The 2nd Dunham Family Graduate of 2009

The Graduate

It’s the day of the year we’ve been looking forward to all year long: the official last day of preschool. And true to our earlier prediction, this one here is the first child in the Dunham family to graduate preschool. The evidence:

Preschool Diploma

We’ve got four extra kids in our family for the weekend, so we “celebrated” this momentous occasion by dusting off my mortar board from OSU and the NHS tassel from high school (because it had blue in it and Millie’s school colors also contained blue). I said “I hereby pronounce you officially graduated from the institution of preschool” in front of everyone and we gobbled up the graduation rice krispy treats made specifically for this occasion.

Now that I no longer have to remember to take her to preschool I’m guessing I might end up driving her there again next week by accident.

Okay, not really.

And just like that, like the season of diapers, 5-point-harnesses, and holding hands on the escalator, this stage is over for our family. It’s been a good one, but I know it gets better. Though if she would still cuddle like only a 5-year-old can for a few more years nobody around here will complain.

Congrats, Millie!!


Field Day 2009

Field Day

I think we had a pretty anti-climactic last day of school yesterday. I say this because really we’re not done, but we are, but we’re not. But we are. It’s complicated.

Today we spent 4 hours at the park with a lot of other families doing the long jump, the 50-yard dash, the softball throw, and other assorted things, some of which involved face paint. Face paint that two of my kids turned into body paint. I wasn’t exactly standing there when they did it, so I can’t be held responsible. Anyway, it came off easily enough.

Field Day was fun, but again, being out in the sun all day makes me so sleepy and I have no real idea why. When we came home I took a pseudo-nap for almost two hours. A pseudo-nap is the kind where you don’t ever really fall asleep. You are always aware of what goes on around you, yet suddenly two hours have passed. When you get up you don’t feel any less-trashed than when you laid down. It’s really productive.

Anyway, with Field Day today, Memorial Day on Monday, and three girls participating in standardized testing Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, that pretty much zaps next week. We’re keeping some friends’ kids Wednesday night through Sunday night and the following week begins day camp for the two youngest among us as well as super-ramped up play practices because the play the girls are in begins June 5.

And believe it or not I’m feeling as though we’re slowing down a bit.

Tomorrow should be beautiful. Craig is taking two on a bike ride to train for his trip in June. In the afternoon three girls have play practice and Craig will take the forth to the school to watch track and field events. This means I’ll pretty much have Saturday to myself.

I may sleep all day. Or I may finish up the verse packs I’m working on tonight and finally mop the floor that has been asking me to mop it all week. Or I may sleep all day.

Regardless, I have nobody coming over to the house and no plans until early evening. It will be glorious.

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

Ethical Dilemma

I just noticed on Facebook that one of Craig’s ethics students made cupcakes for the last day of classes tomorrow (finals are next week, but teaching ends tomorrow). These cupcakes are clever, if not a little disturbing. Here’s the one she made of Craig and a fellow student in the class:

Craig on a Cupcake

Isn’t there some kind of ethical dilemma involved in eating your classmates and teacher? Or eating yourself? Guess that’s one to add to the curriculum for next year, as this year is just about over (glory!).

By the way, Craig is looking for additional part-time work this summer. He almost applied for the bathroom attendant at the Jive and Wail. Surely we can do better. Ideas anyone?

Broken: Two Pictures and a Story

First the pictures:

Pediatric Clavicle Strap on Millie from the front:

Pediatric Clavicle Strap - Front

Pediatric Clavicle Strap on Millie from the back:

Pediatric Clavicle Strap - Back

And now the story: Click here to read it at WORLDMag today.


My 5-year-old hurt herself on Saturday—not this past Saturday, but the one before that. She was playing in the backyard with her oldest sister, ran hard and tripped (she was being chased), and landed hard on her shoulder with her big sister falling on top of her.

She cried pretty hard and I was concerned, but not exactly sure what to do. I watched her closely for several hours, gave her Tylenol, and frequently asked “how high you can reach?” to get her to move her arm. Eventually she did, and by the end of the night she seemed better.

Fast forward nine days when we realized something was still wrong. I took her to our doctor, who gave her an examination, sent us off for x-rays, and determined she had a fractured clavicle and needed a strap to help get things back the way they should be.

Can you say “Worst parent of the year?” I should have taken her in right away, but I didn’t (and I feel pretty badly about it now). The only thing worse than living in denial is neglect.

It makes me wonder what other areas of life I notice initially but let go, thinking that over time things will probably just get better—cleaning out the cats’ litter box, for example, or letting a child’s attitude problem continue because, frankly, I’m tired of dealing with it.

Here’s what I’m finally beginning to understand: Denial and neglect don’t make things better; they just put off what eventually has to be done. Dealing with the litter box is as much a pain the 10th time as the first time, but something has to be done about the stink.

Self-examinations are not always reliable, as when left alone in a corner, I can convince myself of just about anything. Sometimes it would be nice to have an X-ray machine to run my life through for an analysis of what’s really going on.

I guess that’s what the Holy Spirit is for, but that doesn’t do me a whole lot of good when I’m not really sure about the symptoms. Times like this make me think maybe I’ve been avoiding the inevitable for too long. Perhaps it’s time to make an appointment with the Doctor . . . stat.

Nice One!

I was shopping in Aldi the other day and saw this gal, probably in her mid-20’s, all summery looking and cute. I’m not sure what made me notice her ankle, other than that it was pretty close to the generic Sprite I was getting. She had a tattoo there. Now, I’m not one opposed to tattoos. I don’t have one, but I’ve joked about getting one before. There’s that issue of the pain involved. That, and I have no idea what I’d get anyway, but then again there’s the pain.

Anyway, this girl, she had a tattoo of a “cute” skull with a pink bow. Kind of like this:


All I could think of the whole rest of the time I was in Aldi was this gal (remember, young and cute) as a 75-year-old granny with a shriveled pink skull with bow tattoo on her ankle. And I could see her future grandkids giggling across the room because have you seen Granny’s tattoo? What in the world was she thinking? Was this kind of thing actually IN when she was young?

Not so much.

Anyway, made me laugh. It would be funny to hear how that actually does play out for her over the next few decades. I’m sure it was some spontaneous and fun decision at the time. Maybe not such a great one later?

My Two Favorite Masters Graduates and One Pretty Sweet Cake

My camera doesn't take photos in dark rooms very well, so all the pictures I took of Craig walking across the stage are pretty terrible. I did get a good one of Craig and Andi Ashworth after the ceremony was over:


Chuck Colson gave the graduation address that night. I hadn't heard him before and as he was speaking, I kept remembering a comic book I had growing up called "Born Again" with Chuck Colson's face on the cover. For the longest time I wasn't sure if his story was true or not true because it was in a comic book. Somehow I ended up realizing it was true. This isn't relevant at all to this post, other than to say the whole night I kept seeing Chuck Colson as I remembered him from the front of that comic book:


The next day we had a party. It was fun, but wouldn't you know it, I didn't remember to take a single picture the whole night. I did take one of the cake before the party, though:


Whew! And that's a complete wrap on seminary for 2008-2009. Craig will most likely finish his second masters next year (the Masters of Arts in Educational Ministries). I may or may not finish the Graduate Certificate (Covenant had to stop giving free tuition for those of us in the lowly Grad Certificate option). I may get "grandfathered" in, but probably will not. That's okay. I've come a long way in accepting where I planned to go with a degree and where I ended up. I'm happy with the classes I've been able to take and I'll be happy either way, certificate to hang on the wall or not.

For those of you who came last night, thanks. We had folks from Westminster, Crossroads, Covenant, family, and friends not necessarily associated with school or church. It was lovely to have everyone, and we especially enjoyed all the kids playing together in the backyard.

Craig is taking a post-graduation nap right now and we have a lot of leftover cake to eat tonight. I think we can handle it.

Graduation Party: A Soundtrack

Here's my graduation gift to Craig. Every single song was picked for a reason. Craig may be the only one who knows that reason, but he's really the only one who needs to. Still, I know how party soundtracks go – nobody else at the party will notice the music at all and this playlist is screaming to be noticed.

Here it is:

Sonata In D Major – Michael W. Smith
Elevation – U2
Livin' On A Prayer – Bon Jovi
Time After Time – Cyndi Lauper
A Well Respected Man – The Kinks
Nothing Short Of Thankful – The Avett Brothers
Authority Song – John Mellencamp
Can't Get Enough Of You Baby – Smash Mouth
Celebrity – Brad Paisley
Gettin' Jiggy Wit It – Will Smith
MMMBop – Hanson
Aint It Somethin – Lyle Lovett
Forever Young – Alphaville
Silver Thunderbird – Marc Cohn
You've Got A Friend – James Taylor
The Promise – When In Rome
Better Version Of Me – Fiona Apple
Our House – Madness
All Star – Smash Mouth
U Can't Touch This – MC Hammer
Suddenly I See – KT Tunstall
I Never Go To Work – They Might Be Giants
Such Great Heights – Iron & Wine
Canned Heat – Jamiroquai
Small Town – John Mellencamp
Hologram – Katie Herzig
Don't Panic – Coldplay
Trouble – Over The Rhine
Fallen From The Sky – Glen Hansard
They Don't Like Me – Lyle Lovett
Glory Days – Bruce Springsteen
I Walk The Line – Johnny Cash
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For – U2
This Is Your Life – Switchfoot
I Do – Lisa Loeb
Anyway – Martina McBride
William & Maggie – Charlie Peacock
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own – U2
Wish You Well – Katie Herzig
Anyone Else But You – Michael Cera & Ellen Page
I Love Everybody – Lyle Lovett
Don't Worry 'Bout Me – Frank Sinatra

A Homeschooler’s Lament

It’s been a long year and we’re not even through
But the summer wind is calling from out of the blue
The kids are getting antsy and I am too
The only cure seems to be a strong, stiff brew (tea, of course)
Just at the same time I’m feeling feeble and frail
What should appear but a big stack of mail
Catalogs from Sonlight and Veritas Press
Others from Timberdoodle, man I’m a mess
I thought I had next year’s plan nailed down flat
But those catalogs come and they make me think that
Maybe my plan needs just a bit of help
So I open the catalogs and then start to yelp
What’s this? This looks great! Where was it last year?
What’s that? How’d I miss it? Has it always been here?
Will my children be okay with the plan that I drew?
It may have to be, but wait – Phonetic Zoo?
Oh man, I want that. I really do. It is true
There are hundreds of other great things we could do
If only the money grew out of my shoe
And time…we could use some more of that too.

Through His Eyes, Chapter 10

Through His Eyes; God's Perspective on Women in the Bible 
by Jerram Barrs
Chapter 10: Hannah: A Woman of Prayer

What, did you forget I was supposed to be hosting a book discussion here? Oh no? I guess that was me. I just looked and realized I'm an entire MONTH behind. I shake my head at myself. My profuse apologies to the two faithful ladies who have simply been waiting on me to get my act together. Next time I'll just suggest the two of you do a book discussion on your own without me because clearly I can't be trusted.

Now then, the chapter.

Before specifically getting to the story of Hannah, Jerram reminds us on page 156, "All the stories in the Bible and all the teaching of God's Word rest on this understanding of what is central in our lives. How faithful is God to us, and in return how faithful are we to him and to one another?" I was taken in by this reminder. It isn't always what I think of when I read God's Word. It needs to be.

One of the major things I've appreciated about the chapters we've read so far has been the emphasis placed on historical setting. I've been taught for so long that the Bible is a rule book to follow and indeed, there are many passages of exhortation on how we are to live. But if the Bible is only a rule book, then what do I do with the passages that tell of lifestyles I would never want? How do I reconcile the way the people lived with what I believe to be the way God really wants us to live? Those stories aren't told in such a way as to be rules for us to follow, but they are told so that we see the faithfulness of God unfold in the midst of their own historical context. On page 159 Jerram says, "The biblical text does not approve of polygamy; rather it simply recounts what took place." That helps me a lot.

This story of Hannah is really sad in the beginning. She is married and childless and lives in a culture in which it was considered necessary and essential to have male children to carry on the family name. A male child was needed to preserve the family name and inherit the land. Hannah's husband, Elkanah, feels this need and since Hannah is barren, he takes a second wife.

Just as we saw with Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar and with Jacob, Rachel, and Leah, this arrangement is not ideal. It produces tension and trouble (can you just imagine? It makes me sick to my stomach to imagine an arrangment like that). Elkannah's second wife, Peninnah taunts and provokes Hannah because she has children while Hannah does not.

While attending a feast Hannah goes into the tabernacle alone to pray. On page 163 Jerram says, "Many times Scripture lets us know that it is perfectly acceptable for us to tell God what we are feeling. God desires that we be honst with him, even when our hearts are full of bitterness. He is not perturbed or critcal even when we tell him of our deepest disappointments and of our hidden sorrows and anguish. He already knows what we think, and he knows the hidden hurts within our souls."

I so wish I had someone to tell me this with M10 was M4 and in the hospital with a collapsed lung about to undergo a pretty risky procedure and subsequent 8 day stay in the PICU. When I ventured to tell a close friend that I was pretty angry with God that week, I was shut down pretty fast with a "God gives and God takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord" speech. What could have been a healing conversation turned into me being scared to share my hurt and heart with anybody.

Later on in this chapter, Jerram reflects on Hannah's song and he says, "We need to think about our sorrows and our joys and about God's answers to our prayers in this same way. We should use our personal experience to write our own public prayers, songs, or testimonies, so that they become prayers, songs, and testimonies that can communicate  to others what God has done for us. Many of the Psalms are like this. It is this public declaration of private experience that enables us to relate so readily to the Psalms and to use them so freely for our own prayers."

I wonder if some form of blog writing can even be this way? Certainly not all, but some?

The last major thing I was struck by from this chapter was the willingness with which Hannah kept her promise. The one thing she longed for was a child. And he was the very thing she willingly gave away. "In this way Hannah pictures to us God's giving his Son to us, his beloved Son."

To read thoughts from the rest of the book, click below:


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9


Our next-door neighbors keep their two granddaughters one day a week every week. Their oldest grand is Millie’s age (seriously, they are two days apart), and there is a brand new baby.

The 5-year-old was playing with my kids today and for a while they were inside our house. That’s when I overheard this conversation between her and Millie:

Neighbor Girl: I wish I could live with you guys.
Millie: Why?
Neighbor Girl: Because you guys are nice.
Millie: Yeah, well, we do school a lot.

I’m not exactly sure why, but this cracked me up. Especially coming from the one who does the least school of all of us around here…