blameless. Also, people who think homosexuality is immoral but don’t have a deep love for the homosexuals as individuals are likely to be angry because they think those people are wrong and will be “messing up society,” just as many people react negatively to those who commit adultery. I’m not actually talking about those people either, although I think all of us have a natural aversion to people whom we believe will be a negative influence on us or society. That’s just being self-protective, and I think we all have to fight and overcome that battle if we are truly to love our neighbors.

I am talking about people who grieve their loved ones choosing a homosexual lifestyle because they believe it will not ultimately bring them happiness…at least not one that lasts. Here is where walking by faith and living without faith diverge. Those of us who believe the Bible is true, and that there is a God who loves us intensely and has designed the world for mutual communion and joy, typically believe that God has set out for us in the scripture how to live for our personal and corporate well-being as human beings. To us, biblical principles are like a manual on “how to live a happy life,” the way a car manual describes how to keep our cars running smoothly. We don’t look at biblical teachings as laws to prohibit our pleasure but rather as a light to show us the way to true pleasure!

In the Bible, there are about 11 instances of forbidding homosexual union, most commonly in lists that also forbid incest and bestiality. For whatever reason, our culture still considers incest and bestiality inappropriate but has judged that homosexuality is now acceptable. If you don’t believe in God or in the Bible as the Word of God, can you at least see how those of us who believe the Bible was written for our good can also believe that homosexuality will not bring true happiness to those who engage in it?

For the past several days, I’ve also been pondering: What are the pros and cons of a homosexual lifestyle? Why does it appeal to some? My mind went immediately back to the humorous line from My Fair Lady: “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” Although I’ve never felt sexual attraction to women, I do remember that my older sister and I were inseparable buddies throughout college, teaching school afterward, short-term mission work, and seminary. If we disagreed, we’d always invoke “listen to the voice of reason,” trying to work things out logically and spiritually, guided by our desire to find unity in the Spirit. When I married Alan, he teased that he really hated to break up “such a far out pair of old maids.” (I was 22.) The next 43 years were not only almost twice as long but seemed way more than twice as hard. So…would I have been better off to skip marriage to a man?Walking with Alan copyFor me, no. Even though it was harder, I think it was also better. I really do appreciate the complementarity. Although I truly believe the pinnacle experience in life is communion with God, I will vote for intercourse as the second best, and true intercourse is only possible between a male and a female. Life is much more than physical. Beyond the physical is the universe of spiritual mystery…the kind of experiences where orgasm results not only in transitory pleasure but in the creation of a new life…a completely new creation where two have become eternally one. Life is full of mysteries! I’ll never know my husband completely, but for all my trying, I’ve learned a vast amount about men generally….more than would ever have been possible had I continued to experience life only with the perspectives of another woman. And, men represent half the world, right? The other half of the world is definitely worth trying to understand! A heterosexual relationship is more challenging, but it’s also more expanding. Other is hard, but it’s good! Two gloves match, but oh the warmth when you slip a glove onto your hand! Contrast heightens perception. Different isn’t bad, it’s just different, and it’s often helpful. For instance, in rearing kids, the complementarity is good: “Two contrasted theories, such as the wave and particle theories of light, may be able to explain a set of phenomena, although each separately only accounts for some aspects.” Yup! Alan and I had 6 sons and 1 daughter. We failed a lot, but there’s no doubt in my mind that I would have failed a lot more had I not had the influence of a man in making decisions. A+C Playing with Kids copyAnd on, and on. This is turning into an essay instead of a post, but it’s just the beginning. Even if you’re not a believer, I hope you can see why some of us think homosexuality isn’t as rich or beautiful as heterosexuality, and therefore why we might grieve when someone we love chooses what might seem to be (for them) an easier path to sexual pleasure and companionship. We believe an even happier life is possible, and we grieve what they might miss.

“He that handles a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusts in the Lord, happy is he” (Proverbs 16:20).

Rise Up, My Love (151): His Needs, Her Needs, Sacrificial Love

Sunset 12.2.08 copySong of Solomon 5:3 “I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?” The word for coat is kutonet, and refers to a tunic or a garment worn next to the skin. She is not saying that she has taken off her overcoat and is now resting at home; she is saying that she has totally undressed and gone to bed, and she’s using this as an excuse: It would be inconvenient to have to redress in order to meet his needs.

“I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?” In ancient times, there were often public baths for cleansing, but even walking home along the dusty roads would make the bather’s feet dirty again, and so, after returning home, people would wash their feet again. Opening the door would not have truly required rewashing her feet; it was just another excuse.

Besides, even if it had been necessary, would that have been too great a price to pay in order to receive her husband? On the very night of his death, our Lord was more concerned about washing his disciples’ feet than caring for his own needs (John 13:5). Could we ever be as heavy-hearted and weary as Christ was on the eve of his death? Can we feel the tender appeals of the husband and the vain excuses of the wife! Are we guilty of such carelessness with our Lord or our mate?

The modern version of this heartless response might go something like this: “Look, I got ready for bed a long time ago. Now you come and expect me to wake up and be available to you? I’m beat! Do you really think you can stay out late working and then expect me to jump up and take care of you? What do you take me for…your servant? I’m sleepy. Go away.”

Now, that’s harsher than what the bride really said, but I’ve heard women express similar sentiments. Does it ring any bells? I’m sure many wives feel frustration over how much their husbands work—and how much they need physically—at some point in marriage, but if you find your heart resonating with the attitudes expressed in the preceding paragraph, then it might be time to do some serious introspection and problem solving so that you can go to bed close enough to the same time and with close enough to the same energy so that you have something left for each other.

Also, the contrast in thinking between the husband and his bride over what constitutes defilement is striking. The wife was thinking about the outside of her body being clean, but the husband was thinking about her heart. Look back at verse three; the husband appeals to her on the basis of her being his “undefiled,” his true-hearted, faithful lover. He had been out in the night working, doubtless looking forward with joy to being able to come home and being invited into her bosom and bed. His heart was true and eager… “undefiled,” and he appealed to her on the basis of her heart also being pure and undefiled.

Are our hearts undefiled towards our Lord? Towards our mate? Doubtless the husband would not have considered himself to have been “defiled” just because he was exhausted and dirty from labor. Was our Lord defiled by shedding perspiration like great drops of blood? No, that which arises from a labor of love is holy…like the tears of weary saints that God tenderly gathers up in his bottle (Psalm 56:8).

It’s really honoring to our mates to wash our bodies and be clean at night, but that’s not the most important definition for “undefiled.” The bride would not have gotten so dirty skipping across the floor to unlock the door that she would no longer appeal to her husband! Jesus denounced the Pharisees for washing the outside of their cups but not their minds (Matthew 23:25-27) and likened them to whitewashed tombstones: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” May we never grow so callous and indifferent to the needs of our spouse (heavenly or earthly; husband or wife) that we appear beautiful outwardly but are dead on the inside! May we be constrained by love to reach out and meet the needs of our spouses, even when it’s hard…and sometimes even sacrificially.

Bless Your Baby: (Ideas for Month 6, Week 26)

Big Lip. Sad Boy!177. Separation Anxiety

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21:4

PRAYER: Dear God, physical pain can be excruciating. Please protect us as much as possible from death, sorrow, crying and pain. But, truly the greatest pain is being separated from Love. The comfort of love makes the rest of life bearable. Without love, life loses its meaning. Thank you that you are love. May we always know your love, even in the midst of our deepest grief and pain.

THOUGHT: Once he understood separation, Aaron never liked being left…even into his teen years! Separation anxiety makes parting more difficult, but don’t be resentful or critical. Baby loves you fiercely! She would not leave you for a moment given the choice, and she feels rejected because you’re willing to give her up for a while.

ACTIVITY: On the other hand, don’t be discouraged and stop going out, because your husband needs your relaxed, undivided attention even more than your baby does (believe it or not). Although your husband is not as dependent on your care to meet all of his physical needs, he has a great need for your love and fellowship to keep him happy and motivated. Actually, you also need these times apart to be refreshed and refocus, but it is easy for a mother to get so intent on caring for her child that she loses sight of her own needs. So, keep planning outings and make sure your husband always remains your first priority under God. When you return, just give Baby lots of reassurance and cuddling to let her know that you love her deeply and are thrilled to be reunited!

Baby with toy on a high chair seat178. Keeping Baby Channeled While You Work

“So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.” Psalm 78:72

PRAYER: Dear Lord, I am reminded of the wonderful verse that likens children to being sapphire-polished arrows. Bless Baby, dear Lord! May he grow into a beautiful, straight arrow for you, one that you can fly fast and straight…one who will travel high and far for you and hit the mark of “the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” May I feed Baby on what is good so that he will be healthy and have excellent habits (both in eating and in life), a taste for that which is nourishing, and a distaste for that which is bad! Bless me with skillful hands, so that I know how to guide him into integrity and health.

THOUGHT: Keeping Baby occupied during dinner preparation is always a huge challenge, but don’t wait for hubby to bail you out by entertaining Baby if you can help it! Most men come home roaring hungry and in need of a break themselves.

ACTIVITY: Here are a few more ideas for keeping Baby busy in his high chair. You can teach him to fish cheerios out of a shallow plastic container by putting a few in the bottom of one. Or, you can put a few bits of cereal under a clear plastic container that has been turned upside down over the food and see if he can pick up the container to get his tasty prizes out. You can take a set of nesting measuring cups and put a couple of cheerios in the bottom of each one, and then stack them. See if he takes them apart to get at all the cereal. You can set several small opaque containers upside down on the tray, placing a cracker under one but leaving the rest without any food. Keep that kid channeled, and he won’t mind waiting for chow time quite so much.

Father with son on lap179. Soothing Influences for Restless Babies

“In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.” Psalm 56:11

PRAYER: Dear God, we put our trust in you! We thank you so much for the wonderful reminder that you have not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, and of power, and of a sound mind, and that a blissful heaven of pain-free fellowship is promised in the future for all who trust in you. Thank you for reassuring us that perfect love casts out fear, because fear has torment, and there is no torment in perfect love! How wonderful to trust in you and rest in you. May I model calm assurance, even in the midst of life’s nightmares, being anxious “for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplications with thanksgiving” letting my requests be made known unto you, and experiencing your peace that passes all understanding to keep my mind and heart. Bless Baby, precious Lord, so that as he grows up, he may also have a deep sense of peace, learning to cast all his cares on you because he knows that you care for him too!

THOUGHT: A small, familiar light that Baby can see if he wakes in the night can be a comfort and help him feel oriented and secure. We went through a series of nightlights over the years, and we also had a wonderful merry-go-round that hung over the crib. When I wound up the music box, the music played while the animals danced. This soothed our infants numberless times when they weren’t quite ready to fall back to sleep.

ACTIVITY: Do you have a nightlight and/or musical mobile in Baby’s room? Sometimes nothing works, but sometimes a little quiet music, soft light, and something to watch (even a ceiling fan with fluttery paper streamers hung from it) can go a long way toward helping a restless infant return to sleep.

Reaching for Glass180. Hand Coordination and Practice

“Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.” Psalm 119:73

PRAYER: Oh mighty God who holds the seven stars in your right hand, your hands have fashioned each of us! Bless us, Lord, with understanding so that we may learn your commandments. You have told us that if we love you we will keep your commandments. Help us to know your commandments, and give us the grace and strength to keep them.

THOUGHT: Concerning Baby throwing toys down and picking them up again—the place to practice that is on the floor where Baby can be responsible for picking up his own toys. At the kitchen in his high chair, don’t be too quick to retrieve toys that Baby has dropped, or he will think you are his personal valet. I tried to be compassionate whenever I thought the drop was an accident, but during the phase when Baby is practicing intentional dropping and picking up, if he starts throwing toys in an attempt to start a fetch game, keep in mind that you are his mother, not his dog. A merciful mother might supply a different toy if Baby runs completely out, or tie the toys to the highchair with strings so that they’re easy to place back on the tray.

ACTIVITY: If Baby hasn’t figured out how to pass toys from hand to hand, you can help him learn by actually putting a toy in his right hand, and then gently moving his right hand to his left hand with your hands over his, helping him make the transition. I never actually tried that with our kids (although I read about it), because they seemed to pick it up on their own so naturally, but as with all abilities, a sensitive parent can help teach and encourage where needed.

Can she crawl?181. Contentment with What We Have

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
Hebrews 13:5

PRAYER: For the second half of the year, I thought perhaps you might enjoy writing out your own “Bless my Baby” prayers in a little journal not only to anchor and reflect your own spiritual journey and aspirations but also serve as a great spiritual treasury for Baby in the years to come. God bless you in your efforts! Even if you can only find time to write one prayer a week, or just a handful over the next months or years, it will be an invaluable part of Baby’s spiritual heritage.

THOUGHT: I used to say that until our kids were about three, they preferred their boxes to their gifts. It is amazing what simple items can stimulate a baby. Just remember, everything is new for her, so try to see the things around your home from her eyes.

ACTIVITY: How about letting Baby experiment with some of these items: a pot or pan; a rubber doorstop; a wooden clothespin (not the kind with wire springs that can come apart); coasters, both the kind for setting drinks on and the rubber or wooden ones you put under table legs.

Also, if Baby is just on the verge of creeping but hasn’t quite gotten the hang of it, you can give her a helping hand by putting your hands against the bottoms of her feet while she’s on her tummy trying to move forward. As she inches forward, keep supporting her feet with your hands, not pushing her, but giving her a surface to push against. Just a minute or two now and then can be the boost she needs to help her become a traveling lady!

Fun with Daddy182. Sharing What We Know and What We Don’t Know

“Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.” Job 42:3

PRAYER: Dear Father, thank you that in you are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Help me to understand true wisdom and be able to share my understanding of you with Baby. Counsel us, Lord! May we marvel at the mystery of your wonderfulness!

THOUGHT: Don’t you love all the exuberant sounds an infant can make? When was the last time you screeched and grunted? I mean, that’s not even considered polite in adult society, right?

ACTIVITY: Luckily, you are not in adult society when you and Baby are communicating, so let go and have fun! Screech, jabber, call, hoot, grunt, yowl, and babble. Imitate Baby’s sounds, and then see if you can get him to imitate yours. Sit right in front of him so he can see your face, and slowly make the sound you want him to imitate. Use sounds you know he knows, such as “ba-ba-ba” or “m-m-m.” Make faces! Wrinkle up you nose, puff out your cheeks, blow, whistle, raise your eyebrows, smile, frown, shake your head, nod, look surprised, excited, and sad. See if you can get Baby to respond to your faces or try to imitate them. If he can’t now, he probably will be able to if you try the same tricks in a month or two. Whatever you do, have fun, and always end with a good laugh and some happy affection. Remember, play and fun are actually crucial elements in healthy, happy living! “A merry heart doeth good, like a medicine.” If you don’t feel jolly, ask the Lord to help you figure out what’s wrong and how to correct it so that you can experience having a heart filled with joy.

Sucking on watermelon183. Healthy Food Options

“Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me.” Proverbs 30:8

PRAYER: Father, teach me to be grateful for every day that my family is blessed with good food, clothing, and a secure home. Help me to appreciate wholesome food and to be faithful in providing the healthiest options I can for meals.

THOUGHT: As a pretty hardcore naturalist, I never allowed myself to buy prepared baby food. After the rice cereal phase I went straight to grinding up “the real thing” from the dinner table on the theory that freshest was best and regular food contained no fillers or unnecessary additives. Most of my friends thought that was unnecessarily time-consuming and inconvenient. Perhaps my zealous commitment to purity in food practice was a bit more stringent than absolutely necessary, but I would still do it again for the health benefits. Also, today, organic foods are available and worth buying if you can. (Just as an aside, another benefit of avoiding processed foods is that it saved hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars over the course of seven infancies.) Processed foods are not only less healthy, they are more costly.

ACTIVITY: However you choose to select and prepare Baby’s food, make healthy choices while it’s your responsibility to choose for him. Consider getting a small baby food grinder so you can make your own purees from fresh foods you’re preparing for the rest of your family. Consider avoiding refined flour and sugar as much as you can. The first dessert Aaron ever tasted was his first birthday cake. Did it keep him from liking desserts as an adult? No. Is he health-conscious today? Yes.

The Ins and Outs of Jams: Redeeming Each Day

Wild Thimbleberry JamLast Friday I mentioned that wild Thimbleberry jam is very pricey, and part of this is doubtless because thimbleberries are hand-picked and hard to come by. Green thimbleberriesMany of you may not be familiar with thimbleberries, or perhaps you know them by one of their other names, such as salmon berries or snow brambles. Thimbleberry flowers They are native to North America and abundant in Michigan’s upper peninsula, but I don’t think they’re much different from raspberries. In fact, I personally think they tend to be mushier and have a less distinctive flavor than raspberries, so unless you have an unavertable penchant for thimbleberries, I’d like to offer an invertible counterpoint:
Make your own jam at home for a fraction of the cost using raspberries! Crab Cakes BenedictDo you ever make your own jams? Wherever we go, my kids tease me because I say, “We could do that!” when we’re served some lovely new dish, like the crab cakes Benedict I had the other day. Truly, if we can figure out the flavors and are willing to do a little experimenting (and/or searching online), most of us could make a lot of delectable dishes at home. Ripened thimbleberry For instance, most berries can be turned into jams by simply adding equal parts of fruit and sugar, and boiling the mixture down until it’s thick enough to please the palate. I consider this the perfect way to preserve the remains of my carefully picked seasonal fruits, particularly if I’ve already frozen enough fresh and fear the last of my labors may be lost. Jams at home As I was pouring out a pint of raspberry jam the other day, it occurred to me that there are probably many similar situations in my spiritual life…ways of preserving the last bits of life’s experiences (even ones that seem to be turning bad) so that even the remains of the day will be redeemed. Of course, it will take thought, the willingness to experiment, research and practice…a little sweetener, a little heat, and a little time…but that’s okay, isn’t it?

Poorrock Abbey Jam“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

So Many Changes! aka Absurd Jokes for Baby Boomers

65th BdayThank you bodiesJoel left Monday, and Grace’s family flies back to Texas tomorrow, leaving Alan and me as true empty nesters. This will be a remarkably uncomfortable feeling at first, although I’m watching my older siblings and have been encouraged that I will probably live, despite my fears to the contrary. My oldest brother and his bride of 50 years moved from their home into a condo this summer and seem to be surviving…even thriving. Ann Moving to MI Shut Up I"m talking.com My sister (2 years my senior) and her beloved husband, who just retired last spring, are in the process of moving from Oregon to Michigan to be closer to their kids (and incidentally, but thankfully, closer to me as well). Women After God Am I pleased or what? Overjoyed, I think is the right term, since we were inseparable buddies for the first 22 years and have missed each sorely other during the 42 intervening years. from "Shut Up I'm Still Talking So, their pain is my gain, but I’m definitely feeling empathetic pains as they sift through their lifetime of possessions, and choose what to keep. Thankfully, their home sold the first day it was on the market, so that’s great, but (of course) preparing to get their house on the market was a super stressful time.Happiness is good friends And, now they have to move halfway across the continent, find a new place to live, and reorganize their entire lives & social network. A daunting task at best! Crazy old ladies!So, in order to try to cheer up all those of you who—like me—are dealing with aging and change, I thought I’d pass along these cartoons! Hope you enjoy!  🙂 Happy People copy

“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (Isaiah 46:4)

For Those Who Love and Therefore Grieve

Protect your heartsI’ve been praying a lot lately for a friend who has an openly homosexual sibling who’s recently proposed to and is planning to marry their partner. Bad Things The point of this series of posters is not to give commentary on my personal views of the homosexual lifestyle (although I will if you ask), Care for one another but to encourage all those who find their hearts aching
over some decision that a loved one has made. Pastor Prince Thomas Here are a few lessons I’ve learned from my own heartaches:Speaking the Truth to Your Friends

Be honest, but speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).Love othersNever stop loving. Praying for one anotherKeep praying, and ask those who love you deeply to pray with and for you. Self examination Let God use your grief to cause you to search your own heart. Don't DoubtDon’t let the choices of others cause you to doubt or become discouraged.  The price of loveAccept freedom of choice as a God-given privilege because He loves us,
and accept grief as the price of loving those we believe have made choices that will ultimately bring them pain and unhappiness. God does this for each of us.Surrender to GodSurrender. Trust. Hope. Wait. Continue in prayer. Be still.

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge”   (Psalm 46:10-11).

Fine Lines by Airline Stewardesses

There have been lots of comings and goings on airplanes to our home of late: Grace and the kids came Thursday, Michael came and went over the weekend, and yesterday I put my baby, Joel, on the plane to Boston. So, in honor of the flurry of flights, here are a list of great lines that were purportedly overheard on airplanes. I’ve included some pictures that were forwarded to me via email as well:

United flight attendant announced, “People, People — we’re not picking out furniture here; find a seat and get in it!
– – –
On landing, the stewardess said, “Please be sure to take all of your belongings.  If you’re going to leave anything, please make sure it’s something we’d like to have.”
– – –Airplane crashes 1“There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane.”
– – –
An airline pilot wrote that, on this particular flight, he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the passengers exited, smile and give them a Thanks for flying our airline.  He said that, in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment.  Finally, everyone had gotten off except a little old lady walking with a cane.  She said, “Sir, do you mind if I ask a question?”  “Why, no, Ma’am,” said the pilot. “What is it?”  The lady said, “Did we land or were we shot down?”
– – –
As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Ronald Reagan Airport, a lone voice came over the loudspeaker: “Whoa, big fellow, WHOA!”
– – –
Another flight attendant’s comment on a less-than-perfect landing: “We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal.”
– – –
Airplane crashes 4On an American Airlines flight into Amarillo, TX on a particularly windy and bumpy day, during the final approach, the captain was really having to fight it.  After an extremely hard landing, the flight attendant said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Amarillo.  Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while the captain taxis what’s left of our airplane to the gate!”
– – –
“Your seat cushions can be used for flotation; and, in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments.”
– – –
“As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings.  Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses — except for that gentleman over there.”
– – –
This was heard on Southwest Airlines just after a very hard landing in Salt Lake City.  The flight attendant came on the intercom and said, “That was quite a bump, and I know what y’all are thinking.  I’m here to tell you it wasn’t the airline’s fault; it wasn’t the pilot’s fault; it wasn’t the flight attendants’ fault. It was the asphalt.”
– – –
Airplane crashes 3After a real crusher of a landing in Phoenix, the attendant came on with, “Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Captain Crash and the crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt against the gate.  And, once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we’ll open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal.”
– – –Airplane crashes 2Part of a flight attendant’s arrival announcement: “We’d like to thank you folks for flying with us today.  And the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you’ll think of US Airways.”
– – –
Heard on a Southwest Airline flight: “Ladies and Gentlemen, if you wish to smoke, the smoking section on this airplane is on the wing; and, if you can light ’em,  you can smoke ’em.”
– – –

A man boarded a plane with six kids. After they got settled in their seats, a woman sitting across the aisle from him leaned over to him and asked, “Are all of those kids yours?”  He replied, “No.  I work for a condom company. These are customer complaints.” (This last one might not seem funny to you, but after hearing, “Are all of those kids yours?” about a zillion times in my life, with no appropriate response, I have to applaud the man’s wit!)

“The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the Lord.” (Proverbs 21:31)


Jokes from Texas

Warning sign in pastureMike’s family is visiting us this and next week. They’re in transit from South Korea to Italy via San Antonio, Texas, so I’ve prepared ahead a few blogs for days when I’m too busy having fun to write. Today I have a series of cartoons about Texas, where Mike’s family has been this summer. I hope the humor makes you smile but doesn’t offend anybody. Forgive me if they’re not all P.C. Once the kids are gone and I’m home alone, I’ll resume attempting to write thoughtful posts about life. Blessings~ Steer on a CarTexas Rain GaugeHeart-shaped valentine steakHorse in oceanSpeed Limit Sign in TexaxSlow Down. The cop is hiding behind this signPopulation of Alpine TXMap of Texas. TemperatureWhat kills people in Texas. Joke!Texas Food PyramidTexas Tornado Joke      (Hope this doesn’t hurt anybody’s feelings; I actually like the Cowboys…) Warning sign about getting shot on sightMule and lady laughing togetherCowboy riding to Starbucks    (I mean, really…have you seen this at a Starbucks drive-through near you?)Horse looking down on you             So, what’s so funny about a horse stopping for a cup of coffee? Austin, TX tee shirt           And, if you think Texans are strange, be assured the feelin’s mutual!

“But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:34).

Rise Up, My Love (150): The Call of the Lamb

Song of Solomon 5:2 “Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.” I have been out working till the midnight hours when the dew distills on the grass. I have worked past exhaustion…until my body heat has turned to cold. I am chilled to the bone, and my perspiration has become a drenching dew on my hair.

See him as the Lamb of God: “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3). Our sacrificial Lamb calling to us—God’s undefiled lamb—“Open to me!” Can we hide our faces from him? See him in the garden: “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” His head filled with grief and drenched with perspiration like great drops of blood. Oh, see him there for us! Can we fail to respond to such an appeal?

 “That everlasting, ever-quickening Vine,
That gives the heat and passion of the world,
Through its own life-blood, still renewed and shed.
The Vine from every living limb bleeds wine;
Is it the poorer for that spirit shed?
The drunkard and the wanton drink thereof;
Are they the richer for that gift’s excess?
Measure thy life by loss instead of gain;
Not by the wine drunk, but the wine poured forth;
For love’s strength standeth in love’s sacrifice;
And whoso suffers most, hath most to give.”
—Hudson Taylor

 May we, with Charlotte Elliot, say:
“Just as I am, without one plea but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou bidd’st me come to thee, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!” Kite Flying to Angel Cloud copy



Bless Your Baby: (Ideas for Month 6, Week 25)

Old Cemetery by the Sea in Ireland170. A Quiet Place to Rest

“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” Isaiah 40:11

PRAYER:   Ah, blessed Shepherd, please take us as lambs in your flock, gather us into your arms, carry us in your bosom, and lead us ever so gently. Truly we are among those who are “with young.” Lift Baby up in your everlasting arms and carry her. Waking and sleeping, may she find the comfort of your love surrounding her, and when she awakens, may she rest content in seeing your face. Help me be the “skin on” face of God, arms of God, and love of God to help her understand your love and provision.

THOUGHT: Strange as it sounds, some cemeteries make very pleasant places for excursions. The quiet roads through a cemetery are usually almost devoid of traffic. (In fact, when I was a girl, cemeteries were considered the perfect place for student drivers to practice “because you can’t kill anybody if you accidentally drive off the road!”) Cemeteries are usually as attractive as well kept parks and often a great deal less littered…it just isn’t the type of place for beer bashes! There is lots of room for exploring with few things that are dangerous and practically nothing that can hurt a baby, although of course, Baby should never be left unattended in any public setting. Roots TourACTIVITY: Have you considered an outing to your local cemetery? If you plan an outing with a friend, the two of you might enjoy looking at the tombstones to find last names you recognize (perhaps even ancestors of your baby), imagine what the people might have been like, or discover who is the oldest person “in residence.” If it’s warm and sunny, there are probably places where you could spread a blanket and enjoy a short rest or a picnic.

Bath time rubber ducky171. Experimental Studies

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the world of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)

PRAYER: Dear Master, Lord of Heaven and Earth, our teacher and guide, thank you for giving us minds. Thank you for Baby’s mind! Help me to be intentional and creative in helping Baby’s mind develop and improve. Please lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. May we as a family be “innocent concerning evil,” “wise as serpents and harmless as doves,” full of wonder and awe over your marvelous creation, and full of energy to understand your world and become wise understudies of you, the great Master! May we study hard to be approved by you as workmen in your vineyard, shepherds of your sheep, builders in your kingdom, members of your visible body here on earth…faithful in whatever you call us to do. May we have confidence as we follow you, trusting your Holy Spirit to guide us into understanding your precious Word so that we can discern truth from error and choose right over wrong!

THOUGHT: As in all areas, children don’t need expensive toys, but they do need variety.

ACTIVITY: To keep Baby in the tub and not trying to get out, he needs a number of interesting toys with which to experiment. Sometime when you’re looking for a new toy, how about trying several water balloons filled with a little water as well as several that are filled with air? A popped balloon can be a deadly choker, so you should only play this game with vigilant supervision, removing any balloons that pop, but you can play submarine, submarine warfare, airborne attack, battle ships, and all sorts of war games or just plain capture, push, pull, float, sink, and lob games with the balloons.

Lying on bed172. Rolling Games

“I turned myself to consider wisdom, and madness, and folly…Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness.” Ecclesiastes 2:12A, 13 (NKJV)

PRAYER: Dear Omniscient God, thank you for being the all-knowing one. May we learn to reverence you. May we have tender hearts that learn to turn away from evil…to recognize and confess our sins very quickly. Thank you for your marvelous grace and provision for us, so that when we repent, you forgive us and turn us back to you.

THOUGHT: About this age, Baby will want to learn how to roll over at will, and you can help! Aaron and Carleen discovered “rolling practice” on their bed worked well. They would press down on the mattress to make a little valley that Baby could roll into easily!

ACTIVITY: If Baby is on his tummy and you want to encourage him to roll over onto his back, try attaching a string to an interesting-looking toy and dangling it in front of Baby’s face near his right arm but just out of his reach. When he starts to reach for it, lift it very slowly into the air (by the string) and over his back, so that it eventually goes out of view. See if he turns his body to try to grab it. If his left arm is down by his side, it will make it easier for him to roll over. Never roll Baby over without first making sure his arm is down and won’t be strained by the changing position, but if Baby is trying to roll over and just can’t make it, help him along a few times so that he gets the feel of it. Do you know this children’s song? You can use rolling motions to make it more captivating:

“Rolled away, rolled away, rolled away! Every burden of my heart rolled away!
Every sin had to go, ‘neath the crimson flow—Hallelujah!
Rolled away, rolled away, rolled away! Every burden of my heart rolled away!”

Sound asleep in Mom's arms173. Asleep in Arms but Awake in Bed…Oh, No!

“He who handles a matter wisely shall find good:
and he who trusts in the LORD, happy is he.” Proverbs 16:20

PRAYER: Ah, Lord God, the Almighty, all-powerful one! How is it that you never have to slumber or sleep? Thank you for being available to us at all times. Thank you that you never leave us or forsake us. Help us as a family to find the happiness that comes from handling matters wisely and trusting in you. May we live in the knowledge of your presence and sleep content in the rest of your constant care. Help us to entrust ourselves, our spouses, and each of our children to your care, knowing that only you can provide the security, counsel, and guidance that we need.

THOUGHT: Do you have trouble getting Baby into his crib after he’s fallen asleep in your arms? The current theory is to place Baby always on his back to sleep. Carleen says the slogan is “Back to sleep!” Sleeping on DadACTIVITY: If Baby tends to wake and cry when you put him down, make sure all the sensory stimuli continue to be as similar as possible, including smells, lighting, sound, motion, and temperature. If you’re singing, continue singing for a few minutes so he still hears your voice. (They say hearing is the last sensory stimulus to go before losing consciousness.) If it’s a very cold night, wrap him in blankets in your arms, so that when you lay him down, he’s still surrounded by warmth instead of hitting a cold sheet. You can cover him with additional covers later to make up for the loss of your body heat. Also, if you’ve been patting him gently in your arms before putting him down, then continue patting him for a bit just so he continues to sense your presence. And, pray, pray, pray!!

Ready to Roll?174. Baby Turnovers

“Ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.”
1 Thessalonians 1:9

PRAYER: Dear Holy God, Lord of all creation, Thank you for the first commandment that you have given us: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Truly, there is none like you. You are love, you are light, you are truth, you are good; you are life; you embody all that is bright and beautiful! You are to be desired above gold and silver…above diamonds and precious stones. You are more majestic than the mountains. Your love is more unfathomable than the oceans. Your power is greater than all the armies in the world, and truly one day, you will destroy evil with the flaming sword that comes out of your mouth of truth! Turn us, Lord, from any idol that would deceive us!

THOUGHT: Bless Baby, Lord! Keep him as the apple of your eye, and may he learn to keep you as the apple of his eye as he grows! May our singular passion in life be to love you with all our hearts, and minds, and souls, and strength, and through loving you, learn to serve you—the living and true God—by loving others as we love ourselves.

ACTIVITY: Here’s another rolling game to enjoy with Baby. Try singing the following little folk tune to Baby while he’s on her back (or stomach) before turning him over: “A penny for a spool of thread, a penny for a needle. That’s the way the money goes! Pop goes the weasel!” If Baby’s on his back, while you sing the first part, clap Baby’s hands together. Then while you’re singing “That’s the way the money goes…” place him one arm down by his side in the best position for him if he were going to roll himself over. Give him a second to try, but if he doesn’t roll himself over, when you say, “Pop!” give Baby a gentle push over, and then give him a nuzzle and a kiss.

Tummy Time175. The Constant Challenge of Moving Forward

“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Luke 13:24

PRAYER: Dear Father, we bring to you our earnest desire to “strive to enter in at the strait gate.” We understand that the strait gate that leads to heaven is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the door, and it is only by faith in him that we can enter in. We also understand that once we have entered into the strait gate, we also need to walk along the straight path to keep out of trouble! We acknowledge that one of Satan’s most deadly devices of late seems to be intimating that God loves us regardless of what we do and therefore he doesn’t care what we do. As parents, it is easy to understand how wrong this is. We love our child, but we long for him to be good, knowing that by choosing good over evil he pleases you (and us), and we all enjoy a more peaceful, happy life! Bless Baby with parents who know how to chasten out of love, to approve and rebuke, to comfort and challenge, to guide with both the rod and the staff, and who model the love of Christ as they attempt to bring their children up motivated by the love of God.

THOUGHT: If you have exhausted the supply of interesting baby toys from your favorite store, don’t forget the resource of doggy toys from a dollar store. A colorful rubber dog bone or prickly rubber porcupine were a couple of Aaron’s favorites, but there are many unusual designs out there that are every bit as fascinating for babies as dogs. Stuffed AnimalsACTIVITY: It might be time to invest in a couple more intriguing, colorful toys to tempt baby into crawling. Always try to have an old toy for Baby to play with that’s within his reach as well as a newer toy that is a few inches out of reach to keep him moving forward.

Father kissing baby176. Watching and Listening

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with my eye.” Psalm 32:8 (NKJV)

PRAYER: Abba, Father, we lift our eyes to you. Help us to keep looking up at your face, watching for your guidance like a maid waiting on her master. May we be so tuned to you that you can guide us with your eye: May we know what you want even before you speak to us because we’ve been studying your countenance and looking into your eyes! Thank you for desiring for us to grow, to do well, to flourish, to succeed, to become a vessel fit for use…a beautiful masterpiece reflecting your creative, redemptive design.

THOUGHT: Instructional play is a great thing, but make sure Baby is always enjoying it. Aaron seemed to have an insatiable appetite for being entertained and stimulated to learn, but some of the other children occupied themselves much more readily and enjoyed more independence and time alone. My personal theory is that much of the best learning is creative, plain-old fun geared to stimulate natural curiosity, with or without assistance from the parents. Chimes OutsideACTIVITY: For quiet times when Baby needs some independent development, have you thought about wind chimes? If you don’t have any, you might consider buying a set (second-hand stores and eBay work too!) to place somewhere that Baby can occasionally hear when the wind blows gently. There are wonderful wind chimes available made from shells, bamboo, metal, glass, etc., and they come in many unique colors and designs. So, if you live where a wind chime in a window could catch Baby’s eye while she’s in her crib or while she’s sitting in her highchair or playpen, consider buying one. It would make a grand addition to a summery home.