Kathy Petersen’s Blog

A Must-Read

Posted in books by Kathy on September 5, 2009

I recently had the pleasure to read the book Alien Intrusion by Gary Bates. It was very well-written, well-researched (without being boring), and well worth the purchase price. It’s a book everyone should read, whether they believe in aliens or think it’s a bunch of hooey.

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Say what you mean

Posted in Bible, books, Uncategorized by Kathy on May 4, 2008

We live in an age of relativism. Just like Pontius Pilate, many people today are asking, “What is truth?” There is the idea of “it’s right for you, but not for me.” (To a certain extent, I can agree with that — my husband would not be right for you, but is right for me — that sort of thing.) But one thing that is particularly disturbing to me is in the area of changing the meaning of words, or changing what a document says to bend the words to a preconceived notion.

A few years ago, I read a book called The Genesis Flood, by Drs. Whitcomb and Morris, in which they studied what the Bible said about the Flood as described in Genesis. It was very interesting. One of the things they said that stuck with me is that at the time they wrote the book (I think in the late 60s or early 70s, although it has extended up to this day), some people were trying to say that when the Bible said that all the hills and mountains were covered, and all flesh died, and all this and all that… that all didn’t really mean “all.” Now, I know that sometimes “all” can be used in a limited sense — “everybody watches the Olympics” — well, certainly not every single member of the human race does — but that is not the language of Genesis. The authors point out that the original Hebrew terms, specifically the repetition involved in using “all” so many times in such a short space, shows that there is no way that “all” can be taken in a limited sense, without seriously distorting the meaning of the term and in fact the entire Hebrew language. The way they said it was (paraphrasing, because I can’t remember the direct quote), “If this section is not meant to show a global flood, but instead a limited flood, what other terms could have been employed to show a global flood?”

I think about that a lot, as it relates to the Bible, as well as other things. Take, for example, the section of the Constitution that deals with Eminent Domain. Now, it looks pretty simple to me — the government can force you to sell your land if it is needed for public use; however, the Supreme Court has ruled that “public use” includes selling that land to private individuals or organizations for them to build apartment complexes or malls, which will generate more revenue in the form of taxes, which is considered to be beneficial for the public/government. Huh? So, let me ask the question this way: Had the framers of the Constitution intended to restrict Eminent Domain to being used solely to take land for highways and such (what has historically been the restrictions), what language could they have used to delineate that?

I guess that’s why I’m not a lawyer — I like plain English. 🙂

A Visit to the Library

Posted in books, children by Kathy on March 7, 2008

I’ve really grown to appreciate the library a lot lately. We’ve got tons of books–both my husband and I are avid bibliophiles–but the main books I read lately are children’s books. My oldest child is only 3, so I mostly read Dr. Seuss books and others of that level. I can practically quote even the tongue-twisting “Fox in Socks” which was my younger child’s favorite book until a few days ago. His current favorite is an “I Spy” board book with the numbers 1-9. It’s really cute, and he enjoys the bright colors, and even knows most of the numbers in it (he’s 21 months old). Today, out of the blue he counted 1-7 without prompting. Up until now, he’s counted “1, 2, 4, 9, 10!” So it’s good for him to remember those middle numbers. If I say a number, he knows the number after it, so that’s also pretty good. But the library has all sorts of books that we don’t have. Of course, I mainly get children’s books, because if I really want something to read, our personal library affords a pretty good selection.

Yesterday, we got a couple of favorites: “We’re Very Good Friends, My Brother and I,” and “We’re Very Good Friends, My Uncle and I,” by P.K. Hallinan. Since I’ve got two boys, when I saw the first title a few months back, I had to get it, and I was not disappointed. Such sweet lyrics–perfectly encapsulating the brotherly bond (even though “sometimes we don’t always see eye to eye…”).

And we had to get a few “pop culture” books–Barney’s World of Trucks and a couple of Franklin (the turtle) books. We don’t have a TV, and I don’t think my kids have ever seen a Barney tape–it’s possible, but I just don’t think they have–but they love the big purple dinosaur anyway! And they love the BIG TRUCKS, so that was sure to be a winner, even if it’s…well….Barney. When we go to my mom’s, the kids watch a lot of TV–she tapes a bunch of the kids shows on Noggin and Nick Jr., so they’ve seen Franklin.

Then there was a book I didn’t look at while we were there–not sure how my son happened upon it, but it got in the stack so we got it. I read it to myself once we got home, and I’m glad I did. The book is Pumpkinhead, and it was just weird. I’ve linked to the Amazon listing of it, and the first two reviews glow over the book, but the third one could’ve been written by me–“the most disturbing children’s book ever!” Synopsis–a boy is born with a pumpkin for a head and nobody seems to mind (that’s fine)…. and then one day, a big bird flies by and carries off his head (slightly disturbing) to go eat it (very disturbing), and Pumpkinhead can look down and see his body running around headless (and I can picture my child having nightmares about this!) but it’s too heavy, so he drops it and Pumpkinhead expects to go splat (pretty disturbing), but instead he falls into the ocean (okay!) where a big fish swallows him whole (not so okay)….. it continues and Pumpkinhead is finally reunited with his body, which his parents kept “in a cool dry place” for him (that’s just creepy to think about parents storing their beheaded child’s body. It’s just creepy). It may be suitable for some children, but not mine. It’s going back to the library next time I go to town, and it’s going to be kept out of sight until then. Just plain weird–and that’s being charitable.

Still, I really like the library, and it has so many books to choose from that I probably won’t even read them all before my kids “graduate” to Hardy Boys (or whatever the next step is for boys). I get tired of our books, because I’ve read most of them so often that I can quote them, and so can my kids–so I can’t skip anymore without being called on it. But if I get a few new books every couple of weeks or so, then I have an essentially endless supply, and actually have access to more books than I otherwise would. Being frugal, I wouldn’t buy all-new books; and being a stay-at-home mom whose husband is a teacher, I couldn’t even if I wanted to. I’ve had trouble finding good books at yard sales–either in extremely poor condition, or were books I just didn’t want. So getting books at the library is an excellent way to have a lot of “new” books to read to my kids while not spending a dime! (As long as I can remember to turn them in before they’re overdue.)

The Power of a Praying Wife

Posted in books, Christianity by Kathy on January 13, 2008

It’s kind of funny how things just “happen.” (Nope, there’s no such thing as “luck.”) My mom was cleaning out her house, and really purging, and had some books she was getting rid of, so I took some. One of them happened to be The Power of a Praying Wife. I’m a Christian; I pray; I pray for my husband, my children, my church, my nation. But I often don’t feel like it does any good, and a lot of times, I don’t really feel like I’m praying–like my prayers aren’t reaching above the ceiling. Consequently, I often don’t pray when I know I should; or when I do, I feel like it’s a duty, rather than a privilege. So I knew I needed help in this area, and decided to read this book as I could (which is typically while nursing my 19-month-old).

I started it last night, and only read the introductory chapter (I was extremely tired, otherwise I probably would have read through the whole thing), and it was absolutely riveting. At first, I expected it to be one of these ho-hum books written by one of these perfect people that have had a picturesque life–unreal, you know? But it soon became obvious that this author has lived the struggles of life–she openly admits that she contemplated divorce at one time because her marriage was so unfulfilling; and the only thing that kept her from it was that she was convinced that divorce is not allowed for Christians. She so desired for her husband to change in some particular areas, but it wasn’t until she “had a conversation with God” in which He showed her that she just needed to “shut up and pray” that she was able to have peace–and God did bring change in her husband’s life later. It was convicting to me, because I realized that by not praying for my husband, I was depriving him of some of the power that God had designed for him. No, God is not bound by our prayers, or lack thereof; but He does tell us to pray, and tells us that He will answer prayers. I get the feeling that there are storehouses up in heaven full to bursting with resources that God is waiting to shower down on us, if we’ll just ask Him. But they are full because we’re not asking. Sometimes, I confess that I think that that makes God sound mean or stingy–“you mean, we have to say ‘pretty-please’ before He gives us what we know we want or need?!” Yet, if we got everything handed to us on a silver platter, we’d be one of these spoiled “trust-fund brats” like Paris Hilton who wouldn’t know, much less care, about Who gave us the things we got; and we wouldn’t consider them to be blessings–we’d take them as our just desserts–like God owes us something just because we exist.

This book is exactly what I needed at exactly the right time. I’ve been frustrated for the past several weeks especially (although I’ve recognized some parts of this for my entire 5-year marriage) at how my husband handles some things. I see areas in which he needs to change–areas, in fact, that I perceive as keeping him from the blessings that God is waiting to bestow. I think that “if he’ll just do this or do that” then he will get what it is he’s actually wanting. But it seems that when I’ve mentioned some things, he just gets hurt, angry, and/or discouraged. So I’ve been wanting a way to tell him so that he will hear it. I think that what I am saying is Biblical–I can point to Bible verses (usually Proverbs) that clearly say the same things I’m thinking….but he’s not listening.

So, now you’re probably thinking that this book is how to manipulate your husband into doing what you want. Nope–although she does have several stories of how husbands (including her own) have changed of their own accord after their wives prayed–usually months of prayers. The book covers 30 different areas of your husband’s life, and specific ways you can help him by praying (or hinder him by not praying). This isn’t about getting your way. It’s about getting out of the way so that God can move to change your husband–if it’s His desire so to do. Several times while reading the book, I was moved to tears, because of the depth of longing I have for my husband to excel in these ways. These tears weren’t mostly because my husband isn’t “there” yet; they were mostly tears of shame, because, while I have desired these things for him, and wanted to tell him how to get them, I never thought about praying that God would move in his life so that he also would desire these things, and that he would know or learn how to get them.

I read through this book today–devoured it. Simple yet profound. The words cut to my heart many times. It won’t be easy; I’m sure there will be times that the answer to prayer will be painful–and that scares me! But I know it will be worth it, and I know that God will keep us and bear us through that. It’s a book I plan on reading often.