Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Soul's Gate by James L. Rubart

I almost feel like I need to write two separate reviews for this book - one for the actual book and another for what the reading of this book has done to me.

Soul's Gate by James L. Rubart grabbed me from the first page.  It is fast paced and just detailed enough, with interesting characters and the right amount of defeat, victory, scary moments and peaceful scenery.  The story is smart and intriguing and imaginative. Except that almost everything that happens in this story are things that happened in the Bible.  That's where it starts messing with your head a bit.

Reece Roth was chosen 30 years before to lead the prophesied four warriors into their destiny, one of entering people's souls and setting them free from the inside out.  These four will have to overcome their own demons and come to believe how powerful they truly are in the midst of their battles for others' freedom.

My favorite quote from the book: "It's time to live from your strength, to fight from your glory, to battle from the core of your gifting."

The thing about this book is that it made me think, "What if?"  What if we really could do the things they did in this book?  What if it was true?  The crazy thing is that most of what these four do happened in the Bible.  This is a fictional novel, but it is a historical novel!  I see nowhere in scripture where anyone actually traveled into someones soul (and at the end of the book the author says neither does he), but the other elements of the book are based on scripture.  It made the battle of the unseen, the battle that we are right in the middle of every single day, seem so real and so tangible.  And, unlike other books of that nature that I have read, it reminded me that though "we battle not against flesh and blood" (Ephesians 6:12) and we have an enemy "who comes to steal, kill and destroy" (John 10:10), that "Greater is He in you than he that is in the world." (1 John 4:4)  Rather than finishing the book scared and wanting to hide under my covers, I finished empowered and encouraged, ready to fight with an awareness of my authority in Christ.

And it made me wonder.  If I could learn what it really looks like to "...live from your strength, to fight from your glory, to battle from the core of your gifting." who could I set free?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Christmas Adventure

I feel I must give a warning for those of you who have a weak stomach that a couple of the following photos are a bit graphic.  Consider yourself warned.

So, Christmas day started out normal and ended with this new addition (The cast, not the baby.  That is our new niece, Aubrey.  She was added to Kris' sister's family in October, and she is beautiful!)
Eli was not even being that crazy, just jumped and grabbed a branch. The momentum swung him forward, made him lose his grip and tossed him to the ground.  When he landed he caught himself with his hand.  I knew the second I heard him screaming that we were in for a long night. After one look at his wrist that was shaped like an "S", my fears were confirmed, and we were off to the ER.  

We spent several hours at the ER getting x-rays, morphine and lots of local "culture". (I just have to interject here that people are crazy.) 
After about six hours, there was finally an ambulance available to transport us to the larger hospital in Orlando that had a pediatric orthopedic surgeon to do the surgery that we were positive he would need to properly set his arm. While I didn't see many smiles like this during the ordeal, since about three days post-surgery, he has been all smiles.  
This is the normal size of his arm.
This is what his arm looks like three weeks after the accident. Pitiful.
This kid is a trooper.  He's always making jokes, even while they're working on him.
This is where is gets a little gross.  Surgery we totally expected, pins were a surprise.  Not only did he break both bones in his wrist, he also broke his elbow.  The doctor drew us a picture after surgery, and the two pieces of bone in his elbow were nowhere near each other.  To keep everything in place they had to put one pin in his wrist...
...and three in his elbow.
This past Tuesday I had to take him to get the pins out and get a hard cast.  Unfortunately, the wrist wasn't quite ready, so we'll have to go back next week.  Also unfortunate was the fact that we had been led to believe by the doctor that it would be "no big deal" to get the pins out.  Somehow I forgot that doctors have absolutely no perspective about such things and I didn't medicate Eli beforehand.  It was probably one of the most heart-wrenching experiences of my life to see him laying there on the table screaming while they pulled the pins out.  I was wrecked the rest of the day.
Let me tell you about my Eli, though.  He never moved.  Never pulled away.  Never squirmed.  Never fought.  He laid there, screamed through the pain, and let them do what they needed to do.  Ugghhh...even writing the story makes me feel weepy.  He is amazing.  He has never once complained about his cast or about the fact that he can't do the things that his brother and his friends can do. He has been such a tough kid, and I am so proud of him.  The only time he gave me any trouble through the whole ordeal was when they made him take his pants off for the surgery and put on the nightgown.  I thought they were going to have to sedate him to get that done.  Such a boy.

I'm sure I've learned things through this, but I'm not far enough removed from it yet to not still feel a bit raw.  So far, all I can say I have learned is: 
1. Always take your purse with you wherever you go.
2. Always medicate your children, even if no one says you need to.
3. Always be nice to every nurse and every orderly you see in the hallways of the ER. You never know when you'll be at their mercy.
4. When the first three people you talk to at the insurance company make you want to lose your religion, call, call again.
5. Make sure you have good friends.  The kind that are willing to take your three year old for the day so you don't have to lock them in a closet to protect your five year old recovering from surgery.

I'll keep you posted if I learn anything else.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Christmas at....Well, Christmas

We had our second Christmas on Christmas Day at home.  I made the boys wait until I got a shower, which seems like cruelty, but is actually a kindness.  They made good use of their time waiting.

This is just about the only time this poor kitty gets any loving. Usually Judah is awake and she runs and hides.

Once Judah was awake and I was fully awake and clean, they dug in.

There aren't a whole lot of things in life better than opening Christmas gifts in your undies.

I had videos last year too, and I never got them posted.  As much as I do not love being in the video, the videos are my favorite way to capture the moment.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Taking Climbing Trees to a Whole New Level

We are always encouraging our boys to be active, to get fresh air and exercise.  It's just that some forms make me a little more uncomfortable than others.  The ones that make me sweat are usually their daddy's idea.
I've joked that we are finalizing Eli's contract with Cirque du Soleil, but seriously!  Look at this kid!
Because there is not an ounce of strain on his face, it looks easy, but he is literally holding himself up with his feet alone....
...with his hands and nothing else.
And Luke, not to be outdone.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Christmas at Thanksgiving

This year my family had Christmas at Thanksgiving, as that was when everyone could be there together.  I have decided that I rather like it and hope it becomes a tradition.  It's nice
 for the boys to get one set of gifts at a time rather than a mad whirlwind all in span of three days like we have normally done, between Kris' family, my family and then our little family.

"What is it?!"

"Is this MY DS?"
Still a whirlwind, but only one.

Uncle Mark
Sam. Cuteness!
The only two girls in a sea of boys, Rae and Annalee.  They hold their own pretty well.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Judah's End of the Year Programs

Judah had his first Thanksgiving and Christmas programs at preschool.  He's not the biggest fan of being on stage.  But he certainly is cute.
Seriously want to kiss. those. lips!

I know Kris' mom is not going to love this picture of herself, as it is not an accurate depiction of her, but it is the only proof I have that anyone was there to support him at his debut. 

This is all I have of the Christmas program because he made it halfway through Jingle Bells and then completely lost it. He and I spent the rest of the program trying to get it back together.  Thankfully he won't have to do it again for a few months.