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It’s Time

Time to stop and settle down and ….

just breathe.

I feel like the last six months have been a blur and at the same time full of slow-motion moments. Strange how life can be like that. I just re-read my last post from…waaaaay back. A lot’s happened since then.

We live in Texas. I hear my kids picking up a twang now and then (nnnoooooooooo!) I drive a minivan. My husband has regular work hours. My kids go to school with a PTA and fundraisers and all kinds of stuff that I remember from my own schooling and yet so many things that I don’t remember because it was a different time.

Soon I’ll post some stuff that is different. Sort of as a way to get myself back into blogging world by finding something easy to write about.

‘Cause what’s easier to write about than differences? 🙂

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Father’s Day

What my Dad taught me: don’t be a quitter, always get back up and back out there and never lose your sense of humor!

Dad during one of his favorite pastimes

Commitment

I wanted to share this video and article published by the Christian Chronicle of recent goings-on at Harding University. I started to write a status update on Facebook about this, but it started getting out of hand, so I thought it warranted a blog post 🙂

I want to say now that you are welcome to disagree with me in the comments section. I’m cool with that, but your comment will be deleted if it’s profane or bullying or downright mean. Just sayin’.

I’m simply writing this because I want to say I admire President Burks for staying committed to his beliefs. If you read the  in the Christian Chronicle: http://www.christianchronicle.org/blog/2011/03/harding-university-defends-decision-to-block-website/  and the rest of the article of what’s going on, you will get a better picture of what I’m talking about. Here’s the video:

You may not agree with Hardings or Burks views on homosexuality, or whether or not scripture is God-breathed or even Hardings policies on suspending people who have sex outside of marriage, bullying or ‘unacceptable behavior.’ Then again, you might agree. Let me just go ahead and expose myself by saying I do agree.

But that’s not really what struck me about this situation. I admire their commitment. Harding University was founded on biblical principles and has never tried to disguise that fact. Quite the opposite. I know of other universities, institutions, organizations and individuals who cave at the first sign of pressure from the public. What’s even harder is when you’re being pressured by your own family…in Harding’s case, it’s students. The fact is, it’s right there from the tagline on their website “Faith Learning Living” to their explanatory mission. I agree with Burk that you are entitled to think what you want to think. You’re entitled to believe what you want to believe. But an organization that is founded on certain principles and expects their students to obey their guidelines as a private university is, in my opinion weaker if they give in and backtrack on their resolve just because people want them to. Just because students no longer want to follow those guidelines doesn’t mean the university should change…it means they should go somewhere where they DO agree with the principles. Just like if you don’t like this blog you don’t have to stay and here and try to push hurtful comments through. Go to another blog where they’re welcome.

But I said it wasn’t all about who stands where and so I’ll get back on track. I see so many divorces. I see so many children rejecting their own families…because of trend not because of abuse or legitimate reason. I see “news” giving in to what the public wants – reality tv – and broadcasting more and more sensationalism instead of information. I see parents being swayed by one parenting fad after another instead of committing to parenting their children based on their true beliefs. I see parents giving up altogether on parenting and letting society do it instead. I especially notice Christians when they allow themselves to be sucked out of their commitment to live as Jesus lived.

All because people don’t want them to. All because of opinion. Before I close and condemn myself in some people’s eyes altogether I just want to say first that that does not mean I believe you can’t change your mind. I change my mind, sure…after careful thought and consideration. I listen and I observe. I don’t believe in turning a blind eye and I don’t believe in trying to live in ignorance just to seek bliss. But I do think that if you commit to something…then you commit. Did you see that period?

I committed to being a Christian 14 years ago. That was a big commitment and one I didn’t take lightly. I admire Burks. I admire him because he knows what he stands for. He knows what the university stands for. I couldn’t be happier to see such a display of commitment among all the students and public who are trying to adapt one organization’s belief system to their own.

End-of-Year Blues

I feel like Clapton should be playing right now.  It’s two days to New Year’s Eve and I’m in my typical reflective, melancholy mood.  I’m not sure why this happens the last week of each year, but maybe it’s a good thing…the reflective part anyway.  I think maybe it’s because I wonder, once again, if I’ve really done my best.  If I’ve reached my potential in the last year.  The answers are obviously no and no.  Isn’t it a statistic somewhere that we use only 10 percent of our brains?  So already, I’m up a creek.  🙂 There are so many areas, my family life, work life and most importantly my spiritual life that need work.  Serious work.  But even though I could make a list of things that I could have done better…it’s too personal for this venue. 😉  So, I think what I’ll do is skip to the end of the week as if it’s New Year’s Day.  On New Year’s Day my melancholy always lifts with the fireworks and the happy smiles and kisses all around and I think “this year, I’m going to do better!”  I hope I do better, says the back of my brain.  But I think that’s how God in his perfect wisdom gives us progress.  Progress is not jumping from Junior Secretary to CEO overnight.  It’s not becoming the perfect wife in the first week of marriage or even *sigh* being the perfect mom to three kids, even though I’m on the third go ’round now and you’d think I’d have it figured out!  His timing is perfect and the baby steps we make each year are taking us forward in degrees that we can handle.  We have setbacks and times when we wonder “am I ever going to learn?”  “Am I ever going to figure this out before it’s too late?”  Maybe.  But that’s not the point.  The point is to keep trying.  Keep starting over each New Year’s Day and keep being positive.  This year is my year.  Yes, I can legitimately say that every year, because each year is a year of progress in some area of my life.  And though I’m too private to share my personal progresses with the world in general on a blog, I’ll be thinking of the things we’ve been through this year, good and bad, progresses we’ve made and areas we want to do better in.  This year of 2011 will bring big changes in the Carroll family. We’re uprooting ourselves and moving to the States in July.   Though we’re preparing as best we can, there is still a big question mark looming out there and I can tell that 2011 will be a year of significance in our family.  But with God’s good guidance we’ve made it this far, which is something to celebrate!  So throw the confetti, pop the corks, light the fireworks and give thanks to the Almighty for the chances we’ve been given and for the hope we have for the future.

Welcome, 2011.

 

 

From Date Night to Hospital Trip

Well, date nights don’t happen that often at our house, unfortunately, which is why we were really looking forward to a fun night out with a couple of friends we haven’t spent time with in a while.  We had a friend come over to babysit and no sooner had she arrived than I heard a piercing scream from the boys room and I came out to see Chris holding his arm and yelling at the top of his lungs.  My first thought was, “he must have fallen off the top bunk!”

He said he was standing by the bunk bed jumping up and trying to grab Alex’s slippers off of his feet, which were dangling down from the top bunk.  I guess he lost his balance when he jumped one time and slipped and landed on his wrist with his hand bent under his arm instead of out.  There was hardly any swelling at all, and we were ready to leave to go out (I mean, we hardly ever go out!), so we almost didn’t take him, but he was carrying on about it for at least 15 min and something told me there was more to the injury than just spraining it or something…plus I’ve heard that there is sometimes no swelling when its just a break and no ligaments or tendons are hurt.  He hardly EVER whines about being hurt past 2 minutes, so we had a clue.  At first the doctor thought it would just be maybe a small fracture and he could wear a wrist brace, but the break was bigger than they thought; he has a break on the big bone of the left arm near the wrist, so they put a top cast on his wrist and halfway up his forearm.  That means the cast is only on the top half of his arm and not on the underside.  So it’s like a cast/brace.  He has to wear it three weeks…hopefully not longer and I’m praying it will be off before his birthday since we have a day at a big playground planned!

I’m not sure if I’m reassured or apprehensive at what the doctor said:”this is a common injury in boys this age.”  ha.  Something to look forward to with Alex? I hope not!

Vigilante Preacher-man

We discovered about 9 p.m. tonight that we needed a few things from the store for breakfast, so Randy took his bike (we have no car) and rode up to a grocery store in Dresden-Neustadt nearby that’s open until 10 p.m. to grab what we needed. He came back from the store around 9:30 p.m, walking his bike with the groceries down the sidewalk, since there were so many people milling around–this is typical for a Friday night in the Neustadt. The parties are just getting started.  He saw a guy about 20 years old run out of a Turkish Imbiss and noticed the guys inside shouting “stop him!” So on impulse he grabbed the guy and swung him around to face the restaurant owner and his son who had just come out.  They said the guy had paid for his food but hadn’t paid for his beer (that was in his hand) and when he still couldn’t pay, they grabbed the beer from him and the owner threatened to call the police.  Randy heard the son say it wasn’t worth it and started walking away as they berated the guy and said something to the effect of “never come back!” etc.

I was listening to all of this with my mouth open, trying to figure out why he had grabbed the guy in the first place while simultaneously being impressed with my husband’s quick thinking and correct assessment of a situation and (apparently) quick skills to catch the guy with one hand while holding his 20-speed with the other.  It was at this point that he said that as he crossed the street, he saw the guy out of the corner of his eye following him.  We have 3 kids + 1 in the house tonight and we only live a few blocks away, so, of course, I said

“He didn’t see which house you went into, right?”

“I didn’t get that far.”

“What do you mean?  You’re here.”

“Well, as I crossed the street, I was about to get back on my bike and leave him in the dust when he pushed me and I nearly fell over.” (my mouth was hanging open again)

Randy continued, “then he did this stupid kick thing at me and got me in the upper arm, but he bounced off me and fell on the ground.  He got back up pretty mad and said,’Why would you do that? Why did you stop me? Nobody does stuff like that, they just mind their own business.’ Then he asked me what I did and I was reluctant to tell him, but I told him that I was a preacher for a church.  He looked at me for a second and then told me about himself.”

So apparently this guy has gotten too much into the party scene and about three weeks ago he came back from a party and his parents had changed the locks on the house.  He couldn’t get in and he’d been having a rough time of it. No money and no place to stay.  Randy told him where the church building was and that he could stop by any time during the week if he felt like talking and they parted ways on friendlier terms.  I asked him if anyone had witnessed this…it happened by a busy street.  Randy said there was a guy who watched the confrontation who had been walking by the Imbiss, but he just put his head down and walked away.

Randy still doesn’t know what made him stop that kid from stealing, but he hopes that it might make him think a little bit.

I said, “so it’s not enough to preach ‘don’t steal.’  You have to go out in our neighborhood and enforce it?” 😀

God likes this color paint.

I let the kids stay up later tonight since it’s a Friday and watch ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown‘ while painting toilet paper rolls black for bat decorations.  Hey, if they’re going to watch a pointless cartoon at night with a surplus of the word “stupid,” then they might as well be productive, right?  The older two gave up after painting just one roll a piece, but after Alex (4 yrs. old) finished his first one and saw me mass-producing black toilet paper rolls at warp speed, he said

“I’m gonna do ‘nother one, too.  I’ll help you, mom.”

While Alex kept trucking along at the speed of snail he said

“I hope God likes this color paint.”

I didn’t think I heard him right. “What did you say?”

“I said I hope God likes this color paint.” (he meant color OF paint, of course)

I was kind of baffled. “Well, I think God likes any color of paint that you use if you’re using a talent He gave you.”

“What’s a talent?”

“It’s something God gave you that you can do well.  Like painting.  You’re good at painting,” I said, observing his mottled toilet paper rolls.  Hey, painting the inside and outside of a toilet paper roll is pretty good at four, I think.

“That’s right. I’m a good painter.  I’m going to be a painter when I grow up, mom.”

“That sounds great!”

To Chris and Olivia, glued now to the cartoon, he repeated “I’m going to be a painter when I grow up, guys!”

He didn’t seem disturbed by their lack of response.

This was a great conversation that came out of nowhere.  You may say “great conversation, sure.” But it is so very rare that I get to talk for any length of time directly to my youngest with two other kids in the house.  I had these kinds of conversations with Alex all day today, since we took the day to go to the international playgroup, shop for a coat, have lunch and get him a haircut while the other two were in school.  It’s nice to get to know Alex without Chris and Olivia there throwing in their opinions left and right.  And it’s funny that I try to think of ways to plan these kinds of conversations…dates and whatnot with my kids…and that’s well and good…but God always shows His greater wisdom by throwing in those curve ball opportunities.  Like painting toilet paper rolls at night.