Welcome to LOTS OF LITTLES ... a little blog about this and that.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

a little Scrabble chat

I think it's so wild that I can play Scrabble with people from all over the world ~ from Argentina and Australia ... from New York and California ... from Florida and Canada. And sometimes ... we have a lively "conversation" alongside our game.

I've tried to share the gospel while playing online Scrabble a couple times in the past. Tonight, however, I was playing with a fellow believer ... and we had an encouraging "chat". Here's an excerpt ... you can listen in ...

danajet: hi:) who ya winning for?
win4him: hi. the lord of course.
(then I used all of my letters ... we call this a bingo ... it was fainter for 77 points)
win4him: vn (scrabble code for very nice ... about my bingo)
danajet: thanks.
danajet: do you mean YHWH?
win4him: yes. are you a believer?
danajet: yes, i'm born again.
danajet: where do you live?
win4him: rancho mirage, california
danajet: so ... what kind of a Christian are you?
win4him: well, a faithful one i hope. i go to a non denominational church.
danajet: a big one?
win4him: 300
danajet: heard of way of the master radio?
win4him: no
danajet: it's an excellent radio show
win4him: cool
danajet: today's show was really interesting
win4him: thanks I'll check it out
(then I got another bingo ... equines for 91 points)
win4him: wow you're killing me
danajet: it's mostly about evangelism ... but today's show was more about some current events
win4him: definitely living in interesting times
danajet: no kidding ... crazy world!
win4him: great score thanks for playing may god bless you
danajet: u 2
win4him: ty (thank you)
danajet: share the gospel!
win4him: amen
win4him: i try to all the time ... and sometimes i even use words
danajet: we always need to use words when sharing the gospel
danajet: i know it's not easy ... but if no one ever used WORDS the gospel would never have spread in the first place
win4him: absolutely
danajet: we'll play again sometime
win4him: thank you good night

There's this extremely popular quote from St. Francis of Assisi that he likely was alluding to. It says, "Preach the Gospel at all times ~ if necessary, use words." Lots of Christians have eagerly embraced this idea ~ which is not substantiated in the Bible ~ and unfortunately ... they end up seldom, if ever, using their words. This quote provides an easy justification for staying silent ~ but I know I can never be good enough or nice enough for someone to magically understand these things: their exceeding sinfulness, their destination because of sin, their need of a Savior, the holiness of God, what God has done to cover the sins of those who repent & believe, and how to get forgiveness. Yes, we should try to be nice and do good ... but not to the exclusion of proclaiming the gospel.

In junior high & high school I tried sharing the gospel by my "lifestyle" ... and never once did I actually verbally share the gospel. "Lifestyle evangelism" is a sham, a cop out. Just think how many people I passed by because I was taught that this was an acceptable way to make disciples! Satan must love this "lifestyle evangelism" because it basically just shuts us up! We almost get ashamed of proclaiming the gospel and that should never be ... "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes." (Romans 1:16) When we reach heaven, it will be too late to proclaim the good news to those who are perishing ... the only time to do it is now.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

a little about craigslist

Now I've heard that some people have gotten some really sweet deals on craigslist ... but I'm not one of them. Tonight, my dear husband went off to purchase another craigslist find for me. Thankfully, he didn't have to drive to Apple Valley or Elk River this time ... the bargain happened to be in our own city.

This time, the "find" was a bike for my oldest daughter ... and once again my husband returned home with a P.O.C. (piece of ... and the third word rhymes with wrap and trap). The seat is torn, one of the brakes is out, there is rust on something, the tires are worn and are full of slits or grooves ... I think they'll bust open sometime soon.

I said ... "Ummm ... that looks pretty bad." Husband said, "I can fix it. If I can build a house, I can fix a bike."

Sounds dandy ... I just don't think he'll get around to it in the next few years though. He's too busy fixing POC houses :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

a little MacArthur

John MacArthur Clip
I joined my husband tonight in one of his favorite activities ~ watching sermon clips and related interviews online. Share in the fun by clicking on the above link :)

P.S. It's really brief.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

a little humor

My husband likes to make me laugh. Then, he when he succeeds ... he often says, "I can still make you laugh after x years of marriage." (He doesn't say 'x' of course ... but whatever number we're on. Right now, it's "after almost eleven years of marriage".) So ... here's a recent story that made me laugh.

As my husband was pulling into Menard's ... he spotted a familiar, navy-blue van that belongs to Erick, an electrician friend of ours. As my husband got nearer, he noticed that Erick was sitting in his van. (This doesn't matter ... but I like details ... Erick happened to be in the passenger seat and his assistant was behind the steering wheel. They were drinking pop.)

Then, my husband got into his super secret stealth mode. He slipped in next to the van and hunkered down. Finally, in what he imagined to be a criminal voice ... he said, "Gimme all your electrical wire."

Erick saw my husband in the side mirror and stuck out his hand ... for a handshake.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

a little backyard ... mice, berries, & gardening

Buddy, my son, is on his way to a promising pest-control career. (It might have better success than his enterprise of selling sticks for kindling ~ no one stopped at the "store" he set up ... which was made by tying colorful yarn around three trees to form a triangle pen where he and his sisters waited for customers with little bundles of sticks tied together.) Anyway ... to my surprise, Buddy killed a mouse in our yard on Monday. Then, to my greater surprise, he captured a second mouse on Tuesday! I'll spare you any further details .... except that Halo gets credit as the assistant in this mouse-catching affair. (I sure hope there were only two mice residing here!)

The girls and I went berry-picking last night ... and it was the first time I brought Foofie along this summer. She was really into it ~ and talked about it for the rest of the evening until her very late bedtime. Above, she is happily displaying the evidence of a berry sweet time.

Our garden appears to be coming along rather nicely despite many issues: a novice head gardener with little time for gardening (I think that's me), pesky and persistant weeds, hordes of ants (fire ants?) trying to set up house in our garden, and numerous deer and that visit our yard ... with only a dilapidated chicken-wire fence to deter these animals. (My children have gradually trampled the fence almost down to the ground.) The deer and/or rabbits gobbled everything up last year ... so I'm amazed that the plants are still around!

When we spontaneously decided to try a garden again this year, we just planted what we had on hand ~ oodles of cantaloupe, several carrots, a few beans, and a couple of squash. Food plants amaze me ... the way God has created a tiny seed and "programmed" it to grow into a larger plant, and bear fruit, and make seeds to grow more ~ it's simply fascinating!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

a little about jam

I made a second batch of strawberry freezer jam this week ... and I just love it! It's rather easy (no straining out the seeds), it lasts for a while (it'd be pretty hard for my family to polish off five jars of jam in a few days ... unlike say ... cookies), and it's healthier than any jam I can find on the shelf at Rainbow. Plus, since the berries aren't cooked, I'm under the (hopefully correct) impression that the fruit still retains its vitamins. To top it off ... the jam is just as good slathered over vanilla ice cream as it is on toast. Actually, it's probably tastier on ice cream.

More about jam ... I've been stealthily picking some black-raspberries this week as well ... and to my surprise I've already gathered enough for what else ... but a tiny batch of jam! Last year, it took all of the berries I could locate just to eek out a tiny recipe of black-raspberry jam. However, I recently discovered another bush, and it produces pretty sizeable berries to boot! (I've also gathered a few dozen mosquito bites and a fair amount of scratches ~ but it's worth it.)

I only need two cups of black-raspberry juice to make two coveted jars of yum ... but it takes about five, maybe six, cups of berries to get the two cups of juice. So late last night, I spent fifty minutes just mashing the berries through a strainer to remove the seeds ~ and I had exactly enough! Can't wait to drizzle it over a big bowl of Blue Bunny! Pure YUM!

P.S. Blue Bunny PREMIUM All-Natural Vanilla tastes how ice cream really ought to taste! All it contains is: milk, cream, sugar, dry milk, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and vanilla beans! It can't be beat ... so we always get about eight cartons whenever it's on sale.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

a little doggie blog

I've been thinking lately about the relatively recent elevation of dogs (which many believe is a result of Darwinism) in our society ... and I wonder how far people will take it. Perhaps some will eventually request that their dogs/cats/pets be included in their medical coverage ~ remember, I said it here first :)

A few weeks ago, we talked about what it means to be human in our Sunday School class ... "made in the image of God" ... and naturally, the teaching included how we differ from animals and plants. Our teacher talked about how dogs, for example, don't have feelings like we do ... if they get poo on the carpet, it might look like they feel bad, because they've been TRAINED to do that ... but the dog really doesn't care a bit if there is poo on the carpet or not. After all, as Proverbs 26:11 says, "a dog returns to its vomit".

This is probably scandalous to say, or write, but perhaps dogs are more like plants than people. Dogs, like plants, are living ... but dogs, like plants, don't have a soul. They're makeup is only physical ... not spiritual. They don't have a conscience. People are often confused about all of this because they treat their animals as though they are people ~ and some then begin to assume that dogs can have human emotions. Yes, there is some minimum level of interaction that can occur between a human and an animal ... which does not occur between a human and a plant ... but the animal is still an animal.This doggie-love {animal-love} diminishes the value of human life ~ and our uniqueness as being "made in the image of God".

Sure, dogs can be fun and cute {especially the little ones} ... but all of the dogs in the world put together have less value than one human life because only the human has a soul and bears the image of God. For example, we heard this radio show once where the host (who happens to have a dog that he likes) was asking random people ... if they saw their dog and a person they didn't know both drowning at the same time ... and they were only able to rescue the dog or the person ... which one would they choose to save? "My dog," was the resounding and shocking answer. These people placed too much importance on their pets ... and too little value on human life. They didn't view their pets in light of Scripture. A dog is not a child ... and when I hear things like my neighbor saying "There's Daddy!" to her dog, as her husband joins them outside, I can't help but think what a crazy world this has become. Thankfully Adam and Eve had children ... and didn't just "adopt" some cats or dogs ;)

Don't get me wrong ... I really like animals. Birds are fascinating. I enjoy watching the deer prance through our yard. It was even rather delightful to see our fish, Bubbles, wiggle into his little castle the first few times.

In February, we went to the "Believe" show at SeaWorld ~ and it was almost like worship of the killer whales! The whales were kissed, lauded, and praised ... but their Creator ~ who thought these things up and merely spoke them into existence ~ was not. This was a secular show of course so I didn't expect God to get any credit ... but my point is that the animals are viewed as though they have evolved themselves into something wonderful ... as though they deserve some recognition for their unique characteristics and fantastic abilities. Sure, these whales have been trained to do awesome stunts ... but God gave them the ability in the first place. Yes, the whales are amazing ... but their Creator is infinitely more amazing and awesome. The way that animals are so cleverly crafted should point us to worship and praise the Creator.

Our family has occasionally been viewing some of the DVD series, Planet Earth. It is also secular ... but it does an excellent job of showing how incredible this planet really is. God made each animal perfectly suited for its habitat. Some animals are funny looking and some are beautiful. He gave animals the instincts to know what to eat, how to mate, and how to care for their young. Isn't that amazing? Penguins, rabbits, squirrels, dogs, caterpillars, pigs, zebras, mice, cats, turkeys, bears, snakes, and more ~ all are cleverly made & and each was created by God for a specific purpose ... and none of them were intended to be like sons and daughters.

Furthermore, God made amazing fruits and vegetables which contain seeds to grow more! Berries, mangoes, melons, grapes, and kiwi! Carrots, squash, onions, and green beans! These foods are so interesting ... and create by God just for us! Similar to animals, the focus should not be the foods in themselves ~ they should point us to our Creator! Who, but God alone, could invent thousands of unique animals and plants ~ each for a designated purpose in His creation ~ and create them with a word?

This earth is only temporary ... we can't make it last forever no matter how much "green stuff" we do. Yes, we are to take care of God's land and animals ... and not trash it or be cruel. But someday God is going to make a new heaven and a new earth that will far outshine what we know here!

P.S. We also saw a dolphin show at SeaWorld ~ and it was superb! They have great rides there too :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

a little Bible lesson

This is Halo at 29 months. "Adam and Eve, they sinned against God. HE says, 'Don't eat this fruit, or even touch it, or you will die.' 'You will not die,' said the serpent."

a little ham

Old videos are often the funniest. Here's a classic!

a little persuasion

My almost six and a half year old son asks me, "Can I go to lego dot com and look at the lego kits?"
"I'd rather not have you do that," I respond, "it's not really necessary."
"I haven't done it for a long time though, Mama. It probably was one week ago." He says.
"One week is not a long time." I reply.

"Well, it probably was two weeks ago ... or ... I could go to the world's largest lego store online."
(he had seen something about this in one of his lego direction booklets and was curious about it)
"Then we wouldn't have to go to the store and look at the legos ... and we'd save some gas!"
"Oh fine." His persuasion won.

Monday, July 14, 2008

a little camping trip

We returned yesterday, late in the afternoon, from our first-ever family camping trip.

I must concede that camping is a bit nutty ... we trade our comfortable, clean home & all its conveniences ... for a dirty, cramped tent (where you usually don't sleep very well) & increased difficulty in accomplishing some of the simplest tasks ... like washing your face or prepping vegetables for supper. You enter your abode through a rather tight, zippered opening ... then leave your shoes outside or at the edge of the tent to hopefully prevent the sand from gettting all over ... and finally, you skillfully maneuver towards your sleeping sack. (By the way, my sleeping spot was nothing like my sleep number bed. The king-sized air mattress my husband picked up at Menard's didn't work too well for us. I always felt like I was about to roll down a hill ... and my husband's side had a leak so he'd wake up a couple times a night and blow it up some.)

Furthermore, camping is a lot of work. It's a lot of work to get all packed up and get to the park, it's work to set up your camp, it's work to take down your camp and pack up again, and it's work when you get back home too. There are items to air out, things to hose off, and big bags brimming with dirty laundry. As I grab items from the laundry bags in the mud room and carry them to the washer ... the floor gets speckled with grass, sand, leaves, even a couple of bugs. The kids' shoes really need to be washed as well ... and as for their socks ~ I brought fairly old ones ~ they're ready for the trash. Everything is damp and dirty.

The centerpiece of this camping weekend was supposed to be the fantastic beach at this state park ~ but the weather made that impossible. We went to the beach the first afternoon ... and it was downright chilly! The kids jumped in and were ready to call it quits in under a minute. The second afternoon, when we tried the beach again ... it was incredibly windy. When I set up my folding chair, it immediately toppled over. Sand was flying nonstop. Conversation was nearly shouted. Thus, the swimming was ever so brief again ... and we hastily retreated to a calmer spot on the side of the building that houses the restrooms and dressing rooms. We had a lovely afternoon anyway ... snacking and visiting and watching our kids run around.

The weather report ~ it rained a whopping five times during our sixty-six hours there. It rained the first night shortly after we got all tucked in ... it rained and thundered heavily the first morning (my husband and our friend Mark were working to erect a canopy over our table area during this ... Foofie & I were in the tent waiting for clothing for over an hour). Later that morning, a gal from our group stopped by to tell us that most everyone was headed into town to eat lunch at Pizza Hut and see the new Disney movie ~ she invited us along. I replied with a smile, "Ummm ... our family is camping." The rain did let up that afternoon ... but it was very gray and overcast ... like a damp, dreary, fallish day. That evening, the rain returned with vigor. Mark and family came over to make and eat supper in dryness with us ~ and we were all thankful for the canopy as we supped underneath. The second full day was much like the first. Rain in the morning and more rain in the evening ~ later this time though ~ around 7:30, and we happened to be indoors at the Pavilion (a meeting hall at the park). Our last morning there was dry ... but still cloudy and cool.

On Saturday night, there was a program at the Pavilion that many in our group attended and also some campers we did not know. The program was this old, white-bearded, accordian-playing man who sang a couple songs (like the Ladies are Pretty ... the Liquor is Sweet) and told a few stories (one about an old logging camp). It was a bit hard to hear him and difficult to understand most of what he said. The whole event was a bit goofy. The sad thing is that this guy is probably paid to do this with tax dollars. Following this, a few families went to the nearby gas & convenience station for ice cream ~ we'd had our fill of marshmallows the first two nights. The temp was 54 degrees ... so we stood outside the gas station and shivered while we ate ice cream cones.

Although camping is dirty and difficult ~ and the weather can be disappointing ~ there is still something alluring about it ... about working and playing and sleeping right in the midst of God's incredible creation. All in all, we had a good time. We enjoyed much laughter, pleasant conversation, friendly neighbors, and tasty eats ~ such as homemade pancakes, sweet corn on the cob, yummy grilled chicken, and hobo hamburger.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

a little girl's birthday

My darling daughter turned 3 yesterday ~ and I just can't believe it! I was a little sad ... our "baby" isn't a baby anymore. Anyway, the first thing she said this morning was, "Can I have a drinky please, Mommy?" I was definitely glad that she said "please" ... but my heart smiled when I heard her say "drinky" ~ I guess she's not so big after all.
She had the longest birthday party ever experienced by one of my children ~ and loved every minute of it ~ except for the bee sting she got on a finger (first ever) ... and when the fireworks got started. She was a bit scared right away ... but after being assured that they were not going to hurt her ... she was okay.

The city's firework display was followed up by more firework fun at G & G's. We had some vintage fireworks that an uncle of mine got some years ago ~ they were lit by my fearless brother-in-law. Then, the kids waved some jumbo-sized, and rather erratic, sparklers. And finally, my brother lit a few fountains and tanks that ~ to my amusement ~ were just purchased by my sister-in-law. Fireworks are a funny thing.

Since my daughter was born, many people have told me that the 4th of July is such a fun day to have a birthday ... and they were right!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

a little deer

About 2 weeks ago one of the kids saw this sight out of our window and exclaimed, "Look at the baby deer!" It was so darling! We saw it 2 more times that first week ... but not since. We're still on the lookout though ~ (I wanted to get a better picture than this).

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

a little happiness

My husband was working rather late this evening (until about 9) ... he really wanted to finish the deck he was building. So ... since I hadn't had any exercise yet today ... my kids and I took an evening "bike-walk" by the nearby lake. "Bike-walk" is a term we have used for years and it means: one or more children are on bikes and Mommy walks ~ usually pushing a stroller ~ or occasionally jogs. As we were bike-walking along ... I asked my oldest daughter (who is now 8 2/3) to finish this sentence with something about her day today.

Happiness is ... and she said, "Playing with dolls and playing school." (This surprised me a bit as she usually is reading OR listening to Adventures in Odyssey.)

Then, I asked my son (who is about 6 1/3) ... and he said,
"Happiness is going to the lego website and looking at all of the lego kits."

My youngest daughter ... who will be 3 on July 4th ... agreed with her big sister and said, "Happiness is playing with dolls."

Then I said, "Happiness is strolling along the lake listening to my little girl sing Skip to My Lou, Jesus Loves Me, and God Gave Me The Countenance." (the last one is original to Foofie ... that's my little one's main nickname ... we also call her Foofie-Kins and Foofoo/Fufu ~ I don't usually spell these ... so I'm not sure how they're spelled ;) )

Then we went on and took turns saying other happinesses ... it was a good way to get into their heads a bit.

I also said, "Happiness is a long summer evening." I love summertime ... and it always seems to zoom right by. It's never long enough. This got me to thinking about heaven ... I think/hope it will always be summertime there.

For me ... happiness is NOT when my son does stunts on his bike or scooter. I don't really like it ... and I wish he'd just use things the way they are intended to be used ... but alas, HE'S A BOY!

So ... when we were pretty close to getting home ... he had a new idea ... "Look," he shouted, "I can bike with my eyes closed!" He quickly crashed into the curb before I could tell him to stop being so foolish! I was a bit slow to respond because I wasn't sure I heard him right. Surely he wouldn't be so foolish, I thought. My counsel was something like, "Use the eyes God has given you to SEE with ... you never know how long you'll have them. Do you think biking with your eyes shut is wise or foolish?" Thankfully, he knew the right answer ... and thankfully, he wasn't injured.