Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Blog Despair

Despair has a blog! (Obviously, we are way ahead of them on the internet curve but we are happy they have joined us in the blogosphere.) Walter gets my vote as best-supporting actor in the video that is first up on the blog.

Monday, August 27, 2007

BREAK-IN

It's 5:45 on Saturday afternoon, and Aidan, Honor and I have just enjoyed a great spend-the-night time at Pa-Pa's and Sue-Sue's ranch. We are driving into our street to come home when Aidan says, "Mom-ma, is our house broken?" I stop the car and look at the house, "well, let's see, does it look broken?" "no, Mommy, it doesn't."

I then turn into the driveway and down into our carport where I find that our house was in fact "broken." Our kitchen door window had been smashed with a large rock and there was glass everywhere.

In the meantime, Macon is about to board a flight from Seattle to Austin. He has been away for work over the last couple of nights. I call him, "Love, our house has been broken into".

"what?"

"our house has been broken into. The kitchen door is smashed and the door is unlocked"

"call the police"

"okay, and I'll take Aidan to our neighbor's"

"good idea"

"Love you"

"love you, too"

Poor Macon. He boarded the flight and had to wait at least 4 hours before he found out anything else.

Our neighbors were wonderful. They took Aidan, fed him, bathed him and put him in their son's pajamas. Back at home, I have gone through the house with the police and many other neighbors have shown up to help. I called my parents and they come out to help fix the door and to pick up Aidan and bring him home.

Eventually, my dad had put up a piece of plywood over the hole in the door, I put the kids to bed an hour late, my neighbors all went home, Walter and Morgan came over and we all hung out until Macon arrived home around 10 or 10:30.

I was so glad to see him.

The burglar got my laptop, our new camera, macon's briefcase, my new ipod, our ipod dock, old ipods, a diaper bag (yes, a diaper bag), and an airport extreme--not to mention that they destroyed my kitchen door. We think they used the diaper bag to haul the ipods in, but who knows? Maybe they felt the need for some huggies size 5's?

I am so glad that they did not make off with any of my Fuzzi Bunz or my Bum Genius AIO's! YEA!

Strangely enough, I did not ever feel super shaken. I know that I was somewhat shaken as I could not remember all the words to Honor's lullaby that night, but mainly I think I felt the peace of God and thankfulness that my children and husband were all okay.

we'll see if I was just in shock and will have an emotional melt-down later. I certainly did have some nerves when i was trying to fall asleep after getting up to nurse Honor.

crazy times, people, crazy times...

Unhold the French Fries

While Republican Senator Warner of VA is moving left on Iraq, the French, according to WSJ's Saturday edition,

may be prepared to provide assistance to Iraqi troops and police, part of Sarkozy's effort to improve relations with the U.S.

Yes, I will have fries with that. In fact, please make them French fries. (And no VA ham in that McMuffin).

(By the way, is there any meaning anymore to the word "Republican" insofar as it applies to a political party? I raise this as a registered Democrat, throwing a rock, as it were, from a fragile glass house. [The country is ripe for a radical political party realignment. Please get on with it.])

UPDATE: Super-size those FRENCH fries!!

MORE UPDATE: Here.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

In Seattle

attending the PennyArcadeExpo.

I saw this on the way over:


I'm used to seeing 30somethings and below in that pose: gathered around one of the few power outlets. But these were grownups! Weird.

Jonathan Edwards, Corporate Prayer

Foster, in his discussion of corporate prayer to which I refer in the previous post, cites, in addition to direct scripture references, a "slender book with a bulky title" by Jonathan Edwards. The title is, indeed, bulky: An Humble Attempt to Promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of God's People, in Extraordinary Prayer.

Could I find a copy of that "slender book" on the interent? Of course!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Corporate Prayer

I mentioned earlier the Caldwells and their prayer program at Windsor Village UM Church in Houston. It has set me thinking about prayer in a way I haven't thought about in years. The Caldwells showed a series of photos during their presentation at the PGF meeting of about 500 of their members parading down the grassy median of a 4 lane highway through the heart of some acreage the church was acquiring to build a gigantic new church building, establish certain commercial centers, including a bank, and develop a tract of housing. The members lined up, left shoulder to left shoulder, right shoulder to right, so that the line had people facing both sides of the street in alternating fashion, as the subject property is on both sides of the street. Then the people prayed about the vision that they had for the real estate, prayed according to a script that had been written by the church leadership.

It all seemed a little regimented to me, maybe manipulated by the church leadership, but that's what they did, and apparently that is standard fare for this struggling little church of now 17,000.

I came home and looked at the books I have, now plainly visible on this great wall of books that Macon constructed for me while he was here (more on that in a future post), and among them was Richard J. Foster's Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home that was published in 1992, which was when I bought it at Montreat. The index had an entry on "corporate prayer", and here is part of what Foster writes there:

[A Korean pastor] brought me a newspaper article (complete with his excellent translation, for it was written in Korean) that describes the story of the Myong-Song Presbyterian Church, located in the southeastern part of Seoul. The Korean churches are well known for their early morning prayer meetings, but even so this story is unusual. This is a group that began about ten years ago with forty people, and today twelve thousand gather each morning for three prayer meetings - at 4:00 A.M., 5:00 A.M., and 6:00 A.M. Jung-Oh [the Korean pastor] explained to me that they must shut the doors at 4:00 A.M. to begin the first service, and so if people arrive a little late, they must wait until the 5:00 A.M. meeting.

* * *

There are indications that, as we approach the twenty-first century, the greatest prayer movement in living memory is already under way. In much smaller but still significant ways the story of Myong-Song Presbyterian Church can be repeated many times over. One congregation I know has forty prayer meetings per week involving a total of a thousand people. I am acquainted with churches in which anywhere from 15 to 24 percent of the congregation are engaged in organized, corporate, intercessory prayer weekly. I have met with national prayer leaders, and none of them has seen anything like what is now beginning to occur. It is too early to tell how significant this new awakening toward prayer will be, but the signs are encouraging.


More on the Myong-Song PC here UPDATE: This link is to an essay by Danie Vermeulen. He is the director of "Dawn Ministries" in Africa, and did church planting in South Africa. The Dawn Ministries Africa website has this reference to Kijabe (scroll down to "God Brings Somalia to Kenya"). Small, small world.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Who are these people?

Bum Genius is Bumtastic!


I just wanted to update everyone on one of my new favorite diapers. Yes, I know, "diapers again". well, I am a mother of two children under the age of three, so give me a break, alright? ;-)

I still love my fuzzi bunz, and would consider fuzzi bunz the backbone of my cloth diaper collection, but these Bum Genius 2.0 All-in-one diapers ROCK! They are as close to disposables as you can get: they don't have to be stuffed with anything, they don't have to be pulled apart to wash, and they have stretchy tabs on the side that make for a great fit.

My mom really likes using these with Honor. Macon says that he thinks they are easier since you don't have to figure out which snaps are the right ones so that the FB's are not too loose (and leak) or not too tight (and hurt). So, if you are in the market for some cloth diapers, but fear how difficult they can be, then these are the gateway drug for you...did I say drug? I meant diaper, although I must admit that once you get started on cloth, it can be addicting.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Baby Legs


On Sweetpea's Blog there was a recent mention of a product called Baby Legs. Basically these are leg warmers for babies...because the 80's are never really gone.

One of my best friends, Lindsay who also has a blog, gave us a couple of pair of these when she found out we were having a girl. Yea! for baby presents!

Honor looks adorable in these red and white striped Baby Legs. She also has some light blue ones with snowmen on them, but she had spit up her carrots on these earlier in the day. I especially like how her red fuzzi bunz go with her baby legs. SO CUTE!!!

My Problem, Your Solution

One of the speakers at the PGF conference was Alex Gee. He told the story of a young man who was somehow connected with his church family but who was a cocaine addict. Word came to Gee that the young man was out of his mind at a crack house and desperately in need of intervention. Gee got one of the biggest men in his congregation to go with him to the place. They broke the door down, went in, found the young man, and carried him out.

Later, when the young man came around, Gee said that he shook his finger in the young man's face and said "We've got to get ahold of your drug problem."

The young man said, "Drugs are not my problem. Drugs are my solution. You've never asked me what my problem is."

Gee said that the light suddenly went on.

And it went on for me as well. I have been thinking about that story ever since that talk. People who are problems to me may be people whose "problems" are really their way of working out things that I don't take the time to see. Maybe if I took the time, I would be less of a judge and more of a friend.

John West Thatcher


John Thatcher is one of the best men I have had the privilege ever of knowing. A Davidson graduate, Korean War combat veteran (grievously wounded but by God's grace survived), brilliant businessman, outstanding philanthropist, a rock solid Christian and great friend. Carol and I had the privilege of attending a birthday lunch for him at his home on Monday. (Carol and I are dressed up because we came from the office. That's not how normal people dress in Miami in August when they are being sociable.)

Building Trains



Lately, Aidan has taken to building things with his blocks. Usually, he builds his "house" and then he builds a Starbucks. (insert all your snide comments here about our family addiction to the 'bucks). Anyways, most recently he built a train--a train that was going to Starbucks. ;-)

Here's photos of his train.

Carrots, Anyone?



Wow. Just thought I'd compare Aidan's experience with carrots alongside Honor's experience of carrots. When i took Aidan's photo, he was probably 6 1/2 months old. Honor is 7 months old. So, the ages are pretty close.

Man, they are so definitely siblings!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Kirbyjon and Suzette Caldwell

These two people, husband and wife, spoke at the PGF conference that we attended. Kirbyjon Caldwell is the pastor of the largest United Methodist Church in the US, the 17,000 member Windsor Village UM Church in Houston. Wikipedia has quite an article on him here.

His wife Suzette T. Caldwell also a pastor at the church, has a prayer ministry, the Kingdom Builder's Prayer Institute.

The Caldwells presentation at the conference jarred us. We were rocking along, swinging with the fairly moderate though challenging curricula, when WHAM these folks appeared and hit us with what sounded like a "name it and claim it" Gospel in the context of a Super Target church program, raising eyebrows and some hackles in our group. I have to confess, though, that they fascinated me.

Here is the question: Would you prefer a church where there was virtually no prayer ministry? Just the prayers during the worship service and the prayers at the beginning and the end of church meetings? Where individual prayer was left to the hit or miss convenience of the members? Or would you prefer a church that has a highly structured, deliberate, and consistent corporate prayer discipline, mainly top down in its content, and maybe over the top from time to time, maybe a lot of the time?

Would you prefer a prayer theology that viewed prayer as essentially a means for us to conform our wills to God's sovereignty, whatever that sovereignty might turn out to be? A sort of view that believes that God's will is mostly unscrutable, and so the more general and hedged we are in our prayers, maybe the better.

Or would you prefer a prayer theology that moves from praise and worship to a search for God's will in a given situation, with particular confidence that his will is not inscrutable but is a will he will allow us to discern; that once discerned for that given situation holds that God's will as it is in heaven so shall it be on earth, specifically, here and now, a specific will for that situation that one can then declare; that moves from there to seeking forgiveness for self and others, thence to a petition for protection; and closing with more praise and worship?

The Caldwells left no doubt as to where their positions are on these questions.

"Are You Man Enough?"

We attended the Presbyterian Global Fellowship meeting in Houston at the end of last week. It began Thursday night and ended about noon on Saturday. The Stokes clan there included Walter, Morgan, Mary, Carol and me. The program was quite challenging and, in some parts, disturbing. But its OK to be disturbed, I think. I am still reflecting on what I saw and heard.

One of the speakers, Michael Frost, read a poem that absolutely blew me away. It's by Adrian Plass, and a copy of it is posted here.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

"The thing I like most and a lot of guys like most is that they don't talk about other schools or about football. They talk about life."

So said [Miami] Northwestern quarterback Jacory Harris about the recruiting efforts of the UM coaching staff. He's a five star UM recruit, one of a remarkable number of top high school seniors (17) who have made a non-binding commitment to the 'Canes this summer. Read the whole story in the Herald this morning about the impact the new coach Randy Shannon is already having on this and other aspects of the program.

FSU is having similar early recruiting success, the article notes. But there is something a little different going on at the UM, with its black head coach and the special relationship he and his colleagues have with the black high school football coaches in Miami-Dade, territory from which the UM originally built its powerhouse programs.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Sunday, August 05, 2007

"Convenient Care"Clinics

The 8/2 issue of the WSJ carried a column entitled "Health Care When You Want It" by Web Golinkin on the "convenient care" clinic network that is developing in such places as Wal-Mart, CVS stores, and Walgreens. (From that link, you can access the WSJ article on a "free preview" basis, if you register for their 2 week free subsctiption offer.) Golinkin is the president and CEO of RediClinic, LLC, "One of the nation's largest convenient care providers, and is a director and co-founder of the Convenient Care Association."

These centers are manned by nurse practitioners, and Golinkin has this to say about the quality of such care:

Research over the past 30 years has consistently shown that the primary care provided by nurse practitioners is comparable in quality to that provided by physicians, though nurse practitioners are still required to collaborate with local physicians in most states.


I'm not sure that "comparable" means the same as "the same as", but this growing service is surely a big piece of the free market response to the health care crisis, and it may be a good one. (I would venture that "comparable" care from a nurse practitioner is better than no care from a physician.) Golinkin also writes that 97% "of the more than 4,000 RediClinic patients surveyed this year said they would recommend RediClinic to their relatives and friends."