Thursday, March 29, 2007


This is an excerpt from the book, "Paul, Envoy Extraordinary," by Malcolm Muggeridge and Alec Vidler. Muggeridge is regarded as C.S. Lewis' successor as he was an apologist and for his time (1903-1990), the best known T.V., and radio controversialist. The book proceeds in a conversational manner [my comments are in green], check it out:

[quoting Scripture] Oh foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? (Galatians 3:1)

He means that he had told them that they got right with God by putting their whole trust in Christ crucified and that they didn't have to depend for their justification on doing all the works of the Law.

That surely was the essence of the whole matter - the contrast between faith and law.

Yes, Paul kept on driving the point home. 'For freedom', he writes, 'Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. [That is, the slavery of having to obey all the precepts of the Law, which Paul's judaizing opponents were trying to impose on them.] Now I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.' (Galatians 5:1)

I suppose that circumcision was a kind of outward and visible manifestation of an inward and invisible adherence to a whole body of law. Is that right?

Yes, 'The Circumcision' was one of the names - a sort of nickname - for Judaism. Just as the Baptists are so called because they practice adult or believer's baptism, although there is much more to their faith and practice than that, so Judaism was called, 'the Circumcision', although there was much more to it than that. Circumcision figured prominently and was a matter of contention, because it was the most difficult thing for a Gentile , who was attracted to Judaism, to accept. for adult men it involved a painful operation. Then it was mocked at by non-Jews. Moreover, it was a thing that couldn't be kept secret in those days, when men went to the public baths, they went naked.

Anyway, the question of circumcision became a sort of crystallization of this row [British for argument]. Paul's opponents said that in order to become a Christian a man must be circumcized and accept all of the obligations that went with it. And Paul said, No. Now, as regards the Law, it seems to me [this is my favorite part] that in men's minds there always exists the illusion that they can find a basis for living in a law - in the case of the Jews, in propositions which they believed had been revealed to them by God. Paul's gospel was one of liberation because he declared that what really mattered was not obedience to any law but faith in Christ.

Yes, that's right. I would put it like this. All men are enslaved, some to law and some to absence of Law, and Christ liberates all men, whatever the slavery in which they are involved. One can be enslaved to one's own passions, or to conventional standards of conduct, or to the American way of life, etc.

Or take the idea of progress, that's a law isn't it, which in our time has imprisoned men utterly?

I don't follow you there; it seems to me a rather far-fetched idea that would need a lot of elaborating. I regard the idea of progress as highly ambiguous and in many respects illusory, but I wouldn't call it a law in this context.

I would, because I think it is something that enslaves men. I mean the belief that through the notion of progress they can live satisfactorily in terms of this world alone. But, however that may be, the Law, as Paul saw it, was quite specifically the Law of Judaism, the Torah, handed down as they believed by God.

The heart of Paul's message comes out in this great passage in Galatians (5:18-23):

...if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are plain: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. [All those things are included in what Paul means by 'the flesh'.] I warn you [he continues], as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control..

Exactly. So this man indomitable, fearlessly, tirelessly went travelling about the world, to tell people this truth that he had learned and that had changed the whole course of his life.

"Paul, Envoy Extraordinary", Muggeridge and Vidler, 1972, p. 90-92

How many laws do we subscribe to just to find our security in something tangible? To know we are completely free (beyond our own understanding free) in Christ, and yet still chain ourselves to laws and security blankets that only obscure our vision of Him. Hmmm...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


For the first time in 15 years I won something! The Blog Party from a couple weeks ago, had a drawing, and I won the homemade doggie treats! Which is perfect since we were in need of some for our naked pooches. You should see their tan line now from wearing their coats for so long! They're so pale, but the sun will bring out their freckles soon enough. Thank you, Barnmouse, for the lovely Canine Confections! They smell sooo good!
This came in the mail the same day (what a great day) from my best bud, Chrisie. The pendant is my birthday present (isn't it cool?) and the Pappy's Seasoning is a delicacy only found on the West Coast, or so I'm told. It's wonderful and goes well with nearly everything! Thanks for helping hook us up with this seasoning necessity, Mom Dressler (Chrisie's mom in CA)!

This is the first piece of artwork that has been fired from my pottery class. I call it, "Angry Man". Whadaya think?
Tee hee! Mommy and Z! Check out the crossed legs!
Our first trip to Tuscora Park this year!
First swing ride!
On our way to Grandma C's for dinner Monday night.
(Check out the water bottle action!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Nearly an entire photo album

These were taken within seconds of each other. So funny to see such new expressions on his little face! Below are some shots of Z's favorite activity lately, talking into things: tupperware, oatmeal can, paper towel tube, vacuum cleaner attachments, you name it! He likes the way it makes his voice sound. Wish I could capture that for you in these pictures! He cracks us up! We have gotten ample video footage of this little boy. Thanks to Ben (who spent every free minute he had on his day off yesterday) we have an edited DVD of Z's first eight months of life. It was a lot of work to get it just right and I'm so thankful we'll always have it for posterity. THANK YOU SWEETIE HEART!

OK, I can't help but include a few more. We took so many pictures this week and so many turned out well. Tee hee!

Playing on Mommy's Djembe!

Petting zoo at the mall?

Z liked the big red tractor at the Home and Garden show at the mall

Here's a shot of one of those thighs just for you, Mom!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Stoking the Fire: Updated

Just when I started to think the "Fishers of Men" idea didn't apply to me so much as I must not be THAT part of the body, the nice Jehovah's witness lady came by again. It was cold, so I let her in. I knew a little about their beliefs, but I had NO IDEA how very lost and mistaken these "witnesses" are. She thinks that the angel, Michael, and Jesus are the same person! That's just the beginning. There is no hell, Jesus isn't God, the whole point of everything is "The Kingdom," etc. I was a little overwhelmed and at one point couldn't help but exclaim, "You mean there's a part in the Bible that I missed where Michael turns into Jesus?" I kind of feel bad now. I'd been nothing but nice until that point, I tried not to debate or argue, but I wasn't altogether successful. I'm not excited about ministering to these people, but how much more evident can God's Will be when they come knocking at my door and so clearly don't know Him? Ugh. So anyways, here's my original post along with the updates throughout...

I'm a puzzle lover. I love detective novels and used to do a bit of detecting myself as a counselor. Perhaps you like puzzles too. I've been thinking this winter as I learned from my husband how to stoke the wood/coal burning stove in the basement to heat our house, that surely, there must be some sort of analogy for us in this practice of living.

So, the following are steps to stoking a good fire. Ben usually starts it for me in the morning and I just keep it going throughout the day with wood or coal. So, this is not how to start a fire, but how to keep it going. Please share any other analogies you think of, I'll share what I can think of.

1. Don't wait too long to stoke the fire (or it will die). Ideally, you want to catch the embers while they're still so hot that new coal catches fire easily.
2. If you wait too long, you have to put wood on the embers first, let it catch fire, then put the coal on. If you really waited too long, you have to start the fire over from scratch, which involves a match, newspaper, and some kindling.
3. Ashes need to fall down or else the chimney gets clogged. So, before you add anything, you break up the big chunks of coal (evidently this helps it burn better), then shake the grate underneath to make the ashes fall down. THEN because the fire needs to breath, you stoke it again to aereate the embers (shaking the grate makes them settle too close together).

Still following me? In a nutshell, the best situation, after a fire is lit, is that you frequently (every 2 hours or so) break up the big chunks of burning coal, shake the grate to reduce ash, stir it up again to allow air through, then add lots of big chunks of fresh coal that should quickly catch fire. Anyone see any analogies hidden in there? Here's what I came up with:

Perhaps we, Christ-followers, are dead lumps of coal set aflame. God, I'm assuming, is the fire-starter and the fire itself. I think that he wants us to be so clearly, so evidently "on fire" for God that our flame is contagious to dead lumps of coal (non-believers), who can't resist the fire. We break up the big chunks of coal that have been burning for a while (as they start to stick together) and that's kind of like Christian communities that have begun to close themselves off to the world (usually out of fear and self-protection). I'm not implying church-splitting (never!), more like getting out of our comfort zone and yet still being able to feel the warmth of our fellow Christians. Another analogy is that stoking the fire frequently (or else it will die) is like how we need to meditate on His Word day and night in order to keep our own fires going. I think there's more, but that's what I've got for now.

I know that being "on-fire" for God is an over-used buzz word in Christian culture, but it had to come from somewhere. So, I went to my trusty and typed in fire. Most references were about hell, but there were a few that were about God's good fire:

Matthew 3:11
I indeed baptize you in water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and [in] fire

Mark 9:49
For every one shall be salted with fire.

Luke 3:16
John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but there cometh he that is mightier than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and [in] fire

1st Corinthians 3:15
If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as through fire.

Hebrews 1:7
And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels winds, And his ministers a flame a fire

Hebrews 12:29
for our God is a consuming fire.

1st Peter 1:7
that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold that perisheth though it is proved by fire, may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ:

So, you think when my Jehovah's Witness friend comes back and we talk about Jesus (that's the plan she made), that her coal will catch light from my fire? Thankfully, there's lots of websites out there on witnessing to "the Witnesses", check them out when you have time in case someone knocks at your door!

The After-Party

Well, I'd like to have visited more people during the party week, but I'm glad the Mr. Linky for the party is still up so I can try to visit more of the 927 ladies that listed their site. I have a feeling I won't make it to everybody. In spite of being too busy that week to socialize much, 27 people visited me from the party outside of my own regular friends. The point of this posting is to introduce some of the people I met. I want to start off with a quick hats off to the girls for whom every day is a party (my regular buddies I already knew before the party) and share their fabulous websites:

My best bud, Chris, lives in Nebraska now, but she grew up in Modesto, CA. We were roommates in college, and most recently were pregnant together! Our baby boys are just two months apart.

Chris introduced me to her Modesto friend, Deanne, since we started blogging (just last Dec.) who recently won our WigPrize of two dozen choc. chip mini bran muffins for guessing which of Ezra's teeth would come in next.

Then there's Kim, who used to be my foster daughter. She's all grown-up now, married and expecting their first. She lives in VA, and we keep in touch by phone and e-mail.

Finally, I'm just getting to know Kristina whose site I stumbled upon. She is the most amazing knitter I've ever "met". I'm having fun getting to know her.

OK, now onto the NEW PARTY PEOPLE I just met:

Stephanie, from Adventures in Baby Wearing, and I seemed to have a lot in common. I really appreciate the work she put into an article on vaccinations. Oh, and she has a super cute hair-cut.

Dolly Mama, gets my vote for coolest header on top of her blog AND for most clever name!

Unfortunately, that's all I've got time for now. My little sweetie heart just woke up. Blessings!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Z on the go...

Look who's getting so big! He pulled himself up on that laundry basket and started grabbing socks to help Mommy! I grabbed the camera to capture the memory. The sad face was only sad because he wanted to hold the camera! As soon as he got it he was fine, isn't he convincing!?! See the bruise in the bathtub pic? Oh that was so sad! He bumped his head on the huge doorstop in the kitchen. The top picture is our new screensaver, we love that picture! Hope you enjoy! I plan to post again this week to introduce the ladies I met at the party last week, so come back soon!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

The Ugly

Well, I thought I'd try and update you on how I've been doing implementing my realizations/convictions. And the general summary is: OK. Probably average for a human. I've been finding more than anything that I keep seeing more and more work to be done. Like it's the never ending pile of dirty laundry. For instance, I become more aware of how I steal attention and sympathy from my husband (see The Tragedian), then I start to realize that many things I say are also manipulative. Charming, isn't it? I'm pretty much not sure anymore that anything that comes out of my mouth is purely good. There was one Proverb I came across that said something like, 'Where words are many, sin is not absent.' I knew that was describing me. I do talk a lot. But that's not what this Zerbik is about today.

Talking about 'sin' is unpopular these days for a lot of reasons, one is that it's kind of a downer. But, why would God keep revealing to me more of this poopy stuff if He didn't want me to think about, talk about it, or do anything with it? I grew up in a military family, moving lots and lots, and for many years we attended the chapel on our base. If we got there early after the Catholic service we'd see the chapel staff setting up for our Protestant service. They'd close the curtains to hide statues of Mary and somebody else, then turn around the big cross in the middle with Jesus' dead body on it so it was plain for us. I remember asking why Catholics had Jesus on their cross and we didn't, and my mom explained that we focus on Jesus' resurrection, not His death. Which is exactly right. I think though, that perhaps we should see both sides of that cross. Don't we need him to both die for our sins and fulfill His promise to return in order to have true hope? That's what this is all about, I think, realizing our need for hope then getting it.

Seems to me, things keep getting dirty in this world, inside or outside my home. God could have made it the other way around, where things naturally got clean, but He didn't. (I know, I know, modern day weeds, results of the Fall, but also results of God's choice to give us free will, besides He can change anything He wants to!). Also, am I the only one in the world that keeps finding that I'm just not "good enough", not at just being a "good person", but at everything? Like being a parent, for instance? Ezra's eight months old and I can already see how I could have done things better. Being a human I can't help but make stuff dirty, but God has consistently been in the business of making things clean.

Another reason we hate to talk about sin is that it points to accountability, which ultimately points to God. That kind of poo-poos on the old "I am a god, we are all god" theory, which sounds silly to most people, but most people are guilty of it. Aren't we declaring ourselves 'god' of our universe whenever we manipulate others or get mad because things don't go our way?

The book, "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis is all about how if we all have a little voice in our heads that tells us right from wrong that this ultimately points to a Giver of moral absolutes. I was just getting ready to write about how this awareness of sin is probably intended to bring us to the realization that we need Him, that we'll always fall short without Him, then it hit me that there's lots of things God brings into my life to teach me that. Emotions like fear cause me to seek Him out, experiences like being short on cash, being in a car accident, being diagnosed with cancer all cause us to lean on Him. All these are kinds of "downers" aren't they?

I sure love to be happy. I love to anticipate the next fun thing in my life. I'm afraid, though, that sometimes I'm not being grown or molded as much during those times. I'm afraid I'm not communing with God as much during those times. What's screwy is that when I do talk to Him in the happy times it's to thank Him that I'm not enduring a painful time which is when I grow and get close to Him. WHAT?

Since this is getting long, I'll try to wrap it up. I'm trying to figure God out here. I'm getting the feeling that although I don't like to be uncomfortable or feel bad about sins I commit, He wants me to trust Him and let myself be broken down as much as He knows I can handle, so that He can rebuild and reshape me how I was created to be shaped. The worst thing we can do in our broken state is to allow Satan to taint our view of what's happening. He likes to keep us stagnant and hinder the rebuilding/beautifying phase. Ben once said if Satan can tempt and attack those who are strong, how much more does he prey on the weak? So, in all things put on the full armor of God...

1 Peter 5:10 (Amplified Bible)
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you.

Monday, March 5, 2007

And the wall came tumbling down!

I had so many people visiting from this Blog Party we just had to make more room! So, the top pic is the same view you could see in the before pics below, the lower pic is the new view from the other end of the room! That half of the new living room was called the "music room", the "dog room", the "play room", and was previously a bedroom for one of the three teenage girls that lived with us. It had a closet, so, now we have to figure out where to put all our coats, but wowee zowee, is our new living room big! I think we might even have room for Ben's gianormous family to visit now! I'll keep ya updated with pics when we get the place cleaned up (notice who's doing that!).

Pent up aggression?

You've come to the right place! Our friend, Matt S is visiting us this weekend from Utah. So, we thought we'd take this opportunity to tear down a pesky wall that was cramping our style. The top picture was taken this morning, and the bottom pic was taken at 10am (just now) to show the progress. I plan to post again once the wall is down. So, party people, you got your work gloves on? You wouldn't want to be rude and not offer a little elbow grease would ya? My poor dogs are going nuts with the noise. Baby's somehow sleeping through it all, that's how I got away to update y'all. So, come back later for more pictures of our demolition party!

Friday, March 2, 2007

Welcome Party People!

If you'd like to join the party, click on the sign to your right. For those visitors that don't know me, I'm a stay-at-home mom of one cuddly 8 month old. I worked as a professional counselor for five years prior to his birth. My husband and I have been married almost ten years. This website is my way to update my long-distance family (parents in Germany, grandparents in TN and IA, etc.) on our Ohio adventures. This is more of what you see on the outside, the blog nearest to my heart, though, is zerbik which is where I openly wrestle with spiritual issues. My favorite zerbik is always the most recent post, and my favorite WigLife post is No Shadow!

More about me...I am learning how to knit, kinda crochet already, make bead jewelry, am taking a pottery class, love martial arts, cooking Indian food, recycling, eating chocolate (just learned to like dark choc.), making up silly songs for my baby, singing, doing things the old fashioned or natural way where possible (cloth diapers, nursing, etc.) and I'm obsessed with names and their meanings. Oh, and I have two American Hairless Terriers (I'm allergic to hairy dogs!).

Thursday, March 1, 2007

My baby!

Just had to let you know that Z is 8 months old, 21 pounds and is 2'5" tall now forcing him to wear 18 month old clothes. He is officially crawling...everywhere! He pulls himself up to stand on anything stable or not! He also signs the word "more" in the right context! Usually he signs for more food, but this morning he wanted his little guitar to play more and signed to us! We're having so much fun with him. He gives me zerberts on my belly. He gives kisses (making the 'mwah' sound). He says "Boo" (our dog) and "Oggie" for doggy. He sings with Daddy when they play the piano together and he dances anytime he hears music or thinks a happy thought. He pretty much wears his feelings on his sleeve, which thankfully are generally happy.

His top two teeth are completely broke through, though not very big yet. The lower incisors aren't showing yet. Speaking of teeth we had a contest to guess which tooth would come in first and our winner posted her winnings! Praise God, Z slept four straight hours last night! Usually he eats every 2-3 hours day and night, more when he's teething. He's eating cereal every night along with some sort of fruit and/or vegetable. He actually likes asparagus and spinach which we grind up for him, but his favorite thing in the world to eat is bananas.