Wednesday, October 31, 2012

So I Think I Have Been Wrong

Actually, I'm pretty convinced of it.

And in the process, I believe I have probably confused my children for LIFE.

OK. Where do I start?

We've been at our new church for over a year now. Our old church was, shall we say, um...a bit more progressive than we were comfortable with. It was no longer anything like the church where we grew up. I will give more specific examples later. Our new church is very much more in line with our beliefs. (And with the Bible, in our opinion.)

Our new church makes us realize how really progressive our old church was.

Somewhere along the way, I missed learning this. Which would explain why I am just learning it at age 41.

Wow. I don't even know how to start explaining this to you.

So a few years ago, I started noticing a trend of Christians celebrating Old Testament festivals and feasts. Like Passover, for example. You can order things for these celebrations on Christian websites. The way Christians "do" these feasts and celebrations is a bit differently than how the Jewish people in the Old Testament did them, I think.

Honestly I don't know too much about why Christians would observe those days. My first thought was, "Well that's a strange thing to do----those things are part of the Old Testament and that doesn't apply to us as Christians." It has become trendy to do so, however.

And there is more to it than just celebrating something from the Old Testament---which New Testament Christians did not do. There's also the fact that it's all mixed up and crazy. This article I found on google will highlight what I's the taking of an old Jewish feast and mixing it up with Christian beliefs. It's assigning new "religious" meanings to traditions that may or may not have even been part of the original feast as ordained by God.

Basically, people are making up a holiday here.

The New Testament mentions nothing about Christians celebrating Passover. Or even a hybrid form of it. So should we be doing that?

So just know that those thoughts were swirling in my head.

THEN, I started hearing about how Christmas and Easter should have no religious significance.

What? How sacrilegious! How unheard of! Why would you take Christ out of Christmas? Why would you make the Easter Bunny more important than Jesus Christ?

Seriously, the whole idea of celebrating these holidays with no religious significance at all floored me.

This is the very thing I have fought against for many years!! We, as a new family, with very little thought to the consequences, started off doing things just as they had been done when we were growing up. We hunted eggs. The Easter Bunny left treats. Santa visited. We read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas....on and on. That's how our little family started doing things when Sweetheart was born.

But then, I started to feel guilty. I mean, these traditions have pagan roots for goodness sake! I read. I learned. Hunting eggs? Bad. Christmas trees? Bad. Every single tradition seemed to have a pagan root. I didn't want my children growing up thinking it was all about eggs and candy and Santa and presents! I wanted them to know the "real" reason for the holidays.

I'm telling you what I thought here.

So for many years now (probably 6 years), I have worked to make the "real" meaning stand out while minimizing all the pagan stuff. I got Resurrection Eggs. We stopped dyeing eggs. I gave the girls Bibles and Bible covers for Easter treats instead of "bunny" stuff. We learned the names of Christ and made ornaments out of them and hung them on a tree. We decorated with more nativity scenes and less Santa. We learned all about Christ's final week. We did crafts. We read Bible passages. We made this a part of our homeschool. A part of our evenings. And very much a part of our celebrations.

And now I think that was wrong. I was wrong.

During the time I was working to overhaul our holidays to the "real" meaning, our old church started doing some things I wasn't comfortable with. In our old church, there is a large wooden cross beside the "stage" for lack of a better word. It sits there 365 days a year. It's like part of the building and I really didn't even notice it all that much. Then a few years ago, they started draping black cloth on it on Good Friday. Then it would change to white on Easter Sunday. There was purple in there too. I didn't know where all this was coming from so I came home and researched and found out it was all related to Advent. Advent is not something we grew up doing. Or celebrating. Or whatever. And I don't read about it in the Bible so it's not something we do. It's made up, in my opinion and there's too much symbolism to keep up with!

Then they started "the flowering of the cross." Everyone would bring fresh flowers and they wrapped chicken wire around the whole cross and stuck the flowers in on Easter Sunday during the worship service. Where are we getting this stuff from???? This in NOT in the Bible!! We started going out of town on Easter. It was easier than trying to explain all these things to the girls when we couldn't make sense of them ourselves.

Later they started having "Good Friday" services at the church. We did not attend. Everything was getting really, really religious. But not really biblical.

I stamped my foot (inwardly, of course) and said, "This stuff is not authorized in God's Word! The church should not be doing this stuff!"

But I forgot to look at our own house. I'm sharing this with you, dear blog readers, because I have brought you along on my journey to overhaul our holidays. And now I won't be doing things the same way because I have come to the understanding that these holidays--they aren't in the Bible either.

Just as Advent is not taught to us by Jesus, and we have no record of the apostles or first century Christians doing such things, neither is there authorization for making the birth of Christ and his death, burial, and resurrection into religious days. These holidays are NOT found in scripture.

Of course I have always taught my children that December 25th probably wasn't Jesus' real birthday. But if God wanted us to celebrate that day, that event, He would have given us instruction on how He wanted that done. And when!

Now don't get me wrong....Christ's birth and his death, burial and resurrection are events I am VERY thankful for!! We have been instructed to remember Christ's death, burial, and resurrection on the first day of the week when we meet together. We have not been given instructions about remembering Christ's birth.

It isn't that I think remembering these things is's that they are not religious celebrations ordained by God in His word.

Folks, we have made some stuff up here. And it's all confusing and mixed up with pagan stuff. It's a mess. Just like those new "Christian Passover" feasts. There is this constant struggle between secular and Christian and it needn't be! Christians don't need to waste their time fighting to "keep Christ in Christmas" because He hasn't asked us to celebrate it anyway!

Now, about celebrating Christmas with no religious significance. How freeing!! I feel a huge sigh of relief coming on. No longer do I need to struggle with this. Christmas is simply a day to get together with our family and loved ones and give each other gifts and enjoy a meal together. And that's it! That's all it needs to be!

I don't have to spend the weeks before Christmas doing a countdown where we read a scripture each night about the coming Messiah from the Old Testament prophets. We don't have to crack out the Resurrection eggs and have a devotional all week prior to Easter.

I can quit trying to make these celebrations all about God because He hasn't asked me to do that anyway!!!

Because these are not celebrations He commanded us to keep.

Do you feel the huge weight lifted off my shoulders?

Now hear me...we are stil going to celebrate Christmas and Easter around here. Easter has never been a really big one with us anyway. Christmas I love. Thanksgiving I love. We celebrate Independence Day too. There is nothing wrong with having a day set aside to spend with your family and enjoy food and fellowship and gift-giving.

But we will no longer be celebrating them as religious holidays. I hope I have made sense in my explanation of why.

Because now I have to explain this to my girls.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

In the Absence of Peer Pressure

I have so many things to share with you, including pictures of our camping trip and what's going on in our homeschool, etc.

But today my thoughts are on teenagers. You know, I have one of those. We like to refer to her as a "young lady" instead of a "teen" and I think she kind of likes that too. She knows that the word "teenager" was invented quite recently in history and that throughout most of time, people her age were called/treated as "young men and women."

But she's just on the edge of all that. She only turned 13 two months ago. She's still on the edge of childhood, really. Still content to play with her little sister (as they are doing right now), and yet able to take on a lot more responsibilities.

I worry sometimes about her maturity. I don't know why. I'll see a Facebook page of a girl around Sweetheart's age, and I'll flip through their pictures. They just seem so much more grown up than her.

But actually, I don't WANT my daughter to spend her time taking pictures of herself in the bathroom mirror with the caption, "wat y'all think?". I really don't.

So I'll think about how she still seems like such a little girl, and then I realize a few things:

1. This is what 13 looks like for her.
2. In 6 months, she'll be different.
3. I wonder what other 13 year olds would be like if they didn't have peer pressure causing them to act like they do.
4. I'd rather have a daughter who reads her Bible than posts pictures of herself on Facebook making stupid faces and spelling everything wrong.
5. Children today REALLY can't spell. I know a lot of it is on purpose, but not all of it!
6. Like, for example, the picture of food I saw today with the caption, "This is my favorite snake."
7. See what I mean?

Sorry, got off-topic there. The point is, Sweetheart is in transition mode. She's moving from childhood to young womanhood and it isn't an overnight change. Nor is it supposed to be.

Example? Last night we were walking out the door to go to church and she came around the corner carrying Bee and her American Girl doll. At the same time. That is just a perfect picture of where she is.

And like the morning that I needed to sleep in and Sweetheart came and got Bee from my room. When I got up, Sweetheart had Bee laying on her activity mat in the living room, while she made pancakes in the kitchen, while playing with Little Bit....all at the same time. She had everything in perfect control when I walked in.

This transition is interesting. And from what I see on Facebook and around me...I know we need to spend more time on Bible and less time worrying about what other "teens" are doing/wearing/talking about.

Oh, and definitely more time on spelling.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Patting Myself on the Back

I am so proud of myself! I made baby food!!

OK. So, as it turns out, "baby food" is just grown up food mashed or pureed up. I know that now.

Let me start over. I've had a baby in my 20s, a baby in my 30s, and now...a baby in my 40s. (That pattern stops here, by the way!) I am a MUCH wiser mommy in my 40s than I was in my 20s. Much.

Sweetheart ate baby food. The kind that comes in a jar. WAY longer than was necessary. I liked it because I knew she was getting a fruit, a vegetable, and a meat at supper. (That statement makes no sense to me now.) I didn't know or care what was in those little jars. It was baby food. It was made by Gerber. What could be wrong with that?

Plus, I worked back then. I barely cooked for US, much less the baby!

Flash forward 13 years. I have been a homemaker for 5 or 6 years now. I have learned a few things. And it seemed to me that making Bee's baby food would be no big deal.

First I had to make sure I was getting the right thing. Text: Dad, is the one on the bottom the acorn squash?

OK--so 40 doesn't equal wise ALL the time.

So this morning S cut an acorn squash in half for me and I baked it. I filled 2 ice cube trays with it.

Then this afternoon, my dad baked a sweet potato for her. I got another almost full ice cube tray from that. Along with bananas and apples from our countertop, she should be good to go for quite a while! (Especially since I'm not feeding her at every meal, or even every day---just whenever the time seems right.)

I know I could have (should have?) waited until she was 6 months old, but she's ready. I watched for all the cues. I tested her tongue thrust reflex. I let her chew on an apple slice in the feeder thingy. She's an eater now. Its all going well except for that unfortunate idea to give her some cold carrot to chew on for those sore gums....

Thankfully, she forgave me later. After she threw it across the room.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Family Weekend

Tonight we were off. And it felt really good! The last 3-4 Friday nights we've done a Bible study with some folks. That is really, really important. But tonight, several folks couldn't come and with Little Bit still getting over being sick, we begged off.

And had a night at home--just us! We watched a movie from the library (FREE!) and relaxed together.

Tomorrow--because it's a Saturday--we're going to the beach.

 It's finally off-season and we don't have to rush down there just to find a parking place. I love it when we get our beach back. I realize not everyone lives in Texas and some of you might be thinking, "The beach? In OCTOBER?" But tomorrow the high is 83 at the beach. We'll take the girls' long-sleeved rash guards and call it a day.

And--squeal!--we have to get all our camping gear out and organized and get ready for our camping trip! I can't wait. It's been a whole year since we went camping, due to a little addition to our family in May when it was perfect camping weather.

Yes, S tried to convince me to go in my last month of pregnancy. He's very funny. Actually I would have loved to have gone, but couldn't see how it was possible to duck and climb into and out of the tent or to get up off our air mattress. And the getting up to go to the bathroom in the night? Ug. Wasn't worth it.

Last year when we went I was really nauseated and remember being pretty grossed out by some of the food. Plus I was completely exhausted. I'll be more help this year. Able to lift things, and hey, maybe even take a few pictures. That one above is one of the only ones I have from last year's trip. We were pretty organized but now the Holiday family and we are going to be planning this from 2 different states. We'll see how we do.

We've never camped with a baby. We started camping when Little Bit was 2 or 3. Bee will be 5 months old when we go so this will be new territory for us.

But we got this:
There's no way she will fit on the air mattress with us all night. I think I can pull her on there to feed her in the night but if we want to be able to move at all, she needs a place of her own. Plus, when one of us rolls over the other one lifts up in the air. I could just see us launching Baby airborne in the night!
I wanted her down on the ground by us and not have to stand up and then bend over a pack and play to get to her. This little bed is just perfect. It has it's own air mattress and everything. I think she'll sleep well in it.

So there will be some "get ready for camping" prep this weekend too. But that's fun. WAY more fun than unpacking and cleaning up once we get home!

And looking back over this post I realize we sound kind of outdoorsy and adventurous and not at all like people who sit around in their living room every night. Ahem.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

**Slapping Forehead**

I blame Carisa!!!

A few weeks ago she put out a sweet call on Facebook for Blogger users to please turn off the word verification. When I saw a picture of what she was talking about, I agreed! Those dumb picture words are SO hard to read and get right. It makes it not even worth commenting!

I quick--in between doing several other things--checked my blog settings and oh no! My word verification was turned ON. I didn't really remember that. So, I turned it off. But, because of the tons of spammy comments I've been getting, I turned on comment moderation.

Now you need to know I have never used that feature before.

So when Carrie told me she had left a comment I texted back, "I didn't get one." I was thinking I would get an e-mail and somehow approve the comment that way.

Yep. Can we still blame sleep-deprivation at 4 months?

Tonight, S was looking at my blog and said, "I guess you've just about lost all your blog readers, huh?"

Betcha can't guess if the glass is half-empty or half-full for him, huh?

I said, "Yeah, I know. You really have to post more often to have readers."

Then....a thought slowly formed in my brain. something.....


I kind of had a bunch of comments waiting to be approved. Oops.

I'm on it now folks. I'm firing on all cylinders now!!!

(Thanks for the comments.)

(Sorry I didn't approve them.)

(I kind of didn't know where they were.)

(It's not really Carisa's fault.)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Me and My Big Mouth

So lately I've felt convicted about eating out. Don't get me wrong--I love to eat out! Someone brings me a drink when my cup is empty, I eat food I didn't cook, and there is no clean up. What's not to love?

It's these stupid finances. We are in debt. I hate being in debt. It really bugs me. I mean, we have a mortgage and car payment--I'm not talking about those. In a perfect world we wouldn't have those either, but I consider those "normal."

I think it's these hospital bills looming over my head. I can't even make myself do the math to figure out what year we'll be through paying those off. Maybe the Lord will return before then. It's likely.

But there are some other smaller debts too and I just want to be out from under it all. I don't contribute a pay check to our family anymore. What can I do to help?

Yep. Save money. That's what a wife can do. Make each dollar stretch. Be frugal and make her man feel like a king on a pauper's budget. (Not that we have a pauper's budget--but you get what I'm saying.)

So now you know how I had the brilliant idea to stop eating out. Only I forgot to mention it to S.

THEN, I had a little look-see at our checkbook today and decided to bring it up.

Me: S, I think we should make a commitment to not eat out as much. I don't mean NEVER--because sometimes you just have to--but I mean almost never. We ate at home all the time when I was growing up. I think we could save SO much money.

S: I agree.

Wasn't that a great little conversation?

Well. It went on.

At the end of our discussion it had been determined that we would eat at home (we usually do all week but it's the weekends that kill us), and we would pack a lunch for S the night before so he could eat at the office and spend a little time studying for his sermons/Bible studies in the upcoming week instead of going to grab lunch on his lunch hour.

See what I did there? Killed 2 birds with one stone I did! He had just told me he needed to find more time in the week and now I found it for him! What a great wife!

It went on.

He told me he really needed me to help him in these areas:
1. Meals/lunches
2. Clothes ready to go each day.
3. Keep up with the house.



OK somewhere this conversation has gone awry. We seem to have gotten off course here! We are all discussing ways that WE could save money and WE would be so responsible and suddenly we're all talking about things Brenda needs to do to step up her housekeeping game!!!

I don't think that worked out to my advantage so much.


But, let me say this. Tonight after church, instead of going out with our folks from church like we usually do, we came home. We ate hot dogs and tuna sandwiches in our pajamas and had time to sit around and visit before bed. It was kind of nice. AND...I figure we saved about $15 just tonight. Cha-ching!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Nobody Blogs on Saturdays

Do they? Well, this happens to be the time I can jump on here. Boy, having one more little kid really throws a kink in your blogging!

Tomorrow REAL FALL will come to Texas! Well, for a couple of days anyway. We decorated for fall at the beginning of September, but I haven't been able to burn my pumpkin spice candles because the ceiling fan keeps blowing them out. Welcome to Texas fall.

But tomorrow, and its already hit most parts of Texas, the cool front will be here and we will go to church in 50 degree weather. Can't wait!

Only...we don't exactly have anything to wear for that weather. Sweetheart especially has grown a bushel and a peck since last year. We just finished pulling all the tubs of clothes out of Little Bit's closet and they tried everything on. Sweetheart has 2 pair of pajamas, 2 sweatshirts, and 2 long sleeved shirts that fit.

I actually did find a dress I think will work for her tomorrow, but the only shoes she has are these.
Ladies Size 9. MY size! Good grief.
And I think we can all agree those are pretty chilly in 50 degree weather.

So we will head out in a bit to find more appropriate shoes for fall church wearing. Little Bit and I both have boots from last year that still fit for now so we're good.

And Bee has tights. OH she is going to look so sweet in those tights. :)

So I'm sneezing from pulling out all the clothes. I don't know why that always sets my allergies off but it does. I guess pulling the tubs out of the closet kicks up enough dust to do me in.

Next week we have to be SUPER DUPER REALLY AND I MEAN IT serious about school. It's our last full week until we go camping later this month and I want to feel a little caught up and further along before we take off on a vacation.

And for those of you who get annoyed when people type in call's how I talk. Really.

Back on topic, I need to rifle through the school shelf and make copies and get organized for the upcoming week o' education at our house. I must do this now while Bee is sleeping. And we're home.

Anyone else tired of running? (Shut up Suzanne-stay-home-for-2-weeks. I'm not talking to you.) We SO need to stay home more this week. For school to happen. For Mommy to not have a headache. For rest. For sanity.

I'm off to plan. Must have a plan.