Thursday, December 31, 2009

Vaughn my Muse

To the desk of Vaughn M. Maynard (2 ½ years),

This letter is in response to your request for admission to the Academy of Little Brothers.

Here at ALB, we educate only the finest younger siblings. We are an institution dedicated to the advancement of immature human beings.

Our mission statement reads “We will advance our interests slowly and continually while our parents rapidly descend into insanity”.

Initially, we only recruited the most promising young males, but in 2005, we began offering admission to a select number of little sisters who round out our student population. We find that the female ability to whine incessantly while maintaining dominance over her adoring father will serve to frustrate her mother and in effect advance our mission of paternal demise.

Each little brother/sister is evaluated for their ability to engage in various mind numbing activities: such as, repetitive noise making, paper destruction, and food refusal.

Upon enrollment, our students are trained in raisin manipulation, crayon consumption, remote control covert-ops, cabinet evacuation, and shopping cart tantrums. The shopping cart training program has been so successful, that this year we added a two week course specifically dedicated to the Wal-Mart experience. Our research shows that requests made at this mega store are given little consideration due to the frustration of parents, and we are currently developing a similar methodology for Kohl’s and Old Navy.

After careful evaluation, we find that you are a master in the art of aggravation, and we are particularly interested in your vast knowledge of small animal irritations. You possess large amounts of potential energy ,and you adequately manage your output by recharging yourself ,daily, during school hours; this allows for maximum, kinetic energy output between the hours of 3 and 8 pm. Your squealing skills are exemplary, and we especially enjoy your tenacity with regard to the opening and closing of doors, junk food requests, hair pulling, and booger distribution.

It is with great pleasure that we formally offer you admission to our prestigious academy. Tuition is fully reimbursable if your parents are not completely mental in less than 5 years. Thank you for your interest in our training program and we hope to hear from you soon.


Ima Payne

Dean of Student Admissions

A poem for my paper

I have released my first born among many
Relinquished into the hands of a capable carver
And when she returns, a hollow shell of her former self
I will repair her disassembled limbs
And receive my reward

New Year...New Start

In my family, New Years Eve was just another night. Never were there riotous celebrations or late night affairs. We would saunter out of our respective bedrooms to watch the ball drop and then retire to our dens in solitude for the duration of the night.

Last New Years Eve has been erased from my memory; my father was clinging to life in a hospital hundreds of miles from my home. 2009 was ushered in with uncertainty, but it slowly became a year of progress. As the following 12 months marched on, new opportunities began to present themselves, and impossibilites became realized. First, my father made a miraculous recovery and finally made the move to North Carolina. Jason and I soon quit our employment as restaurant servants, and we returned to a simple life, a life that brought us time together with our children.

As a lark, I had applied for financial aid. I desperately wanted to return to school, but I never actually believed that it was possible. The whole registration process is a memory that now seems obscured. Looking back, I cannot remember a point that I clearly decided to start school again, yet I did. And without realizing it, I actually completed the semester with a full-time 4.0 GPA.

The children have had a fabulous year. They finally have both grandparents around to spend time with, and trips to their house bring them so much joy.

I have learned many spiritual lessons this year also. To begin with, I finally realized the the previous generations don't understand scripture anymore than my own. They are just as helpless as the generations that follow them. Purging my life of ritual and habit has not been a delicate procedure, for it more closely resembles a full body heave. Standing for truth often lands a person in the line of fire from friends and family...and their judgments soon abound. It is a painful process, but it has left me with a clear impression of who my true friends are...and for that I am grateful.

So cheers to a new year, a new decade. I have spent the last ten years with the man I love, and we have changed in so many ways that I hardly recognize the young couple who walked down the isle together so many years ago. We are a couple of travelers, and I am so glad that we get to walk the road of life...hand in hand.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Chapter 48

1In that place I beheld a fountain of righteousness, which never failed, encircled by many springs of wisdom. Of these all the thirsty drank, and were filled with wisdom, having their habitation with the righteous, the elect, and the holy.

2In that hour was this Son of man invoked before the Lord of spirits, and his name in the presence of the Ancient of days.

3Before the sun and the signs were created, before the stars of heaven were formed, his name was invoked in the presence of the Lord of spirits. A support shall he be for the righteous and the holy to lean upon, without falling; and he shall be the light of nations.

4He shall be the hope of those whose hearts are troubled. All, who dwell on earth, shall fall down and worship before him; shall bless and glorify him, and sing praises to the name of the Lord of spirits.

5Therefore the Elect and the Concealed One existed in his presence, before the world was created, and for ever.

6In his presence he existed, and has revealed to the saints and to the righteous the wisdom of the Lord of spirits; for he has preserved the lot of the righteous, because they have hated and rejected this world of iniquity, and have detested all its works and ways, in the name of the Lord of spirits.

7For in his name shall they be preserved; and his will shall be their life. In those days shall the kings of the earth and the mighty men, who have gained the world by their achievements, become humble in countenance.

8For in the day of their anxiety and trouble their souls shall not be saved; and they shall be in subjection to those whom I have chosen.

9I will cast them like hay into the fire, and like lead into the water. Thus shall they burn in the presence of the righteous, and sink in the presence of the holy; nor shall a tenth part of them be found.

10But in the day of their trouble, the world shall obtain tranquillity.

11In his presence shall they fall, and not be raised up again; nor shall there be any one to take them out of his hands, and to lift them up: for they have denied the Lord of spirits, and his Messiah. The name of the Lord of spirits shall be blessed.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I give it all up...

Politics is crap. Democrat or Republican, it doesnt matter to me anymore.
I still read the paper and listen to the hype, but they are all insane. It reminds me of the backstabbing of Julius Caesar. I firmly believe what they do now is more sinister. It would be better if they faced each other in a duel. NPR was all a buzz about Arlen jumping ship and playing for the other team. I am sure they felt betrayed, but where is the root to this system. They lay the groundwork themselves, they are all out to get each other. It is like they are trying to play a basketball game, but each is refusing to wear a jersey like the other guys.What a pointless game that is, running around not knowing who is on your team, or who you can trust to pass the ball to. So each man hugs the ball when it comes to him and tears around the court screaming MINE, MINE, until at last he is tired and gives it to the next moron so he can run around for a bit.

I am not exactly sure when the parties became so divided on a religious level, but I refuse to believe that Christ would be mixed up in it all.

Friday, April 24, 2009

How does your garden grow...


Ava's strawberry plants are in full bloom already!


She has Sweet peas...


And a variety of lettuce....


She made Jason the first salad of the season...


Faith works hard watering all the plants...


We let one of our cabbage plants go to seed...and it is huge!


So, she is growing new cabbage plants for the summer, and Vaughn is putting the seeds "ni-night"


Lucy is working really hard too...


What a beautiful dog...


Helena's bed is full of flower and carrot seeds...I will update this photo to see how everything has grown in a few months...


Vaughns veggie bed...


Azalea's in full bloom...


We will be working hard all season long...


Saturday, March 28, 2009

No patience...

I have absolutely no patience lately. The kids are always in a panic about something, the house is always in need of cleaning, and I am in need of a time machine. Old people are always telling me to enjoy this time, the kids are growing up too fast. Too fast...really? Well not today they arent.

I must sound like a terrible parent. I love my kids more than life itself, but I am tired. It has been 8 years of solid diaper changing, sippy cup washing and chronic whining.

Last week I took Ava to the movies with her girlfriend, and we had the best time. Eight is such a wonderful age, they were so happy to be out together like big girls. They savored each activity, giggling all the way. Who knew that lunch at O'Charleys , a butterfly net from the Dollar Tree, and a 3-D movie could be so fun.

I am certain that toddlers are cute so that we will agree to their terms. My little dude is tearing it up around the house. He is a tornado, and Helena is doing anything and everything to get the attention back she has lost to him. She whines and falls down, loses things and has crazy dietary needs. Whatever it takes to get mommy back on her turf. Iwill give her credit, she is the most persistent human being alive, and one day is destined to be a salesman or a defense attorney. Only time will tell. Until then may the Lord give me strength to make it through the next couple of years without completely breaking down.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Proof of a Creator...

For what purpose is a pearl
if not to be beautiful
it supplies nothing and no one with nourishment
yet it exists all the same
All cultures and peoples desire it for its beauty
Evolution states that all things evolve for the purpose of other things
So why does beauty exist
Nature could have produced many means of pollen production
but nothing can compare to a rose
so I ask this question
What is the evolutionary purpose of beauty if not to glorify a Creator?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A new name...

As men became Emperor's of Rome, it was understood that they assumed a new name. A name they considered to be holy, to elevate themselves. When Octavian conquered Egypt and defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra he changed his name to Caesar Augustus. Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (yeah that was his whole name) struggled with the desire to change his name to Romulus who was believed to have founded Rome and was a deity to the Roman people. Fearing a revolt he stayed with Claudius.

These people governed during the time that Jerusalem was controlled by Rome. Christ would have been aware of the customary name changes. He told us that when we reign with him he will write upon our foreheads a new name. A Holy name. A name that is fitting our new status, as we become transformed to his image, we will have a new name. He was letting the oppressed know that when he is King on this earth, they will serve with him and the lowly nature they were doomed to live in would not be forever. What a wonderful promise. I never understood the significance of it until I learned how impressive it must have been to the early church. Forced to live under the rule of ego-maniacal perverts who claimed to be gods in their own right....they were given a promise of a higher status in a kingdom that would never end. What a wonderful thought!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Dont look in the mud for a bar of soap...

I am a believer in the fact that God is totally and ALWAYS in control.

I realize that people are very upset about the abortion funding that is going on. Everyone wants to blame our new president, but we need to take a look at the real problem.

What is the real problem?

The real problem is that this country is full of lost and hurting people. Modern biblical scholars often criticize Christ for never speaking out against slavery...well for one thing, slavery in Christs day was very different than slavery was in this country. It was a way to start over and to pay back debt in a lot of cases, and under Jewish law, all slaves were to be released every seven years during the Jubilee. Slavery in this country was against a certain race of people, and it was a life sentance....very different. But now I am off topic. Back to abortion.

When peoples hearts are forever changed by the Holy Spirit, they change. Things that never seemed wrong suddenly do. So my theory (and I believe Christs theory on abortion) would be this. That we need to be light and salt to the world, not to just protest, but to live our lives for others, so that they will see Jesus in us and fall under conviction. Slavery in this country came under attack because the average people in America started to wake up and see how wrong it was. They were convicted of the sin of improper treatment to their neighbor. Slowly they fought to overturn laws. People arent listening to the "Church" as a whole, because we preach to their face and live like hell the rest of the time. Start serving God...and worshiping Him in spirit and in truth and He will heal our land......It is not Obama's job to heal something. He is a man, a flawed, and sinful man. Stop looking to him to act like Christ.

We also need to remember that to God...sin is sin is sin. Christ said that to hate in our heart is to murder. We run around pointing our fingers at certain groups of people...all the while we hate members of our own family. Lets worry about the planks in our own is time to clean up our hearts before we demand that of others.

2 Chronicles 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bookworm mommy....

I have a new punishment only a teacher could love. Over the past 4 days the girls have told one too many tattle tales. So, I decided that one tattle earns them one chapter in their books. Lets just say Ava has finished "Judy Moody" and is on chapter 3 in her American girl book, and Faith has a few pages left in her magic tree house series..The reading actually calms them down and takes their mind off of each other, I cant believe that I didnt think of this a long time ago.

Random facts...

Normally I dont like these things...but this one I went along with.
I blog because if something tragic happens to me, my kids can read these ( I know that sounds morbid...but that is just the way I think).

1. I love people
2. I love Jesus Christ above all else
3. I make it a habit to read at least three books a month
4. My favorite place to be alone is the library
5. I am in love with old british sitcoms
6. Art is my passion
7. I wish I was an archaeologist
8. I love to read Dickens
9. C.S. Lewis is my hero
10. I pick up old people at work...(true...just ask my coworkers...)
11.If you are spewing misinformation from your mouth, I will correct you
12.There is nothing like a glass of Cabernet and a conversation with a good friend
13. I love Jazz music playing while I cook.
14. I watch Seinfeld everynight with my husband...(and I do mean EVERYNIGHT)
15. My husband is my best friend
16. I am either completely serious, or a whacky clown...I am never in between
17. I hate shoes
18. I love to garden
19. I hate TV news...I prefer to read the paper
20. I love History
21. I have given up following politics...
22. I am a conspiricy theorist
23. I hate sports....all sports (this includes figure skating) I wont watch any of them...
24. I love children
25. I love my little is full of love and laughterComment

Friday, January 16, 2009

They gave it all to make the truth known...

This is taken from Foxes Book of Martyrs...
How sobering it is for us to read of the deaths of the men who followed Christ.
Their testimony shows us that they suffered cruelly for refusing to renounce the things which they saw ....

I. St. StephenSt. Stephen suffered the next in order. His death was occasioned by the faithful manner in which he preached the Gospel to the betrayers and murderers of Christ. To such a degree of madness were they excited, that they cast him out of the city and stoned him to death. The time when he suffered is generally supposed to have been at the passover which succeeded to that of our Lord's crucifixion, and to the era of his ascension, in the following spring.
Upon this a great persecution was raised against all who professed their belief in Christ as the Messiah, or as a prophet. We are immediately told by St. Luke, that "there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem;" and that "they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles."
About two thousand Christians, with Nicanor, one of the seven deacons, suffered martyrdom during the "persecution that arose about Stephen."

II. James the GreatThe next martyr we meet with, according to St. Luke, in the History of the Apsotles' Acts, was James the son of Zebedee, the elder brother of John, and a relative of our Lord; for his mother Salome was cousin-german to the Virgin Mary. It was not until ten years after the death of Stephen that the second martyrdom took place; for no sooner had Herod Agrippa been appointed governor of Judea, than, with a view to ingratiate himself with them, he raised a sharp persecution against the Christians, and determined to make an effectual blow, by striking at their leaders. The account given us by an eminent primitive writer, Clemens Alexandrinus, ought not to be overlooked; that, as James was led to the place of martyrdom, his accuser was brought to repent of his conduct by the apostle's extraordinary courage and undauntedness, and fell down at his feet to request his pardon, professing himself a Christian, and resolving that James should not receive the crown of martyrdom alone. Hence they were both beheaded at the same time. Thus did the first apostolic martyr cheerfully and resolutely receive that cup, which he had told our Savior he was ready to drink. Timon and Parmenas suffered martyrdom about the same time; the one at Philippi, and the other in Macedonia. These events took place A.D. 44.

III. PhilipWas born at Bethsaida, in Galilee and was first called by the name of "disciple." He labored diligently in Upper Asia, and suffered martyrdom at Heliopolis, in Phrygia. He was scourged, thrown into prison, and afterwards crucified, A.D. 54.

IV. MatthewWhose occupation was that of a toll-gatherer, was born at Nazareth. He wrote his gospel in Hebrew, which was afterwards translated into Greek by James the Less. The scene of his labors was Parthia, and Ethiopia, in which latter country he suffered martyrdom, being slain with a halberd in the city of Nadabah, A.D. 60.

V. James the Less
Is supposed by some to have been the brother of our Lord, by a former wife of Joseph. This is very doubtful, and accords too much with the Catholic superstition, that Mary never had any other children except our Savior. He was elected to the oversight of the churches of Jerusalem; and was the author of the Epistle ascribed to James in the sacred canon. At the age of ninety-four he was beat and stoned by the Jews; and finally had his brains dashed out with a fuller's club.

VI. Matthias
Of whom less is known than of most of the other disciples, was elected to fill the vacant place of Judas. He was stoned at Jerusalem and then beheaded.

VII. Andrew
Was the brother of Peter. He preached the gospel to many Asiatic nations; but on his arrival at Edessa he was taken and crucified on a cross, the two ends of which were fixed transversely in the ground. Hence the derivation of the term, St. Andrew's Cross.

VIII. St. Mark
Was born of Jewish parents of the tribe of Levi. He is supposed to have been converted to Christianity by Peter, whom he served as an amanuensis, and under whose inspection he wrote his Gospel in the Greek language. Mark was dragged to pieces by the people of Alexandria, at the great solemnity of Serapis their idol, ending his life under their merciless hands.

IX. Peter
Among many other saints, the blessed apostle Peter was condemned to death, and crucified, as some do write, at Rome; albeit some others, and not without cause, do doubt thereof. Hegesippus saith that Nero sought matter against Peter to put him to death; which, when the people perceived, they entreated Peter with much ado that he would fly the city. Peter, through their importunity at length persuaded, prepared himself to avoid. But, coming to the gate, he saw the Lord Christ come to meet him, to whom he, worshipping, said, "Lord, whither dost Thou go?" To whom He answered and said, "I am come again to be crucified." By this, Peter, perceiving his suffering to be understood, returned into the city. Jerome saith that he was crucified, his head being down and his feet upward, himself so requiring, because he was (he said) unworthy to be crucified after the same form and manner as the Lord was.

X. PaulPaul, the apostle, who before was called Saul, after his great travail and unspeakable labors in promoting the Gospel of Christ, suffered also in this first persecution under Nero. Abdias, declareth that under his execution Nero sent two of his esquires, Ferega and Parthemius, to bring him word of his death. They, coming to Paul instructing the people, desired him to pray for them, that they might believe; who told them that shortly after they should believe and be baptised at His sepulcher. This done, the soldiers came and led him out of the city to the place of execution, where he, after his prayers made, gave his neck to the sword.

XI. JudeThe brother of James, was commonly called Thaddeus. He was crucified at Edessa, A.D. 72.

XII. BartholomewPreached in several countries, and having translated the Gospel of Matthew into the language of India, he propagated it in that country. He was at length cruelly beaten and then crucified by the impatient idolaters.

XIII. ThomasCalled Didymus, preached the Gospel in Parthia and India, where exciting the rage of the pagan priests, he was martyred by being thrust through with a spear.

XIV. Luke
The evangelist, was the author of the Gospel which goes under his name. He travelled with Paul through various countries, and is supposed to have been hanged on an olive tree, by the idolatrous priests of Greece.

XV. Simon Surnamed Zelotes, preached the Gospel in Mauritania, Africa, and even in Britain, in which latter country he was crucified, A.D. 74.

XVI. John The "beloved disciple," was brother to James the Great. The churches of Smyrna, Pergamos, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, and Thyatira, were founded by him. From Ephesus he was ordered to be sent to Rome, where it is affirmed he was cast into a cauldron of boiling oil. He escaped by miracle, without injury. Domitian afterwards banished him to the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation. Nerva, the successor of Domitian, recalled him. He was the only apostle who escaped a violent death.

XVII. Barnabas
Was of Cyprus, but of Jewish descent, his death is supposed to have taken place about A.D. 73.
And yet, notwithstanding all these continual persecutions and horrible punishments, the Church daily increased, deeply rooted in the doctrine of the apostles and of men apostolical, and watered plentously with the blood of saints.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Have you ever felt homesick?
This feeling has only happened to me twice, once about 5 years ago and yesterday. The two times in my life when I have grown incredibly close to God, I have had a strong pain in my heart that can only be explained as homesickness for heaven. I was sitting there crying like a child, wishing for my heavenly home. I know that sounds crazy, but I know that is what it was. I have had so many strange feelings over the years. I have this insane desire to sit under a tree way out in the country and just be. I get so tired of the man made concrete jungle of it all. The true beauty of creation, I have only seen on television. The views from mountaintops, waterfalls, the open English countryside, are things that I have never experienced. I have lived in Europe and Japan, but I was always stuck in a city or town and never really got to get out and experience the beauty of such places.

As a mom with four kids, I never have an alone minute with God. Maybe that is at the heart of it. I want to feel completely alone with God. On a mountain top or under a tree, removed from everything and everyone, and know that it is just the two of us. Our lives are so full of distraction and noise. It clutters my mind. I love to read, and I am amazed at how well I can manage to read and comprehend while PBS kids is blaring in the background. I try to read at work, and get continually interrupted. I am incapable of completing the simplest of tasks..ok, after writing this I KNOW that is where my "under the tree" yearning is coming from. Funny how I just talked that out with myself...I am truly a nerd.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A glimpse...

....Do you ever see the future in a photo? Every so often I will take a picture, and it will give me a peek at the person my child will become. Ava was only about 5 when this picture was taken, but the look captured in it, gives me a sense of maturity. She has always seemed too old for her peers.She is a little grown-up in a kids body. Sometimes Jason and I are too hard on her. I think we forget she is only 7. She shoulders a fair amount of weight, and most of the time she enjoys it.I love these random glimpses of who she is. She is not smiling silly or trying to be someone else. It is just a snapshot of things to it I see beauty, potential, and intelligence.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The gift of pain...

The Gift of Pain?

Pain is the gift no one wants. But, as C.S. Lewis explains, sometimes it is the gift that God
must give......

If the first and lowest operation of pain shatters the illusion that all is well, the second shatters the illusion that what we have, whether good or bad in itself, is our own and enough for us. Everyone has noticed how hard it is to turn our thoughts to God when everything is going well with us. We "have all we want" is a terrible saying when "all" does not include God. We find God an interruption. As St. Augustine says somewhere, "God wants to give us something, but cannot, because our hands are full—there’s nowhere for Him to put it." Or as a friend of mine said, "We regard God as an airman regards his parachute; it’s there for emergencies but he hopes he’ll never have to use it." Now God, who has made us, knows what we are and that our happiness lies in Him. Yet we will not seek it in Him as long as He leaves us any other resort where it can even plausibly be looked for. While what we call "our own life" remains agreeable we will not surrender it to Him. What then can God do in our interests but make "our own life" less agreeable to us, and take away the plausible source of false happiness? It is just here, where God’s providence seems at first to be most cruel, that the Divine humility, the stooping down of the Highest, most deserves praise. We are perplexed to see misfortune falling upon decent, inoffensive, worthy people—on capable, hard-working mothers of families or diligent, thrifty little tradespeople, on those who have worked so hard, and so honestly, for their modest stock of happiness and now seem to be entering on the enjoyment of it with the fullest right. How can I say with sufficient tenderness what here needs to be said? . . . Let me implore the reader to try to believe, if only for the moment, that God, who made these deserving people, may really be right when He thinks that their modest prosperity and the happiness of their children are not enough to make them blessed: that all this must fall from them in the end, and that if they have not learned to know Him they will be wretched. And therefore He troubles them, warning them in advance of an insufficiency that one day they will have to discover. The life to themselves and their families stands between them and the recognition of their need; He makes that life less sweet to them.

-C.S. Lewis

Friday, January 2, 2009

Music of the Night

From the first day our kids slept in their own rooms, they slept with music playing.
Maybe it is just me, but I never put in "kids" music for them to listen to. Currently Vaughn is listening to the Counting Crows, Ava and the rest of the girls are listening to Michael Buble or Classical music. They have to take turns picking music so it varies depending on who is choosing.

The plan is working well, the kids have a great ear for music and wont listen to most of the overproduced crap that they market to kids. Thankfully all three girls refuse to listen to Miley Cyrus and all the other little pop princesses (with the exception of Miranda Cosgrove). Ava loves Showtunes and Michael Buble. Faith listens to Dave Matthews and Helena prefers Coldplay. One of our favorite memories is from a few years back.....Ava was in love with the Phantom of the Opera and she insisted on it playing at night. It must have been 2am when Christine belted out a sharp note. Jason sat straight up in bed, completely freaked out that someone was being murdered. Needless to say, that was the last night Phantom was played all night long.

Music is something that all 6 of us share, last night we all sat around and made up silly songs while Jason played the guitar. Ava has written a couple songs and we were trying to find a melody to accompany her lyrics. I had such a good time, it was a night I will never forget.