Going to Seminary Dot Com

For those wondering where I’ve been lately, it is finally time to reveal my answer. For the past week I have worked every spare hour on a very special project. Last week I stayed up every night past 1:00 a.m. (some night till 2 and 3 a.m.) to get this project launched. I think I clocked a total of close to 30+ hours to make this thing a reality.

So, without further adu, I give you:


goingtoseminary.com is a site I designed to be a one stop information resource web site for anyone interested in going to seminary. The site covers a plethora of topics from how to pay for seminary, to what seminary is best for me, to how can I keep my marriage healthy while attending seminary.

The format of the site is a blog, so the content will continually be updated as Jennifer and I go through the seminary journey ourselves. My hope is that this site will actually help answer a lot of the questions that people have when they are making this very big decision.

So, go check it out and let me know what you think. Also, if you like the site, PLEASE click the “bloggers choice awards” icon on the home page and vote for it. This will help in the grassroots effort to make people aware of the site. If you don’t like the site, you can still vote anyway, I don’t mind.

Wooley Mammoths

A recent venture I have taken on is joining the world of wool diaper covers. The reasons listed on that article are a big reason for the switch (at least for Asher anyway). For Grace my excitement with wool is that she can wear longies which would alleviate my issue of not having pants to fit over her cloth diapers when we’re at home (for the summer she just went pants-less). Anyhow, due to the high cost of wool covers, I decided to be adventurous & make my own. I am working on a crochet cover, but seeing as how that’s probably going to take me 6mo or more, I also made some “butt sweaters” from sweaters I bought at Goodwill. It took a total of 1:45min to start & finish two pairs. I had a couple “learning curve” issues, but nothing major. It was crazy easy…I even added a drawstring waistband on Grace’s (the sweater had a hood attached) sans pattern…& i’m not naturally “crafty”. I lanolized them, hung them up to dry (this took over 24hrs btw) & used them today for the first time.

Perfect! They worked perfectly. The only problem: I was not “picky” in my choice of sweater (all i looked for was 100% wool, not the type of wool). Asher has super sensitive skin (one of the reasons i want to switch to wool is he gets red marks from the elastic..not because it is too tight, but b/c his skin just reacts to it). When I put the pants on him before naptime he said, “momma, these pants are NOT cozy. I don’t like them. They’re fuzzy.” Since that’s all he said & did not ask to actually remove them, I wanted to keep them on merely to see if they would work (cruel, i know). I did end up feeling bad for him knowing they probably itch & went to put his regular PUL cover on, but forgot I didn’t wash diapers last night & all his covers were in the hamper. So he was a trooper & kept them on all through naptime. Though he reminded me when I got him up two hours later that he “does not like these fuzzy pants”. Poor kid. Grace however, wore both hers & asher’s for most of the day & didn’t seem to mind at all. In fact, she is tucked into bed at the moment “fuzzy pants” & all. So we’ll get to see how they survive the uber-wet night. The way they worked all day for her, I expect success.

The next time I search Goodwill (which has tons of wool sweaters btw), I will be more particular in my sweater choice. If you feel bad for the poor sensitive skin kid, feel free to send him a pair of these (he’s 30lbs currently).
asherbuttsweater.jpg gracebuttsweatercrop.jpg

Revisiting Love

So this past week in my bible study time, (using A Modern Girl’s Guide to Bible Study), the author had us “practicing” some study techniques. We started with 1Corinthians 13. you know..the “love” chapter. The one folks read at weddings.

While I have a few stories about my trip through that short chapter this week (for example, I found myself understanding a comment Mark Driscoll made in a sermon about preaching. He was talking about “wrestling” with the text (scripture) throughout the week before preaching on Sunday. My paraphrase: Totally lost & confused on monday, by wednesday a complete heretic & not getting to a good understanding till late in the week), my favorite “discovery” (as in, I’m sure the majority of the Christian world already knows this, but hey..it was news to me) was the following excerpt from my journal:

Why were verses 1-3 before 4-7?
1-3 talks about how all our works & efforts even a martyrs death are NOTHING w/o love. emphasizing that even if we have what looks like a christian life, it is useless if it’s not springing from Love but duty. I think it’s important to keep that in mind when reading vs. 4-7 since those could be seen as a “how to” manual. We could read those attributes, which are the fruit of love in a person’s life — a “natural outworking of an inward process/faith” & we could instead take away from it more things to add to our “to-do list” on self-improvement. Instead if we see lack in our lives when we read 4-7 we need to pray earnestly for LOVE, not push ourselves to ACT more patiently/kind ect. Deal w/the root issue & the “fruit” will follow. Without a change in heart it will lead only to hypocrisy.

Limited experience and Interpretation of Tounges.

This post is primarily for grandparents….or anyone else who enjoys tidbit stories about my kids…

A few things I find amusing:

Due to limited life experience asher thinks these items are named as follows:

Gas Station Convenience Stores = Gatorade Stores
Wine Glass = Biscuit Cutter
Chipotle = The Place Where Quesadillas Live (Though he does on occasion call that one “Chipole”)

Definitions for Grace’s “words” (not an exhaustive list)

Jenn = Mama (used to be “give me whatever it is I’m wanting/needing right now” but she seems to have figured out it’s actually my name)
Ryan = Dada
Asher = DehDeh (easily confused with Dada)
Cup = Bup (occasionally her sippy cup is “baba”)
Book = buup
Poop = boop boo (yes, she’s already alerting me to her bowel status)

Anything she doesn’t yet have a word for = Buh

There are more, but I can’t figure out how to type them & can’t quite remember the phonetics. For example she says, “thank-you” (while signing it) but much like asher’s name…no one but me knows she’s saying it.

There’s a few signs as well. What’s fun is when she changes them from what I teach her. Like “please” should be rubbing one open-palmed hand horizontally on your chest (according to me anyway). She rubs both hands (if available) in fists vertically on her sides and/or chest.

My favorite sign is, “sleepy”. The other night we were downstairs playing & she walked over to me & said, “momma?” & made the sleepy sign. she uses the same sign for “sleepy” as “blanket”, so it could’ve been either but I asked her if she wanted to go to bed & she gave an emphatic head nod, “yes”. She was in bed thumb in mouth in no time (if it’s past 6:55pm & a kid tells me s/he’s tired, I do not pass up the opportunity for early bedtime).

Serving in the Church

Ok, so I’m on my lunch break and decided to surf the Redeemer website while enjoying my chicken-&-pea-mac-n-cheese leftovers. Of course, I’m surfing the site because it is kind of fun to think through what it would be like to move to New York and work with Dr. Keller.

So, while surfing, I ended up watching this video about serving in the church. I was really moved by what everyone had to say. It reminded me of the reasons that I enjoy serving the church… reasons that I needed to be reminded of.

If you are a Christian and attend a church (you would think that’s those are synonymous, but sadly they aren’t) then I encourage you to begin volunteering. If you happen to attend Harvest Renewal, I happen to know that they need lots of volunteers. Especially in the set up and break down departments. So, contact your church office today and tell them you’re ready to serve!

Oh, and Keller’s quote at the end was amazing!

“you should see what the benefits are (to serving) and yet at the same time realize that, I’m doing this because Christ served me… when I was his enemy he served me and changed my life. So, I want to turn around and serve other people regardless of whether it seems like I am getting a lot of benefits or not.”

Watch this:

In one Week

7 days until the “big race“. I feel ready. I realize it’s only 6.2 miles & at the most an hour of my time, but regardless, I am really excited & a little nervous. Last January when deciding to run the Monument Ave 10k I couldn’t run to the mailbox & back without hyperventilating, so 6.2 seemed daunting. Now that I’m in a little better shape & am confident I can FINISH the race, I would like to improve my time….so therein lies the source of my jittery stomach excitement. A challenge. A competition. Fun.

In related news, the book we’ve been using in my weekly mom’s group had a chapter gearing us up for committing to a regular time of bible study & journaling (& not just random reading). She compared getting into it to running. She talked about her crazy “running friends” who try to convince her to come to the dark side. How they try to convince her that after 4 to 6 weeks you hit a stride & begin to love it. That these friends apologize sometimes for their grumpiness, explaining, “I didn’t run today”. To a non-runner/non-exerciser…this sound ludicrous. Surely you just have to have a certain personality type (um…insane…) to not only enjoy but be slightly addicted to running. Now, while I don’t consider myself a ‘real’ runner, I do attest that it happens. The first mile is always painful for me, but almost every time once i get that first mile behind me, I’m good to go (sweating & breathing heavy the whole time, but it isn’t excruciating & it is exhilarating). I absolutely have felt in the past few months, a bit off…grumpy…when i miss a few days of working out. It is kind of a stress/frustration vent…& of course the endorphin high upon the return from a run has something to do w/it I’m sure.

Anyhow, I have also found the same to be true for waking up early to have some “alone time” with God & His Word. While I have always had a bit of a bent toward exercise, I have not at any point been keen on Bible Study. I know…what kind of Christian am I? Apparently pretty normal from what I gather talking to most people & looking at all the books on subject that are available. Over the past 8 years I have made & broken numerous committments to the Lord in this area. However a few months back I began to get up for this purpose…and now that we’re into the nuts & bolts of learning how to study the Word on our own…I have to say, I’m addicted. I also feel quite off & downright grumpy if I try to sleep in & not only miss that time of learning & reflection, but to be up & wide awake before the kids. Well…that in itself is a big deal. Now they get to have “happy” mommy wake them up 90% of the time vs. “for crying out loud could you possibly be quiet for 2 seconds & leave me alone while I get breakfast!!!!???!!” mommy. This doesn’t often alleviate their morning grumpies, but at least it’s only them crying while breakfast is being served instead of all 3 of us.

Now THAT is funny

So, as I mentioned earlier, I applied for job in New York. I don’t anticipate that it’ll work out… but if it did, it would be amazing! So, the funny thing is that I used some “cost of living” calculator on salary.com to see how much more expensive New York is and this is what it said:

The cost of living in New York, NY is 136.2% higher than in Richmond, VA. Therefore, you would have to earn a salary of $118,122 to maintain your current standard of living.

HA! Now, THAT is funny!

New book

So, I rarely recommend a book before I’ve had the chance to read it, but this is going to be good… It has to. Written by Tim Keller, senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, this book was written with the “spiritually skeptical New Yorker” in mind. Here is what Pastor Keller has to say about the book:

How do you tell people something they probably want to know without playing into the great American hype machine? I’ve been getting so many questions about this I thought I would write a simple newsletter article to members and friends to let you know that, yes, I wrote a book.

I’ve been working for some time on a book for the ordinary (which means very sharp) spiritually skeptical New Yorker. Ever since I got to New York nearly two decades ago I’ve wished I had a volume to give people that not only answered objections to Christianity (what has been called ‘apologetics’) but also positively presented the basics of the gospel in an accessible yet substantial way. I had some books that did the one and some that did the other, but only one did both—Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. As you know, I think Lewis’ book is peerless, and foolish would be the author who tried to replace him!

However, the issues in the public discourse around Christianity have become much more complex than they were in the mid and late 20th century. The questions are now not just philosophical (e.g. Is there evidence for God’s existence?) They are also now cultural (Doesn’t strong faith make a multicultural society impossible?), political (Doesn’t orthodox religion undermine freedom?) and personal. Also fifty years ago, when C.S. Lewis was writing, there was general agreement that rational argument and empirical method were the best ways to discover truth. That consensus has vanished. Today there are deep disagreements over how we know things and how certain we can be about anything. Most of the older books presenting Christianity now are only persuasive and even comprehensible to a very narrow range of people.

All this means that there is a great need for new literature that speaks to our time and says, ‘Christianity makes sense.’ I know I’m only one of many who are trying to do this over the next few years. My contribution is slated to be released February 14, 2008, by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Books. Its title is The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. You can find a little more information about it on Amazon.com.

Even though the book is not addressing believers, I still hope it will be a help to the members and friends of Redeemer. It may make it easier to represent your heartfelt beliefs to people you love. That’s my prayer.

The book isn’t available until February, but you can pre-order it on Amazon.com if you’d like… especially if, say, you wanted to buy it as a gift for your favorite blogging family… ehm…

The Blog, A Job, and an Update

First, the blog. Well… we’ve finally settled into the new diggs and I’m pretty happy with the results. For those who watched some of the tweeks we’ve made this week, you’ll notice that I have removed the advertisements out of the posts. While I wasn’t too worried about them being intrusive, I did notice that some of the links went to theologically questionable site that I can’t say we at The Daily Burns can recommend to our readers… So, while the idea of making a few bucks off the ads was nice, it isn’t worth people thinking we are associated with the sites it was sending you to. Along those lines, I will miss the ad for “Pastor Ringtones.” What in the heck is a “Pastor Ringtone?”

Ok, second. Yeah, so the other day I was on the website of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. This is one of the most amazing churches in all of the United States. Their passion for the gospel, church planting, social justice, and so many other areas is truly amazing. The stuff they are doing there is really revolutionary. The senior pastor of the church is Tim Keller and he is on of the most amazing pastors alive today. Well, as I mentioned, I was on their site and I was looking for some sermons to listen to when I stumbled across this:

Executive Assistant to Senior Pastor
Redeemer is seeking a high-level Executive Assistant for our senior pastor, Tim Keller. The candidate will take a lead role in working with Tim and his part-time Executive Assistant. The ideal candidate will have a minimum 8-10 years of job-related experience, including significant administrative and/or personal assistant experience. Strong problem-solving and decision-making abilities, proven organizational skills, initiative and multi-tasking are essential. A minimum of a 4-year college degree is required. For more information and a detailed position description, please send a cover letter and resume to Helen Chen Baez

Now, I doubt I’d get the job or that it’d pay enough to support a family in New York, but hey… I’m going to apply just for the fun of it. Who knows… I might get the job. Which would be really freekin cool. To work, hands on, with Tim Keller. To see and be involved in all that Redeemer is doing in New York and around the world. That training and work environment would serve as some serious training for whatever the future may hold for me as a church planter. So, why not… we’ll see what happens.

Third, an update. Now, while I am applying for this job, we are still very much in the throws of getting ready for going to seminary. Jenn sent in her application the other day and I mailed off my deposit for the spring semester. (Exciting news is that I actually get to sign up for classes beginning November 1st). Now, we still have the one big hurdle left to jump in Richmond, namely selling our house. We had a showing yesterday, which is a pleasant change. Not sure how it went, but hopefully our realtor will call and let us know.

So, I guess that’s all I know for now.

What to do with all that “free time”

This evening I was doing some “research” for a super secret project coming soon to the internet near you (well….might be more of a “Jesus will return soon” type of soon than a “I will be going to bed soon” kind of soon). This activity led to a few rabbit trails that have me wanting to pick up a long-lost hobby:

Crotchet. ideally, I should just learn to knit, there’s far more free patterns to download with knitting than crotchet & from what I gather, it’s easier to get a close…um…stitch (don’t know the lingo). However I’ll be impressed if i finish a sewing project, let alone learn a new skill required for the project. The upside is it is something that can be done while watching tv, so in theory I’ll get a minimum of 3hrs a week in (that’s right folks…I watch TV…take that). That would be enough. The last crochet project i took on was a long-sleeved turtle neck four-legged sweater for our “beloved” (as in, once we had child #2 we gave her away) hairless dog, Anna Banana. She hated it. I’m thinking it was due to the hind-legs being misplaced & ill-fitting. Ryan thinks it’s because dogs shouldn’t wear sweaters. Then again, dogs should probably have fur.

As usual…I digress…

If anyone in richmond knows how to knit & would like to come over & teach me during commercial breaks of House, My Name is Earl, 30 Rock &/or The Office let me know (seriously).