Sunday, November 6, 2016

Picturesque Pumpkins

Chaplain would never label himself as the artsy-fartsy type. Ever.  But he does have mad skills when it comes to pumpkin carving.  His artistic designs and his passion for the perfect picturesque pumpkin have resulted in a family tradition that each of us enjoys.  Here are 2016's models.

J's kitten pumpkin
D's Nightwings emblem

Saturday, November 5, 2016


Several times over the years - in the arenas of personal friendships and various religious ministries -  I have spoken with other Christian women about the very charismatic Jen Hatmaker, and in those conversations my lack of agreement with her has surfaced.  I wanted to take this time and use this space {my blog} to further explain.

Jen Hatmaker is a very popular Christian author, blogger, and speaker.  Her family has even hosted a reality TV show that was featured on HGTV.  She is beloved by many Christian women.  Her books, with their visually appealing covers, always seem to strike a deep chord with spiritually minded women and are often the desired choice for women's Bible studies around the globe.  Her husband Brandon is a church planter/pastor in Texas and her family has adopted children from Ethiopia.  She speaks what she believes loudly and doesn't hold back.  Her public audience is enormous and her voice and influence reach millions. 

Over the years I have read, stalked, perused, and listened to her comments, thoughts, theology, and teachings.  But something has never set well with me about her teachings as a whole.  At times I have seen language in her writings that, out of conviction, I would never use within the company of people I love - much less on a platform to millions of people.  I have also found her stance on the sin of homosexuality to be weak and unbiblical, at best.  

Recent comments by Jen have compelled me to speak out once more against her stance and views.  In an interview last week (read her interview here), she spoke out on many topics considered controversial to our country and our culture.  In a segment of the interview which covered politics and the election, she went on record to say that she would be open to voting for Hillary and she vehemently opposes Trump.  Certainly in this country she has the freedom to vote how she chooses and the freedom of speech to voice her views on such matters.  Interestingly, further in the interview, Jen states "I've always had a pro-life ethic and still do," and that her ethics definitely include anti-abortion.  

This is where Jen loses me.  She is open to voting for Hillary but believes she can still maintain her pro-life ethic.  Mrs. Hatmaker, you cannot.  Hillary Clinton is an avid supporter of the pro-choice movement - as evidenced by her past political policies and her current declarations during this election.  She has backed and funded Planned Parenthood at every turn, one of the nation's largest providers of abortions.  Mrs. Hatmaker, you cannot serve two masters.  You cannot call yourself pro-life and support Hillary.  That vantage point is inconsistent, double-minded, and unbiblical.

At another point in the interview, she says, unequivocally, that she supports gay marriage and its legal protection, that she would attend and support the gay marriage of any of her friends, and that an LGBT relationship can actually be "holy."  Holy, meaning dedicated or consecrated to God; sacred.  This is where Jen slays me.  And not just me, but a holy and righteous God, who not only created the male and female forms, but gave them their intended purposes and meanings - which are clearly laid out in the first book of Scripture.  Jen uses her platform of speaking into the lives of millions of women (and probably thousands of men) to give her blessing to that which the Bible clearly labels as sin.  She goes on record in black and white print to directly oppose the inerrant, truth-filled, word of God, to speak in favor of that which God opposes.  Mrs. Hatmaker, you cannot serve two masters.  You cannot teach the Bible and speak against its Author. To me, this is double-speak and you have rendered your teachings/books useless.  

Sin is sin.  There are no greater sins, no lesser sins.  All have sinned and that sin separates us from God. My intention here is not to show hate for or incite fear amongst the LGBT community.  Instead, I long to bring peace and love to them.  True, biblical peace and love.  Imagine a friend of mine being trapped in a burning building.  It would not be unloving of me to inform my friend that harm is befalling her and death is imminent if she does not escape her current circumstances.  It WOULD be unloving for me to NOT tell her that and allow her to perish unwarned.  Sin is the burning building we are all trapped in when we don't know Jesus Christ, God's Son, as our Lord and Savior. And being rescued means being told we are trapped by our sins and need a Savior who will deliver us from the wages of sin {=death}.  What is unloving about that?  What about that doesn't bring peace?  Surely Mrs. Hatmaker can see the Biblical wisdom behind this analogy.

English professor Rosaria Butterfield is a former lesbian who, in 1999, converted to Christianity and walked away from the LGBT community.  She has written a couple of books about her life-changing experience.  And who better and more qualified to speak out on such a topic?  In response to Hatmaker's recent interview, Rosaria had this to say:

If this were 1999...Jen Hatmaker’s words about the holiness of LGBT relationships would have flooded into my world like a balm of Gilead. How amazing it would have been to have someone as radiant, knowledgeable, humble, kind, and funny as Jen saying out loud what my heart was shouting: Yes, I can have Jesus and my girlfriend... {but}  If I were still in the thick of the battle over the indwelling sin of lesbian desire, Jen’s words would have put a millstone around my neck...Conversion to Christ made me face the question squarely: did my lesbianism reflect who I am (which is what I believed in 1999), or did my lesbianism distort who I am through the fall of Adam? I learned through conversion that when something feels right and good and real and necessary—but stands against God’s Word—this reveals the particular way Adam’s sin marks my life. Our sin natures deceive us. Sin’s deception isn’t just “out there”; it’s also deep in the caverns of our hearts. How I feel does not tell me who I am. Only God can tell me who I am, because he made me and takes care of me. He tells me that we are all born as male and female image bearers with souls that will last forever...{S}in and Christ cannot abide together, for the cross never makes itself an ally with the sin it must crush, because Christ took our sin upon himself and paid the ransom for its dreadful cost...{W}hen we advocate for laws and policies that bless the relationships that God calls sin, we are acting as though we think ourselves more merciful than God is.

My point in speaking out about Jen and this topic is this: to uphold the infallible, absolute truth of God's word.  The Bible is and always should be our cornerstone as Christians.  And as you build your life upon this cornerstone, if a piece comes along that doesn't fit atop it - throw it out.  No matter how outspoken, well-known, or charismatic the piece is.  And Mrs. Hatmaker, from one Jenn to another Jen - please stop leading my fellow sisters - princesses of the One True King - blood-bought women, holy and dearly loved - astray from the sacred, inspired, and perfect Word of God.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Pumpkin patch 2016

Since our oldest was the age of 2, it has been our family tradition to visit a pumpkin patch each autumn (at least one!).  Over the years we have picked pumpkins and taken hay rides in Arkansas, Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and now Colorado.  So many wonderful memories and pictures come from each trip.  This year we found a patch about an hour away called Diana's Pumpkin Patch.  In addition to the usual pumpkin picking and corn crib, this patch had a unique corn maze to explore.

Our pumpkin booty!

Captain America joined us at the patch :-)

Culver's - our favorite custard stop -  sponsored the maze this year.

Bird's eye view of the maze.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Ride up to Pike's Peak

In Colorado, fall comes earlier than us southerners are accustomed to.  The leaves began changing in late September, so while our family was here for a visit we headed up the summit of Pike's Peak (by vehicle) to get a closer look at the foliage and the incredible view from 14,000+ feet.  Here are several pictures from our journey to the peak!

Legendary cog railway.  Departs from Manitou Springs and rides a cog railway up the mountain, then returns back down to Manitou, for a fee.

Temperature was below freezing near the peak!

Pike's Peak was first spotted by LT Zebulon Pike in 1806.  Many other explorers had come upon this massive mountain before and Indians dwelled in its foothills long before this time.  But its name is credited to Pike.  Right place, right time.
It was from atop Pike's Peak that "America, the Beautiful" was penned, first as a poem and later set to music.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Garden of the gods

With family in town for a visit, we've been taking this opportunity to soak up the beauty of these mountains.  A trip to Garden of the gods did not disappoint!  For a quick perspective check on how big God is and how small we are...take a look...

Cheyenne Mountain State Park

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Glen Eyrie Castle

We had the privilege of teaching a Strong Bonds event for the soldiers in hubby's brigade at the breathtaking Glen Eyrie castle.  This castle is rich both aesthetically and historically.  The kids relished the thought of being at an actual castle!  The grounds were so serene and the weather was gorgeous.  We had a fantastic time and can't wait to go back.  The Navigators have so much to offer at Glen Eyrie and we recommend this spot to anyone visiting or living in the area.

Glen Eyrie Castle, owned and operated by the Navigators.

Carlos the knight is a fixture at castle's front foyer hearth.
What a 5th grader!
What a 2nd grader!
The rose garden on the grounds of Glen Eyrie.  Part of the Prayer Journey.

The castle was built in 1871 by General William Palmer.

Dining area on the balcony off the King James Dining Room.
The castle had electricity as early as 1882.
In 1953 Navigator founder Dawson Trotman purchased the castle and its lot to use it for ministry purposes.
The castle is magnificent and its grounds are immaculately maintained.

One of the bathrooms, in near original condition.  Complete with a telephone!
A carriage stationed outside the Carriage House.
We got to climb a 25 ft wall as part of a family/marriage team building exercise.