Tuesday, December 18, 2007

12 Days of Christmas by Straight No Chaser

For your auditory pleasure and daily dose of humor...enjoy!

Thank you Roy for showing me this

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Tommy and I had a great Thanksgiving this year. We had lunch at my Aunt Beth's house in Boerne, and his dad and sister came with us because his mom is in Missouri visiting her dad.

Proverbs 15:15 was kind of my theme for the week "The cheerful heart has a continual feast." I really wanted my focus to be on loving friends and family that I don't get to see very often, and not on how much food can I stuff myself with and how much can I critique my family members and how good can I make myself look in contrast. I will not deny that it was super exciting to be the skinniest my family has seen me since early middle school ( I'm talking 12 pounds smaller than 8th grade). It was a totally new experience to look at the digital pictures everyone was taking and for once think gosh, I look cute there!

This is me with my not so little cousin Kaitlin

my favorite picture from the trip

Tommy and I treated our friend Joseph and his family to Whataburger before we drove to San Antonio. It was Joseph's Birthday and none of them had ever eaten at a Whataburger before!

Richard and Katie

Tommy, Robert and Joseph enjoying cholesterol laden french fries.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

New Happenings

Within the past few weeks I have started teaching the Wednesday night college group at FBCFW. It has been a while since I've taught a class of any kind, so I'm very excited to get have the opportunity. This is also a milestone of sorts for me, as the only classes I have ever lead on a permanent basis were youth classes, never an adult class.

We've started going through the book of Galatians verse by verse, with the hope of unpacking what the text means and making application from that to our lives. There's a great group of people who are coming, several of whom are ready to take active roles in leading worship, outreach, in reach, and so on. I'm very encouraged by them and blessed to have them.

While I'm new to this group, I do have a vision of discipleship I would like to cogently formulate and implement. I would covet your prayers on this. This vision includes emphases on encouraging private and corporate prayer, personal accountability to each other for righteous living, active evangelism, Biblical literacy, developing a Christian world-view capable of engaging our culture, and heart-felt worship that does not bypass the mind. Various programs would then reflect those concerns. While this list of emphases is not comprehensive of Christianity, I believe they are areas that are either sometimes neglected in college/careers ministries or need to be pursued with full diligence.

One exciting bit of news is that I've been given a new email address at church, though I'm hesitent to post it on here for fear of email spam. I hope to keep you up to date as things develope.


Silly me for thinking a PG-13 rating would save my family from soft-core porn on the movie screen. Apparently a film can show extended scenes of nudity without repercussions on the rating IF that nudity is digitally depicted.

Yet just as grotesque are the feminist agenda and anti-Christian bigotry which permeate this film. Go ahead and mark this film off of your "must see" list, but do read an excellent review of the film's ideology.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Is it Really too Early?

I realize that it's only November 14th, and Christmas is still about six weeks away, but I'm dying to get my Christmas stuff out. The past few years I've waited until after Thanksgiving, I don't know what the big deal is this year.

1. I love Christmas. I believe Easter has far more religious significance for me, whereas Christmas has more traditional and familial significance, though those do tie back into my Christian faith, just not specifically into the virgin birth.
2. Cold Weather. If I put out all my trees, nativities and snowmen.. won't that make it cold outside?
3. One of my 30 by 30 is to make a Christmas inventory, and I'm anxious to get started.
4. I have a TON of my Christmas shopping done, and I want to get them wrapped and out of their hiding places so I don't forget anything.
5. It's pretty. Every time I open the boxes it's like getting these things all over again, finding and remembering lost treasures.
6. We'll be out of town until the Monday after Thanksgiving, and then again for Christmas, so it's not like I even get to see everything for the full Thanksgiving to New Year's window.

Whatcha think? Can I?

Here's a few pictures of years gone by:

This is my very first Christmas tree, the only real one I've had, complete with Tommy's Flaming angel on top.

This is from our first married Christmas in 2005. I loved that apartment, but sometimes I forget that it was small and cramped too.

This is our first Christmas in Fort Worth, and I'm excited to see how it will look since we've rearranged so much since last year.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

24 reasons to celebrate

There is a lot to celebrate on October 31. It's Halloween. It is also Reformation day, celebrating the start of the Reformation with Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the Wittenberg Church door. But even better, it is Jessica's birthday!

So in honor of Jessica's twenty-fourth birthday, here are twenty-four things I like about her:

1. She has a big smile.
2. She smiles a lot when she thinks about traveling around the world, and even more when she actually travels.
3. She likes to camp. We even went camping for our honey-moon.
4. She likes many of the foods I like.
5. She is willing to try many kinds of food that she doesn't yet like, such as Greek salad on our first date.
6. She likes salad now.
7. She likes to cook.
8. Even better, the stuff she cooks is good.
9. She regularly looks for new recipes that I will like.
10. She is also thrifty, playing the coupon game and saving us a lot of money.
11. She is willing to put up with a low income while I work through school.
12. She helps me to dress better.
13. She likes to plan things way in advance.
14. She has put up with my excentric tendencies over the years.
15. She taught me how to do laundy (but still does most of it.)
16. She can think of how to say things to I don't know how to say, and a lot of times is more direct than I am, especially in person.
17. She will tell me when she thinks I am wrong.
18. She enjoys talking with me, and I with her.
19. She's really funny.
20. When she really sets her mind to something, she accomplishes it, such as quiting smoking, losing weight, and so on.
21. She is really creative.
22. She's my best friend.
23. She loves me.
24. She loves Jesus.

What things do you like about her?

30 by 30

In honor of my 24th birthday, I thought I'd be ambitious and post 30 things I'd like to do, or places I'd like to go by my 30th birthday. Here goes:

  1. Wherever K and J and Rx3 go, I want to visit them there
  2. Visit the Grand Canyon, and if we drive, Window Rock as well
  3. Big Bend, I love it there, and want to share it with Tommy
  4. Oklahoma, it’s so close, there no sense in not going (I have been before, many years ago)
  5. California, crossing my finger to help Katie and Joseph move out there, but if not, I hope we can visit them before they take off across the world
  6. Creation Science Museum
  7. Palo Duro Canyon
  8. Santa Fe, and general region
  9. Hospital, to have a baby!
  10. FW Bureau of Printing and Engraving
  11. A car show, never been, but sounds like it could be fun
  12. Bass Hall, can I include with this buying a nice outfit so I look pretty when we go?
  13. Opera, always wanted to go to one, preferably not an English one
  14. Stage Play
  15. Caedmon’s Call Concert, they’re all I listen to anyway, might as well go to a concert and complete the experience
  16. in view of a call with my husband, I’m probably overly curious to see where and what God has in store
  17. have thanksgiving dinner at my home
  18. have a fruit and/or vegetable garden
  19. finish my t-shirt quilt
  20. run a 5 mile race
  21. learn how to make bread, even if it means just getting a bread maker for Christmas sometime
  22. make a wedding scrapbook
  23. be a size 8 (or smaller), hopefully both before, and after number 9
  24. graduate from UTA graduate, get it done with so I can move on to number 9
  25. take a sewing class
  26. catalog all my Christmas treasures so I know where they came from and the meaning behind them
  27. read one book a year of Tommy’s choosing
  28. develop a rich and intense prayer life
  29. try one new recipe a month (that's 72!)
  30. live in a home where I can paint the walls

Friday, October 19, 2007

"Creative" Teaching

Wednesday night I remembered how greatly I enjoy teaching.

I had the opportunity to teach the youth class at church, and will get to teach again next week. The youth pastor Aaron Wills and I were chatting about Creationism one night a few weeks back, he had asked me to come and teach about on the subject in his stead while he is out of town.

It was tough for me to decide what exactly to teach. Not because I have so little to teach on, but because there is too much to choose from. The subject matter of Creation, especially in contrast with Naturalism, encompasses every subject there is. From geology, biology, philosophy, and physics, to dinosaurs, world-views, political systems, and ethics, Naturalism is an all encompassing world-view. A big word I learned recently which describes the naturalistic world-view of evolution is "meta-narrative." A meta-narrative is a story to explain all other stories. Naturalism is philosophically committed to trying to explain everything there is in terms of natural causes, completely excluding the possibility of an outside cause such as God. The Evolution model and the Big Bang model are the stories that underpin and try to explain how Naturalism would work. (I say model, because theories can be tested and observed. Evolution and the Big Bang cannot be tested or observed. They are not theories, but models with predictions about how the world should look.)

The Bible is also a meta-narrative in that Scripture can explains all other stories, or to say it another way, can explain how everything came to be, why things exist the way they are now, and where everything is headed in history. I believe the Bible better answers these questions than any other world view, and does so accurately, meaningfully, and without contradiction. Now that is a lot to talk about, a lot more than can fit in a couple hours!

But I gave it my best shot with the time allowed. I finally decided a good place to start is on the Bible's claims about the age of the earth as compared with the Naturalistic/Evolutionary view of billions of years, and various ways you can show that the earth is no more than six to ten thousand years old. I also talked about some of the consequences of the two differing views of the world. The credibility of Jesus, and the entire rest of the Bible, are at stake since Jesus claims that man was made in the beginning, on the sixth day of creation. But as things go, I ran out of time before I could talk about some of my favorite issues. So, I issued a challenge for when the group returns next Wednesday night. The challenge for them is to bring the top 'proofs' offered in their science textbooks for Evolution and/or questions they may have about the Bible's claims for us to discuss. I’m fairly certain my favorite topics will come up from that, but I also want to try and answer what most challenges them. It should prove to be even more exciting than this class was.

What do I hope for them to gain out of all of this? Primarily I want the students’ faith in God’s word to increase and I want them to always be prepared to give an answer for the faith which they have. I also want them to have the same wonder and amazement that I have when I look at the world, to see that the creation proclaims the glory of its Maker.

For your reading and viewing pleasure, here are some recommended websites:
--has great articles on a large array of subjects.
--has a free online book which is especially strong in its explanations of geology and the physical sciences, written be an engineer. The book is also available for purchase in a hard back version (which I have), suitable for middle school and up.
Free videos on a wide variety of subjects

Some good books to read:
Scientific Creationism Edited by Henry M. Morris, 1974 .Creation-Life Publishers. ISBN 0-89051-003-2
In The Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood - by Dr. Walt Brown
Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution by Michael J. Behe. 1998. Touchstone Books (Simon & Schuster), 320 pages. ISBN # 0-684-82754-9
Bones of Contention: A Creationist Assessment of Human Fossils - Marvin L. Lubenow: 1992 Baker Books. ISBN 0-8010-5677-2
Darwin on Trial - Phillip E. Johnson. 1993 InterVarsity Press, 195 pages.
Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth? - by Jonathan Wells. 2002. Regnery Publishing. 338 pages.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

iPod, uPod, we all pod for iPod

Columbus day is rapidly approaching, and it seems that on the eve of celebrating the discovery of the New World, I have discovered my own new world: Podcasts and the iPod. Though I'm not the first to reach this land, it is still exciting to get in on the experience.

Take for example "iTunes U" which is supported by the Reformed Theological Seminary. They have recorded entire semester courses on church history, apologetics, a three part systematic theology, Old Testament and New Testament surveys, and on and on...for free! I was just talking with someone the other day about wishing I had recorded all of my seminary classes at SWBTS for future reference. Well, in lieu of such offerings from SWBTS the courses from RTS will certainly do. With professors such as J. I. Packer, Derek Thomas, and John Frame, it is a real winner in my book. It's refreshing to see Christians working to build the kingdom without worrying too much about building their own castle.

Other great finds I would recommend to you are Podcasts from "Let My People Think" with Ravi Zacharias, "Grace to You" with John MacArthur, and "Renewing Your Mind" with R. C. Sproul. With iTunes you have the options of subscribing to Podcasts which will automatically download new content each day, and if you select to have those Podcasts on your iPod, they automatically transfer to the iPod when you connect it to the computer. Podcasts you have already listened to are removed from the iPod, and new Podcasts are added. Very simple, very easy, and I've been learning a lot. Since moving to Ft. Worth I haven't been able to listen to good teaching on the radio, and so this is a great way to listen to it anywhere, at any time.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Good Thai Eats

My Psychology of Diversity class was talking about culture differences and our guest speaker from Japan talked specifically about food related differences. This got me thinking about our trip to Thailand and some of the differences we experienced there.
Our hotel was attached to a mall, think Rivercenter in SA. The mall had several of the same restaurants as in US, but some totally different flavors. Baskin Robins had Green Tea ice cream and Mangosteen sherbet. Pizza Hut offered a sea food pizza- prawns, squids, baby clams and mussels. Pizza Hut also had the yummiest shakes with flavors like Kiwi Apple. Brent was particularly captivated by the host and her Pizza Hut hat. Swensen’s had an ice cream dish that boasted jackfruit, corn and jelly, along with a scoop or 2 of your favorite flavor. There was also a small grocery store in the mall, Topps, on the bottom floor, where I could have spent hours scouring every last product. Lay’s carried chips in flavors like seaweed, wasabi, salt and pepper, and prawn. Picture our bread isle here… Picture every loaf replaced with a bag of rice instead… Picture the isle facing it full of oil. Imagine eating rice for every meal every day of your life! The produce section in incredible! Mangosteen, rambutan, longan, durian, litchee, mango, pomelo are some of the new fruits I tried. Mangosteen and pomelo were my favorites; durian was by far the worst! Check out some of the fruits here.

We mostly drank water while we were there. Our hotel room would provide 2 glass bottles each time the room was cleaned (daily). We also bought a few cases of plastic bottled water. Occasionally when we dined out, we ordered sodas. Regular sodas came in recycled glass bottles. And typically cost around 15B. Diet sodas came in cans, marked Lite, and cost around 30B. There was not a single place we went that offered soda “on tap.”

Our hotel offered a breakfast buffet, talk about a broad range of food! The Western side offered corn flakes and cocoa flakes (strange concave shaped pieces), bread pudding (I am positive at least 1 of the 3 pounds I gained came from this), French toast, and toast. There were several items I was never able, or courageous enough to identify from the other side of the buffet, some kind of cream of wheat looking substance to which many added unidentifiable foods (green onions was all I could recognize). There were coconut milk fritters (?) with either green onion or corn mixed in. I tried the corn ones, pretty yummy. Phad Thai, for every meal, yes, breakfast too. Tommy was a big fan of what he always referred to as “the fried chromosome looking things” despite the sign that said “Chinese donuts.” These were yes, chromosome shaped, but much like a more substantial hunk of funnel cake. There was a bowl of sweetened condensed milk to top it off. I preferred to use the sweetened condensed milk on top of my sticky rice.
I had never eaten Phad Thai before our trip. The first time I ate any was at the breakfast buffet at our hotel in Bangkok. I only tried a little bit because I wasn’t sure what it was. When I sent Tommy back for more, there was none left. The first time I ate it and knew what it was was at the Riverside Restraunt on the Mae Ping in Chiang Mai. Delicious! They typically serve it with a pile of bean sprouts on the side, I passed on these, preferring the cooked ones already in the meal. It is also served with a key lime and a small bowl of soy sauce. I’ve had Phad Thai here in Texas a few times since being back. I didn’t care for either, and I might actually say one of the times, it was gross. I am truly glad I didn’t try it here before heading over, or I might have really missed out.
My favorite dish in Chiang Mai wasn’t even on the menu. There was a small place a block or two from our hotel that we frequented for cheap and yummy food. In the US fried rice is served on the side. In Thailand, it’s the main course. On our first visit to The Lemon Tree, Dr. Eitel, asked about an item that was on the menu on a previous visit. Chicken Fried Rice with Pineapple. This is seriously one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten. Sounds like it’d be simple to make right? I am quite positive nothing in the states could come close.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Divine Swine?

Just how far can we go in trying to express the Gospel message in contemporary contexts?

Recently over lunch, a fellow I know related a story to me about the difficulties faced in missions work. The story comes from a friend of his, the fellow said, and goes something like this:

"Working with a remote tribe, a missionary came to the gospel passage where John the Baptist declares, "Behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world." The problem was, this island tribe had never seen a lamb or a sheep. Not even a picture of one.

As this translator dialogged with the tribal elders, he began to describe the imagery that this passage described. He elaborated on the attributes of the lamb and its sacrificial symbolism. When he finished, he asked if there was an animal they were familiar with that might have these same spiritual connotations. With big smiles on their faces they replied that, yes, indeed there was. This tribe sacrificed pigs, native to their island.

So after much struggling with God, and prayer, the missionary translated the passage for the tribe as this: "Behold the pig of God Who takes away the sin of the world!" What's important here is that the principle of Scripture was expressed in a contemporary way and the message is now getting through."

I was rather stunned, as were the other people sitting at our table. The pig of God?!

This, my friends, is why we need good education. Prior to age 8, I had never seen a real-life sheep. Even to this day, any substantial knowledge of sheep and Shepherding I have is restricted to what I have been told by others, and the pictures they have shown me. How hard would it be to show a picture of a sheep to this tribe? Or, lacking a picture, simply describe the sheep and how they behave?

Sheep are helpless, easy prey without a good shepherd. Pigs are not. Sheep are fairly gentle animals, who respond to the voice of their shepherd. Pigs are not, and do not. Sheep are silent before their shearers, but pigs are not shorn. Pigs are slaughtered. I'm under the impression that they are not quiet about it either. Just how many of Jesus teachings using the imagery of sheep would be distorted, or even contradicted, if you impose the imagery of a pig in the place of a sheep? How many years will other teachers and missionaries have to spend fixing the problems such a "translation" can create, if they can be fixed at all?

I think this missionary is right to have struggled in prayer. He should have struggled more. If we follow this missionary's line of thinking, how far should we go in contextualizing the Gospel message? Suppose a people group are unfamiliar with good, faithful Fathers. Should we then baptize in the name of the Mother, Son, and Holy Spirit? No, you explain from the Bible how Fathers are supposed to behave, and that will clarify the imagery being used. What if the culture you are trying to reach has rejected marriage? Do we start calling the church the "same-sex partner/one night stand" of Christ? I think you get the idea.

I'm not saying we need to export American churches with fellowship halls and pews, with ice cream socials and VBS. What I am saying is that teachers need to actually teach, not confuse.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Hard Up for the First Blog Title

Tommy and I decided to veer away from myspace for blogging and use something a little more friendly and more stable. We want to have a place where friends and family can keep up with us easily. Voila! There will likely be quite a mix of things here.
Tommy will surely want to share some of his exciting seminary finds, theology, greek, lots of big words! I'm sure he'd also want you to know, he did after all wake me up with this bit of info.. today is National Talk Like a Pirate Day! I will probably share things slightly more sundry. What the exciting plans for the weekend are, who won Settlers of Catan, how my venture with weight loss and running is going, and how much smaller our apartment has gotten since we moved in over a year ago.We're open to suggestions, and would love to know what you miss hearing about since there are so many we don't see or talk to as often as we want to (and should).
Fall 2007 has proven to be quite an abundant one for us! Tommy is taking 9 hours at SWBTS, he works about 30 hours a week in the TeleComm department. Our church is also offering an evangelism class that he's taking Tuesday evenings. And much to my excitement, is beginning an informal internship at our church, and is also weight lifting!! woohoo :) I am taking 12 hours at UTA, working about 30 hours a week at Box & Ship. I'm also taking a Student Wives' class at SWBTS and doing nursery duty Sunday evenings at our church. All this in addition to working out 3-4 times per week, watching what I eat and enjoying the benefits of weight loss!


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