Monthly Archives: May 2007

Last night, we had some "tom and mom time" - we went out to see "Spiderman" 😉

Then, I went on my 5K walk this morning (found the right warm-up speed and stretches - very little shin pain and broke that silly 60 minute mark).

When I got home, I went to lunch and then disc-golfing with my son. It was my first time ever (and I didn't do so great) but he's pretty good.

It was fun and I really enjoy spending time with Tom.
I have a really good relationship with my kids. For a while, it was really tough with Manda but we got through it. I guess my goal has NOT been to raise "good kids". My goal has been to raise "good adults" and we're getting close.

I haven't encouraged them to hang onto Mom's apron strings and I've allowed them to make many of their own choices (with guidance, prayer and a good track record).

I don't want to be an empty-nester - but I know that when I am it's because my kids are on their way to being great adults and that's a good thing.

One of the things that I truly appreciate is both of my kids' willingness to check in. Sometimes too often (lol). Manda most often will text-message me, Tom calls. I think the reason they're so good about letting me know where they are is - well...I sometimes "forget" to let them know where I am so they have a real understanding of the importance of checking in.

I treat them like the nearly-out-of-the-house-young-adults that they are and they know and appreciate that. And I appreciate them. appreciate you!


Grace Alone.

A look at "GRACE ALONE, An Evangelical Problem?" by Kim Riddlebarger. This is a fairly short article that asks (and answers) these questions:

(1) What do we mean by the phrase "grace alone?"

(2) What is the human condition according to the Scriptures?

(3) What do the Scriptures say about Sola Gratia?

(4) Why do American Evangelicals have such a difficult time with this doctrine?

(5) How do we respond when these issues are at stake?

1 - What do we mean by the phrase "grace alone"?
Riddlebarger says, "When we use the term "grace alone," what we mean is that our salvation from the wrath of God - our deliverance from hell - is because of something good in God, and not because of anything good in us."

Our works do not - cannot - save us. There is nothing in us, fallen human beings, that brings us to choose God. Sin has touched every part of our lives.

It is only by God's grace that we are brought to faith.

2 - What is the human condition according to the Scriptures?

We are born in sin. Psalm 51:5, "Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me." Even from the moment we are conceived, we are sinful. It is in our very nature - our flesh nature. We are born DEAD in sin. Not sick, not disabled, not "naughty". We are every bit as dead in our sin as Lazarus was in his tomb.

We live in sin. I Kings 8:46 tells us that "there is no one who does not sin" and Proverbs 20:9 says, "Who can say, `I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin'? None of us can say that. We live in sin.

Even if we physically keep the commandments, our heart is wicked. Jesus was clear: adultery can be lust of the heart and harboring hate and anger is as bad as physical murder. For this reason, the accusation of hatred is a very serious accusation.

We are sinners. In Romans 3:10-12 Paul writes; "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."

3 - What do the Scriptures say about Sola Gratia?

In Riddlebarger's words,

Simply stated, if the Scriptures are clear that men and women are sinful by nature and cannot do anything to save themselves or even prepare themselves to be saved, the Scriptures are equally clear that it is God who saves by grace alone through faith alone on account of Christ alone. This means that it is God who acts first, upon the sinner, while the sinner is dead in sin. For as we have seen, the sinner is enslaved to the sinful nature and its passions, and will not come to God, as Paul declares. But the good news is that while sinners do not seek God, God seeks sinners. And this is what we mean by the phrase, grace alone

In my words - if it depends on me, on my self, to follow Christ - it's all over.

4 - Why do American Evangelicals have such a difficult time with this doctrine?

In one word - pride. Especially in the United States - the land of independence. We are taught from the day we are born that we can do anything, be anything. We are able.

Hard work is its own reward.

Again, Riddlebarger:

This rejection of sola gratia is not new, in fact, it is an ancient heresy known as Pelagianism. Named for the monk Pelagius (who lived in the fourth century) and who was the arch-foe of St. Augustine, Pelagianism is that teaching which emphasizes the human freedom, sees original sin not as corruption and guilt inherited from our first father but simply the bad example introduced by into the world by Adam. Pelagianism sees grace as simply an influence enticing us to act upon proper information. And it is only natural that rugged, self-made, independent, frontier Americans would naturally gravitate to a theology that emphasized human ability and natural freedom to act. It is from Pelagius and not Holy Scripture that we derive the idea that children are born innocent, not sinful, and it is from Pelagius that we learn that sin is simply that which we do, not what we are. In the words of one historian, "America is very much in favor of this Pelagian idea that every individual can always make a new beginning, that he is able by his individual freedom to make decisions for or against the divine."

5 - How do we respond when these issues are at stake?

There are many people who claim Christ, but who also claim their works, their choice.

First, the Bible does not approach this subject from the perspective that everyone is entitled to a chance at heaven, as do most Americans. This is "election" vs. "free will". And it is a very volatile subject.

Second, the degree to which we argue that we contribute something to our salvation is the degree to which we deny sola gratia. If we say, yes, we are saved by grace alone...BUT...we have to...(insert whatever you believe you need to do to add to (or keep) your salvation here) then we take away from God's grace in order to insert our own power and choice.

Third, sola gratia is the basis for our comfort and assurance as sinners before a Holy God. Every part of me is touched by sinful nature and total depravity. Every action that I take has an undercurrent of sin. If salvation depends on my faith, what about when my faith is weak? If it depends on my keeping the commandments, what happens if I falter?
Lastly, Riddlebarger:

We look to a savior who calls the dead from the tomb when they still reek of their sins; a savior who promises never to leave or forsake us, even when we go astray. We look to a good shepherd who will lose none of his sheep and who declares; "all that the Father gives to me will come to me, and I will lose none of them, but raise them all up on the last day." We look to a savior who died for all of our sins and who kept God's Law perfectly every minute of his life, so that his perfect righteousness could be given to cover our unrighteousness. We look to a savior who was crucified, but who conquered death and the grave and who rose again who ascended into heaven, and who even now is ruling and reigning, all the while praying for us, as our advocate and defender. Sola gratia is most clearly seen in the fact that Jesus Christ came to do for us they very thing that we could no do for ourselves. For he came to seek and to save that which was lost. This beloved is sola gratia, the sinless Son of God, dying upon a Roman cross for the sins of the world, rising from the dead for our justification, and making us alive, through his word, when we were still dead in our sins. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

This is Sola Gratia.

It's been a so-so week.  I've put in a bunch of miles at work so only did one 5k walk at home.

The Weight Watchers piece as actually been pretty good.  I'm back on hormones so my weight will not change (the side effect is weight gain so maintaining is a good thing.)

Some new links:

WorkoutMusic: I really like that when you click on the cd for a list of song it gives you the beats per minute.  I've only purchsed on full cd (although if they had more that I wanted I would).  What I end up doing is deciding on a song and then trying to find the cd on itunes so that I can buy just the song I want.  Then I can put together a walk that lasts the right amount of time to go the distance I want at the speed I want.  I also build in 2 slower songs the same length so I can walk out, walk back home and then a really mellow song to stretch to - and then the real walk.

The Walking Site:  lots of good stuff.  I've learned to pay attention to the stretching.

Power Music: more music by BPM (beats per minutes)

FitPod: Many free downloads in many different speeds - not singles, but put together in workouts of different lengths.

 Do It Sports: Want a timed event?  Find it here!  Hundreds of walks/runs/biking events/swims nationwide.

Want local events?  Running in the USA lets you sort by state and month.

This week the focus is on the walk...

I've got a playlist that will give me a 5K walk in just under an hour - IF I remember the stretches.

I call it "128-131 beginner"

  • 131 BPM     Tamacun (Rodrigo y Gabriela)                            3:25 /
  • 130 BPM     Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Cyndi Lauper)           3:56)
  • STRETCH    A Thousand Beautiful Things (Annie Lennox)
  • 126 BPM     My Baby Loves Me (workout, NOT original artist)   4:46
  • 131 BPM     Jump (Madonna)                                                3:58 / 8:44
  • 130 BPM     Caribbean Beat Mix (from WorkoutMusic              30:34 / 39:18
  • 126 BPM     Straight Up (workout, NOT original artist)             4:41 / 43:59
  • 122 BPM     Love for Love (workout, NOT original artist)          5:04 / 49:03
  • 122 BPM     I can’t wait (workout, NOT original artist)              5:07 / 56:10

(NOTE: I prefer listening to original artists, but many are not good for walking to because of tempo changes.  Rodrigo y Gabriela are great - the link above it to their MySpace page and you can listen to some of their music, including the full lenth Tamacun.  The advantage to remixed workout music is that it's a very steady beat and there are sites that have remixes of a song in three different speeds.)

The "beginner" playlist is what I'll walk to this week - and then I'll take out the slower music at the end and bump up the middle a bit.   My goal is to break 45 minutes for a 5K - what is slowing me down at this point is shin splints - I end up taking really small steps.  Average is 2,000 steps per mile, I end up taking a little over 3,000.  I'm hoping that the focus on stretching helps.

I know the theme is the beauty of the sun - but the free association in my brain thought sun:shadow.

If there is a sun, there will be shadows. In the dead of winter I so look forward to seeing shadows - it means the sun is out!

Psalm 17:8
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings

The sign in front of my church asks, "are you soul-ar powered by the Son?"

Psalm 36:7
How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.

Our God is unfailing love - and there is a shadow. How comforting, in times of trouble to have the comfort of our God's wings giving us refuge in that shadow.

Psalm 57:1
Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.

As long as we live on this earth or until Christ returns, we will have trouble in our lives. It is in those times that we seek the refuge. What a faithful God we have!

Psalm 63:7
Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.

We have such a reason to sing! We live in the shadow of the Almighty! It is not because we are faithful - it is because HE is faithful.

Psalm 91:1
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

The beauty of earthly shadows is that it means we can see the sun.

The beauty of the SON - is that we can dwell in the shadow of the Almighty.

Are you living in the shadow?:

The scale is not budging - I tend to plateau every 10 pounds + I'm on a medication for a couple of weeks that's making me hold lots of water + I've really bumped up the exercise and that tends to make me stall while my body adjusts to the extra work.

So, I'm thinking that I may stop spending the money on Weight Watchers (since I know the plan and have the tools) - and spend the money on registrations for walks/runs. In the long run, I'll stay on the Weight Watchers plan, eat healthier, lose weight and...

at the same time the money that I'd have spent on Weight Watchers will be just as well spent establishing a commitment to becoming fit in the exercise area as well as in the diet area.

works?'s a list of races that I'd like to participate in - well, at the "walk" level, there are few prizes - it's mostly for fun and fitness. And I say "I'd like to" because until the registration is paid, the list can change. So far, the one that I don't want to miss is the Cheetah Chase!

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One of the blogs I read daily (when I'm reading all my favorites daily) is "The Road Not Chosen". Written by a mom of a young gentleman (Evan) with Down Syndrome, we've read about the physical problems that Evan has been having.

Thursday, Evan was scheduled for surgery, which was canceled. Why?

Evan's surgery was cancelled today. Gasp. Shock. Why? Because, well, God healed him & he didn't need surgery! He was preped & taken back to surgery. They put him under, cut off his cast, inspected his skin for abraisons (there were none). The next step was to look at his hip through the fluroscope (a real time x-ray machine). To the surgeons (both of them) shock, his femur was tilted at exactly the right angle, positioned perfectly. They moved his leg around, thinking it would pop out of socket, but it was firmly, perfectly in place, holding strong. Dr. S. called us in the waiting room, Harold talked to him & started to cry. Then Harold laughed. Hanging up, Harold told us (myself, our friends Roger & Dave) the good news. To say we were stunned would be the understatement of the century. I just laughed like a crazy woman. This was so wonderful as to be unimaginable! We all began laughing, crying & praising God.

Something like this happened to me when I was in second grade. I had had surgery twice already for tumors on my jaw - one of them had grown on my upper gum, so quickly that it covered my front teeth.

The third time the tumor was on the roof of my mouth, the night before my surgery, my parents took me to church on Wednesday evening where the deacons prayed over me. I went into surgery the next morning and right before they put me to sleep, the doctor (I remember him, Dr. Gibson) looked into my mouth and looked again. Then they took me back to my mom and dad. The tumor was simply not there.

Miracles and healing do happen. No donations to ministries, no props. Prayers.

I join Evan's family in praise to the glory of God.


I didn't go to proms when I was in high school - long and short story that doesn't matter any more.

Anyway, every year our school has a real prom, complete with tuxedos and prom dressed for our students - all mentally impaired, but pretty high functioning - enough so that they all know what prom is.

Everybody is all excited, even staff - who also dress up!

Tomorrow night is my first prom. I'm chaperoning and checking students out when they're picked up. But I'm going and I'm going to have fun. I've already got a dance on my dance card!

And on Saturday - my first official 5k. It's a walk - I'm not up for even a slow jog for 5K. It's the 30th running of the Riverbank Run through my town. With over 12,000 participants, I'm not driving downtown. I'm taking the city bus. I've got my ChampionChip and everything.

On a more personal note: the week after, on the 19th, I'm walking with a student in my classroom for a fundraiser for the Noorthoek Academy - it's a college experience for special needs students. They do drama, poetry, history, field trips - the whole shot. At my graduation, a Noorthoek student got his honorary AA - after 18 years of attendance. Fred has Down Syndrome. He and his wife both attend the academy and he was so proud to get his "degree".

My student and I are both walking in "The Big Step Walk", a 5K to benefit the Academy and I'm taking pledges (my goal for the summer is to walk in 10 5K walks - hopefully and eventually doing an official run in November.

If anybody is interested in donating, write me privately - it's a great cause and these are great people!


    1. I have a taste of it now - green.
    2. Walking barefoot outdoors.
    3. reading in the sun
    4. camping
    5. flowers - my black-eye-susans are coming up
    6. the irises that came from my Grandma's garden bloom.
    7. time - I have time!
    8. The beach
    9. Family time
    10. relaxing with music in the back yard
    11. more green - and flower colors
    12. No homework!
    13. No snow!
    Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
    1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

    Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

    NEW YORK (AP) - A lawyer for Don Imus said Friday that the former radio host's bosses could have edited the on-air comments that got him fired—and the fact that they didn't meant they saw his remarks as routine for his often provocative show.CBS Radio and MSNBC had delay buttons, but didn't use them when Imus made racist and sexist comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team, lawyer Martin Garbus said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

    "That means CBS and MSNBC both knew the language that was going out, and both knew the language complied with (Imus') contract. ... It was consistent with many of the things he had done," Garbus said.

    Mr. Imus, you cannot (on one hand) "take responsibility" for your words and (on the other hand) blame the networks for not stopping you.