Tuesday, November 25, 2008

inspirational prayer

This is a great prayer. Take a minute to read it. It makes you think about what a follower of Jesus looks like in our world.

A Prayer for a New President and a New America

by Shane Claiborne 11-07-2008

God of Abraham, Miriam, Hannah, Rizpah, and David…
God of Elijah, Amos, Ruth, Isaiah, Deborah…
God of Mary, John the Baptizer, Peter, Paul, Philemon and Onesimus…
God of Anthony, Ambrose, Dirk Willems, Teresa of Avila, and Francis of
God of Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, William
Wilberforce, and Oscar Romero
and God of love, grace, and hope…

Thank you for creating a perfect world.
Forgive us for the mess we have made of it.
Thank you for creating Jubilee, gleaning, and Sabbath as patterns to
ensure that the poor are cared for, the earth rests, and inequality is
Forgive us for choosing the patterns of empire.
Thank you for using the weak things to shame the strong and the
foolish things to confound the wise.
Protect us from becoming too strong or too wise.
Protect us from ourselves.

Forgive us…
for the groaning of creation
for the millions who die of hunger and curable diseases
for warehousing people in prisons and using them for labor
for the scandal of billions wasted in war
for worrying about tomorrow and storing up more than this day our
daily bread
for an economy that mirrors the seven deadly sins
for our Caesars and our Herods
for the violence and greed in our own hearts
Save us from ourselves.

Deliver us…
from the arrogance of power
from the myth of redemptive violence
from the tyranny of greed
from the ugliness of racism
from false hope and counterfeit change
from the cancer of hatred
from the seduction of wealth
from the idolatry of nationalism
from the paralysis of cynicism
from the ghettoes of poverty
from the ghettoes of wealth
from the blood-stained pages of history
and from the legacy of slavery.
Deliver us oh God.

Give us the courage…
to bless the poor in a world that blesses the middle class.
to bless the meek in a world that admires aggression.
to bless the hungry in a world that feeds the already fed.
to bless the merciful in a world that shows no mercy on evildoers.
to bless the pure in heart in a world of clutter and noise.
to bless the peacemakers in a world that baptizes bombs.

Give us imagination…
that we might not conform to the patterns of this world.
that we might shatter indifference and interrupt injustice with grace
that we might choose the cross over the sword
that we might be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves
that we might consider the lillies and sparrows as they shame Wall
Street’s splendor
that we might choose the dream of God over the dreams of nations
that we might cling to the God that so loved the world, not just America
that we might allow our Jesus to change America rather than America to
change our Jesus.

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Shane Claiborne is a Red Letter Christian and a founding partner of The Simple Way community, a radical faith community that lives among and serves the homeless in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. He is the co-author, with Chris Haw, of Jesus for President.

discipline payoff

I have had a realization lately about disciplining my boys. I think that Bryan and I have chosen to be on the heavier end of discipline and I probably didn't realize it. I have thought that disciplining my kids has been the hardest part about raising them so far and now I think part of that reason is because we have chosen to teach our kids more lessons than the average parent. Not sure why that is but it just seems like we discipline on issues where other parents tend to shrug it off. Anyway, I have thought in the past that we could either be more relaxed about the discipline or we can keep it up and hope that it pays off.

I think I am just starting to see that it is paying off. It is so nice to see my kids behaving so kindly to each other and other kids. Lately I have observed Jaden letting other friends go first on the slide. I have seen Jaden helping Clay when he couldn't climb up the ladder by himself. I have seen my boys take turns at putting their arm around each other in love (not wrestling). I have seen Jaden and Clay giving up a toy that they are playing with to let another kid have a turn. I have seen Jaden asking Clay to play with him because he enjoys doing things with him, especially playing computer games together. And the list goes on...

Those things just melt my heart and thank God more for my 2 boys.

Don't get me wrong, they still have lots of moments of fighting, yelling, pushing and being mine-o-saurs (one of our favorite books--Mine-o-saur) but I am seeing the qualities and character that I have hoped for in my kids. I have God, Bryan and lots of family and friends to thank for encouraging me to keep up with the discipline even when it is tough. I know that tough days will still come so I am happy to have this memory to encourage me in the future.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Jaden's 4th birthday

We had a blast on Friday night throwing a dinosaur party for Jaden. I have really come to love planning special parties for my boys. We had 5 families over to our house. There were 11 kids in all. It was a high energy blast. I made dinner for everyone and let my corny, creative side out. I made stegasaurus hot dogs and quesadillas in the shape of tyranasaurus rex heads and a fruit plate in the shape of triceratops head. There are pictures on my picasa webiste (see lower right). I also made a triceratops head ring toss. The kids searched for "dinosaur" bones with candy in them and smashed hard sand to get the dinosaur out. We got an awesome cake from Target with roaring dinosaurs that light up on top of the cake. Bryan also did an awesome job of decorating our house as a jungle. Jaden had a great time and has thoroughly been enjoyed his presents from everyone.

Jaden officially turned 4 today (11/23/04). This morning I tried explaining to him that he came out of my belly 4 years ago today. I don't think he grasped that yet. We did start a new tradition today. Well, I am hoping it will be a tradition. Jaden got to have ice cream for breakfast on his birthday. I am hoping to continue this tradition when I turn 30 on January 6th, 2009. I attempted to make him anything he wanted for breakfast but he was not into that idea, instead asked for ice cream. I said ok and a new tradition was born.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

offer accepted

I am officially signed on to be an employee of ATK, Alliant Techsystems. I'm still not sure what the 'K' stands for in Alliant Techsystems but I will have to find that out.

I know that I will start working on missiles and ammunition. Specifically, I will be developing a guidance system for new aritllary. The guidance technology has some cross applications for space technology but this is not what I am passionate about.

I am hoping that I will soon be working on the Ares project for NASA. I have lots of passion for this work. I just hope that God will help me work it out to happen in the Minneapolis area.
I am really excited to start working. I will be working 27 hours per week with benefits. The job is incredibly flexible, which I love. I will be able to work 3 or 4 days a week, however I want to split it up.

I am looking forward to using this part of my brain again and getting a break from my kids. I think this will also be good for my kids to be in a more structured learning environment. I am looking forward to meeting new people and making friends with people that I have some different things in common.

I know that this is what God wants for me right now. I am just hoping that He helps make the space work happen sooner rather than later.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Upper Room experiences

Our church, the Upper Room Community, always has an experiential component to the worship meetings. That is probably the thing that we love most about this church. There are a lot of things we enjoy about this Christian community but the experiences at the services are what sets them apart from other churches.

Last night they talked about the purpose of the church body gathering together. The experiential component of the service was to have audience members blog about their most memorable experience at a service. People actually got up out of their seats to go and journal on one of the computers setup at the back of the sanctuary/auditorium during the sermon. It was a little odd that the pastor was encouraging people to get up and move around while he was speaking but people did it. Then at the end of the service, we were able to read excerpts from people's writings up on the projector screens in the room. It was moving to read some of the stories and neat to see how this community is impacting people's lives for the better, influenced by Jesus.

I have already been impacted numerous times by the experiential elements during the services. The thing I love most about the experiences is that they get you to commit to yourself that you will do something different in your life. It has motivated me to have conversations with people that I may have delayed. It has motivated me to pray for someone whom I might have forgotten. It has motivated me to do an action in my life to reflect love to someone.

When we first tried out this church, we thought that only a few people would participate in the experiential elements because it requires you to get up out of your seat. And usually you have to go up on stage to do something, like write a note on a big board, or take some element asking you for action. Instead of only a few getting involved, it is a large portion of the audience participating. Sometimes only a few participate but usually it is around half of the audience or more doing something about what they believe. So inspiring to see others motivated by their faith in Christ. Others motivate me and so does the Upper Room.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

walk in the cold

My family had a nice walk this morning despite the 30 degree weather. We walked on a pathway near our house that goes along the Minnesota River. It was chilly but we kept warm by racing each other. We also had fun climbing over all of the down trees and branches near the path. The fun culminated in a game of tag to get the kids to move faster on our way back. I got tagged and was after Bryan. I guess my body started moving faster than my feet and I slid down the asphalt path at least a foot. It didn't hurt too bad thanks to my gloves, jeans and coat that protected me. I got up laughing and all ready have bruises to show for my physical game of tag.

It is nice to have Sunday mornings just to hangout and then go to church Sunday night. We are enjoying this groove.

I should have my official job offer from ATK on Monday and I plan on accepting the position to work 3, 9 hour days a week. The job comes with benefits so there are still some details to be worked out. There are lots of things to figure out now. The biggest decision for me now is where to leave my kids during that time. I am checking into Montessori schools as my first choice for both boys.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

new ATK development

So, I had almost counted the ATK job out but promised myself to call the lady that I interviewed with one more time. I talked with her yesterday and think she would make one amazing boss. She was so open and honest and flexible with me about what I want. She knows I am not crazy about ammunition, missiles and artillery (I don't even know the difference but I might soon). She knows that I want to do space stuff and there is potential for me to do that at ATK.

Anyway, there is a job for me that is part-time starting on a guidance project for some artillery with potential to work on the Ares rockets (which will be used to launch the space shuttle replacement, Orion, and other payload to the Moon and beyond) in the future. The most amazing thing is that they are willing to hire me part-time to start! I am not sure I will love the work but I love the potential work. My possible, future boss is ok that I may not love the work but we both agree that some more experience in anything aerospace related would be great for me. And who knows, I may like the work more than I expect. The experience will translate well to anything space related so that is worth working now.

We are working together on the offer, negotiating hours, salary and benefits currently. I will keep you updated as it develops. Our family continues to talk about mommy working and both kids going to "school" and we are praying lots about all of the decisions to be made.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

hunting weekend

Bryan got to go pheasant hunting with his dad, brother, uncle and grandpa this weekend around Wolsey, SD. It is a very small town (400 people) with lots of farms around that they got permission to hunt for pheasants. They did get quite a few pheasants but didn't reach their limits of 3/person/day. Not sure what we are going to do with the pheasant meat but it is frozen at Bryan's grandparents.

I still have issues with hunting in general. I am not a lover of guns and thinks they cause a lot of unnecessary accidents. Bryan really enjoyed hunting and will probably do it again in a few weeks when we are back there for Thanksgiving with his family.

Bryan is hopefully going to get back to me about the number of hunting accidents and how it compares to car accidents. In my mind it happens a lot more frequently when you own a gun and use it and have it in your house. For now, we don't have a gun in our house but that may change someday if the hunting keeps up.

We did have a good, fun weekend with family. I got some great time alone to scrapbook in the basement. I have officially finished the 2006 events in our family's life. Now onto 2007. I would love to be within a year of things actually happening in our lives. Scrapbooking is great therapy for me and it really helps me remember what all we have done over the years.

Monday, November 3, 2008

ATK interview day

The good news is that the interview with ATK went very well and I enjoyed talking intelligently with other engineers. The interview was in Plymouth, MN which is about 25 minutes north of my house in Bloomington.

The bad news is that the ATK office here does pretty much all ammunition and missile development, essentially nothing space-related. There are about 5 people devoting at least part of their time to working on the Ares rocket for the Constellation program for travel to the Moon and beyond. They are not hiring for that and it sounds like there is no chance of me working on that. Once I hear back from ATK I am going to ask again about the possibility of me doing anything with Ares.

I don't really want my job to be about blowing stuff up. I might consider that if there was potential for space work in the future but it doesn't look good.

I will write more about this once I hear back from ATK.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sesame Street Halloween

My Elmo Clay. He gave us a big grin any time we called him Elmo.
My Cookie Monster Jaden. I am not sure how I managed to get this smiling picture because he should have been Oscar the Grouch at this point in the evening. Once we got some sugar into him, his mood picked up.

My boys were so cute on Halloween! I love these pictures I got of them.

They didn't love their tight costumes at first but once they realized that they could get candy by wearing them, they warmed up to the idea.

We attempted to trick-or-treat around our neighborhood with my brother and family but only found one house to give us some candy.

We headed to the Mall of America and ate some yummy, greasy fast food and then trick-or-treated all over the mall.

Then we went home and Bryan and the boys went back around our neighborhood. I stayed at home in the hopes of trick-or-treaters coming to our house but no luck. Between the mall and our neighbors, the boys got quite a stash!