Archive for March, 2012


a country drive

   Posted by: liz    in earthkeeping, family, family fun, farm

what a great weekend to have no plans!  we’ve been running constantly since christmas break with every single weekend being full of plans. this weekend has been open on the calendar and i’ve been fiercely protecting it so that it wouldn’t fill up with plans. last night, as we were all falling asleep kenny and i noted how nice it was going to be to have TWO FULL DAYS of no plans.

so this morning, we all slept in (yep, until 7:15!!!) and made pancakes and (turkey) bacon and eggs. then we all sat around and read, played the piano. around 9:30 kenny and i decided to take my spinning wheel to a local woodworker who specializes in antique spinning wheels. it was going to be a nice country drive, so we packed some snacks and headed out around 10:30.

on the way up north, we saw the most spectacular thing in a spring-budding tree. a bald eagle, perched directly over the road. we turned around to let the boys see it and to snap a few photos. it didn’t like us sitting right under him, so he took off right in front of us – a HUGE, lovely bird (click to enlarge).

we arrived in mercer at Nashannock Woods a few minutes later and were greeted by the friendliest, sweetest puppy-dog (and we aren’t dog people!) and a very kind woodworker named Chris. we brought in our wheel and were entertained by josie the dog while chris examined the wheel. his wood working shop was filled with antique wood – tables, chairs, spinning wheels, bowls, hutches.

after only 5 minutes of looking at the wheel he told us it was 150 years old, made in canada. it doesn’t need that much work – just a new bobbin and an adjustment to the “mother-of-all” and the pedal. spinning wheels are his specialty and his shop is full of different ones.

i’m so excited to pick it up in a few weeks and start practicing on some roving i’ve been saving up for when the wheel is fixed.

we hope to have the sheep shorn in the next few weeks and i’m getting the wool fleeces professionally cleaned (because…ewww!). i’ll card and rove them and then put the old spinning wheel to the test.

stay tuned for some more daisy-and-violet handspun skein.


i don’t know

   Posted by: liz    in faith

as the boys grow older, their questions are changing. no longer do i have to explain how the sun comes up each morning, or how a flower grows, but now i find myself up against a constant flow of questions, most likely from sawyer, from the strange: “what happens if  someone wears a wool sweater and walks across a  desert?” to the where-does-he-come-up-with-these-ideas: “what happens if lava touches electricity?”

instead of succinct answers that hinted at the truth and that used to satisfy him, i am now finding myself not even able to come up with an answer that might be even a little truthful. so i tell him, “i don’t know.”

i think it’s important for parents to be able to admit they don’t know all the answers. even to their little kids’ questions. i am okay with the fact that i don’t know the answer about lava and electricity.

i’m glad, at least, that they still come to us with questions. recently, rowan and sawyer asked me what hell was. perhaps if you’re a christian reading this, you are wondering why our 7- and 8-year-olds have not yet heard about hell.

because we don’t believe they need to know about it. and we think they need to know about Jesus and His command to love others and that is so much more important than to scare them into a false sense of security about “asking jesus into their hearts” so that they can stay out of hell.

there are blog posts and articles and even books written these days about the large exodus of young people (that definition doesn’t include me any more!) from the church. a lot of these authors believe they know exactly why.

Ken Ham and the fundamentalist side states that it’s because the Church isn’t teaching apologetics enough to its children.

This study at the Christian Post suggests several reasons, among them that the Church is anti-science and judgemental of those who have doubts or struggles with their faith.

i’d like to offer my own suggestion. what if young people are leaving the Church because they were told that the Church has all the answers. and when they are faced with problems that were brushed under the carpet in their home church, or told their “problem” was a Big Bad sin, or told that to question their faith/a certain interpretation of scripture was sinful, they felt duped.

since when is the Church supposed to have all the answers?  the Church is supposed to commune together, take care of its widows and poor, love each other no matter their “sin.” it’s not supposed to be the place where all the answers of our faith are answered. what if, instead, it was a safe haven for all those questions we have?

parents don’t have all the answers for their children as they raise, love, and nuture them. the Church should be there to love its members and its community, not claim to have an answer for all of their questions or problems.

so when my sons asked me about hell the other day, i didn’t lie. i know what people think of hell. i know what people think the Bible says of hell. so i told them that. and i told them that i believed differently, but that i’m still learning. and then i went farther.

i told them not to worry about it or think about it. i told them that we’re to listen to Jesus’ words about taking care of each other, and loving each other, and then asked them what they think that is supposed to look like in our life. following the words of Jesus is entering the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.

the conversation changed and i admit that i engineered the direction because i don’t want to scare them into making a decision about trusting Jesus now, and then finding out the reason they originally trusted Him was…well…bunk.

so as we raise our boys to trust Jesus and follow His example and His commands, i hope they experience the Church as a fallible community willing to embrace them no matter what. because that’s what they’ll get from their parents.


leap years and birthdays

   Posted by: liz    in family

it’s been a whirlwind of events over the past few weeks…

Leap Day!  It was a bad, bad day. A boy waking feverish in the night, and then our laundry room ceiling leaked poured rain water all morning due to heavy rain and a very old roof. Kenny had just walked into his office when I called him, begging him to come home and fix the leak (really, the word “leak” is such an understatment!). He did. He took the morning off, stopped at Lowes to get some roofing supplies, and drove all the way home to fix the roof. In the pouring rain. I married a saint.

My Birthday! I turned 39 on march 7th. I’m very opposed to hiding your age. What does that tell people?  Why are women not supposed to reveal their age? Why can’t we stand proud and tall at the experience under our belts?  I turned 39, was spoile rotten by my four guys, and now I’m counting down the days until my 40th birthday next year!  I can’t wait!

Kenny surprised me with theatre tickets. He arranged for a babysitter last Tuesday, and off we went down town Pittsburgh for dinner and a show. Dinner was at Olive or Twist and the show was around the corner at the Pittsburgh Public Theater (The O’Reilly Theater) where we saw Freud’s Last Session.  It’s a two-man show, a hypothetical meeting of Sigmund Freud and C. S. Lewis. We both thought it was really well done, and gave both men equal footing in the argument.

My favorite C. S. Lewis line, at the end: “My idea of God changes over and over again. He changes it.”

It’s been a long, long time since we’ve been to a show. We’ve seen a few musicals here and there, but a straight show, in an intimate theater like the O’Reilly is something we haven’t done in years. It was so good to be back.

The theater bug has bitten.