Posted by: molly | February 4, 2013

Giving Good Gifts

When I was a child I wanted a pair of jelly shoes.  I really, really, really, really wanted a pair of jelly shoes.  These plastic monstrosities were the epitome of “cool” in my 9-year-old mind.  And they were glittery.  And plastic-ey.  And awesome in every way possible.  However, my mom was of a more realistic persuasion that they were in fact not the answer to every dilemma in my childhood.  She may have had other reasons but I remember her telling me that I couldn’t have jelly shoes since they were clear and I would sunburn my feet in them.  Flaming hot feet was a price I was willing to pay for the awesomeness of these shoes but, alas, this childhood dream would never come true (it is ok mom, I forgive you).

And then I had a daughter.  And I found a pair of sparkly purple jelly shoes.  Excitedly I bought them for her.   They were the fantasy of my childhood and I wanted my daughter to enjoy the shoes I coveted as a little girl.  And she hated them.  With a passion.  She threw a tantrum at the suggestion of wearing them and eventually broke the buckles off of them in an unrelated fit of rage.

Those shoes made me very sad.  They were a gesture of love to my daughter that she not only did not appreciate, but that she disdained!  My heart was so wrapped up in the gift that it got in the way of what I truly wanted:  to show love for my daughter.  It has taken a long time and quite a bit of hurt feelings but I am slowly starting to learn way to show love to my daughter who quite honestly likes different things than me.  I find myself so wrapped up in giving people what I want them to want instead of giving them what they actually want that   even my giving can be selfish!

A few weeks ago I wanted to do something fun with my kids.  It was Christmas break and I had dragged them all over creation running errands and I wanted to do something to show them that I appreciated them behaving and not making errand running a nightmare that day.  My first thought was ice cream.  I LOVE ice cream and so should everyone else.  Bruster’s ice cream is the epitome of a magical place because they have all sorts of ice cream (including peanut butter) and that was where I wanted to go to reward my children.  But I wasn’t really thinking of them.  It was cold (and there was no way on this earth that my kids were going to eat ice cream cones in my car!), they were tired, and honestly, I don’t think they are the biggest fans of Bruster’s.  So we went to Chick-fil-A instead.  Limiting them to a treat of some sort (not a mid-afternoon meal), my son dutifully ordered a milkshake while my daughter opted for a Sprite.  Seriously child?  A Sprite?  Making sure she understood it was just a Sprite she insisted that was what she wanted.  So that is what I got her.  And my kids rode home happily sipping their chosen treats.

Was my heart not for the good of my daughter when I bought her jelly shoes?  It was for her good until I insisted that she want what I want.  My own selfishness prevented me from loving her by giving her what she desired instead of my desires for her.  I am a long way from arrived, but that day at Chick-fil-A was a small victory in learning to love my Sprite loving daughter instead of making her a milkshake lover like me.

Posted by: molly | January 30, 2013

The Chain Letter Post: Some Things About Me

When I was a child I remember my oldest sister getting a chain letter in the mail from one of her friends.  It was a genuine article, pre-email, postage stamp requiring chain letter that threatened some kind of unthinkable terror to be unleashed on her pre-teen soul if she broke the chain.  I’m not sure if it was my mom’s desire to squash the superstition or if she was unwilling to fork over 15 postage stamps, but I remember her explaining to my sister that chain letters are a bad joke that trap people by fear.

Not sure what the point of chain letters were in the first place (or their replacement send-this-to-15-people-or-you-don’t-love-Jesus chain emails) but this seems to be a good evolution.  So, I will willingly post this getting to know you post from my friend Susanna.  Hey, it even sounds like fun and she didn’t threaten me.  But don’t worry friends–I don’t mind bending the chain letter post rules–since I don’t have that many bloggy friends and I will call down no curses on you if you never respond.

First, I am to tell you 11 random facts about myself:

1.  I have 4 names–1 first name, 2 middle names, and a last name.  I added the second middle name when I got married.  That makes me cool.  It also made my initials cooler since it changed from MEN (awkward!) to MEZN (super cool).

2.  My husband has 4 names.  And so does my youngest son.  And when we finally get to adopt our other two kids we are planning to add a middle name so they have 4 names too. That will make us all really cool.

3.  I had a baby in August.  He weighed 11 lbs. 3.5 oz.   And yes, I had a c-section.

4.  With said baby we never found out if we were having a boy or a girl until he came.  We even had an envelope at our house with the ultrasound picture complete with gender.  A couple of our friends nearly went insane on our behalf but we had fun.

5.  I like black coffee.  I also like coffee with way to much creamer in it.  I am easy to please in the coffee department.

6.  Currently living at hotel Nickerson is the following:  my husband and I, our 3 kids, my older sister, a guy in seminary who lives in our library, 3 dogs, and a fish (the fish isn’t mine–he belongs to the guy who lives in the library).  We have a rather full house and I love it.

7.  One of those dogs living in our house is a crippled poodle name Marzipan.  Her back legs don’t work so she walks on the front ones.  She is totally awesome and mind-numbingly adorable.  The other dogs are Friend (I named him) and Thymisticles (my husband named him…).

8.  I have been to (or at least driven through) every East Coast state except for Maine.

9.  I love sci-fi.  Love it!

10.  My mother taught me when I was growing up that cake is sometimes a breakfast food.  I plan to pass down this life lesson to my children.

11.  I believe in the Oxford comma.


Next, I am supposed to answers the following questions:

{1} Are you a reader? If so, when did your love for reading begin and with what book? 

I used to be a reader.  I used to read all the time but then I sort of stopped.  I still enjoy reading but it is now normally done only when I manage to hide in the bathroom when my kids don’t search for me.

{2} What is your favorite landscape? Sea, mountains, beach, city? 

My husband and I would love to church plant in a city and I have fallen in love with cities.  We have also talked about buying a mountain and building a home on the very top.   However, I think I could manage living on the English coast or on a beach front.

{3} What is your favorite way to travel? Plane, car, bus, boat, train, bike, by foot? 

I have only ever flown once and I had swimmers ear at the time.  That wasn’t super fun.  I have never really travelled by bus, boat, or train.  Out of car, bike, or foot I guess it would depend on the distance.  I would rather not ride my bike or walk  50+ miles.  Walking or riding to Walgreens down the street–that sounds more my style.

{4} What is your favorite app and why? 

I really like this app called Epicurious.  It was a sweet gift from my husband who likes to buy me technology.  It gives you hundreds of recipes that you can search for by ingredient, meal type, or name.  I don’t actually follow recipes (you can ask Susanna about this) but it has nice pictures that I try to replicate.

{5} What is the one home-cooked meal you turn to when you’re under time pressure? 

I make a mean pasta sauce from a can.  You can just throw in some extra stuff like wine and canned chicken and whatever spices you find on your counter.  It can be made when you are informed that company is coming in 30 minutes or less and you can feed a small army with a couple of boxes of pasta.  It is nothing fancy but I find that having easy food helps me not be totally freaked out when my husband invites 14 people to lunch after church…

{6} What is the one thing in your home that must be organized for your sanity? 

Friend, if my house had to be organized for the sake of my sanity than my sanity boat sailed a long time ago!  I am working on organizing things at my home though nothing really eats at my soul in particular.  I guess if anything I like to have my bed made and my curtains open.  Somehow a room littered with clutter seems a little less chaotic with a made bed and a bit of sunlight.

{7} If you could learn any language what would it be and why? 

Koine Greek because my husband thinks that is sexy.  :)

{8} What is the one skill you hope to perfect? 

I would really like to be a great seamstress one day.  I love sewing but I don’t really want to subject myself or my children to the awful, homely clothing offered up in so many sewing books.  My goal is to be able to sew stuff so well that you can’t tell I made it.

{9} Describe your fashion style in three words {e.g. vintage. neutral. soft}.

Clean (like gone through the laundry clean), washable (since most of clothes are usually in the laundry), and um, clean (that is the major factor in deciding what to wear these days).

{10} Are you a morning person, night owl, nap enthusiast, or a survivor with alternating routines? 

I can’t decide these days.  I guess a survivor right now.

{11} Fess up. Are you a Downton Abbey fan. If so, what’s your reason for watching?

I watched through Seasons 1 and 2 in a matter of a few weeks.  It is totally a British soap opera which reminds me of my family.  I never understood novellas full of loud, passionate, people.  However, since I grew up with my English/Irish grandparents the characters and their lack of straightforwardness makes total sense to me.


Finally, I am supposed to ask some questions to other blogger to keep the chain alive to other bloggers.  These are my questions for the following blogs:

Pumpkins Don’t Have Ankles

seemingly random

Anyone else who would like to link here!

1.  Do you believe in the Oxford comma?

2.  If you had to paint everything in your house one color, what color would it be?

3.  When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?  Is that what you became?

4.  Which hobbit is your favorite hobbit?

5.  At a restaurant are you the person who always orders the same thing or do you try something new each time?

6.  If you had to choose between living in an underwater bubble dome or in a moon colony which would you choose?

7.  How often do you do laundry?  Are you a once a weeker, daily loader, or when I run out of clean clothes type?

8.  If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation where would it be?  Why?

9.  If you had a lightsaber what color would it be?

10.  Do you believe cake is a breakfast food?  Defend your answer.

11.  In your dystopian future which would you rather face:  zombies or vampires?  Why?


Here I should give you a list of curses if you do not comply with my chain mail request.  I guess I won’t though.

Posted by: molly | January 28, 2013

Jesse: The Father of the King

Jesse:  The Father of the King

In time, the people of Israel demanded that God gave them a king. They choose Saul, a tall, handsome man, to be the king over all of Israel. However, Saul did not follow the way of God. So God sent the prophet Samuel to anoint the next king. He went to the house of Jesse and told him that one of his sons would be the new king. He brought his sons and lined them up for Samuel. Each son seemed strong or wise but God did not choose any of them. Finally Samuel asked Jesse if he had any more sons. The only son he still had was the youngest who worked as a shepherd. Even though he was young and unlikely, God had chosen this son, David, to be the next king. David would be a great king but an even better king was coming out of the branch of Jesse.

Posted by: molly | January 28, 2013

Ruth: The Woman of Moab

Ruth:   The Woman of Moab

There came a time when there was a famine in the promised land. A woman named Naomi of the land of Israel went with her husband and two sons to a nearby land called Moab. Even though the people of Moab did not follow the way of God, Naomi’s two sons married women from the land of Moab. In time Naomi’s husbands and two sons died. She was very sad and since the famine in Israel had ended she wanted to go back to her home. She told her two daughter-in-laws to stay in Moab and find new husbands. One daughter-in-law said a sad goodbye to Naomi, but the other, a woman named Ruth refused to leave. She wanted to follow the God of Naomi and promised to go back to Israel with her. Since Naomi came home with no money, Ruth helped to take care of her by gathering left-over wheat in the fields. The owner of one of the fields, a righteous man named Boaz who was related to Naomi, took notice of this godly woman and married her. Little did Ruth know that she, the women for a land of people who did not follow the way of God, would be one of the great-great-grandmothers of the One promised to save us all.

Posted by: molly | January 15, 2013

Rehab: The Woman Who Feared God

Rehab:  The Woman Who Feared God

For many years God’s people did not live in the land that God had promised to Abraham. Instead, they lived in a land called Egypt. God had lead them to Egypt and in time, he let them become slaves to the rulers of Egypt. God wanted to show his power to save his people. And he did! After God’s people left Egypt they were to go to a promised land. However, God’s people did not trust that God would take care of them. Because of this, God let them wander in the desert for 40 years, showing them that whole time that he would take care of his people. When they finally came to the promised land, they came to city with tall walls called Jericho. While in the city, the two spies were nearly caught but a woman named Rehab, protected God’s people and hid the spies from the men trying to catch them. Rehab had heard about how powerful the God of Israel was and wanted to follow him. Because of her faith, the spies promised that God would save her. They warned her that God was going to destroy Jericho but she and her family would be safe if they hung a red cord out of the window in the part of the wall where she lived. God destroyed the mighty walls of Jericho but Rehab, who lived in the wall was safe with all of her family. Rehab was a woman who believed in God, and even though she was not originally part of the people who followed the way of God, she was privileged to be a great-great-great-grandmother of God’s promised Son.

Posted by: molly | January 15, 2013

Perez: The Unexpected Son

Judah had several sons. His oldest son, Er, married a woman named Tamar. However, Er was wicked so God killed him. In ancient Israel, if a man died with no children, his brother was to marry the dead man’s wife and have children for him. Because of this, Tamar married Er’s brother Onan. Onan was a wicked man too though and he died as well. Judah had one more son, Shelah. However, Judah was afraid Shelah would die as well so he told Tamar to wait until Shelah was older before he married Tamar. However, Judah was not planning to keep his promise. Tamar knew this and knew that Judah was supposed to provide her with a child. As a result, when Judah was traveling she dressed up and made his believe she was someone else. He promised he would send her an animal if she would spend the night with him. He gave her his ring, his staff, and a cord as a promise that he would send the animal. However, Tamar disappeared before he could give her the animal. Soon he found out that Tamar was pregnant and he was very angry until Tamar showed him the ring, the cord, and the staff that Judah had given her. Tamar had made Judah do what he was supposed to do in giving her children. In time Tamar did not just have one but twin sons. One of the sons, Perez, was to be one of the ancestors of the promised Son. Judah had tried to do things differently than God’s way but God still keeps his promises, even when we try to stop him.

Posted by: molly | January 15, 2013

Judah: The Man Like a Lion

Judah:  The Man Like a Lion

Joseph had many sons. In fact, he had twelve sons. Judah was not his oldest son. He was not the son of his favorite wife, Rachel. But he was the son that God had chosen to be the ancestor of the promised Son. When Joseph was old and about to die, he brought all of his sons to him to bless them. When he got to Judah he made a promise: the promised Son would come from Judah. He described Judah as a lion, a powerful animal, like the Son who would one day come in strength to fix the broken world.

Posted by: molly | January 15, 2013

Leah: The Unloved Mother

Leah:  The Unloved Mother

When Jacob ran away he went to his Uncle Laban’s house. When Jacob got there he fell madly in love with Laban’s daughter, Rachel. Jacob agreed to work for Laban for seven years to be allowed to marry Rachel. When the time came, Laban gave his daughter to marry Jacob. However, Laban tricked Jacob. Instead of marrying Rachel he had Jacob marry her older sister Leah. Jacob was very angry but agreed to work for another seven years to marry Rachel as well.

Everyone knew that Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah. Leah was sad that her husband loved her sister more than he loved her. However, God saw Leah and her sadness and blessed her with many children. God loved Leah even when others did not and chose to make her part of the promised Son’s family.

Posted by: molly | January 15, 2013

Isaac: The Picture of a Sacrifice

Isaac:  The Picture of a Sacrifice

Isaac was a very special son to Abraham and Sarah. They had waited for many years for this promised child. This was the child through whom the promised Son would come to save the world. But God wanted to know that Abraham truly followed the way of God, even when it was hard. So God tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac to God. Abraham didn’t understand what God was doing but he knew if God could give an old man and woman a son to be the ancestor of the promised Son, God could also raise that son from the dead if he died.

So early in the morning Abraham took Isaac and a servant up onto a mountain to make a sacrifice. They brought only the sticks to make the alter, not the animal that would normally be sacrificed. On the way up the mountain Isaac asked his father where the animal to be sacrificed was. In faith Abraham responded that God would provide the sacrifice. When they reached the top Abraham did what was unthinkable: he put Isaac on the altar to sacrifice him, just like God had told him to do. Abraham raised his knife in the air to kill Isaac but right before he was about to kill Isaac, God spoke to him and told him to stop. Instead, God provided a ram, stuck in a bush near by for the sacrifice. Isaac was a special son but God was pointing to an even more spectacular sacrifice where there would be no other sacrifice in the bushes–the sacrifice of God’s very own Son to save the broken world.

Posted by: molly | January 15, 2013

Jacob: The Man with the Dream

Jacob:  The Man with the Dream

For many years Isaac and his wife Rebekah could not have children. Isaac prayed that he would have a child and God heard his prayers. Not only did Rebekah have a son, she had twin sons, Esau and Jacob. Esau was born first so he had the special privileges of the being the oldest son. However, God had decided that he would send his promised Son through Jacob. When Isaac was very old Jacob tricked Isaac by dressing up like Esau. Isaac blessed Jacob instead of Esau, which made Esau very mad. Esau was so mad Jacob was afraid that Esau would kill him. While Jacob was running away, he met God and saw a vision of angels going up and down a ladder to heaven. Before Jacob ran away he was not sure if he should follow his father Isaac in the way of God, but God had chosen Jacob. God told Jacob that God was caring for the earth and God was caring for Jacob. God was taking care of his people who would be the great-great-great-great-grandparent’s of his promised Son.

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