Thursday, September 27, 2007

A quick review from a Veggie Fan

I'm a veggie fan.
I admit it.
I like Veggie Tales. It's really not such a bad thing. I tell people all the time the reason I had kids was to play with the toys. Videos are not that far removed.

I sought out the Veggies after a co-worker told me about the "Hairbrush Song". He told me about "Larry the Cucumber" and a tomato whose name he couldn't remember. I bought Veggies before Mini-Me could really enjoy them. I liked them. She was 1, she couldn't have cared less.

I get shivers every time the big wall falls down and Joshua pops over the rubble and says "My Name is Joshua!!" I cry when I hear the "Thankful heart" snippet at the beginning of most of the videos....I will sit and watch "An Easter Carol" even if my kids aren't in the room. I love "A Snoodle's Tale" and I can sing along with most of the silly songs (many of which are genious!) I think Larry Boy Rocks! I also wish they made more Penguin videos.

I will say, though. I'm not a die-hard fan. They sometimes just aren't funny. The opening story to "King George and the Ducky", for instance. The Lord of the Beans, as a whole, is just not funny. It has moments, granted. Who'd have thought that sporks could be evil henchmen? And the Eagle always gives me a chuckle.

Despite a few misses, I remain a Veggie Fan. So when I heard about the "Demise" of all things veggie from another parental fan, I went looking for information. On the internet I found Phil Vischer's website. He had a long story about the 'rise and fall' of the Veggie kingdom. I read what I could of it but came away with the impression that he was bitter. (Whether or not that impression was right is impossible to say...)

Recently, I discovered Phil had written a book and that stirred up my desire to know more. (isn't it funny how we talk about authors by their first names - as if We know them so well? How many of us call Beth Moore "Mrs. Moore"?)

So I asked for the book, "Me, Myself & Bob" for my birthday (and got it). Though, it was just recently that I read it. It was a good read and very informative. I'm a person who wants to know details. Vischer spared none in his book, in fact, he gave quite a few.

He is an engaging story teller even when not behind the animation. He starts his story with his childhood. It makes sense to see it all laid out from the VERY Beginning. He felt God's call on his life to change the entertainment industry.

He shows how he managed to start in his basement as a child.

He continued seeking after his goal as a young adult in college - where he met Mike Nawrocki (the voice of Larry). Vischer tells how he started his career and tells how he started "Big Idea". I found it interesting that he was a reader of instruction manuals and wonder if he still reads them today. It was fun reading how Big Idea got it's start. Like I said, I am a person who likes to know things...and knowing how Bob and Larry got started just makes them more special.

Larry did not start out as a cucumber, just so you know.

He talked in some detail about the animation process, about the challenges of selling the first videos, of not having enough money to pay bills. Details. It was fascinating though I'm glad he didn't get TOO Techincal. My head was reeling from the basic stuff he was detailing.

It was a struggle to get Veggies off their "feet". But it happened, through word of mouth and the veggie kingdom went from sprouts to full-blown harvest crop.

About here the tone of the book started to change. I felt it. I couldn't quite put my finger on it but it was a tangible feeling. I found myself getting agitated. Physically and spiritually. As Big Idea grew in the story, there were many "I"s written. "I" did this or that. "I". "I". "I". I was getting more frustrated. I wondered why in the world I was getting agitated! It's a book! All this happened years ago. I was agitated none-the-less. I nearly threw the book down, or away. What kept me from following through was the fact that I wanted to know what happened!! (And I was more than half-way through the book.) Despite all the pride that I was seeing and the mystery agitation, I read on.

I decided to try and finish it quickly.
As Phil was writing about his business, he wrote nothing about God. As the business grew and grew - I began to wonder "Where is God in all this?"

Not in the "Why is this happening? sort of wondering - but where is Phil's record of seeking God's direction? Why doesn't he write down where God spoke to him? Where does he say "God nudged me this way or that"? It wasn't there. I wonder if that was the source of my agitation.

He writes that, essentially, Big Idea became a secular company. Even though, as head of the business, He remained steadfast in his faith and convictions. I find this fact fascinating..a Christian who's own business of putting out a Christian product was, in fact, secular at the basest of levels.

Even so, Big Idea grew. I think he wrote that it was the distribution of "Madame Blueberry" that pushed them up and into the mainstream.

One of my favorite quotes in the book happens toward the end. Corporate prayer did not always occur at Big Idea and then someone finally had the "big idea" that maybe it should (pun intended).

It was this segment that answered MANY of my questions.
Let me read it for you:

Prayer meetings at Big Idea were interesting affairs, because, unlike most churches, the Christians at Big Idea came from many backgrounds -- Catholic, Episcopalian, Baptist and Pentecostal, in addition to a big bunch of generic, white, suburban evangelicals like myself. We white, suburban, evangelicals typically organized the prayer meetings and kicked them off with an opening prayer, which, in typical white, suburban, evangelical fashion, were usually short, polite and pleasantly earnest -- heartfelt, without expressing too much passion or expectation of divine response. Given my background, this didn't strike me as anything but typical. Until, that is, one of our Pentecostals stood to pray -- and African-American woman from Chicago's southwest side. Suddenly, I was at a different meeting entirely. Words and emotions and heartfelt petitions rolled through the room, surrounding and enveloping and lifting us all about a mile closer to heaven -- so close I was sure I felt God's warm breath on the back of my neck. My music major wife learned early on about the difference between singing from your nose and singing from your diaphragm. For the first time, I was learning about the difference between praying from your head and praying from your heart. The generic suburban evangelicals kept organizing the prayer meetings, but the real praying never started until the Pentecostals showed up. -- pg. 230.

Many of my questions were answered in the last chapters of the story. The agitated feeling finally went away as Big Idea crumbled on the pages. In essence, to quote 'The Lorax': they kept biggering and biggering and biggering until that final, fateful smack on the last truffula tree. In the story of Big Idea the smack came in the form of bad business handling + Jonah + Lyrick's lawsuit. It was not just one thing that took Big Idea down - it was a series of one things.

I was cheering God, though, at the end of the book. Because it was only a few pages ago that I had wondered "Where is God?" -- He showed up. In a big way. God dealt with the Pride that Phil was honest about. I admire the fact that he wrote the book with such honesty.

Phil met God in such a such a new way ... that at the end of the story I think it's safe to say that he is no longer an ordinary, white, suburban, evangelical anymore. Just before the Lyrick trial someone gave Phil a word of knowledge. "I don't think this is about God and Big Idea,"she said. "I think this is about God and Phil."

At the end of the book, that is what it was all about. A grand scheme for one man to meet up with an almighty God. Was the fall of Big Idea in God's plan? Of course not. Scripture tells us that God doesn't bring the trials - but He will allow them. Just like He allowed Peter's sifting and Job's trials. ... After reading the book, it became obvious that it was God's plan for the PRIDE behind Big Idea to fall. It makes me want to search my own heart for the pride that I know lies within me.

I can't wait to see how God restores Phil Vischer. He's got a new company going and a new book out. This time around, I bet I know who is going to get all the glory. :-) Because God doesn't like to share.

Connect the spots??

Did you know that the Chinese actually have characters for "Chicken Pox"? I didn't either.

That's okay, I wasn't exactly prepared for my immunized child to come down with chicken pox, either. We'd been fighting a mild flea infestation. Saturday night and Sunday morning, we noted that mini-E had MANY bites around her ankles and on her feet.

Seeing the bumps made me so frustrated because it just seemed that we never got the best of the fleas. I think I killed the vacuum with a powder we put down. Then I really noticed that she had bumps on her hands and arms -- and on her body. I figured I would have noticed at least ONE flea on the poor baby. Or somewhere else.

My hubby decided that the bites were no longer bites and weren't "natural" (considering things like a normal skin irritation). She went to the doctor bright and early on Tuesday. Especially, considering she had more spots on her stomach, back and thighs.

"She's had all her shots, right?" was his professional question.

Firstly, he should know. He's seen her since she was born.
Secondly, He should KNOW.
But I answered, Yes. Do you think it's chicken pox?

He did. He asked me if the bumps emerged as blisters and I said yes - that's how I noticed the ones on her feet. As I was putting her in the truck to go to church, the sun glinted on them just right. They were, indeed, tiny blister-like bumps.

He said "That's why they now recommend the booster shot." I wanted to retort - but she's 19 months! She's not OLD Enough for the booster!!

But I held my tongue. It's easy to do when you're reeling from the sudden realization that your child is a) contagious and b) you took her to church when she was most contagious. I"m really glad that God is bigger than sickness and the name of Jesus is bigger than the name of varicella.

If any of the other kids are going to get spots, it'll be J-man. I've been watching him. I've already cancelled speech therapy, just in case. G-man has had the booster, so I really think he'll be safe.

Mini-Me?? Oh, she's a hoot. She's staying a room's length away from the littles just in case.
She's also said "I'd rather have the shot than the chicken pox. thank you."
This has led us to discussions about living in fear...but it's hard to do that when you're laughing.
Yesterday I was sitting behind her and said "Oh, my gosh, Mini-Me!! You've got spots!!" She whirled around, eyes wide as saucers, "WHERE?!?!"

I said "Right there. They're called freckles." While I was rolling on the floor laughing, she got up and moved to sit on the couch and tell me "that wasn't funny."

"Yes, it was."

Besides being really funny, it's really beside even my point...
I'm really fighting hard not to connect E's spots to see if they make a picture.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Feeling very uptown

Last Monday J-man and I were on our way to speech therapy.
We had stopped at a light as one is supposed to do. As the light turned green, I heard a siren. I don't know what it was - it was LOUD. I'm beginning to think it was the intersection there that echoed.

Since it was so loud, I thought it was an ambulance or a first responding Fire truck. So I waited, since I could, to see where the emergency vehicle came from and then went - I didn't want to get t-boned by an ambulance.

That would make for bad publicity. "Idiot mom pulls out in front of Ambulance" would make a terrible headline.

When I realized it was a motorcycle officer (!?!) pulling a motorist over for (presumably) speeding. So I was about to head on my way when *SLAM* I was hit from behind.

My rear hatch was bent in and my bumper neatly folded up. It looks funny, really. No one was hurt - and her car was crumpled, too. It went far beyond a fender bender. I'm not sure what speed she was going and it was obvious she didn't hear the siren.

No one was hurt in either car. I felt so bad for her - she (the other driver) started crying. I heard her tell the officer that first responded (the motorcycle cop!) that she was on her way to a job interview.

He came to ask me what happened and make sure everyone was okay and wearing their seatbelts and I told him that "I'd heard a siren - which turned out to be you - so I waited to see and ..." well, I'd just told you the rest of that. I told him the same thing.

I'm praising God because she was insured!!
It's going to take over $3,000 to fix the van. That's money we don't have.
The uptown part comes in with the rental they gave us. Because a family of 6 must have someway to get around. We just must.

They gave us a brand new 2008 Nissan Armada!! I'm feeling very BIG in this thing. It is loaded but not that loaded. It has power windows and locks. Cruise control. CD Changer. Dual control A/C. The kids were disappointed at the "Not loaded" part - it doesn't have a DVD player installed. We were all hoping to have fun with that one.

It's got room enough for us all - but not for luggage (except on the luggage rack).

G-man took a tumble out of it because it's taller than we're all used to. He cried at me "The van is too tall! The Van is too tall!!" It's definitely a step up to get into the thing that's for sure.

I'm quite content with my brown mini-van, but I told the Professor it would seriously be easy to find myself coveting this marvel of modern technology. :-) Maybe someone will give us one. I get nervous when driving sometimes. It will hit me that "It's not mine and I could possibly have to pay for any damage!" So I pray over the thing - that it would be wrapped in supernatural bubble wrap. And I've only had it for a day. :-) We'll get to keep it until our van is fixed. In the meantime, we're feeling up town and very TALL in our rental SUV.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I thought it would get easier....

I was wrong.
I had a catchier title than that earlier, but then I wrestled Mini-E.
Then J-man wanted to talk about anything and nothing just to stay awake. He's nothing, if not persistent. I got a few pages read in my book before he finally gave up wakefulness for sleepfulness.

Then came a different sort of challenge. How to bathe a cat. Bathtub or Kitchen sink with a sprayer hose. (and how did an inside cat get a few fleas? I'm trying to figure that one out. She'll probably end up at the vet for an anti-flea bath because I don't want to do it.) Ended up in the kitchen - sprayer hose worked wonders on getting the soap out. You know, If I had a glass shower door, I'd just turn on the shower and let her go wild. Every so often maybe squirt some soap over the top.

That's a great visual.

Back to my title. I thought it would get easier as the kids got older to be able to do what I needed to do. Or wanted to do. I was so wrong it's not even funny.

I hate being wrong.

That's why I'm not blogging much. Blogging without Obligation is a must - but lately I can add sporadically to my list of adverbs. I've fallen way behind on reading other blogs because my computer time is very slim lately. Really, I just wanted you to know I was still breathing and still capable of typing.

I just can't seem to coordinate blogging with the current school year. I don't know how other moms do it - teach, run homes and blog about it.

I don't want you to worry about me - I'll pop in and out (i hope) - because who else would I share my random thoughts with?? For instance....

Today I was loading the washing machine with Whites. Among the dingy whites were a few new articles of white clothing. You know how if you put some new articles of COLORED clothes in a load of laundry (say, BLUE or RED) how sometimes the dye will wash off and splatter on other clothes??

I wish Whites did the same thing. By washing New articles of white clothing among the older articles of white clothing (or formerly white) the older articles would be come WHITER. That would be just cool.

And for some reason, while I was thinking on that -- another thought popped up in my laundry filled brain. Iron Sharpens Iron.

Much like my wish for whites brightening other whites in the laundry, we need to hang out with Believers that will sharpen us and cause us to grow. We need to hang out with Iron Christians so that Our Iron will be sharpened. It's so easy to hang out with people that don't cause us to grow - that will allow us to stay the same.

I know that I don't want to stay where I am and I know where I've been. I want to go higher and deeper. I'm looking to find Iron Sharpeners in my relationships. Now granted, sometimes we're the Sharpeners and not the sharpenees - but we have to be careful not to get prideful or allow ourselves to get dull.

Ah, but now it's time to get back to laundry. I've got buckets and buckets to fold - and speech therapy tomorrow.

See you on the other side of the Laundry Pile.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Song in My Heart

I had this song in my heart before I was even fully awake. I love it when God sings over me!
I am Loved by the King!! And it makes my heart want to sing!!

How Can I Keep from Singing ~ Chris Tomlin @ Passion 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Modern Technology Rocks!!

We've had quite a few nights lately that required me to be up all night. If I wasn't up all night, then I was up during hours where darkness is normally appreciated.

This late night "up-ness" got me to wishing for a book light. I had one. The batteries were dead. Of course, they're not normal batteries either. They're weird disc like batteries.

So when I found a book light that took AAA batteries, I snagged.

I didn't know what a treat I was getting!!
It's called a "Book Light Deluxe" and it's compact, adjustable, convenient. Says so right on the box.

Then I discovered another feature that is touted on the box!!

"Enjoy your book while Sleeping."

Now THAT'S cool!! I kid you not, that's what the box says. I can't wait to try it out!! And only $10 - it's a great deal. I can get so much reading done now that I don't have to be awake!!! This totally rocks!!

It's getting late, I guess I'll go to bed and read.

Monday, September 3, 2007

A Season of Pruning and Shifting

Don't you wish, sometimes, that you could have back ground music to your life as you go?
I mean besides the Loony Toon Theme...or that circus theme that goes round and round...

It's a season of shifting and pruning -- and I've got a song.
Funny, too...I used to skip this one on the CD player.

Silly Me.

So Long Self - By Mercy Me