March 11, 2014

Perspective: Lessons from a One-Year-Old

This winter has been rough. Very rough. We moved the first day of winter, and soon after it snowed so much that all five of us were trapped in the house for days. One of my goals for this year is to get out of the house with Evan at least once a week. By January 4th, when the biggest snow hit, that goal seemed like a joke. I see some numbers in the forecast beginning with a six, so there's hope this winter will end, but there's also more snow expected this week.

What makes this winter easier is that Evan is fascinated by the snow. He smiles at the snow, talks to it, shows it to his stuffed beaver. Even stuck inside watching it from his window, it's fun to him. As much as I'd like to just up and move to California, I am glad my kids will get to experience all four seasons living in Indiana. He'll get to play in the snow and the rain and the crunchy leaves.

Perspective. It's all about perspective.

As another illustration of this, I really do not like house centipedes. While I generally love all creatures great and small, including snakes and possums, I draw the line with the house centipede. I'm convinced they're the result of The Fall because these creepy demon bugs could not have existed in Eden. I think I've made my point.

So imagine my reaction when I came out into the living room and saw Nenya and Evan both watching a house centipede dashing across the floor, Nenya trying to snap at it. I did what any sensible person would do and grabbed a tissue and obliterated it. And how did Evan react? He was distraught. He started sobbing and threw himself on the floor, a very rare occurrence for him. While he's obviously too young to understand the concepts of life and death, he was having fun watching the centipede run across the floor with Nenya chasing after it. I had taken his entertainment away.

Now that was a good dose of perspective. Don't get me wrong, I'm still going to kill the next one I see, but what a shock to realize my son could actually find such a creepy bug fun.

While I'm teaching Evan about the world, he's also teaching me.

March 7, 2014

Trekking Through the Bible: Selective Memory (Leviticus 26-27 & Numbers 1-13)

One of my goals this year is to read the entire Bible in chronological order. To help me absorb more of what I read as well as to help with accountability, I'm posting every week or two about what I read the previous week. 

It's been a few years since I last read Leviticus and Numbers, but as I remembered it, Numbers was much better than Leviticus. However, the only thing I could remember about Numbers was the Aaronic bessing found in Numbers 6:24-26:

"The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace." 

And really, while that's nice and beautiful, the rest of what I've read in Numbers so far is not nearly as poetic. It's not as seemingly strange as Leviticus, just kind of dry for the most part. It is called Numbers, after all. The book starts out with the first census of Israel. 

In chapter 5, we find directions for dealing with allegedly unfaithful wives. Basically, a priest gives a woman a drink of water, and if she did not in fact lie with another man, she will be free from the curse. If she is guilty, however, "her belly will swell, her thigh will rot, and the woman will become a curse among her people" (Numbers 5:27). Yikes. Something about that description is just a little disturbing to me. Yet, I had forgotten all about this part of Numbers that comes almost immediately before the Aaronic blessing.

This is why I'm doing this. I want to read the entire Bible this year because I can't claim I believe the Bible is the complete, inerrant Word of God if I don't even know all that's in the Bible.

March 4, 2014

On Language and Learning

I love watching Evan learn and figure out his world. It's one of the best parts of being a mom. When I think about all there is to learn, especially in a language as strange as English, it seems remarkable that any of us ever learn it all.

For example, how will he learn that a baby chicken is a chick and that chickens say cluck and chicks say peep and a male chicken is a rooster and says cock-a-doodle-do?

Or that a baby goose is a gosling and a baby moose is a calf. Two geese and two moose.

And all the letters and numbers and colors we use to describe things.

A square is both a rectangle and a rhombus, but a rhombus is not a rectangle.

A platypus is a mammal that has a bill and lays eggs.

Walk, walked. Ask, asked. Write, wrote. Eat, ate. Sit, sat. Go, went.

They're putting their books over there.

You love someone with all your heart, but the organ known as a heart really is not the source of love and looks nothing like the shape we know as a heart.

Our two dogs look different from each other and different from his stuffed dogs, but they're all still dogs, who say bark, woof, and arf.

But we do learn. Well, at least most of us learn most of this. And so will he. It's just remarkable, and I love that I will get to watch it happen.

February 28, 2014

Trekking Through the Bible: And Then It All Goes Downhill (Exodus 29-40 & Leviticus 1-25)

One of my goals this year is to read the entire Bible in chronological order. To help me absorb more of what I read as well as to help with accountability, I'm posting every week or two about what I read the previous week. 

I don't know about you, but I struggle with this part of the Bible, especially Leviticus. Reading about how burning bull organs are a pleasing aroma to the's just a little difficult to get through. I'll admit I skimmed a lot of it.

I remember my freshman year of college, my roommate was doing a paper comparing and contrasting the Hebrew God of the Old Testament and the Christian God of the New Testament. I thought, but they're the same God! And then I took the same class the following semester, reading Biblical texts from an atheistic viewpoint, including some of Leviticus. While my faith was still strong at the end of the semester, I must admit, if you remove God from the story, these rituals don't make a lot of sense. And as a Christian, it's still hard for me to look at this part of the scripture and see the amazing, loving, awesome God that we sing songs about.

So, what's the takeaway from the laws of the Old Testament? How do we apply Leviticus to our daily life and strengthen our faith by reading it? Honestly, I'm not sure, which is why this section is a struggle for me and why I hesitated to even write about it. I am thankful that these laws are no longer our laws. I'm very thankful, for example, that I don't have to sacrifice two turtledoves or pigeons to be cleansed each time I have my period.

How about you? What helps you get through this part of the Bible? What's the lesson to be learned?

February 14, 2014

Trekking Through the Bible: Why did this have to change?

One of my goals this year is to read the entire Bible in chronological order. To help me absorb more of what I read as well as to help with accountability, I plan to post weekly about what I read the previous week. 

Last week's reading was Exodus 7-27. A lot happens in the middle chapters of Exodus: the plagues, Moses parting the Red Sea, manna in the wilderness, the ten commandments and other laws. There's plenty I could write about, but there's one verse I've been kind of fixated on this week. Under a section my Bible describes as "The promise of God's protection," Exodus 23:26 reads (using the New Living Translation, to put it into contemporary vocabulary):

"There will be no miscarriages or infertility in your land, and I will give you long, full lives."

I realize this verse was a promise to the children of Israel at that time and not a promise for all future generations, but why? Why did this have to change?

Miscarriage and infertility have caused me to ask "Why, God?" over and over. I have not experienced either, but that's part of why they are such big issues for me. Why the unfairness?

I know Sarah and Jen are both dealing with losses right now. It was Jen's story that really got me set on this verse this week. Then there are those I know in real life who have had miscarriages and who have dealt with infertility. I know there are women right now who desperately want to be pregnant. Who knows how many others I don't know about.

I think of these women often and pray for them. And I ask God why. Why does it have to be this way? As I said in last week's post, only He can see the big picture. But this little piece I can see just doesn't make sense sometimes.