bible

Fall Traditions and Halloween

I have had a general dislike for Halloween as long as I can remember.  I remember the fear I felt as an elementary school aged child in the presence of adults I trusted dressed as creatures and characters that invoked fear.  Seeing my authority figures and heroes causing fear gave me a sence of distrust and betrayal.  Aren’t we supposed to love all others and treat other people the way we would want to be treated, not causing fear or nightmares that even knowing there was no harm intended could take away.  Maybe my parents were being over protective but I have been so thankful my whole life for the safety and refuge they provided me during this time of year by creating other family traditions that were fun and fear free.
As a child we tried several different versions of the harvest party and they were pretty fun, but it still felt like participating in a holiday that served as an antagonistic reminder of the reality of hell that not enough people in the world today live with or take seriously.
I’m not sure when or whom had the brilliant idea to check out of school on Halloween and travel to the nearby town of New Meadows. We would swim all day in their out door hot springs warmed pool with a short break to laugh, tell stories, eat crockpot lasagna, and just be together.  Awwwe finally, a halloween alternative that was truly an alternative.

As a non-parent adult I could pretty much just ignore the holiday, but as soon as Caleb came along Chad and I had to figure out what we were going to do about this fall elephant in our lives.  Chad had been raised going to the kids country fun fair at his families church.  We went when Caleb was a baby, it seemed harmless enough and there was no scary costumes. After a few years the country fun fair had evolved to another Halloween alternative the kind that made me physically ill, so on to plan B.  Chad is a movie guy and there are so many good older movies that we wanted to watch as a family.  “My Fair Lady,” “the Cat from Outer space,” “Family Band,” and “The Sound of Music.”  That combined with fond memory producing homemade carmel popcorn has made for several years now of a fun new tradition.  The one thing we do participate in is pumpkin carving.  I loved carving over grown zucchinis as a child and the part of me that loves all kinds of art and the fun you have making it still wants to participate in that part of fall activities. We don’t do anything scary, and this year we wanted to do something related to the adventure we are on. After several ideas we decided on a globe.
Chad dug out the seeds and prepped the pumpkin for carving, Hannah, Eve, and I separated and cleaned the seeds so they could be roasted. Then Caleb and I worked on the carving while Eve and Hannah popped out the pieces and collected them for disposal. Chad roasted the seeds and by the time the pumpkin was done and lit, the seeds were toasty and tasty.  I love watching the kids enjoy and admire the pumpkin. We may or may not have eaten almost all of the seeds already, only a handful is left and that is because Hannah asked us to save some more for her for the morning.

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John 1:1-13 (NIV)
The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  2 He was with God in the beginning.  3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men.  5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.  6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.  7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.  8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.  9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.  10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

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Preparing for our one week in Salem

The kids were done with their school work including CC review, 5 pages of math, writing their history sentence three times and reading by 10:00 AM.  It was a very good thing, with the car being tied up taking me to work for the next six days, we had some errands to run.  We had to pick up some documents that we had printed at Office Depot then on to Appleton Medical Center to pay for my PALS class and pick up a book.  I’m so glad that they are letting me borrow one because I wasn’t going to be able to get one in the mail quick enough.  Then we found a McDs (it is the easiest way to access internet here.) Chad was able to download the CC cycle three app.  I retook the PALS pretest, because the test repetition helps me to learn easier than with just reading the book.  We were also able to use the time to make Dr. appointments.  An appointment for Eve up at Doernbecher, well child checks and Salem Pediatric Clinic for all three kids, and a call to the dentist to see what we can work out there.  We were able to do some more research on the hospitals sent to me for consideration for our next assignment, and believe me we checked C/S rates and deliveries/month because I don’t feel like managers are overly honest about those numbers in the telephone interviews. We are also starting the wheels turning on a Christmas project.  We are hoping to get shoes to Uganda hopefully we can save up enough to send over 50 pairs. the shoe that grows

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Well I don’t at all feel rested enough or prepared for the next six days.  I am reminded that God is more concerned about my obedience than my happiness (although I’m sure he is delighted to see me happy.  As a parent he wants me to see the big picture and not be so focused on myself). (And the good news is I am happy and have so much to be thankful for)  I was reading back through my sermon notes from Farmington, and was especially struck with how God’s word meets us exactly where we are at when I stumbled on this.  (These are notes so it’s going to be fragmented)
• In this world you will have trouble but take heart for I have overcome the world.
• God does not explain the why’s and how’s
• Character is built in the valleys
• Not my will but yours be done
• He is good and faithful and just to forgive
• Be still and know that I am God.  Psalm 46:10
• Be not wise in your own eyes
• God will not overlook the fact that we have failed to trust in him, he will not overlook that we are doing what we choose to do over his plans for us.
• Break the pattern of trusting in our selves

Hebrews 12:1-2New International Version (NIV)

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

These things have been on my mind, strangely, and although they do not make me feel more rested they do assure me that I’m where I am supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to do, and God will do the rest.  He doesn’t ask me to have all the right answers or to be perfect, just to be willing and obedient.
This afternoon when we finally got back to our apartment there was a card in the mail from a friend with this verse.

1 Corinthians 15:58New International Version (NIV)

58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

This verse and a chance to talk to my favorite MIL may have been just what I needed.

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