Apr 20, 2012

Trader Joe's

I don't get it...

                    Maybe I'm not young and hip enough but I just do not see the fascination with TJ's.  I liked the atmosphere, the friendly staff, the decor...

                   But I didn't find enough there to warrant a regular trip.  I went there on the recommendation of my Naturopathic Doctor.  She said they have really good bacon that has no nitrites or nitrates.  So we tried it last night.

                  We slowly wandered the aisle, carefully looking, reading labels, comparing prices.  We ended up buying:
  • 3 pk sampler of Montchevre Crottin Goat Cheese, 10.5 oz, $4.99
  • 2 Salami/ Provolone snack packs for the kids, 3.98
  • 2 bunches broccoli,   3.98
  • 2 pkgs tiny frozen Brussels sprouts, 2.38
  • 1# bacon ends & pieces, nitrite/ nitrate free, 2.99
  • Lemon Pepper spice grinder, 60 grams, 1.99
  • Dried Dill weed, 14 grams, 1.99
  • 1# organic yellow popping corn, 1.99
Total spent $24.78

So far I've tried the
  • goat cheese, LOVE it!
  • bacon, LOVE it!
  • Dill, Very Good!

 Verdict?  I'll go back occasionally for the bacon and dill, maybe the Brussels sprouts, we really like Brussels sprouts, if needed at the time I'll pick up popcorn.  But over all, I don't see what the big deal is.

Apr 15, 2012

Re-Thinking Church

Guest post by, David, my husband, my comments are in blue.

A few months ago, we decided to leave the Corporate Church.

We left because of the many negative experiences we had. 

We were tired of at least five different church experiences where we were never fully accepted as members with full relationships that would endure past membership within those particular churches.
We also never felt that we were accepted within those churches. 

Although we were "open", (painfully so, often "airing the dirty laundry" of our families which is verboten in Southern Culture ) in the various small groups of these churches, our "openness" was often used against us in efforts to manipulate or control us.
We were not just bystanders at most of these churches.  We were heavily involved. 

At the last church we were members of, we opened our home to times of Corporate Prayer, Small Group Meetings, we even led a small group one summer, Home Made Pizza (just come hungry), and Pork Bar-be-que, Hamburgers, Hotdogs, Potato Salad, and Cole Slaw.  We also had individual families over for a meal on many occasions.
I served by running sound (which included driving the church van, unloading the van, setting up the sound system, recording the morning message, tearing down the sound system, reloading the church van, and driving it back to the pastor's house). Susan served by working in the Nursery or Singing on the Praise Team.

Although leaving the corporate church may seem foolish, it has actually been a great time spiritually. Although we both are gifted with Service, we didn't need to work at church. This was no different from the last church we attended, however.

The big difference was that not going to church required me to step up the discussions that we had as a family since we weren't attending at a corporate church. So we have started to have "formal scheduled" times of discussion and Bible study, usually on Sunday morning (appropriately enough) and these sessions aren't a 15 minute quick session where we're just doing our "required time" for the week. They usually last about 1:45 -2:00 hours.  And we don't limit the discussions to Sunday.  We had a great discussion yesterday on Matthew 5 and 6:1-15 on how Jesus said we are to pray.

We've been studying Jesus' life, using the Narrated Bible (which claims to be a chronological sequence of the Bible) as a reference. We pray and then go over a section (either from my ancient copy of the New English Bible or from the ESV as defined in Matthew), discussing what we read and how it applies to the world in which we live.

Recently, Susan expressed a desire to go to a church where she'd been invited by one of the local homeschool Moms, whose husband is the pastor. Although I have other Christian friends, Susan said that she would like to go somewhere (with me along beside her) to try to find other Christian friends. 

I realized this past Friday after crochet club was over that there are 4 Moms who come to crochet that I feel close to, that I can talk to and ask for their prayers.  Even though we don't meet at a 'church' I value the time we can spend together.  What I need to do is pursue these relationships.  This can be difficult as we all homeschool and have to intentionally carve out time to spend with others.  But relationships are important and I need to make the first move.

After a couple of days of sometimes contentious discussion (by me), including discussions with two dear Christian brothers, we came to a conclusion: As long as we continued to have our weekly discussions and I would not be required to take our teenage children to a church to which I would not go, when Susan did not feel like going, I would acompany her to a local church. Otherwise, I would go along with her to support her.

Susan agreed to this arrangement because of the richness of our discussions.
Our children, Daniel and Sarah Kate made a commitment to follow Jesus as Lord and Master one Sunday evening when we "skipped" church service.  It was not an emotional decision made from guilt, but instead a sober conversation, initiated "out of the blue," by Sarah who asked about "bearing good fruit.". I was surprised that it happened and the GOD allowed Susan and me to be involved watching our children be born into the Kingdom of Heaven.

So, the lessons learned from this detour in life have been: (1) gathering at home to study and worship GOD can be MORE fruitful than corporate worship when you feel like an outsider and (2) that you don't need to have a preacher, elder, deacon, or Sunday school teacher in order for your children to know and make a decision to follow Christ.

Apr 8, 2012


He is risen indeed!

My GOD, I Love Thee

by St Francis Xavier
Translation of Edward Caswell

My God, I love thee! not because
I hope for heaven thereby;
Nor yet because who love thee not
Must burn eternally.

Thou, O my Jesus, thou didst me
Upon the cross embrace!
For me didst bear the nails and spear,
And manifold disgrace,

And griefs and torments numberless,
And sweat of agony,
Yea, death itself,- and all for one
Who was thine enemy.

Then why, O blessed Jesus Christ,
Should I not love thee well!
Not for the hope of winning heaven,
Nor of escaping hell!

Not with the hope of gaining aught,
Not seeking a reward;
But as thyself hast loved me,
O ever loving Lord!

E'en so I love thee, and will love,
And in thy praise will sing,-
Solely because thou art my God
And my eternal King.


On this Resurrection Sunday, 2012  we focused on the stations of the cross.  

I had heard of "The Stations of the Cross"  but never knew what it was other than it was a "catholic" thing.  Anyway, this past Friday, Good Friday, (Good? Friday)  we were taking the kids to Discovery Place, http://www.discoveryplace.org/.  So we decided to have lunch at the Methodist Church http://harrisburgumc.org/ here in Harrisburg since they were having an 'all-u-can eat' fish fry.  Good food, money goes to support a good cause etc.  What we did NOT know was they had set up in the sanctuary 'The Stations of the Cross'. 

We went through the stations after lunch.  It was very simply but tastefully done.  Quiet music played, lights were dimmed, beautiful art prints portrayed each step, candles and incense burned...  for me it was a very solemn and VERY emotional journey.  It really brought it all back to the front of my mind... 
      What Christ chose to go through for sinners such as I.   It's not just the physical torture, although that was horrific... It is the fact that He CHOSE to go through it.  All the humiliation, the pain, the anguish, the SEPARATION from God...

Read the scriptures.  Don't take my word for it. 

Station 1, Jesus Prays Alone, Luke 22:39-44
Station 2, Jesus is arrested, Matt. 26:47-56
Station 3, Sanhedrin tries Jesus, Mark 14:61-64
Station 4, Pilate tries Jesus, John 18:33-37
Station 5, Pilate sentences Jesus, Mark 15:6-15
Station 6, Jesus wears crown, John 19:5
Station 7, Jesus carries cross, John 10:17-18
Station 8, Simon carries cross, Luke 23:26
Station 9, Jesus speaks to the women, Luke 23:27-31
Station 10, Jesus is crucified, Luke 23:33-34
Station 11, Criminals speak to Jesus, Luke 23:39-43
Station 12, Jesus speaks to Mary, John, John 19:25-27
Station 13, Jesus dies on the cross, John 1928-34
Station 14, Jesus is laid in the tomb, John 19:38-42

Watch "The Passion of the Christ" amazon
Read Max Lucado's book, "He Chose the Nails"  amazon.com.  See how Christ reacted, really did not react, to the spit on His face, to the purple robe meant to mock Him, in the sour wine offered to slack His thirst...

But it did NOT end with His death....