Loco LL

Thursday, October 25, 2007

People of God where every you are

I found this great list on a friends blog today. If you live in suburbia, this is a helpful tool to challenge you into a deeper walk with God and people.
I was surprised at how much it challenged me as well. It reminded me why we choose to live in the city. Some of these things I am doing OK with, while others are still a struggle.

While I have always said that having a healthy marriage and family is the biggest ministry living where ever you live, I think that these tools will help your family grow stronger as well.

Ten Ways to be the People of God in Suburbia
by Chris Smith

In response, to Brian McLaren’s call for urban churches at the Mayhem gathering last weekend [in Cincinnati], my friend Mike Bishop has been stirring up some conversation on "suburban ministry." Here's my response to that conversation, ten ways for those called to suburban ministry to be in the people of God in radical ways in suburbia. This list is meant for people to chew on and not all of its points may be applicable for all suburban missional church communities.

1) Live with others from your church community

Whether you share your home with another person or family, or whether you have several families that have homes in close proximity or both, sharing life together is perhaps the most powerful (i.e., going against the grain of suburban culture) way to be the body of Christ in suburbia. If you can't live together, at least find a way to share resources (power tools, lawn mowers, children's clothes/toys, etc).

2) Work Less!

One of the major powers that enslaves suburbia is the idolization of the career. There are many ways to pay the bills that do not involve a 9-5 job, and even within a 9-5 job, there are ways to work less (turning down promotions, taking unpaid leave, etc.) Working less will free you to serve your church community, your family, your neighbors, etc. It will also spur creativity: finding a solution for working less, finding a way to "make ends meet" financially, etc.

3) Throw out the television

Another (and perhaps larger power) that enslaves suburbia is consumerism. You'll be amazed at how your desire for things ebbs as you take the TV out of the picture. If you can't bring yourself to kill the television, at least take steps to lessen its influence (get rid of cable, only use it for movies, put it on a cart that can be wheeled in and out of a closet, etc.) Throwing out the television will also stimulate your creativity.

4) Drive less

Suburban culture is also enslaved to the automobile. Find ways to loosen those bonds (much more difficult in suburbia than in urban areas). Share a vehicle with others in your church community (much easier if you are doing #1 above). Invest in a good bicycle. Walk. There was a segment on "60 minutes" a few weeks ago about how much we miss when we zip around in automobiles. Walking and/or biking will help you be more attentive to your surroundings

5) Have a garden / grow food

Suburban life is often very shut off from the food cycle (Food comes from the grocery store, of course!). Homegrown food is more healthy, it gives you a good excuse to be outside (see #7 below), and it provides you with a resource to share generously with your church community and your neighbors. Phil Kenneson outlines a number of horticultural lessons for the people of God in his intro to LIFE ON THE VINE that are additional benefits of this practice.

6) Get to know your neighbors / listen for their needs

To be human is to be poor. Or in other words, everyone has needs. The challenge of suburbia is that there are many more ways to conceal that poverty, and similarly that it will take more effort to get into a position where a neighbor can reveal their needs. Be intentional about building relationships. Share meals, play poker, have block parties, whatever it takes.

7) Be outside as much as possible.

Another temptation of suburbia - fueled by individualism - is that of the house as an impenetrable fortress. Dissolve this temptation by eating, playing, relaxing outside. This practice is also one avenue to interact with your neighbors.

8) Do not fence in your yard

All apologies to Robert Frost, but fences do not make good neighbors, and in fact they often keep us from making good human neighbors. This is a corollary to #7, the fence is a major component of the impenetrable fortress syndrome; it protects our privacy and keeps out our "evil" neighbors. It often is a statement of distrust. If you must have a fence (to corral a dog for instance) make it as low and as permeable (i.e., not blocking off the view) as you can get away with.

9) Take a stand against the greed of mega-corporations

Whenever possible, resist buying from domineering mega-corporations (e.g., Wal-mart, McDonalds, Starbucks, and others). These corporations destroy local economies and have little or no concern for the environment. Buy as much as you can from businesses that are as local as possible (family-owned businesses are preferable to local chains, local chains are preferable to regional chains, and regional chains are preferable to global corporations.)

10) Utilize and support non-commercial public spaces (parks, libraries, colleges, etc.)

This point is another corollary of #7 above. We must utilize and show our support for these public spaces, lest they be conquered by the powers of individualism (by becoming private property) or by consumerism (by becoming commercial or industrial property). This is also a wonderful way to foster relationships with our neighbors.

Ways our family has tried to implement these ideas:

1. We have had folks live with us in the past, and are still open to it if we ever have a larger space. But for now we live in a neighborhood where tow families from our church community live. We have been getting better at sharing, taking care of each other and deepening our relationships but it is a constant struggle.
2. We don't work much. Chris works from home. Though he travels a lot, he is home more than he is gone. I only work one day a week now and have no desire to be full time.
3. Though we haven't thrown out the t.v. we did move it to the basement and have only one t.v. Kids aren't aloud to watch it during the week and I am learning to turn it on less for myself. I am listening to natures symphony now instead of watching the view:) I envy folks who throw it out totally. I don't know if I am ready for that yet
4. Driving. Not too good at this. It is hard with three kids. Chris and I take public some when it is just one of us. I am going to fix up my bike soon.
5. We have a little garden and we share with others int he neighborhood.
6. We have been living here 5 years and only know a few of our neighbors well, which is ironic since Chris works for Mission Year. We take have been talking about ways we can reach out more to our neighbors. There are a lot of people that are just hard to get to know for many different reasons, but we are trying to be creative.
7. We like to be outside and having kids makes that easier.
8. We have a fence, but if you blew on it, it would fall:)
9. We stay away from Walmart and the like. I did go to target yesterday which is rare. I was planning on going to the goodwill to try to get what i needed there but the darn thing closed.
10. We definitley utilize public spaces. We like anything that is free:)

Monday, October 22, 2007

so cute...i can't stand it....try again???

I really have so much fun with this child. chris is out of town for another few days, so it has just been me and india here while alexa is in school. i just love hangin with her though. i was talking to a friend tonight about how she is turning 40 this weekend and her daughter wants her to adopt another baby. so, i started thinking would i consider that 8 years from now...at this point i say yes. i love being a mom. though i know my days of being pregnant are over...i still think about one more. we'll see.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

9 months!!

Ok, I find it incredible that my baby has been here for as long as I was pregnant. I felt like the pregnancy was so long and it has been so short a time since she has been born.
So, I have been wanting to blog for the past few days but been too busy. Why blog? mainly for myself since I have not even bought a baby album for India yet. I think it will be easier once I get going on it to go to my blog and know when I took these pictures and all of her milestones. Yes, it is to keep family and friends updated too but so few of you comment that I am not sure it is being read. Hint!! I know it is when I see family and they know all that is going on in my life without asking. But a comment every now and then would be so nice...Ok, enough of the guilt trip. So, what is India up to these days. Well, we moved her into her room. The transition was good. Only two days of crying. I still put her in my room sometimes because I miss her and I think doing this keeps her flexible. The stands up in her crib and pack in play as soon as I put her in there. She doesn't cry though. I think she loves doing it. Then I will put on her crib music that cousin Karen gave her and she talks to the fish in it. What is she saying these days. In addition to mama and dada, she now says baby, doggy and hi. Also, we think that she is somehow learning an african dialect, though it must be God given because we certainly aren't teaching her. For the past month or so, we've been hearing her clicking her tongue. She is getting more advanced with the click, making new and interesting sounds that I didn't know possible.
She also waves, claps her hands and does sign language for "more." She is cruising the furniture and lets go every now and then to check to see if she can balance it yet. She plops right down and gets right back up.
She has a nasty cold and her first ear infection now. I wasn't too happy about putting her on antibiotics, but I know with Chris out of town and her being at the sitters, it will go much smoother with an infection free child. Right now, she is eating a good book. She loves pulling down the books from our shelves and chewing on them a while. How cute will that be to pull out our book 10 years from now and see all the chew marks. She is eating most everything we give her at this point. Even the Trader Joes Organic O's that I thought would be too hard for her, she chomps on with her 6 BIG teeth (as seen in photos).

Chris is out of town again. He was gone for a week, home for 5 days and now is gone for a week again. He took Moriah this time. They are in Indiana for recruiting and family time. I wish we could have gone. Alexa and I have been having fun though. We needed some bonding time. Now that she is a "tween" we are hanging like friends. She wanted to go to the local restaurant with me last night to hear live jazz. How cool is that. But then her friend called to invite her over for a movie, so which one do you think she chose. Mom got dissed! She did work out with me yesterday. I let her do the transport machine next to mine at the gym and I taught her about calories, miles, and rpms. Good math and science lesson while getting exercise together.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Princess Party #2

To say that I have been busy would be a real understatement. We had Alexas slumber party on friday last week. We had the parents pick up all 8 kids by 9am. We left for Richmond where we met up with my very close friend Ginny who has been living on the west coast for the past 11 years and I haven't seen her that whole time. We stayed until monday afternoon and I stayed busy the whole time. I also saw my friend Sarah and her beautiful twins. We got home late Monday and Chris left Tuesday morning for CCDA conference. I had an interview Tuesday, another one on Wednesday, My breastfeeding class today and chris' parents came in town tonight. Tomorrow I have another interview and next week one more interview. Whew, I am tired. It is hard enough just having Chris gone, but add all that in the mix and I am wiped. Thank God his parents are here. I have been trying out a new sitter for India and it has been rough. She cried the whole time one Tuesday. I had to leave my interview early.

Well, the b day party went very well. I am surprised I have any hearing left after 8 2nd graders screaming in their very high pitched screams over anything to do with highschool musical. They did karaoke, a dance contest, a model runway and watched HSM part one and two. They finally fell asleep around 2am. They woke up at 6:30!! Wow! I can remember those days but I sure don't have it in me now. Alexa loved it though and I am glad we did it. All the girls are such good girls and I am so thankful to have them in her life. One girl told me how she is doing the thirty hour famine next month!! She also sat next to me while the other girls were dancing and said "whew, I don't need to dance. I do enough of that with my autistic brother." too cute. THe laugh of the night was when we were setting up the karaoke machine that alexas friend brought over. She showed me the cd in it and asked if it was ok. i told her i didn;t care. I don;t keep up with rap music so i didn;t think anything of it. So i put it in and was going to do the first song. chris and his friend kirk were standing behind me and I said that i hoped it was appropriate. It started so i started dancing a bit getting ready for the words. Then came the words. I can't remember the words except for the sh** sh** sh** part of it. So, I quickly turned it off before the girls could be contaminated any further. Chris started rolling laughing. The girls had no idea. I quickly put the disney cd in and left them to it.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


check out the birthday girls