Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Remember this? One of my first real conversations with Iain? Well tonight, I had my first real one with Cory and it was absolutely adorable! It went something like a-this:

Cory, holding a pepperoni in his chubby little fist: Peppah!
Me: Do you like pepperoni?
Cory: (nodding with those big, brown, soulful eyes staring at me seriously) Ggmmmhh! (remember I told you he's tonal? This is the best way to write out the way he says "cheese." It's in the back of his throat and very high-pitched and excited.)
Me: You like cheese too? What else do you like?
Cory: uuh-wah! (rocks. Really, that's what it means.)
Me: Rocks? And what else do you like?
Cory: PAH!!
Me: (not understanding. Trying to remember the translation for this particular baby-word. Knowing I have heard the word before...oh, what does it mean? This is like trying to remember vocabulary for quizzes in Spanish or French.) Um, pepperoni? You like pepperoni?
Cory: (nodding seriously) PAH!!! (obviously, he does like pepperoni, but that wasn't what he was trying to say.)
Me: What do you mean, Cory?
Cory: (twisting around, pointing at the backyard - and the park out behind the backyard) PAH!!!!
Me: Oh, the park! You like the park, Cory?
Cory: uh-yah. (yes. And more nodding.)

Seriously, seriously adorable.

And here's an Iain-ism for you: tonight, we made a delicious chocolate cake from scratch. I know, aren't you proud? Iain helped make it and waited impatiently for it to be done. Cory was fussing as we mixed it, and Iain said to him, "It's okay, Cory. Cake will make you feel better." Then later, he said to Jeremy, "I want to eat the cake. If you let me eat the cake, I will eat the whole thing."

Monday, April 27, 2009


So it seems that when I am stressed and when Jeremy is working lots of hours (and those things often seem to coincide), I do one of three things:

1. eat a lot
2. want to buy everything
3. read a lot

Relating to number one: more specifically, I want to eat junk. Brownies, ice cream, candy bars, chips and dip, coke, milkshakes, Lauren's cookies.... I'm not saying I always do eat these things. But oh, how I want to!

Number two: Our budget is thankful that I don't actually partake in this "retail therapy." And it's a weird thing for me, as normally, I'm not much of a shopper. But I did buy myself a bag - hot pink with stripes. Maybe being into pink is a symptom of stress, too. Maybe I'll paint our new house pink, when we finally close on it. Or maybe I'll paint our current house pink with stripes, to match my bag. I'm sure our landlord would love that, cheerful fellow that he is. (Yes, that is sarcasm tainting my words. Tainting them pink. Okay, enough pink already.)

And three: I hate to admit how much I've been reading, because you might think I have nothing to do, and thus nothing to be stressed about. I promise, I read fast. And we go to the park a lot, and in between chasing boys, pushing them on the swings, and following them down the slides, I read. Outside of those two explanations, I have no defense. I have no idea how I've managed to read this many books since we've moved here. Read this; maybe it'll explain it better (scroll down to the March 13 entry entitled "Coping"). Escapism.

Here are the books I've read since we moved:
Confessions of a Reformission Rev
Death at Gallows Green
Quaker Summer
Embrace Me
Red Helmet
The Quilter's Apprentice
No One You Know
The Church Ladies
River, Cross my Heart

and I'm part way through:
Indigo Waters
Breaking Free

If this craziness doesn't stop soon, I'm going to read through the whole library. Even the books I don't like. I'm not choosy.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sweet Cory

Cory is just about the sweetest thing I've ever seen, and one of the funniest, too. And he's growing so fast - someone make him stop! Doesn't he just look so long and lean here? Don't let the camera fool you though - usually, he's a little more plump.

Cory's really starting to talk a lot. And he's very tonal (I remember Iain being so, too). For example, the words for cheese and drink are the same except for the intonation. He also says, among other things, cat, chicken (new today), pacifier (pah-pah, with a very soft p sound - almost an f), please, bye-bye, bus, shoes, socks, truck, tractor (tah-tah!), and of course, Dada and Mama. That last one is my favorite. And he nods yes with insanely serious, soulful eyes that I want to do whatever he wants. Hypnotic.

He knows some signs, too: bus, car, bike, shoes, socks, please, thank you (done with such flair!) and my favorite: airplane. It looks just like bus, but it has sound effects. :)

Okay, one more funny story for now: yesterday, the boys were taking a bath. Cory asked to get out before Iain did, as usual. So Jeremy took him to the bedroom, dried him off, dressed him in his warm blue footie pajamas, and let him loose. I was picking up Iain's room (next door to the bathroom), when I heard Iain say, "Um... Cory falled in." I went into the bathroom, and there was Cory, grinning, soaking wet and totally clothed, back in the bathtub! Made me laugh - Cory's mischief and Iain's reaction.

So I got Cory out again, stripped him to his diaper, and was trying to find some new pjs for him. He put on his bahama hat and this is what he did next:

Love that kid!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Theology, By Iain

"Jesus, I really want to follow You and do good things. God, I really want to follow God and do what is good things. Beetle battle, fox in socks."

"Jesus is in my life. Taking care of me. He gives me food, and toys, and this house, and KETCHUP! And the Bible. And cats and dogs, too. And chips and mustard. And dose drinks."

Iain: God gives us WISDOM!
Me: What is wisdom, Iain?
Iain: It is praying about the good things. And the bad things, too.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Non-Retaliation and Matthew 5

I've been reading very slowly through Jesus' five discourses in Matthew (five sermons that some can be viewed as a manual on discipleship of sorts). The first block of teaching is the Sermon on the Mount. I've been reading it in little chunks so I could reflect, pray, repent, put into action, etc. Then I hit the part about retaliation and got stuck - it's a tricky part of Scripture that seems to fly in the face of common sense, and not in a "that makes sense in God's Kingdom; just not in the world" kind of way. Face it: at least to me, this part of Scripture doesn't make sense in anybody's system!

So the question arises: since I'm working through the sermon so slowly, trying to really take it all in, do I hang out here for as long as it takes, or do I chalk it up to the mysteries of God and move on? Jeremy asked me, when I told him I had gotten stuck on it, "What are you going to do about it?" I guess that answered my question.

So I read The Bible Speaks Today commentary on the Sermon on the Mount (not all of it yet; just that section). The book is by John Stott and is really good. It makes me wonder why it all seemed so confusing before.

So, since note-taking and writing in general is how I process and remember, I present to you here my summary of his thoughts.

““You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.”
(Matthew 5:38-42 ESV)

The passage Jesus quotes, the eye for an eye part, is taken from Exodus 21, and is also mentioned in Deuteronomy and Leviticus. The context of the verse is that it is part of instructions given to Israel, as far as how to govern themselves. That is, it is a state law. (I use the term "state" here, as opposed to individual.) It is the way that God commanded acts of violence to be handled -- by the state, not by the individuals themselves. In other words, if your next door neighbor puts out your eye, you are not allowed to go after his in a mad rage. Instead, you are to bring the issue before the judges and they will use the law to either put out the man's eye, or to force him to make amends monetarily (see Ex 21:26-27, where a man who puts out his slave's tooth must free him). So the whole "eye for an eye"thing is to prohibit and prevent personal retaliation and revenge by ensuring justice for the offended. (And really, for the offender, too.)

However, the Scribes and Pharisees, in their winsome ways, were using the text to do just the opposite: they took it and taught it to mean that if someone hurts me, Scripture says I can hurt them right back. They were using the text to justify the exact thing the text was originally written to prevent: revenge and retaliation.

So Jesus took it back to the basics. He did not come to abolish the Law (Matt 5:17). He, in fact, came to fulfill it, and to call us to standards of righteousness that exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees (Matt 5:20). Stott explains that Jesus was not trying to repeal this OT law. He was trying to put it in the right context, and call His followers to more. In other places (Judge not, lest you be judged, among others), Jesus spoke of the coming judgement of God. He obviously is not anti-judgement. He was speaking here about personal relationships, not law courts and the judgement of God.

Personal relationships, for the Christian, are to be marked by love, not justice. It is not for us to seek vengeance or revenge at all - personally. If a person wrongs you, you are not to react in retaliation, but in love. Ah, but here is the key: the Christian must not make himself a thoughtless doormat, just taking whatever evil people want to dish out. The principle must be upheld, and as Stott writes, "(t)hat principle is love, the selfless love of a person who, when injured, refuses to satisfy himself by taking revenge, but studies instead the highest welfare of the other person and of society, and determines his reactions accordingly." Eureka!

So if Stott is correct in his explanation, a person who is injured thinks logically about how to respond. Is it in the other person, and society's best interest for me to close my mouth and take what he is dishing out? Sometimes, as Jesus clearly proves when He is mocked, flogged, and yes, slapped on His holy face, the answer is yes. If our motivations are revenge, retaliation, or vengeance, then the answer is also yes. But if it is better for the other person, or for society, to stop them, to resist their evil, then that is what must be done. Love dictates it.

A side note: later on, Stott makes a good point that vengeance is not wrong. It is, in fact, just, righteous, and holy. It is just simply not our job. It is God's, by His own decree. (My additions here - ) And we, with our complicated, sin-tainted motives, would do better to simply leave it alone, as He commanded.

More Stott: "he [the Christian] has been entirely freed from his personal animosity. Instead, he seeks to return good for evil. So he is willing to give to the uttermost - his body, his clothing, his service, his money - in so far as these gifts are required by love. Thus the only limit to the Christian's generosity will be a limit which love itself may impose." He goes on to give the example, which in my mind is not perfectly watertight but shows another use of the Greek word here for resist, where Paul resists Peter to his face, when Peter doesn't want to eat with the Gentiles in the presence of other Jews. Paul's resistance brings Peter to repentance (we may assume), and it also shows solidarity with Gentile Christians and a love for the whole Gospel. Therefore, his motives were in love and his actions were right.

This passage is often taken to support pacifism. Stott says that it really doesn't support that view, because again, it is dealing with personal relationships, not affairs of state. He also makes the point that Luther originally stated, that sometimes a Christian's person and office may be different and require different actions. This is a fine line to walk. It means, Stott says, that if someone breaks into my house, I may be required to give him food and drink while calling the police. "The Christian is to be wholly free of revenge, not only in action, but in his heart as well; as an office bearer in either state or church, however, he may find himself entrusted with authority from God to resist evil and to punish it."

In a very practical example that comes to my mind, take the office of motherhood. If one of my darling children smacks me in the face, should I really turn the other cheek and let them do it again? Is that loving? Is that fulfilling the office I have been given? No. The Christian in me should harbor no thoughts of revenge or vengeance toward the offending child, but I have been given authority by God to resist evil and to punish it, and so I must, out of love and out of duty, punish the child.

Stott's take on this confusing passage of Scripture doesn't lessen the deep sacrifice, self-control, and love that Jesus is demanding from His own. But it does clarify and add an element of common sense that is lacking in some extreme interpretations. The principles of love, duty, and sacrifice remain. And if you've actually read all this, give yourself a pizza trophy.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Snow Day!

As promised, pictures of snow! Okay, so I know that the tiny flurries we received weren't much to speak of. But still. It was the first time the boys saw snow. It was beautiful. And it was in April! And two days later, it was 80 degrees. Fun!

What is it?

I wish I could say all that white was falling snow... but it was just fog. Still, so pretty.

Trying to catch it in his mouth:

See the tiny flakes?

Choir director in training?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Grammy and Papa and Donuts

When Iain heard that Grammy and Papa were coming for a visit, he had a plan.

"I want to go with them to Krispy Kreme and get donuts. And I will get pinkles, and Grammy will get pinkles and Papa will get pinkles. And they will see the donut machine."

I assured him that Grammy and Papa would be happy to oblige (and I was right!), and the countdown began. Every, oh, 20 minutes or so, starting a week ahead of time, Iain would ask, "Is it Monday yet?" And then we'd talk about Krispy Kreme.

Finally Monday arrived, and so did Grammy and Papa. Yay!

We enjoyed a very nice visit with them that included lots of books:

Funny shoes:


And of course, donuts:

In this one, I had just told Cory that he couldn't have ANOTHER donut. This was his reaction. I'm not making this up.

We had a great time with Grammy and Papa. We even saw snow! More on that in another post.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

For Nona and Nan

Nona sent the boys pictures and notes in the mail. What fun! And this was Cory's first time saying Nona.

And this one's for Nan. We're still working on the song, but I think it's adorable! We have robins outside our window daily, so of course, I had to teach them the only robin song I know. In this video, Iain is obviously distracted by dinner and apples (which were really pears, but whatever). So I'll narrate the normal way he sings the song below.

Here are the lyrics:

When the red, red robin comes bob-bob-bobbin' along, along
There'll be no more sobbin' when he starts throbbin' his own sweet song
Wake up, wake up you sleepyhead
Get up, get up, get out of bed
Cheer up, cheer up, the sun is red
Live, love, laugh and be happy
I was feelin' blue, now I'm walkin' through fields of flowers
Rain may glisten but still I'll listen for hours and hours
I'm just a kid again, doin' what I did again
Singin' a song
When the red, red robin comes bob-bob-bobbin' along.

Iain's favorite part by far is, and I quote, "Live, love LAUGH-AND-BE-HAPPY!" and the last part is more of a shriek. My favorite part of the Iain version is "Cheer up, cheer up, the sun is BLUE." Blue? It doesn't even rhyme! :)

We love you Nona and Nan!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Most Kids Have Imaginary Friends...

... but my son has imaginary multiple personalities. Witness:

Our bathroom downstairs here at the Middle House has mirrors on three walls. Yes, three. So when you go to wash your hands, you can see images of yourself stretching far, far away. Iain loves this.

"Hello all da Iains!" he says, grinning. Sometimes he'll add, "Hello, all da Mamas," but mostly, it's just the Iains that get noticed. Then he continues.

"C'mon, all da Iains, let's go get a snack. All da Iains want a snack, Mama." So Mama gets the one Iain a snack (what can I say? I like him best.). My favorite Iain climbs into an empty chair, and says, "Here, all da Iains, you can sit dere and dere and dere." He points to any other chairs. Then he shares his snack. "Here, all da Iains, you can have a snack. You can have some chex mix." Passes it around. Yes, he literally puts a piece of chex mix in front of every empty chair. Then all the Iains eat their snack. My favorite Iain doesn't eat the snack in front of the other Iains. He just asks for more when the snack in front of him is empty. It wouldn't be nice to steal the other Iains' snacks, now would it?

And then: "Mama, all da Iains want to watch a movie. C'mon, all da Iains, it's movie time." And they all trundle down the hall and sit on the couch, waiting expectantly.

Nona, the other day, asked Iain how many Iains there were.

"Lots and lots of Iains!" he shouted back.


Thursday, April 02, 2009


This is from a couple of weeks ago - March 19, to be exact. Cory's first haircut! (Sad!!) And Iain's fourth.

Before: (Okay, I admit, it was getting a bit - ahem - shaggy. But those baby curls!)

Ah, Mom, are you sure you know what you're doing with those?

After. Doesn't he look so old?

Shaggy boy number two. Can you tell I like their hair long?

Neatly-groomed boy number two. It looks better in real life. Honest.