Thursday, January 31, 2008

Look at this shoe!

Isn't this beautiful! I'd be so afraid of breaking it. If this amazing shoe graced my oh-so-unworthy foot I would only take tiny steps and only on sidewalks.

But, it's like $600, so there is no way. We will never be together... Oh, but I can dream about you...You beautiful Prada creation...

First Home School Lesson

I am not a sold-out home schooler. However, I love to learn and know that my daughters are just like both me and Erik. We are knowledge addicts! (Him mostly technology, me everything...) Therefore I decided to start home school lessons with Reagan for pre-school. (Also, I don't really have the money to send her to a pre-school outside of the home.)

Today, we started with the letter 'K'. Why 'k'? Well, simply because I happened to pick up a Koala book at the library last week and thought, "Why not? Let's start with Koalas." So today I drew dotted lines of the letter 'k' and taught her how to trace it. I found a neat site with letters and corresponding coloring pages, but couldn't print them off. (hint, hint, Erik.) And then we did a seek and find page from a Highlights magazine. Overall, the first lesson was great! I loved sitting down with her, at an unhurried pace, and teaching her. It was fun. Furthermore, there was a bit of bonding this morning; if anything I was more patient with her for the rest of the morning because we had spent time together.

On Tuesday I went to my mom's group at church, 2 Hour Time Out (which Reagan has called 2 hours of time out). The speaker was Donna Otto who runs a fabulous ministry called Homemakers by Choice. There were two things she said that were extremely profound for me. First, that as stay-at-home moms we must be careful about what environments we put our children in. When I drop my kids off at the gym (which I love!), I am putting them in an environment that has all sorts of people's home lives spilling into it. A melting pot of home lives. There are perhaps attitudes and behaviors that I don't want the girls around. Or vice-versa. Her point is that dropping our kids off really needs to be a conscious decision.

Secondly, she said that we can not raise kids in crisis-mode. Sure we can get them to school or dance or church, but to really raise them to be the kind of children we hope they will be takes a calmer environment. I am a crisis-mode person. Sure I get things done, but I'm always trying to rush through it or just get it done. Today I made an effort to just do one thing at a time. And I found a lot less frustration during my morning.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Potty Training

I hate potty training. I do not use those words lightly. I detest every part of the process, from the teaching how to use the potty to changing countless underpants, to washing a million loads of laundry to cleaning up my carpet over and over and over. I hate it.

I decided to potty train Matilyn last Thursday. I was so optimistic; she's showing signs of readiness, she's wanting to use the potty, etc. So, first day went about as well as can be expected. (Mostly accidents, but at least she learned that she gets 'wet'.) Second day, she eventually started going when I put her on the potty. But I had to bribe her to get there. And then the third day, a little bit more improvement, but not quite to the level that I was hoping for. She wasn't really telling me she had to use the bathroom before she wet a little in her pants.

So, today, day 4, I quit. I'm done with potty training until August. I am tired of not getting through to her. I am sick of her not sitting on the potty without M&M's. So, we're back with diapers. And you know what? I love DIAPERS!

There are two parts to this that I am concerned about. First, have I subjected Mati to psychological harm because I have regressed her back to diapers? Will she have a desire for success? Or have I ruined her? And secondly, I feel like an utter failure as a mom. So, now you see why I hate potty training. Only one thing as a mom has this much power to make me feel so terrible; potty training.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

35 Years

Yesterday marked the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Roe vs. Wade that found a right to privacy in the Constitution. Knowing this date was quickly arriving I read President Ronald Reagan's essay Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation. It was written in 1985 and is still relevant today. With even more scientific evidence which support life beginning in the womb, abortion is still a legal option for people to be 'rid' of a child.

This is a moving essay and I recommend that all read it. It is a thought-provoking essay that is easily read. At least have some respect for a sitting president who wrote this without regard to public opinion.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bye Fred

He was my favorite candidate. I'm so sorry that he couldn't pull in more support. Oh well, I guess I'll support...well, I am not that crazy about any of them.

How Do You Like Your Eggs?

Aren't these funny? The post about them is funny too.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Review: Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation by Hugh Hewitt

2005, Published by Thomas Nelson

In Blog, Hugh Hewitt discusses the rise of the blogosphere and its impact upon politics, culture, religion and business. He calls this uprising an “Information Reformation” in that it is a reformation of the way people are getting their news and opinions. Instead of relying upon the “old media” which includes CNN and the ‘Big 3’ networks: ABC, CBS and NBC, people are increasingly using the web to get the news of the day.

The second chapter of this short book presents a historical account of the first Reformation of the Catholic Church. Basically, with the technological advancement of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg, Luther may never have been able to convince so many of the need for change. Indeed, Catholics within the faith had been advocating change against the greed and corruption of the church higher-ups for some time but without the ability to spread the message to large amounts of people, the change never came. Eventually (and I am skipping a ton of details) Luther was so disillusioned with the sale of indulgences by the Church that he came up with 95 points of discussion, or the 95 Theses. He wrote them in Latin and hammered them to the door of the church in Wittenberg. (Apparently, this was the primary way of opening discussion back then.) Someone, no one knows who took the Theses and translated it into German and then mass-produced and circulated it. Within two weeks the country of Germany knew who Luther was and what he stood for. From there is basically history, with the decline of the influence of the Roman Catholic Church and the beginnings of Protestantism. Without the printing press this sweeping reform might not have happened.

Mr. Hewitt’s point is that the same thing has happened with the blogosphere. With the advancement of technology, average U.S. citizens have the ability to fact check newspaper stories (ala Jayson Blair [Also, see this] and CBS’ Rathergate a.k.a. Memogate). And armed with a blog these average Joes can tell the world about what they have found.

But it’s not just politics that is impacted by the blogosphere. It is also an effective way to communicate any message be it Christianity, a new product or service, book, or even terrorism. Indeed, anyone who wants to talk about anything has a way to essentially mega-phone the voice.

Mr. Hewitt suggests that anyone who has a business also have a blog. It helps get the message out to customers and employees.

This book is short and very easy to read. I loved the part of the Catholic Reformation and the correlation between that and the Information Reformation. It was enlightening. Also, it is an encouraging book for those of us bloggers. This book gives some ideas on how to get your blog noticed and also expounds on the potential for bloggers-for-hire, akin to a lobbyist type position.

Read this book if you are interested the history of the blogosphere, the future of blogosphere and how to get into it if you’re not.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mature Christian Voter

American Thinker writer Ben-Peter Terpstra has a post about where a Mature Christian stands on issues like abortion and the environment. I'm unashamed to call myself a naive Christian after reading this.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Oh, What A Find

Or re-find I should say. I'm getting ready for a garage sale this weekend and was going through my books which I no longer want to keep. So, I opened up a box and hit pay-dirt! I found books that I love, books I knew I had just didn't know where, books that I've bought for the girls but forgot, and my wonderful pregnancy books that I will be passing on (since there are no future Wilhelmsen kids planned.)

Here's a list of what I found and can't wait to enjoy once again:
  • Finding Your Purpose as a Mom by Donna Otto (yes, Katie, I actually own one of her books before she was going to come and speak to our mom's club. I had forgotten. And, actually, I haven't read it yet. So, I'm going to get on that one.)
  • Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard
  • My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
  • Our formerly misplaced Message/NASB Parallel Bible
  • Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
  • Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
Unfortunately, this means that our book closet will once again fill up with books that I had moved out into the garage. I'm pretty sure Erik's not going to be all that happy with my "find"!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Increasing Creativity

I do a lot of these already. Why am I not more creative?

This Might Be Neat

I found this on one of my fun blogs that I check semi-regularly. (I thought I would try and post something a little bit more light-hearted. It's gotten kind of tense...)

I'm on the fence, but it seems cool. I'll probably wait until the price comes down from $200.00.

Yes, You Should Read This

It's by one of my favorite authors, speakers and Economists, Walter E. Williams. He's brilliant, funny and articulate and you should take the time and read this article because it explains in a much better way why I am against the government imposing climate-control standards on average citizens.

It is summed up by the closing line, "Their agenda is far more achievable using techniques dear to all tyrants: There's less resistance if liberty is taken away a little bit at a time."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

No-Way for McCain

This is an interesting take on McCain's loss last night in Michigan. I really like the analysis because it shows what "mainline conservative opposition to McCain can look like in later primaries." Down with McCain. Long live Thompson or Romney!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"Green" Sermons

I was in Riverside, CA back in December and happened to be reading the local paper when I came across this article by Associated Press writer Greg Bluestein, "Green sermons taking root throughout the Southeast". The story is about a new environmental focus by pastors to connect faith and the environmental movement. As the story starts out, an Atlanta-based preacher started a two month series of sermons on our stewardship of the Earth.

The preacher, Robert Walker, Jr., said, "We can embrace God and Scripture and science together. And it's enough to say when they agree-and sometimes they do-we should embrace it. And they agree that our Earth cannot last forever. And that we are charged with the responsibility of taking care of it."

An organization known as Interfaith Power and Light is attempting to "engage the faithful into environmental activism, overcoming the distrust that has grown up between science and religion." The group hands out kits on how to go green, encourages congregations to switch to energy-efficient lights bulbs, and in some cases offer workshops and screenings of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth".

There are several things that disturb me about this article specifically and the Environmental movement in general.

First, the Regeneration Project exists to provide sermon-like materials to pastors for the sole purpose of convincing congregations of the man-made global warming threat. I feel very strongly that this is not an issue to be preached from the pulpit, especially since it is a political topic and not a proven fact. Having community meetings outside of church hours or informative seminars is a different thing and all churches have a responsibility to seek and save the lost. To clarify, the mission should be to save the lost from sin, not from being energy inefficient. The two are not necessarily connected.

Second, this movement denies God's role in the earth's development. He is the Creator, and He is in charge of it still. We are stewards, not owners. God is specific in the Bible about our roles and His. We are assured that He will never again flood the Earth. Do we trust Him, or not? Al Gore and the like fill our heads and televisions with messages of impending floods. What does God say? He says in Genesis 8:22, "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease." I agree with Joseph Farrah when he said in his article "The Bible and 'Global Warming'".

"It is so presumptuous and haughty of believers and non-believers alike to think man is in control of the destiny of the planet God created for us.

If it were so, would he not have warned us? With all of the prophecies in the Bible, should we not expect to be told that such matters are actually in our hands? Why would we be told exactly the opposite throughout scripture?"

Thirdly, it is possible that God uses prophecy to convince the lost of his existence. For example, the book of Isaiah is filled with prophecies about Jesus so that the Jews would recognize the Messiah. Those of us who read the Bible are anxiously awaiting signs of Jesus' second coming, for the signs are there. For example, the possible peace in the Middle East. When Israel is at peace with her neighbors we know that the Lord can't be far behind.

I think the same type of case could be made for the warming of the Earth. 2 Peter 3:10 states, "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare."

And then it continues in chapter 11-13, "Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness."

God will use any means possible to have his people return to him and know him. And I believe all these things, calamities, yes, work together to convince people of their own humanness and the sovereignty of God. Is it possible that environmentalists are afraid to face their Creator so they attempt to put off the judgment of the Lord?

And why are Christians falling for it? We should have the full-confidence of God at work in our lives. We should be at work telling others about his unfailing love, not trying to preserve something that was never supposed to last forever.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Boys in Blue

Yesterday was a tense day in the Wilhemlsen house. As you may know the Dallas Cowboys played the NY Giants in the playoffs yesterday. I am an ardent Cowboys fan, always have been always will be, and Erik is an Anybody-but-the-Cowboys fan (mainly the Redskins and the Cardinals-poor guy.) So, you can imagine how much Erik was looking forward to the Giants knocking off the Cowboys. And vice-versa for myself.

The Cowboys lost. The Giants won. I can't stand the Giants.

It's hard for me not to completely blame Jessica Simpson, since as a woman I know how much sway we have over men's concentrations (okay, not all that much.) And a lot of people are going to be analyzing their relationship and whether or not it had an effect on his game. I do not want to be one of those people, but DARN IT! I wanted the 'Boys to WIN! And they didn't. And since the only other person to blame is Tony Romo, I'll just blame Jessica.

Oh well, at least Erik gave me the thumbs-up to making meatloaf for dinner. It's one of my favorite comfort foods and this is one of the best recipes. So at least I ate well.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Blog Traffic

Seth Godin's list about how to get your blog trafficked is interesting. I thought my blogging friends out there would appreciate it.

Blogging: Replacing Personal Relationships?

Have you bloggers out there been missing a bit of the personal relationship? Instead of calling your friends, do you post into your blog hoping that they will read and know that you need prayer or thoughts? Are you getting any emails from friends, or is the quick one-sentence comment on your post enough? Like you, I sense something is lacking in my relationships, especially the long-distance, not-everyday friends.

I have realized that that I no longer pick up the phone to call a distant friend or send an e-mail to update out-of-state friends. And I am getting fewer emails from those same people. Why? Maybe because they know what I'm thinking about or is going on in my kids' lives. And if I just click on their blog, I will discover their newest thoughts and ramblings.

This started to annoy me when I im'd my friend, Katie to see how she was doing that day. Instead of giving me details she said, "Read my blog." Really. That was it. (Now, I love Katie and she and I have discussed this so I'm thinking this won't hurt her feelings.) It kind of irked me, so I called her and she read me her blog post. So, I guess I should have just read the blog.

That story is an example of what is happening to the friendships because of the blogs. I love reading them; I won't stop posting because I love having others read my blog. I just know that a little bit more effort should be exercised in order to maintain a relationship. So, I've started picking up the phone a little bit more.

Actually, I think I came up with a new word, Blog-ship: A relationship/friendship that is started and pursued through blogs.

Embryo: A Defense of Human Life

A new book by Robert P. George and Christopher Tollefsen called Embryo: A Defense of Human Life is new out. I am looking forward to putting that on my booklist and reviewing it for my dedicated readership.

The professors of Jurisprudence and Philosophy (respectively) argue that a person's rights can not be limited, no matter what state of "person-hood". Sounds interesting.

Shoes to Own

I came across this list while wasting some time reviewing my favorite blogs. One of them is Manolo's Shoe Blog. (It's not authored by Manolo Blahnik, but I think the writer may be a bit delusional-I love it!) Manolo linked to this other great site called The Thoughtful Dresser where she describes all the types of shoes a woman owns.

I have several of these pairs of shoes. I do not own all of them, since I am on a pretty limited budget (like no budget at all for shoes), but I can identify with the "hoping the [fashion trend inserted here] will come back in style" types.

Please notice the comments section in which crocs are not okay, even if they are cute and flip flops are only for the beach and for people who live within 5 miles of the beach.

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Red Tent Reviewed

I just finished The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. First, let me say, that I really enjoyed the book. In fact, I was so captivated by the author's weaving of this ancient story that I dreamed about it at night! What the book does is take an actual person and fill in the details of the story that surrounded her, in this case, Dinah, daughter of Jacob and Leah.

The book starts when Jacob comes to Laban seeking refuge after fleeing Esau. Jacob, in return for working and building Laban's wealth, is allowed to marry the daughters, Leah and Rachel and also the maidservants, Bilhah and Zilpah. I enjoyed the author's take on these marriages especially since it showed Leah as having held some attraction from Jacob, and not just Rachel. I guess Jacob must have loved Leah in some way since he fathered about 7 kids from her. But indeed, Rachel was the most beloved, as it says in the Bible. But have you ever felt sorry for Leah? She took her sisters place, which must have been awkward the next morning for them, and her husband's heart still desired the love of his life. But the author told a story of where Jacob loved his wives for their strengths and the family prospered.

With the birth of Dinah, the mothers (as the wives were referred to) had someone to pour out the womanly stories and traditions to. And we follow Dinah throughout the rest of her life.

The Red Tent is the tent in which the women retreated to for their monthly periods and for births. This is the place where the women could break from their work for a few days and tell stories and braid each other's hair. (Wouldn't that be nice if we still got to break for a few days?)

The Red Tent is also symbolic as the place where women's power lies. Women have this amazing ability to have life grow inside them and then the capability to bring it forth into life.

What I found interesting about the book is that the women, when they married Jacob, did not make God (or El as she referred to Him) their God. Instead they continued to worship the pagan gods of the land. Jacob, at first, did not insist that their gods be removed, even after they left Laban. He worshiped God, with the circumcision and other sacrifices. But the women, even to the last, worshiped the gods of the land, including those of fertility.

I want to draw attention to the idea that wives are incredibly influential in the spiritual realm of the family. I think the Bible makes this point as well. If a woman does not worship God, she will worship something or someone and probably bring the children with them. It is important that a Christian woman seeks God in front of her children! The children of Jacob were still used by God (amen!) but several of them did not act righteously and I wonder how much of that was the result of a multi-god upbringing.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2008 Has Got To Be Good

As I have aged, I have become a smidgen more pessimistic regarding New Year's Resolutions. I don't like to admit it, but I have. I was once optimistic about setting new goals, but I suppose after 20 or so years of not living up to them, I'm tired of it. However, I can not deny that I am a goal oriented person and that God has every intention of letting me use that part of my personality for His glory. I guess what I am getting at is that I shouldn't let the past failures predict my future behavior. There's no hope in that, right? But, really, New Year's Resolutions bother me.

I looked it up on Wikipedia, that great source of internet trivia, and discovered that it can be related to the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, where persons reflect upon the past year and make amends for and forgive wrongs.

What disturbs me about resolutions is that they seem self-centered and thereby shallow. The whole idea of self-improvement is somewhat tasteless when it is solely focused on what I want. I know I am not a perfect person, and I would never presume to say that God has nothing for me to work on. What I desire is a deeper goal. Something that I have worked out with God in order that I may know Him more fully.

Here is an interesting post along these lines. The writer's point is that resolutions are often framed wrong. It's not that self-improvement is wrong, it is that "They make no reckoning with the power of our passions" And then, "propose self-dependent solutions – “I resolve to do xyz to change myself.” (Please read this article!)

Then we have do it ourselves. I for one am pretty fickle in terms of my self-will, which will usually not sustain me through the completion of my goals. (Hence my hesitance to make a resolution.) And then if I have done it myself (should I succeed) where is the message that God gives power and mercy to those who obey and love Him?

After all this reading and research I feel pretty good about my resolution. It is simply that I want to live more for Christ and less for myself.