Monday, July 24, 2006

Real Tears

My kids enjoy videos from "The Greatest Adventure, stories from the Holy Bible" series. Yes, these are old (and I mean old) Hanna Barbera cartoons of Bible stories, where the archeologists pass through time and experience stories from the Bible. But I'm glad that my kids love to watch Bible stories!

So they are watching one on Noah's Ark, and all of a sudden Michael says, "Those are fake." What in the world is he talking about? Karl and I ask him and he said the tears on Noah. They are fake.

It seems that my walking encyclopedia had somewhere read that tears come from the inside corners of your eyes, not the outside corners. The animators had drawn the tears on Noah on the outside corners of his eyes. It was already fake, since it was a cartoon, but even then Michael noticed the error.

It seems that animation has come a long way since then. We recently watched Chronicles of Narnia, the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. The whole family loved it and we even watched some of the "how they did it" features included in the 2 disc special we checked out from our local library.

It was amazing to see how the animators used computers, real lion hair samples, animal anatomy and physiology, green screen technology and numerous other things to make certain that all of their creatures looked as realistic as possible. It's getting tougher to tell which is real and which is fake (example: some of the wolves were real, some were fake, and some were real with computer enhancements).

However, Michael's simple stored up knowledge regarding where tears come from helped him to see that the animator on the old Noah's Ark cartoon didn't spend enough time to make things look as realistic as possible.

How about us? Have we spent enough time studying God's Word, so that when deceptions come our way, we can easily tell the fake from the genuine? Satan has had thousands of years to study human emotions, anatomy and physiology and who knows what else that we may not even be aware of ourselves. Our only defense against deception is God's Word, pure and simple, so we can look at one of Satan's deceptions and say "Those are fake."

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Wee Wee

Yes, we are at that stage in adult life where you have to revert back to the words of yesteryears. For some reason, even though our children communicate with words such as actually (the 4 year old's favorite) and absolutely (the 3 year old's favorite), when it comes to bathroom words, the old wee wee and pee pee seem to do the trick.

So here we are again, third time around. Greta is in training, potty training that is. And it is back to the words wee wee and pee pee and potty because they are the ones easiest to say and say quickly (the quickly is very important in the early days of potty training).

Sometimes, we forget where we are when these words come out of our mouths. We had been visiting friends, and Karl and I were trying to load up the family in order for us to leave and go back home. I was gathering up our personal items and called out to Karl in the other room and asked him if he could take Greta to the potty because she needed to at least try and go wee wee before we left. When thinking about it later, it was a little embarrassing to have said those words in front of our friends, but not that much. They are parents too and know what it is like to be in the training stage. Oh well. In all honesty, it doesn't matter that I have to use such monosyllabic words, as long as it helps my daughter.

That's when I realized what Jesus did for us. The Bible says He took the form of a man, so He could save us. Jesus didn't mind the whole universe seeing and hearing Him humbling Himself in order to save us. To Him, it didn't matter, He was interested in saving us, even if He had to use really simple words. He loves us that much.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Diamondbacks and Hand me Downs

I suppose it is sort of fitting that this memory happens at this point in time. One could almost say it could be considered a Shakespearean tragedy wannabe.

We were away from home. I had packed a change of clothes for the children. We had a limited amount of time to change, so I was helping Matthew get his shorts on. They seemed a little small. Hmmm. What is going on with this? So I check the tag. Yikes! Size 3! Good grief, he's four years old and already trying to fit into size 5 clothes. How in the world could he be wearing these size 3 shorts? Well, they did have an elastic band, but still, how?

But then there is this other funny thing. The shirt doesn't look as small as the shorts. It's a matching set. I check the tag, and sure enough, the shirt is a size 4. Now you are probably asking, where is the tragedy in this and what does it have to do with poisonous snakes, right?

It's a very long story, but I'll give a brief recount here. Michael, our oldest, was always so skinny when he was younger. For whatever reason, he inherited his uncle's (Daddy's side) and his aunt's (mommy's side) early childhood skinny genes. He was tall enough for his clothes, but way too skinny. Everything had to have belts and belt loops. None of this elastic stuff for him, it would just slip right off.

So, while living in Arizona, Michael received this set as a gift. A matching Arizona Diamondbacks shortset. But since you purchased the pieces individually, the thoughtful person knew that Michael would need a size 4 shirt with size 3 shorts. Suddenly I was taken back to the days of trying to keep Michael's pants on because he was so skinny. Thankfully, those days are over.

But I also remembered the pain and the hope in that Diamondbacks outfit. Strange, but true, Karl and I associated with that struggling new ball team that would eventually win the World Series in a most dramatic way. The team was struggling to be taken seriously, even though it had a roster of dynamic players, but many of them were older, and a lot of sports gurus didn't give these old timers much of a chance. But they played on. They played and won their division in the fall of 1999, when most people didn't think they could pull it off. We found them cheering them on, these strugglers, for we knew the struggle all so well.

We had moved to Arizona, to start over. We were wiped out financially and emotionally. Yep, you guessed it, LifeTalk Radio. Same thing that Trailady has been talking about. Karl had gone without salary for 10 months. They were dangling a carrot in front of him and saying "when this happens, we'll start paying you again." We got tired of the carrot game. Since then, it seems that even when their ship came in, they already had the money spent in other ways.

So here we are, emotionally and financially bankrupt(but God had provided many miracles along the way which will be another story), struggling to gain back our dignity and sense of purpose, so we identify with a baseball team that is struggling to prove to the nation that old timers can still pull it off. Years later, I uncover the memories of Michael's skinniness, our favorite baseball team and the pain we were trying to leave behind.

But the most interesting part of all of it as I sit here and think about it this: The hand me downs themselves. They weren't selected for Matthew, who has not inherited the skinniness gene. These were selected to fit Michael and his special needs. Sometimes hand me downs don't always fit exactly, because they were made for or selected for someone else.

It's the same with our life experiences and our relationship with the Lord. If we try to base it on hand me downs alone, we'll soon find that it doesn't fit us right. Jesus has promised us robes of righteousness, and I know they will fit perfectly, no hand me downs that we have to adjust to. And these beautiful robes will help us to leave all the pain and suffering behind.

Sharon Leukert