Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Primer

Lately I've been feeling nauseated, tired, listless, and dizzy--all the time.

I know what's going on.

I believe there is a point to this, and I write that even as I count the minutes until 8PM so I can go to sleep (my only refuge from the sickness).

Look at the facts: I am wholly separated from what was my normal life. Every moment of the day is, in one way or another, consumed with pregnancy. I am sick, I am emotional, I am unable to forget my state. I am inconvenienced and uncomfortable most of the time.

I am not complaining, just stating the facts about where I am right now.

In fact, I think this experience is expressly meant to prepare me for motherhood. I realize that motherhood is not all inconvenience and discomfort (thank God!), but I also realize that where I was once concerned with myself and my husband, I will now be responsible for much more than my own well-being, amusement, and edification. Existence will be necessarily much less about what I want and more about what another needs. That's not quite the case with a household that contains only two adults. We think of and accomodate one another, to be sure, but neither of us requires constant attention!

I realized this morning, though, that I will always be a child. I don't want to lose that in all the mental hubbub about 'responsibility' that can easily fester into worry and anxiety--two plagues that will rob me of the joy and wonder that should come with motherhood.

I see, too, an opportunity for a second childhood, of sorts. I thought of it this morning as I walked among the dewy plants, breathing in the still cool air and remembering how exciting it was to take a simple walk as a child. Each one was a wonderful adventure...and I can feel that again as I walk with a little one of my own.

I'm in a nine-month boarding school that trains new mothers, and the first classes are really, really tough.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Baby News

We went to the doctor today and were overjoyed to see Baby Frith's little self! The baby wiggled quite a bit (must have been that Chinese I had for lunch).

Heartbeat increased to 178 this time. My mother thinks this means it's a girl...what do you think?

Maybe a picture will help:

Definitely my chin and nose, right? ...Right?

Praise the Lord!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

God's Role in Jesus's Death

This is one of those topics that seems a little absurd to me, but maybe I am just too much of a lightweight (wink, Kim!). For some reason, in some circles there is a "Did God Kill Jesus?" controversy.

Huh? I find this an issue that is easily addressed with a few scriptures. I see no reason, really, to make it too complicated.

Quick background: Kim at The Upward Call was reading a controversial post about this subject the other day, and an incident in the comments box sparked an interesting discussion on her blog. I didn't go and read all the original arguments; frankly, I don't want to.

Why did Jesus die? Did He want to? Did He willingly lay down His life, or did God "kill" Him? Did people kill Jesus, incurring guilt upon themselves?

Well, at one point He hoped there'd be another way, and who can blame Him?

Matthew 26:39
And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will."

But He went to the Cross willingly. He knew His mission.

John 10:15, 17-18
'I lay down my life for the sheep. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life--only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.' (Isn't the oneness of Father and Son wonderful?)

Matthew 16:21
From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

His death was not a surprise to Jesus. He was willing to be the Passover Lamb.

Hebrews 2:9-10, 17
But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering....Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Yet, yes, it pleased God to do things this way. As Jesus said in Gethsemane, it was God's will.

Isaiah 53:6, 10-11
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all....
Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;

he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for sin,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.

But some humans did bear guilt for their parts in the crucifixion of God's only Son. I believe this is because they had "free will", so to speak, and chose to do wrong, but I know many will disagree with me on that point. They sinned against God when they condemned His Son, an innocent man, and more than a man. God alone knows the degrees of their guilt, but it cannot be stated that they did not sin just because they didn't realize the great extent of this sin.

Matthew 26:3-5, 63b-68
Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said, 'Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people'....And the high priest said to him, 'I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.' Jesus said to him, 'You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.' Then the high priest tore his robes and said, 'He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgment?' They answered, 'He deserves death.' Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, saying, 'Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?'

Matthew 27:24
When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, 'I am innocent of this Man's blood; see to that yourselves.' (Of course, he wasn't innocent of Jesus's blood...but that's another story. Isn't it interesting that his wife was given a dream?)

Matthew 27:25
Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

Interesting that Jesus said this (below) as He was being crucified, though; He knew that no one there knew all of the implications of what was happening that day:

Luke 23:34
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

Why are questions so often posed as if there is one answer? "Did God kill Jesus?" Um...that's not the right question. It presumes all the wrong things and leaves out lots of important things.

It pleased God to provide atonement for our sins this way. He foreshadowed it throughout the Old Covenant, and Jesus, as part of the Godhead, was in on that, all the way. One of the things I love most about Bible study is witnessing all the seamless ways the Lord has written His plan into the Word, over and over again, in pictures, in allegories, in prophecy, and in historical recording. Nothing caught God by surprise; He has never been foiled by a plan of man.

My ten cents.

**NOTE: I just remembered that my pastor in California did a GREAT article on this when The Passion of the Christ came out. He used a lot of Scriptures that I didn't think of while writing this. A great read.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A Special Letter

Dear Friends of My Mommy,

Here is my first picture...what do you think? I'm so glad they caught my good side; I was quite unprepared for a photo today. Mommy didn't warn me at all.

The doctor said that my heart rate is 145. Is that good? I feel fine, so it must be a good number. The doctor also said that "everything is looking perfect." Mommy cried when she said that, and when she heard my heart go "woosh-woosh;" her tummy shook and so did I!

Well, I am awfully tired now, so I think I'll nap. I just wanted to let you know that I am so excited to be alive and I am thankful that you all are praying for me and my Mom and Dad. (They need a lot of prayer.)

See you in a few months!

Baby Frith

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Blogging Survey/Meme Thingy

As part of her Seven Days of Blog, Blest with Sons created a fun survey for her readers. I'd be interested in your answers, too. Here are mine.

Blog Reading

How many do you read regularly?
I try to stop by all of those on my blogroll fairly regularly; but truth be told, I frequent about 21 very regularly.

How many are written by women? By men?
Most are by women, but I do love some men's blogs. Wow, I just did a count. There are 25 blogs by men on my blogroll!

Are they all Christian? How about the same denomination?
They're all Christian, but hardly the same "denomination," since I don't have one. I link to many bloggers whom I love but who have vastly different theology from me.

What kinds of posts do you like the best?
I love posts in which the author ruminates in a lively, witty, thoughtful or interesting way on a topic (preferably something pertaining to God, the Bible, the human condition, or current events).

What kinds of posts are you most likely to comment on?
I am most likely to comment when I have something substantive (in the case of a topical post) or encouraging (in the case of a "personal," here's-what's-going-on-with-me post) to say. Many times I will read without commenting.

What makes you add a blog to your favorites list/bloglines? Or conversely, what drives you away from a blog?
Makes me add: Interesting writing; engaging personality; similar interests. There are SO MANY blogs out there, and so little time to actually read. I like good content, and that's usually what draws me, but if we develop a relationship (as has happened with so many brothers and sisters here!), I am also interested in the minutae of your life in a way I wouldn't be if I didn't know you.
Drives me away: Fighting/arguing (as opposed to discussion); boring writing/topics; politics. I'm just not that interested in politics; so many people seem convinced that the answers are there, or that the end-all be-all of existence is there. It's not.

Blog Writing

What’s your favorite kind of post to write?
I love when I read Scripture or someone else's post, and I feel the inspiration to write something. Many times ideas for posts come in conversation with a brother or sister, or through reading the Word. I'll just think of something--like Is all sin equal? or Let's talk about angels--that I want to discuss with people I now consider friends (or that I want to inform people about who may not know).

What do you think is your biggest strength blogwise? Biggest weakness?
Strength: Ability to write well (or, at least, clearly) to communicate my thoughts.
Weakness: Like I have one! Just kidding. My weakness is probably caring what people think. It doesn't stop me from giving my opinion, but it can make posting emotionally hard at times. I don't deal with that as much now as I did when I started blogging.

What do you want to change, if anything, about the way you blog?
I used to think that I needed to post every day, and in time that added an element of stress to blogging that is totally unnecessary. (From what I have seen, many bloggers go through this at some point. Many blogs are shut down because of this.) I realized that there are no rules regarding my publishing, and now I blog when I want to or when I have something to say.

How many times a day do you say the word blog?
Not many to none! I don't talk about it much, if at all. If Amy and I talk on the phone, we might discuss it. But other than that, it's a private thing. Once in a while I'll mention something particularly noteworthy to Ryan.


How many bloggers have you met in real life – not counting the ones you knew before they started blogging?
Hm. Some of them, like Amy Jeffus, Amy from Amy Loves Books, or Roddy, don't count because I knew them before they started a blog. But I met Amy Scott in Santa Barbara (you can read about that here, see a picture here, and read Amy's "version" of what happened here. It was so wonderful!

AND, later that year I met my dear Rachel. You can read my version here, and pictures are here, here and here. Her version is here, and she has more pictures.

Were they what you expected from reading their blogs? Got any interesting stories? Do tell!
Yes and no. I think my (and their) posts say it all.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Checking In

"Morning Sickness" is not aptly named. I just want you all to know that!

We have our first ultrasound on Wednesday--I'll be sure to update and let you all know how it goes.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Question about Homeschooling

On online friend wrote to me,

"I noticed you are for homeschooling. I am debating between that and sending my boy to public school--yikes, I know. Since you did some study on the topic, what did you find? Any curriculum you liked in particular? I guess this is a loaded question."

It's really late/early right now, and I can't promise that my answer will be comprehensive, but I wanted to address her question at least in brief. I decided to post my answer so that the very experienced moms and dads who read this might contribute other thoughts as well.

First, I'd like to address a couple of common reasons why people seem to find homeschooling objectionable. I really think that with some careful thought and observation, these fears can be allayed.


1. Homeschooling presents a socialization problem for children.

In my experience this is the most common question/concern people have about homeschooling. We tend to have a hard time imagining children not going to a school building and sitting in rows of desks with peers who are all within 12 months of their age. But is that the only way, the best way, or even a really good way to learn? Does it realistically reflect any other real-life situation that the child will face in his adult life?

I say that it is not, and it does not. At no other time in our lives do we limit ourselves to fraternization with people of our own birth year. Rather, "real life," which is one of the preparatory functions of education, is much more likely to bring us into contact with people of all ages, in all contexts. I contrast traditional school with "real life" because school is a false construct. Kids learn to adapt to its ringing bells, 20 minute lunches, bathroom passes, and flourescent lights, but it's certainly not benefiting them socially. They survive it more than anything else. Homeschooling generally gives children more opportunities to interact with people of all ages, in varying contexts that better prepare them for any situation they may encounter as an adult.

2. How will they learn at home? Do I have to make a "school at home"? I can't be a teacher!

When I began to learn more about how people learn, what motivates them, what engages their imagination and intellect, I began to see readily that traditional classroom environments kill imagination and intellect more often than they ignite them. The students who survive with some curiosity and true desire to learn intact are the exceptions; this was borne out in my graduate studies, when I conducted qualitative interviews with people about their schooling experiences and memories.

Children can, but usually don't, truly thrive in a traditional school environment. They usually do learn to adapt to it, but I believe that it's often at great cost to their sensitivity, personality, intellect, relational name it.

I am not of the mindset that one needs to make a "school at home." There's nothing wrong with a desk (I'm sitting at one now!), sharpened pencils, or workbooks; but creating an actual classroom complete with chalkboard and rigid scheduling is, in my opinion, unnecessary, and denies your family the beautiful freedom that comes with thinking outside the box when it comes to learning.

I recommend reading some books on learning while making a decision like this. I really enjoyed reading Learning All the Time and other books by John Holt. When I first delved into this topic, I also enjoyed Mary Griffith's The Unschooling Handbook. Many, many of the texts we read about learning in my education classes served to further convince me that homeschooling was the best option for any student to thrive and to reach his potential as a learner.

Regarding being a teacher: YES YOU CAN. You are probably the most perfectly equipped person to teach your child. God gave that child to you. If you look at Scripture, you'll find several places where the parents are told to instruct their children, or where a reference is made to parental instruction. By contrast, there is not a single example of a modern school-like phenomenon, where children left home to be taught by someone outside the family, in the Bible. I am not saying it's sin to send your kids to school! But if we are really looking for the BEST option for the child and seeking advice from the Word, I'd have to say that learning at home is sanctioned by the Bible more than any other form of instruction.

Also, practically speaking, many people give teachers too much credit for knowing everything! We may well give them credit for resourcefulness, stamina, and dedication--but these you possess in abundance for your own child. Good teachers prepare for the lessons they give by consulting texts and experts; that's nothing you can't do. You don't have to be the fount of all knowledge. You have to get good at learning where to find answers and instruction: the library, a professor at a local college, or sometimes, your own backyard. Physics lessons can take place as you plant a garden together. Math instruction can take place in the kitchen as you measure ingredients. Many of the lessons that have been relegated to a workbook and desk can find much better media in the stuff of everyday life! (Not that there's not a time and place for the workbook, too.)

3. Homeschoolers are weird and too sheltered.

The answer to this is twofold. On one hand, the world is always going to look at a Christian family and think at some point, "They are SO WEIRD." People say that to me because we don't have TV. So, yeah, some homeschoolers are weird like that.

But on the other hand, this accusation is more a product of some popular media than of reality, I think. Every homeschooling family I've ever met--seriously--has blown me away. Usually the children are well-behaved, able to converse with adults, and (frankly) superior to other children their age in what they already know. The families are usually very closely knit and harmonious (obviously, they're not perfect!). Yeah, that's just WEIRD. Wouldn't want THAT.

Also, I think kids can hardly be sheltered too much, so I am not the best one to talk to about that concern. There is a kind of sheltering--the "you're never getting out of this house" kind of "sheltering"--that is not healthy, but I have never witnessed a family like this and believe that is an exception, to put it mildly. Most homeschooling families take great advantage of community resources and can be found all over the place taking advantage of things every day that public school kids have to take special, infrequent field trips to see and do.

I hope that helps my friend a bit. PLEASE chime in with other thoughts, because I know I have probably left out really important stuff.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A Few Points of Interest

You've got to read Sallie's post on childlessness at her new digs, A Gracious Home (formerly Two Talent Living). Sallie's blog looks beautiful, and she says everything I would want to say and more about childlessness/infertility. I could almost have written her post myself, word for word.

Molly and the gang at Choosing Home have been initiating wonderful discussion about Mormonism--handled in their usual deft, kind, forthright manner. Love them. YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST.

Carol is blogging about blogging this week, during the Seven Days of Blog. I think it's a great idea, and I may try to sneak a couple in on this topic, as well. Blest is participating in this, too--she has a couple of great posts up already.

That's quite enough from me...time to go try to distract myself from wanting to hurl now. (Did I say that out loud?)

Monday, June 05, 2006

"Offensive" Faith

One of my best friends, Amy Jeffus, recently started a blog, and I think it's really impressive (not just because she gave me a shout-out. Ahem.). I have loved her passionately ever since I met her: she's dogged in her pursuit of truth, kind in her way of communicating it, and always eager (not just willing) to learn. She's a walking, talking, breathing Berean.

Okay, I am a little biased because I love her so much! Amy is also extremely dedicated to the middle-school aged children she leads as a youth minister at a church in South Carolina. I had the privilege of working with her for many months; every day was a time of rich fellowship for us that I will never forget.

Amy's recent posts have included a series about the "offense" of the gospel: in one of them she lists "Six Keys to Offensive Faith" that I think are brilliant. Here are some excerpts:

1. Know your Opponent:
Romans 12
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

You cannot fight the other team if you don't even recognize them as being against you. You may even begin to look more like the other team then your own and get confused about who you are playing for. You must be able to recognize them as The World and remember that we are called to be seperate from them. How do you recognize them? Fight the World with the Word.

2. Know what the other teams have used the past that did or didn’t work:
1 Corinthians 10:1-13
For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert. Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry."We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.
These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

God didn't leave us scripture for our mere enjoyment (although the more you get into it the more you will begin to enjoy least that is my experience). He left it for us as a tool. It is a guide that can help us be offensive in our faith in so many ways. One way, is by looking at the rich history of the Isrealites, King David, the early church, and more. Looking at where people and nations before us have fallen can help us be watchful for traps the World may try to use to gain possession of our ball.

Read more here.

In a more recent post, she writes:

So how do you share an offensive message with people in a way that they won’t immediately shut you out. The answer is not as easy as we would like. The Holy Spirit must work in a person before they will be able to look past the offense to see the Good News. So we have to be sensitive to the working of the Holy Spirit. Cover those you know who aren’t saved in prayer. Pray for opportunities to tell them about Jesus. Pray that their hearts would be softened by what only God can do enough so that they will hear and receive the WHOLE gospel of Christ. I want us to stop being afraid to tell the whole story. I don’t just want Jesus…I need Jesus.


Friday, June 02, 2006


Everything is still going well.

I am trying not to panic about little things--about anything--but it's hard. One second I am elated, planning in my mind, dreaming; and then at almost the next moment, I am terrified, ashamed of imagining the worst, frozen, scared almost even to breathe. I know it's irrational, but sometimes I'm scared that little things will cause the worst case scenario to occur. Being trepidatious goes against my nature, and it's grating.

It's the five years of infertility talking, not Kristen's Faith talking.

I do have moments of Faith Sanity: remembering that God is in charge, that He knows what He is doing, that I am not a statistic. I refused to Google certain statistical data because it would feel like a violation of that knowledge. God is in control. I am not a statistic, so what's the point of looking them up? It would make me feel disloyal to Him.

"Gee, God, I don't really trust you so much after all; lemme see what my chances are of getting to term? I'll ask Almighty Google."

Nope--that's not going to be happening. I've been looking to Google for many things lately, but that won't be one of them!

Regarding the last post: thanks for the support and kind words. You know, I really am excited about the idea of homeschooling. I've been head over heels in love with it ever since I did most of my graduate work on the topic while getting my M.Ed. There are SO MANY reasons to homeschool. I just didn't want any of you guys to think I am getting cold feet in that arena. I can't WAIT!

I trust what God is doing...I just have to keep reminding myself that I do.

Blah. Someone save me from my hormones!