Friday, December 28, 2007

How many gifts will you remember next year?

He used a tooth of a comb as a needle to sew with.

You want to check out both of these posts...

Here is a second post with pictures....

Anatomy According to Gloria

Note the spleen covering the toes, and the lung over the calf. Boy, do we have a lot of ground to cover!

Awesome hair!

Noah likes to twirl his hair around his finger. It's something that his father used to do back when his hair was long enough to do such a thing. We hadn't really noticed it until Noah decided to do some Bible reading for us during our weekly family meeting. He sat up, pulled out his Bible, & bent his head over- we were amazed. His hair is very straight, so all the curls you see in the photo were caused by his twirling. It may be time for a haircut!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Kids Sporting Their New Eyeglasses

Noah asked several times if I would take him to an eye doctor- he said his eyes were watery. I assumed it was an allergy problem, so I put the doctor's visit off for a while. One day last week, however, I noticed that he was having a really hard time doing his schoolwork. He kept rubbing his eyes, and at one point became frustrated with it and went to bed. "Hmmm," I thought, "maybe there is something to what he says." I took him to the eye doctor that morning, and sure enough, the kid is far-sighted. The watery eyes are caused by him struggling to bring his eyes into focus and keeping them open for too long. That's him in the middle.
Imagine my surprise when on a whim I asked the doctor for a vision screening for the other children. Elijah's vision is great, but Nicholas is another story. He is far-sighted and both eyes have astigmatisms. The doctor actually winced when he attempted to read the largest row of letters. I felt like such a bad mom- he's 10 years old and I never noticed he had trouble seeing!
Both of the boys chose glasses that look like their father's. I can't find a picture of Scott in his right now or I'd post it. It's too cute! Elijah really wants glasses- he's been running into things on purpose and rubbing his eyes a lot in an effort to show me how poor his eyesight is. I offered to get him some glasses without lenses, but that won't do.
Gloria wouldn't have anything to do with the eye doctor or the vision screening equipment. She told the doc, "Maybe when I'm older..."

Sunday, December 16, 2007

You Can Have All This World

It was an odd day. Sunday School started with 4 of the kids telling us how they either shared or attempted to share their faith over the last week. We'd encouraged them before to be available to be used of God, but nothing ever became of it. Honestly, they tend to be (like most teenagers) somewhat self-centered. This week was different, though. They shared with brothers, strangers at the mall, and a lone girl at the lunch table at school. I think they've begun to see what a dark world it is, and they've started to see the people around them who are mired in that darkness.

For our part, the day should have consisted of church and a birthday party. One of the youth had a surprise birthday party at his home. Among the attendants was one extraordinarily out of place grad student studying cancer biology at a very prestigious university. By her own admission, she believes there is a God but she chooses not to study or explore beyond that basic belief. I think this is mostly out of a fear that she will find it to be incongruous with her scientific studies. She is very smart, but at the same time so sad. It is noble to want to cure cancer, but if the pursuit of that cure means that you will not consider the Creator, what have you gained?
She has chosen to ignore the question of God's plan for her because she cannot apply her scientific theory to decipher it. It was an interesting and lengthy, albeit very friendly, debate. She employed the typical evolution talking points and attempted to make broad, sweeping generalizations about people who believe in creation. It was a looong birthday party. Many times I looked over and saw Scott with his contemplative look upon his face, carefully choosing his words. I suspect that this was the first time she entered into a religious debate with someone who was knowledgeable and well-studied enough to not get flustered and give up. Scott has never been one to nod politely and then ask after the health of the family pets when a difficult topic comes up. There were some folks who knew her who would walk into the room, listen for a bit, chuckle, then give up on trying to follow the conversation and leave. As for me, I engaged in a pleasant side conversation with the young lady's father while we both listened to the debate. Our prayer for this girl is that she will at least seek to know the Father and that her intellect won't be an insurmountable stumbling block. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

We left the party and went out to buy a tree- a Christmas tree to be specific. Yes, I know it is late, but frankly, it is not very important to us and we have not had the time to go and purchase a tree. We wanted a live tree, and it is not something that I could easily go out and do without my strong husband there. First we went to Lowes. They had a few wreaths, but no tree. Next we went to Home Depot. I stayed in the car with the kids while Scott went in. There remained one decent-looking tree, and two that looked like they got in a fight with a woodchipper and lost. Scott also had to get a stand- he found one without a price and brought it over to the cash register in the little enclosed stand in the garden center. Hunched over and crying was a girl in a Home Depot apron. Scott asked if she was alright, and she said she was. He then asked if she was crying, but she insisted that she wasn't. His look of disbelief probably convicted her to come clean- she was crying after all. She went on to share how her mother left her family and has turned her back on God. She was very nice, and Scott felt so sad for her. She was struggling with how to deal with her family situation and her relationship with her mother in particular. She had some righteous anger. Scott was the only customer that had been there all evening buying the last sale-able Christmas tree. We believe this was another divine appointment. Scott was struck by her story of sitting in the church parking lot of the church her family used to go to wanting to go in but afraid of what people would say or think. She could not bring herself to go inside. She was very aware of the fact that her mother was turning her back on eternal things for temporary lust of the flesh. She spoke with a wisdom uncommon among 20 year olds, but that was gained as she witnessed the collapse of her parents' marriage. She did most of the talking, Scott was just there to listen and console. He talked about how God gives us free will, and as much as we'd like to make choices for our family members or change the choices they have made, we can't do that. He felt confident in saying that one day her mother will look at what she gave away and how she hurt her family and will grieve. Still, it is not fair that we grieve now for the poor exercising of their free will. Scott told her about how whenever we drive into Knoxville and we pass the car dealership where my dad works, he looks over and sees tears on my face. It is difficult for those who are abiding in Christ because we know what our loved ones are missing. We mourn for them now, while they continue on seemingly ignorant of the pain that they have caused to the people that they once professed to have loved.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Hillbilly Meets Mafia

Scott's family.

My family.

Quilting Questions

Once again, I am contemplating work on a project started by one of our grandmothers. These nine patch quilt squares were made by my Mamaw Chandler.
Yep, after years of vaguely referring to her as "my grandmother," I am 'fessing up to my hillbilly roots. I had two Mamaws, each called by "mamaw" and her last name. My family came from the hills pretty recently. "We" were among the last of the folks kicked out of Cades Cove, and I remember the anger and indignation in my grandmother's voice as she would tell us about the unfair price her family was forced to accept for their farm.
So anyhow, I married up. We have a beautiful photograph of my mother-in-law at the age of 8 or 9 wearing a fancy white gown with matching white gloves and holding a bouquet of roses. Similarly, we have a photograph of my mother wearing a flour sack and holding a dead chicken. Well, okay, we don't actually have possession of that one, but it is rumored to exist.
But anyway, back to the quilt. These squares were made from satin scraps that my grandmother brought home from the furriers where she worked sewing liners for fur coats. My question is this: What kind of fabric should I use to attach these squares to each other? I am thinking that maybe I should use satin, but someone said that would be a mistake. That same someone didn't offer any alternatives, though. Does anyone know?


I have always been interested in adoption. ALWAYS.

As a teenager, I purchased a used set of books from a library sale entitled "The Adoptive Family." My friends thought I was nuts. So it's not surprising that I sometimes browse adoption websites. Over the years, I have looked into all manner of domestic and international adoptions. I've checked out the requirements, notified my husband of which ones we qualify for, and even told him that I've picked out a new kid or two. Always kind of joking, but also "feeling out the waters," so to speak.

This morning, I awoke early with a feeling that I should spend some volunteer time at an orphanage. I know that logically, we just don't have time for me to go out and do something like that. My husband works a full-time job in addition to being the youth pastor at our church. I homeschool our children, so I don't have any time without the kids to volunteer. Nevertheless, I got online at 5:30 this morning to google orphanages/children's homes close to us. There really aren't any, so I ended up browsing the list of children available for adoption. I looked at "special needs/older" kids, because it is safe- most of adoptions specify homes with no other children.

I say all of this to say that this morning, I "met" a child online who has been on my mind all day. I've cried because I feel a connection, illogical though it may be. He is one year older than my oldest son. He comes from a separated sibling group and wants to be placed in a home with other children. He loves taking care of plants and animals and would love to live somewhere that has woods to explore.

I really don't know where I'm going with this post. I'm sure that my husband doesn't feel called to adopt. I just needed to get my thoughts out somewhere.

Monday, December 3, 2007

While Strolling Through the Woods...

I found some sort of strange primitive fence. You may have to enlarge the photo to see it well.

It turns out that my kids really are doing something when they are playing in the woods. They have made some wonderful trails, as well.

I had a lot of work to do, so I only snapped a couple of quick photos. I plan to go back and get pictures of some of the nice trails, too.