Out of the Woods

I really love living near a wooded area. We get to hear and see animals that, if we lived in town, we would not see. Mostly it's just typical birds and animals, but occasionally we get something extra interesting. As the weather gets nicer, and we spend more time outside, we get to see even more.
We made about six trips out to the dumpster this weekend after doing some heavy duty Spring cleaning. While we were out, we heard the distinct sounds of a Barred Owl. I would love to see it some time because I think owls are incredible. Unfortunately, we only ever hear owls at night. I think that sometimes we also hear a Spotted Owl, but their voices are so similar, I have a hard time making the distinction. Listening carefully to the rhythm is the only way I know we've definitely heard a Barred Owl.

This afternoon I looked out the window to see this little turtle waddling across our driveway. He got scared when I walked up to take the picture. Anyone know how to identify a turtle?

Our cleaning was wonderful this weekend. Kyle and I worked worked hard and were able to get rid of so much stuff! I cannot even believe how many things we've been holding on to for no reason. We cleared up so much space. We each have our own closets, but I think that we could fit it all into one now if we had to do it. It's such a relief to be able to close those doors with ease. In a place as small as ours, any little bit of extra space is a big deal.


Sunday Song

This morning I sit in my dark-as-possible living room. Shortly after waking up, I felt all the certain symptoms of a migraine coming on strong. I quickly took some medication, grabbed my eye mask and rolled over into the darkness. Along with the throbbing pain in my head comes sensitivity to light, smells, and sound, and some intense nausea. As I laid in bed, I felt very sad knowing that I would not be joining my husband and my dear friends at our church's gathering this morning. I made the decision to praise God anyway. I moved to the living room, turned on my ESV audio Bible softly, listened to God speak through His word, and found some inspiration to blog about it.

I often find that in my sicknesses, God speaks deeply. I also find that, many times, I can see a purpose for my illness. A few weeks ago, God ordained that I should have a "colon attack" (as I like to call it) on the day before a very big test and paper were due. I should have been working, but was in too much pain to even stand. I stayed home, laid on the couch, and studied all day long. When the day was over, I realized that I would not have been able to study so well had I gone to work that day. I did well on the test and the paper. Praise be to God.

This morning I sat in my living room, tears welling in my eyes, at how good He is, at how deep my need for Him is, at how much He loves us, at what He has done, at how much I want to love and honor Him. Sunday, which most of us call our Sabbath, is meant to be a day of worship and praise and reflection over what He has done. I decided that each Sunday, I want to try and give an account at what God has done in the past week, and to share a piece of scripture or a song that has been particularly meaningful that week. It is my hope that I will become better prepared to readily give an account of what God has done. I also hope that others will do the same so that we might praise the Lord together.

Without being too specific at this time, this week God answered a long-time prayer of mine. I finally felt strength and peace concerning a certain issue. I am so thankful, and I may expound upon it more as time goes on. For now, I will simply say that it is very clearly Him moving, and has nothing to do with me.

I have heard some great songs and scripture this week, so it has been very hard to choose this very first time. This song, however, was stuck in my head for a few days. Not coincidentally, it sang to me softly this morning when everything else was too loud.
You're everything
I could want, I could need.
If I could see, You want me
could I believe?
'Cause You're perfectly
All I want, and all I need.
If I could just feel Your touch
could I be free?

Why do You shine so?
Can a blind man see?
Why do You call?
Why do You beckon me?
Can the deaf hear the voice of love?
Would You have me come?
Can the cripple run?
Are You the one?

To raise me up
from this grave
Touch my tongue
and then I'll sing
Heal my limbs
then joyfully I'll run to You

You're everything
I could want and I could need.
I can just, feel your touch
and I can't breathe.
And how you shine so
the blind can see.
And how You call out,
You beckon me.
The deaf hear the voice of love.
You bid me come,
and the cripple run.
You're the one.

So raise me up
from this grave.
Touch my tongue
and then I'll sing.
Heal my limbs
and joyfully I'll run to You.

You're everything.
I'm alive and I'll sing,
I'm alive and I'm free...

-David Crowder Band, "You're Everything"

What has God done for you this week? Take time to reflect and rejoice in the Lord today.

p.s. There is a bird singing sweetly outside my door right now. It sounds like a heavenly song through the thunder and rain. I wish I could identify it by its song.


Womb for Sale

Yesterday I read an article posted on the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood blog. It was titled, "Is a Woman Just a Womb for Hire?" It brought up an issue that I've never given much thought, surrogate pregnancy. I have always viewed it as a very selfless act. However, it is being used as a business in India. Couples who cannot afford to hire a surrogate in the states are going to where it's cheap, and that is India.
While I think this is kind of weird and sad for the poor girl who has to carry the child, I'm not sure that I would call it "dishonor" or a "horror." In fact, I'm not quite sure what I think of it. Something inside of me tells me that surrogacy used this way is wrong. I can't exactly say why. It seems a little like prostitution of the womb. However, is all surrogacy wrong? If someone who knows you offers to carry your child out of love, is this a dishonor to God? I do not know. I want to know.


A Revolutionary Idea

Earlier this week, Beth Moore wrote a blog asking her readers a simple question; How are you? Hmm... the idea of a blog post having nothing to do with my desire to talk about myself? Sounds good!

So, dearest friends of the shire, tell me how you are doing. I really want to know what's going on in your life so I can pray for you, talk to you, and be a better friend.



The word "thwarted" has been applied to several things around the Bass house today. First, our back fence was tragically thwarted by the wind this morning. This is a very sad day for us. As you can see, the view without the fence overlooks our neighbors' disgusting yard. It's full of trash, junk, and leaves. I spent yesterday afternoon cleaning up the yard and putting down new grass seed. Now it's trapped underneath the rotten old fence. The bases of the posts were completely rotted. Our landlord sad he'll get it cleaned up "this week some time." I would do it myself if I could. I want it done now. I am not happy.

You know who else is not happy? This poor little birdy who was thwarted by the fence that was thwarted by the wind. Our birds are the closest thing we have to pets. We love them, feed them, name them, and watch them as much as we can. It makes me very sad.

There is something that makes me feel a little happier. This new bird feeder has thwarted the squirrels! Victory is mine! They pawed and scratched and bit and squeezed and did every acrobatic trick known to squirrels to get to the bird seed and failed! Now only the birds can reach through to the holes. This means that we are using much less bird seed, which means we are saving money. By this, I mean we are saving my grandpa's money, since he is our seed supplier. Most of you will not appreciate the battle with the squirrels who eat all the birdseed. Just know that this is a big deal to me.

Most importantly, this weekend we celebrate that Satan, our enemy, was thwarted by what happened on the cross. In the death and resurrection of Jesus, the battle over sin was won. God's plan that all men should be saved by the atoning blood of Christ was realized. Hallelujah, He is risen! (He is risen, indeed.)

Before the Throne of God Above hymn by Charitie Bancroft, 1863

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!


"Good Weather for Ducks!"

A woman I work with says this every time it rains. Every. Single. Time. When a customer comes in and starts talking about the weather (which is pretty much everyone on days of inclement conditions), she always comes back with this little saying.

The weather was most certainly the topic of the day. In fact, the last month or so has been full of crazy-cakes weather here in Carbondale. Snow storms, ice storms, rain storms, high winds, no winds, flash floods, sunshine... insane! So far today, Carbondale has reported 9.75'' of rain and it's still coming down.

I actually love today's weather. Don't get me wrong, I do not like flooding and destruction. I do, however, love a moderate, warm rain. I wanted to go run around and jump in puddles like a little girl. This is something I never would have done as a little girl since I hated to get dirty. Nonetheless, I am happy today.

Kyle brought up the idea that maybe this is what weather is like in Seattle. I don't think it would be too bad. Sure, it's wet and cloudy, but at least the temperature is mild there! Oh, dearest Emerald City, someday we'll make it there, Lord willing.


A Mouse!

Oh, Lord, please not a mouse!

For the last few nights, as we are going to bed and everything is still, we've heard a sudden bolt of scampering little feet across our ceiling. A squirrel, perhaps? They've managed to get in before through a gap in the siding. Yesterday I sat in the quiet, working on my quilt. I heard a scratching coming from inside the wall. I didn't want to know what it was, I just wanted it OUT!

This morning I sleepily made my way in and out of the bathroom. Kyle entered as I was getting out. A few minutes later, I started to walk back in and Kyle quickly shouted, "Chelsea, you might not want to come in here. I think there's a mouse in here!" A what? My heart sank. I began shaking. I jumped back and slammed the door. We formed a plan.

My brave husband searched and found no mouse. He opened the door. Hesitantly I entered and finished getting ready for work. About an hour after I arrived at work, I called Kyle to see if there were any more mouse-citings. "Do you really want to know?" Yes. Sort of. It was curled up under the floorboard heater. It was probably in there when I walked in half asleep. It was in there while I was getting ready. It might still be in there.

Kyle put a trap down. I was terrified of coming home and finding the mouse on the trap. It wasn't, but I still don't want to go in there. I'm not peeing till he gets home.


Joel Osteen

There is a lot to be said about Joel Osteen. Most of which has already been said by other (more qualified) critics. However, I feel that I should address my dislike of his message. I've watched his sermons on television, caught clips of his too-painful-to-watch interviews with Larry King, and read a great deal of criticism and praise for the man. After all my research, this is what I've found:

He does not preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ as found in the Bible.

What message he does preach is quite unclear to me. It seems that he changes his message to suit his audience, refusing to "condemn anyone." On 6/20/05 he had an interview with Larry King. When asked about heaven, hell, and sin, he skirts around the question. The truth is, if he answered these questions using scripture, he would lose the greater percentage of his audience, the $43 million a year the church brings in, the millions in book revenues, and maybe even the smile on his face.

He is the picture of the "health, wealth, and prosperity gospel." His message feeds on American consumerism. It equates God's blessing with material wealth. If God shows his love for us in that way, then what does it say about the love God has for his own son? Jesus was poor, homeless, abused, and betrayed. According to Osteen's message, Jesus most not have been living his "best life." Dr. R. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said "The problem with prosperity theology is not that it promises too much, but that it promises so little -- and promises that so falsely." Jesus never promised his disciples material wealth. The "abundant life" Jesus talks about in John 10:10 is about knowing him. Our greatest joy and ultimate satisfaction is not found in health, wealth and prosperity, but in knowing Jesus Christ.

A lot of teachers I admire have addressed the prosperity gospel and Joel Osteen. Here are a few of the better ones.

Dr. John Piper- links to writing and teaching about the prosperity gospel

Mark Driscoll- a clip from the sermon series "The Rebel's Guide to Joy"

Dr. Albert Mohler- links to his blogs and radio shows that address issues surrounding Osteen and the prosperity gospel.

Osteen on 60 Minutes- even from a secular perspective, his gospel looks false.

**I plead for further comments and discussion. Some of you may have further insight and may be better at articulating it than I am.



Could You please send someone to clear the lane to our house so our cars won't get stuck again?
Can we please not have anymore snow or ice until next winter?
Could You please help me with my Language test?
Let Your will be done, not mine, please.


Bitter Bankers

This is a little more harsh than I usually choose to be, but just too funny to pass up!
(Plus, I have absolutely NO time to write a post of my own, but since I am a blogger addict, I feel the need to post something.)

50 Things I learned by being a bank teller:
1. I should know everyone in the world, so I never need to ask for ID, even if I just started this job last week.
2. "I'll be with you in one moment," means "Come right on up here into my business and breathe your popcorn/cigarette/coffee breath in my face for a while."
3. Every bank in the world secretly steals money from its customers, particularly the ones that don't keep a register.
4. I'm always kidding when I tell people a check is not any good. I'm a good kidder.
5. I should automatically know the balance of every account at the bank.
6. I am at the bank just because I feel like it; my window isn't actually open when I say, 'May I help you?'
7. I should know everyone's account number.
8. I should know everyone's address.
9. I don't understand how banking works, but you seem to.
10. I have to do whatever the person who gave my customer the check said.
11. I don't know how to count.
12. I don't know how to add.
13. I don't know what the credit date is.
14. I am supposed read everyone's mind.
15. If I ask for your social security number, I'm trying to steal your identity.
16. I should know when every new coin will be arriving.
17. I should know how much everyone's bills are for the month.
18. The bank is actually a post office.
19. Yes, I should guarantee that $45,000 personal check from China.
20. When I ask how you want your cash back, you are supposed to tell me after you get your money back.
21. Apparently people have different definitions of commercial.
22. Your time is more important than mine. I have no life. When you show up 5 minutes before we close to make 10 deposits or open a new account, we don't mind.
23. Everyone with the Bank name tag is related.
24. I am also your secretary.
25. We love to place holds on your checks for fun, we are the only bank that does it.
26. 13 hours and 10 minutes is not enough time for people to do their business.
27. I am in charge of the never ending popcorn, smarties, and coffee. If we run out, you have the right to get upset.
28. It is polite to ignore me when I say hello.
29. It is my fault when someone cuts you in line. I should have been paying attention to you and not your money.
30. I know what a checkingcashdepositwithdrawal for savings is.
31. Being rude should make me want to help you more.
32. I am not really human, I should not make mistakes.
33. It is okay to go into my office when their door is shut.
34. I have a secret collection of drivers licenses in my drawer that I steal on purpose.
35. I can't hear. I need you to ding the bell 5 times in a row.
36. The sign that says "Next Window Please" is just for decoration.
37. I make people wait on purpose, it's fun to make them mad.
38. I should know everyone's PIN to their ATM cards.
38. Fraud isn't real, I should give customers exactly what they want, no questions asked.
39. Counting your nasty, mangled, disheveled cash is my favorite thing to do.
40. The bank gives out free poinsettias at Christmas, we order them for you, not the bank. "Display only" means whatever you want it to mean.
41. Please and Thank You are forbidden words at the bank. We hate to hear them.
42. Deposit slips and Withdrawal slips are EXACTLY the same, we just like the colors pink and blue and wanted to make them more colorful. Marking through the word Withdrawal changes the deposit slip completely!
43. When I tell someone the same thing over and over, I'm just doing it for fun. I like to waste my breath.
44. We will break the rules for anybody as long as you gripe for more than 10 minutes and/or threaten to close your account.
45. I am a professional coin counter. Even when the machine is broken, I will count the coin for you by hand!
46. I am psychic; when you call I can recognize your voice and pull up your information. My computer is voice activated. It's that fancy technology we have.
47. You don't have to tell me that you've been with the bank for 50 years. I can tell.
48. Even after 5 years, I am a new teller to anyone who has never seen me before. If I've never met you, I have no idea what I'm doing. And yes, this is a training branch.
49. I make the rules for the entire banking industry. You can blame everything on me!
50. I am basically idiot. Feel free to speak to me however you wish. I have no feelings at all.