Wednesday, December 28, 2005

My "Would-Have-Been" Alma Mater

I went to Dover High School. My mother and all her siblings graduated from Dover High. My cousins graduated from DHS, as well. But I did not. In the latter part of my sophomore year, my father made a decision that changed my life forever. He took me out of public school and placed me in a private Christian School. That was over twenty years ago.

Today, I read that Cal Thomas urged parents to make a choice just like my father did for me and for my brother: "Religious parents should exercise the opportunity that has always been theirs. They should remove their children from state schools with their "instruction manuals" for turning them into secular liberals, and place them in private schools — or home school them — where they will be taught the truth, according to their parents’ beliefs."

I remember the ideological/theological struggles I had with some of the reading assignments I was given in my English Literature class. I felt the social pressure of "secularization" and I knew that I was in a battle to defend my beliefs, my culture, and even my identity. It was a great relief to enter a private educational setting, with smaller class sizes, and teachers that I could respect. It was the right choice for me.

Below is the article written by my favorite columnist, Cal Thomas. I quoted it in its entirety from this website: Anniston Star Opinion

INSIGHT

It’s time to leave public schools


By Cal Thomas


12-28-2005

The decision by U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III to bar the teaching of "intelligent design" in the Dover, Pa., public school district on grounds it is a thinly veiled effort to introduce a religious view of the world’s origins is welcome for at least two reasons.

First, it exposes the sham attempt to take through the back door what proponents have no chance of getting through the front door. Judge Jones rebuked advocates of "intelligent design," saying they repeatedly lied about their true intentions. He noted many of them had said publicly that their intent was to introduce into the schools a biblical account of creation. Judge Jones properly wondered how people who claim to have such astrong religious convictions could lie, thus violating prohibitions in the Book they proclaim as their source of truth and standard for living.

Culture has long passed by advocates of intelligent design, school prayer and numerous other beliefs and practices that were once tolerated, even promoted, in public education. People who think they can reclaim the past have been watching too many repeats of "Leave it to Beaver" on cable television. Those days are not coming back anytime soon, if at all.

Culture, including the culture of education, now opposes what it once promoted or at least tolerated. The secular left, which resists censorship in all its forms when it comes to sex, library books and assigned materials that teach the "evils" of capitalism and "evil America," is happy to censor any belief that can be tagged "religious."

This leads to the second reason for welcoming Judge Jones’ ruling. It should awaken religious conservatives to the futility of trying to make a secular state reflect their beliefs. Too many people have wasted too much time and money since the 1960s, when prayer and Bible reading were outlawed in public schools, trying to get these and a lot of other things restored. The modern secular state should not be expected to teach Genesis 1, or any other book of the Bible, or any other religious text.

That the state once did such things, or at least did not undermine what parents taught their children, is irrelevant. The culture in which we now live no longer reflects the beliefs of our grandparents’ generation. For better, or for worse (and a strong case can be made that things are much worse), people who cling to the beliefs of previous generations have been given another chance to do what they should have been doing all along.

Religious parents should exercise the opportunity that has always been theirs. They should remove their children from state schools with their "instruction manuals" for turning them into secular liberals, and place them in private schools — or home school them — where they will be taught the truth, according to their parents’ beliefs.

Court rulings such as this should persuade parents who’ve been waffling to take their kids and join the growing exodus from state schools into educational environments more conducive to their beliefs.


Cal Thomas’ column is distributed by Tribune Media Services.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Near-Misses and Miss-Communication!

Although the warm temperature feels nice, it's not a good thing for road conditions.

I very nearly had a wreck today on the icy roads in downtown Fairbanks! I slid around the corner into the other lane. (Not speeding, I was at a complete stop at a red light, but the road turned immediately after the intersection, and it was on a slanted, icy bridge!) The other driver and I could have reached through the car windows and shook hands, we were so close!

Who knows? An angel could have stopped me from hitting the vehicle. I remember shutting my eyes, whispering "JESUS," and waiting for the jarring impact and a crushing metal sound. When I didn't hear any crashing noises, I opened my eyes and saw another wide-eyed pair of eyes right beside me! I had stopped just short of scraping the paint off the side of the vehicle. That was close!

Tonight would be a great night for putting up the lights on the house. I must have spent over two hours yesterday untangling the cords of about ten "icicle" lights. Then I spent another hour trying to change fuses and light bulbs to get them all working. Doesn't seem like it was worth my time, considering a box of lights is on sale for $3.97! (It's even cheaper with my employee discount!)

Oh well, tonight is our church's Christmas musical presentation. 'Tis the season.

Tomorrow is my birthday.

My poor husband can't win. He played a cruel joke on me, completely unintentionally. He asked me how to spell the name of the "Vallatta" Restaurant, as he was looking up the phone number in the directory. I spelled it for him, giving him a mini-lesson on etymology, as I assumed it was from the Italian word for "village." Meanwhile, I was wondering why he messed around and made the reservation right in front of me, instead of just surprising me tomorrow night.

Thinking it was better to be direct with my communication, I asked, "Oh, are you taking me there? It was only a year ago at this time that you took me to that restaurant." Now, unfortunately, only one of us had remembered the connection between the restaurant and my birthday, and apparently it wasn't him! Inserting dear hubby's huge foot into his own mouth, he replied, "Well, no ... money doesn't grow on trees, you know."

About the same time that it dawned upon me that I had made an embarrassing assumption it also dawned on hubby that he was in trouble. Just then, the phone call went through, and my husband went ahead with his original plan (one-track mind of a man!) to arrange to pay for a church couple's dinner by credit card, because he heard they were celebrating their anniversary tonight at that restaurant.

GGGGRRRRRRR!

It's hard to be mad at someone when he has such good intentions!

Wacky Weather!

What's wrong with this picture?


28ºF
Overcast
Wind: SW at 7 mph
Humidity: 64%
Today
Chance of Snow Showers
36º | 22º
Sat
Mostly Sunny
36º | 18º
Sun
Partly Sunny
28º | 15º
Mon
Chance of Snow Showers
24º | 17º

28ºF
Clear
Wind: W at 4 mph
Humidity: 55%
Today
Mostly Sunny
37º | 22º
Sat
Chance of Snow
31º | 18º
Sun
Chance of Snow
29º | 14º
Mon
Mostly Sunny
30º | 16º

46ºF
Mostly Cloudy
Wind: E at 13 mph
Humidity: 57%
Today
Mostly Sunny
18º | 12º
Sat
Mostly Sunny
16º | 3º
Sun
Partly Sunny
9º | -6º


Lovin' the heat wave!


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

SWMBLOG

Check out this blog.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Recent News!

Well, I got a job! I work 9-3, M-F, at Michael's! I love it! The Christmas music gets a little old; it's been on for three weeks now. I do love the floral arrangements, and last Thursday, I got to help create the Christmas centerpieces! I have unwrapped lots of new ornaments, etc., and decorated some Christmas trees. My favorite part of the job was cleaning out the clearance section, the best section in the whole store. My actual title is "price integrity coordinator" which is a fancy way of telling people what my daughter said to me on my first day, "Oh, you put stickers on and take them off all day." Well, yes, but I do coordinate the prices all over the store, and make sure they are the right prices, with integrity :-)

It was pretty mind-boggling at first; they gave me a whole bunch of stickers, and a checklist to check off each price change, and a shopping cart to push around, and said, "Go, find them all." So, now I know where everything is in the whole store. (Well, not exactly; they move them around a lot, which is really frustrating!) The hardest adjustment to make was being on my feet for six to eight hours a day. I should wear a pedometer! It's a new way of shopping 'till you drop!

Sometimes I wish I had waited for a better-paying job with benefits. I like my hours, and the job is really kind of fun (at times), and the pay could be worse, so I'm not complaining.

It's one degree Fahrenheit right now. Kids were out trick-or-treating in our neighborhood, but we went to a quiet restaurant, and our kids helped out at the Harvest Party at church. Daylight Savings is over, October is gone; it's time to crawl into the covers and hibernate until spring. Ha!

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Greatest Show on Earth

Once upon a time, in a land not very far away, there was a rather large and famous circus—the “Greatest Show on Earth.” People came by the hundreds to see the spectacular shows put on by this circus. Children were awed and fascinated by the funny clowns and feats of bravery; women delighted in the glamorous array of colors and costumes; and men were impressed (but tried not to act too interested) with the magic tricks and balancing acts.

The Owner and Creator of the circus was a Kind, Benevolent One, who grieved at some of the raucous antics put on by the circus group for the sake of entertainment. The Owner was very busy and important, so He entrusted most of the affairs of the circus to His manager, the Minister—I mean, the Master of Ceremonies. M.C., (as he was called) had many responsibilities, as one would imagine, for such a large and famous circus, but he was wise and mature. He did his best, and he meant well; he was loved and appreciated. Generally, the circus workers got along well together, from the clowns to the cotton candy sellers, and they were all one big happy family, working and living together at the circus.

Alas, one day, as was bound to happen, there arose a scuffle under the big tent. During one particularly rowdy show, the Ringleader had gotten her feathers quite ruffled, and rumors were flying that she was at odds with one of the lions. Apparently, this Lioness had shown menacing behavior in the ring, and also in past encounters with the Ringleader outside the ring. Alarm spread throughout the crew, like the dust kicked up by the scuffle: this simply would not do, to have mistrust breeding among this big, happy, circus family.

Rose, the Ringleader, was a very important program coordinator: she always had all of her “elephants in a row.” She employed a host of clowns under her program whose job was simply to entertain the huge crowds of children that packed out the Big Tent for every circus show. Lydia, the Lioness, was an influential part of the circus, too. This particular lioness had a mate who sat on a high platform and held a formidable authority over the other lions in the pack. He was a well-trained, regal-looking lion, and people loved to see him leap onto the platform and hold up a chair for the other lions to prance under. Lydia Lioness was often called, “Queen of the Pride,” because she mothered several cubs. On this night, however, her behavior was mean and vicious, not nurturing at all. Shock and horror rippled through the crowd, when the Lioness snarled and showed her teeth. The Ringleader thought she must have done something wrong, for the Lioness to have acted so threateningly, so she quickly called for the Lion-tamer to intervene.

(Parental warning: due to graphic details, parents may not wish to continue reading this story to their little children.)


Lily, the Lion-tamer, happened to be married to the Master of Ceremonies. Lily was not bold and daring as many thought, but rather a shy and timid personality, which earned her the nickname, “Lily-livered.” Lions love to eat liver—and they could smell fear from a mile away. Lily did not realize what a dangerous a position she was in, and neither did her husband, M.C. After all, the lions had always seemed tame—especially Lydia, the Lioness. Lily had always enjoyed reading about lion-taming, but she liked the idea of confronting and training the lions much more than actually doing it.

Incredibly naive, Lily, the lily-livered lion-tamer, jumped into the ring with both feet when Rose, the Ringleader, called for her assistance. A huge cage was lowered from somewhere up above the ring, leaving only Lily and Lydia enclosed in the iron bars.

(Insertion: the moral to the story is “Never get into a cage with an angry lioness.”)

As the bars lowered around them, angry claws lashed out and whips cracked in the air. Total chaos seemed to last forever, although it was only a few minutes. When the smoke cleared, it looked as though the Lion-tamer had scored a victory, as the lioness crouched upon her perch. But, no—she was only resting. At this point, the Master of Ceremonies decided he’d better step into the ring, so he brought his faithful, loyal clown along with him, hoping to lighten up the atmosphere a bit. But they were no help at all, standing outside the iron bars, except to distract the attention of Lydia for a few seconds. Upon seeing them, the Lioness’s anger was incited further, for she was threatened by their presence. In an instant, all the growling and snarling ceased, signaling a deadly pause. Suddenly, the lioness pounced!

In an unprecedented attack, this here-to-fore friendly lioness turned into a raging predator, tearing flesh from limb, fur flying, blood spurting—it was an ugly scene in front of a horrified crowd. M.C. and the clown stood helplessly and watched, but they could do nothing to protect the lion-tamer. When the ruckus was over, the Master of Ceremonies stepped up to the microphone and announced the end of the show. The clowns rolled away all the props and the platform; the cage was lifted; the crowd, the crew, and the lions left; and the lights were turned out. In all of the mayhem following the vicious attack, it seems that everyone forgot to help the victim. Rose, the Ringleader, though shaken, managed to walk away from the encounter relatively unscathed. She had gone home for the evening to rest. Lydia, the Lioness, went back to her huge pride to lick her wounds and gloat over getting away with such wicked, rebellious behavior. Apparently, M.C. had so many details to take care of, for such a large and famous circus, that he forgot about his own wife, the bloodied pulp of a lily-livered lion-tamer laying on the floor.

Lily was dying, slowly bleeding to death. Dazed and almost in shock, she waited for merciful death, trying to rehearse what went wrong. Why did the video techniques on lion-taming not work this time? How could something so terrible happen, and the kind-hearted M.C. just stand by and watch? Where was the Great Circus Owner throughout this crisis—gone away on a trip!

Crying bitterly from the pain and injustice of it all, Lily, the Lion-tamer, lay in the center of the ring, under the Big Tent of the Greatest Show on Earth. Blissful death does not always arrive so easily. In a cruel sort of way, life goes on in the midst of suffering. It seems that “the SHOW must go on!” no matter the suffering of the victims.

The next day, the Master of Ceremonies found Lily in the center of the ring. He felt terrible, of course, for he really meant well, but he did not know how to administer first aid. All he could do was hold her and console her while she wept bitter tears. After a while, the faithful clown came into the ring, and he offered a great deal of sympathy, which helped to soothe her wounds like a salve. There seemed to be nothing anyone could do for the poor lion-tamer, except to offer sympathy. Rose, the Ringleader, came by later to visit Lily, and to express appreciation for her brave act of intervention. Nothing had been done to punish Lydia Lioness, however, and the Ringleader was still afraid of her. Someone told Lily something that made her feel even more miserable. It had been announced that the Lioness had reconciled with the Ringleader, and they were all one big, happy family again.

Healing of Lily’s painful wounds came very slowly, and the scars left from fear and distrust made the healing even slower. The Lion-tamer was out of commission for a long while. A ‘Help Wanted’ sign was posted for the position of temporary Lion-tamer, but no applicants seemed to want the job. The circus was getting a bad reputation for its wild, unruly lions, especially since no one cracked the whip at them any more. Lily didn’t think she could ever do the job again. Indeed, the whole glamour of the circus-life was over for her, and she contemplated moving on to another career after she recovered. The Lion-tamer was trapped, though, because she was married to the Master of Ceremonies, and the show had to continue on. One thing was for sure, the show went on and on, and people came from near and far. Everybody loved the circus—the “Greatest Show on Earth.”

In a land not very far away, the circus is still in town. The crowd waits for hours to get into the Big Tent. The Master of Ceremonies still looks dashing and debonair, though his hair is a bit greyer. The Ringleader keeps all of her elephants in a row, and the clowns are fabulously funny. Even the lions are amazingly cooperative, having played their parts so well for so long. Only a trained eye could catch the menacing glimmer of evil in the Lioness, or the slight, upturned start of a growl that is quickly restrained.

Where is the Lion-tamer? Lily is hiding safely away from the crowd’s eyes, in the back of the crew’s tent, still in recovery from the deadly, vicious attack. The life of a lily-livered lion-tamer is very lonely.

The moral of the story has already been offered: never get in the cage with an angry lion. Perhaps it might even prove safer never to go NEAR a lion, but that would require staying away from the circus.

The Show will go on;


the Show must go on…


...it’s the Greatest Show on Earth!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

If your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness...

I've always wondered about this: What Is the “Bad Eye” in Matthew 6:23?

John Piper wrote an excellent article on his website, Desiring God, answering this question.
What does the bad eye refer to in Matthew 20:15? It refers to an eye that cannot see the beauty of grace. It cannot see the brightness of generosity. It cannot see unexpected blessing to others as a precious treasure. It is an eye that is blind to what is truly beautiful and bright and precious and God-like. It is a worldly eye. It sees money and material reward as more to be desired than a beautiful display of free, gracious, God-like generosity.
It's all about perspective.

My contact lenses were so dirty yesterday that I thought every room in the house was smoky. We often have hazy, smoke-filled days in summer due to forest fires. But, when I asked the kids if it was smoky, they said, "No." So, I took my contacts out and put them in a cleaning solution overnight. No more foggy, blurry vision! Amazing how in my perspective I assumed that the whole house was in a haze, when it was really just my eyes.

I know my eyes are bad, physically, due to genetics. If I don't wear corrective lenses, I am legally blind. It's not a good thing when the corrective lenses are "bad" or dirty.

How much worse is it when my spiritual eyes are bad, due to sinful nature? Then my perspective is filled with sinful thoughts, causing me to perceive and react in wrong ways. I need the cleansing, restoring work of the Holy Spirit to bring light to my mind, body, and soul.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Hurricane Katrina: In the Words of My Twelve-Year-Old Son


My son, Ben (nickname), wrote this poem after hearing his dad's sermon in church, followed by an extended season of corporate prayer for the victims of Hurricane Katrina:

It makes me sad that the levy's did not hold
People died young and old
Some did not heed the wisdom of the evacuation
What Katrina did hurt the entire nation
Sure people made it to the superdome
But now almost all have no home.

Getting on the bus must be hard
They even have people from the National Guard
Water up to the roof
The devastation of Katrina they have proof
Some people sick, others dead
Just thinking of this hurts my head

People sad from separation
That is true devastation
People fighting for food
People acting very rude
People dead on the ground
Next to people all around

People, we need to pray
For there are some dying every day.


09/04/05 12:55 PM "Hurricane Katrina"

Monday, August 29, 2005

Is it worth my time?

This is a great post, complete with beautiful sunset pictures, written by Paul Egge and copied from the blog, "FISH BOWL":
__________________________________________________________

Good Bye...


S3

Hello everyone...

S1


... Or should I say good-bye.

As an economics major you learn many things. Perhaps the greatest concept I learned in education is the value of a concept called "opportunity cost." I will refer to this as "OC." OC inherently challenges everything you do by asking the question, "What else could you being doingS5 right now." What is the opportunity cost of doing what you are doing right now?

By you reading this right now you are not doing everything else that you "could" be doing. You, in essence, have made a decision that reading this right now is the most productive, interesting and beneficial thing that you could do. I made a decision that me writing this was the most beneficial use of my time at the time that I did it.S7

Blogging is fun and beneficial but I have concluded that it is not the best use of my Sunset_1 time at this point in my life. My time is better spent elsewhere. The truth is that blogging takes time, perhaps too much time.

It has been fun to share, force and ramble my ideas to you over this blog. I have enjoyed many of the responses that many of you have shared. ... S4


...Know thyself and ultimately know God!



The above post was written by Paul Egge in the blog, "FISH BOWL".

________________________________________________________

I just can't seem to get away from posting on the theme of "time" lately. Must be on my mind alot. I've already been accused of having too much time on my hands. That's all about to change soon, as I have been seriously job-hunting, and have applications out and interviews lined up this week. I needed a job all summer, so it's getting to the desperate stage.

If you think of it, pray for me: I need God's wisdom in this job-search. It has to be just the right amount of hours, with great pay, and no stress! Okay, so I'm picky! That's a bit unrealistic, I know, but God knows my needs. Pray that I'll let Him guide me, and provide for a job for me.

After all, my time is worth a lot!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

When time is no more

The author of this post is gone on Sabbatical (must be nice!) but I'd like to initiate a discussion about these statements, and analyze their ramifications:
..."You are never more in ministry than where you are at present." ... God is never more to you and me, we are never more his, nor is the world ever closer to God than at this moment... There is not a greater next than the moment we've been given...
That is one of the most frightening, sobering ideas I have ever heard. Is there no hope of growth and development or advancement in an intimate relationship with God? What about the scriptures that tell of transforming grace, being "changed from glory to glory"?

I can vaguely grasp and appreciate the idea of the fullness of time; that the presence of Jesus ushers in the Kingdom of God here and now, eternity in the present. I believe that we will be held accountable for each "tiny moment" and that "this moment is the most holy of all." But,"nothing more" and "never more" strike a fatalistic chord in my heart.

I know it was not the intention of the writer to discourage his readers, but rather to instill a joyful purpose and holy calling in all of us. Instead of spending our lives waiting for the end of time, we should live each moment to the fullest, literally in the"fullness of time." Like the admonishment, "Carpe Diem!" we should live each day as if it is our last day on earth.

This was the writer's conclusion, after pondering:
"What's next is what's now."

Then he quoted Eugene Peterson in Christ Plays...: "I finally got it: end time enfluences present, ordinary time, not by diminishing or denegrating it but by charging it, filling it with purpose and significance. The end time is not a future we wait for but the gift of the fullness of time that we receive in adoration and obedience as it flows into the present."

Where does that leave hope for a better future?

If I will never be more in ministry than where I am now, then I am going nowhere!
If God is never more to me, and I am never going to be closer to Him than I am now in this moment, then He is far away!
If there is no greater "next" than this moment now, there's nothing great about this moment!

I guess it isn't always helpful to tell a depressed person, "It doesn't get any better than this!" :-)

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Be Not Dismayed ... God Will Take Care Of You!

Have you ever stayed up half the night worrying about finances, wondering how you're going to get through the winter, where the money is going to come from to cover the rising fuel costs, how you're ever going to pay all the bills? Come on, be honest! I know you have.

Have you ever been sorely tempted to rob your kids' piggy bank, to "borrow some cash until payday"? Have you ever looked around the house at pieces of furniture with dollar signs in your eyes, wondering how much that item would go for in a garage sale? Have you ever considered becoming a breeder for your pet, just to bring in some extra money? Have you ever gone "backwards shopping" to return impulse buys and unwanted items (with tags intact and sales receipts, of course!)? Surely, you can relate to one of those scenarios.

Perhaps you can recall a day of panic and crisis, marked by embarrassment over a check that bounced or a debit card that didn't go through; fear and mortification upon discovery that the bank account balance was $2.98; followed up with an emergency transfer of funds or a trip to the bank to make a deposit? If you've ever had that unpleasant experience, maybe it was a wake-up call to get a better handle on your personal finances.

Maybe you decided to create a budget, or curtail your eating out expenses. Maybe you went on a job hunt, or put in an application to advance at your present workplace. Maybe you thought about getting a night job at the gas station nearby, but the fear of robberies (and the need for sleep!) kept you from actually applying there.

Did any of that worrying actually provide any answers to your financial dilemma? Did you solve the financial crisis, just by ruminating over it, until 3:00am? Did you at least come up with a plan of action, or was your mind too clouded with fear and fog from lack of sleep?

The Bible talks about money more than any other subject. It also has alot to say about worrying. I think the bottom line is that God expects us to be responsible stewards of our finances, but to remember that He is our Father who Provides, Jehovah-Jirah! The antidote for worry is a strong dose of simple child-like faith! It also acts a good sleep-aid, too.

Try it the next time you are tempted to whittle away the hours worrying all night. Worrying doesn't get you anywhere, but faith can move mountains!

1. Be not dismayed, what e'er betide, God will take care of you;
Beneath His wings of love abide, God will take care of you.

Refrain:
God will take care of you through every day, o'er all the way;
He will take care of you, God will take care of you.

2. Through days of toil, when heart doth fail, God will take care of you;
When dangers fierce your path assail, God will take care of you.

3. All you may need He will provide, God will take care of you;
Nothing you ask will be denied, God will take care of you.

4. No matter what may be the test, God will take care of you;
Lean, weary one, upon His breast, God will take care of you.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Listen to the clock ticking!

The house is so quiet today that the clock on the wall is bugging me again. My ADD brain can't filter out the incessant ticking, even though I have tried padding the back of the clock with soft cotton. It's so loud, it makes me synchronize the ticks with the beating of my heart. I swear if I listen long enough, I'd hear my own biological clock marking off the seconds of my life!

In a moment or two, I'll get up and turn some soft worship music on. Not just yet; for a while I'll sit here, listening to the sounds of an empty house. It's such an odd stillness. Just yesterday, the fans were running, the phone was ringing, the doorbell was chiming, the dog was barking...and the whole house echoed with the obnoxiously rude noises of two adolescent boys playing an aggravatingly loud video game.

What a difference one day can make! With the flip of a calendar page, school has begun. Summer break has ended, "sleeping in" is over, free time has been curtailed. "Back-to-school" is an annual ritual, but it's different for me this time. My baby girl left the house this morning, ending a year of homeschool, and walked in to a public high school. My first-born...is now a freshman! My baby boy got up and showered, put gel in his hair, donned his private school uniform, and entered the twilight-zone of seventh grade. (Oh, horrors! How soon will he start shaving?) Elementary education is over for this family, it's time to clean out the picture books and grade-school supplies. My youngest is now a junior-high student!

I feel as though I'm having a pre-season peek at the "Empty Nest Syndrome." Oh, yes, by the way, where is that dear husband I've been married to for eighteen years? Well, it seems that he is off chasing polar bears on some island way up in the Arctic ocean right now. [Honestly, I'm not kidding, he really is in Kaktovik, on Barter Island. Look it up!] I was a bit miffed when it dawned on me that I'd be handling the morning rush myself, for the first two days of school, driving both kids to school in opposite directions. Okay, I'm still a bit miffed, but secretly quite proud of how smoothly the morning routine actually went.

I must confess I relish the solitude of an empty house almost as much as a hidden candy bar. This day is all mine, to fritter away, nibbling at the minutes (while listening to the clock tick!) -- or to chomp at with gusto, gobbling up big chunks of time (cleaning and organizing, which is what I'm supposed to be doing right now). Solitude is so delicious! It's such a luxury to savor the silence, to soak in the sunlight, to sip a cup of Seattle's best. Like a favorite poster saying, "Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits."

But, dog-gone, that clock keeps on ticking! Like an annoying pest, poking at my arm, it won't go away or slow down. The clock is my enemy; every night it steals precious minutes of sunlight from the next day, until the winter solstice, when it grudgingly starts adding them back.

Well, I guess it's time. Guess I'd better turn on some peppy music, and get my body moving!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Puzzle Pieces

Here is a really neat in-depth Bible study, put together like a jig-saw puzzle. Follow the pieces of the puzzle to each new link.
God's Secret Treasure
Treasures, Hidden, Riches, and Secret: key words that fit together like a puzzle.
When we connect all our puzzle pieces together, this is the picture we see: a treasure chest full of God's secret treasure.
©Dee Dee Hall-2001

Monday, August 15, 2005

Where did the summer go?



We're gearing up for "Back-to-School" this week. After a very busy week at the Tanana Valley State Fair, we had a garage sale! Garage sales are fun to shop, but lots of work to sell. The trouble is when you go to too many garage sales, you eventually must have one to sell all the "bargains" you picked up.

We're quickly approaching our week of Fall. Notice, I did not refer to fall season. In Alaska, we have one month of summer, one week of spring, and one week of fall. The rest is winter. I've heard it said that in Alaska there are four seasons: Winter, almost winter, still winter, and summer. That is more truth than fiction, folks.

It was actually hot and muggy for a day or two, last week, during the Fair. The annual fair is always the first week of August, and it always rains the whole week. Not this year, though! Record temperatures and sunny skies replaced the rainy season this time.

This week, however, the smoke rolled in from forest fires. The atmosphere is a thick grayish-orange hue, and the sun looks like a cinnamon fireball. (What's the name of those candy jawbreakers: red-hots? fireballs?) Picnics and school sports practices are all cancelled, due to the dangers of breathing in the smoke-filled particles of air. It puts a damper on the kids' last week of freedom, but they are used to it. Last summer it was several weeks of smoke.

It's hard to believe our "endless summer days" are almost over!

That's it for the weather commentary. No need for a weather forecast in winter: it's always the same ... cold and dark!

Treasures of the darkness?

1. The forest fires go out.
2. The Light shines brighter.
3. There's more time and inclination to cuddle up and snuggle--with a good book!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Treasure Hunt

ARE YOU ON A TREASURE HUNT?

Are there not treasures in the Lord Jesus? Oh! what treasures of grace in His glorious Person! What treasures of pardon in His precious blood! What treasures of righteousness in His perfect obedience! What treasures of salvation in all that He is and has as the great High Priest over the house of God! …

… But it is only as these hidden riches of secret places are thus opened up to the soul that we see, or feel, or know what the Lord Jesus Christ is to those that believe in and love His holy name. It is this bringing forth of the hidden riches of secret places which stamps a divine reality upon God's Word, and makes it to be spirit and life to the soul.

To feel the power and blessedness of these things is a part of that "secret of the Lord which is with those who fear Him;" and it is by getting into these blessed secrets, handling these treasures, and obtaining possession of these riches, that we come experimentally to realize what a blessed power there is in a divine heartfelt religion. We may see the doctrines plainly enough in the Word of God; but if that be all we know about them, it is like seeing money which is not our own, and casting up accounts of other people's property.

The grand point is not only to see the riches, but to be put in possession of them. A religion without power, without savor, without a felt blessedness in the truth of God, by the application of the Spirit, is worthless both for time and eternity. …

(See the link to my post in the header box above for the author info.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A Parody of "Cartoons" by Chris Rice

"I was thinking the other day, what if nursery rhymes got married?
They'd be living their days in a whole new way:"

Our Life As A Nursery Rhyme

HE: "Paully-Wolly"
SHE: "Cindy-Lou"

HE thinks to himself:

(Georgy Porgy, pudding and pie, Kissed the girls and made them cry.
Peter, Peter, pumpkin-eater, Had a wife and couldn't keep her;) . . .

so,
Paully, Wally, Rootbeer float,(*see comment below) Threw her in a riverboat.
He put her in a strait-jacket, And there he kept her very well.

SHE:
Row, row, row your boat--Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, Life is but a dream.

HE:
Oh my Cindy Lou’s such a maiden fair,
Singin' Paully Wolly Doodle all the day,
With her curly eyes and her laughing hair.
Sing Paully Wolly Doodle all the day.

HE: Little maid, pretty maid, whither goest thou?
SHE: Down in the meadow to milk my cow.
HE: Shall I go with thee?
SHE: No, not now. When I send for thee, then come thou.

SHE:
Goosey, goosey, gander, Whither shall I wander?
Upstairs, and downstairs, And in my lady's chamber.

HE:
“See-saw, Marjory Daw,” you shall have a new master,
You shall have but a penny a day, Because you won't work any faster.

SHE: Paul, “Tommy Tucker”, sing for your supper.
HE: What shall I sing for? SHE: White bread and butter.
HE thinks to himself: (How shall I cut it without any knife?)
SHE thinks to herself: (How shall he manage without any wife?)

SHE: Paully, put the kettle on, Paully, put the kettle on,
Paully, put the kettle on, And let’s drink tea.
HE: Cindy, take it off again, Cindy, take it off again,
Cindy, take it off again, They’re all gone away.

HE: Cindy, Cindy, quite contrary, How does your garden grow?
SHE: With silver bells and cockleshells, And pretty maids all in a row.

“Punch and Judy” fought for pie; Paul gave Cindy a knock on the eye.
Says Paul to Cindy, "Will you have any more?"
Says Cindy to Paul, "My eye is too sore."

HE: So I'd like to know where, you got the notion…
Said I'd like to know where, you got the notion…
to rock the boat, don't rock the boat baby
rock the boat, don't tip the boat over
rock the boat, don't rock the boat baby… DON'T ROCK THE BOAT, DEAR!

HE:
Don't rock the boat dear… Keep our love afloat dear
Strike that happy note dear…We're not lost at sea

SHE:
Keep our love ready…And never high or heady
Always keep it steady…The way it ought to be

BOTH:
Even though we're out in deep water
We must save the future for sons and daughters

SON:
What are little boys made of, made of?
What are little boys made of?
"Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails;
And that's what little boys are made of, made of."

DAUGHTER:
What are little girls made of, made of, made of?
What are little girls made of?
"Sugar and spice and all that's nice;
And that's what little girls are made of, made of."

SHE:
Up to now we sailed through every storm
but I've always had your tender lips to keep me warm
oh I need to have the strength that flows from you
don't let me drift away my dear, when (your) love can see me through.

BOTH:
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily … Life is but a dream!


* Rootbeer float: what we had on our first date!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Tiny Moments

Every time you make a choice, however small, you turn the central innermost part of you — SELF — into something slightly different than it was before… either more in love with itself or more committed to the services of others, more desirous of gratifying its own hungers or more eager to lay them aside, more intent to feed its independence or looking instead for opportunities to yield that independence to Him who made you, more satisfied to put itself first or ever in search for ways to subserve itself to others.

Every good impulse to which you yield, every base or selfish one you resist, every attitude you embrace or reject, every word, every motive, every act — each registers its stamp upon your SELF. Add up a million such choices and look at the progress in one direction or another…Each choice or attitude makes an invisible mark on the central YOU(SELF) that makes it easier and more likely for you to respond in a similar way the next time. Every choice you make plants a flower. Each of you possess like opportunity to use your moments to turn the central thing of character – SELF — into a garden of radiant beauty and heavenly fragrance…or to squander these same moments with self-gratifying choices that cast off a stench rather that perfume…and turn the blossoms brown.

(Adapted from this lovely little book:)

Garden At The Edge Of Beyond
“The Garden at the Edge of Beyond” by Michael Phillips

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Words! Words! Words!

This morning I picked up my son’s Stanford Achievement Test results from last year (6th grade). As expected, his scores were above average and across the board he rated a grade equivalent of 2 to 4 grades higher than his actual grade level. What stood out most to me were his scores in language: above average, Post High-School grade equivalent! Reading comprehension, vocabulary, and spelling were all above average also. Unfortunately, he has been exercising his language skills in endless battles of the will (or more accurately, the “Won’t!”) whenever he is confronted.

I feel as though I have been inundated by a torrent of words. The world of words over the internet has overwhelmed me and overstimulated my senses. From blog-surfing to downloading streaming video to checking three different e-mail accounts to reading web tutorials, my little brain is “fried”.

While paging through a little booklet I found, I opened to a chapter entitled, “Our Wordy World.” The following is an excerpt from “The Way of the Heart” (©1981) by Henri J.M. Nouwen:
Wherever we go we are surrounded by words. Words softly whispered, loudly proclaimed, or angrily screamed; words spoken, recited, or sung; words on records, [CD, DVD, I-POD, etc.], in books, on walls, or in the sky [or computer monitor]; words in many sounds, many colors, or many forms… words which flicker off and on, move slowly, dance, jump, or wiggle. Words! Words! Words!

In such a world who can maintain respect for words? All this is to suggest that words, my own included, have lost their creative power. [Mine, too!] Their limitless multiplication has made us lose confidence in words and caused us to think, more often than not, “They are just words.”

Teachers speak to students for six, twelve, eighteen years—but the students often emerge from the experience with the feeling, “They were just words.” Preachers preach their sermons week after week and year after year—but their parishioners remain the same, and often think “They are just words.” From politicians to popes, with speeches and statements, words are ushered forth to hearers who do not listen.* “They are just words,” they say, “Just another distraction.”

Often it seems that we who study or teach theology find ourselves entangled in such a complex network of discussions, debates, and arguments about God and “God-issues” that a simple conversation with God or a simple presence to God [in solitude] has become practically impossible. Our heightened verbal ability, which enables us to make many distinctions, has sometimes become a poor substitute for a single-minded commitment to the WORD, Who is Life.

When our words are no longer a reflection of the Divine WORD, they become as meaningless and misleading as the words used to sell Geritol [or Pepto-Bismol].

There was a time when the obvious milieu for theological education was the monastery. There words were born out of silence and could lead one deeper into silence. The Word of God is born out of the eternal silence of God, and it is to this WORD out of silence that we want to be witnesses.


The writers of classics like the excerpt above, such as “Practicing the Presence of God,” and the “Celebration of Discipline” have learned a secret: solitude and meditation are disciplines to be learned and practiced.

Think for a moment: when was the last time you were “shut in with God, in a secret place,” practicing and cherishing the rare gift of silence?




Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Book Reviews

(I came across this article in a Google search of "Treasures of Darkness")

Treasures of Darkness


Reaching a new understanding of God's sovereignty through suffering

Treasures of Darkness
By Jane Grayshon
Hodder & Stoughton
152 pages. £6.99
ISBN 0 340 65624 7

The Blessing of Tears
By Julie Sheldon
Hodder & Stoughton
134 pages. £4.99
ISBN 0 340 65200 4

A Grace Disguised
By Gerald L. Sittser
Hodder & Stoughton
184 pages. £6.99
ISBN 0 340 67140 8

Three new titles from Hodder & Stoughton, each written by someone who has known suffering from the inside, all aim to help readers see their own sufferings in a biblical framework.
I believe all these books could be helpful in the right person's hands, whether the counsellor trying to gain a clearer grasp of how suffering feels, or the person who has come through some traumatic experience or grief. The Blessing of Tears has the specific aim of helping us see the healing benefits of weeping. Its short chapters and many illustrations make it easily accessible to anyone, especially if they are not naturally inclined to read books. Its scope is focused, but it does well what it sets out to do.
Treasures of Darkness, as is evident from its title, drawn from Isaiah, shows that there are ways we can come to a new grasp of God's sovereignty only through discovering those riches stored in secret places. Jane Grayshon has written other books on this theme and refers back several times to her recently published A Pathway Through Pain. She writes engagingly. Those who have read the earlier titles may feel they have covered the ground.
I lent all three books to a widowed colleague, to hear her views on them. By the end of the exercise, the book-spines told their own story. We had both pored over pages and re-read parts of A Grace Disguised, and it looked distinctly second-hand!
This book, written by the Associate Professor of Religion at Whitworth College, Washington, reflects on the three years following a road accident in which he lost his mother, his wife and one of his children. The pain is still there. He looks ahead knowing that it will diminish, but that its imprint on his life will remain. The theme of the book is not what tragedy does to us, but what it does in us: how it may transform and realign and strengthen. Gerald Sittser is not self-absorbed; he has a pastoral heart, and constantly refers to others who have suffered differently, for example through sickness or divorce. He is a realist, he is honest, he has spiritual depth. It is no surprise to find the book close with Be Thou My Vision, the hymn sung at his wedding, and again 20 years later at the funeral of his wife, mother and daughter.
My colleague whose views I had sought, told me she had already ordered copies of A Grace Disguised for two friends. I can see why.
Julia Cameron, OMF
© Evangelicals Now - April 1997

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

David Brainerd's Blog

Entries from the journal kept in 1745 and 1746 by this young minister to the Indian tribes of Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

Thanks to Rebecca; this is a really awesome blog. link
Friday, Aug. 1. In the evening enjoyed a sweet season in secret prayer; clouds of darkness and perplexing care were sweetly scattered, and nothing anxious remained. Oh, how serene was my mind at this season! How free from that distracting concern I have often felt! ‘Thy will be done,’ was a petition sweet to my soul; and if God had bidden me choose for myself in any affair, I should have chosen rather to have referred the choice to him; for I saw he was infinitely wise, and could not do any thing amiss, as I was in danger of doing. Was assisted in prayer for my dear flock, that God would promote his own work among them, and that God would go with me in my intended journey to Susquehannah: was helped to remember dear friends in New England, and my dear brethren in the ministry. I found enough in the sweet duty of prayer to have engaged me to continue in it the whole night, would my bodily state have admitted of it. Oh, how sweet it is to be enabled heartily to say--"Lord, not my will, but thine be done!"

Monday, August 01, 2005

A Glimpse into the Darkness of Depression

I came across this article while searching "Treasures of Darkness" on the web:

Treasures of Darkness: Depression
A Personal Point of View

by Roger Carswell

Click here

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Blog upkeep

I knew it would be just a matter of days until I crashed. I took on too many projects all at once, and became overwhelmed. I started the other blog, then took on the online store site, and tried to add my original blog to several new aggregators. All the while, I knew I was treading in deep waters, messing with html codes I know nothing about. Others were soliciting my advice and help, and I was pretty overwhelmed already. Then it happened: "writer's block"! (Or should I say, "blogger's block"?)

Okay, time to rest. Take a deep breath. Inhale..., exhale slowly. The "blogosphere" will still be there, I can take a little break. I need some fresh air and sunshine!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

We all have issues!

I got my first negative comment yesterday! I realize that this admission brands me as a "baby blogger". Surely those who have "been around the blog" can remember what it felt like the first time a negative comment was posted. On one hand, it is so exciting to be noticed! Again, I must admit I'm just a "wanna-be" writer, and never have actually published anything. In this magical land of "Blogdom" where instant publishing is such a breeze, it still comes as a shock and a thrill that somebody out there actually read what I wrote. On the other hand, as all real writers know, there is a keen sense of rejection that is felt when the work of their hands is criticized!

I've been around just long enough to hear about brutal blog-wars and obscene comments, so in the early stage of shock and disbelief, I hastily wiped out the comment with a swift click. Fully intending to keep my pride intact, I dismissed the words with an air of indifference. But like a pink elephant with purple spots, the harder I tried not to think about it, the more I began to dwell on it.

I'd like to make some observations about the comment I received. (I do wish I hadn't been so hasty to delete it, so I could be more exact with the wording.) The first is this; though it was negative, it was not all untrue. All day long one sentence kept coming back to me from the respondant: "You have too much time on your hands." I have heard that same accusation from two or three others, and I agree! I do have too much time on my hands; diligence and productivity have not been some of my stellar attributes. (Though I have worked very hard on this blog!) I have, in fact, been looking for a summer job all summer, and it appears that I must soon start looking for fall employment since summer is half over.

I find it delightfully ironic, though, that this person judged me as having too much time on my hands, yet he was obviously blog-browsing, and came upon my blog. He then took the time to read my rather long post, cut and paste some of my words, then comment on it. Apparently he must have had some time on his hands.

The second insight came to me when I could not contain my curiosity and clicked on the commenter's profile. The first impression I had when glancing at his interests and reading preferences was also a word he used to describe others: weird! (I did not bother to go to his blog: I didn't have the time or the inclination.) I immediately thought, "Isn't that typical? We all think everybody else is weird!"

The part of my post that "Anonymous" took issue with was at the end of my post on friendship (if indeed he did read all of it). I was pondering "being Jesus" but I suppose it might have been interpreted as "pontificating":
pon·tif·i·cat·ed, pon·tif·i·cat·ing, pon·tif·i·cates
1. To express opinions or judgments in a dogmatic way.
He called it utter "silliness" that God does not want me to be me, and sternly declared that "being yourself" is the only way to be, and that Jesus is only a good EXAMPLE. Then, he suggested something about my need to "find myself" since I don't know who I am. No doubt I hit on some sore spots with my God-talk.

The final observation I'd like to share was actually made by DH (Dear Hubby), when I explained the issue "Anonymous" had about being ourselves and not trying to "be Jesus". DH simply asked, "Why would anyone want to start with their own messed-up version of humanity when they could have the Perfect Sinless One as their model?"

Think of this word-picture, fellow "Bloggers"! When you want to create a new blog, which would you choose, a template that I have gone into and messed up all the html codes (something I do quite well!), or a new template created by the Author, and designed specifically for you, with a completely original profile, description, and body! You would of course want the best template, right? You can never BE the original--there is only one God--but you can be an original template designed by the Master!

In conclusion, (I know I wrote my "final" observation already, but I have one final conclusion--what can I say, I'm married to a pastor!) I certainly didn't post this as a rebuttal or defense. I merely wanted to point out that much of what was behind the negative comment was that he had issues with my issues. That reminds me of a t-shirt that my teenager wears. Perhaps every blogger should wear this as a sign of humility (not!): it says, "We all have issues--mine are just more important than yours!"

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Friendship is SO Inconvenient!

The story is told of a certain culture among the people groups of Bush Alaska. In these isolated villages, boundaries are often loose--too loose. Children run freely day and night, and everybody knows everybody’s business.
As the story goes—and this is hearsay, though I believe it to be true—closed doors mean nothing to these villagers. If the door is shut, a person might just open it and walk in. If it is locked, there will be persistent knocking until the door is opened to them. (Sounds like a familiar Scripture verse, doesn’t it?)
Whether or not he has been invited to come in, the person will make his way into the kitchen or main living area, lean back against a wall, and sit down on the floor. No conversation is made or expected by the visitor, and although appreciated, any offers of food or beverage will probably be turned down. If the visitor is asked outright the reason for being there, the answer will almost always be: “I just came to be with you.”

This is highly disconcerting to me. If this happened to me, I think I would “freak”! (overreact) I definitely don’t think I could live in a place like that. My boundaries are quite intact (as in concrete walls) and my personal space needs are huge (think “fortress”).
No matter how I try to dismiss this story from my thoughts, however, I find myself dwelling on the spiritual principles behind it.
Jesus was in the habit of invading people’s space. He often crossed cultural boundaries, speaking to women, hanging out with the “wrong crowd,” knocking on the doors of “unsavory characters” and inviting himself into both private homes and private meetings. Closed doors meant nothing to Jesus. He even walked right through them!

Isn’t this story a perfect description of the Holy Spirit: the “Unseen Guest at every meal; the Silent Listener to every conversation…” the “Comforter” and “Friend” who just wants to BE with us?

I prayed to the Lord this week for a friend. I cried out to God, drowning in my tears of self-pity and sorrow. I petitioned Him in my loneliness for someone to “just be with me”—to be my walking partner, my garage-sale companion, and my “clutter-buddy” (to help rid me of all my previous garage sale purchases!).

This week God sent two friends to my door. One friend boldly walked in through the closed door, (announcing her presence while I happened to be in the bathroom, of all places!), stated her purpose clearly, (“I just want a hug!”) and proceeded to explain: “I know you don’t like “drop-by’s” but I couldn’t get you to answer the phone.” Then, my friend and I had a nice visit; not too long, not too short. The second friend came to my door, but was too timid to knock or ring the bell. I went out to meet her. I should have invited her in, but she had someone waiting for her in the car. I happen to know that both of these friends are lonely and hurting—needing a friend to “just be with them.”

God answered my prayer, but I didn’t even recognize the answer. What was my response to these two friends who came to my door to just be with me? I “freaked”! (overreacted) Both times, I spun them around, pushed them out the door, put up the “Do Not Disturb” sign, slammed it shut, and turned the dead-bolt lock! What is wrong with me?!

It’s almost as if God gave me two chances. When the first friend came to my door, God was saying, “Here’s your friend, just what you wanted.” Yet, I summarily dismissed her as if to say, “Yes, I know she’s a friend—but I want another one!” So Loving, Patient, Kind, Father God looked down on His child having her “toddler temper-tantrum” and said, “Okay, Honey, here you go; try this friend, too.”

The trouble with having friends is that you have to BE one—and it’s SO inconvenient! Friendship involves accountability. If a friend calls me, I am expected to call him back! If a friend comes to my house, I am expected to visit her.

As much as I dislike someone invading my own personal space, I’m far more uncomfortable having to enter someone else’s personal space. Unfortunately, that is one of the requirements of friendship. It’s about relationship; you have to get close enough to other people to be able to relate to them.

Doesn’t Jesus care about my “comfort zone”? Doesn’t He know it’s not my personality, it’s not the culture that I was raised in, it’s not “like me” to walk through the doors of friendship, and enter the personal, private space of other people? I’m not a good friend; I’m lazy, I’m selfish, I’m socially inept. God knows I’m shy, He made me, right? Yes, He cares, He knows, He created me. But, no, it’s no excuse; the devil made me all of those things, not God.

God doesn’t want me to be “me” – He wants me to “be” Jesus! It’s not about me; it’s about being Jesus to lonely, hurting people. WWJD? (What Would Jesus Do?) Jesus would walk right through my barriers and barricades, just to be with me!

Thank you, my dear friends, for being Jesus to me this week, and forgive me for not reciprocating.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Why not all?

A little accountability: Why only some?

I was blog-surfing, and came upon this deep theological discussion. This is one of the major themes of my life, struggling with the question of Divine Healing and the Sovereignty of God.
Trinka writes:

Carol and I have been discussing the idea of God's healing people (physically), and it's given me some interesting food for thought.

Mark 1:
2 And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.
33 And all the city was gathered together at the door.
34 And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.

In other places, it says the Lord healed "all". But here, and again in Mark 3, it says He healed "many". Why not all?


So, the age-old question, "Why not all?" Or, why are some people healed and others not? Is it an issue of faith, timing, perseverance, judgment (or punishment)?

Carol writes in her response to Trinka: "I cannot agree with the concept that living and suffering with sickness is a testimony nor is it something that glorifies God." I must ask, Why not?

Did not Jesus Himself explain that the man who was born blind had not sinned, nor his parents, "but that the works of God should be made manifest in him"? (John 9:3)

I think that asking "Why?" is somewhat dangerous, causing us to place blame and judgment on God and others. If we become like the chief priests and pharisees, (Luke 20:5, "and they reasoned with themselves,") we might just get a response from Jesus that sounds very much like what Jesus said to them, "Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things."

Suffering, in body or in spirit, for the glory of God IS a Biblical concept, all the way from Genesis through Revelation. Our Lord tells the church of Smyrna, "I know your afflictions (tribulation, suffering)...Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer." I do not think it would be an appropriate response to begin wailing and whining, "Why, God? Why us, why now, why not all the others; why must we suffer?"

In fact, we are told how to respond to suffering when it comes (and it WILL come!): "Be faithful unto --even to the point of--death, and I will give you a crown of life! (Rev. 2:10)

Perhaps that was Carol's intention to encourage faithfulness by "pressing in" as she says:for the power of God to touch their lives and meet their need. And so many of those times, Jesus would acknowledge their faith saying, "Be it done to you according to your faith," or "great is your faith."

Remember though, that those who are "suffering unto death" may not look like they have great faith. I exhort you not to hastily pass judgment on those who "stay sick". "If people aim their faith at staying sick, then be it done to them according to their faith." (Carol's comment)

Instead, let us pray for them as Mary, the mother of Jesus, submitted: "Be it unto me according to thy word," and according to His will. Then, God will truly be glorified, whether in sickness or in health.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

fun personality test

The World's Shortest Personality Test

my personality description:
You are elegant, withdrawn, and brilliant.
Your mind is a weapon, able to solve any puzzle.
You are great at poking holes in arguments, common beliefs.

For you, comfort and calm are very important.
You tend to thrive on your own and shrug off most affection.
You prefer to protect your emotions and stay strong.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Cleaning Frenzies

A Sort of Notebook: J-Hat Cleaning Frenzies for a P-Brain

This is SO ME-EE-EEE! I can't believe there is somebody out there in the world who is so much like me! I've been blaming it all on my ADD. (It's actually, AADD w/o H: Adult Attention Deficit Disorder without Hyperactivity)

By definition, "Attention Deficit" is really lack of focus; but I have the worst problem with HYPER-focusing. Maybe I have some OCD thrown into the mix. (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)

Anyway, this post (linked above) describes my exact feelings about how I hate to clean, but when I do get around to it I go into a "cleaning frenzy."

It's not unusual for me to be down on all fours, scrubbing with a toothbrush in some obscure corner of the room, when the rest of the room looks as though a tornado has blown through.

I know why I do it: my brain has trouble filtering and prioritizing. I see "the big picture" but that's all I see, and it overwhelms me. I'm too global-spatial!

I really do like making lists and organizing: As "Waterfall" calls it, "putting on my J-Hat" (Judging what needs to be done to act on your environment). I'm even good at it! But, my J-Hat falls off my "P-brain" too quickly, when I look around the room or walk into the grocery store. In fact, nine times out of ten, the list doesn't even make it out the door with me when I go to the store!

My coping mechanism is to break up the cleaning task into ridiculously small chunks, which is how I end up in the corner on all fours with a toothbrush. Hours later, I have one or two drawers completely cleaned out and organized, but the rest of the house is a disaster-zone. I have literally taken apart the dishwasher--and the vacuum cleaner--when I was just supposed to be putting away the dishes or vacuuming!

I need better coping mechanisms and tools to process the jobs of housecleaning and grocery shopping into smaller, more manageable tasks. A timer would help to keep me accountable to the task at hand, as well as move me onto the next one. A shopping buddy, like my daughter, could be the list manager for me, and help to motivate me through the aisles, so I don't end up randomly filling my cart with impulsive purchases!

As Waterfall humorously muses:
"If I didn’t wear that ill-fitting J-hat every now and then, I’d have my own little science laboratory growing in the bathtub (not to mention the fridge). You would need to be a pro-football player to make it through our house without tripping over the many obstacles in your way. The stacks of papers and junk mail would grow to untold heights.... And if I didn’t make crazy to-do lists for myself, then I would end up spending all of my time reading, writing, playing piano, and looking at flowers and birds (which is a wonderful thing to do … but I would starve to death because I would keep forgetting to eat)."

I would add: if I didn't invite people over to my house, I'd never have a reason to get into a cleaning frenzy!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

golden coins

Not too bad for a logo design, if I do say so myself! From someone as clueless as I am (using Photoshop Elements 2.0) it's not too shabby at all!

Now, if only I could figure out how to get it up in the Title box!!!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Journey of the Heart


Once before there was time, there was a Deity named "The Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit". The Father loved the Son, and the Son was with the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit was God. The Trinity was at the center of the universe. [Perfect relationship is the heart of all reality.] The Trinity existed in perfect intimacy, and shared glory.

Once before there was time, the Father gave a heavenly banquet in honor of His Son, because it was the Father’s nature to give generously, He shared His glory with the Son, and freely gave Him honor. Of all the invited hosts of angels, one named Lucifer was unable to accept the goodness of God’s heart. He plotted to ascend to new heights of glory, where he would share center stage with no one. Though he was a beautiful created being, he was not made in the image of God, and did not have a heart like the Trinity. Instead of love, he allowed jealousy to fill his heart; an insurrection was born. A worshipper, turned traitor, Lucifer began to turn the hearts of other angels by questioning and doubting the goodness of God’s heart. Soon, he amassed an army of betrayers that forged into battle with the Almighty to seek the glory and honor that belonged to the Sovereign alone. The battle was fought and lost, and Lucifer with his legion was cast out of heaven, hurled to the depths.

Once, at the beginning of time, the Trinity remained at the center of the universe, in perfect relationship. Although the heart of God had been betrayed, His generous nature and overwhelming love caused Him to want a Lover with whom to share His infinite glory. So, He created Paradise on earth, far enough away from heaven to be a perfect place for a garden tryst, a romantic rendesvous for God and His Lover. Then, God created man in His own image, after the likeness of the Trinity – male, female, human beings; created to be children of the Father, Lovers of the Son, and Students of the Spirit.

Once upon a time, in the beginning, The Lord and His chosen ones walked in the Garden, in perfect relationship, and perfect intimacy, with shared glory. Because of His great love, He gave His chosen ones the freedom to choose, and the freedom to know the goodness of His heart. Then, God blessed them, and told them to cultivate and be caretakers of the beautiful garden tryst.

And they were naked... and not ashamed.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

link

"I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden riches of secret places,
That you may know that I, the Lord,
Who call you by your name

Am the God of Israel."

Isaiah 45:3

 

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

My Dearest Mia

My Dearest Mia,

You have astonished and amazed me in many ways since you were born. From your beautiful blue eyes and flaxen blond hair to the tender intricate workings of your heart and mind … you are a Masterpiece. You’re delightfully different from me, yet completely a part of me, and I’ll love you forever!

You’re a sweet mix of timidity and bravery. A shy pre-schooler who stood on the outside of the circle at storytime; yet, once you escaped your nursery attendants and walked up the stairs, out through the side door and down the aisle of the sanctuary, right in the middle of a wedding! You never left my side in public places, and screamed from your grocery cart seat if a stranger approached; yet, once when you were 3 years old, you walked out the door of Grandma’s house, down the long gravel driveway, along the country road, and up the lane to Aunt Ruth’s house, just because I said you could play with your cousins.

Throughout your childhood, you have continually amazed me in little ways, like cleaning the house without being told, and big ways, like playing a piano offertory or getting first place for your science presentation.

I was astounded when you went and obtained your driver’s permit only two days after you turned fourteen, and within days you were driving me to church!

Even today you surprised me by entering Sakari in an obedience competition at the fairgrounds, and you went around the course with all the other adults, acting like you knew all about dog handling and training.

I guess I said all that to tell you how proud I am of you and how amazed I am at the work of art God has created you to be. As you continue to grow up, it is my delight and privilege to sit back and watch what God is forming you to be: a beautiful, talented young lady.

Most of all, I am awed and honored to see the hand of God on your life, molding your tender heart, defining and refining your calling to full-time ministry. You are His child, you’ve just been given to us for a time, a very short time, but you’ll always be my baby.

Love, Mom

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Monday, February 14, 2005

Aloha!




Here are some favorites from our trip to Hawaii!

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Treasures of Darkness: Explanation, Excerpt, Exhortation

"I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden riches of secret places,
That you may know that I, the Lord,
Who call you by your name

Am the God of Israel."

Isaiah 45:3

 

1. The Explanation:

I chose this verse for the name of my blog, because it is a very dear promise to me from God’s Word. I have struggled with depression all my life, and found even greater challenges to my emotional stability when I was diagnosed with S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) after moving to Alaska.

The “Land of the Midnight Sun” has beautiful, endless summer days, but the winters are very long and dark. In Fairbanks, only two hours south of the Arctic Circle, on Winter Solstice, the sun barely peeks over the horizon and sets again in less than four hours. Considering that two of those hours are spent by the very gradual process of dawn and dusk throughout the winter months, the amount of sunshine is very minimal. That is only on the days that the sun shines at all; many times the skies are cloudy and overcast, which produces an eerie blue haze during the hours it is not pitch-black outside! Then, there is ice-fog to consider, which happens when the temperature drops well below zero, and an air inversion occurs. It is truly oppressive on these days, because the atmosphere is thick and foggy, like smoke, and the sunlight is further masked.

Many people struggle with the darkness, physically and emotionally. Studies prove that sunlight is necessary for Vitamin D absorption, and that ADHD symptoms improve after being outside in the sunshine, with green grass and trees. I won’t begin to address all the remedies and preventative treatments for S.A.D. or “winter blues” but suffice it to say it adds a new complication to the overall maintenance and prevention of Dysthymia: chronic mild depression.

Along with my life verse (Isaiah 60:19,20), the promise that my “days of sorrow will end,” God has promised to reveal His treasures to me, during the dark days. He promised to show me the hidden riches of secret places. Alaska is a vast storehouse of riches, like the gold buried in the mines, or oil coursing under the earth. He brought me here to help me obtain my inheritance, not earthly wealth, but spiritual rewards.

This blog will serve to record my thoughts along the way, as I seek these treasures and hidden riches. Much like a travel journal, this will be my account of adventures and pitfalls along my spiritual journey, until I receive my reward and my days of sorrow have ended.

2. The Excerpt:

Treasures of Darkness

I found this website after a Google search on “Treasures of Darkness”. This preacher has explained the verse in far greater detail than I ever could, and he preached this sermon in 1853!

Preached at Eden Street Chapel, London, on Tuesday Evening, August 2, 1853, by J. C. Philpot

"I will go before you, and make the crooked places straight – I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron – and I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, who calls you by name, am the God of Israel." Isaiah 45:2,3

To whom were these words spoken? To Cyrus. And who was Cyrus? King of Persia. But how did Cyrus come to be introduced into the Word of God; and how did it happen that the Lord gave such promises to a heathen monarch? Cyrus, though a heathen prince, was an instrument chosen of God to do an appointed work, which was to overthrow the great Chaldean empire, take the city of Babylon, and restore the children of Israel to their own land; and therefore one hundred and seventy years before he executed the office thus assigned to him he was expressly pointed out and personally addressed by name in the record of inspired prophecy. What a proof is this of the inspiration of God's Word, and that all events are under His appointment and control! ...

...
"Treasures of darkness!" But is not this a strange expression? "Treasures of darkness!" How can there be darkness in the City of Salvation of which the Lord the Lamb is the eternal light? The expression does not mean that the treasures themselves are darkness, but that they were hidden in darkness until they were brought to light. The treasures of Belshazzar, like the bank bullion, were buried in darkness until they were broken up and given to Cyrus. It is so in a spiritual sense. Are there not treasures in the Lord Jesus? Oh! what treasures of grace in His glorious Person! What treasures of pardon in His precious blood! What treasures of righteousness in His perfect obedience! What treasures of salvation in all that He is and has as the great High Priest over the house of God! …

… But it is only as these
hidden riches of secret places are thus opened up to the soul that we see, or feel, or know what the Lord Jesus Christ is to those that believe in and love His holy name. It is this bringing forth of the hidden riches of secret places which stamps a divine reality upon God's Word, and makes it to be spirit and life to the soul. To feel the power and blessedness of these things is a part of that "secret of the Lord which is with those who fear Him;" and it is by getting into these blessed secrets, handling these treasures, and obtaining possession of these riches, that we come experimentally to realize what a blessed power there is in a divine heartfelt religion. We may see the doctrines plainly enough in the Word of God; but if that be all we know about them, it is like seeing money which is not our own, and casting up accounts of other people's property. The grand point is not only to see the riches, but to be put in possession of them. A religion without power, without savor, without a felt blessedness in the truth of God, by the application of the Spirit, is worthless both for time and eternity. …

…Now what springs out of having these treasures of darkness brought to light? A spiritual experience and a knowledge of God, and that He is the God of His people--
"That you may know that I, the Lord, who calls you by your name, am the God of Israel."

3. The Exhortation:

Are you struggling with depression? S.A.D.? or any other emotional disorder? I know a great Physician! He is also a wonderful Counselor! Need a referral? Write to me at glorybeam@mac.com. I’ll be happy to share His name with you!