Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Radical Response: Week 3

The "Radical Read-Along" has been one of the best opportunities spiritually for me in a long time. I hope you'll be encouraged by my regular "response" posts to get the book (Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream by David Platt) and read it. And you should definitely check out the other bloggers' responses as well.

Chapter Three: 
"Beginning at the End of Ourselves: The Importance of Relying on God's Power"

Do you trust in the power of God? Really trust?? Like enough trust that you'd bank everything on it, even your very life? There are actually people who do that today. Men and women who have given their entire selves over to complete dedication to the Lord Almighty and KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that He is capable of ANYthing within His will. 

The same God who promised Abraham he would be the father of a mighty nation and at the age of 99 (his wife, 89!!) finally gave him a son, is our God today. The same God who caused the walls of Jericho to fall while the Israelites merely stood there shouting and blowing their trumpets, is our God today. This same God can still do amazing things...and does! And yet most of the time we do not believe this. Not deep down anyway. 

I mean, if you were a highly-trained fighter who, one day, was threatened by a scary witch doctor ready to fight you, would you believe in God's power so much that you would sit in a chair, rather than confidently fight (knowing you'd likely win), proclaiming that God does your fighting for you now? Would you just sit there knowing the witch doctor could do anything he wanted to you while you sat and waited for the Lord to do something? Could you just wait there? Unflinching? (BTW, this is not just some random example here, but a true account of something that happened to an Indonesian believer. Platt shares that the witch doctor suddenly began choking and gasping for air, only to fall over dead...all while the believer sat in his chair.) God does not NEED us or our "awesome" abilities. After all, any abilities we may have are only ours because He gave them to us!

In America, it is shoved down our throats every where we turn that "there is no limit to what we can accomplish," that we should "believe in ourselves," and that we are "innately capable." And while that all sounds hunky-dory, it just isn't biblical. Jesus says, "Apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5) The entire gospel message beginning with our moral depravity from birth to Christ's triumph over death when He arose from the grave three days after being crucified on the Cross for OUR sins, is about "our utter inability to accomplish anything of value apart from him." 

And besides, let's face it. The only reason we'd want to, if we're being honest with ourselves, is so that we'd get some recognition, some respect, some adoration, some attention. We want something for ourselves. The goal of the American Dream: "to make much of ourselves." But here's a giant "Guess what?!" thought I have to keep reminding myself. Ummm...WE don't deserve any recognition. HE does. In fact, HE deserves it all. And that is truly the ultimate goal of the gospel: "to make much of God."

Platt warns us against the danger of manufacturing our churches. So many of our churches, it seems, are all about making church more palatable. They seek to draw as many people in as possible and then provide them with quality entertainment, practical "how-to" type messages, a magnificent facility, and countless "programs" run by professionals (or, at least, people put through some sort of training). 

"That way, for example, parents can simply drop off their kids at the door, and the professionals can handle ministry for them. We don't want people trying this at home."  (emphasis added)

Churches often strive to find the best speakers, singers, musicians, education professionals, etc., give them all the title of "Minister of ...," have them put together "teams," and then "do church." Then we can all stand in awe of their accomplishments as they work together to "grow their church" and "impress people" with their well-orchestrated service. Of course, I have no doubt that those in these churches do what they do because they love the Lord, but we have to be careful that our churches are established THROUGH His power, ACCORDING to His plans, and FOR His glory. Considering what we've (all) been brought up to believe about ourselves, this might be easier said than done. 

"We have convinced ourselves that if we can position our resources and organize our strategies, then in church as in every other sphere of life, we can accomplish anything we set our minds to." 

What's missing here, is our desperate need for God and His power and His plan. Desperate need. How many of us truly feel desperate for Him? The truth is, most of us think we've got it covered. In church. And in life. The truth is, not only do we think we've got it covered, but we think we're just about amazing enough to knock it out of the park with no one's help, least of all a God we cannot see. Instead, we believe (even those of us with "low self-esteem") that we are pretty self-sufficient and don't need to trust ANYone, and thank goodness, because then we might have to wait for something and besides, we're not so sure we even can trust anyone. Not even God!

I mean, do we believe in our heart of hearts that God CAN and WILL do His sovereign will and bring about His kingdom? And that He'll do all this in His own power? He truly doesn't need us, as I've said before. But he graciously USES us, provides for us, guides us, and comforts us, all because He has put His Spirit within us, as believers, and allows us to do amazing things BY. HIS. POWER.

This chapter was convicting to me for many of the same reasons as last week. I was thinking of how often I think, "I'm good at this or that. I should volunteer to do such and such." How often I do that, and then find myself, in my own strength, trying to accomplish the task...and not doing so well. Or even failing miserably. God is gracious to allow my failure so that I can see my need for Him. So that I won't get glory for my efforts. Whatever I may do well is because of Him anyway, so I should be finding ways to "make much of Him!" That should be my life's goal.

I will not boast in anything.
No gift, no power, no wisdom.
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom.

(lyrics from "How Deep the Father's Love For Us" by Stuart Townsend)

You can read my responses to Chapter One here and Chapter Two here.

*All quotes, unless noted otherwise, are from David Platt's book.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Project 365: Week 39

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Well, the big news today was that Gabriel's alligator hatched out of his egg. It was a very exciting moment.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lately, Atticus has been saying, "Mommy, watch me!" a lot. Today he'd tell me to watch, then he'd count...

"2, 3, 9" or "3, 2, 9" or "9, 2, 3" and then take off mowing.

Don't ask me why those particular numbers or why they kept being rearranged. That's definitely not the point. Cuteness. Cuteness is the point.

(DISCLAIMER: The above pictures of a child whose shirt looks more like a dress may or may not be entirely due to his mommy's laziness. Just...please overlook.) 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Took a walk to the playground after dinner tonight.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My daughter has quirky food issues. Always has. The good thing is they're inconsistent and ever-changing. Right now, she is unhappy with just about any fruit. Except for grapes. (Ironically, grapes used to be her most HATED fruit, while she adored practically everything else!) She's gotten to where she eats around the fruit on her plate. It's just the fruit; vegetables aren't a problem. (I know! Weird, huh?) For a while she would eat the fruit better if she or I cut it into bite-size pieces she could eat with a fork. But even that hasn't helped lately. You know what works now? Having me feed it to her. (What's that all about?) Or...in desperate times, her baby brother.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I made caramel corn for a party tonight.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Traveling with four kids. It's not for the faint-of-heart.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Game Day (again!). Watched it with my parents. (Note: Mom likes giraffes a little bit.) We put up a good fight, but things didn't end well for the 'Backs today.

Atticus and his pal, Cubbie, enjoyed their time together by talking and sharing the "pa-panes."

It was a fairly laid-back week, but I still managed to get myself properly exhausted, which is scary considering the next four weeks are going to be C-R-A-Z-Y!!! If my "Project 365" is going to suffer, now is when it will be the most likely. Good thing we can count on Sara, our wonderful hostess to keep things moving on despite life's busy-ness. And now, I am onto what's next! Oh, dear. Here goes...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sustainability Festival

Our trip to the Ozark Sustainability Festival was an interesting and inspiring one. There was so much to see and learn about. Not that we, the parents of four tag-alongs, had the luxury of doing a whole lot of conversing. But we visually took in whole bunches! We really want to do this thing, as crazy as it may seem. We really DO want to live simpler, more sustainable lives. So we're looking for knowledge wherever we can.

We hadn't been there very long when Noah was approached by a gentleman who needed a little help with his handouts. Noah and Saylor both helped and each earned a dollar. 

For homemade ice cream! What else?!

Gabe certainly enjoyed his.

Then Paul and I split up for a bit. He went to a presentation on the use of solar energy, which is one method we plan to use when we, hopefully, "go off the grid." I went to one on seed saving techniques. I quickly discovered it wasn't for me people with brown thumbs. I endured it, but was left largely unimpressed. It ended early, so I joined the "cool" solar energy talk, which was way better. But the kids were ready to move on by then. (After all, they had just ridden for four hours. Who can blame them?) So we went off to visit the plethora of animals all around.

Y'all. Atticus is something else. Of course, we all already know that. But really. He is! He is not only intrigued by animals, he is also not at all intimidated by them. He's always been that way. Walks right up to my mom's huge greyhound! That sort of thing. Well, he was in animal-lover heaven at this event! It seems he thinks they're people, because he walks right up to them and starts jabbering away! Here are a couple of shots of him having a very nice conversation with a captive audience.  (Get it? Tap, tap, tap...Is this thing on?)

Saylor, who is ummm...not the animal-lover of the family found this cute, little dog and promptly fell in love with her. I think they sensed each other's princess-ness.

Noah was impressed by this blacksmith.

And I, as the homeschool teacher, was very excited for him to have the opportunity to see an anvil and how it is used in person! We've studied the Vikings and now medieval times, so it was nice to see somebody actually making tools, etc. in the same way people from long ago used to make them.

Rest assured, there is a pile of old metal stakes and rocks (to serve as anvils) in our front yard right now!

Then we got to see goats being milked and listen to a very knowledgeable woman speak about the benefits of drinking raw milk, how to store the milk, how to care for goats, and even how to make sure your glass jars are clean enough to store your milk. (Being a raw milk junkie, this was my favorite part of the day. Loved her!)

We gathered lots of names, numbers, and business cards. There were herbalists, merchants with handmade items and homemade yummies, and people teaching about how to dehydrate food to store it for indefinite periods of time. All of it was inspiring and encouraging and just what we needed.

One thing that cracked me up was that the "hippy" tent with all the hemp clothing for sale was right beside this tent:

One thing that's great about the Sustainable Movement is that it brings all kinds of people together. And what a great day to learn about how to better care for our own family. I mean, how can we knowingly look into these eyes...

...and ever again feed him anything less than the best we can find, grow, or make ourselves?

This post is linked with Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS, one of my all-time favorite blogs. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Outdoor Living Loving

This post is linked to Wordless Wednesday at  

Passport to India

We Davidsons are going to participate in My Passport to India

This is a great opportunity for families with a heart for missions, especially homeschooling families. It's free to register, and you will get a Welcome Kit in the mail which will include all the items you'll need to participate. Registration ends this Friday, September 24. 

Throughout your study of India, your family will be encouraged to save loose change. At the close of the study, you will have the opportunity to donate that loose change to benefit Children's Bible Clubs (a program of Mission India). For every dollar raised, Sonlight Curriculum will match it up to $167,000. (Any family can participate, not just those who use Sonlight Curriculum. Sonlight is merely a sponsor of the program.)

But hurry--remember the deadline is this Friday!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Radical Response: Week 2

Well, I'm still reading. More like devouring. In case I forget to say this, YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK! 'Mkay? Especially since right now it's on CRAZY sale at Amazon!!! (Wish I had gotten this great price.)

Chapter Two:
"Too Hungry For Words: Discovering the Truth and Beauty of the Gospel"

I'm one of those people who get easily overwhelmed by life, I think. I spend a lot of time worrying about this or that and wondering how I can fix things so they'll work more smoothly. Why do I have this overpowering urge to retreat and be all by myself instead of wanting to cuddle with children? Why can't I stop reacting (rather than responding) to those children? How can I better keep up with the laundry? Why are my counter tops always so cluttered? Which brings in shame. I expect my oldest child to make his bed, but mine's not made. I have stashes of chocolate hidden away for myself I have no intention of sharing. I should have followed through with these (many) things I volunteered to do. I am so unorganized! I could add to this list all day long, and it would still not cover it all. All this stuff that weighs me down??? It can be what causes me to sink to the bottom of the pool and drown, or it can make me keenly aware of my incredible need for Jesus. Daily. Every stinkin' moment.

The world wants to tell me otherwise. The world wants to sell me solutions in the form of books, workshops, blogs, and desktop calendars. I mean, those things are not inherently bad or anything. Heaven knows a timely workshop on organization tips can be just what a frazzled momma needs. But, in general, our culture, specifically the American culture, teaches us we can be self-made, self-realized, and self-improved.  

"Certainly there are steps we can take to make ourselves better."

I have to admit, this way of thinking is something I have to FIGHT every single day!! Because I am naturally a fixer-type person. Maybe you are, too. It's my personality. I like puzzles, math problems, and someone coming to me for advice about something. Because...I like to see the problem solved. I enjoy the conquering of said problem very, very much. My mom once said that she would rather wait until a room is totally wrecked and then totally clean it up (even if it takes all day) than to clean a little here and a little there each day. Why? Because something about accomplishing that huge task feeds something within her. And in a way, I get that. It's why I make lists. It's why I tend to be a wee bit manic depressive energy-wise: going from a borderline depression (doing nothing) to a crazy cleaning fool! I suddenly get this "Take charge!" attitude and get with it. Of course, I never finish. I always fizzle out. I never have nearly the energy required to take on the monumental task I've attempted. And that, more often than not, sends me right back into the so-called depression again.

And I'm a believer!!! I KNOW this is silly, unnecessary bouncing back-and-forth. I KNOW I can rest in Jesus. Imagine the unbeliever. All this constant promoting of our self-esteem and our self-worth our culture is so apt to do leads the unbeliever away from the Cross. The world tells her she's great just the way she is and that if she's not, she can fix it (with the help of somebody, something, or some program, of course). But what's the truth? The truth is that something is missing here. And that is an awareness of our incredibly hopeless state. Hopeless, that is, without Jesus.

I am nothing and nobody. Jesus is all that is worthy since the beginning of time to the very end of time! Who am I?! What can I do?! But deep, deep down, if we're really being honest with ourselves, we ALL believe we can fix many of our troubles ourselves. 

What?! Your house won't sell? Then you should do this, this, and this. What?! Your child won't obey? Then do this, this, and this. What?! You don't have a job? Then go here, here, and here. What?! You're angry at so-and-so?! Then read this book and watch this program...and don't forget to go to counseling. 

Nobody ever says, "Do nothing. What can you possible do to fix this? This, like everything else, is only within God's power and according to His will. Leave it alone and wait." Like I said before, doing something is not really the problem at all. But leaving God out of it. That is the problem. Because what it does is it leads us to believe we really can better ourselves. That we really can "be a better me and experience (our) best life now." (Hmmm...that sounds vaguely and sickeningly familiar.)

"My life is not going right, but God loves me and has a plan to fix my life. I simply need to follow certain steps, think certain things, and check off certain boxes, and then I am good."

So, again, put this frame of mind on someone who is not a believer.  

You can do it. You can have this now. You just have to put your mind to it. You just have to follow these steps. You're going to be amazed at what you can accomplish. 

It can be dangerous. In fact, it can lead to a lot of people going through "the steps" to become a Christian but not even realizing what they're signing up for. Or who this God of the Bible really is; that He is a wrathful one who hates sin. Our culture wants us to forget about how frightening our God can be in His omnipotent power! Our culture wants us to view Him as One who needs US to "surrender" and "come to Him" and to "accept Him."

"We have reduced him to a poor, puny Savior who is just begging for us to accept him. Accept him? Do we really think Jesus needs our acceptance?"

Some years ago there was a brief movement in our area all about "experiencing our best lives now." That kinda thing. The main point of it was that Jesus is your friend. And while that, in itself, is not unbiblical or wrong, it left an incomplete picture of who Christ really is. The power He has. The picture of Him as a mighty warrior who slaughters His enemies. (See Revelation 19) The unbelieving masses need the complete picture! Because total surrender is required. We need to know what we're signing on for. 

People, responding in droves, have "prayed the prayer," "accepted Christ," and/or "walked the aisle." But not every one will enter the kingdom of heaven. Not even every religious person. Not even every person who calls himself "Christian." Not EVEN every one who's "prayed the prayer"! Jesus Himself said "many" will tell Him of all the things they've done for Him, but He will say to them, "I never knew you." (See Matthew 7:21-23.) Walking the aisle one time doesn't get you into the kingdom of Heaven. Nor does going to church each and every Sunday for the rest of your life. KNOWING GOD and BELIEVING GOD. That's what proves you are the real deal. And if you KNOW GOD and BELIEVE GOD, you will do whatever He asks of you at whatever cost.

Do you "want Him so much that (you) abandon everything else to experience Him"?

If you're not there yet, this picture of what Christ did for you might change your perspective:

"All God's holy wrath and hatred toward sin and sinners, stored up since the beginning of the world, is about to be poured out on Him (...) One preacher described it as if you and I were standing a short hundred yards away from a dam of water ten thousand miles high and ten thousand miles wide. All of a sudden that dam was breached, and a torrential flood of water came crashing toward us. Right before it reached our feet, the ground in front of us opened up and swallowed it all. At the Cross, Christ drank the full cup of the wrath of God, and when he had downed the last drop, he turned the cup over and cried out, 'It is finished.'"

That is Jesus Christ, our Savior. He doesn't beg us to come to Him. He already came down to us. He doesn't need US. It is us who need HIM. Desperately. We're hopeless and powerless without Him. "He is mighty to save!" He deserves our everything!

This and other blogger responses to Chapter Two are linked up with Marla Taviano.

**All quotes, unless noted otherwise, are from David Platt's book.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Local Buying TODAY

I just want to ask my Little Rock peeps to please go by Pulaski Academy from 2:00 to 4:00 TODAY to help support our local farmers by purchasing some of the delicious fare at the West Little Rock Farmer's Market.

What you'll see there today:

North Pulaski Farms (certified organic) - yellow squash, peppers, cucumbers, and a limited amount of Kentucky Wonder green beans.

Kellogg Valley Farms (chemical free) - all kinds of greens (mustard, turnip, kale) and acorn, zephyr, and butternut squash.

Barnhill - turnip greens, melons, pears, eggs, purple hull peas, and okra.

3 Buddies - fresh mushrooms.

K-Bee Honey - local raw honey.

Sounds like dinner to me.

You can saute cubed butternut squash in coconut oil.
And apparently, those of you who like mushrooms MUST try the ones from 3 Buddies.

Business has been slow at this market, and the farmers are considering not selling anymore at this location. Come ON, people!!! If you live in WLR, you should be out there!! It could NOT be more convenient! Hope to see you there...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Project 365: Week 38

Sunday, September 12, 2010

We got up this morning and, half-planned, half on-a-whim, decided to hop in the car and drive four hours to Missouri. Because sometimes? Sometimes...we're crazy like that. We were wanting to go to the "Ozark Sustainability Festival" being held there--to see what we could learn in preparation for what's next in our lives (selling the house, buying some land perhaps, and living off of it). We also wanted to see how well the kids could do driving for that long, since we are hoping to drive to Virginia this fall. The trip was not. my favorite part. But at least it wasn't horrific or anything. (Nobody threw up! So that's always a plus. Ha!) 

Once there, we visited booths, displays, and even workshops on all manner of things, from solar energy to goats' milk. The kids had a blast with all the animals. Even Saylor! Our little dog-hater actually found a dog breed she quite likes--the Long-haired Dachsund, of all things.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Paul stayed home and we ran errands and relaxed all day. Atticus and I noticed this little number (the pink one) in one store. It's somewhat unsettling to know that I owned a shirt and leggings almost exactly like this. Only, if I remember correctly, mine was black stars instead of black checks...and to really create a picture for you, it had a narrow black belt...and I wore a black banana clip...and I may or may not have worn it while singing some ridiculous Michael Bolton song at junior high Homecoming. (Or was it Debbie Gibson? Good grief. Either way...ewwww!)

This is Atticus saying, "Pleeeeze tell me you didn't do that, Mommy!"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I got this 100-piece puzzle at Good Will for $1.00. It was one of Noah's Workbox activities today.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I caught Noah going through a word book with Gabriel right before bed tonight. Noah would say, "What's this, Gabe?" and "That's right!! Good job!" They both enjoyed themselves so much. Even Atticus climbed up and joined in. So, Noah's pretty much officially enlisted as my Speech Therapy Assistant.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It was "Teddy Bear Night" at our library. The younger three wore their pajamas and brought a favorite stuffed animal.

Gabriel enjoyed going on the "Bear Hunt," especially when we went through the mud. (Not surprising.)

The surprising thing was that we ran into a few of our friends!

Saylor had a good time making the teddy bear craft with her girlfriends.

And Noah enjoyed the books.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A few nights ago at bath time, I had to pass the water-warming-up time with Atticus by focusing him on something other than the very sad reality that he could not keep playing in the dirt outside and did, in fact, have to come in, have a bath, and go to bed. In desperation, I grabbed a handful of foam letters which had previously been confiscated during one of my mad stuff-removal sprees. I showed him a letter and said, "What's this?" Well, he told me. I had no idea he would. In fact, he told me the sounds of the whole pile of letters...except for the "x." So tonight the bigger kids helped me video him doing it again.

How? you ask. We are firm believers in this movie.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Daddy left urrrrrly Friday morning for depositions in Florida. We HATE it when he's gone. But he got back to Little Rock just in time for the game today! A convenient "coincidence," wouldn't you say? ;) As if his very presence wouldn't have been good enough, he even came bearing gifts for the kiddos!

This is no ordinary egg, by the way. It contains a toy alligator that will hopefully hatch out after some soaking time in a cup of water. What I really needed--but didn't get--was a picture of Atticus with his "pa-pane" (airplane), because Paul could never have found a more appropriate gift for that little guy. It seems that all his favorite things are up in the sky (the moon, the clouds, and...airplanes). He has not stopped flying his plane around for two days now!

Of course, Paul can't let me just mention the game. I mean, this is the man who, despite the fact that our family gets along just fine without any TV, has now purchased cable "JUST for a few months" so we can get through college football season! He was thinking we definitely needed a picture of this...

...the winning touchdown!!!!!

Yeah, baby! Sorry, Georgia fans. It was OUR day today!  
Woo Pig Sooie!!

And that pretty much sums it up! I wonder if our lovely hostess, Sara, and her family have been sucked in yet by the phenomenon that IS the Razorback culture. You know, you don't have to be FROM here to love the Hogs!  :)  

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