Friday, March 28, 2008

New Topic!

I am going to change the subject in a big way (hopefully diverting all attention away from Samantha, the 18 year old model, eek!)

I have been reading alot lately and also listening to some CD's from Vision Forum that we have had for a while. Now that I am using the treadmill in the morning (yes, I have been using it every weekday morning!) I have time to listen to them. I actually get to concentrate on what has been said when I let the kids watch a video while I am exercising. Usually I use the time for some kiddie training in sitting still, playing quietly for a half hour. This means much more work for me and many more interruptions of the aforementioned aerobic activity, but I don't feel as guilty about it!

My mind has been swimming with all sorts of countercultural, fundamental, and very unpopular topics in Christendom. I have wanted to review some of the books I have read, but know how opposed so many Christians are to the ideas (let alone those who do not use the Bible to guide their lives). Christianity today seems to be plagued by a desire to live a comfortable, easy life in the name of "Christian liberty" and "freedom." We interpret simple, straightforward passages of Scripture to suit our selfish desires. We take 5 verses out of context to back our agenda. We create doctrines that so confuse the believer that they turn from the truths of the Gospel out of despair and exasperation. We preach God's redemptive love to the world, but don't love our brother. We are afraid of iron sharpening iron and lovingly calling our brother to account. We are immediately defensive and unwilling to allow the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to our sin and lead us to repentance. We are afraid to live the life that God calls men, women, and children to live for His glory because it makes us different and weird to those around us. We have lost sight of God's plan for husbands, wives, sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers, brothers, and sisters.

Thankfully, God always leaves a remnant. There are a small number of leaders in the church today that are calling for revival, calling for a turn from the world and her deceptive ways. Being like the world does not make us relevant TO the world. It does the opposite. Those without God are looking for something to fill the empty depths of their longing heart. The created will always have a need for the Creator. What do we offer those who are broken and dying? Do we offer the saving grace of Jesus Christ? Or do we offer a life no different than their own. Do we offer a gospel of prosperity? Follow the Lord and you will be rich, successful, and have a perfect life. Do we offer the Bible as the ultimate authority to life, or do we pick and choose what we like and argue away the rest? Are we willing to ask the tough questions, or are we too worried of offending? If we don't call sin what it is, what did Jesus have to die for? Did Jesus die so that we could have the "freedom" to wear a bikini to the beach? Did he pay the ultimate price so that women could be leaders of men in the church? Was the veil broken in two so that children could now be rebellious to their parents because they were born "strong willed"?

I heard a question recently that has me thinking. It was something like, "If you lived on a desert island with nothing but the Bible to guide your life, would you live differently than you do now?" Have we let the world tell us how we should live, or do we base all of our decisions on what will bring glory to God? What was God's plan for the family? What does He desire for fathers? Mothers? Children? Can we even answer these questions with Scripture? Does the Bible give us clear answers or do we really believe what some say about It being contradictory? Is the Old Testament completely irrelevant and at odds to the New Testament church? Do we have problems in modernity that the early church never had to face? Do any of Paul's letters to Corinth or Ephesus point to any problems in churches today?

Okay, okay, that was alot of questions, but a very small glimpse into my thoughts of late. Feel free to answer or give your opinion to any of these questions. I think I may delve into some of them in later posts. If any of these topics interest you, let me know if you want me to address them. I am really a proponent of living life thoughtfully, not just going with the flow and doing what everyone else is doing. I think being reflective and holding my life up to the sanctifying power of Scripture is an important discipline. I pray the Holy Spirit will shed light on your life as well as you live to serve the Almighty God.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

4 Things

Due to my lack of creative blogging lately, I will consider myself tagged by Kristen and reveal the following things about myself:

Four jobs I have had in my life:
-McDonalds (By far the WORST job I have ever had!)
-Nanny (I was a nanny for 4 different families over a 5 year period)
-Counselor at a crisis pregnancy center (by far the best job I have ever had!)
(I have also worked at the jewelry counter at Kmart, as a waitress, bartender at a golf course, secretary for an accountant, Blockbuster video store) I am sure glad to be a stay at home mamma with that list of mostly awful jobs!

Four movies I've watched more than once:
-Pride and Prejudice
-Sense and Sensibility
-The Princess Bride

Four places I've lived (I have moved a lot, so I will list 4 of the states I have lived in):
(I have also lived in Oklahoma and currently Washington!)

Four TV shows I watch:
-America’s Test Kitchen
-Martha (occasionally)

Four places I have been (other than ones I have lived in):
-Mexico (2 summers at an orphanage south of Ensenada)
-All of the states along Route 66
-Maui, Kauai, the Big Island

Four places I want to go someday:
-Back to Hawaii
-Anywhere and everywhere in Europe
-Patagonia (odd, but I saw a really cool documentary on it)

Four favorite foods:
-Chicken Tamales
-Chile Verde with homemade tortillas
-Anything with gluten, eggs or dairy that I can’t eat anymore due to food allergies!

Four places I'd rather be right now:
-Kailua Beach Park eating a foccacia bread sandwich from Kalapawai Market (a little specific I know)
-A remote mountain cabin with big windows overlooking the forest on a cold night in front of a fire (a cabin that has running water and electricity!)
-Skiing in the Swiss Alps with Jeromy (and being able to keep up with him!)
-Eating my way through Tuscany

Four things I'm looking forward to this year:
-Seeing Ellie learn to walk, talk, and grow
-Teaching Bennett to read
-Camping with my family and friends
-Alone time with Jeromy

Four places I love to shop (I don’t like to shop, but if I had to because I was given a $500 gift card):
-Gymboree (obviously for my kids)
-Eddie Bauer or Lands End online stores
-Value Village (I love a bargain!)
-I can’t come up with anywhere else (I am 5’11” , so it is hard to find clothes that fit well that are feminine and modest at the same time.) I do like perusing the health food store and the health food section at Fred Meyers if that counts!

Consider yourself "tagged" if you haven't blogged recently enough for your loyal readers or haven't done anything interesting enough to blog about :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


As I was getting Rachel into her carseat, the following conversation took place.

RACHEL: Buckle your seatbelt every time so that you are safe.

ME: Who told you that, Rachel?


(No, Rachel has never seen Star Wars, and as far as I know, has never been introduced to Yoda and shouldn't know who he/it is. Hee, hee)

Later while we were driving.....

RACHEL: There's the American flag!

BENNETT: How come there are so many American flags around?

ME: There are so many American flags because we are in America.

RACHEL: Ellie is an American.

BENNETT: Yeah, a small, tiny American.

RACHEL: When Ellie is big she can have Jelly Bellies!

(At least she has her priorities straight!)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Playhouse

Bennett and Rachel received a wonderful combined birthday gift from Pop and Popgrandma. It is the cutest little playhouse, and the kids have been playing in it non-stop since they got it. They make all sorts of food in the kitchen, play restaurant and store in it and one day it was a firehouse. It is so much fun watching them be so creative with imaginative play. (They got it at Costco if any of you are interested in one.)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Pre-Birthday Celebration

Bennett's birthday isn't until next month, but since Jeromy's parents were in town this last week, he decided to take us for a little pre-birthday celebration at Chuck-E-Cheese. The kids are always excited about a trip there, and Ellie enjoyed her first visit as well. We had leftover tokens from our last visit, and we ate before we went, so it was cheap entertainment! We told Bennett that we wouldn't take him to Disneyland until he could go into the Chuck-E-Cheese room and listen to all the guys do their little show. He has always been scared of it in the past, but he really wants to go to Disneyland, so he was extremely brave and realized that it wasn't scary at all. Rachel looks to Bennett whether or not she should be scared, and since he liked it, she did too. They are so funny that way.

Roley Poley

I love the baby stage where you don't know where you will find your little one in their crib. Will she be on her back, on her belly, 180 degrees from where you left her. Ellie is rolling around in full force now, which is about time! She will be 6 months on the 28th. I can't believe it! She still seems so little to me because she doesn't do as much as her older siblings did at this age. I am enjoying my baby who likes being a baby. I don't feel like she is frustrated and trying her hardest to get bigger and older as fast as she can like Bennett did. She is just enjoying life, being carried around, and watching the world go round. We sure love our baby and hope she will stay little for a while longer!

My kids love hearing on the baby monitor (we have the kind with a walkie talkie feature) that Ellie and I are awake and ready to cuddle. They both tear upstairs with blankies in tow for some cuddle time with mamma and baby. It is my favorite time of the day (bedtime is my other favorite- mine, not theirs :o) )

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Another Keulen Wedding

We were so blessed to attend the wedding of Bob Keulen and Molly on Saturday. Molly is from Oregon, so we loaded up the van, pried the children out of bed, and started the 5 1/2 hour drive south bright and early Saturday morning. We had never driven that far with Ellie, and were a bit nervous on how she would travel, but all the children did so well. The Keulens are a wonderful family that we had the privilege of being friends with in CA. They even let us move into their rental house for a few months before we moved to WA. They have been such a good example of a godly family for our new, starting out family, and we miss them!

I did a horrible job taking pictures at the wedding. I had to stand in the back with Ellie, so that she wouldn't cry, during the ceremony, so I didn't get any pictures in the church. I wasn't worried because I figured I would be able to get a whole bunch at the reception. Taking pictures while holding a 5 1/2 month old, grabby baby is very difficult! That coupled with wanting to visit with families that we didn't know were going to make the trip up made the picture taking effort even weaker. At one point during the reception I realized it was getting late and I hadn't taken a single picture, so I whipped out the camera and started shooting whatever I could from my chair using the zoom on my camera. The pictures came out grainy and unclear, and I was pretty disappointed. It was a wonderful time getting to visit with the Keulens and the Fruins, who recently moved to Mexico with their 9 children to work with a couple orphanages.

The ONLY picture of Bob and Molly together that I got. Molly had been really sick recently and had cracked ribs due to all the coughing she had been doing. Isn't that sad on a wedding day?!

Sandra Fruin trying to NOT get her picture taken.

Ellie Belly sitting on my lap as she did ALL day!

Three of the seven Keulen sisters (Beth, Faith, and Ruth) sang, harmonized and played instruments for their newly married brother. They were really good!

This adorable couple is the reason for my title, "Another Keulen wedding." They got married two Saturdays ago in CA. Jenny is such a wonderful woman, and I am so happy that the Lord blessed her with a husband. She will be an amazing wife. I wish I was as prepared to marry as she was raised to be.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Blogging...Um, No.

I am not counting this as an actual blog post. What is it then? Not sure, but this is just an update to say that I have been busy and haven't felt much like blogging. I was sick for a week and then had laryngitis for a whole week (yes, my family enjoyed my silence!) and now I am playing catch up and actually planning ahead. I have been freezer cooking and stocking up meals (I recently checked out some once a month cooking books), baking our own gluten/egg/dairy- free bread/muffins/rolls/goodies (I also checked out some gluten-free cookbooks to get some new recipes), gone through kids clothes to figure out if they need anything for spring/summer and put away the too small stuff, ect., etc., etc.

We have a busy month and a half ahead of us, so I will have lots of pictures and things to post. Jeromy's parents are here on Saturday. We will actually be out of town at a wedding, but will see them on Sunday. Lots of fun, talk to you soon!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Elephant in the Room: Obama: A harsh ideologue hidden by a feel-good image

By Rick Santorum

American voters will choose between two candidates this election year.
One inspires hope for a brighter, better tomorrow. His rhetoric makes us feel we are, indeed, one nation indivisible - indivisible by ideology or religion, indivisible by race or creed. It is rhetoric of hope and change and possibility. It's inspiring. This candidate can make you just plain feel good to be American.

The other candidate, by contrast, is one of the Senate's fiercest partisans. This senator reflexively sides with the party's extreme wing. There's no record of working with the other side of the aisle. None. It's basically been my way or the highway, combined with a sanctimoniousness that breeds contempt among those on the other side of any issue.

Which of these two candidates should be our next president? The choice is clear, right?

Wrong, because they're both the same man - Barack Obama.

Granted, the first-term Illinois senator's lofty rhetoric of bipartisanship, unity, hope and change makes everyone feel good. But it's becoming increasingly clear that his grand campaign rhetoric does not match his partisan, ideological record. The nonpartisan National Journal, for example, recently rated Obama the Senate's most liberal member. That's besting some tough competition from orthodox liberals such as Ted Kennedy and Barbara Boxer.

John McCain's campaign and conservative pundits have listed the numerous times in Obama's short Senate career where he sided with the extremes in his party against broadly supported compromises on issues such as immigration, ethics reform, terrorist surveillance and war funding. Fighting on the fringe with a handful of liberals is one thing, but consider his position on an issue that passed both houses of Congress unanimously in 2002.

That bill was the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. During the partial-birth abortion debate, Congress heard testimony about babies that had survived attempted late-term abortions. Nurses testified that these preterm living, breathing babies were being thrown into medical waste bins to die or being "terminated" outside the womb. With the baby now completely separated from the mother, it was impossible to argue that the health or life of the mother was in jeopardy by giving her baby appropriate medical treatment.

The act simply prohibited the killing of a baby born alive. To address the concerns of pro-choice lawmakers, the bill included language that said nothing "shall be construed to affirm, deny, expand or contract any legal status or legal right" of the baby. In other words, the bill wasn't intruding on Roe v. Wade.

Who would oppose a bill that said you couldn't kill a baby who was born? Not Kennedy, Boxer or Hillary Rodham Clinton. Not even the hard-core National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL). Obama, however, is another story. The year after the Born Alive Infants Protection Act became federal law in 2002, identical language was considered in a committee of the Illinois Senate. It was defeated with the committee's chairman, Obama, leading the opposition.

Let's be clear about what Obama did, once in 2003 and twice before that. He effectively voted for infanticide. He voted to allow doctors to deny medically appropriate treatment or, worse yet, actively kill a completely delivered living baby. Infanticide - I wonder if he'll add this to the list of changes in his next victory speech and if the crowd will roar: "Yes, we can."

How could someone possibly justify such a vote? In March 2001, Obama was the sole speaker in opposition to the bill on the floor of the Illinois Senate. He said: "We're saying they are persons entitled to the kinds of protections provided to a child, a 9-month child delivered to term. I mean, it would essentially bar abortions, because the equal-protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child." So according to Obama, "they," babies who survive abortions or any other preterm newborns, should be permitted to be killed because giving legal protection to preterm newborns would have the effect of banning all abortions.

Justifying the killing of newborn babies is deeply troubling, but just as striking is his rigid adherence to doctrinaire liberalism. Apparently, the "audacity of hope" is limited only to those babies born at full term and beyond. Worse, given his support for late-term partial-birth abortions that supporters argued were necessary to end the life of genetically imperfect children, it may be more accurate to say the audacity of hope applies only to those babies born healthy at full term.

Obama's supporters say his rhetoric makes them believe again.

Is this the kind of change and leader you believe in?

(Samantha's Soapbox: I believe that all children deserve the right to live, whether or not their parents want them. The most selfless act a parent can make when they cannot or do not want to raise their child is give him/her to a family who does. "Genetically imperfect children" deserve a right to live just as a "healthy" child does. The killing of babies in any capacity is reprehensible whether or not the baby is inside or outside of the womb. Age and geography does not make a baby any less of a human being deserving of life. Doctors agree that babies in-utero feel pain. The morality of a country can be seen in how they treat those that are vulnerable and helpless. Our country puts our elderly in "homes" to die and kills a large amount of our children, especially the african-american ones. This is a very sad picture of where we are as a country.)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Ebates Really Works!

I joined Ebates before Christmas because I knew that I was going to be making online purchases, and I wanted some good discounts. I found just that with Ebates. I wasn't too sure if it was going to pay off all that much, and I didn't love the fact that you only get a check every quarter, but I have decided that it is such a great service that I am recommending it to all of you! How it works:

1. Click on "Ebates" in this post and it will take you to the website where you will sign up with a new username and password. You will get $5 just for signing up and signing up before the end of March will get you an extra $5. (Disclaimer: I will also get $10 if you sign up and make an online purchase through Ebates before the end of March.)
2. When I know that I am looking for something in particular online, I go to the Ebates site and check how much cashback they are offering at different stores. It is usually a percentage of your purchase and differs from store to store. They have a daily double that gives you double back for that store on that day. Sometimes they have double back on all their stores. (I bought my leather boots at and got 12% back on my purchase on a day that had double cash back!)
3. When you want to make a purchase online, go to the Ebates website and put the store name in the search field. When the name comes up, click on it and Ebates will take you directly to the site and you make your purchase just like normal.
4. Ebates will credit your account within a couple of days.

I got my first check last week for $84.96. I always like getting free money for things that I was going to purchase anyway. They not only offer cashback, but often have promotional codes to get free shipping too. If you do alot of online shopping like I do, SIGN UP FOR EBATES. You will love it when you get your first check in the mail! Okay, I will end the commercial now.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Global Warming

I read an interesting article on global warming today, or should I say "global cooling", since that is what scientists say is currently happening. The more interesting discussion in the article is about the economic ramifications of legislating a "science" that scientists can't agree on. I have a problem when "facts" are given by scientists that have a margin of error that is the same amount as the measurement itself.