Monday, March 8, 2010

Dennie's Birthday

I'm 8.
I'm smiling a smile that's minus a few teeth.
I'm suggesting that people call me Dennie lately.
I love to play with my little brothers.
I'm loud when playing.
I can sit very quietly looking at science/animal books.
I can't wait to build a model with dad.
On my last "date" with mom I chose to go to Creative Kidstuff.
I'm memorizing part of I Cor. 13.
I love to talk.
I'm learning, learning to follow.
And I set my antlers on fire at my birthday party.

It started with these invitations...after we decided the theme would be all about hunting and camping.

I also drew up detailed plans for my cake so mom would know
 exactly how to make it. 
Since I had ordered a tent on the cake, mom surprised me one morning with this!
Levi was quite concerned that mom had lost his birthday, but he was content to help out in any way he could that had to do with taste-testing.
I love, love using small kitchen appliances.  And it's really great.  Because lately, mom lets me use the mixer with almost no supervision.  For some reason she won't leave the room, but I can manage it pretty well.
OH!  Mom bought boxed jello.  It's only on special occasions when we need "water" that she'll actually buy the stuff.  So this was the river she cut out.
And this was the chunk of cake we cut out so the river would have a place to lie.

Dad and I set up these tents.  One for dining in the kitchen and one for other stuff in our living room.  I think I could actually put one up myself now.  My brothers and I had a blast playing in those and mom was glad dad didn't mind doing it.  She said it just looked exhausting!Mom thought our guests might need some directions, so she made this sign and hung it in preparation!  Later some of us thought it would have been nice to have added some bullet holes!
My brothers practically lived in the tents up until the party.  We were hoping the tents would still be up for everyone to see.
I invited four friends over and we started with some target practice with the nerf guns.  Dad had this nifty idea to use the beanie babies as we couldn't truly go hunting although that would be a dream come true!While we all went to Home Depot's craft project, mom made lunch.  We had fish filets that we had "caught" and hot dogs.  Dad called them "tube steaks."
Grandpa Stacy and Grandma Carol joined us!

These are some close-ups of my cake.  Notice the hunter and his dog, along with the fisherman spearing a fish!
We played a silly game of pin the antlers on the deer.  I think mom realizes this game has too many loopholes for 8 year olds.  She'll use it again for only five year olds and under!! 
When it came time to blow out my candles, I thought it'd be a great idea to tape my deer antlers to my head.  The only problem...they were very flimsy paper antlers, and they immediately fell into the cake and burst into flames.  Fortunately, Grandpa Stacy had the presence of mind to grab them.  Mom just stood there, mouth agape, camera in hand.  She was disappointed that the video wasn't going at the time.
I had fun opening gifts.  This one's going to be especially fun to work on with Dad.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Kalai's 16

I met Kalai when she was 10.  It's hard to believe she's 16, entering her junior year of high school next year.  She is a very special young lady who loves adventure, is learning more about how much she loves art, is aware of the feelings of others, doesn't want to settle for mediocrity, loves to learn about the "why's" of politics and spiritual things, and most of all, is growing in her life as a Christian.  Sometimes she doesn't say a lot and then we have some amazing conversation and I see how her love for Christ is deepening and how she desires to serve God and live in a Godly way. 

We have our difficult moments as she learns to grow up gracefully and I learn to parent in a wise way.  We have a ways to go, but I'm so thankful for her and am looking forward to our relationship taking on new dimensions in the future.

I recall with fond memories Kalai walking around on her hands and knees acting like a "cat," Kalai attacking me each night with tickling (until I was pregnant with Levi), Kalai bringing humor to an otherwise depressing situation, Kalai going with me to pick out my wedding dress, Kalai wearing her knitted blue and white crochet hat all the time, and Kalai's special hugs and smiles.  She's growing up and we wouldn't have it any other way.  I miss the little Kalai but am enjoying seeing the young woman she's becoming.  My deepest prayer for her is to allow God to overtake her life in every way as she steps into adulthood.  For her to learn to trust His wisdom and goodness and to make choices that honor her Heavenly Father.  Of these I have great confidence and hope!

We celebrated her birthday with a taco salad meal, a few friends, and some roller skating.  She, of course, wanted an ice cream cake.  Here's our birthday girl.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Media Choices: Part 5

For awhile I really struggled with a particular view in regard to choosing God-honoring media.  Do I make my decisions based on whether there is any sin in the movie, book, or song?  For example, if there's lying or stealing do I decide that it's a no-go?  Philippians 4:8 is a wonderful verse that should guide us in our thoughts, but to apply it as the exclusive rule for our media choices isn't possible.  There isn't a story written that doesn't have some character with a moral flaw.  There has to be some evil or wrong committed or at least presented for there to be a story.  That's life!  And without it, there is no plot.  There is no story.  There are no realistic characters.  In fact, there is no way to show true virtue.  Without the temptation of evil, goodness isn't really goodness.

So I knew I needed another approach.  This approach presented in the last post has helped me immensely in making choices.  If there is lying in the story, is it shown to be wrong and are there clear consequences?  Does the viewer or reader recognize that lying isn't laughable?  That it isn't justifiable?  Would we finish the story with the feeling that honesty is honorable and desirable?

Unfortunately, many movies and books have to be tossed aside when held up to these standards.  The producers and authors of most media today are not necessarily looking to promote Godly, even moral, values.  In fact, often, you will find quite the opposite.

Recently, the movie Fireproof showed an excellent example of the 3rd the sin shown in such a way that it is explicit, graphic above necessity, even exciting in a wrong way to the viewer?  The husband in the movie is struggling with an addiction to pornography.  The producers of this movie showed very clearly that this was what he was doing regularly on his computer.  They showed how difficult this struggle was.  They showed the devestating effects it was having on his marriage.  But they never showed actual pornography.  In a very God-honoring way they clearly showed the sin without being explicit to the viewer.

So...if a movie I'm about to view has adultery or fornication as so many do today I must ask myself.  Is this sin condemned?  Is this sin shown to have clear consequences?  If it passes those two tests, it would be a very rare movie.  The third test would also need to be assessed.  Do they show the sin in such a way that it becomes graphic or explicit, causing the viewer to see more than necessary?

I understand there will still be subjectivity involved even when using these guidelines, but I truly believe if we would all strive to be excellent in what is good and innocent in what is evil (Romans 16:19) we would come to some more similar conclusions.

I am trying to be objective and factual in this post, but I'm also feeling grieved and saddened.  Should we as followers of Christ be allowing our children to see movies that go entirely against the principles that we are teaching our children?  We take our girls to purity conferences and teach about purity at camp classes and church classes and yet our children are watching movies that present an entirely different picture.  Take for instance, a newer movie, Valentine's Day.  This movie, popular among teen girls, shows (without actually showing) numerous unmarried couples sleeping together, even has a gay couple in it, and basically gives the idea that sex is what people do when they like each other.  How contrary is this to God's Word?  We are fools to think we can tell our girls one thing and yet allow them to be entertained over and over by the world's values.  (I haven't actually seen this movie so if I'm totally wrong, please correct me.  But I've read reviews on Kids in Mind and Plugged In).

I'm hoping that we can challenge one another in our choices.  I believe we need to be guarding our hearts and honoring God.  If you've actually managed to read this  Thanks for considering. :)  I'm probably going to write one more post to consider one other aspect.  Please feel free to agree/disagree and encourage us all to be Christ-like in our entertainment choices. 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Media Choices: Part 4

In my last post about this topic, I suggested that we can use the Bible's depictions of evil and sin as a guide for us in the choices we make concerning media.  Here are some of my observations of God's Word in this area...

1.  When sin is relayed in a Bible story, we, as the readers, are seeing it for what it really is in God's sight.  The sin is shown in such a light as to be repulsive, wicked and unholy.  We never see sin shown in a favorable light.  Sin is never laughed at or made to seem petty or inconsequential.   The characters of noble character condemn sin as well. 

2.  Sin in God's Word is shown to have consequences.  We aren't left with the idea that the character sinned and all was well.  We are shown the unpleasant, far-reaching, and even deadly results of their sin.

3.  Sin in God's Word is not depicted with the idea to entertain with explicit details or with the idea to excite or "tittilate" (how's that for an interesting word?) the reader, perhaps making the reader wish for more or be tempted to sin.  Earlier I mentioned the story of David and Bathsheba.  Sin was certainly commited here.  The Bible clearly relays the story and yet we ourselves, as the readers, are not tempted to sin by a vivid description of the scene David saw from his rooftop, describing the "beautiful woman."  Furthermore, we are not given a steamy account of their night together, yet we know perfectly well what sin and evil were commited. 

These three observations of God's Word can help us test the choices we are making in regard to sin and evil.  Busy day ahead and so...I'll come back to this later.