Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mole Crickets

I once heard a man tell a story about a hard lesson he learned—only after it was too late. This fellow took special pride in his home's finely manicured lawn and its flawless landscaping. One afternoon he was in his front yard talking with his neighbor when he noticed something moving in the grass. The neighbor said,  “You have mole crickets. If you don't do something quickly, your lawn will be destroyed.”
The man had never heard of such a thing. He looked at his beautiful, deep green lawn, then shrugged it off as nothing to worry about. A few weeks later he noticed brown spots starting to appear. As the weeks went by, the brown spots spread. He tried adjusting the sprinklersand used various different fertilizers and sprays, but nothing worked. Within a few months, his once immaculate lawn was in ruins.
He had an expert come out. The verdict came back:  “Mole crickets!” “But how?” he exclaimed. “I tend this lawn every day and I never saw anything but an occasional bug.” The expert lifted up a section of dead sod and there, to the man's shock and amazement, the grass roots were completely severed!
“Mole crickets,” he explained, “live under ground and only come out at night to eat at the roots. The blades look lush and green, but underneath the surface the crickets are eating away. You might see one or two during the day and think it's no big deal. But by the time the brown spots start appearing, it's too late; the damage is already done.” The expert reachedbeneath a patch of brown grass and picked up a thrashing, one-inch-long insect.  ‘This is the culprit, “he said. The man stared down at the little bug and then at his destroyed lawn. He couldn't believe it.
We enjoy freedom, peace and prosperity in this great country of ours as a result of our forefathers and mothers taking care of the roots—recognizing and destroying the lethal elements before they could do permanent damage. The grass has been green and lush, but brown spots are beginning to appear. Pornography's “cyber-mole crickets” are eating away at the roots of decency and freedom as millions are trapped in addiction. What are we doing to fight them? What will our children and grandchildren do when, through our neglect, procrastination and complacency, society's once-lush turf lies brown and dead?
Internet porn and sexual-oriented chat rooms are working “under the surface” in our society. You can't immediately see the damage being done. It is quietly and privately going on behind closed doors in bedrooms, dens and offices all across America. It's a seemingly little thing, really. One person on a computer here, another there. You see the signs of damage every now and then—a woman is raped, a porn-addicted father molests hisdaughter, a pedophile stalks a child.  “But these are extremes,” you think, “afew brown spots. Most of the lawn is nice and green. It's only a few mole crickets.”
But under the surface, in millions of homes and offices, outside the direct view of society, a plague is eating away at the roots of freedom, decency, women's rights, family relationships and values, respect, integrity and honor.  Do we even have a clue to the extent of damage that is being done? How can we accurately predict the long-term consequences for our children, grandchildren and future generations? Never before has this country experienced such an avalanche of pornography—available at the push of a button, on the computer or cell phone screen—to men, women, teens and children. Where will all of this lead? How much damage will the underground mole crickets of porn inflict before we take it all seriously?
More articles and fascinating reads here, and check out this site too....

Mark B. Kastleman is the author of the bestselling book, The Drug of the New Millennium—the Brain Science Behind Internet Pornography Use. Mark and his colleagues are leaders in the development of personal e-learning systems. Through the latest technology, they provide internet-based addiction recovery training and personal growth programs. Mark is Co-Founder and Director of Education&Training at

Monday, April 25, 2011

Excerpts: One Thousand Gifts...

I have finally finished reading One Thousand Gifts, and wanted to share with you all these last few excerpts that have buried themselves in my heart.... (photos are Ann Voskamp's, from the book gallery)

  • My mama, valley wise and grief traveled, she always said, 'Expectations kill relationships.' And I've known expectations as a disease, a silent killer heaping her burdens on the shoulders of a relationship until a soul bursts into a pulmonary and dies. 'Expectations kill relationships - especially with God. And that's what a child doesn't have: this whole edifice of expectation. Without expectations, what can topple the surprising wonder of the moment?

  • ...I remember: Lament is a cry of belief in a good God, a God who has His ear to our hearts, a God who transfigures the ugly into beauty. Complaint is the bitter howl of unbelief in any benevolent God in this moment. a distrust in the love-beat of the Father's heart....

  • ...In the moment of singing that one line, dedicating the work as thanks to Him, something - the miracle- happens, and every time. When service is unto people, the bones can grow weary, the frustration deep. Because, agrees Dorothy Sayers,  'whenver man is made the centre of things, he becomes the storm-centre of trouble. The moment you think of serving people, you begin to have the notion that other people owe you something for your pains...You will begin to bargain for reward, to angle for applause.'                          When the laundry is for the dozen arms of children or the dozen legs, it's true, I think I'm due some appreciation. So comes a storm of trouble and lightning strikes joy. But when Christ is at the center, when dishes, laundry, work is my song of thanks to Him, joy rains. Passionately serving Christ alone makes us the loving servant to all. When the eyes of the heart focus on God, and the hands on always washing feet of Jesus alone - the bones, they sing for joy and the work returns to it purest state: eucharisteo. The work becomes worship, a liturgy of thankfulness. 

  • I walk in our back door to candlelight still flickering, hang the keys on the hook and look around  at the steep mountain of laundry there in the mudroom, the shoes scattered, a coat dropped. The mudroom sink is grime ringed. Fingerprints smear across the mirror. I laugh the happiest wonder. In the afternoon's drizzle, I give happy thanks for the daily mess with a smile a mile wide, because this is again my chance to whole heartedly serve God, to do full bodied eucharisteo with the hands and the heart and the lips. I can count each task a gift, pure Eucharisteo. Grace! This work - the thousand endless jobs - they each give the opportunity for one to become the gift, a thousand times over! Because with every one of the thousand, endless jobs - I become the gift to God and to others because this work is the public God serving, the daily liturgy of thanks, the completing of communion service with my service.

  • the only thing to rip out the tape echoing self-rejection is the song of His serenade. One thousand gifts tuned me to the beat. It really is like C.S. Lewis argued: that the most  fundamental thing is not how we think of God but rather what God thinks of us: How God thinks of us is not only more important, but infinitely more important. Years of Christian discipleship, Bible study, churchgoing had been about me thinking about God; practicing Eucharisteo was the very first time I had really considered at length what God thought of me - this ridiculous and relentlessly pursuing love, so bold. Everywhere, everything. Love!

  • God, He has blessed - caressed. I could bless God - caress with thanks. It's our making love... the intercourse of soul with God is the very climax of joy...we're called to do more than believe in God; we're called to live in God. To enter into Christ and Christ enter into us - to cohabit. Is this why it is His will for us to always give thanks in all things - the unbroken communion?
Food for thought huh?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pleasant Passover

(Grrr! Blogger didn't save the final version of this post - so here's ANOTHER one!)

This year we celebrated our first passover meal, in spite of my earlier post. It's made Easter this year more significant than any other year.

On Friday morning, the boys and I read the passover story. Their questions were so insightful. It's quite challenging as an adult getting your head around God hardening Pharaoh's heart, and even more so as a child, and understnading all the plagues! I kept trying to explain how Christ is our lamb and therefore our 'passover', something I'm sure they'll come to understand more and more.

We then spent some time colouring in pasover sheets that I found here (we only printed the three that were relevant to the passover elements we chose to incorporate. Interestingly, reading the different haggadahs made me realize how religious passover has come to be as well - it's not just Christianity that has become too religious for its own good):

We prepared a delicious passover meal, (try this recipe - add a small diced butternut and a diced sweet potato -  Taryn inspired me!). Belle helped me make it, but I think she somewhat misheard me when I asked for her to put one bay leaf in ...

this is her 'I know I've been naughty look'!
We then left it in the slowcooker and it was good!

We also prepared a seder plate, (Jolanthe has posted a free passover lapbook - click on seder plate and print  one out) which the boys used to help retell the passover story to Braveheart at the end of the day when we sat on the floor for our meal. It was truly a very special start to Easter.

On Saturday we tried se7en's hot cross buns, which was an experience in itself. Aragorn just wanted to smell the dough rather than eat it!

Today they celebrated Easter with their traditional egg hunt, and I'm pleased to repot we managed to get them to wait until it was light, and we made it before the rain!

the seekers...
forgive the blurry photo, someone wasn't really with it yet!

the finders!

And the afternoon was spent visiting family, we made these easter baskets as gifts (and used wool, not strips of material).

Happy easter to you and yours!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An Eternal Perspective

Today, I happened to see my husband's boss - it was a quick, few seconds as we crossed paths in a place we usually never see each other. But God used those few moments to really challenge me... the journey Braveheart is on in the workplace, (and thus our family) has been rewarding, but is more often long, hard and frustrating. Together my husband, the creative genius and this man, the business titan, battle against financial difficulties,  personnel limitations, and entwined in all of that is their battle against Evil thwarting them (without wanting to get too super spiritual!).

But this man, let's call him Mr. P, keeps his head high. In the 10 years Braveheart has worked alongside him carrying this vision, Mr. P has maintained an 'eternal perspective' which has often made me curious. And today, God showed me the inner workings of that very idea. Our goal that we are working for - godly animated stories, live-action movies with substance and character - these very things might not be achieved in our lifetime. And neither may a lot of what we strive for.

The thing is - our lives truly are too short to carry our whole vision - and I'm not sure they are supposed to. God showed me today, that visions are supposed to span generations, they are supposed to be built on, generation after generation - that's the way his kingdom works. God blesses generation after generation that serve him, and he adds to our vision for each generation.

God drew it into perspective with my parenting and what I long for. I cannot hope to parent perfectly in my lifetime...BUT what I can do, by following God's leads, is to pass on something more for my kids to follow and live that in generations to come, my family can arise and be called blessed.

food for thought huh?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Books On My Bedside Table

The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African WildThe Elephant Whisperer: This book is incredible - for anyone born in Africa and raised to appreciate the wild, or for those wishing to appreciate it. For me, it was a wonderful journey through the nostalgia of my childhood and the elephants of Kariba. The writing was superb - excellently crafted: the narrator was truly easy to follow. I'll be honest, there were a few chapters where I sobbed my heart out, and others that ended with true cliff hangers, and I'm not one for animal books! Lawrence Anthony is an talented man with a wonderful appreciation of the wild. After reading this, I'd like to one day visit Thula Thula Nature Reserve.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Again, a eye opening book. For someone who considers herself African, this book made me sit up a little straighter and realize just how much I bury my head in the sand. A heroic tale of a young rural boy who creates a windmill out of scrap to power his family's home and change their lifestyle. This is the essence of Africa and her people - people who rise up to make the most of their lives with what they have. The revelation for me was the famine in Malawi - how could I not have known? Not an easy read necessarily (I'll admit being bored every now and then), but still interesting and worth it.

The Count of Monte Cristo (Penguin Classics)
The Count of Monte Cristo: Braveheart watched the movie a while ago, and urged me to re-watch it again, but I declined. He then encouraged me to read it, and I'm glad I did. Dumas' epic tale is cunningly crafted, and just plain genius. Although it is a classic, I would strongly encourage you to read it, highly recommended and well worth it (many late nights reading as much as I could!).

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Your To-Be List

I read this just tonight...and needed to. During these, oh-so-short holidays with all three children home with me, what is really important? May it speak to you too....


Ten years from now, it won't have mattered whether or not the sink was perfectly scrubbed.
Ten years from now it will have mattered that I stopped scrubbing the sink to listen to a problem they were having in school. 
Ten years from now, it won't have mattered that the plates were chipped or that the cups were not a matched set.
Ten years from now, it will have mattered that we sat down at the table together, said a blessing, and shared stories about what happened that day.
Ten years from now, it won't have mattered that their books were scattered everywhere.
Ten years from now, it will have mattered that they loved to read and did so in every corner of the house.
Ten years from now, it won't have mattered if they ran off to school with wrinkled shirts or grass stains on their pants.
Ten years from now, it will have mattered that they were always told, "I love you. Have a great day!" as they dashed out the door - wrinkles, grass stains, and all.
Ten years from now, it won't have mattered that their beds were made haphazardly; that there were lumps under the covers and pillows left on the floor.
Ten years from now, it will have mattered that I leaned over their rumpled beds, kissed them goodnight and assured them that even as they slept, they were loved.
Ten years from now . . .
Ten years from now it won't have mattered that the couch was threadbare.
Ten years from now, it will have mattered that we sat on that couch and laughed until we cried – and that on that very same couch, I held them when they cried genuine tears of sadness.
Ten years from now, it won't have mattered if there were muddy footprints tracked through the house.
Ten years from now, it will have mattered that they ran with abandon, filled their lungs with fresh air, and connected with the wonder of nature.
Ten years from now, it won’t have mattered if I won every argument.
Ten years from now, it will have mattered that I lived my values.
Ten years from now, it won't have mattered that they didn't get everything they wanted.
Ten years from now, it will have mattered that their deepest needs were met.
Ten years from now, it won't have mattered that I wasn't a perfect parent.
Ten years from now, it will have mattered – and mattered deeply – that I was a present parent.
So today and every day, may I live in the moment with my children, with my eyes to their future. 
And let me offer my children the gift of what will have mattered in ten years.

- by Lauren Rosenfeld, M.A., M.Ed., Author of Your To Be List