Saturday, September 12, 2009

Night Life

Last week we did something very out of the ordinary for us. We went out at 10:00 p.m. Usually we don't go out and usually we are snoring on the couch by then. The Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank were having a CD release party. Our daughter goes to school with the daughter of one of the band members. They are an awesome folk rock type band and super fun to listen to.

It was a long way from my usual mommy world. A long way. And let me just say that I had no idea Duluth had a night life. It is a college town and all but I was surprised. The night life at the college I went to consisted of .... hmmm. I went to a small Christian college. It was wild when we had a watergun fight or threw someone in the pool and were told to quiet down by the scary campus security guy aka my future husband.

I didn't bother to bring my purse since Mike had money. Well, apparently you need an I.D. to get in to these places. Luckily I don't really look 21 anymore and our friend vouched for me.

As the concert goers trickled in I felt a little old. I think the median age in the crowd was 21. The people watching was almost as good as the music. When I was in high school the alternative/grunge movement was just beginning to break into mainstream. The preppy fads were giving way to birkenstocks with wool socks and long flowing skirts. I never really fell into that since I liked my polo shirts and plaid boat shoes. I know, gag me with a spoon.

Things I saw that made me feel right at home:
stirrup pants, high tops, skinny jeans with pink slouch cowboy boots, and a sweater wrapped around the shoulders. I was all over that look in junior high.

Things that were new to me: flasks hung around hips with twine, flaming red mohawks, and folk dancing - shoes and bras optional.

And then there were the capes. One young lady with bright pink hair donned a cape that looked like a child's blanket. That seemed pretty unusual until a big guy came in with a green velvet hooded cape that had sparkles all over it. They both had fun utilizing them in their dancing! It was a sight to behold.

Then there was Harley guy. He stood in the middle of the crowd with his leather jacket and boots and slightly bobbed his head. I guess that's how bikers folk dance.

The next day it all felt kind of like a dream. Mostly because I was half asleep all day but I'm glad I got to see Duluth after dark. I think I'll stay in my mommy world for a while now or at least until I get my hearing comes back.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Goodbye Summer!


Start off the day with a healthy breakfast.

Get pumped up for a new year to the beat of Axel F (If you're my age, you totally know the song! Don't deny it. And don't ask why it's on my iPod)



Head out to the bus. That's not it in the background - that's MY bus!

heading out

going to bus

Time to go! And maybe shed a tear. Or not.

on the bus

Go home with those left behind.

left behind


Get out the fancy dishes.

fancy dishes

Not because I'm fancy, but because my normal dishes look like this.

old dishes

Make some coffee and enjoy leftover cinnamon rolls, baked french toast and scrambled eggs with my kids' friends moms. None of which are happy that it was the first day of school. But we still managed to laugh and have some fun.

Play some games without following the rules.

play a game

Take a Nap.

take a nap

Make First Day of School Cookies. My kids are going to have food issues for sure.



Wait for the kids to come home, eat cookies and talk about their day.

Off the bus


Finally do homework. I mean me: writing checks, signing papers and so on.


And just like that, summer is gone.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Powerful Challenge

The kids are all ready to go back to school tomorrow: shoes, backpacks and school supplies. There's a mix of excitement and nervousness in the air. I usually am more worried about making sure they are ready physically and than working on preparing their hearts. More important than new shoes or pencils is their ability to show the other kids around them the love of Jesus. How do I prepare my kids for a challenge like that?

We had our worship service at a park with a river running through it yesterday. We made use of the river for some baptisms. The testimonies the two men that were being baptized gave were short and to the point but nothing short of amazing. God has been at work in their lives. And one in particular, if you knew him, you would never believe that he follows Christ. You wouldn't have thought it was possible. I didn't.

He was not a nice guy. He coached football, taught phy ed and was Mayor of our little town. There was lots of talk about this colorful guy. Mike knew him through football and faithfully visited with him as he went through a series of health problems. I couldn't understand why he was wasting his time on that guy. This winter that guy was broken and came to Christ. No one could believe it when he came to church week after week, month after month. Yesterday, we heard him give testimony that he had been living only for himself and now he's living for Christ. And he is a changed man. I know many people are still skeptical but I'm not. Not anymore. I've seen the change in him first hand.

Why am I continually surprised in the power of salvation through Jesus? I was reading about Paul last night and his powerful conversion on the road to Damascus. He was violently persecuting Christians. He hated them. And then in one moment God broke through and changed his heart.

Acts 9:1-6
Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. he went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"

"Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked.

"I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."

Saul's name was changed to Paul and he became the author of many New Testament books and a missionary church planter.

I believe I've seen a Paul-like conversion. It had nothing to do with the man or how mean he was or a pastor who visited him occasionally. It was the power of the Holy Spirit breaking into this man's heart.

As a parent, my greatest desire is to see my kids come to faith in Christ and faithfully honor and follow Him. It is tempting to force or coerce a salvation prayer or decision to know they are "saved". It's nice to have a date to write down in the front of my Bible. No matter how hard I try I cannot change their hearts from the born sinners they are. The only thing that can change their heart is the Holy Spirit and the most important thing I can do is pray. Sure, I'll take them to Sunday School and talk about Jesus' love and sacrifice. But the work of changing their hearts is not mine.

That's what I learned from Paul and the men that were baptized yesterday.

As I send the kids back off to school this year, I feel compelled to commit myself to praying for the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts for salvation and maturation in Christ. It's the highest calling we have as parents and unfortunately for me, the one that often gets pushed to the back due to other important activities like buying pencils and papers.

Could I challenge you to do the same?

Acts 2:38-39
Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off - for all whom the Lord our God will call."

Ephesians 5:1
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Philippians 2:12-13
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed - not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence - continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.