Sunday, September 21, 2008


The older our boys get, the smaller the age difference between them seems. Although there is a huge difference between 1 and 3, Nate and Dexter interact more and more as time goes by. Watching the kids interact usually brings us joy, frequently makes us laugh, and periodically makes us want to pull our hair out. The pictures below all represent instances of joy/laughter producing interaction, but here's a quick story that is firmly in the hair-pulling category:

Last week I was vacuuming the upstairs while the boys entertained themselves - Dexter in the living room with one of his new birthday toys and Nate all over the house with a feather duster. Seeing that each boy was happily engaged in a good and safe activity, I decided to quickly vacuum their rooms. It took me 5 minutes at the very most, during which time I couldn't see or hear either boy. I turned off the vacuum and heard a sound that is scary to any mother: silence. I glanced in the living room and didn't see Dexter, so I headed toward the master bedroom. No sign of them in there, but I decided to stick my head in the master bath just in case (God forbid) they had ventured in there. I will not soon forget the scene I walked into: Dexter was leaning over the toilet while Nate was dipping the feather duster into the toilet bowl and flinging toilet water all over the bathroom. Both boys were soaking wet, head to toe and clearly having the time of their lives. Ahh brotherly interaction.

Playing at Children's Hospital while we visited Courtney, Jesse and Asher

Nate "helping" Dexter figure out a new birthday present

A very rare nap in the car on the way home from Vancouver

Both boys love a good book

Their newest (and my favorite) activity: playing under the table

Cheesing it up at breakfast

Monday, September 15, 2008

If you don't have anything nice to say... ask for a fork.

The Scene: Yesterday. Nate is strapped in his car seat, ready to go to church. He has some fake food to keep him occupied; he is pretending to eat spaghetti and ice cream. I am making too many trips between the house and the car, getting us all ready to go.

Nate: Mommy!

Me: (while shoving extra diapers in Dexter's bag) Yes Nate?

Nate: I have something nice to say to you!

Me: (pausing and looking up, excited to hear a gem of love from my boy) What's that buddy?

Nate: Um... can I please have a fork?

At least he had something to say nicely... if not something actually nice to say! But maybe he had just lost his train of thought, because out of the blue about 10 minutes later while we were driving to church he says, "Mommy? (Yes, Nate.) You're a princess." There it is.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A 3-year-old's perspective

Me: Nate, what would you think about having another baby in the family? (We are NOT planning to have one anytime soon, I was just asking out of pure curiosity, I swear.)

Nate: (excited) Oooh! ...Or we could go to the park! Or the pool!

His Beloved Whore (go read Hosea)

The church is a whore but she's my mother. - St. Augustine

I'm getting tired of listening to people criticize the church, and I choose the word "criticize" very carefully. Not rebuke, admonish, or call out. You can rebuke someone in love. You can call someone out on their destructive behavior because you love them and care what happens to them. But when you criticize, you are putting a wall between yourself and that person; labeling them as bad and separating yourself from them.

[I may need to stop here and define "the Church." Let's go with this: the gathering of God's people for the purpose of worship. So when I say church I'm talking specifically about people who are gathered together to worship God, not just the general idea of all Christians everywhere. Notice that the concept of people gathering implies a particular space and time.]

It is absolutely true that the church needs rebuking, and you can start with me. Of all the things the church is criticized for, I'm sure I am guilty of most (if not all) of them. Hypocrisy? Check. Idolatry? Check. Impure motives? Self-absorption? Self-righteousness? Check, check, and check. So I guess this is why I don't see you on Sunday? Because church is full of people like me?

Here's why I don't get it: Sure, we're hypocrites. Yes, we miss the point. Ok, we come for the wrong reasons sometimes. But isn't it still worth it? Even if I waste half the time worshiping any number of idols (the great band, the sound of my own voice, the intellect of the pastor), if I experience even one moment of true worship... one moment where I put self aside and bow before the God of the universe... isn't that beyond worth it? Even if I miss what the pastor is saying because I'm trying to figure out where the girl in front of me got her dress... if the Holy Spirit breaks through my shallowness and reveals the truth of God's word, how blessed am I? What grace, what beautiful overflowing grace, that God still pierces through my human nature and reveals His presence.

This happens to me every Sunday morning. In the midst of my sinfulness, my idolatry, my blindness... God shows up. I see Him in the words of ancient prayers and hymns. I remember Him as I come to the communion table. I feel His peace as I join my voice with others' in prayer.

Are there hypocrites at church? Yeah. Is there corruption, greed, and self-righteousness? Yep. Somehow even still... Is God moving among His people? YES. Can He break through our sin and allow us to worship Him in spirit and truth? YES. Has God abandoned His bride? Never. So bring on the rebuke, call me out. But do it in love, because God loves the church.