Monday, January 31, 2011

Gold Bond Is Cool

A short while after applying Gold Bond medicated itching cream (with menthol) to a bug bite on my arm, I became suddenly aware that I must not have gotten all the lotion off of my hands after application.  And as the menthol-induced coolness at the new and shocking location intensified, so did my wish that it was customary to wash ones hands before using the restroom.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dreaming of Toast

This morning I woke up slowly. And during my trek to wakefulness, I heard weird noises. Some kids playing outside? It seemed sort of muffled or far away. It was more like a whine or a moan and I thought maybe my kids were playing house and someone was mad that they had to be the cat again.

I kept hearing it and my curiosity was enough to make me decide to wake all the way up and investigate. I sat up and listened really carefully for the noise again.

And then I heard it. And I knew.

And I reached under my bed and grabbed my two-year-old daughter's ankles and pulled her out from her below-bed prison.

Now, I don't know how she got there. I asked her of course. She was either hiding and got stuck, or she came in and laid on my floor and fell asleep, only to roll under my bed while dreaming she was bread going in the toaster.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Upcycling Like A Pro

I got these two giant tubs of arts & crafts supplies from the office of my old church.  They're doing a Spring cleaning of sorts and they're tossing or donating a bunch of stuff. 

It was like Christmas!  Who could know what I'd unearth in the next layer of kid-friendly fare?  Pom-poms, foam sticker shapes, a rocket kit and the makings for a pinewood derby car were near the top of the heap.

And then, underneath the sheets and sheets of construction paper, I found something brilliant:  A clear VHS case filled with crayons.

Now, I don't think the people who stashed the crayons in there were trying to be awesome. I bet they were thinking, "Where am I going to put these crayo...oh hey!  There's a video case!"  But I thought it was a stroke of genius.  For many reasons.  One, because what else are you going to use those cases for?!  We've moved on to Blu-ray and those things are from, like, six generations of technology ago.  Two, they're just the right size for an on-the-go coloring kit. The flat sides make them easy to fit into a shoebox alongside some small notepads or activity books. Three, they're clear so there's no wondering if the case is filled with just crayons or crayons and poo (I've had toddlers). 

I feel a little smart, too.  Like maybe I could run a site like The Upcycle Blog.  You know, if having one good idea (that I really didn't technically even have) qualified me to do that.  If that counted then yeah, I could totally do that.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Swagbucks. That's right - Swagbucks.

Search & Win

I used to make a pretty decent living working in the accounting department of a mortgage company. I was a single mom and was doing my part to bring home the thick-sliced, maple-brined bacon.

Then I got married and have five more kids and even though the kid I was raising with a single, greasy-from-bacon-fat-hand has now moved out and on, I still have those last five at home and they need bacon too.

And I don't want to be the one to have to leave my sofa to work for it, so I do what I can from here. My husband goes out and works hard every day and I earn Swagbucks.. Ridiculous sounding, I know.

But this last year, without even really trying, I collected enough Swagbucks to buy all this:

  • Digital voice recorder
  • (Used and outdated) Palm Pilot
  • Laptop charger
  • Some fancy deodorant
  • A fancy razor (with extra blades)
  • Three canisters of a chocolate-flavored meal replacement shake powder
  • A canister of green superfood powder
  • Some water soluble oil paint.
  • 15 books

15 books!

And I still have some leftover money in my Amazon account, too.

I'm not saying this justifies me not getting a Big Girl job, but it keeps me from having to spend money from my husband's Big Boy paycheck (which - these days - is not-so-big.

I use the Swagbucks search engine instead of Google (most times) and complete a poll or two - maybe check out the Swagbucks toolbar that I installed for a surprise code and next thing you know, I've earned enough Swagbucks to cash in for a gift card code at Amazon.

What are you waiting for???  Sign up!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil

"I lost the money I had set aside for rent. He knows where it is. If he wanted to help me, He could."

Maybe you've never lost an envelope full of cash, and maybe your most recent struggle was a much bigger deal than what I experienced the week I began reading this book, but certainly there have been times in your life when your thoughts have lead you to this uncomfortable and trailing thought:

"He could fix this mess in an instant, but I am still in this mess..." What does that say about God?

I implore you to find out. In the book, If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil, by Randy Alcorn, you can learn about what it means when the scriptures declare that God is Good. You might be surprised at what you learn inside the covers of this book

The author quotes John Piper as saying:

The suffering of the utterly innocent and infinitely holy Son of God in the place of the utterly undeserving sinners to bring us to everlasting joy is the greatest display of the glory of God's grace that ever was, or ever could be. Everything leading to it and everything flowing from it is explained by it, including all the suffering in the world.

I have yet to read a more exhaustive treatment on the goodness of God and how it reconciles with his sovereignty in the midst of a world that is full of sin and evil and suffering.

As a child, I'd ask my mom why I couldn't have my way in a situation and more than not, she'd reply, "Because I said so." I have always answered any questions I had regarding why God allows suffering: Because He said so. I've never questioned God's goodness, but I'd never thought to learn about it, either.

I chose to read this book expecting to find a glossed over, heard-it-all-before compilation of thoughts and opinions. I expected to read it a day. Two days if I had to go grocery shopping or volunteer at the kids' school.

A full month later, and I'm just wrapping it up. I've never come across a book that was equal parts dense and fascinating.

This book addresses free will, the sovereignty of God, the origins of sin, heaven and hell. This book asks tough questions like:

  • If God is all-knowing, why did He create Lucifer to begin with - He had to know he would fall from grace.
  • If God is good, why does He allow all this suffering?
  • If God is sovereign, then why does he allow us to make choices that He knows will cause harm?

He also addresses different belief systems and what they have to say about Yahweh. Then he shows you what the bible says about Yahweh.

In addition to many stories and real-life experiences that he recounts for us - both from current events and from history past - this book is also beautifully rich in scriptural evidences to support each section.

It is a lengthy book that most won't be able to breeze through, but aside from the scriptures themselves, I've rarely encountered a book that has so thoroughly changed my understanding of God. I no longer ask, "Why isn't God intervening?" Instead, I see each struggle as part of God's good and redemptive plan for my life.

I am glad I chose to review this book. My love for reading books rarely intersects with my ability to pay for books and for this reason, I was glad to find that I could get a free copy of If God Is Good... from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for my book review.