Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sleepy time

So here's the "end" result of my rant. (You knew I wasn't quite done, didn't you?)

Jessica shared a link that, should you feel the need to do something regarding the topics covered in my last two posts, will provide you with plenty of opportunities. Thanks, Jessica.

Hope your week is going well. We've had full, full days so far with MathLatinEnglishHistoryReading (breathe) SpellingArtHandwritingLogicWorshipmoreReading (gasp) plus the usual lessons, etc. There's another court date tomorrow morning (begging prayers, as usual) concurrent with my hauling the entire crowd in for flu shots (I found preservative free single doses at a local public health dept.). Wheeee! Dontcha wish you were me? Oh yes you do, you can admit it. (Alright, that sounds a little manic, doesn't it?) But wait, there's more.

A friend, another mama of five, sent flowers this week. They're technically from her family to mine, but I'm feeling rich and hugely blessed--having smashingly gorgeous roses on the table in a beautiful vase even while it snows outside. The card reads: Just wanted you to know that you are loved, thought of, and prayed for. Have a super wonderful day!!!

I'm thinking of asking her husband to check her back for wings.

Q has a special ed teacher coming to the house March 15th to evaluate his needs in social and cognitive development. The platform swing and bolster should have been ordered by now. The OT and I are bemused at this process. Apparently, the DDD should be paying for a lot of equipment and doing it more than a couple of items at a time. None of Q's therapists have heard of this "get something, use it a couple of weeks, get something else if the first set of stuff is working out" policy. After Q's unexpected and immediate success with the switch device during an OT visit, one wants to rush out and grab all useful equipment, especially since it seems that if these milestones are not met with more and increasing challenges in learning for Q, the steps and momentum are lost. It would be criminal to stymie the development of any child, but for Q everything is so hard won. . . He just needs the stuff he needs (like more than one kind and/or size of bolster), whether or not his needs come in pairs, spaced at regular intervals. Argh.

E finished a handwriting book this week and got to draw from "the prize bucket". G is closing in on the same (he gets to start calligraphy for real when he does) and he'll be starting a new math work book on Monday. S works herself through the oddest spurts in workbooks. She has a full year and a half before she'll "have" to do anything, but she's already most of the way through a bit of kindergarten, some first grade work, and was noticing tonight as I was reading Rilla of Ingleside aloud that A and B next to each other "come in age order". (Choke, splutter.) So we discussed what alphabetical order means and she giggled and giggled at letters lined up together just like their song! By this time, K was zonked. She'd had a big day--suddenly her spelling book is making loads of sense to her and she flew through two whole pages with only the smallest help from me. This plus plenty of memory work review and she'd had it, sweet girl.

I'm so glad the day is done and it's time for sleep. Q is in the living room, nearing the end of his two hour giggle and crow fest he's been carrying on with Grandma whilst I bedded down the other kiddoes. Baby laughter, belly laughs, chortles are a sweetly blessed way to end the day.

Thanks for thinking of us.

Sweet dreams to you and yours--prayers and extra kisses for your beloveds wherever they may be, whomever they are.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

P.S. to Yikes

So to address the underlying issues here...

I don't think that the world is, overall, so much drastically worse than ever before. Look at Sodom and Gomorrah, the old "nothing new under the sun" argument, etc. I don't think that the whole "slippery slope" notion necessarily holds a whole lot of water, either.

However, many of the people I know who've chosen to homeschool their kids (especially in a manner, if not completely classical, at least heavily influenced by the Trivium), have done so for nearly identical reasons (religious and social issues aside). . .

My grandfather is nearing the end of his tussle with Alzheimer's. A few years back, at the beginning of his loss of function, he was sitting in on our then first and third grade math session and began to remember aloud the way that he'd had to know math by the time he was done with high school. His class was required to mentally work vast columns of numbers, all the time, correctly, all of the pupils. While I'm sure there were some who weren't as able as others, it was the standard for the time.

Do you know anyone who has to do anything like this as part of their public schooling experience? I don't.

I wish I could remember the name of the person who discussed this particular issue--it's brain death, dontcha know. Dorothy Sayer, maybe? The idea was that society has coasted on it's educational capital for quite some time. Latin, higher math, Literature, are not taught in public schools (or most private schools) the same way that they were at the beginning of the last century. They may not be taught at all, certainly not in the lower grades. Yes, the necessary knowledge base has shifted. Yes, more people have access to education than before, but at what standard? That previously hard-won educational capital provided us with baseline assumptions of knowledge throughout society. Now? We're exhausting that capital, if it's not completely gone already. Minus the understanding of certain useful basic issues (math processes, vocabulary), it becomes impossible to have an intelligent conversation, much less accomplish anything that would genuinely further our function as a population.

It is my contention that something resembling the collective consciousness is replacing such useful information with a hollow capital, that of pop culture. The term "value" has become passe and even silly in certain contexts, but think about what it means. It is meant to communicate the worth of a particular thing. In this case, the culture places a great deal of value on having "fun", small fluffy dogs in totes and other odd accessories, and accumulation of eye shadow on one's person and in one's drawer. To what end? Do these things help a person comprehend mitosis? The process of a combustion engine? The definition of entropy? The inherent order in chaos theory? The cure for cancer? How to just be nice to other people? I can tell you that I've owned a lot of eyeshadow, and it's never done a thing to make me happy, smarter, more useful, or helped my socioeconomic position. (Not that there's anything wrong with eyeshadow, per se.)

I think that the saddest thing about the creep of pop culture is that it serves to further spread the gap between the classes. The people who possess knowledge are able to manipulate those who do not. This goes back at least as far as early Athens. The value placed on knowledge there served to protect individuals from the unscrupulous. As my former first grader said when we were studying this, "The people of Athens wanted to learn stuff so they could know who was telling them the truth or if they were just trying to get their stuff." Apart from a few altruistic souls, who will do that now?

In the same way that we are suffering a loss of understanding because of the dumbing down of our educational standards/opportunities, we are suffering a drop in standards of personal ethics. We do not exist in a vacuum--something must come to fill the space that a rigorous education, goals, ideals worth working for, have left. Apparently, it's name is Paris. Or Britney, train wreck that she appears to be. These girls wouldn't exist in the context they inhabit if there were not approval and desire for their behavior, be it tacit or implicit. Or, in the case of their parents, complicit. Because these children (and they are, whether or not they can legally imbibe or--help--vote) don't turn out this way without the people who are meant to guard the gate having left their posts.

Again, just because a child likes sugar by the bagful doesn't mean we give it to them. The same is true for brain candy. There are plenty of good options from which to choose. Even if I wouldn't pick a particular thing for my child that thing doesn't automatically become bad or evil. I don't believe this is about judgement on those around me. Truly. (Judgement is another word that's gotten a bad rap--what happens when we cease to use judgement? Anarchy. What happens when we use judgement on people to get between them and God? Shame on us.) I believe what makes this of particular importance now is: two things. First, we have actual research (cited below) with which to begin to address the impact of certain behaviors, choices, etc. Second, the incredible speed with which "news" travels. With the available media, one can easily, in the name of boredom/entertainment, know more about what a jackass (insert philandering celebrity name here) is than one knows about one's own family, never mind what one knows about chaos theory.

A perpetual fascination with trash leads people nowhere useful. Ever had a few chocolates right at dinnertime? Were you hungry for the spinach salad? Roasted potatoes? Or were you hungry for more chocolate? I argue that the same principle applies here.

Ahem. Rant over. I promise.

(We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming--more Q news coming.)

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Oh, God help us. Really.

I've been surfing, looking for articles, news stories, etc., based upon research recently released from the American Psychological Association regarding the early sexualization of girls. (Skim the report--it's 72 pages, not one word wasted.)

Read this. All six pages. Print it, copy it, distribute it. At church or coven, I don't care. The conversations we have with the minors we influence will continue to speak unto the seventh generation.

This is a short clip of a TV news story.

(Added: Also, view The Merchants of Cool. It's a Frontline piece. I watched it when it was airing the first time, about six years ago? I recently watched it again and was blown away by how much of the material has a.) become commonplace and b.) still shocks and horrifies me.)

This reading is agonizing, yes. Yes, it begs several questions. The most important, I believe, is for the manufacturer of Bratz dolls: At the end of your life, when it's time to tally up the good influence vs. the tepid vs. the evil, where does your contribution to civilization place you?

I believe that there are some acts which place a person out of range of receiving credit for their good works. The guy who did the best research to date (okay, last time I read about it was several years ago) on prions, specifically Creutzfeld-Jakob and mad cow, also had his career curtailed by accusations (and, I believe, a conviction) in the general category of pedophilia. See--that sort of thing just messes with progress. Now the guy can't get funding (duh) and we'll never know how we all might have benefitted from the work he'll never do. (For the strictly logical among us, this scenario represents pretty well what's known as an ad hominem attack. Too bad things work this way--or is it?)

Same thing with the jackass who manufactures the Bratz dolls. No amount of protestation about just giving the girls what they want (they like sugar by the bagful too, but nobody's arguing that, for goodness sake) can change the fact that he's changing who our children are (and for piles of filthy lucre, the twit). This stuff doesn't happen in a vacuum. You may well have put your darling child under glass somewhere, locked the kid safely in a tower, even. But how about the person bringing up the food--might they interact? The available clothing choices? Even the Abercrombie wimple has a logo. How about reading material? The village children who congregate beneath the tower window (after prayer meeting?) to discuss the latest escapades of their Bratz dolls or their mom's boyfriends? It creeps, baby.

Your children know a lot more about sex and what the implications are for them than they're telling you. No matter how you've tried to shield them. Chances are excellent that they believe things you don't want them believing, so go get inside their little heads. It's okay, you can do it--you're all grown up and in charge.

When you're done, you're welcome to come back and comment. We can sit and whimper together for awhile before getting back to parenting.

(Why didn't anyone mention this part as we were leaving the hospital with the little bundle?)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

From a Starbucks cup, now stuck on the fridge

The Way I See It #121

Isn't it funny that no matter what your political position, you're a conservative when it comes to what you want for your children? Both parties want to own them, even fringies extol them, but at heart, the values are conservative with a small "c" -- a happy, monogamous marriage, a wholesome environment, a reliable job and a loving relationship with the family.

--Diane Medved, Ph.D.
Psychologist and author of books on family, including The Case Against Divorce.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

In review. . .

Good morning! (I started writing this Sunday morning, it's now Monday evening, but hey. Whatever.)

What a week it's been. Monday I walked into Q's OT session so find that the nice DDD lady was there to watch what he could do and see what his needs are in terms of equipment. As a result, she'll be getting approval to pay for a platform swing and a bolster or two. Yippee! Also, when the OT was putting Q through his paces, she upped the ante by introducing a switch device. She recorded "swing, please" and "sing a song"--which were then represented by the big yellow and red buttons. He got the "swing, please" button three times consecutively with his forehead (he was holding the ropes on the swing with his hands--also a really big deal). The OT was surprised that he was so consistent, especially at the initial introduction. They're closed tomorrow for the holiday, but I'm anxious to get back and see what he can do next. Heh.

Tuesday Q drank water from a soft spout sippy cup. Yeehaw! I had been thinking that it was about time for this. He really could use some more liquids, since the solids have helped slow his digestion considerably (apparently typical for this type of brain damage). He got probably 1/3 cup, though he soaked the towel I had over his tum with his dribbles. Ha.

Wednesday I had mediation over the phone with the kids' dad. It was draining and I don't know what we accomplished, but it's over. (Irony, irony--Happy Valentine's day! Snort.) The older two had counseling appointments in the afternoon while my darling aunt kept the little girls. When we were done, we headed over to her place and had nachos before trundling off to Target. Where our tire went flat as I was in the midst of fever and chills. Yay. I love that we live on a planet that has made up AAA. We shopped while we waited for the nice man in the head-to-toe yellow suit to arrive. My uncle showed up too, which was really super because the spare was a leeettle low on air so he found us a gas station and directed us there before the tow guy had even left.

Thursday I developed a mild-ish sinus infection while our co-op friends were in the throes of rotavirus, which, thank God, has been more or less resolved with IV help. They seem to be getting lots better and, bonus, we seem to be showing no signs of it at all (fingers crossed, eyes heavenward). By then, Q was much better, having had a little upper respiratory virus on Tuesday which kept him fussy cranky all. day. looong. He went back to his regular nighttime routine of giggles and babbles when the house gets quiet. Love it.

Friday Q's PT was great--he worked hard, we got the ball rolling on adjustments for his Snug Seat (he needs some way to have toys up a bit because of his vision/positional issues), and I talked with the ST about more issues surrounding food and drink and development. We picked up the CD someone had left in one of S's library books (!) and came home to collapse in a heap, er, clean up the house. When I had completely had it, I sent the kids off for Quiet Reading Time, in which they go to their beds and look at/read/ listen to stories until I tell them to come out, that's what.

Yesterday we made it to church, in spite of the volume of green crud in my head and my fun little hot spot which looked a little like the beginnings of mastitis. Oy. After nursing the boy for now the third day in the oddest positions in order to aim his little chin just right, the heat and redness is gone, only a little lump remains. It's shrinking, too. (Why do I tell you this? Because I knew you'd want to know, of course. Go ahead, roll your eyes.) Whatever. Neither condition is contagious, so we went. We enjoyed it. We came home. We had changed clothes, had lunch, and went off to walk by the river with friends.

The forecast had been sun in the morning, rain in the afternoon, so we were hurrying. But? The breeze and clouds didn't kick up and roll in until the sun started to disappear. I hauled Q in the pack, which he loved and provided me with a fabulous calorie-blasting opportunity. Everyone else cavorted, gallavanted around the two mommies as we walked. It was, officially, a hoot.

This morning, Q kept reaching for and dropping a pair of white tennis shoes with navy laces. I kept picking them up and putting them back within reach and he kept hauling on the laces and throwing them on the floor. He was having fun. Hee.

I'll be back with more later in the week.

(Hope your week is off to a grand beginning.)

Monday, February 12, 2007


Because I am obsessive about this, here's some information for you. And? Whatever your state law happens to be, bear in mind that the laws of physics bend for no one. Thank you. I have to go take my meds now, lest the OCD become unbearable. Heh.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and American Academy of Pediatrics "Best Practice" Recommendations:

Infants need to remain rear facing until at least one year AND at least 20 lbs.

Keep the child in the convertible seat as long as they fall within the height/weight recommendations for the seat. Be careful not to graduate your child to the next seat too soon.

Booster seats, used with lap and shoulder belts, are recommended until the child is eight (8) years old unless they are 4' 9" tall. Be cautious not to graduate your child to a seat belt too soon.

Children 12 and under are safer in the back seat regardless of the presence of an air bag.

Always follow the manufacturers instructions and guidelines for both the safety seat and the vehicle.

For more information contact the Safety Restraint Coalition at:1-(800)-BUCK L UP (282-5587)

Sunday, February 11, 2007


I can't remember the last time I had so much space between posts. I must have been busy. Hmm. I wonder what I've been doing?

All week I've had things floating in my head that were oh so important to share, and now that I'm sitting here? It's gone. It's Swiss cheese, my brain. So sad.

Q's Prevacid dose was doubled this week. He seems to be less cranky about being horizontal, so I'm really happy about that. This translates into more time with him actually sleeping which is so nice that I'm not sure I can really tell you how I feel about it. Relief doesn't begin to do it justice. Perhaps it's that I feel more sane with more sleep for both of us?

Yesterday was a big day for all of us. The events of the day seemed to sort of tie up all sorts of things I've been thinking on. It all left me thinking about how weird and wonderful it is that God's universe conspires to pull information together, to lay certain issues at my feet, to teach me stuff I didn't think I'd need to know. And, then, to carry all my newfound whatever it is into newer, stranger avenues that I'd never have thought to peer down on my own.

Church was awesome. I'm hoping that someone will host an audio file of the sermon so I can share a link. I doubt that the rest of the planet will feel precisely the same way I did hearing his words, but what I got to hear of the sermon washed over me like a healing rain (with apologies to MW Smith).

The speaker grew up in Croatia as a secular Muslim. He talked about how his family would roast pork for Christmas and if they'd only had someone Jewish in the group, they could've had some good dancing for a Jewish festival. (This cracks me up--probably more than it should.) As a young man, he converted to Christianity and his family engaged in a group meltdown. His mother lost it, they called in all his ex-girlfriends to cajole him out of his new nuttiness. Nothing was working. Someone found the local Imam and brought him over, saying, rather too brightly, "You'll like him--he's vegetarian, like you!!"

So the Imam comes over and goes into the room where the beleaguered new Christian is awaiting this latest onslaught. He closes the door, sits down. They chat. The Imam says, "I'm so glad you're a believer." He gives him a few minutes to rest and then leaves.

Wow. I'm still thinking about what to do with that part of the story.

The rest of the sermon was great, too. Between the girls being off to practice in the children's choir, G being old enough to sit and really listen, and Q being happy just to snuggle, I actually got to hear most of it. The words blew open doors to new corridors of thought for me; really challenging what I take for granted in my belief. The speaker also spoke about how Christianity itself has become for many an idol that obscures the face of God and discourages earnest seeking.

We had potluck (always an adventure), then went on to make cards for seniors as part of an outreach program. While the ladies were starting that, a piano concert was beginning in the sanctuary. An hour of four hands on two pianos. G sat for all of it--there was a break in the middle, at which point he and his friends and Grandpa headed up to the balcony for a better view. The boys (11, 10, and a new friend, 8) all take lessons themselves, and so were rather more attentive than they might have been otherwise. I whispered to them between pieces in the first half that when I get to listen to music like this, it makes my fingers want to move with the notes. The 10 yr old turned to me a couple of minutes later and said, eyes wide, "My fingers are itching to play."


So I left the gentlemen to listen and headed into the chapel to glue ribbon and twizzle Prismacolor pencils. 'Twas a lovely little opportunity for creativity. We all felt renewed when we were done. Except maybe for my mom, whose responsibility it was to gather and haul all the supplies. When we were done, there were more than 60 cards to give.

While working on cards, I got to talking with a lovely new friend. She's nearing the end of her undergrad and looking into the future to an MD/PhD program. Her interests? Pretty much neurology, and the training of doctors. Both topics terribly close to home for me. We had a fascinating chat. She will be a brilliant physician and her patients will love her. I do not exaggerate.

Yesterday also brought unexpected contacts with old friends. One from high school, one from college. Odd, the way these things happen, isn't it? One's just toodling along, and suddenly, ta da! A blast from the past, as it were.

We finally had all our stuff loaded up and headed home. As we were flying down the freeway, Switchfoot's song "This is your life" came on the radio. It was a fitting soundtrack to what I've been ruminating on these days.

This is your life
Are you who you want to be?
This is your life
Is it everything you've dreamed it would be
When the world was younger and you had everything to lose?
Don't close your eyes
Don't close your eyes. . .

I suppose one could make the argument that those words are scary. That those thoughts and questions open the door to discontent. I don't choose that fork in the path. There seems to be something about the planet, this age, this place in life that has brought on an en masse mid-life crisis. There's a lot to question. But looking around and realizing that nothing is as easy, shiny, or outright fun as we thought it should have become by now, what with all this gut-busting work we've poured into our lives, should not be cause for despair.

We're still drawing breath. We still have the power to choose our outlook, our impact, our legacy. Self-determination is a gift. Not everyone seems to be capable of using it well. But most of us are. It is an exciting thing, to dwell in this land of possibility.

This last week many people were questioning why the death of Anna Nicole Smith qualified as a news story. What makes it so riveting (if not, in fact, actual news) are the facts that a.) but for the grace of God/genetics/upbringing/whatever, there go all of us, and we know and fear it, b.) an innocent babe now has the demise of her mother to steer much in her life, and most of all, c.) with her death, Ms. Smith's options just disappeared. No more new beginnings. No chance to redeem her own life through raising a little girl into a good, functional woman. She's done.

But we're not.

Life is a big fat mess. It always will be. If it were any other way, it would be a lot less fun. Can you imagine experiencing love in a sterile setting? No puddingy kisses from toddlers, no nursing of babies, no sobbing and rejoicing together over the new, hard, great stuff of preadolescence, no (ahem) sticky, sweaty, private scenes between lovers. The mess of life is part of what makes the experience lush. It helps us to be who we are. The highs, the lows, the static. It's the stuff of quiet grandeur. It's what makes revelling possible, desirable, worthwhile.

(And now, to analyze it to death. . .) The problem arises when we crave the high of the revelling but want to experience it without any of the negotiation, the trade-offs, the goo. We create trouble when we can't manage the messy parts but go on to make choices that allow us to justify turning our backs on the great stuff that lies in the midst of the mess.

Relationship difficulties of all stripes seem to be figuring heavily just now for many people in my generation. I think we're looking around, wondering if we're who we thought we'd be, who and where we wanted to be at this point in our personal time lines. Discovering that we're not, that our expectations (based largely on tabloid/marketing-driven false assumptions) have come no where near to being met, an alarming number of us choose discontent over grace.

This negativity becomes wearing. If the only time we avert our gaze from our own navels is to make negative comments on the people, systems, material around us, we and the folks we are in relationship with would be better off were we to stick with our navels. Thankfully, those are not our only options. How about focusing on the good?

Of course you have plenty to be annoyed about, no argument there. Don't we all? But how about just noticing the positive? While conscientiously letting your spouse off the hook for the way he or she hangs the toilet paper roll, you know, just to spite you, set your standard a little higher. Put some things in the plus column. Like what a great mom she is, pushing herself even when she's so tired her eyes hurt. Like the fact that he filled your car with gas last night so you wouldn't have to do it in the rush to your early morning appointment. Like the fact that she always leaves a mocha protein drink in the fridge for you to take with you when you're out the door at 4:30 am. Like the way he snuggles your babies, tenderly, even when they're just resting up between puking sessions.

And how about the kids? My focus is usually on whether or not we have clean faces, hands, combed hair, clean clothes, good behavior. I too rarely catch mine being good. I do not often enough tell them how much I love them just for being who they are (another point from yesterday's sermon), even if they haven't done everything perfectly. When I do this consistently, they glow. They respond to me more quickly, no matter what I'm asking of them. They fight less between themselves. They are more able to be in our relationship because they are valued and they know it in their bones.

I'd like to urge you (and then I'd like you in turn to urge those around you) to find the really great stuff in the midst of the craziness. Of course this doesn't mean that you should give up your attempts to reduce the chaos, be it physical or relational, wherever you encounter it. We don't benefit from wallowing in muck of any kind--that becomes a soul-sucking situation of it's own. What it does mean is that while still struggling to maintain order and organization, you might have to recognize that you only get so much real control; that whatever happens on this planet, chaos of some sort will persist. But it cannot, without our permission, obscure the loveliness that occurs right in front of us, beginning at about fifteen degrees in either direction from our navels.

So Happy Valentine's day. Go get dirty--really, really dirty--and then tell everyone how happy it's made you to be able to revel in the moments you have with them. Write it on a Post-it, rent a plane to pull a banner, whatever. Just say it; don't assume they know.

Yeah, you can take a shower after--remember to wash behind your ears. I hear that's where the pudding hides.

Hugs and kisses.

Friday, February 02, 2007


Since I'm up odd hours nursing/burping/medicating, I am afforded the unique opportunity of viewing some very interesting things on television. When E was tiny, colicky, and up in the middle of the night, I watched parts of Bill Moyers' Genesis series on PBS--conversations with various clergy about the first book of the Bible. I've had similar experiences with each child when they were newborns, but Q's patterns or lack thereof have extended this phase of rocking, patting, watching late night tv for me by quite a bit this time around.

The other night, I watched with my heart in my throat. Ed Artis is part of Knightsbridge, a sort of human force of nature. I don't really understand how they came to be, or frankly, how they can do what they do, but these men are truly determined to make a difference. God help them, they seem to be making a serious impact. Watching this film made me want to do something. (If you can find and view the film online, do so. It's worth it.) (Side note: Apparently, he is not without his detractors. However, nothing I read while researching him led me to believe the projects he and his buddies undertake are anything other than what they appear to be.)

On Thursday, I mailed 50 Valentines to Iraq, 50 to Afghanistan, with the help of this site. On her way home from work the other day, my mom had heard some guys on the radio noting the fact that 70% of our deployed troops never get any mail. Well, that's not okay.

We've been looking for something to do for a service project with the Cottage School. 'Twould seem God dropped one in our laps. Each month, for the rest of the year, we'll be putting together care packages, writing letters, making cards for men and women who are alone, in need, and in the service of our country. Whatever one may think/feel about what's going on in the Middle East, our military people could use some blankets, pillows, socks, jerky, conditioner. We're going to drip our drops into the bucket here, and, along with some other nice people, we hope to fill a whole five gallon bucket and alleviate a little of the nagging concerns of some men and women in uniform.

One of the striking things about looking at the soldier's needs listed on the site is that some of them mention that their groups would like to do something for the people where they're serving. Yeah. People who are being fired on want to collect clothes for the kids of the people they work with. Pretty high contrast to the self-absorbed, impatient children of God found in traffic here. (Deep breaths, calming down. Ahhhhh. . .)

I find myself challenged; if those in the middle of war can be cognizant of the needs of the people around them, perhaps I could raise the bar for myself just a wee bit.

I believe that simply observing these kinds of acts change who we are at our core. I believe we have a God given mandate to then sit up, take notice, be changed, and go out of our way to do something. I put effort into raising my children with this philosophy central to their very identity. I suppose it goes to the idea of faith without works being dead? But it feels like so much more than that.

If, as a Christian, I cannot (or will not) extend myself past my comfort zone to pause, be inconvenienced, reach out to a fellow human being, what kind of grace do I dare expect from heaven? What business do I have claiming to be a follower of Christ's teachings?

I could go on all night, but seeing that it took me three hours to get this much down between the Q burping and patting sessions, and he's down for the third time--this one looking like it'll stick--I'm going to bed.

After you read, come back and tell me what you think.