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Current Snapshot

I came across a fill-in-the-blank scrap booking form the other day. I don’t think that I will ever use if for any of my pages; however, I thought it would make a nice monthly blog template. So here is my first ever “Current Snapshot” blog, for those who are interested.
Currently…

Watching:
This is a tough one. Kevin and I enjoy watching series on Netflix in their entirety. We just finished season 3 of Downton Abbey and season 1 of House of Cards. We are currently searching for and taking suggestions of our next series. His vote: Walking Dead. My vote: hack into the UK BBC site for Season 4 of Downton.

Otherwise, it’s the occasional Baby Einstein with Levi or Little House on the Prairie with MC.

Reading:
I just checked out Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. It is a biographical account of former Olympic athlete turned airman Louis Zamperini during WW II. This is one of the main reasons I am in a book club. I probably would never have chosen to read this book, but I am enjoying it and learning a lot!

MC and I are reading a biography of Jackie Robinson together. His teacher has been doing a unit for Black history month, and I decided he would really enjoy learning more about this baseball great and civil rights activist.

Listening:
I typically listen to talk-radio or KLOVE in the car, but I recently made a new “Hymns for Worship” Pandora station. I am LOVING it!!! It is full of traditional hymns arranged and performed by contemporary artists. It has the added bonus of calming Levi when he’s restless, and teaching MC some standard hymns that we don’t sing very often in church.

Making:
As usual, I’m at various stages of several different projects. I just finished making a soda pop tab bracelet for my oldest. It was super fast and easy and turned out pretty cute!

I’m in the researching and materials-gathering phase for Levi’s Easter outfit. I absolutely adore Jon Jon rompers on little boys, but they are ridiculously expensive to buy and one can usually only find them at children’s boutiques or specialty online shops. Luckily, I found some great tutorials on Pinterest for making your own- including how to copy the patterns from existing outfits that we already own. I’m so excited! I have bought the fabric last week and purchased the remaining notions today so I can begin my “test run”. I had the idea to buy a couple of cheap men’s shirts from the thrift store to practice on just in case I mess up. I think this is kind of brilliant and plan on using this concept for lots of things, including some new vests for MC made from suit pants. Pictures of successful projects to come!

I’m also making Levi an Easter basket. It will be a cute crocheted bunny design. I better get busy!

Feeling:
I am feeling extremely grateful. I have a husband who loves me and our children. He works hard at his job and is an amazing help-mate to me at home. He also genuinely enjoys my company and makes me laugh everyday. I am grateful for my sons. MC is a bundle of creative energy and enthusiasm. Levi is such a happy and generally easy baby. They bring so much joy into our home. We have an extremely generous and supportive family who we love spending time with. I am so grateful for our friends. We’ve been blessed with the kind of friends who are truly more like family. We have found a warm and welcoming church that is Bible centered. Our church small group has been such a source of strength and inspiration for us. I pray that God will continue to cultivate a thankful heart in me.

Planning:
Our garden! We have loved having a garden the past couple of years. There is just nothing quite like preparing a meal with ingredients freshly cut from your own garden. This year we are starting our plants from seed indoors and then transferring them to the garden when they are ready. We are also building a second square foot planter to yield more yummy goodness.

Loving:
Our Lenten bulbs. I stole the idea from my friend Lindsey to plant something on Ash Wednesday to use as a centerpiece throughout Lent. Every family member has their own pot. MC chose these lovely bulbs that will have beautiful clusters of small white flowers. After Easter we will plant them in the ground outside.

I love the idea that the bulb represents us dying to self. It is only through Christ that we can be transformed into something beautiful. I marvel at how some days it seems like the plants don’t change at all, and other days it seems that they have grown inches over the course of just a few hours! I can wait to see how beautiful they are by the time Easter rolls around. I’m looking forward to making this a family tradition during Lent.

So that’s what I’m up to these days. It may not sound like an exciting life to many people, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Up until about 5 years ago, I was what I considered a “moderate independent.” My father, a card-carrying Republican, preferred to call me a “well-intentioned, bleeding heart, liberal.” I called myself an independent, but truth be told, I almost always voted Democratic.

Here was my thinking: I love America and Americans. There are Americans in need. Democrats want to help those in need. Vote Democrat. It seemed like a very logical line of thinking that served me for about 15 years. I have been interested in history and politics since I was a young girl. I thought of myself as generally well-informed and well-read regarding current events. I saw the Democrats as the party of freedom and inclusion. They were the party who welcomed those of diverse backgrounds, didn’t place judgement on women and gays, and wanted to “help” the poor and downtrodden get back on their feet. I still think that this is how Democrats want to sell themselves and try to sell themselves- I just no longer think that it is true. Perhaps it never was.

Then about 8 years ago, I got really involved with my local church. For the first time since my teenage years, I felt I had strong relationship with The Lord. I began to study the Bible in ways that I never had before. The more I studied, the more I wanted to study. And slowly but surely, I felt myself leaning more toward the center and right on many issues. I began to learn more about the early church and how the members took care of each other and those in their community. And I realized that I had been wrong. So very wrong.

People are hurting. People need help and acceptance. People need love. But it isn’t the role of the government to provide those things. It is the role of the church. The problem is that the church isn’t doing a very good job.

We don’t always offer the love of Christ and the acceptance the He gave us. We shake our fingers and focus on the sin that is different than ours. We don’t always want to help those in our communities. It is much easier to write a check to send to World Vision or KLOVE than it is to spend time delivering Meals on Wheels or hosting homeless families at Family Promise, much less to go on a mission trip. We talk about the unborn victims of abortion, yet close our minds and hearts to those men and women who grieve the choice that they made and search for ways to overcome it.

Shame on us. We can do better.

While reading more in the Bible and feeling this shift inside my political ideology, I began to read more of the Constitution (yes, I have an app for it). I re-read some of the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers. I listened to people far smarter than me discuss current events and the political crisis in which our country now finds itself. And I came to another realization. Even if I weren’t a Christian, I would have to be a conservative. Just read the Constitution and Bill of Rights! Read the Declaration of Independence. Learn the limits that are in the documents. We don’t have to guess what the Framers were thinking or what they intended. They told us, quite beautifully, in these amazing pieces of living history.

My 8 year old son asked me one day “what is the Constitution?” I thought about a way that I could do it justice without dumbing it down too much. I answered “it is the contract between the government and the people.” I think that is a pretty great answer. If there’s one thing our society knows a lot about, it is contracts. We sign them for everything. We take people to court for breaking them. How can we sit by while the most important contract in our nation is ripped apart at the seams before our very eyes?

At Bible study a few weeks ago, we learned that if we change our thinking, we change our beliefs. If we change our beliefs, we change our actions. It is time for some of us to change our thinking. It is time to listen to our conscience instead of talking heads and pundits.

It is time to stop telling ourselves that if we vote for the party who claims to want to help people, that’s just as good as me helping them. I think that’s how so many well-intentioned liberals think. I don’t think they hold a leftist view-point because they want to trample on the Constitution. I think that many genuinely feel, as I once did, that they are going for the party who wants to help people. But no party can fulfill our biblical command to care for widows and orphans. No party can provide for the needs of the homeless and get us off the hook.

I am so grateful for my husband, a few close friends, and my family for helping me reform my previously held ideas. And I’m in good company. Even Reagan changed parties.

Now I know that there are many strong conservatives out there who are not Christians. They may not agree with some of the claims that I’ve made regarding the Church. And that’s ok. Maybe the housing bust caused them to take a harsh look at the irresponsible fiscal policies of the Democrats. Maybe they have a view of the need for a stronger national defense since 9/11. Maybe they are a small business owner who is getting strapped by regulations and medical mandates. Maybe it’s a wife who sees more money going out for groceries and gas and less coming in on the paycheck. It’s ok because at the end of the day, we all became conservatives, and it doesn’t really matter what brought us here, so long as we are here now.

Standing on Ceremony

This is a topic that I’ve been thinking about for quite some time. Over the past week, it has come up in two different settings, so I decided to write about it. This is intended for husbands and wives, but if you are the type who is easily offended when someone calls you out, then by all means, stop reading.

I still have a couple of you reading? Good! I’ve been thinking lately about how our culture has become sloppy and lazy in our appearance. We have all seen the memes of people with their pants sagging, or the “People of Wal-Mart” website. But that’s not who I mean. I mean us. You and me. Those of us who, if we are really honest, consider ourselves better than those people who shop at Wal-Mart in dreadful tube tops and overalls.

My husband and I love Downton Abbey. This season, a couple of episodes have been directed at Tom Branson’s character and how he needed a bit more polish regarding his wardrobe. Tom’s initial claim was that he is who he is and should not have to dress up to impress people. He was also sensitive about his finances and the lack of more formal clothing. (He was wearing a plain suit, and not tails, mind you) The Dowanger and Matthew persuade Tom that it isn’t that HE needs to be something he is not, it is that he needs to honor the occasion by dressing properly for it.

When do we honor an occasion anymore? In the past, people would have never dreamed of wearing blue jeans to a wedding or funeral- now that is common practice. When I was a little girl, I had “church clothes”. In fact, when school had special events, letters were sent home telling parents that children should be dressed in church clothes or Sunday clothes. Now, in many churches, even the pastors wear jeans and tshirts on a regular basis. Most children do not even own dress shoes, slacks, or church dresses anymore. You might say, “Well, people are more concerned with being authentic and less pretentious than in the past. God doesn’t think any more or less of you if you are in shorts or a suit!” And you would be correct. But it seems that the pendulum has swung to the opposite extreme. Are we honoring the occasion to enter a house of worship if we dress the same way as when we lie around our homes and watch tv?

And it isn’t just church. It’s how we dress for birthday parties, baby showers, dates out with our spouses. We seem to have become a culture that rarely, if ever, stands on ceremony and dresses for an event. Medical Professionals who once wore suits and lab coats now wear scrubs on a daily basis. Even administrative staff who have no practical reason to wear scrubs, wear them because they want to be comfortable. We seem to place a pretty high premium on comfort, but what is the cost?

I think that all of this pursuit of comfort has allowed us to relax in our social standards, in our manners and etiquette, and in our marriages. The way that we dress has influenced our attitudes about who we are. Now if you think I am shallow and only concerned about appearances, you are wrong. I know that who I am is not defined by my hairstyle and wardrobe. Who I am is defined by my relationship with Christ and my identity in Him. I know this. But I certainly don’t think that there is anything wrong with wanting to look nice for my husband, or for bothering to wear a cute outfit to a friend’s house when she has gone to the trouble to prepare lunch for us. And don’t think I’m hating on yoga pants or pajamas. I’m a big fan of both! However, what I am suggesting, is that they have a time and place that are appropriate for wear. I’m saying that maybe if we take a bit more time to dress like the sons and daughters of God that we are, we might believe it and conduct ourselves accordingly.

Wives: We are lazy about our appearance, especially after we have children. I call it “Frump Syndrome.” Stacy and Clinton love to grab moms who live in yoga pants, tshirts, and ponytails and transform their look. Before you protest too much, let me admit that I have fallen into this mode from time to time. There are days when the kids are sick or haven’t slept well, we are cleaning and just have too much to do, and we just leave on our pj pants and tank top. But my point is, those days should be few and far between. I’m not advocating wearing an evening gown or spending an hour on hair and make up. I’m not claiming that we need to spend a bunch of money on clothes. What I am suggesting is that maybe one way that we can honor our husbands is by being dressed in a cute top and clean jeans or capris when they get home. We can shave our legs, brush our hair, dab some mascara and lip gloss on, and look like we care about ourselves, and more importantly, about our husbands.

What I am suggesting is that maybe instead of spending time on Pinterest looking for ways to “dress up” our ponytail, that time would be better served actually styling our hair. If rubber bands, chip clips, or sunglasses are part of your daily “hair style,” then you need a different one. Here’s a secret: as a general rule, men don’t like ponytails. Sure, the special occasion up do is sexy because it exposes our necks. But, more often than not, our husbands want to run their fingers through our hair and prefer it down. In fact, the only reason they like the up do is because they imagine pulling the bobby pins from it and watching it tumble about our shoulders when the evening is done (tell me I’m wrong, guys, I dare you).

Some of you will claim “but my husband doesn’t like short hair, so I keep it long for him but just wear it up so it is easier that way.” He might not like “short” hair on anyone but Halle Berry, but I can assure you, he would be much more pleased with a cropped pixie cut or a sassy bob that you actually styled than long hair that he never gets to see because it is perpetually pulled back in a clip.

Have you ever noticed that we will be content to let our husbands see us in sloppy tshirts when they come home, but we dress up for lunch with girlfriends or our weekly Bible study? He may not want you to wear heavy make up or spend a lot of money on clothes, but he will appreciate the effort that you are dressing as nice for him as you do for your friends.

Husbands: You aren’t off the hook, either. If your wardrobe of choice (when not at work) is old college t shirts and sweat pants, you have some work to do too.

First- SHAVE!!!! This is not to say that you can’t have facial hair- my husband does and I love it. But keep it trimmed up. Shave your neck and cheeks. Ask your wife to trim your hair line on the back of your neck or have a barber do it in between cuts. If you have a beard, keep it a decent length. If your wife had wanted to marry a member of ZZ Top, she would not have chosen you. Trim your nose hair, ear hair, and eyebrows! If you don’t know if you have ear hair, ask the barber or your wife- they will tell you the truth and breath a sigh of relief that you want it gone!

Baseball caps are for sporting events, yard work, or outdoor activities like fishing and hiking. If you aren’t engaged in one of the previous list, don’t wear one!!! If you must wear a hat, choose one with some class. A fedora, newsboy cap, or cowboy hat never go out of style. If your hair is unruly- get it cut. If you are bald- wearing a hat doesn’t fool us into thinking you have hair. And for goodness sake, when you do wear a hat, take it off while you are eating (unless you are outside).

So you wear dress pants, shirts, and ties to work? That’s ok. Wear some nice jeans and a polo shirt on the weekends. Wear khaki shorts and a short sleeved button down with sandals. You can be casual and comfortable without looking like you just left the frat house.

And here’s a tip for both men and women: when your partner goes to such lengths for you, NOTICE! Compliment her hair, comment on his nice shirt. Otherwise, we will feel badly about the effort we made. We will think that there was no point at all- might as well go back to ponytails and sweats. But when my husband tells me my hair looks pretty or asks if a blouse is new- I get giddy like I did when he was courting me! I know he is not just looking at his wife and mother of his children, he is looking at the woman he fell in love with.

I love seeing pictures of my grandparents and their friends. The ladies all wore dresses or really nice Kathryn Hepburn style wide-leg trousers and dressy tops with fabulous jewelry. The men wore slacks, button down shirts. Sometimes a tie. Sometimes a fedora. But always crisp and polished looking. They were not wealthy by any standards. Most of the clothes were homemade. But they dressed for the occasion, even if the occasion was simply greeting each other after a long day.

These past 3 months have been a world-wind. I cannot believe how quickly time goes by when I organize my days by a eat-play-sleep routine.

Here’s a list of items that have made our lives manageable these past 3 months. These are luxuries, not necessities, as I am reminded when I watch episodes of “Little House on the Prairie” with my oldest son.

1. Boppy nursing pillow- I have 2 of these. I leave 1 in the car for on the go feedings and one is at home. I can nurse without one, but it sure makes things much easier! (In fact, I’m blogging on my iPhone right now because my hands and arms are free because I’m using my Boppy!)

2. Lansinoh Lanoline- soothing after nursing. Enough said.

3. Miracle Blanket- we only recently discovered the miracle of this swaddle, thanks to a friend, and I am sooooo grateful! Our little guy was having trouble with waking himself up with his startle reflex and this product really helps.

4. White noise machines- we have 3 and they provide a soothing, womb-like environment in the nursery and have the added bonus of drowning out the sounds of the tv or his big brother.

5. Thirsties Duo cloth diaper covers- these covers are by far the best of all that we have used. They have a double gusset to control leaks and multiple snaps to grow with baby. If you want to cloth diaper and want to go the cheapest route with Prefolds or flats, this is the cover for you.

6. Moby Wrap- I can’t say enough good things about this baby carrier. Our son loves being in it! It allows me to “hold” him in church, bible study, or at the park while keeping my hands free. On fussy days, this is the only way I got anything done around the house.

7. CJ’s Butter- this is an all-natural diaper balm that is cloth diaper safe. We put a thin layer on our little guy’s bum each night before bed to keep diaper rash at bay. Works amazingly well. It is kind of spendy, but a little goes a long way.

8. Infant carseat canopy- we actually were given 1 of these that my sister in law sewed for us as a gift. It is so much better than the blanket over the carseat that I used with my oldest son because it velcros to the handle. Keeps the wind and cold off of his little body and doesn’t fall off!

9. Fisher Price Kick n Play- our son got this for Christmas and loves the piano that he can kick and the toy bar he can play with. Hours of fun!

10. Bright Starts bouncy seat- this is one of those little vibrating lounge chairs. He sits in it while I’m cooking dinner or while I’m in the shower and it keeps him calm and content.

11. Crock pot- about 2 weeks before our little guy was born, I got together with a couple of other friends who were also pregnant and we spent the day prepping crock pot meals. We each came up with 2 recipes, I made a shopping list and sent Kevin to the store. They came over and we chopped, sliced and diced enough food for each of us to leave with enough food for about 8 meals. We stored everything in freezer bags and wrote the instructions for cooking them on the outside of the bag (if it needed water or seasoning added, cook times, etc). The idea was that we could just dump the bag in the crock pot in the morning and not have to worry about cooking dinner. Between our freezer meals and the dinners brought to us by friends and family, we didn’t have to really cook dinner for about 6 weeks! It was wonderful! Since then, I have used my crock pot at least 2 or 3 times a week.

12. iPhone- I know, I know. This seems silly- but trust me- when you are trying to stay awake feeding a baby at 3 am, having a smart phone really helps! I can use my kindle app to read a book, I can browse Facebook, find recipes on Pinterest, or catch up on email or blogging:). I can soothe my baby to sleep with my pandora lullaby station. I also use a great nursing app to help me keep track of feedings and nap schedules. A smartphone is a new mom’s best connection to the outside world. I’ve even texted Kevin while he was in another part of the house so that I wouldn’t wake the baby.

13. Travel neck pillow- this was my genius husband’s idea. For about the first month, when night feedings were still about every 2 hours, I nursed in our big, comfy chair with an ottoman. I used to doze off while the baby was eating and my head would flop back and I’d wake up an hour later, baby asleep (on the Boppy) with a crick in my neck. My hubby bought this great travel pillow for me to use and it helped so much! I would still nod off, but didn’t nurse sore neck muscles as a result.

14. Turvis Tumbler- dear husband got this for me too. Water is a nursing mommy’s necessity and the Turvis keeps it cool while allowing me to drink from a straw or sip from the lid. Love it!

So that’s my list of helpful items. None is these is a necessity, but they sure do make life with a newborn much easier. I’m not sure how Ma Ingalls (or my mother, for that matter!) made it through those early weeks without these comforts. I’m just glad that I didn’t have to!

We have a 3 month old precious baby boy! When we got pregnant, Kevin and I discussed some parenting decisions and “hot button” topics. Among these were discipline, sleep issues, breastfeeding, media exposure, and diapers. I knew that diapering had come a long way from the rubber pants my mom used on my brother, but I wasn’t sure what my options were.

Several months, about a thousand blogs, 1 cloth diapering class and countless conversations with friends who CD, Kevin and I decided that cloth diapering was, indeed, right for our family. We came to this conclusion based on 4 key facts:
1- HUGE MONEY SAVER!! ( more on that later)
2- Harmful chemicals found in disposable diapers that we did not want to expose our son to
3- Environmental factors- less waste, more natural products in our home
4- CD kids tend to potty train easier/younger than kids who wear disposables because they can feel the wetness and don’t like it

1- HUGE MONEY SAVER!!
I suppose that CDing is like anything else in life- you can spend a ton of money on it. But the point is, you don’t have to! I have discovered great deals on diaper swap boards online, Craigslist, eBay, etsy, consignment stores, and more! Here is a breakdown of what we have spent on our “stash” to date:
$20 inserts and cover- Craigslist
$12 fabric to sew my own inserts- Amazon
$25 Newborn Alvas, Kawaii cover, CJ’s butter- SuperStash.net
$25 12 Prefolds, 2 Flips covers, 3 Snappis- Craigslist
$30 3 wool and 1 fleece overnight covers- Craigslist
$24 12 prefolds- Craigslist
$36 2 wetbags, 5 Snappis- Amazon
Gift cards- Snappis, 2 Thirsties covers
Free from facebook group- about 36 Pocket diapers, fitteds, covers and inserts
Free- wipes made by cutting up old receiving blankets I had from my oldest
Grand Total- $136!!!!!

Most of the diapers we have will fit our son until he is potty trained. I expect we might need to spend about another $100 to replace some that he will outgrow because they were not “one size”. But still- even if we round that up, it is only about $250 for enough diapers to last our child until he’s potty trained! We spent almost $50 on disposable diapers and wipes in his first 11 days of life until his umbilical stump fell off and he could fit into his newborn diapers!

Most new diapers (pockets or covers) can cost anywhere from $8 each to $30. We certainly did not have that much to invest up front. But by searching online and staying connected, I’ve been able to find very nice, excellent used condition diapers without much expense for our family.

2- Harmful Chemicals in Disposables
While doing research on CD, I learned that disposable diapers have chemicals in them that can cause cancer. These same chemicals have been banned by the FDA for use in women’s hygiene products, but they are still used in baby’s diapers?!?! That is unacceptable. When my oldest son was a baby, he had diaper rash so bad that his dr gave us a prescription strength diaper cream with unlimited refills. It didn’t matter how much I changed him, what his diet was, or what brand of diapers I used, we could not get rid of that rash. He had extremely sensitive skin with eczema, and I’m fairly confident that he was having a reaction to the harmful chemicals in the diapers. Do I know this for a certainty? No. But if there is alternative available, I felt I should try it.

3- Less waste
If your diapers aren’t cloth, they are garbage. As a Christian, I feel that we are supposed to be good stewards of this beautiful with which we have been entrusted. Less waste is a good thing. Enough said.

4- Quicker/Easier potty training
My oldest son was a very determined little guy. He wasn’t fully potty-trained (overnights) until almost 4. I have a dear friend who CDs, and her little girl isn’t even 2 yet and is already going pee in the potty and it is almost always her idea! Just the carrot dangling in front of us that potty training might be easier was almost enough to justify CDing! 🙂

The Critics
Objections I have heard are as follows:
“It is too expensive”- pretty sure I’ve successfully knocked down that straw man.
“When they start solids, it will be gross”- True. No denying that breastfed baby poop doesn’t really have much of a smell, and since it is water-soluble, those dirty diapers just go straight in the wash. But once they start solids, diaper changes are gross no matter what kind of diapers you are using. Spraying it off in the toilet just doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to me. I figure I wipe my own bum, it’s not that different.
“They are so bulky”- most of the cloth diapers now are trimmer than they were in the past. We really have not had this problem at all.
“What about leaking?”- This can be an issue whether you are using cloth or disposable diapers. You just have to find the ones that fit your child the best. We’ve had a few leaks- but since we learned which brands fit our son best, they have been very rare.
“All that washing is too much work!”- I do diapers on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. That is 3 loads of laundry. When the weather is nice we have a repurposed volleyball pole-clothes line I hang them on. When it isn’t, I hang them on a drying rack in the laundry room or toss them in the dryer. You do have to pre-rinse, wash, and then do an extra rinse. Our water bill has only gone up about $10 a month. That’s it.
“What about special detergents and diaper creams?”- I make my own laundry detergent that is CD safe (commercial detergents can build up on diapers and cause them to repel water). It costs about $5 per month for the ingredients to make the detergent. Easy peasy. We use CJ’S Butter for diaper rash. It isn’t cheap- but we don’t use that much. I slather on a layer before bed to protect his bum from moisture since he sleeps so long.

So there it is. Our journey with cloth diapers. Maybe I have convinced some of you to give it a try, or at least do some research. If I haven’t, that’s ok too.

I have been labeled a few times over the past few months by some friends. They honestly didn’t mean any harm when I was called “crunchy” or “one of THOSE moms”. I’m just doing what I feel is best for our son and our family. I think that’s what most parents want for their children. But being a parent is hard enough without tearing each other down with labels and name-calling. Maybe you use a pacifier. Maybe you hate pacifiers. Maybe you bed-share. Maybe your infant went in the crib the first night home from the hospital. Maybe you let your child cry-it-out. Maybe you hold your baby until she’s fast asleep. Maybe you breastfeed your 3 year old. Maybe you formula feed. Maybe you cloth diaper. Maybe you use disposables. Maybe you baby wear. Maybe you hate those carriers. Maybe you put your child in daycare. Maybe you stay home. The bottom line is that most of us are just parents trying to educate ourselves about what is best for our kids. Hopefully after reading this post, you might reconsider making cloth diapers an option for your baby and be a little less judgmental about the decisions made by others.

Recently my husband and I were discussing my frustration with some trends in social media. After he worked diligently and persuasively in attempting to explain this trend to me, he finally gave up when I still was not convinced.  He made a couple of wise-cracks about my clinging to things of the past with nostalgia and we had a good laugh.  Since then, I have been thinking about other things that I simply don’t understand.  Not because I am stupid, but because they just don’t make sense to me  So here is my current list of  stuff that I just don’t get…

1. Twitter hashtags:  Especially when these are linked between a Facebook and Twitter account.  It seems to me that people type their comment and then put hashtags that seem to state the obvious.  Why is the little # necessary?  Why not simply type the words? #whydotheyhavetocramalltheirwordstogethemakingusreadtheirohsowittycommentveryslowlyjusttotrytofigureoutwherethespacesshouldbe

2. Mustaches: As a general rule, most men do not look good with only a mustache.  I think a goatee or a nicely trimmed beard along with the mustache is fine, but unless you are Sam Elliott, Clark Gable,  or Tom Selleck, a mustache all by itself tends to look kind of creepy.  I also don’t get the obvious absence of a mustache when a man has other facial hair.  This is what I call the “Amish” look that seems to be trendy among certain groups right now.  And then there are all of the mustache products.  Mustaches on baby pacifiers.  Mustaches on drinking straws.  Mustaches on t-shirts.  I simply shake my head and wonder why.

3.Saggy pants: I know this one receives quite a bit of attention, but seriously people, PULL UP YOUR PANTS!!! I don’t want to see your underwear.  I don’t want my child to see your underwear.  No one else does either.  How can you expect anyone to respect you when they are looking at your Fruit of the Looms, your belt is around your knees, and your waddle like a penguin?

4. Picture Poses: over the past year or so, I have noticed a developing movement in which (usually) young ladies pose for a picture with each other with their inner arms wrapped around each other’s waists and they each have their outside hand on their hip.  While this pose certainly is good for the arms and the whole 3/4 slimming view of the body, when they press their bellies together they look like conjoined twins!  I laugh out loud every time I see young women post pictures of themselves in this pose on FB.  One of these days, when they are middle-aged like me, they will wonder why someone didn’t tell them how silly they looked.  Well, I just did.

The other pose that leaves me scratching my head in bewilderment is when high fashion models slump their shoulders forward while wearing a gown that costs more than our combined household income.  Countless young women in my generation where constantly reminded by our mothers to stand up straight and not slump.  Now these ladies come along and earn big bucks for slouching.  I don’t get it.  Are they weak from a lack of food?  Is the weight of the dress too much for their toothpick figures to handle?

This list is certainly not exhaustive. There are plenty of other things that I observe with wonder.  Why do people purposely spell their children’s names wrong, dooming the kid to a life of correcting people?  Why do some parents spend tons of money on the perfect outfit for their children to wear to church, but then hand them the iphone or PSP and let the kids play all through church?  Shouldn’t they worry more about their children receiving the message and learning how to worship than how they look?  Well, you get the idea.  I think that what I have realized is that I am probably much more old-fashioned than I once believed.  Many others look at me and my family and just don’t get some of the things we do. But I’m ok with that.

I haven’t written on this blog in way too long.  Not that I haven’t had anything to write about.  Perhaps because I had too much to say.  So now begins my re-emergence into the blogosphere.  I wrote the following recently as a guest-writer for our church enews and thought I’d share.

As our study of the Gospel of Mark continues this week, we will explore the call of the disciples.  Jesus said “Follow me” and Peter, Andrew, James, and John immediately left their nets and followed Jesus into the unknown.  When I read that passage, I ask myself how often I am willing to be obedient, without questioning God.  My typical response is to pray and ask God to show me where He wants me to go, what He wants me to do when I get there, and with whom I will be taking these steps.  I want control.  But I know that Jesus wants all of me.  Not when I receive the answers to the questions I ask.  He desires my obedience now. 

Isn’t this the same message that we tell our children?  When I ask Michael Charles to do a task, I don’t want him to question or delay.  I want him to place his trust, respect, and love in my decisions and be obedient, resting in the knowledge that I would never lead him astray.  I become frustrated with my son when he does not immediately comply with my requests because I feel like he is questioning my authority as his parent.  Is this how God feels when I disobey?  When I barter and question and ask for signs?  Does my Holy Father feel that I am not trusting in His sovereign plan for my life?  He promises that His plans are “for good, and not for harm” (Jer 29:11), but do I take Him at His Word?  What better example can I give my son than to demonstrate for him a life of obedience to God? 

Peter, Andrew, James, John and the other disciples were taken on a journey that I’m sure they never anticipated.  They were often without shelter or food. They were often in danger or fear for their lives.  They were separated from their loved ones.  And yet they had the privilege to be chosen as members of Jesus’ inner circle and to walk in the footsteps of their Savior every day.  My prayer for us all is that we would be obedient to God’s call on our lives.  That we would willingly go where he sends us.  That we would model trust and awe and respect of our Lord for our children and the world around us.