Easter Pictures

Though we’re a little late with this, we wanted to post some pictures from last Sunday’s Easter celebration. After a beautiful and uplifting service in the morning (the highlight of which for our kids was the rare “Children’s Sermon”), we were blessed to be joined by Mom and Dad Horne and our good friends the Clemmons for a bountiful supper and evening together. It was a beautiful day so after dinner the guys hid 50+ plastic eggs in our yard for which the 4 older children proceeded to “hunt”. This was quite an interesting scene to watch as certain of them were very intent upon egg-finding while others quite obviously had more important matters to attend to, such as keeping their cute floppy hats atop their precious strawberry blonde heads! It was such a delightful way to spend our day and we hope you’ll enjoy sharing it vicariously with us by way of the photos.

Comedians and Dictators

Wow. An oddly fun diversion: Guess the Dictator or Television Sit-Com Character (thanks to Jon for the link). It asks you a long string of yes/no questions and then spouts off regarding its superiority.

I win again! You are player number 330 to have chosen Doug Hefernan from King of Queens. I knew you were Doug Hefernan from King of Queens from the start, but I strung you along for a while to make it seem more sporting. I hope that one day you will overcome the powerful sense of humiliation that you now feel. Until then, good luck.

A Question of Life

Since reading on Christmas morning that 8 months pregnant Laci Peterson had disappeared, I have followed this story with hope that it might have a happy ending. As the weeks and then months wore on, that seemed highly unlikely. It seemed so horribly tragic to me that this young woman, about to give birth to her first child should vanish without a trace. As I’ve watched the events of the past week unfold I’ve been saddened further and deeply troubled to learn it is likely her husband may have been the one who ended her and her unborn son’s life prematurely. However, that point has not been decided and so I do not feel I should spend too much time dwelling on the question of Scott Peterson’s guilt or innocence.

What was interesting to me was the California prosecutors’ decision to charge the main suspect with a double homocide in this case. Though this is in keeping with California law, it still seemed a boon for the stance that an unborn baby is very much a person and that to end such a life warrants criminal prosecution. Of course, a New Jersey NOW chapter has already come forward to express indignation about said decision. Here is an article from the Daily Record (Mom, Dad, sibs, do you remember this newspaper?) which begins, “The head of the National Organization for Women’s Morris County chapter is opposing a double-murder charge in the Laci Peterson case, saying it could provide ammunition to the pro-life lobby…” Hmmmmm.

Read on, if you like. I think it will be interesting to watch this case unfold, esp as it pertains to the question of life before birth. Our nation continues to contradict itself with its approach to fetal life. It is incomprehensible to me how people can mourn the loss of this little unborn baby boy (which I think is highly appropriate given the extreme tragicness of his death) and yet condone the murder of millions of other little babies who also will never get the chance to meet their mothers and enjoy a life of their own. My prayer is that the case of Baby Connor and his mother Laci will stir some hearts to question what we as a nation allow to happen every day in our midst.

Individual Priorities

From John Frame’s The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God (emphasis his):

Because we are finite, we cannot keep all of God’s commandments simultaneously. Often our inability to do this produces false guilt. One sermon tells us to spend hours in prayer, another to feed the hungry, another to study the Bible intensively, another to evangelize our neighborhoods, another to catechize our children, another to become politically active. All of these seem to be based on biblical norms, yet we often feel overwhelmed by such huge demands on us. There simply are not enough hours in the day to do all that we are exhorted to do.

It is helpful to remember that when God commands us to pray, to evangelize, to help the poor, and so forth, He is speaking primarily to the church as a whole and only secondarily to each of us as individuals. These are works that the church must do. Each individual in the church must contribute toward their fulfillment. But how the individual contributes will depend on his gifts and calling. Not all of us are called to pray six hours a day or to ring doorbells in our neighborhoods or to start political movements. Each one of us, then, must prayerfully, under the guidance of Scripture, devise his own set of priorities among these communal norms. That sounds dangerous. How can there be “priorities” among ultimates? And how can a human being choose for himself what priorities he will give to God’s law? He can, because Scripture says that he can and must.

…So a study of priority structures in Scripture itself may not be sufficient to break through the impasse, but in such debates, it is often helpful for each party to consider (as, unfortunately, they rarely do) that the other is simply trying to follow priorities that are in part dictated by his own gifts and calling. If we were more aware of the need for such personal priority structures, it would help us to understand one another better, and it would help to foster church unity.

It seems to me that this statement, which I find very compelling, needs to be expanded to balance the notion of individual prioritization in the context of corporate goals. That is, as Frame states, the community is to be a certain sort of community, but the individuals will have a more limited function. One person is a foot, another a hand, and they all add up to the body. But the implicit line of thought in the quote above is that the individuals all individually determine which body part they will function as in the larger community. Yet if the community is the level at which the goals are met (e.g. be this sort of community even if every individual does not live out every aspect of the community), why is the setting of individual priorities strictly an individual activity? That may be the case, but it seems likely to me that there will a be corporate dimension to the very act of setting priorities.

Technical Difficulties

The main purpose of this entry to explain our lapse in blogging recently. We’ve had computer troubles of varying kinds and though the end is in sight we are still without our faithful link to the outside world. I’ll allow Jay to elaborate on all this at another time. Till we are up and blogging again, hello to all our faithful readers and visitors and we look forward to talking with you again soon.

Exodus Antagonist

In the return from Babylonian exile, the Samaritans played the role of antagonist. Implicit in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son seems to be a comparison between the Pharisees of his day to the Samaritans during the return from exile (via the role of the older brother). That has led me to wonder if the broader return from exile pattern in the Bible has parallels with the Samaritans. In thinking about the exodus from Egypt, it suddenly hit me that the Philistines were just that. They were in the land while Israel was in bondage, and then sought to thwart the Israelites as they laid claim to the promised land.

I guess the main reason I had missed the correspondence (assuming it is right) was that the return from exile, if the Philistines are to be given such a role, extends up to the kingdom era (i.e. through the books of Samuel).

I Stay In My Big Boy Bed!!

Is the cheery little announcement I hear each morning when I open the door to Jonathan’s room. There he sits, looking very tiny in the midst of his “big boy bed”, waiting patiently for Mommy or Daddy to get him up.

Even though we welcomed a new baby in July, we felt it was a bit early to move Jonathan out of his crib and into a big boy bed. Besides his age, there were so many other essential changes due to the arrival of a baby brother and already it was a rather rough time for Jonathan, who was still very much a baby himself!

Some kind friends of ours graciously loaned their lovely crib for us to use upstairs, since Nicolas would need the nursery crib. Thank you, Omases!! For 12 months now Jonathan has slept happily in their crib. We set up a twin bed in his new room, in addition to the crib. Several visitors have been able to use it when they stayed over at the house, but for the most part it has been decorative in nature, as well as a comfy place to pile on together for book reading times.

Not anymore! A couple of weeks ago Jonathan made a comment about how he’d like to go sleep in the bed in his room. Jay and I said something about “soon” and we left it at that thinking it might be a passing wish. But when Jonathan persisted we relented and last week I put him in bed for his nap in the big boy bed. Which he promptly climbed out of within about 5 minutes. We had a “talk” and I put him back in his crib. Next day he again requested the bed. We talked again about how we cannot jump out of our bed whenever we wish*** and that we must wait till Mommy comes to get us out, etc.

And, to our surprise and delight, he stayed! And has done beautifully for over a week now. When he wakes up, he reads his books or plays with his animals until we open the door. How nice to have a smooth transition to a new stage of life!

I have learned something from this little experience: instead of us choosing when something new would happen, Jonathan clearly indicated a desire to make the change himself, and though it wasn’t his first inclination to actually stay put in the bed, he seemed to have the desire to follow through with our parameters (ie, having to stay in the bed to keep the privilege) in order to remain in the big boy bed. And he is quite proud of his accomplishment.
***Some of you may wonder at our insistence that Jonathan stay put in his bed till we give him the “all clear” to get up. It has been our experience that children don’t always know when it is time to get up and if we tell them they may get up and play whenever they wake, their day may well start around 5am or other such ridiculously early hour. In addition, it is helpful to know that in general, we need not fear the preschoolers are wandering the halls, potentially getting themselves into some sort of trouble or accident. This is perhaps of greater importance now that we have stairs since they could get hurt if trying to navigate them in the dark. But even before we lived in a two-story home, we asked Abigail to remain in her bed till we got her up. She still does this, but since she is a lot bigger, she knows to get up and use the bathroom, for instance, if she needs and then head back to bed to either rest or read for a few minutes more.


We just had a surprise storm blow through. Sirens wailed while it was still calm, but things picked up pretty quickly. The first round of hail was pea-sized, though it made a tremendous amount of noise on our oversized windows. After a few minutes of calm, the next round of hail started pounding away on our roofs and windows. By this point the wind had whipped up to a ferocious level, driving the hail into our windows all the harder. As you can see from the photos, it was in the 2 inch range. At the end of that second round, a cloud more or less descended on the house, with ongoing rain, lightning, and thunder. Keep in mind that it is fairly warm in spite of all this ice!

Oops, Tricia just informed me we have a third round on the way in… perhaps I’ll have an update later if it proves interesting.

Baby Einstein

This past Christmas, Nicolas’ Aunt Jennifer and Uncle Mark gave him a Baby Einstein video entitled “Baby Beethoven”. For those of you not familiar with the Baby Einstein line of products, they range from books to video to cds to toys which are aimed at introducing babies and children to music, art, language, science and nature in playful, enriching ways. I’ve been aware of these products for some time now but never actually purchased any to use at home. How delighted I am that Jennifer thought to give this to Baby Nicolas. He, as well as his two older sibs absolutely love it and so does their Mommy! (Thank you Jennifer!)

I have always felt that exposing children to music from birth on, and helping them to learn to enjoy it is so important and here is yet another way we can do that. But the kids don’t necessarily realize they are being serenaded by some of Beethoven’s finest works; they just enjoy the pretty colors and shapes and little animals they see dancing and moving to the music.

Though I don’t advocate having kids sit in front of the tv for too long, this is one video we enjoy watching together, and it is also pleasant to listen to if I am cooking dinner in the next room, because it is rather soothing (unlike some children’s videos and music!).

Anyway, I will watch for some of the other Baby Einstein products in my travels and look forward to trying them out.