20 December 2006

We're ON...

My family on... Christmas Music
I've asked each of my children to contribute a Christmas song for your listening pleasure this week. Press the Play button as I present to you, the Teske Christmas Playlist of 2006.

Rebekah- We Three Kings "Because it really jams!"
Ellie- Angels We Have Heard on High "I like the 'glo-o-o-o-o-o-ria part."
Anna- Doggie Jingle Bells Because she is TWO. What can I say?
Erin- Our God is With Us "Love the words and the inspiration."
Steve- O, Holy Night "It's just a beautiful song."
We added a few others, so you can leave us on in the background while you bake cookies and wrap presents this week. Our Christmas gift to you. Enjoy!

Erin on... Anniversaries
Dec. 19th marked our 12th year of marriage. 12 LONG, SHORT years! On the one hand, I can't remember much of my life without Steve. On the other hand, how could it already be TWELVE years?! The time has flown. (Too many cliches are entering my mind here.)
I am very blessed to actually enjoy my husband. Still. And very blessed that he's put up with me for 12 whole years. Some pretty rough edges get sanded down through marriage. Others... well... other rough edges just get brought into the spotlight when those first rough edges get worn down. But he's still around, loving me in spite of rough edges and more rough edges.

I will say that anniversaries less than a week before Christmas tend to present a lot of scheduling conflicts. Especially when you start having kids and want to go for a date to celebrate. Finding a babysitter or a relative to keep the kiddos is tough. EVERYONE has a Christmas party to go to!
And when we DO go out to celebrate, it's usually coupled with a super-secret-Santa trip to the toy store. "Happy anniversary, Love. Now, what do we have left on the list to get Francescarita? Did you end up finding that pink pony for DebraLou?"

Erin on... Charles Dickens
Bleak HouseI just finished reading, Bleak House. ONE THOUSAND TWENTY FOUR PAGES. Oh yeah, I'm definitely in the "devoted reader" category of that quiz thingamaroo. Once I finished reading the book, I trotted out and borrowed the BBC film version from the library (starring Gillian Anderson of X-Files fame) and got said husband-of-12-years hooked into it.

I enjoyed it a lot, but didn't find the plot and characters to come together as cleanly as in Tale of Two Cities. If you're looking for a Dickensian world to enter into over the holidays (and trust me, he creates a world and draws you into it), I recommend Tale of Two Cities. It's still my favorite Dickens' novel and you will love the ending. You will LOVE it.
It will make you jump out of your chair. You'll be pacing the floor or tapping your foot, just waiting to get.
to find out how it's all going to come together. Such a delightful prize awaits those devoted readers who can hang on for a mere 544 pages.

(If you're a literary purist, definitely read the book before you watch the film. Very few movie versions of any literary genre are better than their original books. I can only think of one- The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio.)

Erin on... Homeschooling.
We've been off of school since the beginning of December. In my mind, there are just too many things going on this month to think about getting school work done. Much to my surprise, I'm not able to tackle much of it because my kids are bored.
'At's right.
One in particular keeps wandering around asking if she can watch a movie. Or play computer. Basically wanting to numb her brain to the fact that it's atrophied.
Good gracious, Girl! The nativity sets are out, the Christmas tree is up, the weather is gorgeous, you've got 2 sisters! Why are you bored?!
(I tried to give her some chores to do. Can you believe she turned me down? Hey, I thought she was bored! I was trying to help her conquer the boredom. )

I'm thinking that next December I'm going to go ahead and plan some schoolwork so the kids will have an occupation and combat that wretched atrophied-brain syndrome.

Erin on... Favorite and unusual Christmas Gifts
One year my dad gave me a Xyron 810. It laminates, it makes stickers, it slices, it dices. This was back in my scrapbooking days and boy, did I have a ball with it! Now, I no longer have time to make those scrapbooks, so I use it mainly for laminating homeschool stuff. I'm still having a ball with it.
This year my brother and sister-in-law gave me a ton of plants from their farm's garden. Specifically bee balm, butterfly bush, and lilac. All plants that butterflies adore. Since the weather has been so warm here lately, I actually got out and planted most of them around the windows to our school room. In the spring, the girls will have some lovely nature to learn from and entertain them right outside the window when Mommy's being a slave driver. No atrophied-brain syndrome around here. Excellent gift!!

Oddest gift- one of those universal remotes for the TV, VCR, CD and DVD players. Except this one was operated by voice command. (I know, you're so jealous, right?) Only glitch was that you had to press a button and speak into the mike in order to make it work. What is the point of pushing a button in order to talk to it, when I have to push a button to make the old style change channels anyway?? I'm still pushing a button! Half the time voice activation turned on the TV when you wanted the CD player. The other half of the time the batteries were drained because voice activation required so much juice. Oh, I luuuuuuv new technology sometimes.

Ellie on... Salvation.
Shooweee! I just got an impassioned earful from Ellie, my 6 year old, dramatic evangelist! Sometimes she likes to role play with me- prince and princess, shopkeeper and customer, chef and patron. Today she was the PlayDoh chef and I was the PlayDoh-eating Customer. After my 7 course PlayDoh meal she was handing me my "bill" and said, "Mommy, pretend you don't know anything about God."
I'll play..."

10 minutes later, she'd woven this beautiful vision of Creation, the Fall, sin, grace, the Trinity, faith, Providence, drama, simplicity, and heaven. I tried to play devil's advocate the entire time, throwing up smoke screens and asking goofy, sarcastic questions. "What is 'sin'? That sounds like tennis shoes." "Who is God and what are you talking about 'He made everything'? Did He make this table?" "Surely Jesus must've done something wrong if so many people agreed to hang him on the cross. I don't believe you."

The girl was undaunted. She was determined to help her PlayDoh-eating Customer know the Truth. Lovingly. But passionately.
(Feeling some Mom-pride here.) Dead-on theologically, she handled each and every snide remark I made, and even recounted some of her own struggles with her flesh. Talk about a witness!
This is not the first time she's done this play-acting evangelist with me and it always gives me chills to hear her connecting the dots.
Although she couldn't quite come up with a good comeback to "If Jesus lives in your heart, that must hurt your heart a bit to have Him in there." She just shrugged her shoulders and said something like, "Yeah, you'd think so huh? But look, I'm fine!"

Rebekah on... Salvation.

The other night at dinner, Rebekah was recounting to Steve all the fun they'd had that day. Apparently they'd been pretending to be animals in the stable the night that Jesus was born. So she was telling her dad, "Ellie and I are baby sheep. Baaa baaa! Little lambies." Oh-so-cute.
"And Anna is a baby goat."
To which Ellie nodded happily.
And Anna nodded happily. "Naaaaaa! Naaaaa!"

Always one to take up the offense of the youngest child, I reproached Rebekah for not letting Anna be a baby sheep too. Let her play with you, don't lord it over her, you're no the boss of her. All that kind of rot. To which she responded, "But Mom, she hasn't trusted Jesus yet so she has to be a goat! She certainly can't be one of His sheep."

Well I'll be.
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left." Matt 25: 31-33

18 December 2006


Last night, I was rewinding a ball of yarn that my girls like to use for their craft projects. It had become a matted, nasty mess of tangles- easily contained, but unuseable.

This morning, God revisited that image with me in light of my own experience.

Prayer for Unravelling

Lord, my life seems to be coming apart
From so many ends
Churches that discipled me, that still disciple me
Falling apart
Members of your Bride, dismembering themselves
Saying things they ought not say
They're out the door with no reconciliation
Is your Bride unravelling?

I feel like we're out of control
Just spinning, spinning, spinning
Who's in charge? Who has the reputation of Christ in mind?
Who is sacrificing their desires, their rights, their pride for the sake of Christ?
WHO is in Charge?

WHO is.
In charge.
In charge.

In order to use this ball of yarn, I first have to unravel it.
I need to untangle what's tangling.
What seems a spinning out of control to you, is simply My skilled hand untangling your hearts

I must spread this yarn to its length.
Far and wide.
The two ends may never meet again- until I've completed my creation.

To unravel this yarn's perception of itself
It's perception of Me and my grace
It's assumptions about what I hold dear
To unravel its high opinion of itself
Its feeling that it was doing alright, when really,
That easily-contained clump of yarn
Was utterly unuseable to Me.

I AM is unravelling me.
I AM is unravelling His Bride.
I AM has a design for this ball of yarn- but first it must be untangled.
To be useful in the I AM's hands, I must submit my tangly heart to His unravelling.
Dizzying as it is.

I AM, unravel my marriage.
I AM, unravel my relationship with my children.
I AM, untangle my church.

I AM, make us useable and then use us.
Make me something of purpose for your grand design.
Lord, undo me.

14 December 2006

Gifts and Mangers

Lance, at The Scrawny Pulpit, and I were talking about this today.

Is today's Christian church trend geared toward honoring Jesus by giving our best or toward stroking our own human egos?

Frankly, I don't think the question matters much until we tackle a more basic question- Is my heart a manger?

13 December 2006

SoulPerBlog Scavenger Hunt

AND THE WINNER IS.... Roberta!

Cheers, applause, laughter, confetti, balloons falling from the ceiling, champagne, sparkling cider, Kool and the Gang singing "Celebrate good times, C'mon!"

Roberta, you just won yourself a lovely hand-made journal, care of SoulPerBlog! If you be so kind as to E-mail me your mailing address, I'll get it shipped to you, lickety split.


And thanks to the others that played, as well. I appreciate your gaming spirit. And your creativity. And reading your thoughts about Refrigerator Art. You're my kind of women.
Rhonda and I are talking about our next SoulPerBlog giveaway, so please keep coming back to see what we're up to.

12 December 2006

Last Chance and The Name Game

This is your last day to head over to SoulPerBlog and enter the drawing for my one-of-a-kind, highly-unusual journal set. Chris and gramarty are neck and neck.
Those of you in Seattle, Australia, and Twyford, England ;) need not be shy about entering. If Erin is crazy enough to post a prize internationally, YOU ought to be crazy enough to play the scavenger hunt!
Just click here if you'd like to play. I'll announce the winner tomorrow.
Yesterday in the car, my 8 year old piped up, "Mom, I have a great idea for when I start having kids. (Of course, I'll discuss this with my husband to make sure he agrees with me.) Probably a good idea. I want to name all of my children in alphabetical order. I'll name each girl and boy, starting with "A", and their middle names will begin with the letter that comes right before their first name letter. "

Mom: "An "A" name would have NO middle name, because, what comes before "A"?

The following is what happens when left-brainers get all fancy on you.
Rebekah: "Easy Mom, we'll just use a "Z."

So! The alphabet is circular, not linear. ??? I get it. I think.
Rebekah is waaaaay ahead of me in quantum physics and relativity.

"Here's what my "A" names are going to be. If it's a girl, (with a romantic, sighing voice)
Adonia Zera. If it's a boy, I like the name, Adam. Like the first man ever."

Then my six year old chimed in, "My kids are going to have jewel names. I'm going to have twins named, (with a romantic, sighing voice) Diamond and Ruby."

Rebekah: "Ellie, I don't think your boys are going to want to be named after JEWELS. That's too girly."

Ellie: "Oh, I know. The jewel names are for the girls. The boys are going to have PIRATE names!"
One child goes for order, logic, and an easy filing system.
The other goes for romance and theatrics.
Now all they need to do is find husbands!

07 December 2006

A Silk Purse from a Sow's Ear

Remember that saved-up fabric of mine that I had an issue with at Thanksgiving? It's had it's date with destiny and turned out pretty cool, in my own humble opinion.

Like a silk purse made from a sow's ear, you might find my creation more like the sow's ear.
Or a silk ear.
Or the sow's purse.
Or maybe, just maybe, it strikes you as a silk purse.

(Hey now, I made the thing on my lap in the car out of fabric scraps!)

I'm giving it away to YOU, if only you'll go play a little scavenger hunt game on the other blog I contribute to, SoulPerBlog. There are photos of my creation, and instructions to play the game. Go! Do it! The game ends next Wednesday, so git on it, folks!

04 December 2006

Stunted Creativity

I just heard this great quote (my paraphrase):
"Many people in the workplace see creativity as something that has to wait until their free time, something to save for evenings and weekends. The '9 to 5' image is not who they really are. They are giving up soul and spirit. They often feel as though they are selling their soul to the workplace, and as a result, their creativity is stunted so that when they finally are off the clock, their creative well is dry."*
1- How do you define creativity?
According to your definition of creativity, do you consider yourself a creative person?
3- Do you see creativity as a luxury or a necessity in your life?
4- What keeps you from being creative?

*Creativity: Touching the Divine