Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Until we meet again

We have a daily Bible verse on the sidebar of our blog.
When I read today's verse, I immediately thought of Joe White.

I didn't know Joe very well.
In fact, I have probably only had
a few casual conversations
with him in all the years
that he and his family attended Fairhaven.
But I knew of Joe White.

To me, he was Randy's dad.
He was the smiling man
and the faithful husband
who was always at his wife's side.
Bonnie is a believer,
a woman who loves Jesus,
but Joe was not.
It always amazed me that he
would sit in the services week after week,
hearing the gospel,
knowing that his son and his family were off serving
as missionaries in a foreign land,
but yet never bending the knee
or confessing Christ as Lord.
But then again, it shouldn't have really surprised me.
I certainly know what that was like.
I was raised in the church and heard the gospel,
but yet there was no fruit of repentance
in my life for many years.

A few weeks ago we heard on Facebook
from Joe's daughter-in-law Cindy
that he had had a stroke.
Given his age and how he had been affected,
his health was certainly precarious.
However, we were ecstatic to hear
that Joe had become a believer!
Some time in the past few years
Joe had accepted Christ.
Our prayers had been answered.
Joe's sins were forgiven.
He was saved!

This past Monday Cindy announced
that Joe's new address was in Heaven.
Joe White had passed from this life
and was now worshipping
his Lord and Savior face-to-face.
No more sorrow, no more sickness, no more aging--
only joy in the presence of his Maker.
How amazing it must have been for Joe
to finally meet in person the One
whom he had heard about for all these years.

Joe's family has been left behind
to mourn his loss.
When a believer dies,
it is such a paradox of emotions.
We miss them. We mourn. We grieve.
And yet we also know that this is only temporary.
Along with the sorrow, there is also joy!
There is the blessed certainty
--the Bible calls it "hope"--
that we WILL see our loved one again.
So we do not say, "Good-bye" to Joe.
Instead, we say, "Until we meet again."

"Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his saints."
Psalm 116:15

For the family,

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Today the guys were investigating plant cells.
They made their own slides with banana,
onion, and anacharis leaves;
looked online for a picture of cork cells;
and observed ready-made slides of hydra, ranunclus, zea mays.

They were able to quickly find each cell type
as they're getting better and better at this.

It's great to finally be getting good use
out of our expensive microscope!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Donating Blood

Over a year ago I got an unsolicited call from the American Red Cross, asking if I would consider being a blood donor. I had not tried donating blood since I was about 20. The experience had left me terribly dizzy afterwards, so I decided at the time not to try again. When this random call came in, I figured it was at least worth making another effort after all these years. I scheduled the appointment, and I've been donating blood on a fairly regular basis ever since.

According to the Red Cross, every minute of every day, someone needs blood. That blood can only come from a volunteer donor, a person who is not only eligible but makes the choice to donate. Only 38% of Americans are eligible to donate blood and of those only 8% do. That amounts to only about 3 out of every 100 people! Those are scary numbers.

In order to donate, a person must read through all of the educational material and answer a series of questions about his health and history. This is all handled in strict confidence, and all of the information is available online before even making an appointment. Once the eligibility is established, a small blood sample is drawn by a simple finger prick to evaluate the donor's iron level. If the hemoglobin count is at least 12.5, it's a go! Once the phlebotomist begins to locate an acceptable vein, the whole process only takes about 10 minutes. Afterwards a friendly volunteer welcomes the donor to the snack area where he can choose from various juice drinks and cookies, all of which helps blood sugar levels. I can usually be in and out within an hour; most often less. Not bad at all when I consider the family on the receiving end who is praying over their injured love one.

If someone is eligible to donate blood, there are several ways to ensure that the donation process will go well, such as drinking plenty of liquids (especially that day and up to 30 minutes before), eating iron-rich foods, avoiding fatty foods and aspirin, and getting a good night's sleep beforehand.

Many eligible people don't consider donating blood because they are afraid of needles. Again, the Red Cross can help you with this issue. Somehow I think the parents gazing down into the eyes of their child that has just been in an accident wouldn't even consider the needles--they'd simply want their child well.

Blood types and Rh factors are fascinating. It's a valuable piece of information to know your blood type. I discovered that while I can receive blood from anyone, only those with my blood type can receive my blood. That decreases the odds that my blood will even be used.

The whole idea of donating blood naturally leads me to remembering the ultimate Blood Donor.

I was the injured party, in desperate need! My blood has been tainted with the pervasive disease of my kind. According to the Bible, the sins I have committed separated me from God eternally, and it required the shedding of blood in order for me to ever have a right standing before God. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9:22b

However, the eligibility requirements for a donor were extremely strict! The donor Himself could not have the same disease that pervaded my life. In fact, there was only one eligible donor. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. Hebrews 4:15

Not only did the donor have to be a sinless man, but the He actually had to be God Himself! For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form. Colossians 2:9 ...that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. 2 Corinthians 5:19

In the same way that some eligible people avoid the donation process because they think it will be uncomfortable, the ultimate Donor didn't look forward to the process. He fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me." However, instead of staying away, He chose to obey. Yet not as I will, but as you will. (Matthew 6:39)

Just as the blood donor overcomes his fears by considering the blessing to the unknown recipients, Jesus focused on those who would receive the benefits of his sacrifice: ...the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame... Hebrews 12:2a

While I may never know if my blood is used to save a life, or if it ends up being tossed because the eligible recipient list is so limited, the blood offered by the Donor is sufficient to meet the needs of any and everyone! He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:2

Yes, Jesus is the ultimate Blood Donor. It is completely through His choice to go to the cross, to suffer its shame, and to die the death of a common criminal, that my disease has been cured. His donation has made me right with God! My name is in the Lamb's Book of Life! Nothing impure will ever enter [the new Jerusalem], nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life. Revelation 21:27

While Jesus has completely atoned for the consequences of my disease, my ailment is of the nature that I still have to live with it until the day I die. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. Romans 7:18a As a forgiven sinner, I choose each day to follow and listen to Him. Until the day I trade in this fleshly body for my glorious one, I will walk with Him, thank Him daily for His sacrifice, and look forward to the day when my faith will become sight and when I will meet my Donor face to face. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hats This Momma Wears

Tonight is Crazy Hat Night at the kids' AWANA meeting. David was busy pulling out his viking hat this morning, and Shannon will wear a silly blue and black "Cat in the Hat" type of hat for the event. I'm not sure yet what the boys will come up with.

It just it occurred to me I wear many hats every day! As the mom in the family, the list of tasks and duties I have to accomplish seems overwhelming all too often. On top of it all, I also run a home business. I thought it might be fun to start chronicling the different jobs I juggle.

Today I'm starting at the top--alphabetically, not in priority order.

A is for Accountant

While the kids are at choir practice, I'm off in a little room of the church with my computer, calculator, and a file folder full of all the receipts that need to be entered into Quicken, our money management program. Since I have to handle all the accounting for LITHBTH on an almost daily basis, it only makes sense that I would also help out in this way with the family finances. When we sit down each year to do our taxes, I'm so thankful for the way that we keep all the records on the computer throughout the year. Preparing income taxes takes me about one hour. However, as you can see, keeping up with the books takes endless hours throughout the year. If only I could learn to do this on a more regular basis. Some of these receipts date back to pre-Christmas! Yikes!!
Okay, back to work . . .

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Crazy Kids

Having been inspired by Lynnette Kraft's blog entry today,
I decided to share some of the sillier pictures of my kids from 2008.

Here are Joshua & Shannon in a weightless condition
at the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland.

Actually, they were simply jumping up
while the camera caught them off the ground.
A pretty cool feature of one of the exhibits.
The Center even emailed the picture to me afterwards!

John is just plain goofy sometimes.
He was simply putting a pencil in front of his face,
using his hood to hold it in place--that's all.
No interesting story.
Just a funny picture.
Just John.

We were having lunch at the IKEA cafeteria one day,
and David was insisting that the kids eat their greens.
They wanted us to take a picture to document the fact
that they DO eat (and love) their veggies.

Outside IKEA there is a huge sculpture
in the shape of a chair.
Here is their "Thinker" pose on it.

For John's birthday he received a pocket knife.
What it had to do with hijacking his sister's birthday crown,
I'll never know.

While I was out one day, David grabbed the camera
and shot a whole collection of pictures
of the kids making funny faces.
Here's Shannon's "Precious Moments" shot.

One of them all together in a truly nice photo!

...and then 3 seconds later...

John broke his finger a few days after his birthday
and had to have surgery.
I thought the little blue hair cap was adorable.
He didn't!
Of course, that's a 13-year-old boy for you.

After the anesthesia wore off,
he didn't care what pictures I took.

Joshua was desperately in need of a hair cut
but was enjoying the effects of some serious hair gel on his mop.
Here is his "scary" pose.

David's glasses indicate
that Joshua had pretty accurate aim!

One would think from looking at this next picture
that this is simply a sweet, adorable little girl.
Shannon was my helpful assistant for my 50th birthday tea
I was hosting at a friend's house.
She was so ladylike all day,
enjoying a fun book quietly in a corner
while the ladies chatted the afternoon away . . . or so I thought!

When we weren't looking,
she snatched my camera
and tiptoed into the back room
to make a funny video of herself
discovering treasures on shelves
and in the bathroom.
Here's a picture she took of herself
--a real close up photo!

I didn't know she had even done this
until I uploaded the pictures
from the day onto my computer.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Eve 2009

We typically spend our New Year's Eve quietly at home, watching a movie or visiting with family, and blowing on conch shells or noisy tubes at the turning of the year. This year we decided to try something different and joined a group at a New Year's Eve dance. The Quick Step Social Dance Club consists of a group of home school kids who have an interest in ballroom dance, and who share their talents with others. What a terrific time we had!

Our evening started with a one-hour dance lesson taught by Kirby Gowen and his lovely assistant and sister, Zoe Gowen. In a large circle around the gym, we learned the basic waltz, two-step, swing, cha cha cha, and polka steps with a few spins and twirls to boot. For many this was but a review while for the rest of us this was either new (Joshua and Shannon) or return to long-lost memories from high school or college (David and Liz). Kirby was an amazing dance teacher.

Each time we learned a new dance step, the girls would rotate to the next male partner in the circle.

Once the lesson was completed, the dance floor was opened up, and everyone got to practice what we had just learned.

John chose to spend the majority of his evening reading...

...and bending over backwards, it would seem, to stay away from the dance floor.

As 2010 approached, the bottles of Martinelli's Apple Cider were opened, glasses filled, and the countdown started.

Welcome 2010!

Here's a short video we made of the evening. Be sure to pause the Playlist at the very bottom of this page before starting the video.