Saturday, July 30, 2011

My political soapbox

I love to watch the news.  Maybe it's kinda geeky, but I think newspapers are cool.
I grew up watching Dan Rather and Ken Siemek on CBS with my dad while he stretched after running.  Now my kids watch cartoons while I make supper during this same time frame.
But I still like to keep up with what's going on in the world.
So I've been watching the people we've elected attempt to come to some kind of deal over the budget issue.
And I have to say I'm puzzled. 
These are supposedly the best qualified people in the country to lead us.  Men and women of wisdom and purpose and integrity - I would hope. 
And they're sitting around Washington squabbling and pointing fingers like a bunch of preschoolers.  It seems no one actually wants a solution to the problem.  They simply want a giant disaster to occur and to be able to point the finger of blame at their rivals.  The Republicans want Obama to be remembered as the President who defaulted on America's debt.  And the Democrats want to blame the inflexibility of the Republicans for the fiscal mess we'll be in (no doubt) during the 2012 elections. 
It reminds me of my kids "playing" in the basement yesterday.  They wanted to play together.  But Ethan and Kylie were being too rough.  So Julia was screaming - alot.  Which those of you who know Julia will know happens quite often.  So no one pays much attention anymore when Julia screams.  Anyway, none of them were nearly as interested in playing nicely together downstairs as they were in running upstairs and blaming all the screaming on everyone else.  It was never their fault - and they wanted me to know it.  So I got a running newsreel of the blame game. 
"Ethan pulled my hair!" 
"Kylie sat on my arm!" 
"Julia kicked my knee!"
All in overdone whiny, nasly voices.
Sound familiar?
Now I expect my kids to play together nicely and enjoy spending time together.  But I also expect some level of bickering from them.  They're kids.  They haven't learned how to be unselfish and kind.  That's what I'm for - to teach them. 
But it seems rather ridiculous that our elected representatives (well-educated, wealthy adults) can't do anything because they've paralyzed themselves with partisan bickering and just plain stubborness. 
It seems to this stay-at-home mom who obviously has no clout in Washington that a few things should be perfectly clear to them. 
You can't keep make $2.6 trillion a year and spend $3.8 trillion (Pretty sure those are the  numbers I heard...) 
Just like I can't buy a $3 million home on the beach in California.  It doesn't work to shove the mortgage onto a credit card and only pay interest forever. 
Doesn't take a Phd or 3 million votes to figure that out. 
"But I love the beach!" 
"It's my favorite place in the world!" 
"Other people have beach homes!" 
"I want one too!" 
(Hear the whining??)
Too bad.  Not in the budget.
Sooner or later something has to be cut somewhere.  Maybe that cut will be painful to you and me.  But we can't keep spending imaginary money.
The other thing I think Republicans and Democrats should realize is that all of them are quickly losing the trust and respect of people worldwide.  No one's coming out looking good here. 
So grow up people!  Act like men and women of integrity and wisdom and make some tough decisions that might not be popular in the short run but have the best interests of the country in mind.  Just do something - besides all the constant arguing!

Monday, July 25, 2011

"Then Sings My Soul" by Robert J. Morgan

Wow!  It's been NINE months since my last book review blog!  I've been busy, I guess, but the book I'm reviewing isn't that long.  Confession: I had a hard time finishing it.  Blame it on the NOOK Caleb bought me for Christmas.  Or the fact that we moved.  Or that we have four kids.  Or that I'm a slacker.  =)
Ok, so the review. 
"Then Sings My Soul" is a compilation of 150 hymns with the stories behind them.  I learned all kinds of things about hymn writers.  Many of their stories are amazing!  Stories of faith and trust in Jesus in the midst of the most difficult circumstances of life.  Like Horatio Spafford who wrote "It is Well with My Soul" after his four daughters drowned while crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
I enjoyed reading the individual stories and singing through the hymns - some of which I hadn't thought about in a very long time.  I remembered that I love the words to old hymns! 
I was disappointed with the way this book is organized.  The hymns seem to be arranged in no order at all.  So I learned little bits about Fanny Crosby (who wrote multiple hymns) here and there - some facts repeated over and over.  I wish Morgan had organized the hymns by author in chronological order.  It would've helped me put all the hymn writers in their correct time frame and relation to each other.  And I would've been able to see all the hymns a particular author wrote in one place. 
However, I think Morgan's purpose in writing this book is more as a reference book for a worship leader to look up a particular hymn.  For that, this book would be a great resource!  I'm not sure I'd recommend trying to read it straight through. 
This book was given to me by Thomas Nelson's Booksneeze book review blogger program.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I've expressed are my own. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

I've been waiting...

I'm not very good at waiting.  I figure if something's best, then it would be best if it happened now.  Obviously God does not agree with me on this most of the time.  Good thing He knows what He's doing! 
So, here's something I've been waiting for almost TEN years for!

No, not the furniture - THIS!

This is my Grandma Johnson's china.  Grandma loved to entertain.  She had TONS of fancy napkins and tablecloths and dishes and serving plates and party decorations and silverware - and this china.  I wish I knew what she used it for.  Whether she liked it or not.  Where she got it. 
Ever since Caleb and I got married, I've been wanting a spot to put Grandma's china.  Besides the box I wrapped it so carefully in and hid in my closet.
Saturday, my dad loaded up the cabinet in the picture and brought it to my house.  I wasn't even home, but Josh helped him bring it inside and now, here it sits in my dining room!
Now I must admit.  This cabinet (I'm not sure exactly what to call it...) is not exactly the style or color I would choose if given a gift certificate to Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel or even Target. 
But since I'm not likely to be able to afford this or this anytime soon (or ever) - and I don't need to ever spend that much money on anything just to look pretty anyway - and they would look rather odd next to my dented, colored-on Shopko-quality table - I'm super excited about my free...buffet??
It has all these cool little drawers and shelves for different sized and shaped objects.  And eventually I plan to either paint or re-stain it and replace the hardware to update it a little.  I just can't decide what to do with it quite yet.  Ideas anyone??
As I look around my house, I think of so many people.  You see, we've hardly bought a single item of furniture in 9 1/2 years.  So I look at the love seat and think of Grandma and Grandpa Merchant. 
The TV stand reminds me of my Grandma and Grandpa Johnson's basement and their bright yellow leather chair.  If you ever get tired of the chair, mom...  =) 
The two odd dining room chairs remind me of Oma's visit to the thrift store. 
Kylie's pink dresser used to be my dad's dresser/desk as a little boy.  I'm sure he never imagined that one day his daughter would paint is PINK for his granddaughter.  =) 
So many memories stored up in our mismatched furniture.  And hey!  It matches our mismatched wallpaper pretty well!  =)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Haiti through Becca's eyes

If you're not already reading my sister's blog, you need to click this link right now and go read it.  Becca's in Haiti for the summer.  She's seeing God work in amazing ways. 
After reading, I wondered why God seems to display His power in so many real ways in Haiti while here in America we seem to lack His power so often.  I think it's because we put so many layers between us and being desperate for God to show up.  Savings accounts.  Government disaster and bailout programs.  Health insurance.  All too often, we trust these things instead of God. 
In Haiti they have nothing.  Either God shows up or they die.  So they fervently and passionately beg Him to help them, and He shows up over and over again. 
Sometimes I wonder if we in America with all our "blessings" are really as blessed as we think we are.  The believers in Haiti are seeing God.  Daily.  And Becca sees Him work and writes it down beautifully.  So read it.
Enjoy!  =)