copyright 2013 by Jane Reinheimer

HOME
SPIRITUAL LIFE
INSPIRATION
RECIPES
FAVORITE MUSICAL INTERLUDES
COUNSELING
BIBLE STUDY
QUOTATIONS
PRAYER PAGE
CIVICS/PATRIOTISM/POLITICS
LINKS
HUMOR, JOKES AND STUFF
CONTACT INFORMATION
VIDEO LINKS AND FUNNIES
GLOSSARY/JANISMS
HALTOM GENEALOGY

This has to be at the top of the page! http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap120710.html It's such a joyful video and I like to play it regularly. It's fun to watch people having fun. Just a reminder that the world is place for each of us to enjoy one another and live a life without the strife of war.

And this, Starry Nights. http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?feature=player_embedded&v=FgBF3sIPm4c



Check out this video of a mountain biker going down a mountain: http://clashdaily.com/2014/04/brass-balls-video-insane-bike-trip-mountain-will-make-puke/ -- wild two minutes!

 

It's April 2014 and I have to say that Quint and I are feeling much better - still trying to get up and out of the anemia which is left over from the cancer treatments. Quint is on an iron supplement. I'm not. He's more anemic than I am.

I'll be glad when I can comfortably stand for at least a half hour. Quint does better with that than I do.

But all things in stride. At least we feel ambitious enough to work out in the flower beds and take care of the yard this year. We had people come in an mow the last couple of years -- just so the yard looked presentable.

 

August 20, 2013

This is the most amazing bit of choreographer I've seen in a long, long time -- and I love university marching bands: 
http://www.youtube.com/embed/MjPmmCtHmfE?rel=0

It's a tribute to branches of our military.


August 18, 2013

Hey, people -- have you found Duck Dynasty yet? If you start watching this series, you'll understand why it just broke gynormous viewer records of 11.5 million! 

It's a reality show about the Robertsons. If you've ever spent any time down South, you'll just relish the whole thing - from the brothers who tease each other unmercifully. Like the episode in the first season where a big old snake drops out of a tree and lands in the boat with the Robertsons. One of the brothers jumped out of the boat and into the river. Then the other one picked up the snake and threw it into the river. The other guy jumped back in the boat. Just good humored funnin'.

But I can relate to all that hunting and fishing. I remember watching my daddy making a net. I guess I was about six years old. I asked him how he learned to do that and he said, "Well, June Bug, (that's what he called me) it's just a bunch of knots tied together." He started out on mama's clothes line. Walked back and forth making those knots until he got it the length he wanted. 

He used to run trot lines in the Red River. His heart was in hunting and fishing. Work was something he tolerated. His job was what was called a "rough neck" in the oil fields in southwestern Arkansas. He'd take off every night if he could. Whatever he caught and brought back was what we ate for supper the next day.

But back to the Robertsons. I found this clip of one of the Robertsons 'plainin things about God to an audience. 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qop_3ocgqlo

He tells a story of how he challenged a man who called to order a duck call who kept taking the Lord's name in vain. It's worth a listen. I think.

What I like about the Robertsons is that they are congruent people. They say grace before they eat -- just to remind them of where all that goodness in their lives comes from. They've become multi-millionnaires with their duck calls that must be some kind of special; otherwise, why wouldn't someone just go to a sporting goods store and pick up a duck call? Beats me. But then, I'm not a duck hunter. I wouldn't know the difference between one from another.

So they started out poor but they aren't poor anymore.

I'm a little familiar with that story. We weren't just poor. We were dirt poor. I've survived all the unpleasantness of where poor puts you. But I'm here to tell you that you don't have to stay down in that pit of poverty. Each of us can figure a way out of that horrid place. For me it was going to college. 

First an undergrad, then a masters, then a license to practice as a mental health counselor. 

But I'm here to tell you that when you reach some point of success, don't ever indulge yourself by being proud. Pride will get you in trouble. But you can be pleased with your accomplishments. I'm pleased with what God has gifted me to do. I'm pleased that I can go out on crisis intervention events for insurance companies. I'm also pleased that I have a busy private practice of helping a lot of people. I'll never sell duck calls like the Robertsons and I'll never be a millionnaire. But then, that was never my goal. As Si Robertson would say, I'm "happy, happy, happy." He also started almost every sentence with "Hey."
 
And when I look around and see the false pride that others have with what they think they got all by themselves, I shudder to think that I could have been there right with them in that little thought cave. Rather, owing to God alone, everything we have is a gift of His grace. So I don't need a big fancy house. The one Quint and I have is a far cry from where we both started as poor kids long, long ago. Our house has electricity and running water for starters. And if you've ever lived in a humble little house without those two things, you'll understand that they are the foundation of everything else that's nice about a house.

The very first thing you have to do is get right with God. If you do that, He'll keep an eye out for you.

I start every morning with that thought. 

Plus, God is watching me so I'd better not mess up.

August 17, 2013

In case you've never seen a copperhead up close enough to recognize what it looks like, here's an unbelievable video showing the snake biting itself after its head has been chopped off. 
http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2013/08/17/Decapitated-Snake-Head-Bites-Its-Own-Body

If you have an interest iin rocketry, the video 2nd in line shows a rocket ascending -- then coming back to its launch pad and either shutting itself off, or someone turned it off.


August 7, 2013

Hilarious! Here's 12 minutes of Ronald Reagan's best: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=wrRTau5jusU

August 6, 2013

Who says animals can't make a plan? Take a look at this bear stealing an entire dumpster. Watch how deliberate the bear is. The bear even looks around to make sure his traffic path isn't cluttered: 
http://zanylol.com/bear1.html


July 27, 2013

Delta Honor Guard receiving remains of a fallen soldier: 
http://www.youtube.com/embed/c_VGxfmDmEo

I did not know that Delta had an honor guard! Hard to watch this without getting a bit emotional. 

And this, a soldier returns to Oklahoma to meet his widow: 
http://www.youtube.com/embed/c_VGxfmDmEo


July 23, 2013

A full peal of the bells at Westminster Abbey greeted the royal baby's birth. The bells rang for 35 minutes, they say. If that's true, this is going to be one noisy baby: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ok8Lp7dgd_g But those who have never heard a full bell peal, enjoy! A full bell peal at our church sounds more like "ding dong."


July 21, 2013

Uh oh! A 6.5 mag hits New Zealand. 
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-21/strong-earthquake-near-wellington-shakes-new-zealand/4833724 -- Definitely not a good sign.

Here's a happy welcome home from a dog whose master just returned from a 6-month deployment. You can just tell that the dog wants so desperatevly to speak English - way too much joy for Bugaboo to hold. And this is not a lap dog! 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waSMjQ-lc74

Here's a clip of a beautiful golden lab being ever so gentle with a Downs baby: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA8VJh0UJtg -- oh my goodness - the miracles of love that God creates.

Reminds me of a metaphor I got from the pastor at church today. He began with, "What are you going to do now that everything has been done for you? You can just sit on your salvation!"

I absorb metaphors like a sponge and I really like this one. It fills me with courage when days don't go right. It fills me with joy when I see little things that are going right. 

And what am I going to do now that Jesus died for my sins? My salvation is complete. I don't have to worry about a thing because Jesus already sweat blood for me in Gethsemane. 

My life has to fill up with little pebbles of trust and love for others. These little pebbles will pile up into one big mountain of faith.

Blessings to each of you --

 

 

July 20, 2013

Shadow dancing -- familiar with it? This troupe is from Hungary and this is their dance routine. Absolutely amazing! 

I could make lots of comments about the talent, dexterity, etc. etc. But what amazes me is something we call "muscle memory." When these folks are behind the "curtain," they have little else to rely on except what their bodies are supposed to feel like when in a certain position. Otherwise, Stonehenge would have little pieces of rock sticking out in places where it wasn't supposed to. Or any of the other poses and movements could really look funny or strange if the dancers did not have really good muscle memory.

Take a look: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=CvQBUccxBr4

It was especially poignant for me -- and to the audience as well -- to see the soldier being carried home. Reminds me of Quint's losting his brother when he was the U.S. Army. Noticed a few others dabbing at their eyes too.

Oh my -- what talent and how generous of the troupe to share their art with the rest of us. 


July 19, 2013

Funny rendition of what happens, according to Fr. Guido Sarducci,  when we die: 
http://www.youtube.com/embed/0AKvRvL5r3A?rel=0


I don't think that's a real priest though.

Here he is on David Letterman: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kL8Ti1BMNc

And did you know that Fr. Sarducci founded the thought of the 5 minute university: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLAd4NzuqYM


July 18, 2013

Check out this gymnast. She's 86! I couldn't do what she is doing when I was 16. 
< http://safeshare.tv/w/cdaBSBkGKr >**


July 14, 2013

If you have plans to see the newly released movie, Copperhead, you can get a quick overview of Civil War battles at: 
http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=civil+war+timeline&mid=E42761EAE9357F7B40BEE42761EAE9357F7B40BE&view=detail&FORM=VIRE2

I did not realize that Paducah, Kentucky, my home town, was the site of some Civil War battles. Grant even built a pontoon bridge across the Ohio River at the landing place that we call "the foot of Broadway."


July 9, 2013

Snakes on a train! Check this out: http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/07/09/snake-on-a-train-reptile-slithers-onto-flooded-toronto-rail-car-disastrous-commute-gets-even-worse/ 

July 7, 2013

Here's a clip showing the flight coming in for landing and also showing the moment of impact: 
http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/07/us/plane-crash-main/

Just a word of caution for your fliers -- always, always keep your seat belts fastened even when you're sitting in your seat and the plane is en route. Just an extra precaution, but one that could save your life. Wind shears and sudden air pockets could send you careening out of control and maybe make contact with the ceiling. 

This clip shows an animation of the plane coming in for landing. You can see how the tail came off at the sea wall: 
http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/bestoftv/2013/07/07/nr-sfo-crash-animation.cnn.html


July 6, 2013

News unfolding - plane crashed on landing at San Francisco Airport. Early thinking is that the plane experienced a hard landing which broke the tail of the plane off. I heard that there were 293 people aboard and it appears that all survived. But then, I just heard on the tv news that the U.S. Coast Guard has pulled someone out of the water. Also heard on one news report that there will be casualties because of smoke inhalation and burns. Also, reports on Fox News say that there have been two deaths. Prayers lifted for all.

For those who are interested in what a hard landing looks like, take a look at these clips: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj_LatoDv0w -- We had a hard landing going into Heathrow Airport in London several years ago. It was spooky and made us quickly realize that the old saying that any landing you walk away from is a good landing. But then our landing didn't damage the aircraft. It just sounded like the landing gear had come through the floor of the plane (it hadn't).

And here's a series of landings in Dusseldorf -- what do you get when you cross an icy runway, crosswinds and 747s? 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=la-hSjKP2TU  you know there was some heavy duty praying during those landings.


July 4, 2013

Having a wonderful 4th of July! How about you? 

Gotta listen to the Voices of Liberty sing the Star Spangled Banner: 
http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2013/07/04/Voices-of-Libert-Sing-The-Star-Spangled-Banner

Have a safe Independence Day.


June 30, 2013

Want to know what you could see from a drone at 17,500 feet? Talk about the latest in technology! https://youtube.googleapis.com/v/AHrZgS-Gvi4?ytsession=QJjeRrVzzKDXJ54RgHkPil8o4Zi8RJuy1Zn7rXNaXIQwTD4is2hEZ9cCRkklE-nwfHKPHulQmf-lMY3OliowXWivYmoX8WD7bzDLJt-B7ce2sHnif4jCFUN-O_Nsg-nhE1_K00v6jW-JUn1d5NXe5w


June 29, 2013

Oh wow! 

Before you go see Copperhead, you might want to review what happened at the Battle of Gettysburg. Gettysburg is the first movie of a trilogy produced by Ron Maxwell. God and Generals is the third, and now Copperhead.

Quint and I have decided to go back and re-review our knowledge of the Civil War. And this link will take you to the Battle of Gettsburg. It's done by the Smithsonian and shows who was where during that bloodies of battles. What the generals saw and includes a map of the area. 
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/A-Cutting-Edge-Second-Look-at-the-Battle-of-Gettysburg.html

Prepare to be amazed. It was a lot of work to put the battle plan together so that we can understand what each one of the generals saw.


June 23, 2013

Now this is what I'm talking about! Just listen to the fans' reaction to the National Anthem before a game between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks: 
http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2013/06/22/chicago-city-big-shoulders-national-anthem-tops-charts/nzUfXZBmP5zmDKA79ZtI6M/story.html Thanks to the Boston Globe for the link.

Here's a little philosophy lesson from my good friend Cody: 
http://play.simpletruths.com/lp/store/?mid=406

June 19, 2013

Here's a great video that strikes a happy chord in my heart. It's called "Putting up the Flag." 
http://puttinguptheflag.com/

Hard to believe that it's been more than a week since I sat down here at the computer. Been running. And today I'm continuing to make biscuits for the Father-Son Breakfast at church on Saturday. So far I've made 8 dozen. That leaves 8 dozen to go before Friday night. Love homemade biscuits. Am making them from scratch too! Another lady is making the sausage gravy to put ont the biscuits. Bon appetite.

So let me ask you a question. Do you think a snake could learn to open a door? Think not? Then this video will scare the beegeebers out of you! 
http://vimeo.com/9841493

 

June 11, 2013

Prayers lifted for all our friends and readers in Europe who are experiencing the devastating floods! We keep you in our prayers daily. Be safe.

Got this quiz from Cousin Mark. See if you can guess how many of these statements are true. 

(Answers are   below.)  1. Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in   the morning.
                            2. Alfred Hitchcock did not have a belly button.  3.   A pack-a-day smoker will lose approximately 2 teeth every 10 years..
                            4.   People do not get sick from cold weather; it's from being indoors a lot   more.  5. When you sneeze, all bodily functions
                           stop, even your   heart!  6. Only 7% of the population are lefties.  7. 40-people   are sent to the hospital for dog bites
                           every minute.  8. Babies are born   without kneecaps. They don't appear until they are 2-6       years old.  9. The average
                           person over 50 will have spent 5 years   waiting in lines.  10. The toothbrush was invented in 1498.  11.   The average housefly
                           lives for one month.  12. 40,000 Americans are   injured by toilets each year.  13. A coat hanger is 44 inches long when 
                            straightened.  14. The average computer user blinks 7-times a   minute.  15. Your feet are bigger in the afternoon than any
                           other time   of day.  16. Most of us have eaten a spider in our sleep.  17. The   REAL reason ostriches stick their head in
                           the sand is to search for   water.  18. The only two animals that can see behind themselves   without turning their heads
                           are the rabbit and the parrot.  19. John   Travolta turned down the starring roles in 'An Officer and a Gentleman' and   'Tootsie.'
                            20. Michael Jackson owned the rights to the South Carolina   State Anthem.  21. In most television commercials advertising
                           milk, a   mixture of white paint and a little thinner is used in place of the   milk.  22. Prince Charles and Prince William
                           NEVER travel on the   same airplane, just in case there is a crash.  23. The first Harley   Davidson motorcycle built in 1903
                           used a tomato can for a   carburetor.  24. Most hospitals make money by selling the umbilical   cords cut from women who give
                           birth. They are used in vein transplant   surgery.  25. Humphrey Bogart was related to Princess Diana. They were   7th cousins.
                            26. If coloring weren't added to Coca-Cola, it would be   green.   Now, scroll down for the   answers...        They   are
                           all TRUE  Now go back and think about 16 ! 

 

June 2, 2013

With all the tornadic activity in the central United States, and particularly Oklahoma, thought you'd like to see some footage shot by Tim Samaras and his son Paul. 
http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/06/02/the-stunning-tornado-videos-of-storm-chaser-tim-samaras-who-has-died/ Sad to say that Tim died this most recent Friday was storm chasing. Carl Young also died on Friday while chasing tornadoes. Here's that story: http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/02/us/midwest-weather/index.html

We also lost a sheriff in Arkansas, I believe. The sheriff was trying to rescue some people who were stranded. 

 

May 26, 2013

I don't know who said this, but I agree wholeheartedly:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.  

We thank all our soldiers and sailors and coast guards and marines and air force people and everyone else who ever served in our Armed Forces. We thank you for your bravery and your sacrifice that you have gifted the American people. And the sacrifices your spouses and children made in sharing you with a grateful nation. Thank you. 

Today I am "playing" in the food lab that I call my kitchen. I am making ice cream sandwiches. To do this, I'm using a red velvet cake mix and baking a thin layer of batter. Then I will use a 50/50 mixture of cheesecake flavored cream cheese and vanilla ice cream. Then put another layer of thin cake batter on it and freeze it. When it is frozen, then I will cut into ice cream sandwich sizes and put in baggies and stash in the freezer. Sound yummy? For the layer of batter, I'm using a square pyrex baking dish and putting a thin layer of batter in it. Then I baked the first layer for 12 minutes. The second layer is in the oven. I only have one square pan so it will take several steps to get it all done.

 

May 20, 2013

Inside fo women's handbugs are filty. At least one in five are. That's the news from a medical report released recently. And who would have thought that we had to wash out the inside of our handbags? More likely, maybe we ought to dunk the bags in pools of antiseptic. Oh yuk! But filthier than a toilet? C'mon, it can't be that bad. But apparently it is. Read more here: 
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/260728.php

Not only that but who designed those handbags to have a dark interior? I mean, how can I find anything if the inside of my purse is black? I made a vow not too long ago that I would not buy a purse of any king, shape or design unless it had a light colored material on the inside. Fortunately I'd guess that I'm one of the 80 percenters who have a clean handbag interior. That's mainly because I wash my hands a lot. And I use soap while I'm at it. But it still aggrevates me to no end when I have to just about touch everything in my purse before I find what I was looking for.
 
 
Ever been to the Sistine Chapel? Neither have I. Italy/Rome/the Vatican are not countries we made our way into when we went over there. So I am thrilled to find this link to a virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel: http://www.vatican.va/various/cappelle/sistina_vr/index.html

Oh my goodness -- is this ever adorable! http://youtube.googleapis.com/v/pfxB5ut-KTs?ytsession=1yGLseHhiBEYDQ0lmNazMknvaqKAHS6uE4oU3T2Cn0uWl3QxkNwt68-scJuCBNrDHXDKebqWoRVdWA_XhYsSf64EOndZpEEzBCri15nc6v8PikbN--F_yGAFC4XFEpJV6jB63ELxJd_rHhhp1jQeUg Look at all those little babies dancing to their hearts content!

 

May 18, 2013

Funny little skit about Lutheran Airlines: 
http://minx.cc/?post=340122

I've mentioned solar cycles and solar flares fairly often around here but you need to know that we are going to be in this sun cycle until 2019. And just during this next week alone, there's supposed to be some pretty disruptive stuff going on. Read more here: 
http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/increased-solar-flares-disrupt/12488287

We've never given up our land line just because of something disruptive like this -- as a possibility. The other reason is that in case of any national emergency, there's a very strong likelihood that all cell phone service would be interrupted  kind of like what happened during the Boston Bombing Massacre. No cell phones because there was a fear that, at least until the perps were caught, there might have been a likelihood that someone using his or her cell phone could have triggered another bomb explosion. 

There's a lot of other things I'll give up before I kiss my land line goodbye.

 

May 13, 2013

Ukraine's Got Talent! You bet they do. Just watch this amazing young acrobat -- 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLmImBUBRdc

Britain's Got Talent too -- take a look at these Shadow Dancers: http://www.flixxy.com/britains-got-talent-shadow-theatre-group-attraction.htm#.UZJgPhzvvh8

It happened yesterday -- Monday. It was one giant huge magnanimous burst of energy on the sun. Look at this article and bask in the marvel of the star in the middle of our solar system: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22525233 
 
 

May 12, 2013

How'd he do that? Good magic trick: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=nZM4Iu0sosM&vq=medium

This is a song by Jackie Evancho -- an amazing 11 year old girl -- what a voice!! 
http://www.staged.com/video?v=NtK

May 6, 2013

Interesting animated cartoon about the history of money: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mII9NZ8MMVM

 

May 5, 2013

Check out Metallica playing the national anthem: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iADXhG5MUj8

DeMint says immigration reform will cost Americans trillions: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/may/5/jim-demint-immigration-reform-will-cost-americans-/ 

 

April 29, 2013

This is a hilarious Jeff Gordon taking an unsuspecting car salesman for a test drive in a 2009 Camaro: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Q5mHPo2yDG8


April 25, 2013

So let me ask you something - when you see a deer crossing sign, do you think it's there for the deer, or for the drivers? Apparently this woman thinks it's for the deer because she has had several accidents at or near a deer crossing sign and thinks the signs ought to be moved so that the deer won't think it's a safe place to cross the highway!?? 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFCrJleggrI

 

April 24, 2013

We're read about sinkholes in the news recently -- especially in Florida. But those sinkholes have to go a long way to rival this whirlpool in Latvia. My goodness, I've never seen anything like this before! Absolutely amazing. 
http://www.angelfire.com/ak2/intelligencerreport/whirlpool.html

April 25, 2013

Want to see something absolutely amazing? I know -- everything amazes me. But this is really, really amazing. It's a 3-year version of the Sun's rotation speeded up into a 3 minute video: http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/04/25/watch-the-sun-burp-boil-and-roil-in-this-mesmerizing-video-capturing-three-years-of-solar-activity/   It's from NASA and it shows the sun boiling, rotating really fast and lots of solar flares. And for those who say there is no God, I say, "You do that."

And speaking of solar flares, watch this one: 
http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/04/25/watch-the-sun-burp-boil-and-roil-in-this-mesmerizing-video-capturing-three-years-of-solar-activity/ Good thing the sun is 93million miles away; otherwise, we'd all be fried with that spewing forth of hot plasma!


April 22, 2013

We need to celebrate the achievements of people who overcome outstanding odds. This young 16 year old sings the National Anthem at a University of Kentucky vs. Ole Miss basketball game: 
http://zanylol.com/anthem.html 

She was born with a virus that kept her optic nerve from forming. She hummed before she could talk. She taught herself to play the piano before she was two. And yes, she apparently taught herself how to sing the National Anthem. Her name is Marlana VanHoose and if she isn't a national treasure, I don't know what is!
 
Beautiful voice! Andrea Bocelli sings The Lords Prayer with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir: http://www.angelfire.com/ak2/intelligencerreport/bocelli_lord_prayer.html

 

April 21, 2013

Narrated by Fred Thompson, this video is entitled "And God Made A Patriot" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=dAV8cfmawPk

Building the Three Gorges Dam in China: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lwca1aka62w

 

April 10, 2013

Forget the snakes. What this link offers is a bunch of little kitties in awkward sleeping positions: http://newzwars.com/offbeat/15-cute-photos-of-kittens-sleeping-akwardly/

I picked daffodils this morning. Such a sweet fragrance from a big, big bouquet in the middle of the dining room table. I also have some tulips but they're still buds. People who know about such things recommend that if you want to keep squirrels out of your tulips, plant them among your daffodils. I tried it and it really works. Two years ago, I planted a bunch of tulips. I thought they'd be pretty in their own little bed. Unfortunately, I have some Master Gardener Squirrels living around here and they decided that the tulips would look good just about anywhere else. I spent a lot of time digging them up from the middle of the yard and other unlikely places. Apparently they even moved some of my tulips to other places n the neighborhood because a couple of neighbor ladies mentioned that tulips seemed to be sprouting in their yards all by themselves. Hmmm. Yeah, right.

April 8, 2013

So let me see now. A rattlesnake was found in a backpack at a school bus stop in Texas. Big snake. It was 42" long. Not likely that it would slither into the backpack all by itself, then zipper the thing shut so it could have a little siesta. I mean, nearly 4' long! Are you kidding me? Rattlesnakes are pretty close to the top of my list of unwanted critters. So the police, being the nice conservationists that they are, took the thing to a snake farm and it will apparently be returned to the wild after the investigation is complete. Check this out: http://www.kens5.com/home/NB-police-say-rattler-left-in-backpack-may-have-been-on-purpose-202024871.html

April 3, 2013

What do you know about atomic bombs? Here's an interesting link that shows how the mushroom cloud forms. I did not know that the temperature got to be 20,000 degrees -- that's hotter than the surface of the sun!

 http://www.waynesthisandthat.com/abombs.html 


Here's a real heart warmer. A Mama Duck had lain her eggs on the ledge of a bank in downtown Seattle (I think it was). Problem is, when it came time for the little baby ducks to go with Mama Duck to get into the water, Mama could fly but the babies couldn't. So this very big-hearted guy catches the babies as they drop off the ledge, one by one: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=9hnbmml8fOY&hd=1

Now isn't that just about the sweetest thing you ever saw?

April 2, 2013

Whether you call it irony or coincidence, check out the photos in this link:
 http://www.buzzfeed.com/awesomer/most-ironic-things-that-have-ever-happened
-- At the very least, they're comical.


If you had happened to be in a Catholic church in Miami for the Easter services, you would have enjoyed Andrea Bocelli sing Panis Angelicus during communion. If you weren't there and want to hear him sing, click this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHKQYFgkcB8 
Absolutely beautiful!

Here is Bocelli with Ana Maria Martinez in a duet Time to Say Goodbye -- incredible! http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=dtt1XyWKAnM&NR=1



April 1, 2013

Check out these dangerous mountainous roads from various places in the world:
 

 http://www.mediadump.com/hosted-id108-the-most-dangerous-roads-in-the-world.html 

You'll probably have to cut and paste the address into your web address spot to get the link to work.


 

March 31, 2013

Another disastrous side effect of wind turbines: a golden eagle flew into one of those humongous blades and died. Never mind the bats that have met their untimely demise -- this was a golden eagle. The owner of the wind turbine farm is looking at a $200,000 fine. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/03/31/nevada-wind-farm-could-face-hefty-fine-over-eagle-death/?test=latestnews 

One of my favorite "must see" sites when I'm on the web is the NASA site. Here is a video of travels around the earth at night from the ISS: http://129.164.179.22/apod/ap130331.html Amazing!

Did you hear about the bomb scare at the Eiffel Tower? Somebody called in a bomb threat and said explosives were put around the tower and were set to go off at 9:30. Along comes 10 pm and nothing happened but in the meantime, in an abundance of caution, the tower was evacuated. Take a look at these photos of what I think is one of the neatest landmarks in the City of Lights. We were in Paris in 1990 as the first stop across the pond as we embarked on our tour to see the Passion Play at Oberammagau but we landed in mid-morning, so we didn't get to see the spectacular Eiffel Tower all lit up. Quint did get credit for taking me to Paris for lunch on my birthday, though. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2301676/BREAKING-NEWS-1-500-people-evacuated-Eiffel-Tower-anonymous-phone-claimed-explosives-placed-landmark.html

And speaking of views of landmarks, this is a photo of the destruction of Meigs Field in Chicago, Illinois. Happened 10 years ago today. What I like about this photo is the Chicago skyline. The other is the runways at Meigs Field after they had been bulldozed with big x-es. And for why? Not really sure. http://pylonplace.blogspot.com/2013/03/ten-years-ago-story-of-meigs-field.html

Here's something not to do on Sunday afternoon -- unless, like this climber, you want to take a big slide down a snowy, rocky hill. This climber was one in a group of three climbers. The climber above him sent a chunk of frozen stuff down the hill and knocked Climber #2 down the hill. Quickly. Fortunately he only broke his leg: http://www.thebmc.co.uk/helmetcam-slide-snowdonia-accident-llanberis-mountain-rescue

March 25, 2013

Some of you may remember this crash of a B52 Stratofortress -- was in 1994. No one survived the crash. Story goes that it was a hot dogger flying the plane and he was practicing for an air show. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjFIB1L3BPU

He flew too close to the edge of the air.

And here's a MIG pilot who was at the edge of the air on the tarmac and, of all things, pulled up the landing gear: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Cunaek9W24

And on another matter, if you've been following the financial crisis in Cypress and wondered if such a fiasco could happen here in the U.S., you might want to take a look at this article by Roger Lowenstein. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/24/business/deposit-insurance-and-the-historical-reasons-for-it.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1& He traces the origins of finances, federal reserve, etc., in the U.S. Interesting reading if you're into the curiosities about how the banking industry has unfolded since practically the beginning of time.

I just have a question about the FDIC insurance in this country. According to this article, http://www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits/changes.html if you have an account that bears interest, you don't have any unlimited coverage. That would include money market accounts and NOW accounts, if I read the article correctly. If you are fortunate enough to have amassed a nestegg, you'll want to check with a financial advisor to make sure your account/s are safe.

What happened in Cypress, apparently, is that there's an insurance on deposits up to 100,000. The hefty tax on those accounts is on funds over the 100,000 euro balance.  Withdrawals in Cypress banks now are limited to 100 euros per day.

And so it begins. Maybe. This just out -- the UK Independent Party is urging Brits living in Spain to pull their money out of the Spanish banks. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/ukip/9950083/Ukip-urges-Brits-to-withdraw-their-money-from-Spanish-banks.html

Folks, be very careful. Do absolutely what you need to do to make sure your retirement nesteggs are safe and your funds on deposit are safe. If you have an interest-bearing account in any kind of financial institution, check to see what your safety net includes.

And how about the new research that says parents are introducing solid food to their little babies before the babies are developmentally ready. Developmentally ready? What's that? Well, the baby needs to be able to sit up. The baby needs to be old enough to make those good bacteria that help digestion of solids take place. The baby needs to have developed a chewing mechanism. And the baby needs to be able to swallow the solid food. Here's an interesting article that's going around the news outlets today: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/03/25/health/many-babies-fed-solid-food-too-soon-cdc-finds.xml Read it and take care. If your baby is fussy, it doesn't necessarily mean the baby is hungry.

March 23. 2013

This has got to be the best Elvis impersonator I have ever heard: It caps off a week of the David Letterman Show where he did a week's worth of Elvis. http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=G8fjHJbF9Es 

Remember Steve Martin? Here's one of his best comedy stints ever: http://rubytooth.com/link/323819 It's a repeat of a 1992 guest appearance on the Johnny Carson show. I did not know he could play the banjo, did you?

Here's a link showing how our military made a pipeline in WWII so that the banks and trucks and jeeps on the continent could get the fuel they needed. I mean, after all, they couldn't just pull up to a loal gas station.   http://www.youtube.com/v/Nv9lBqPVuoE&feature=uploademail



March 19, 2013

One more day 'til Spring. It feels warmer already.

If you have pets, you'll want to check out this article. Here's a link to some things you can find around the house that can be very dangerous - even deadly to your little four-paws: http://shine.yahoo.com/pets/26-household-items-poisonious-cats-38-dogs-130200299.html Be especially careful with Easter coming if you have Easter lilies in the house.



March 17, 2013

You've probably never wondered what Lutherans do with their beer bottles -- but just on the off chance that you might have, here's something from St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Park Ridge, Illinois: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k26nt3Y4cmg&feature=related

What fun!

If you're missing George H. W. Bush yet, here's a re-run of the White House Correspondents'dinner: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4N93jLVPIA

Here's Carol of the Bells played on beer bottles. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbEFLrcE6RU

This is a fantastic video of a gentleman who goes around the world compiling videos of dancers. Unbelievable. And such happy events that all the dancers shared: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap120710.html -- Thank you, Joyce, for sharing.



Jim Carrey does a funny job impersonating Clint Eastwood at a roast: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vaa28xicJDE&NR=1&feature=endscreen

Some commercials are interesting: http://vimeo.com/61275290 -- Emmmmmmma!


March 15, 2013

A coronal mass ejection occurred today about 3 a.m. EDT. It has directed particles heading for the earth and should "hit' us by late Sunday or early Monday. Take a look at this "incredilgusto" photo of this CME: http://phys.org/news/2013-03-earth-directed-coronal-mass-ejection-sun.html NASA warns us that we can expect some geologic events as well as possible electronic problems. Stay tuned, as they say.  It will either be a big dud or something magnanimously out of this world.

You heard that there's going to be a competition for pole dancers right here in the good old USA! Only in America. Well, here's what a "pole dance" ought to look like. The Polonaise is just so exquisite. Why do we have to look at women who are grotesquely underdressed? Why can't we have some since of class and elegance? Look at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3e1OH1BpjA In my view, this has real wow factor.

Here's something you don't see every day - a video of the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake. This is a mean snake, I don't care what they say. Anything that long and that venomous is on my Run From list. The Eastern Diamondback's strike speed is 92 mph. That's faster than I can run so my best bet is not to be in the same state where they live. And venomous? OMG This thing can kill four people if they shoot out a full load of venom. I'd say that about the only thing they'd be good for is to vacuum out all their venom and make anti-toxin out of it. Well, actually they're good for keeping the rat population down too. Otherwise, we'd have a run on the plague. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRtWT7OMyTQ

Just to keep you up to date on what's happening to the politics in the US, today the House defeated that minimum wage bill. And you know that if it doesn't get out of the House, it goes nowhere. The vote was 233-184. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/mar/15/house-defeats-minimum-wage-increase/ It's just not a good time to raise the minimum wage by any amount with the economy racing toward a bubble burst. My concern is when the Dow hits $15,000. I think that, at that point, the economy will hit the slippery slope and the unsustainable climb will just go pop! By how much? I think I agree with a couple of the economists I've been following who are talking about a 4 or 5% slide into hell for some vulnerable investors. (That's what economist calls a "correction.")

March 14, 2013

Here's a wonderful quote from Francis I  -- the new pope: When we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, and when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord.

Thank you, Francis I. Another of his strong convictions is that all politicians who support abortions should be denied communion.

March 10, 2013

Feel like taking a virtual 360 degree tour of what you'd see if you could enter the Sistine Chapel? Click this link: http://www.vatican.va/various/cappelle/sistina_vr/index.html 

It's particularly appropos since the Conclave of Cardinals will begin meeting on Tuesday.

March 9, 2013

It doesn't happen very often but here's a video that is less than a minute of what will be agony for the rest of this high school basketball's memory. The player took his team out of the running of a semi-finals contest in Oklahoma just becasue he put the bball into the wrong basket: http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2013/03/09/video-the-worst-play-in-basketball-history/

Oops. "My bad" doesn't even cover that one.

March 8, 2012

For all those folks who are really really worried about global warming and the earth melting, good news is here. It has to do with a greatly reduced amount of sunspot activities. I realize that there have been some incredible sunspots recently, but take a look at this: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2290289/NASA-warns-unexpected-happening-Sun-year-supposed-peak-sunspot-cycle.html See -- hardly any activity at all. Do you think all those proposed carbon taxes will disappear when we go into another mini ice age?

March 6, 2013

Hobby Lobby may close.
Hobby Lobby is filing suit as a last ditch effort to gain release from the mandates imposed by health care rules. In fact, here's the statement released by its Christian president:

With great reluctance, we filed a lawsuit today, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, asking a federal court to stop this mandate before it hurts our business. We don’t like to go running into court,but we no longer have a choice. We believe people are more important than the bottom line and that honoring God is more important than turning a profit.

Stay tuned.


March 3, 2013

This link is to an amazing story of a young man who walked ten miles in snow and ice to get a minimum wage jog: http://www.viddler.com/embed/70d1d214/?f=1&offset=0&autoplay=0&secret=48017121&disablebranding=0 -- I may have put the link on last week, but it's well worth another look. Besides, it wasn't this depiction of the story.


Here's some animals that aren't necessarily the cute, adorable little things we've seen in other links: http://www.viddler.com/embed/70d1d214/?f=1&offset=0&autoplay=0&secret=48017121&disablebranding=0

 

I have just had one of the most interesting experiences of my life. It was a live broadcast on Facebook. The president of the national LWML hosted the broadcast and this week's event focused on an article I had written some time ago about the blessings of stress for The Lutheran Women's Quarterly. People from all over the country were on live this morning asking questions about stress and how to wrap solutions about stress around a life with God.

Each week Kay, the LWML president, is inviting a different article author to join her in the live discussion.

My prayer is that God used me somehow to reach other people. You can also download the article that I had about stress at the Facebook site www.facebook.com/TheLWML -- it's a Bible Study about the blessings of stress.

I also got friend requests from hundreds of new people. From Hawaii, to Texas, to Iowa, to Wisconsin -- to name a few.

I truly believe that within each of the countries that have readers to this web site are pockets of people who hunger, as I do, for a firm relationship with God. We seek out those people who can held solidify that relationship on our journey to get closer to Him. In so doing, we share each others burdens.

People are awesome, aren't they? I got this video from my cousin Mark. It's a video about amazing people doing amazing things. http://awsom.tv/post/41196204035/people-are-awesome-2013-via

Grandparents are awesome too. Mark sent me these comments from little tykes:

1.   She was in the bathroom, putting on her makeup, under the watchful eyes of her
young granddaughter, as she'd done many times before . 

After she applied her lipstick and started to leave, the little one said, "But
Grandma, you forgot to kiss the toilet paper good-bye!" I will probably never put
lipstick on again without thinking about kissing the toilet paper good-bye....

2. My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday. He asked me how
old I was, and I told him, 80. My grandson was quiet for a moment, and then he
asked, "Did you start at 1?"

3. After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into old slacks and
a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she heard the children getting
more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin. Finally, she threw a towel
around her head and stormed into their room, putting them back to bed with stern
warnings. As she left the room, she heard the three-year-old say with a trembling
voice,
"Who was THAT?"

4. A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own childhood was
like. "We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing made from a tire; it hung
from a tree in o ur front yard. We rode our pony. We picked wild raspberries in the
woods."
The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this all in. At last she said, "I sure wish
I'd gotten to know you sooner!"

5. My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, "Grandma, do you know how you and
God are alike?" I mentally polished my halo and I said, "No, how are we alike?''
"You're both old," he replied.

6. A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's word processor.
She told him she was writing a story.
"What's it about?" he asked.
"I don't know," she replied. "I can't read."

7. I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to
test her. I would point out something and ask what color it was. She would tell me
and was always correct. It was fun for me, so I continued. At last, she headed for
the door, saying, "Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these
colors yourself!"

8. When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept the lights off
until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky insects. Still, a few fireflies
followed us in. Noticing them before I did, Billy whispered, "It's no use Grandpa.
Now the mosquitoes are coming after us with flashlights."

9. When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, "I'm not sure."
"Look in your underwear, Grandpa," he advised "Mine says I'm 4 to 6."

10.. A second grader came home from school and said to her grandmother, "Grandma,
guess what? We learned how to make babies today." The grandmother, more than a
little surprised, tried to keep her cool. "That's interesting." she said... "How do
you make babies?"
"It's simple," replied the girl. "You just change 'y' to 'i' and add 'es'."

11. Children's Logic: "Give me a sentence about a public servant," sa id a teacher.
The small boy wrote: "The fireman came down the ladder pregnant." The teacher took
the lad aside to correct him. "Don't you know what pregnant means?" she asked.
"Sure," said the young boy confidently. 'It means carrying a child."

12. A grandfather was delivering his grandchildren to their home one day when a fire
truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog.
The children started discussing the dog's duties.
"They use him to keep crowds back," said one child.
"No," said another. "He's just for good luck.."
A third child brought the argument to a close."They use the dogs," she said firmly,
"to find the fire hydrants."

13. A 6-year-old was asked where his grandma lived. "Oh," he said, "she lives at the
airport, and when we want her, we just go get her. Then, when we're done having her
visit, we take her back to the airport."

14. Grandpa is the smartest man on earth! He teaches me good things, but I don't get
to see him enough to get as smart as him!

February 26, 2013

Want to know the real source of global warming? Hint: It's not from driving SUVs around. http://129.164.179.22/apod/ap130226.html

Reading the caption, you will note that the time lapse says that the video took place over many, many hours. Global warming is not man-made. No doubt it's happening though. But man is just a tiny little being in the scope of things. There's a bigger hand at play out there in the universe and He's watching us all the time. One plasmic zap from the sun could wipe out our satellite systems in a flash, so to speak.

Changing the subject, we send our condolences to the families and loved ones of 18 folks who lost their lives in a horrible hot air balloon accident as the balloon was flying over the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. The balloon exploded and crashed. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2284548/Egypt-hot-air-balloon-crash-2-Britons-dead-2-critical-18-tourists-Luxor-killed.html

Here's a heartwarming story about a young man who walked ten miles through snow and ice to get a minimum wage job: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/02/25/restaurant-owner-finds-dedicated-teen-walking-10-snowy-miles-for-job-interview-guess-where-hes-working-now/ - Congratulations to the restaurant owner, too, for getting a real winner for an employee.

February 25, 2013

And they call the wind Mariah. Check out this link to a wind map of the United States: http://fm/wind amazing!

February 23, 2013

That was some crash at the Daytona 500 this afternoon. Wow! Cars were flying everywhere -- engines came off and went through the fence and got up into the stands. A number of injuries but miracle of miracles -- no fatalies. Check out this link: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nascar/2013/02/23/huge-car-crash-mars-nationwide-series-race-at-daytona/1941529/

And this video link takes you to an IMAX Fighter Pilot Operation Red Flag event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V30f88a8OTA -- I'd love to see this video at an IMAX theater like the one at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Those videos are on 80 mm film. What an incredible experience. This is a good experience too. All 48 minutes of it. Enjoy!

February 19, 2013

Do you know how much it hurts when you laugh so hard coffee comes out your nose? Take a look at this video - without any coffee in your mouth: https://www.youtube.com/v/IQfZY5rvXX0%26rel=0%26hl=en_US%26feature=player_embedded%26version=3

February 17, 2012

Are you ready for a little history? Mark sent me this story and if you ever get to Chicago, zipping through O'Hare Airport, you'll know why it was named as it was:

Two Stories BOTH TRUE - and worth reading!

STORY NUMBER ONE

Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago . Capone wasn't famous for
anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything
frombootlegged booze and prostitution to murder. Capone had a lawyer nicknamed 'Easy
Eddie.' He was Capone's lawyer for agood reason. Eddie was very good! In fact,
Eddie's skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.

To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the
money big, but Eddie got special dividends, as well.
For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with
live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day.
The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block.

Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little
consideration to the atrocity that went on around him.
Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved
dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars,
and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object.
And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to
teach him right from wrong.
Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was.
Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he
couldn't give his son; he couldn't pass on a good name or a good example.
One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie wanted to
rectify wrongs he had done.

He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al
'Scarface' Capone, clean up his tarnished name,
and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this, he would
have to testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be
great. So, he testified.

Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a
lonely Chicago Street. But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest
gift he had to offer, at the greatest price he could ever pay.
Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious
medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine.

The poem read:
'The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to
tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour.
Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will. Place no
faith in time. For the clock may soon be still.'


STORY NUMBER TWO

World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant
Commander Butch O'Hare.
He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in
the South Pacific.
One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was
airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had
forgotten to top off his fuel tank.
He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back
to his ship.
His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he
dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.

As he was returning to the mother ship, he saw something that turned
his blood cold; a squadron of Japanese aircraft was speeding its way
toward the American fleet.
The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but
defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to
save the fleet.
Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only
one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet.
Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the
formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber's blazed as he
charged in,
attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in
and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as
possible
until all his ammunition was finally spent.
Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to
clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible,
rendering them unfit to fly.
Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction.
Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to
the carrier.

Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his
return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale.
It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet.
He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft.

This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became
the Navy's first Ace of W.W.II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the
Congressional Medal of Honor.
A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His
home town would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and
today,
O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this
great man.

So, the next time you find yourself at O'Hare International, give some
thought to visiting Butch's memorial displaying his statue and his Medal
of Honor.
It's located between Terminals 1 and 2.

SO WHAT DO THESE TWO STORIES HAVE TO DO WITH EACH OTHER? 

Butch O'Hare was 'Easy Eddie's' son.


Prepare to melt away your heart. Here's a link to a little 5 year old girl who called 911 when her father was apparently having a heart attack. Just listen: http://www.maniacworld.com/stay-calm-dad.html Wow!
Big discussions about raising the minimum wage here in the United States from $7.25 to $9.00 per hour. Lots of studies are out there that show raising the minimum waige has a deleterious effect on employment. Take this for instance: http://confoundedinterest.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/vat-is-das-minimum-wage-unemployment-and-investor-driven-housing-recovery/

I'd just like to take the thought of a small business owner.

Let's say that I can only to afford to hire enough 1/4 time employees (after school students) and pay no more than $1500 in the aggregate every week.

At $7.25 per hour, that means I can buy 206 hours of employment.

Taking that same $1500 at $9.00 per hour means that I can only buy 166 hours.

The difference is 40 hours. I can compute that without my handy dandy little calculator. Forty hours spread over 1/4 time student employees if 4 real people who won't be able to work at my establishment. That means that you could work for me, but your three favorite buddies couldn't.

So, given that scenario -- will someone please tell me how raising the minimum wage helps improve the employment picture?

On another subject: this is about how you can set up an experiment to test for psychological stress and not let the subjects of the experiment know you're intentionally stressing them out. Stress is, after all, a continuing concern no matter where you live. How can you research how much stress a person is feeling when the "victim" is "in on it" and knows it's a scripted stress that will be over with when the research is done.

Some research, in fact, was halted by the American Psychological Association when the research went too far even when the stressed subjects knew about the experiment.

However, in Germany recently, someone at an airport walked around taking pictures of people at random. Then, very quickly, the photos were inserted into wanted posters and distributed throughout the airport. Then the posters made headline news on the overhead TV monitors. The people who were shown had no idea they were part of a big experiment on stress.

Watch the outcome here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gWk_yKtEdo&feature=youtu.be

February 16, 2013

And then there was the Super Bowl. Where would the halftime be without the Clydesdales? Take a look at this precious ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPG7PcI67dE

This is one of my all-time favorites : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Xb4kLo4Gp0&NR=1&feature=endscreen I realize that it's a scripted commercial but don't you wonder how much animals really communicate to one another? I think they communicate much more than humans give them credit for.

I love to watch people who are enjoying themselves dancing. And I equally enjoy watching children dancing. When these two are combined, here's an incredible combination: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jqb3z2sQ6PM -- You think they don't feel the rhythm? !!

I never rode a subway when in New York, but I can only imagine. Then Mark sent me this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=47e3vjA_4uc Who knows, maybe someday this is what the Chicago subways will look like.

I did read some while ago that a "good" panhandler back in the early 90s was making some $50,000 a year. Lived in a better condo than I did. Lost my benevolent spirit for street moochers. I mean, I can help more people by donating to human care agencies who help people who are in need. And, of course, the church.

Here's a compilation of what's supposed to be the best commercials of this year's Super Bowl: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65t7LSknGdE&feature=endscreen&NR=1


February 15, 2012

Amazing footage of a big meteor hitting the earth. Happened in Russia. It was big and it exploded in the atmosphere before it actually struct the earth. Lots of damage, mostly from breaking glass. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXvrNUXxm9E

If you love cats, you'll get a kick out of these felines showing how they amuse themselves. The folks over at Cheeseburger put a new video out every Wednesday. Remember, laughter is a good way to say good riddance to burnout. http://cheezburger.com/47540993

February 13, 2013

A little mini-factoid that I found on my way to looking something else up. Some late research says that one of the most effective "cures" for burnout is laughter. So laugh until your sides ache, my friends. Something else you might want to know is this: Involve yourself in creative pursuits -- even if it's just observing a view that strikes your fancy. Creativity has a lot to do with dopamines that attach to pleasure centers in your brain. If you can't take a hike, then go on these visual excursions that Shirley sent. Enjoy life and life enjoys you!
Feel up to taking a little trip out west? Shirley sent clips to some incredible photos from Utah. But it isn't just the photos. You can hold your cursor down and move the view to the right, left, up or down:

http://www.utah3d.net/utah-travel/canyonlands/grand-view.html -- Canyonlands National Park - Grand View Point

http://www.utah3d.net/utah-travel/capitol-reef/sulphur-creek.html - Capitol Reef National Park - Sulphur Creek

http://www.utah3d.net/utah-travel/arches/double-arch.html - Double Arch in Arches National Park

http://www.utah3d.net/utah-travel/wasatch-mountains/payson-canyon.html - Wasatch Mountains -- Payson Canyon

  

A little language trivia from my cousin Mark:

UP

This two-letter word in English has more meanings than any other two-letter word,
and that word is ' UP .' It is listed in the dictionary as an [adv], [prep], [adj],
[n] or [v].

It's easy to understand UP , meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but
when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ?

At a meeting, why does a topic come UP ? Why do we speak UP , and why are the
officers UP for election (if there is a tie, it is a toss UP ) and why is it UP to
the secretary to write UP a report?We call UP our friends, brighten UP a room,
polish UP the silver, warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the
house and fix UP the old car.

At other times, this little word has real special meaning . People stir UP trouble,
line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.

To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special.

And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is blocked UP .

We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. We seem to be pretty
mixed UP about UP !

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP , look UP the word UP in the
dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can
add UP to about thirty definitions.

If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.
It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP , you may wind UP with
( UP to) a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP . When the sun comes out, we say
it is clearing UP . When it rains,the earth soaks it UP. When it does not rain for
awhile, things dry UP . One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP , for now . . .
my time is UP !

And then, there's these funny little vignettes, also from Mark:

No one believes seniors . . . everyone thinks they are senile.
An elderly couple was celebrating their sixtieth anniversary. The couple had married
as childhood sweethearts and had
moved back to their old neighborhood after they retired.. Holding hands, they walked
back to their old school. It was not locked, so they entered, and found the old desk
they'd shared, where Andy had carved “I love you, Sally.” 
 
On their way back home, a bag of money fell out of an armored car, practically
landing at their feet. Sally quickly picked
it up and, not sure what to do with it, they took it home. There, she counted the
money - fifty thousand dollars!
 
Andy said, “We’ve got to give it back.”
 
Sally said, “Finders keepers.” She put the money back in the bag and hid it in
their attic.

The next day, two police officers were canvassing the neighborhood looking for the
money, and knocked on their door. “Pardon me, did either of you find a bag that
fell out of an armored car yesterday?”
   
Sally said, “No”.
   
Andy said, “She’s lying. She hid it up in the attic.
   
Sally said, “Don’t believe him, he’s getting senile”

The agents turned to Andy and began to question him.

One said: “Tell us the story from the beginning.”
   
Andy said, “Well, when Sally and I were walking home from school yesterday ...”
 
The first police officer turned to his partner and said, “We’re outta here!”

And --

And Then:
Earl and Bubba are quietly sitting in a boat fishing,
chewing tobacco and drinking beer when suddenly
Bubba says, "Think I'm gonna divorce the wife - she
ain't spoke to me in over 2 months."

Earl spits overboard, takes a long, slow sip of beer and says, "Better think it
over..............
women like that are hard to find."


Oh my goodness, will you just look at this! The other day Quint and I were just talking about the newest, biggest, baddest TV screen. "How could anything be worth a half million dollars?" I asked. Then I saw this clip: http://www.cseed.tv/design/movie.html -- It's wild. Now I know. That's some house. Probably doesn't come with the Porsche though. And wouldn't they worry about rain dripping down into that hole that the LED screen came out of? Just wondering. Thank you, Mark. I'll bet you don't have one of these in your back yard. I'm going to check next time I come see you.


I'm so lucky because I got this clip from both my cousins. http://www.wimp.com/christianlion/ It's about a lion cub that was raised from infancy, then returned back to the wild. This clip shows their meeting after some time has passed. They were warned that their pet lion had reverted back to being a wild animal and wouldn't recognize them. But you just watch!

And thank you, Mark and Al, for sharing this with all of us.

My final link for today is this one from Mark. He says it's about some masculine moments: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvlQYi5LoYM&feature=youtu.be




February 12, 2013

One of my favorite favorite places to go to on the web is www.ted.com - a most amazing place. To give you an idea, here is a link to a photographic excursion in the womb from conception to birth. Absolutely breathtaking and beautiful. http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=fKyljukBE70 -- and especially to a microbiology student, Elizabeth, who is studying at Eastern Illinois University. Say hello to Elizabeth, everybody. And Elizabeth, watch this video if you have time or inclination. You will enjoy it. I suspect.
And today is the day we remember Abraham Lincoln, America's Civil War President. Happy birthday, Abe!

Got this funny -- or at least cute -- video link from cousin Mark. It's called The Green Side of the Grass: http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/6dbBfXCMbH4?rel=0%22

February 10, 2013

And just who is this Dr. Benjamin Carson? Well, if you haven't looked him up in Wikipedia, let me tell you that he is a pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University. He was the first surgeon to successfully separate twins who were joined at the head. He is a "pull yourself up out of poverty" kind of guy. He was invited to address the nation at the National Day of Prayer not too long ago. And in case you haven't heard his speech, here is a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyyHegP255g

Reminds me of my own childhood. We had next to nothing in money. And when I would go to my grandmother and complain that I hated being poor, she'd tell me that we weren't poor -- just broke. Big difference. And I've never forgotten it as I've gone through life. Sometimes broke; sometimes not. But poor? Nope. Poverty is a state of mind and I do not want to go there.

And here are the photos of Richard III's remains: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-21063882

Everyone is buzzing about both these topics, from what I hear in my galloping around the internet.

Here's a link to a cat that I could just love. Cat-cat got run over and after many surgeries, has become a lesson of style and grace, not to mention grace. I just love cats! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2275887/Caffrey-amazing-moggie-survives-legs--theyre-side.html#axzz2KX21lwCl


Pink hair? So how many women do you think could pull off pink hair? Dame Helen Mirren seems to be doing just fine with it. But most of all, I love the dress. Elegant and very ladylike: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2276596/BAFTA-Awards-2013-Dame-Helen-Mirren-shocks-debuts-new-dyed-bob.html#axzz2KX21lwCl

More photos of dresses, hairdos, tuxedos, etc. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2276515/BAFTA-Awards-2013-Caroline-Flack-leads-red-carpet-glamour-stunning-beaded-black-gown.html#axzz2KX21lwCl 
Oh, so those little peepholes in the ladies' dresses are called keyholes? Did not know that. And what's with that one yellow dress. It looks like half a dress that had the bottom half tacked on somehow. The woman who's wearing it should keep her arms down to her side so she doesn't give the dress' secret away. I could tell it if was supposed to be a mini that lost its identity at the last minute and had a bottom half added quickly in the dressing room. Guess those $gadzillion dresses are lost on me.


February 9, 2013

Found this beautiful rendition of Vivaldi's Four Seasons. It's 42 minutes so I'm guessing it's all four seasons. Play it in the background while you're doing something else on your computer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=GRxofEmo3HA&NR=1

February 8, 2013

We've been watching a Netflix production, The House of Cards. It's Kevin Spacey at his best even though the story is about corruption and greed and politicians in Washington, D. C. However, in one of the later episodes, Spacey's character goes back to his alma mater because they are naming a new library after him. Francis Underwood, I think. Point is, he and three of his buddies sang Shenandoah. Nothing like good harmony for this wonderful song. This isn't them, but it's a wonderful glee club doing the same song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QvoqvX2VPE

Not the same group, but a wonderful group of harmony singing Finlandia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDXNHPeRB0k

Here's the same anthem set against some beautiful photography: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5zg_af9b8c

This anthem is also set against photography, with the lyrics as well as some of the history of Finland and its quest for independence from being a duchy of the Russian empire: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XojVmivqDrA

Here is a beautiful choral presentation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGgu5iwP5Z8 -- Finlandi, Hymni

Even a flash mob offers its rendition at an airport: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wO63xt2jWtc  What a celebration of joy and peace and pride for a very young nation that has nourished its soil with the blood of its patriots. The world salutes you!

So for all our readers from Finland, enjoy. Our hearts are with you in your independence and freedom and liberty.

Adding one of my all-time favorites, Ode to Joy, here is a group from Japan -- all 10,000 of them -- giving us Ode an die Freude. Absolutely beautiful.

And this, I'll bet, you've not seen anything like it: http://www.youtube.com/embed/XlyCLbt3Thk?rel=0 

 

 

January 30, 2013

My, oh my. This link shows a sinkhole that swallows up buildings! http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/9833738/Sinkhole-swallows-whole-building-complex-in-China.html

Fortunately, no one was reported injured. But whole buildings?! Wow!

January 28, 2013

Rabbi Jonathan Cahn's powerful message at the National Day of Prayer: http://robcunninghamusa.com/2013/01/28/video-pastor-confronts-obama-america-is-a-christian-nation/

I pray that his message will be a wake-up call for many sinners who need to take that first little step toward regaining faith, or gaining a faith they may never have had.

It's simple. It requires crossing a threshold into a new beginning for your life. You don't have to make a big project out of it. Just find a church and walk through the doors. (I use the word church to mean any house of worship.)

Don't wait until you are doing "better" in your faith. Whatever that means. You are never going to get clean from your sins by yourself. Church is a place to go where you can get clean. It's where you metaphorically get cleansed by the blood of Christ.

If you feel like your sins have made you ill, then you need to know that the church is a hospital for sinners. You can exchange all those sins for a new life in Christ.

Just go through the door and feel the embrace of Christ's love.

If you believe that the church is full of hypocrites, then you ought to feel right at home if you think that at least you're honest enough to know you're a worthless piece of doodoo. But you're right -- as sinners we all live hypocritical lives. There's room for one more so come on in. Walk through the door.

Come on in and know the full salvation of Christ's love and what He did on the cross to save you and me alike. Just walk through the door. The Holy Spirit will guide you to faith and introduce you to the Savior of the world.

January 27, 2013

Want to see the five top scariest places on the planet? Take a look: http://www.cracked.com/article_19705_the-5-most-spectacular-landscapes-earth-that-murder-you.html

Here's a bear surprising a camera crew trying to set up a commercial in the frozen tundra north: http://www.angelfire.com/ak2/intelligencerreport/walking.html

And to change the subject: 

Lent is about increasing consciousness.

The story of Easter starts at Christmas because there would be no Calvary without Bethlehem.

From Ash Wednesday, it's a forty-day journey of mindfulness. It's about a growing awareness of just exactly what Jesus Christ's death on the cross means to each of us as Christians.

So, how many of you out there would quietly lie down on a cross so that Roman Soldiers could nail your hands to the crossbar? Everybody who would be willing to do that, raise your hands.

Not many hands up. In fact the number is somewhere between zero and negative 10. The negative numbers are those people who are sitting on their hands just to make sure they don't spontaneously shoot up in the air.

How exactly do you increase your mindfulness about salvation. That's what the trek through the Lenten season is all about. It's about become more and more thankful for the tremendous sacrifice that our Heavenly Father made by sending His only Son to die for the wrongdoing of all sinners. As a parent and as a human mother, I can tell you that I could not have done that to any of our children. This was absolutely, positively certain death for Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ was not a clone off another brother. God could have done that too. But He didn't. Nope. Jesus Christ was His one and only.

The willingness of Jesus Christ to lay down His life is something we need to think about during this trek through Lent.

In my view, how could anyone participate in gleeful festivals and parties?! At the risk of those of you out there who'd tell me to lighten up, I say go ahead. Just count me out. I'm thinking about other things while you're engaging in your not-so-mindful Lent festivals and parties. I have a right to practice my faith in ways that are deeply meaningful to me. You do too.

Does it mean that I go to heaven and you don't? Probably not. But for me, observing Lent is more about Sunday morning and midweek Lenten services. It's about an everyday-trek through my heart and mind. It's one long moment from Ash Wednesday to Easter. I'm not that good at multi-tasking where I can do that and also go to festivals.

So have at it. I'll see you at the cross.


January 26, 2013

Late Night Catechism -- very funny nun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Jrh_uuPmd0  There are other vignettes at the link which you can watch.

Here's a link of a father and son team: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=9xwCG0Ey2Mg The son is blind and wheelchair-bound. And thanks to his father, he is part of the University of Louisville Marching Band. Seeing is believing! And thanks to our friends, John and Sherre, in Wichita for sending the link. It just reminds me that God gives us talent, but not necessarily fame or fortune.

What could be more adorable than a half dozen Scottish Terrier puppies? Well, watching them "eat" in a common puppy bowl and moving around it like a pinwheel. You're just not going to believe it: http://uvideo100.com/pinwheel.html

I just love this video -- it's a little boy in who can't be more than 5 or 6 years old driving a front loader! He actually does a fantastic job and is so serious. I'm really impressed with his coordination: http://uvideo100.com/labor.html

After you watch it, answer me this question: do you think this young man would ever be satisfied playing with a Tonka truck? Not!

It seems to me that what makes these little boys so adorable is that they are doing big people stuff. Take this little tyke who crashed his dad's concert. Dad was singing Brown Eyed Girl and little Mr. Twinkie comes running over and decides to show off some of his moves to the crowd. Crowd went wild with appreciation. Baby takes pacifier back to his mom. Don't need this anymore since I'm out here playing with the big boys. http://uvideo100.com/concert.html

Want to see one good example of poetry in motion? Look at these Friesians. Beautiful black horses coming into their own in the field of dressage. http://uvideo100.com/friesian.html


January 24, 2013

Here's a link to a beautiful train ride. Oh the beauty of the trip! Ride along with Floyd Kramer's piano: http://www.openmyeyeslord.net/Train%20Ride.swf

Got this warning from my dear friend Norma:

WARNING FROM POLICE**
>>>
>>>        THIS APPLIES TO BOTH WOMEN AND MEN**
>>>
>>>        BEWARE OF PAPER ON THE BACK WINDOW OF YOUR VEHICLE--NEW WAY TO
>>>        DO CARJACKINGS (NOT A JOKE)
>>>
>>>        Heads up everyone! Please, keep this circulating.. You walk
>>>        across the parking lot, unlock your car and get inside. You
>>>        start the engine and shift into reverse..
>>>
>>>        When you look into the rearview mirror to back out of your
>>>        parking space, you notice a piece of paper stuck to the middle
>>> of the rear window. So, you shift into Park, unlock your doors,
>>>        and jump out of your car to remove that paper (or whatever it
>>>        is) that is obstructing your view. When you reach the back of
>>>        your car, that is when the carjackers appear out of nowhere,
>>>        jump into your car and take off. They practically mow you down
>>>        as they speed off in your car.
>>>
>>>        And guess what, ladies? I bet your purse is still in the car.
>>>
>>>        So now the carjacker has your car, your home address, your
>>>        money, and your keys. Your home and your whole identity are now
>>>        compromised!
>>>
>>>        BEWARE OF THIS NEW SCHEME THAT IS NOW BEING USED.
>>>
>>>        If you see a piece of paper stuck to your back window, just
>>>        drive away. Remove the paper later.  A purse contains all kinds of
>>>        personal information and identification documents, and you
>>>        certainly do NOT want it to fall into the wrong hands.**


This is a prayer that comes by way of my good friend, Cody, from Warrensburg. Thank you, Cody. I am especially happy to share with so many readers who live so far away -- many in countries that  persecute Christians. I lift each of you up in prayer for your physical and spiritual safety:

Prayer is one of the best and most powerful free gifts we receive. Read the prayer
below.


Saint Theresa's Prayer

May today there be peace within

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.


May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been
given to you.

May you be confident knowing you are a child of God.

Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing,
dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.

>>>       

January 22, 2013

Remember when I was talking about over-learning yesterday?

Today I'm thinking about over-thinking as part of that path to learning. Remember that learning is defined as relatively permanent and leads to some sort of behavior change. That behavior change can be something as simple as realizing that you're different because you've learned something new. That is to say, you don't have to go back to hula hoops for self-entertainment.

Today I am thinking about a physics idea. Not even sure you can call it a theorem yet, so I'll settle for an idea. It's called Higgs-Boson. It's an interesting thought - an idea -- and I want to understand it. So I found this link that was prepared by a physicist at the Fermilab. I figure if I listen to it over and over, I'll get a handle on Higgs-Boson. I do question the example of the portly gentleman going through the water with difficulty where the barracuda did not. In truth, all of the man was not in the water -- only half of him was, whereas all of the barracuda was moving through the water. But I'll have to study that thought some more. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIg1Vh7uPyw 

Here's a web site for some basic physics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnMIhxWRGNw&list=PLED25F943F8D6081C&index=10

My point is, we'd better be learning this stuff if we ever want to understand the world around us instead of having someone understand the world and explaining it to us. I mean, how do we know they'd be correct? We need to keep over-thinking and over-learning.

After all, my technique did get me through understanding some perplexing and difficult math structures in high school and my undergrad.

And my brain didn't even melt.

So I'm going to put this link about quantum physics here kind of as a bookmark because when I want to find it, I probably won't be able to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1TVZIBj7UA&list=PLED25F943F8D6081C 

But then, I could always ask Quint and he could explain it all to me.

January 21, 2013

January 21st already. Wow! How time goes flying by.

I received this link from my dear friend Linda in Lawrenceville: http://www.youtube.com/embed/8TT1XFS1LA0

If ever there is a story of the need for closure, this video poignantly points to the need. This is the story of a WWII widow who searched and searched and never gave up. And all the time her late husband was found in a grave at Normandy. But it's more than that. That would be too simple a story. Just watch and see what the little town in France has done to commemorate her husband all these years.

Linda also sent a link entitled The Beauty of Mathematics. If you have not seen this before, prepare to be amazed: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=h60r2HPsiuM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

It reminds me of when I was a little kid and used to "count letters." Don't know where I learned to do that but it was just fun. I counted the letters in my name, and words at school. For no good reason except as a mental exercise.

And thank you, Linda, for sharing this link with our readers.

While I was at the links, I noticed a video called Late Night Catechism. I knew the nun was Catholic. I mean, her habit was a big clue, right? So I clicked on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=h60r2HPsiuM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Oh how funny she is! The above link takes you to catechetical lesson #2 -- and there are others at the site. Enjoy!



January 19, 2013

We watched a Neil Young concert - Prairie Wind -- on Netflix last night. His signature song, at least as far as I'm concerned, is Heart of Gold. So while I was listening to that song, I really wanted to hear Horse With No Name. I was so certain that it was a Neil Young recording too. But it wasn't. America recorded it and here's a link, if you're interested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQzW6wz2JQk

At one point, Neil Young asked, "If there a guitar in the house?" Next thing you know, he's got about 8 guitars lined up playing with him on stage. Having taught guitar years ago at a park district up north, I am amazed that all the guitars were so in tune with one another, and the guitarists were so synchronized.

I watched a TED talk about sychronicity not too long ago. It seems that "all" things in nature try to synchronize with each other. So I put on my mental health hat and wonder if, for whatever reason, people can't synchronize with one another it's doom for a relationship from the start.

Anyway, if you haven't discovered TED talks yet, go to www.ted.com and listen to some of them. One of the criteria is that the talks can't be longer than 15-18 minutes and the speaker has to talk about an idea that will change the world. There are all sorts of categories to plug into. Go ahead. It's an easy way to learn something new.

My grandmother used to tell me that a day was wasted if I didn't learn one new thing.

She didn't have to lecture me much about that either. I loved studying and learning when I was in school. Loved it so much that I made up practice tests for myself when I was an undergrad. I would pick parts of the text that were particularly difficult to grasp and make "fill in the blank" exercises. I made a key with the answers as I went along. I would only do 50 blank questions or so at a time. Then I would test myself. I was amazed that even after reading the text, then writing it down with an important word replaced by a line to fill in, and writing the correct word or term on the key, the first time I took my little practice test, I would only get 50% or so correct. So I'd keep taking my little test until I got 95% correct. Then I would move on to another part of the textbook and do the same thing. And that is how I aced my tests.

Was it a lot of work? Yes!

Was it worth it? You bet!

Later when I taught psychology classes to undergrads, I told them what I did. Believe it or not, several of the students duplicated my "system." They were amazed to add such a simple method to their toolbox of learning skills.

Students often make an assumption that if they read something, and take good notes, then review their notes the night before an exam, that's all they need to get a good grade on tests. Some people can do that. Most can't. Most people need a few other techniques to help them out.

But for all those people who say, "I never was good at taking tests," I say, "Of course not because the secret to taking tests well is overlearning. It's going over and over and over the material until you can practically recite the information."

One thing that we've all over-learned is the alphabet. Another is the multiplication tables. That is, if you memorized the multiplication tables.

On another matter not related to anything above -- here's a link that shows ships in their rustic rusty final states lying on beaches at various places around the world: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2264903/Rust-glory-Poignant-pictures-capture-tragic-beauty-worlds-haunting-shipwrecks.html



January 17, 2013

One of the benefits I have enjoyed over the past several years after doing some genealogy research is finding a long lost cousin of mine in southeast Texas. We are related through my father's sister. A side benefit is that Frances has as much a sense of fun-loving human as I do. She sent this and I think you'll enjoy it too:

Why I Like Retirement !!!

Question: How many days in a week?
Answer: 6 Saturdays, 1 Sunday
and you know when it's Sunday
that's when the heavy paper comes



Question: When is a retiree's bedtime?
Answer: Three hours after he falls asleep in the recliner.


Question: How many retirees to change a light bulb?
Answer: Only one, but it might take all day.



Question: What's the biggest gripe of retirees?
Answer: There is not enough time to get everything done.


Question: Why don't retirees mind being called Seniors?
Answer: The term comes with a 10% discount.


Question: Among retirees what is considered formal attire?
Answer: Tied shoes.


Question:Why do retirees count pennies?
Answer:They are the only ones who have the time.



Question:Why are retirees so slow to clean out the basement, attic or garage?
Answer:They know that as soon as they do, one of their adult kids will want to store
stuff there.



Question: What do retirees call a long lunch?
Answer: Normal.


Question:What is the best way to describe retirement?
Answer: The never ending Coffee Break.


Question: What's the biggest advantage of going back to school as a retiree?
Answer: If you cut classes, no one calls your parents.



Question: Why does a retiree often say he doesn't miss work, but misses the people
he used to work with?
Answer: He is too polite to tell the whole truth.




And, my very favorite....
QUESTION: What do you do all week?
Answer: Monday through Friday, NOTHING..... Saturday & Sunday, I rest.


Thank you, Frances, and stay warm. I don't think the Houston area is getting all that many blessings from Mother Nature these days. I'm bracing for a predicted 5 degrees on Sunday. Brrrrr.

January 15, 2013

If you like cats, you'll enjoy watching these two felines "sharing" their dinner: http://uvideo100.com/bowl.html

I like cats a lot more than politics. Apparently they share. But I don't think they are compromising all that much, to think about it.

January 15, 2013

From our good friends in Wichita comes this suggestion of how to cook a turkey dinner. Something to keep in mind: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=niegc7QcilM Now, isn't that hilarious?

January 14, 2013

I can remember sitting around the radio when I was a kid -- kind of like we sit around the TV nowadays - to listen to the Bob Hope Show. What fun. I understand from listening to interviews with him that he also wrote his own material.

Got the following snippets from cousin Mark. So for those of you who are too young to remember the Bob Hope Shop, here are some funny bits from this wonderful comedian who passed on a number of years ago:

For those of you too young to remember Bob Hope, ask your Grandparents..
And thanks for the memories. WHAT A WONDERFUL E-MAIL.




I HOPE THIS WILL PUT A SMILE ON YOUR FACE AND IN YOUR HEART.

Tribute to a man who DID make a difference.




ON TURNING 70
'I still chase women, but only
downhill'.

ON TURNING 80
'That's the time of your life when even your birthday suit needs pressing.'

ON TURNING 90
'You know you're getting old when the candles cost more than the cake.'

ON TURNING 100
'I don't feel old. In fact, I don't feel
anything until noon. Then it's time for my nap.'

ON GIVING UP HIS EARLY CAREER, BOXING
'I ruined my hands in the ring. The referee kept stepping on them.'

ON NEVER WINNING AN OSCAR
'Welcome to the Academy Awards or, as it's called at my home, 'Passover'.

ON GOLF
'Golf is my profession. Show business is just to pay the green fees.'

ON PRESIDENTS
'I have performed for 12 presidents and entertained only six.'

ON WHY HE CHOSE SHOWBIZ FOR HIS CAREER


'When I was born, the doctor said to my mother,
Congratulations, you have an eight pound ham.



ON RECEIVING THE CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL
'I feel very humble, but I think I have the strength of character to fight it.'

ON HIS FAMILY'S EARLY POVERTY
'Four of us slept in the one bed. When it got cold, mother threw on another brother.'

ON HIS SIX BROTHERS
'That's how I learned to dance. Waiting for the bathroom.'

ON HIS EARLY FAILURES
'I would not have had anything to eat if it wasn't for the
stuff the audience threw at me.'

ON GOING TO HEAVEN
'I've done benefits for ALL religions. I'd hate to blow the hereafter on a
technicality.'


January 14, 2013

Here is a link to a video about interment about the USS Arizona that is carried out even in the present time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgE2KiPd3xg&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Quint and I the opportunity to go aboard the Arizona when we went to Hawaii on the occasion of our 25th anniversary. It is, even after all these years, a moving experience. And a reverent one, just knowing that there were sailors still entomed beneath us.

January 13, 2013

Watch this clip of a golden lab trying to very gently interact with a young boy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA8VJh0UJtg

I'm fortunate to have had a golden lab when I was much younger. They're the gentlest dogs on the planet -- in my view. Dogs are amazing -- as you can see when this video shows a dog going onto a busy highway to rescue another dog that has been run over: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=_nkadPBEKFk&NR=1 Amazing. And the injured dog lived! That's the best part.

The link to this video shows an incredible affection from a cat trying to revive a cat friend: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=3g-JcebQyyI&NR=1

These compilation videos are always interesting. I personally think everyone should take a Physics class in high school just to learn about forces of nature and what works and doesn't work. And apparently a shooting course too so you can know what to expect in a recoil. Or at least to hold onto the rifle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gng3sPiJdzA

But then, it's nice when everything works out all right too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=yKWoPlL2B8I

I guess we can talk about doctors and medicine in the new year. These funny vignettes come from my cousin Mark who is always funny!

MY NEW PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN Love this Doctor!   

Q: Doctor, I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life.  Is this true?
A: Heart only good for so many beats, and that it... Don't waste on exercise. 
Everything wear out eventually.  Speeding up heart not make you live longer;

it like saying you extend life of car by driving faster.  Want to live longer? 
Take nap.  

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?   
A:  Oh no.  Wine made from fruit.  Brandy distilled wine, that mean they take
water out of fruity bit so you get even more of goodness that way.  Beer also made
of grain.  Bottom up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A: Well, if you have body and you have fat, your ratio one to one.  If you have two
body, your ratio two to one.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can't think of single one, sorry.  My philosophy: No pain...good!  
   
Q:  Aren't fried foods bad for you?   
A:  YOU NOT LISTENING!  Food fried in vegetable oil.  How getting more vegetable
be bad?

Q :  Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
A:  Oh no!  When you exercise muscle, it get bigger.  You should only be doing
sit-up if you want bigger stomach. 

Q:  Is chocolate bad for me? 
A:  You crazy?!?  HEL-LO-O!!  Cocoa bean!  Another vegetable!  It best
feel-good food around!

Q:  Is swimming good for your figure? 
A:  If swimming good for figure, explain whale to me.

Q:  Is getting in shape important for my lifestyle? 
A:  Hey!  'Round' is shape!

Well... I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food
and diets.

And  remember:  
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in
an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay
in one hand -

chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming
"WOO-HOO, what a ride!!"   
   
AND.....

For  those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and
health.  It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional
studies.   

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than
Americans.

4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than
Americans... 

5. The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer
fewer heart attacks than Americans.

 
CONCLUSION:  Eat and drink what you like.   Speaking English is

apparently what kills you.

Quint's cardiologist has a food philosophy that I like. He says we don't have to endure all that gravel-tasting food. Like that guy1

January 9, 2012

Today would have been my brother's 68th birthday. RIP, Al. Hope you were finally able to quit smoking wherever you are up there.

Under the general heading of "Are you kidding me?" is an activity called "zorbing." Not sure where that word came from, but a zorb is a big inflatable ball.

Well, these two Russians decided to get inside this inflatable, which is what youdo with a zorb, and roll it down a ski slope.

It did not end well. In fact, one of the zorbas was killed when the zorb rolled off a cliff, instead of sticking with the path it was "supposed" to take.

Here's the linkhttp:// www.foxnews.com/world/2013/01/09/ride-down-ski-slope-in-giant-inflatable-ball-turns-deadly-in-russia/?test=latestnews 

Not serious like the antics of zorbing, but here's reactions from fast food drive-up window people who try to serve an order to a car that doesn't have a driver in it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVrJ8DxECbg Reactions are really interesting.

January 8, 2013

Eons ago when I was young and dirt was just a technological dream, I took a Psychology of Advertising course. How attitudes of the public are shaped by advertising was a new thought. How advertising reflects the social mores of a culture was also embedded in there somewhere. So I found these ads -- supposed to be the funniest ads of last year. Enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7_LfUeSWWE

What do the ads say to you? Some of interesting, others downright funny. Ads have come a long way since the early days of television when it was all about a catchy jingle and a kind of in-your-face message. Nowadays, ads are more subtle and a whole lot funnier. And now with the ability to lip sync babies talking, and other computer gyrations, we get some pretty comical antics. Babies and animals still rack up the best sales.

This link takes you to "Top Tracks of Enya." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0NoHN1TU5I&list=AL94UKMTqg-9CxvLgtPVLEHEK_wTvvFbqd Lots of beautiful graphics. Enjoy your respite.

Didn't get enough commercials in the Super Bowl? This link takes you to a big collection. Funnnnnny! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cidAbexlHTE


 

January 7, 2013

Oh the curse of unintended consequences! Take the electric cars, for instances. Notice how quiet they are. Peace, aren't they?

Apparently there are lots of problems where pedestrians are concerned. So much so that highway safety people have now developed a list of sounds that will have to be engineered into the oncoming electric car so that you will know they're around. You can listen to these sounds just so you will recognize there's a car nearby when you step off into the pedestrian walkway at the intersection. Here's the link: http://www.nhtsa.gov/SampleSounds

January 6, 2013

Today is the Feast of Epiphany Sunday. It's the day that Christians celebrate the Magi who came to see the Baby Jesus. They brought expensive gifts which certainly came in handy when Joseph had to take his new family into Egypt for safekeeping because that mean old King Herod was looking for all the first-borns to be killed. Someone had told Herod that a new king of the Jews had been born and Herod, being the paranoid type, couldn't handle that kind of rivalry. So, he'd already killed his wife and his father-in-law and his mother-in-law and now was going to launch a genocide of innocent little babies.

At church we do our undecorating of Christmas trees and adornments after our Epiphany celebration. And even though it's called the Feast of Epiphany, we didn't have anything to eat. Not even one little cookie. Seems like this would be a good time to have one of those yummy Lutheran potlucks. Instead, we just put everything away for another year. Pretty much the entire congregation stays after church and gets that job done. We're done in less than an hour because just about everybody pitches in. Many hands make light work.

I have a link to a hilarious juggler. Michael Davis at the Ford Theater is one of those people I should know about. But I don't. He's really funny though. Loved the way he introduced his act -- juggling water. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6mbW-jMtrY&feature=player_detailpage

Here he is in one of his Johnny Carson routines: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uq0YjR11bx8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2w-ZbCp6uM -- again. He's too funny.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Booteei-k0 is another link to Michael Davis.

Everybody needs a good laugh. At least once a day. Did you know that you change your body's chemistry when you laugh out loud? It's good for you.



January 3, 2012 pt. 2

Ever wonder why God invented machetes? Watch this video of a cottonmouth eating a rattlesnake and you might come close. The snakes are big too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ2l4owxC7s

January 3, 2012

If I live to be as old as Methuselah, I will not be able to make all the "must have" recipes that I pull out of newspapers and magazines. So, since it's the New Year and I only allow myself one new resolution for the year, I am going to get out all the recipes that I thought we couldn't live without and decide which ones are all that glorious.

It's my "Do Something Terminal" technique. And it's foolproof. Here's how it works: for 15 min tackle any job that needs doing. But for only 15 minutes. By doing something terminal, I mean I will either throw the recipe away, or clip it to my grocery list for next week or toss it.

By limiting myself to 15 minutes, I assure myself that I won't get tired of the task. I mean, we can do just about anything for 15 minutes, can't we?

I do that with my desk too. And house cleaning which is my most unfavorite chore.

I know it sounds like I have the attention span of a snail, but I have to concentrate on what works for me as I go through life. Besides, I suspect that if I were to tackle that entire stack of recipes, it would probably take me months and months and months. And not having that much free time in any given morning is why this task got so big in the first place. I could change my own rule, though, and say that if I really want the recipe that bad but don't want to cook the dish next week, I'll copy it onto a 3x5 card and put the card in a little file box that's just for that purpose. Might only get a couple of recipes off the pile in 15 minutes, but the pile of recipeswill  get shorter anyway.

In the United States, this is the day that the U.S. Congress gets sworn in, including 90 freshman reps. It will be the 113th Congress for the United States. Might just watch. There's been fireworks threatened to unseat the Speaker of the House. Not sure if a "palace coup" will work. It was in 1923 that was the last time this happened. Only 17 people have to withhold votes for the Speaker to be unseated. The Republican party is not as conservative as it used to be, and that's what the fuss is all about. I think. Then there's all that pork in the disaster aid package that has been delayed. A vote on a $9 billion part of the aid package will come to the floor on Friday. It's sure to get a yes vote. The other $59 billion in aid will come later. It includes a lot of stuff like $336 million for Amtrak, a couple of million to do something to a room at the Smithsonian. Supposedly all these items have to do with disasters of some sort of other, even the fisheries in Alaska.

I think maybe -- and I could probably get outshouted on this -- but just maybe the House ought to just do one bill for one item. They ought to figure out exactly how much disaster aid the Hurricane Sandy victims need and that's the extent of the bill. Nah. That would never work. That would mean the congressionals would have to work all day, every work day. They might even have to come in at 9 am and work til 4 pm. Instead, bills seem to have all become giant bills that covers everything from soup to nuts.

But don't get me started on politics. What's going on in Washington, D.C. right now is pretty mean-spirited. Same could be said of state capitols. I think it has more to do with human dynamics. Seems like whenever you get more than 3 or 4 or 5 people together, the game of King of the Mountain becomes the name of the game.

Which reminds me of an excellent book of human dynamics -- for those who might be interested. It's called Games People Play. Not sure if it's even in print at this point. A used book store, or maybe even Amazon, might have copies.

A gameis defined as a set of transactions. In other words, if I do this, what can I expect you to do? Then, when you do that, what's my next step going to be?

This is a fascinating book and it's one that i read in my undergrad years when I was taking a psychology course called Transactional Analysis. The book called Games People Play is a lot more readable and enjoyable that a psychology course textbook though. There's also a book called Games Alcoholics Play. And Games Grandparents Play (I think).

If I had the extra  time, I would like to write a book called Games Abusive Bullies Play. Since I did my masters research in domestic violence, I think such a book would be helpful for both victims and abusers to get some good tools for their emotional toolbox.

January 1, 2013

We stayed up all the way 'til 10 last night. Figured it was 2013 somewhere in the world so we went to bed.

Fortunately we didn't get any snow but it's cold. Enough of this winter already. Now I'm starting my countdown to Groundhog's Day, that great little harbinger of spring.

Why the big fuss about Groundhog's Day? When I was a little girl -- oh, about 4th grade -- we used to get coloring book pages to celebrate Groundhogs Day. All of us thought it was just wonderful.

It has been many years since I was nine years old, but it dawned on me when I got into high school that the Groundhog was not all that great to color. After all, he's just a rat. And I had to use up my brown color crayons too fast. Blacks too. Crayola boxes didn't have various shades of brown in those little boxes. So after I got the groundhogs colored in, there wasn't a whole lot of brown left over for tree trunks and such.

Oh, the trials and tribulations of a 4th grader.

Maybe that's why I trekked on down to the library in the middle of Paducah and got a job putting books away.

On another subject, Quint and I are enthusiastic fans of Tom Sellek so we are enjoying his new series, Blue Bloods. He plays a police commissioner in New York City and his oldest son is a homicide detective. His younger son went to Harvard and Tom thought for sure he was going to get out of the "family business." But not so. He came back home and signed up for the police academy. Oh, and Tom is a widower. Not sure how his late wife Mary died. He also lives with his father who is a retired police commissioner. And Tom lost a son in the line of duty. He was trying to infiltrate a gang of some sort. Tom's daughter is a District Attorney and her daughter wants to be a police officer too. Just like her beloved grandpa.

Good story. And it's one of the reasons we really enjoy our membership in Netflix.

December 31, 2012

This is a funny piece of humor from my dear friend Shirley who's out there in Arizona until she returns with the snow birds in the spring.
Subject: Protestant humor

Ole is the pastor of the local Norwegian Lutheran Church and Pastor Sven is the minister of the Swedish Covenant Church across the road. 
>   
One day they are seen pounding a sign into the ground, which said:  
>  
>DA END ISS NEAR!  TURN YERSELF AROUNT NOW  BAFOR IT ISS TOO LATE! 
>
  As a car speeds past them, the driver leans out his window and yells, "Leave people
>
>  alone, you Skandihoovian religious nuts!"  
>   
From the curve they heard screeching tires and a big splash.  
>   
Shakin' his head, Rev. Ole says, "Dat's da terd one dis mornin'." 
>   >
Pastor Sven agrees, then asks, "Do ya tink maybe da sign should yust say, 'Bridge Out?'" 
>
>
Thank you, Shirley, I'm still laughing.


Happy New Year to all! Won't be writing 2012 much longer. If you're still writing checks, you might want to open your checkbook and "pre-date" a half dozen or so checks to 2013. Several years ago, I forgot to use the new year's date and the check was returned as "stale dated." I had to go to the bank and change the date and initial my change.

We are supposed to be having a winter storm watch again here in middle earth/Illinois. It's 35.8 F now. Looking at the radar on the weather page, it looks pretty bad. There's a huge blue snowdrift, then a band of pink weather -- icy stuff -- then green green. It's actually supposed to be raining here now but I guess we're in the 40% that's okay since there's only a 60% chance of precip.

Not sure if the roads are okay to get to the church where I'm supposed to spend the afternoon. When I left on Friday, I watched a pick-em-up-truck lose control on the ice road about a mile ahead of me. Oh brother. He wrestled with his truck on the icy skating rink that was the road and finally got straightened out again so I didn't have to do anything like change steering or speed or anything. Just watch him and pray for him to recover before I got down there. He did and all was well. Thanks to no one but God who continues to watch over me.

Quint did a really good job of getting the snow off the driveway and sidewalks. He now uses the leaf blower and it works like a charm. And is much faster too.

Prayers for your safety no matter where in this world you may be.

And keep your celebrations this evening down to a slow roar and don't get inebriated. We're not going anywhere. Much prefer to do our celebrating safely at home.

God bless!

Before I leave this year behind me in the dust, I have to tell you about an experience I had with a couple of people in the last few months with some women who tried to bully me. Yes, even when you get up in years, as I am, and because I try to always be a nice, friendly person, there are still people who perceive that as an attitude of weakness and try to get at some imagined underbelly of vulnerability.

It happened in, of all places, a church meeting. Big surprise, right?

Not for me. I've been around church groups for years and years and years and I know that the devil works the hardest when he crosses the threshold of a church group. So if you think that bullying is something that just happens on a playground and involves just children, think again. Bullying happens whenever there is a person who tries to even up a power game with someone who is perceived as vulnerable.

It happens when an abusive person tries to make a victim out of someone else. The problem is, in order to be a victim, you have to give the abuser permission to pick on you. 

There's nothing she can do to me that God and I can't handle.

What I will do is continue to pray for these individuals. What I know as a mental health counselor is that bullies are insecure people who are trying to gain some balance of power within their psyche. Their imbalance of power has its roots in childhood when they were overpowered by someone who made them a victim. 

An act of love and compassion levels the playing field. We are, after all, children of the same heavenly Father. As such, each of us is a child of God and we share a common communion when we interact with one another and with each and every other child of God.

But when we mistreat another child of God with whom we are supposed to have communion, then we have mistreated the very God who shares an inheritance with us because He adopted us into His family.

God levels the playing field. Bullies don't.

December 25, 2012

Quint and I are hoping that each and every one of you are having a beautiful Christmas.

And in keeping with the season of joy -- bringing joy to others, here's a link to the Christmas Drop Operation of the US Air Force as they deliver a lot of joy to the folks in remote villages in Micronesia. Good job, Santas! http://airman.dodlive.mil/2012/12/christmas-drop/ I had no idea that this was being done in places like Micronesia. I just love the little hut with a "room addition" on it. And the little girl wearing flip flops that would fit someone three times her size. but just try to take them away from her.

Another link is a message about life. Love life. Enjoy life. Share life with those you love. This is a "public service message" that was designed and developed by the man who's playing the dad in the "commercial." It brings a tear to my eye to watch it because life is so precious and something not to squandered by foolishly not wearing a seat belt. http://www.youtube.com/embed/h-8PBx7isoM

If you've ever had any doubts that animals jump around just to have fun, this video will dispel that rumor: http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/b4_EdJ-XkUA?rel=0 These little guys look like they have springs in their feet, don't they?

And so at Christmas, all around the world, we think of joy and life. Those gifts were given to each of us by someone who loves us dearly. His greatest gift is the gift of salvation.

Don't squander a minute of your life without Jesus Christ and the love of His Heavenly Father in your heart.

We enjoyed an ongoing Christmas tradition at church this morning. All the members who are present join each other in the altar area and sing Whose Child Is This? We are given the words to the song. I mean, who remembers all three verses? The only person not up there is our faithful organist, Joan Eirhart. We all manage to get ourselves shoe-horned into the altar area and are standing very close together and sing our little hearts out. It's a wonderfully close feeling to be there with our fellow Christian friends.

I cooked a ham for Quint's Christmas dinner. He made me promise when we got married that I'd never put a dead bird on his plate. It's an old childhood memory of pouring boiling hot water onto a hen I think it was. The smell was gaggy, he says. So there's a lot of other things to eat if he doesn't like fowl. And I treat myself to turkey and dressing, or duck, or some other favorite chicken dinner whenever we go out to eat. Works out just fine. But the ham today was a hickory smoked ham from Kentucky that was out of this world.

There will be plenty left over for ham and eggs, and of course there will be plenty for our New Years feast which, also a southern tradition, is to have Black Eyed Peas on New Years. The legend is that if you start out the year with a humble meal, your new year will go well for you. I actually believe that all our gifts are from God's gracious providence, but I cook the peas anyway. And it's always good to be humble too.

God bless you all,
Quint and Jane

December 24, 2012

With all the fun I was having yesterday skipping my way through videos, I neglected to put a link to the original Little Drummer Boy by the Harry Simione Chorus. So if you're a Little Drummer fan enjoy. But first, here's the toned down Mannheim Steamroller's version of the drummer boy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsrgFaRQ6h0.

And back to the Harry Simeone Chorus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zfk5nOnDQuI Enjoy to your little heart's content. It's as beautiful as it ever was.

If you enjoy Neil Diamond, as we do, here's his rendition: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-EvztpO17A

This is a link to the recording from the Johnny Cash Show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yYHN9pVohc


December 23, 2012

Today was Lessons and Carols at church this morning. It's a special service that we've enjoyed every year. Christmas Story is read from the Bible and we head all our favorite Christmas Hymns sung by some very talented people in our congregation -- even sing some carols ourselves.

I have a beautiful song and one of my favorite Christmas carols sung by a 7 year old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhcZ6b2FSsk She is awesome!

Another beautiful song by a 7 year old -- Rhema Marvanne -- singing Hallelujah. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-fgJbrbFIg 

Mary, Did You Know?
from Big Apple Futon reminds us of who Jesus is and why He came to earth in the first place: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiaZYZor6vI

He Came is a little more than a minute and a half that tells the Christmas story in words and music from Thrve Media. Beautifully done! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u65m__-LLfs&NR=1&feature=endscreen

This isn't our church, but I just love to watch 2 and 3-year olds presenting the Christmas Pageant. One little boy keeps breaking loose and going off script to run over to his daddy -- no matter how many times he's brought back to the fold. And Mary takes off with the Baby Jesus a couple of times. It's absolutely precious. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npCP9jCKOVk Brings a little humor to the day, don't you think?

Have you ever been in a food court in a shopping mall and had a "flash mob" start singing? Neither have I but just watch this! The Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah. Wouldn't that be a treat beyond your wildest dreams? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXh7JR9oKVE I'll bet my last ten dollars that this is not an amateur choir.

This has nothing to do with Christmas but the Cumberland Oratio surrounded a soldier on Father's Day and sang America. He was just walking through the mall, but what a wonderful tribute to a special army guy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jJyq69TWug

And from Antwerp, we can see how they do flash mobs in Belgium: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQLCZOG202k

Another flash mob dancing up a storm in Singapore: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6-fHQZU9vk

Coming back to Christmas, here's Kenny Rogers and Wynona Judd singing Mary, Did You Know? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xywbWxF4pZM

A snare drum ensemble presents Little Drummer Boy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sKmHiGOv70 It's totally awesome!





December 22, 2012

With a sense of humor, I watch the annual Christmas Goat in the little town of Gavle, Sweden. Every year since 1966, the Swedes in the little town of Galve have built this really humongous goat. Even put a fence around it to discourage the favorite activity of people in the area -- that of burning the goat down. It's been an ongoing tradition to see if anyone can burn the goat down. Some fear that if the Christmas goat isn't burned down, then all the Christmas presents will go to Finland. This year we have a video of the goat burning down

Watch this:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryF6_89BYJE You'll probably have to do a cut and paste of this link to get the link to open. The goat is very, very big!
There - now doesn't that sound like Merry Christmas to you? Merry Christmas to all our Scandinavian friends this fine bright sunny day here in Middle Illinois.

Hint: Maybe you could build a bigger fence. Think that might work? Probably not. The pyromaniac would just bring a taller ladder. I do think the person who shot the goat with a flaming arrow was a bit inventive.


Oh, this is so funny! At least I think so. Thanks Mark for sending:

It was Saturday morning as Jake, an avid hunter, woke up raring to go bag the first
deer of the season.

He walks down to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee, and to his surprise he finds
his wife, Alice, sitting there, fully dressed in camouflage.

Jake asks her, "What are you up to?"

Alice smiles, "I'm going hunting with you!"

Jake, though he had many reservations about this, reluctantly decides to take her
along.

Three hours later they arrive at a game preserve just outside of San Marcos, Texas.

Jake sets his lovely wife safely up in the tree stand and tells her, "If you see a
deer, take careful aim on it and I'll come running back as soon as I hear the shot."

Jake walks away with a smile on his face knowing that Alice couldn't bag an elephant
- much less a deer.

Not 10 minutes pass when he is startled as he hears an array of gunshots.

Quickly, Jake starts running back. As Jake gets closer to her stand, he hears Alice
screaming, get the #$%^ away from my deer!"

Confused and frightened, Jake races faster towards his screaming wife.

And again he hears her yell, "Get the #$%^ away from my deer!" \ followed by another
volley of gunfire!

Now within sight of where he had left his wife, Jake is
surprised to see a Texas game warden with his hands high in the air. The game
warden, obviously distraught, yelled, "Okay, lady! You can have your #$%^ deer, just
let me get my saddle off it!" 


Oh, man, what a trooper! Bob Welsh. Great videohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxjZB5S_g7s&feature=youtu.be

All police officers and troopers have stories to tell, and Trooper Bob is no exception. So heartwarming. The world is a better place because people like Trooper Bob are in it.


And apparently, watching news bloopers are everybody's favorite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KThBCn_xJOY&NR=1&feature=endscreen
Some are incredibly hilarious!


In a tug of war between a cat and a snake, which one do you think would win? http://world.plidd.com/battle-between-cat-and-snake/ -- This cat looks a lot like daughter Teri and her husband Rick's Maine Coon -- Rocky Lee. Rockly Lee is the most ferocious cat ever to draw breath. When Rick and Teri go out for a walk and leave Rocky at home, he somehow gets out of the house and follows them down the street. They know he's behind them and when they turn to look, he darts behind a little tree -- sideways -- with much of him sticking out on either side of the tree. Then when they turn to continue their walk, he stealthily sneaks back into his walk. It's so funny to watch Rocky. I could swear that he's the cat in the above video.



 

December 19, 2012

It always seems like Christmas gets here especially fast when there are only three Advent services. Today was the last one. This time next week, Christmas 2012 will be just a memory. We put our tree up this year. Didn't last year or the year before. We just didn't have the energy in the aftermath of chemo for both of us followed by radiation for me. We're well on the mend now and in remission from all that stuff. We thank God every day for the miracle of modern oncology and so glad that we have an oncology center here in town. I met a lot of people who drove 70 to 90 miles just to come for radiation every day. The "session" only lasted about 15 minutes so it was quite a sacrifice for them. We thanked God that the oncology center was only 3 minutes from our door.

I found this really exciting video this evening. It's a guy going down a mountain on I have no idea what. It looks like it could be a little skateboard type of car that fits on a rail of some sort. It would be one thrill of a ride to actually be on it, but it's still awesome going with the rider from his helmet camera: http://uvideo100.com/coaster.html Prepare to be amazed!

I found this hilarious Snowman on a sidewalk scaring people as they walk by: http://uvideo100.com/snowman.html Kindly note that people remembered who God is and who Jesus is. The reactions of the passersby is really funny.



December 18, 2012

People take risks unnecessarily. Then they expect to be rescued. Here's a good example of a helicopter pilot making a rescue on top of a rock pillar. http://uvideo100.com/rescue.html

There are so many things that could have gone wrong with that rescue. Side winds. Thermal updrafts that were hampering the pilot's efforts to set the helicopter down, etc. etc. etc.

Do you think hikers have a right to expect someone else to put his/her life at risk to make these kinds of rescues? Bravo to the pilot but I hope the Search and Rescue Department of the Utah State Troopers charged a gadzillion dollars to the hikers who went up there to play on a rock top that day.

Did you ever wonder how those trains get through heavy snowfall in the northern climes? Well, here's a train clearing the tracks of that white stuff: http://uvideo100.com/train.html Amazing! Absolutely amazing. The plow is taller than the train.

Okay, when it's really really windy out there on the highways, slow down. Take a look at this truck trying to drive through some high winds and look at the trees on the side of the road. They don't look like they're blowing all that much, do they? I know when it's a little breezy on our trips, Quint and I try to guess what the wind speed is. Not that we know for sure, but it increases our mindfulness. Those big rigs are like driving a billboard, wouldn't you say? http://uvideo100.com/wind.html I was wondering what the second truck was going to do since it looked like he might try to pass the first truck. But prudence won out on that one.

What do you think one tiny little drop of snake venom could do to the blood in your body? Here's the answer if it's a Russell's Viper: http://uvideo100.com/5.html Good grief! But you can see the medical implications for people whose blood won't clot and they just bleed and bleed until they run out of blood!



December 17, 2012

This is an unbelievable video! It's supposed to be the largest calving ever of an iceberg. The actual event lasted 75 minutes. http://uvideo100.com/iceberg.html

Reminds me of how very tiny we are as human beings and how absolutely magnamimous God is. You do believe that He can move mountains, don't you?

And you can tell I'm kind of getting used to the idea that winter is coming and I'm going to have to learn to drive on ice and snow all over again: http://uvideo100.com/winter.html

But my favorite is this little guy who is 6 years old and autistic, playing the piano like no other! http://uvideo100.com/autistic.html

December 16, 2012

It's no secret that I brake for children - especially children who overcome all sorts of odds to do something wonderful in their lives.

You are just not going to believe what children who live in a slum in Paraguay do with some of the trash that they find. They make musical instruments! And play them very well too. Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXynrsrTKbI

They call themselves the fillharmonic.

On another note, prayers continue for the children and teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, and the families and friends who loved them dearly.

It's warmed up here in Central Illinois for a few days at least. It's now 53 degrees. A bit unseasonal for mid-December but I'm glad. After the longest day of the year, which is December 21, the countdown for me begins for Groundhogs Day, which is the first day of Spring in my heart. I'm told that this is the end of the Mayan calendar and there's this big debate about it possibly being the end of the world. But for crying out loud, it's the end of the Mayan calendar. They didn't make any more calendars because they were getting killed off by the Conquistadors and the Aztecs. So far, the Aztecs haven't figured out how to make a Mayan long count calendar yet. But then, Julius Caesar also made a calendar didn't he? So what's all the bother about?

If the world ends on December 21, I guess I won't have to worry about Groundhog's Day because I'll be in heaven with Jesus. No need for a calendar then, because it will be living in eternity.



 

December 15, 2012

Oh geez, you may wonder where in the world I've been for the past couple of weeks.

And I have to tell you that I don't remember having readers clock on from Kazakhstan or Croatia of Macau and a long time from Austria. Welcome, welcome!

In the first place, I found a really funny -- absolutely hilarious -- video to a link to the world's worst Christmas decorations. http://reaganiterepublicanresistance.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-very-worst-of-bad-christmas.html

I think my favorite is Santa being naughty. If you are reading this and wondering what Santa could possibly be doing that's naughty, you'll just have to look to find out. It's too funny for words.
At least much
I volunteered to help with a program that's dedicated to mildly handicapped people this morning. It was a Happy Birthday Jesus party. Some of the people were more handicapped than others. But everybody had a good time and ate a lot of cookies, drank a lot of punch and watched a nativity skit put on by some high functioning members of the "school." It was wonderful. And I'm glad to see these kinds of programs being successfully offered up through church congregations.

Quint is busy being my favorite Christmas elf making the world's best chocolate fudge for our friends and loved ones. And I have figured out a recipe for a hot sauce that is to die for. I like a lot of heat on my food and finally made one up that I dearly love. It's first ingredient is vinegar, followed by tomato ketsup. The rest is in the spices. Good stuff. At least, much to my liking.

And juxtoposed to that story of the horrible massacre in Connecticut was another story about 22 children stabbed in China. Funny, though, no one is trying to outlaw knives in China, where we're trying to outlaw guns again in the U.S. How about this? It's just plain sinful to kill innocents no matter what your weapon is.

 

November 28, 2012

Hard to believe that 2012 is rapidly drawing to a close. And then there goes that first month of the year when I really have to consciously write 2013.

One year I pre-dated the year on about 15 checks just to be sure. The bank we had actually returned checks that had the previous year on it as "stale dated." We don't write that many checks anymore but it's still handy to have the year predated on the handwritten checks just to be sure.

I have been fiddling around with my favorite barbecue sauce recipe for some time. I've tried to get as close as I can to the Starnes recipe in Paducah, Kentucky. Starnes is one of those places from high school that I remember fondly. And every trip to Paducah to visit friends includes a trip to Starnes for an open pit treat.

The recipe is different from all that stuff you get at the supermarket. In the first place, the main ingredient is vinegar; the second ingredient is tomator ketsup. So I started with 1 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup ketsup. The rest is spices. We like a smoky sauce, so God invented liquid smoke for us. And we also like a lot of heat so in goes the cayenne. Add a pinch or two of onion powder and garlic powder and it's good to go.

It is delicious. And it will tide me over until we get back to Paducah. The recipe above fits nicely in the Starnes 10 oz. container.

November 25, 2012

Wow! Here's a link to an awesome site that shows an animation of the phases of the moon through the year 2013. http://www.universetoday.com/98588/take-5-minutes-to-see-what-the-moon-will-do-during-2013/

I have never seen the moon wobbling on its axis before. In fact, I didn't even know that happened.

OK folks. Here's the recipe for what is supposed to be a Twinkie filling. I'm sure it has some changes to the real deal. Just can't imagine the twinkie filling not being proprietary information. But I will say that it tastes a lot like the real thing.

I made it last night and made sandwich cookies with it. Then I stored the unused part in a glass canning jar. I expected it to be rock solid when we got home from church today but it wasn't. In fact, it was still very spreadable without having to warm up to room temperature at all. And easy? Oh my goodness. You really can't miss with this recipe. This would be a good recipe to frost a cake with and then put coconut on it. Yummy.

Ingredients:

2 tsp very hot water
rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt
7 oz. jar of mashmallow cream
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix the salt in with the hot water. Stir really well until the salt is dissolved. Set aside and let it cool to room temperature.

In a mixer bowl, mix marshmallow cream, shortening, powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix well until it's fluffly. Then add the salt mixture and mix it in really good.

That's it.


Awwww - people, people, people! About those PIN numbers. Want to know what the most popular PIN number is -- out of about 3.4 million? Ready for this: 1234. Also in the top ten is 4321. Now that takes a lot of imagination. No wonder people have their goodies stolen from credit cards to debit cards. Wouldn't you think that if there was anything of value in your checking account -- anything at all -- that you could do better than 1234? You probably went all the way through school and couldn't come up with a better PIN number than that, could you? Couldn't you use your grandmother's birthday or something just as easy to remember that a thief or hacker would not be likely to guess?

But then, 1111 is also popular. More popular than 2222, actually.

November 24, 2012

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. We spent turkey day with a kind of adopted family from church and had a wonderful day. The food was delicious and the conversations that went way into the afternoon were also great.

But did you ever wonder what cats might be thankful for? Here's a link from Furball Productions that has some furry clues: http://cheezburger.com/44694273 -- Great music too. Pachelbel's Canon in D.

November 15, 2012

Quint dug up all the canna lily bulbs this afternoon. He dusted them off and stored them in a plastic bag in the basement. They'll get a nice winter's nap. Then I went next door to tell the new neighbor that she needs to dig up the canna lily bulbs that I gave her last summer. They didn't bloom that robustly this summer but I'm just thankful that the drought didn't get them. I did start out the summer watering the outdoor flowers but then decided that the city water supply was more important than flowers. I mean, if our house caught on fire, I sure wouldn't want the fire department to run out of water.

It was in the high 20s today. That's a sure frost. My roses haven't given up though.

I made another batch of three dozen cookies this evening. These were gingerbread cookies. So far, I have 6 dozen cookies of the 70 dozen that I will need for church festivities. I'm hopeful that some of the other women at church will pitch in and help out. We're sending out 24 "care packages" to our college students, military folks from the congregation and shut-ins. That's a lot of cookies.

Tomorrow I'm going to make a chocolate cake cookie recipe and put peanut butter chips in it. That ought to be just dandy. I really like the convenience of using cake mixes to make cookies out of. If you don't have the recipe for using a cake mix and want it, drop me an email at jane@janereinheimer.com and be sure to put "cake cookie recipe" in the subject line so I'll be sure to open your email.

I got a note from Irma in Tulsa. She says she uses the cake mixes all the time too. Heck, I can get an 18-1/2 ounce cake mix at Save-A-Lot or Aldi for about a buck. Hard to beat the convenience too.

I even made a "passable" macaroon with a white cake mix and about 1/4 tsp. of orange extract. Then I kneaded in some coconut before I put the cookies in the oven.

I like to roll the drop cookies up into a little ball. Kind of like making a dough ball. Then the cookies are all nice and round. Cookies with jagged edges don't taste as good, you know.

I have been working on getting a lot of clutter out of my office at home. One of these days I want to delve into another Bible Study I've heard rummaging around in my head. It will be about the Book of Daniel. He's one of my favorite Old Testament guys.

Well, Quint just called me. He's on his way from a Lutheran Brotherhood meeting at church and I promised I'd pour the milk. We drink our milk every night. The tryptophan helps us get to sleep. It's the same chemical that's in turkey, in case you wondered why eating a big Thanksgiving dinner makes you sleepy. Then we go to bed and open up the windows. Good to let fresh air in even if it's chilly. But then, we turn the electric blanket on and let it warm up the bed before we dive in for a good night's sleep. Fortunately Quint and I both enjoy a cool bedroom. It's an important compatibility area. Couples need to think about those little preferences when they're courting.

And that's about it for today.

November 13, 2012

We had a hard freeze this morning. Finally got my rose bush that was blooming its little heart out until yesterday. The roses that are closer to the house and more protected will last a bit longer until it drops down into the low 20s.

Well, after all, it's November. What can I expect here in central Illinois.

Quint is at church this evening. Since he went off the church council last year, he joins the Nominating Committee to finalize a slate of candidates for the election later this month.

When I look at the new countries that have added readers since I last updated the list, I notice that a lot of the countries are my darling niece Karen's favorite places to junket in Europe. So, Karen, Aunt Jane sends you lots of love and I hope you are enjoying yourself and that you and Alex are going to be able to get back to Germany around the Christmas season. Wish Uncle Quint and I could join you, but we're not going anywhere for a while.

We have been going back to the gym though. We used to walk a sassy three miles before cancer bogged us down a couple of year ago. So we started back a couple of months ago. Forget the three miles. That was far too ambitious. I worked my way up to a half mile. No kidding. It took me about three weeks before I could go a full mile on the treadmill. I can go a mile and a half now and still gaining on my old record. Then there were those strength training machines. Our doctor suggested only four that he said would be good for us. The rest would be too strenuous for now.

Exercise is good for us. And we feel so much better coming out of the gym. We're spoiled. Our gym has individual TV sets on each treadmill. How awesome is that? And since Quint and I both are newsies, we get a full dose of the news while we walk.

November 2, 2012

Hurricanes certainly have a way of messing things up! Take a look at this link and see just how the damage went: http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=hp_c3#/video/weather/2012/10/30/sandy-raw-vo-national-guard-aerials.national-guard

Some of you may remember Paul Harvey. I really miss his radio voice, and his astute observations about life and what's going on around us. Here's a link to one example that my good friend Shirley sent me: http://stg.do/9LDc

I found a new vocalist today while I was on my way to looking something else up. His name is Wintley Phipps. Here's a link to him singing It Is Well With My Soul: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1JmN6dsHu0&feature=related

October 31, 2012

Do crashing waves interest you? Here's a short video of Lake Michigan crashing against a sea wall. Wow! http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-868280?hpt=hp_bn1

And today marks the 7th year after my mother's death. Rest in peace, Mom! Miss you.

 

October 25, 2012

Beautiful rendition of The Star Spangled Banner: http://www.starspangledbannerchallenge.com/

Riverdance has always held a fascination for me. First of all, I can't even dream that I'd ever be able to dance like this. And secondly, Michael Flatley has the fastest feet in the world. He grew up on the south side of Chicago, I'm told. Then when he got really good at Irish dancing, he went to Dublin and taught Irish dancing there. Watch this stunning and absolutely amazine finale of Riverdance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8EXDtoGfrs&feature=related

Changing the subject, I have enjoyed my rest for quite some time now.

I mentioned that Quint and I have headed back to the gym for daily workouts. Today I walked 1-1/2 miles. Quint walked 1 mile, then went off to do some strength training. Mind you, I'm only walkng at the rate of 2.1 miles an hour but I'll get back up to the three miles a day that we used to walk when we hoofed our way around a lake in the middle of our condominium complex up north. The gym is fine. I work out on that machine where I have to pull something down, then send it back up. It kind of feels like traction when it stretches me to go back up.

Then I do some rowing. And some other machine where I have to stretch way back. It feels wonderful on my spine.

One other machine is good for the thigh muscles. It has helped tremendously because one of the medications I take really makes my thigh muscles ache to high heaven. I think it's spelled Anasterzole. It inhibits the manufacture of estrogen in my body. And since the breast cancer cells were Estrogen positive, this keeps me from running the risk of the breast cancer returning. But oh the aching muscles. It's getting better with this machine workout and the walking.

Quint's lymphocitic leukemia also continues in remission. He did have surgery this summer, though, for a skin cancer eruption on his face. Hopefully he's done with that.

At least that's our prayer.

And speaking of praying, if you and your partner do not join hands every day and go to the Lord in prayer for all the things you want to talk to Jesus about, it's time you started. For Quint and me, it's a perfect way to start our day. We each have a list of things to pray about and we pray out loud. It's absolutely profound and let me tell you, if you have any doubts whatsoever that God and His Son Jesus answers prayer, you are in for one big surprise. They are here with us, in the same room, listening intently as we pray for all the people we care about, and situations that sometimes nag us -- like interpersonal relationships at work where haughty, insecure people make ridiculous demands on me. Quint and I pray that God will keep a hedge of protection around me and it works. Believe me, it works.

And one of my all-time favorites is Susan Boyle singing I Had a Dream from Les Miserables.

Here's the Celtic Women singing You Raise Me Up. That's sent out to each and every one of you if you think you don't matter anymore. If you think you're going through trials and tribulations all by yourself. Just remember, you're never alone. He is always nearby, wanting you to reach out to touch Him. This life is not for the chicken-hearted, but you need big help too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=md5LL6PwXwY&feature=related

Blessings to all of you. -- Jane

October 11, 2012

There was a spectacular coronal mass ejection (CME) on October 4-5 that I believe I posted a link to. Now we have a sky photo looking down on earth at the northern lights "floating" across Canadian nightscape. Also noted are the little points of light in the United States that are cities peppered here and there. And Lake Michigan is clearly visible, with Chicago hogging lots of photons on its shore. Check it out: http://129.164.179.22/apod/ap121011.html

Thank you, cousin Mark, for the link to an incredible flight over America. Get a chance to look at some of our nation's monuments up close and person from a small plane: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=KcuDdPo0WZk

October 2, 2012

This is an absolutely amazing video of a young women who rescued an 84 year old lady who ended up in the ocean: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=785_1349086723 And the rescue happened with split second timing before the car dropped out of sight!

October 1, 2012

May I be the first person to welcome you to Autumn, if you haven't been welcomed before. And to all our readers down under, that would be a welcome to Spring!

I found this amazing video showing some very talented Spanish flyers harvesting water and flying over a forest fire to dump their big loads of water: http://vimeo.com/48642618

 

September 30, 2012

Here’s the link to the fantastic baseball play where the hit knocked the pitcher’s glove off but he caught the glove and then the ball: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/blue-jays-pitcher-chad-jenkins-catches-ball-glove-002614760--mlb.html

September 17, 2012

Unbelievable photo of a coronal mass ejection (CME) on the sun: http://129.164.179.22/apod/ap120917.html Totally awesome -- and listen to this: our cute little sun is going to be particularly busy for the next couple of years!

September 21, 2012

Quint and I celebrated 34 years of marriage yesterday. After I got home from the Effingham/Shelby Zone Fall Rally for church. We had some 75 people in attendance. Percentage-wise it could have been a lot more, but I am thankful for the ladies and pastors who came to be spiritually uplifted by the fantastic devotions by Pastor Gillet, Pastor Becker and a powerpoint presentation by Pastor Janssen, who was in the hospital. We all need times when we can isolate ourselves fromt he world and go into a retreat of spiritual calm and rejuvenate our faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ. It was a great day that was hosted by the Ladies Aids from St.. John and Grace Lutheran in Dieterich. Officiants at Holy Communion were Pastors Gillet and Fortkamp.

Changing the subject, here is a link to a NASA video that shows some giant eruptions, or explosions, on our sun: http://news.discovery.com/space/solar-dynamic-observatory-nasa-explosion-sun-120905.html

Amazing! I am always awestruck by the raw power of the sun. I don't know how long it takes for the plasmastic outbursts to reach earth but I'll just bet it's sooner than later. They are so ferocious.

September 11, 2012

Never forget what happened on 9/11! Prayers lifted for all who lost their loved ones, and for those who died so suddenly.

Here's a time lapse photograph of the rebuilding of the World Trade Center: http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2012/09/11/Stunning-Video-Time-Lapse-Rebirth-of-World-Trade-Center

Feel like taking a little respite going along I-70 in Utah through the San Rafael Swell? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMHnGzqTIVY&feature=related Oh my, my, my! Beautiful scenery. At one point, we are reminded that this is the longest stretch of interstate that exists without services.

And the Virgin River Gorge along I-15 in Arizona is totally awesome! http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=mCU9iCRxI0g

If you want some vista visuals: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxTUz1j-weE&feature=related I really don't feel comfortable driving in the mountains -- unlike Quint who grew up in Colorado. "Aw, shucks, it's nothing," he'd say. Then when he gets down to sea level, talks about how jittery it was for him. That's when I felt like clobbering him. But didn't.

This is purported to be the most dangerous jeep trail in Telluride, Colorado: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYssaJ7zfkM&feature=related I'll tell you one thing: I wouldn't want to walk down that trail. In the first place, it's not even paved. Just a lot of shifting rocks. And they call that a road? I don't think so.

This one comes under the heading of "There's not enough money in the world ..." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uShVGxXmSFU&feature=related

Goodness gracious -- people do this for fun and excitement. I mean, it's not like they have to deliver medicine or something like the Iditarod to commemorate the run from Anchorage to Nome to re-enact the run made decades ago when children were dying in Nome of typhoid fever and the mushers took off from Anchorage with medicine for them. Oh no. These guys are just having an adventure. Question is, are they testing the torment on themselves or their jeepies? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uShVGxXmSFU&feature=related

And just in case you were thinking they never roll these things over: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0LU1Ho4dsY&feature=related

September 10, 2012

Here's a video of a four year old in Thailand playing the violin. Actually the violinist has to be around 9 or 10 now but this was the first expo of this talent: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3bW9P5Z6sI&feature=related Well done!

Beautiful video of "Somewhere My Love" -- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=FKhVnAgt0EY

This guy goes into his bank to get an increase in his debt limit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Li0no7O9zmE

September 9, 2012

Here's a link to the most watched video of the 9/11 tragedy: http://www.frugalsites.net/911/attack/

Funny music video of Wal-Mart shoppers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YvxNgdFeWqM

Ever heard of a magician of Piff the Magic Dragon? Well, watch this funny man: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kk5xfK0ovrk&feature=related

Here's another one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuhgTgqIuos&feature=related

Piff with bunnies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bCZv2ozQD8&feature=related


September 6, 2012

We got really good news from the surgeon. He took one look at Quint's face and said the cause was using a razor, not an electric one. So off we went to Kohls to buy an electric razor. And sure enough, the inflammation disappeared and what felt like a tumor under the skin was not a malignant growth at all. It was just a bump from the inflammation. Whew!

We've been getting much needed rain in Middle Illinois. Now the grass is growing like crazy and my roses have started blooming again. Beautiful little creatures that they are.

I'm going to share some links to some videos that I find much to my liking. Hope you enjoy them too.

Here are the top ten videos of babies -- hint: laughter is so contagious  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWHpcKXt-qQ 

http://www.angelfire.com/ak2/intelligencerreport/twins.html twins dancing to Dad’s guitar

We love to watch little children - and the younger the better.

August 30, 2012

It looks like another skin cancer is on Quint's face. Fortunately, we have an appointment with the surgeon tomorrow morning that was supposed to be the final post-op checkup. That will most likely change with this new event. Stay tuned and please keep Quint in your prayers.

I did want to share this link with all of you who love to watch children. These are twins who take advantage of the fact that Mom had just emptied out the refrigerator. It looks like she had given it a pretty good cleaning out but first the twins decided to dance in it a little bit: http://www.angelfire.com/ak2/intelligencerreport/twins.html

August 6, 2012

We had some rain. Big deal -- nearly an inch. It was enough to revive the greenery left in the grass in the front yard. Enough for Quint to mow this morning. And the Red Bud that I planted a few years ago as a memorial to my mom when she died is holding up rather nicely. I have been letting the water trickle ever so slightly out of the hose for about a half hour. It was enough to get the little tree through the worst of the 100+ temperatures. Problem is, there's this lush carpet of green grass in a circle underneath the Red Bud. The rest of the yard is just in little patches of green here and there. I think Quint just wanted it all to be the same height.

Hope all of you are surviving the drought. We've heard from the newsies that if the drought continues, there's a strong possibility that we'll lose about 20% of our trees. Don't even want to contemplate that.

We pray that all of you are weathering the drought okay. It's a disaster, for sure, and our hearts go out to you.

Remember that you are responsible to God first. What if you woke up today and the only thing in your life was what you thanked God for yesterday?

Great weather map comes from friends John and Sherre in Wichita: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/zoa/mwmap3.php?map=usa --  All you have to do is put your cursor over one of the dots or crosses on the map and you'll get the weather for that location.

http://www.speedtrap.org/ to find location of speed traps across the United States

Archive Newer | Older

Thursday, January 31, 2008

MY LIFE IN INK --

I'm off to the dentist again this morning -- this time to start a root canal. Will work on the blog after I get back, make a new recipe for Cream of Mushroom Soup so I can feed the hungry man running around the house, and settle in to wait for the snow stormy blizzard that's forecast later today. That will be a really good time to stay indoors!

Later --

Root canals are really not all that bad. But then, I suspect that the dentist uses the atom bomb of pain killers before he exposes a root and starts digging around in there. I got numbed three hours ago and I still don't feel a thing. But then, the dentist warned me that the tooth would probably be "sensitive" when the numbies wear off. I can translate that little warning to a super "ouch" so I took an Aleve right away when I got home. And I just might follow it up with a whole bunch of Ibuprofen. It just depends on how much "ouch" I feel.

I admit that I'm a big baby when it comes to tooth discomfort.

But the first stage of the Cream of Mushroom Soup is cooking. I'm using the Barefoot Contessa's recipe from Food Network. I substituted beef broth for the wine and also evaporated milk for the half-and-half and heavy cream.

She served it one night recently and had Mel Brooks on as a guest soup tester. While I was at the dentist, Quint went foraging for mushrooms. I needed regulars, bellas, and shitakes. He got everything necessary for the soup mix.

On another matter, don't you just feel for some 200 million Chinese persons who are stranded in the snow and ice? They were traveling on what looks like a main road; were en-route to be with families for the Chinese New Year celebration.

But since the population of the United States is 310 million, that would be like 2/3 of our entire population being stuck on I-80! Dear Lord, let those people get home safely. Sadly, the death toll is at 37, I believe.

Well, I'm ready to start Phase 2 of the soup recipe. And get the Parmesan Cheesy Biscuits ready to pop into the oven at just the right moment.

Be back later to do the Bible Study.

##

NEW FORUM FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT AIRPORT SECURITY:

http://www.tsa.gov/blog

It's a brand new blog and so far, there have been 297 responses added. So if you want to add your two cents worth, I'm sure it will be both appreciated and informative to other readers.

I read some of the entries and will admit that they are interesting. Don't know if they're reduce the frustrations of standing in line, but perhaps --

##

GET READY TO VOTE

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071023/NEWS09/71023045

That's the web site that you can go to and see which states are having primaries and caucuses on what dates.

Main thing is to go vote. For whoever you think is going to be the best candidate. It doesn't have to be my favorite. In fact, I'm hoping I've disguised my preferences enough so that you couldn't tell. But maybe you can.

Doesn't matter. The United States of America has a political system like no other on the planet. Because it works. It has its faults, but it works.

So don't even think of not voting. And even if you don't want to pick a presidential candidate right now -- go to the polls anyway and vote for your congressional race and referanda if those are coming up on your ballot.

The opportunity to vote is the 1st Prize of democracy. So go for the gold and collect the prize by voting!

##

BIBLE STUDY: 2 Corinthians 5:1-21

In this chapter, Paul likens our bodies to tents.

So what are tents? Well, we know they are pretty temporary places to live. Permanent, they aren't. And I wouldn't want to be living in one when dust storms blow in from across the desert. They don't have any foundations. The don't have attics. And I've never seen a kitchen with a microwave and dishwasher in one. About all they can do is keep a person dry and provide a place to get in out of the weather.

So how is our human body like a tent? The big difference, Paul says, is that tents are made by human hands. That's not like our heavenly dwelling at all. When we get to heaven, we're going to get a dwelling place that's made by Jesus -- because he's there right now preparing a place for us.

But the tent that Paul is talking about is our human body. It wraps itself around our soul. And when we die, the tent becomes useless and gets tossed aside. At the point of death, our soul goes to be with the Lord. We don't need the tent of our physical being anymore. But even when this tent is cast aside by death, we aren't naked either. Instead, we go to a heavenly dwelling. That dwelling is made by the Lord and we joyfully come into his presence.

Just the thought of doing that one day is reason a'plenty for honoring and praising the Lord every day of our lives -- even though we'd prefer to be at home with the Lord, we can't just yet. That is, not until he says it's time to go to him and be with him. Until that moment, we have to stay in the tent of our human flesh.

And while we are in this human body, we'd better behave and do what we need to do to honor the Lord, praise him and do whatever we can do please him.

And why is that? Well, Paul is very explicit about this in verse 10: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

Paul repeats this theme in verses 14-15: For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

Paul takes this message and wraps it so beautifully around the concept of reconciling ourselves to God. He says that he no longer views human beings from strictly a human point of view. And then he admits that at one time he even looked at Christ strictly from a human point of view.

But no anymore.

In verses 17-19: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

So Paul is trying very hard to help the Corinthians understand that, yes, we're all human. And sometimes our humanness is a burden that gets in the way of our doing the things that God wants us to do. We're sinners and we're human and all we have is this old tent to wear to hide our nakedness.

The tent becomes a burden -- our humanness becomes a burden. We don't want to be burdened anymore, but the tent hides our nakedness so we'd better keep it on for a while.

Besides, God knows full well that we're all sinners. That's why he sent his son, Jesus Christ. Jesus absorbed our sins. Not because God wants us to get rid of this drab, flimsy little thing of a tent we are wearing, and take on a new designer outfit that would be more appropriate for heavenly dress.
 
Oh, that's not it at all. Our new heavenly dress is beautiful all by itself because it comes to us through this reconciliation process that God brings through the Holy Spirit. This reconciliation is a gift from God to all who believe in Christ.

We are the new creation -- not our outfit! The word "naked" is not in the vocabulary of heaven. We are new creations in Christ. So life becomes brand new for us.

Paul builds this message to a crescendo as he finishes this chapter. We are so blessed to have the messages that the Holy Spirit brings to us through Paul's writings. Paul says: We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Could you ever doubt that Paul was alive for Christ?!

##

Discussion points:

1. You've heard the old saying that God doesn't call the people who are equipped, but rather, God equips the people he calls.

So when you hear God knocking at the door of your heart, let him in. He has a job for you to do and he has a job for me to do. He wants you to let him into your heart. To be reconciled with him. To be his ambassador.

What are some things you can do as one of God's ambassadors?

2. Sometimes I think we are waiting for big projects to do. You know, make a big splash in the ministry puddle. But there are so many things that we can all do that are of the smaller variety.

On my desk, there sits a photo of a young man who is from our town -- you know the type of article -- local hero, etc. -- who is in the hospital recuperating from an IED explosion in Iraq. I kept looking at the photo thinking I ought to send him a get well card. Then last Sunday a nice lady at church, Merilyn, brought this same photo from her paper and asked us all to send him a note or a card. I didn't have a get well card on hand so I wrote him a little note instead. Well, Quint can tell you that I never write a "little" note that's less than five pages.

I don't know any of the shut-ins in our new church but one of the things I can do is drop them a "little note" and let them know I'm thinking about them and praying for them.

I can make cookies for our preschoolers who meet at church after school on Fridays.

What are some "little" things you can do as an ambassador for Christ?

We pray: Oh Lord, I pray that you would help me make better choices with how I spend my time.

I just whittle away the hours and don't get a whole lot done. I get even less done for you and spreading your word. I pray that you would empower me with your Holy Spirit so that I can be more energized and be a better ambassador.

I pray for Victor who had a stroke on Monday. I pray that the Divine Healer will be with his physicians and nurses who are helping Victor recuperate.

I pray for John who is recuperating from a by-pass. I pray for health and healing for John.

I pray that Karla will find a new church home that will give her many new friends who are bound together in your love. Karla has so much talent and joy to bring to friends who have not met her yet. I pray that you would call her to serve you in her new church home.

I pray for Laura and her husband who are settling in a new home in Georgia. I pray that you would bless them and strengthen them as they get into their new church home.

I pray for Patti and her family. I pray that you would bless them all and keep them healthy in these cold winter months. I pray for energy and blessings and joy for this young mother.

And I thank you for all the blessings you have gifted Quint and me with. Joy is ours to share as we minister to those around us. Thank you for prospering us with health and comfort.

Amen.

##
8:49 am          Comments

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

MY LIFE IN INK --

I don't care what the politicians say -- the big story this morning is the weather. It was 58 degrees when I left the dentist's office yesterday. Then we went to the mall to walk for two miles and when we were ready to get back in the car, the temperature had dropped down to 32 degrees and a howling wind was blowing stuff around like you wouldn't believe!

We expected to find a bunch of tree branches down when we got home, but I guess they fell during the last few wind gusts. It was a good night to snuggle in and watch vote returns from Florida.

McCain led the GOP from out of the gate and never did lose his edge.

Same goes for Hillary, but the newsies kept calling the Democratic primary in Florida a "beauty contest." Guess that's because Florida moved its primary date up ahead of Super Tuesday -- which is February 5 -- and so the Democratic National Committee says that none of the delegates will count.

Florida is one of those states where you can only vote on a Republican or a Democratic ballot. Independents luck out, as do any other political party. That sounds like a lawsuit coming. Oh, Mr. DNC Chairman Howard Dean, what will you ever do about that?

And Rudy announced he was bowing out -- will make an announcement today sometime. Same goes for John Edwards. They just don't have the cashola to run a campaign in all the states that have Super Tuesday primaries. As it is, their campaigns run about $500,000 a week. So they say.

My big news is that we're going to go over 90,000 hits by the end of the week here. That's since June 2006 when I started this web site. I thank you -- each and every one of you. And I also thank you for clicking on the little ads when it strikes your fancy. I don't think it costs you money unless you actually double click to buy something. But I get the tiniest piece of a penny if there's just one click to the advertisers' web sites. So I thank you for clicking. It helps pay the web site fees. They aren't free. And I want to keep the web site subscription free.

But enough of that. I pray that all of you are safe and staying warm. We have to check in with our forty-something rug-rats in Idaho today to see how they're doing. They had an 8-inch snowfall yesterday afternoon. Brrrrr.

I pray that all of you are safe. And warm.

##

BIBLE STUDY: 2 Corinthians 4:1-18

When I think of the Apostle Paul, I think of a man who has a legalistic mind. Someone who excels at debating with the masters. A rabbi who was taught by Gamiliel, the best of the best.

I don't think of Paul as a poet. That is, until I read and re-read the chapter we are studying today.

He uses metaphor when he compares his creaky, old wasting body to a jar of clay.

Back in those days, people used jars of clay to hide their valuables in. Clay jars did just fine for keeping what treasures people had out of plain view. And leave it to Paul to use this metaphor to underscore his point that the real treasure in our lives is the good news that Christ died for our sins, and that because of this, we will have an eternal life that joins us all with our Heavenly Father.

In the very first verses of this chapter, Paul tells the Corinthians that it is through God's mercy that he has this ministry. And then comes the renunciation of those people who are skulking about in the shadows where truth no longer exists. These people are shameful, Paul says in verse 2. In their deception, they distort the word of God.

Paul, on the other hand, speaks the truth. And when he commends himself to their conscience, it's like he's saying to them, "You know what I'm talking about." 

How many times have you taken such a position with an erring child. When you talk and you talk and you talk, and finally, you say, "You know what I mean!"

Well, Paul gets to this point, and he goes deeper. He says in verse 2: ...by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

So if these ne-er-do-wells have invaded the new congregations in Corinth and are scurrying about trying to uproot the seedlings of salvation that Paul has planted. And Paul is reminding the Corinthians that what he is telling them is the truth. And God is Paul's witness.

But if they still insist on not believing, then Paul says in verses 3-4: And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Well then! What could the unbelievers possibly say to that! We've got this veil again that Paul talked about in the last chapter. It was the veil that Moses had placed over his face so that the children of Israel would not die if they gazed directly upon the glory of God. But when Christ came, recall that he lifted the veils in our hearts.

But there were some -- there will always be some, it seems, in every church. No matter how earnestly Paul preached the gospel message, they still would not believe. It was as if the veil was still hanging over their hearts, blocking out the light they could have seen of Christ's glory.

And because Christ is the son of God, he reveals the image of God to all of us who absorb this light of the gospel and step from our sinful lives into the glory of Christ.

Paul tries further to convince the Corinthians of their folly in verses 5 and 6 when he says that he isn't preaching about how great he is, but rather, that he comes as a servant. Paul is doing what God has told him to do; that is, take the light of Christ and let it shine in all the dark places in peoples' hearts.

And then comes the metaphor about the jars of clay, in verses 7: But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

Paul even goes into some detail about his physical condition and how he is wasting away to draw even more attention to the fact that the frailty of his humanness is like a jar of clay.

And, for goodness sake, he's even going to die. And when he dies, his body will be like any other inanimate object -- even a jar of clay.

But then, take heart -- because the jar of clay that he likens his weak human body to, holds an inner treasure. Forget mortality and the fact that we all carry Jesus' death around in us. Paul reminds the Corinthians --and he reminds us too -- that we also carry Jesus' eternal life around in us as a treasurer. Because Jesus resurrected from the dead, we will also.

Paul brings this truth home to all believers in verse 13-15: It is written: "I believed: therefore, I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

Paul then closes this chapter with the thought that he doesn't lose heart even though he's clearly struggling, probably financially and physically as well, he also feels renewed every day that he lives because he has the Spirit of Christ alive inside him. That means more to him than anything else, he says in verse 17b.

Paul seems to balance himself between his spiritual being and his physical being. When he closes this chapter in verse 18, he says he's not concerned so much about what his eyes cannot see, but rather, he's far more interested in what's going on inside him spiritually.

That part of your spiritual being that you cannot see when you look at yourself in the mirror -- that's the part of you that lives forever. 

What the eyes can see will one day die and waste away into mortality. It will become inanimate -- like a jar of clay.

Discussion points:

1. What are some of the ways that we hang onto our humanness and minimize the importance of our spiritual beings? Granted, self-preservation is a powerful instinct that keeps us in a "fight for life" mode, but do you ever feel your spirituality being challenged too?

For instance, our culture is rocked in its polarized position of Right to Life and Pro Abortion, although I think the pro abortion people now call themselves Pro Choice. Do you see this as a spiritual matter, not a political one? 

2. In our humanness, our jar of clay risks being cracked and ruined by sins. You might want to think of undoing these 7 Deadly Sins from your life: pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth. To learn more about this list which dates back to medieval times, go to this web side: http://www.deadlysins.com/sins/history.html. Make a checklist of these sins and see how you're doing each day. If you are having difficulties, pray for strength. Ask God to send help to you.

Along about 410 A.D., a poet named Prudentius named Contrary Virtues to these deadly sins in his poem which translates Battle for the Soul. Practicing these virtues is supposed to protect you from temptation of these sins:

Humility against pride
Kindness against envy
Abstinence against gluttony
Chastity against lust
Patience against anger
Literality against greed
and Diligence against sloth.

The Apostle Paul named Faith, Hope and Love -- with love being the greatest virtue.

The early church fathers also had a list called the Seven Corporal Works of Mercy:
Feed the hungry
Give drink to the thirsty
Give shelter to strangers
Clothe the naked
Visit the sick
Minister to prisoners
Bury the dead

This list sounds like something Jesus said, don't you think?

We pray: Oh Lord, I pray that you will shine your light through me so that I can reflect your glory to others around. 

I pray that you will protect me from Satan and all that is evil so that I can resist the temptations of sinning. I pray that you will keep me strong and help me so that I will not hurt others.

I pray for safety for all who are suffering the effects of the winter storms that rage -- and especially, I pray for those who are without electricity today. I am especially concerned and pray for those homes where people need electricity to operate health-related machinery, such as dialysis equipment, and those homes where there are little babies who need warmth. I pray that you will keep everyone safe.

I pray for those who are struggling financially. I pray that you will reach down your bountiful hand and prosper your servants who are in need at this time.

I thank you for all the blessings in my life and I pray that you will keep Quint safe and strong, and our children -- Dean and Vern and Teri and Sharon and their spouses, and children. Bless them all and keep them in your care.

I pray that you will bless all who life their prayerful concerns to you this day. Amen.

##

9:36 am          Comments

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

MY LIFE IN INK --

Of course we watched the State of the Union (SOTU) message last night. I realize that there is a growing sentiment that's anti-Bush but I have my own list of reasons why I am still glad he's president. The first of these is that he makes me feel safe -- 9/11 was a horrendous experience for the United States and I want a big tall Texan who won't back down or run like a chicken in the face of danger. The second reason is his faith practices. I want a president who has faith in God and goes to church regularly to worship God.

I realize that other people have other reasons -- and many of those reasons are political reasons for not supporting Bush any longer. But people don't have to agree with my reasons and I don't want to be evangelized about what someone else's reasons are either. We're all entitled ...

I am so glad that he said he was going to issue an Executive Order today instructing employees at the federal cash register not to pay out any cashola requests that are earmarks which were not voted on by congress. I echo the president's sentiments that if the programs were all that good, then they ought to have been included in an appropriations bill where the program could have been debated and decided on the house floor.

Bush had requested that congress reduce earmarks -- what we used to call pork projects -- by 50% in the 110th congress. They didn't even get close. Our great governors could only figure out how to whittle down 25%. Not good enough.

The problem with earmarks is that they get added into bills after the bills have been passed. Sometimes, the earmarks are just numbered. No reference to the congressperson or senator who snuck the earmark in there -- or even what it's for. Too much opportunity for corruption. I mean who's to say that some corrupt-minded legislator (gee, that never happens) couldn't set up a shell company back in the home district and divert some chinka-chink out that way. So no more sneaky earmarks.

I think the latest number I heard is that this latest package has about 11,000 earmarks that bloated out the spending bill by $15 billion.

Here's another little tidbit that ought not to surprise anybody. It has to do with alternative fuels. Remember how excited everybody was when ethanol was viewed as the perfect solution to reducing dependence on foreign oil? Well, guess what? Tyson Foods has announced that its quarterly profits are down 40%. And why would that be? Rising costs of grains. The little chickens do have to eat, you know. Look for costs of beef to go up next. They eat a lot of corn too. Especially the corn fed steaks.

And can you believe it? McDonalds sales are flat! Where'd all those happy meals go?

And American Express says its revenue is down 9.9% -- that's pretty close to 10% so why don't they just say their income is down about 10%!?? Anyway, higher delinquencies and more loan write-offs are taking their toll on Am Exp. Guess the green card isn't so green anymore.

And, of course, the really big news of yesterday is that the Kennedys have come out in force to endorse Obama. Hillary and Bill did not like that. In fact, if you can read between the lines of the stories out yesterday, there was a lot of sucking up going on to get the Kennedys to endorse the Clintons. Didn't happen. That's quite a coup for Obama.

I don't care what her handlers are telling her, the Hill&Billary Show would do a lot better without him. He's is going to continue to cost her votes and position. All that whatever it is that comes spewing out of his mouth is not classy and it turns people off. Not that the Clintons ever had to worry about losing my vote.

Obama can just leave the Clintons sputtering in the dust behind him. But if he thinks the Kennedys are such great political advisers, just keep in mind that Teddy's presidential campaign didn't exactly work out so well for him either.

Someday they'll all figure out that money doesn't buy class. Class rises up out of character. Have you seen any lately on the campaign trail?

Oh, and the other little nugget that's probably going to surface is news from Rudy's camp. He'll probably drop out about this time tomorrow.

Other than, things are going smoothly here. My bread turned out okay again. I really like the recipe for the Depression Bread. And there's one lonely little piece of Monkey Bread from the weekend.

The thought hit me that the next time we have an Italian dinner, I'm going to make the monkey bread recipe but instead of a cinnamon sugar wash to roll the little nuggets in plus chopped pecans to roll them in, I'm going to make a garlic butter wash, then roll the little balls of dough in Parmesan cheese. That ought to be just about plain old good.

I was almost done with knitting the tiebacks for the curtains. Got the dining room finished and have one window to go in the living room. Then I noticed that my ring finger on my left hand was kind of numb. Wondered what that was all about and when I was knitting last night -- while Quint was talking to the TV set again -- I realized that I use that finger to rest my knitting needle on. So I probably won't kit today.

That happened to me years ago when I decided to make my very own Christmas cards. My right thumb went numb from cutting out a bunch of stuff. The problem was the design I made was a partridge in a pear tree and by the time I cut out all those little pears, I had cut off the circulation to my thumb.

Anyway, I'll be fine and I'll do some counted cross stitch until my knitting fulcrum finger gets better and behaves again.

Oh -- and I just heard that Mexico has issued an arrest warrant for that Marine who is the main person of interest in the death of the Marine they found buried in his back yard.

##

THE SEVEN DWARFS -- from Joyce Cunningham

The seven dwarfs always left to go to work in the mine early each morning. As always, Snow White stayed home doing her domestic chores. As lunchtime approached, she would prepare their lunch and carry it to the mine.

One day as she arrived at the mine with the lunch, she saw that there had been a terrible cave-in. Tearfully, and fearing the worst, Snow White began calling out, hoping against hope that the dwarfs had somehow survived.

"Hello, hello!" she shouted. "Can anyone hear me? Hello!"

For a long while there was no answer. Losing hope, Snow White again shouted, "Hello! Is anyone down there?"

Just as she was about to give up all hope, there came a faint voice from deep within the mine. "Vote for Hillary, Vote for Hillary."

Snow White fell to her knees, crossed herself and prayed, "Oh, thank you, God. At least Dopey is still alive."

##


TOP TEN PREDICTIONS FOR 2008 -- from Antoinette Oberheu, Mark Stubbe, and Caroline Switz

1. The Bible will still have all the answers.
2. Prayer will still work.
3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
6. There will still be singing of praise to God.
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
8. There will still be room at the Cross.
9. Jesus will still love you.
10. Jesus will still save the lost.

God whispers in your soul and speaks to your mind.
Sometimes when you don't have time to listen,
He has to throw a brick at you.
It's your choice:
Listen to the whisper, or wait for the brick.

##


BIBLE STUDY: 2 Corinthians 3:1-18

I don't know about you folks, but I wouldn't have the slightest idea of how to go into an unChristian land and convert people to Christianity.

But Paul could. And he did. The churches he started in Corinth were successful and blooming when he left them. And then the Judaizers came in and started casting doubt on the gospel message that Paul had left them with. These false teachers were worming their way into the hearts of the new believers.

Paul did not like that. So he starts off with his "what's going on here?" message in verse 1: Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you?

Well, letters of recommendation would take care of the impostors, wouldn't you think? These false teachers would need some kind of authentication to give some idea of "where they were coming from," as we would say nowadays.

But Paul says he didn't need such a letter -- either to introduce himself to the Corinthians, or to get a letter from them, since the people in Corinth were, themselves, the only "letter" he needed. As Paul puts it in verses 2-3: You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and ready by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.

The ink, you see, is a physical thing that can fade and pass away. Even stone tablets are physical things and they can pass away too, although it may take longer.

But the spiritual essence that miraculously the Holy Spirit uses to write on our hearts is a forever thing. Better than ink. Better than stone. Better even than diamonds, which the commercials tell us last forever. Not true. Physical things don't last forever. But what the Holy Spirit writes on our hearts does last forever. It takes us all the way to eternity. It joins us with our heavenly father and it joins us with Jesus Christ. It lasts forever.

And because the tablets receive the result of a writing instrument -- like ink -- Paul likens the Christian hearts to those stones because they receive the result of the writing instrument that our heavenly father uses -- the Holy Spirit is the ink that God uses to write on our hearts with. That message, my friends, lasts forever. It is not a physical ink that fades away.

Paul is glad to bring this message to the new believers at Corinth, but he wants to make very sure that the believers understand that any competence he may have as a minister where this message is not coming from himself, but "our competence comes from God" (verse 5).

Paul then begins a beautiful message comparing the old covenant that the children of Israel had with God to the new covenant that Christ brought when he came to earth.

The covenant of the Old Testament that was given to Moses brought the laws through the Ten Commandments. These laws were from God -- no doubt about it. And even though these laws were written in stone, they were from God, so they were still glorioius in God's eyes.

So why would Paul liken these stones to a ministry of death in verse 7? 

In verses 9-11, Paul explains what he means in a full circle: If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!

Okay, so the Mosaic law was good. After all, God wrote the laws that he gave to Moses to bring to the children of Israel.

But Paul says he's not like Moses.  

Another comparison here. When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai, he had put a veil on his face so that the people would not be able to see the glory of God that was still on Moses' face. Moses kept this veil on until the glory had faded.

Remember that anyone who looked at God's face died immediately! And God's glory was present on Moses' face, thus the veil when he came down from the mountain.

Paul, on the other hand, brings a new covenant in Christ. Paul does not wear a veil. And you can be sure that all the while that Christ walked the earth as both man and God, there were many, many people who looked at his face. They didn't die.

And neither did they die when they looked at Paul, even though Paul brought them the new covenant that was also from God. It was a new covenant that transcended the old Mosaic law. This new covenant was also from God.

But back to this veil for a moment. Paul says that even when people read the old law, there is still this veil that makes their thinking dull. Even after all those many years, that veil was never taken away. That is, not until Christ came (verses 14-15).

However, the good news, says Paul in verses 16-18: But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

And keep in mind that it is this Spirit that gives life. This Spirit frees us from the death that the law condemned us all to. This Spirit is both the Spirit of Christ and the Holy Spirit that comes to all who believe in Christ.

We can turn to Galatians 2:20 to learn what Paul means: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.

And in Romans 8:9 -- You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.

These verses remind us that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. They accomplish their purposes  through the Holy Spirit.

Let's go back, just for a moment, to Acts 6:6-7: Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.

Discussion points:

This chapter brings such a richness that I have to read and re-read it.

1. When you realize that Christ said, "I bring you a new law," what do you think he meant? Does this chapter help you realize that he did not intend to do away with the old law but rather, to bring us salvation from the condemnation under the old law?

2. Sometimes I read Bible passages too quickly and miss important thoughts and concepts. I am glad for this chapter for it brings me back to the realization that believers bring the Spirit of Christ into their hearts. Have you found yourself thinking of the Spirit of Christ and the Holy Spirit being the same person? Can you think of different ways that they manifest in our lives?

3. The Holy Spirit fulfills the purposes of the Father and the Son. Our heavenly father makes the Holy Spirit available to us so that the Father's and the Son's purposes can live through our lives. What are some ways that you need to call on the Holy Spirit for help in your life?

We pray: Oh Spirit of the Living God, I am so thankful that you help me in my life. I need your help so that I can do the things that I am supposed to do, but cannot when left to my own devices.

I am not strong enough.

I am too selfish.

I am too distracted.

I pray that you would enter my heart anew each day so that everything I do on this day will be to live out the purposes of my Heavenly Father who has adopted me and joined me with Christ as my brother. Amen.

##

9:30 am          Comments

Monday, January 28, 2008

MY LIFE IN INK --

I'll have you to know that it's going to get up to 52 degrees this afternoon, although we have a wind advisory until 9 o'clock this evening.

That pretty much coincides with the president's State of the Union (SOTU) message which we will most certainly be watching this year. We've relied on snippits from the newsies in years past because we were at the office, so tonight we get to watch the whole thing from the ceremoniously beginning of his entry, to the speech which is about 15 typed pages long.

Let's see now, if I remember from my puppet show days, two typed pages of script takes about 5 minutes. But that was a double-spaced script. So if his speech is single-spaced, it would be 5 minutes for each page. -- Ought to be a fifteen minute speech then, not counting time for ovations.

Someone will be counting the ovations.

And someone will also be counting the number of times that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blinks her eyes. Body language experts will try reading something into that.

Senator Hillary says she's not going to the SOTU speech. Campaigning in Florida is far more important that listening to anything the president has to say. And her democratic audience probably doesn't care about President Bush or his SOTU either. They probably think that no one but a democratic president would have anything useful to say.

We've certainly become polarized in this country, haven't we?

It seems that the far left and the far right declared war on each other and there's no meeting in the middle. Well, I have news for them all. It's that middle ground where anything that's lasting ever gets accomplished. And sometimes it takes a lot of work and a lot of compromise for both sides to work their way back to the middle ground, but that's where meaningful agreements are carved out.

So the pontificators ought to just get off their high horses and come down off the Mt. Olympuses they've built for themselves and join the rest of us regulars. Taxpaying citizens, that is. If they weren't so insulated by their sycophants, they'd realize this little truth.

In other news, up north the "mighty" Kankakee River is swelling up. It does this just about every year. Ice jams are going to start to thaw there shortly. Especially if they get temperatures in the 50s like we are having down here in the middle of the state. The melting will make the Kankakee River go over its banks. I, for one, would not want to live along the Kankakee. Had too many clients who fished down there and more than one have told me about catching water moccasins instead of fishies.

I don't like poisonous critters -- that is, unless the scientists are looking at the venom of these million year monsters to help out with cancer cures, or something else useful. Otherwise, stomping them into oblivion seems like a good thing to do to snakes.

Politics and snakes. Now I'm getting too worked up. I need to go sit and chill out for a minute or two. Get a grip on my psyche and just calm down!

##

BIBLE STUDY: 2 Corinthians 2:1-17

In first verse of this chapter, Paul says he has made up his mind not to make another "painful visit" to the Corinthians.

He doesn't give us any clues about what he means by "painful." And the Greek text reads: I determined not to come to you again in sorrow. What you take from this is speculation -- or scholarly best guess.

Did someone hurt Paul's feelings? Not likely that this would stop him. Paul was a master at confronting people who tried to chop him off at the knees. And here's a clue: they would lose any such confrontation. The reason for his success: Paul stayed on the intellectual side of any such fray with others. He did not get down in the emotional dirt and "wallow around" with people who wouldn't maintain the sobering truths of intellect.

But he would enter into a dispute with those who tried to erode the spirituality of his church congregations, or his own spirituality too, for that matter. And where Paul was concerned, he had the mega mo-jo help from the Holy Spirit to help him with any spiritual encounters with anybody who wanted to mess with him.

This would not have been a painful experience for Paul, I believe. Rather, he would have rejoiced at any such opportunity, likening it to a mission quest.

And it's also not likely that Paul would have singled out any particular individual who may have brought a painful experience to him. Paul would most likely have gone to an individual and reconciled the difference.

In my view, Paul shrunk away from no one. There was nothing that anyone could do to Paul that he and God couldn't handle. So what he means by commenting about a painful experience as the reason for his not going back to Corinth is conjecture.

We do get somewhat of a hint in verses 2-4, though, for Paul says: For if I grieve you, who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved? I wrote as I did so that when I came I should not be distressed by those who ought to make me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy. For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.

When Paul says, "...I wrote as I did..." some scholars say that he is referring to another letter, perhaps written in between the first and second letter. Others say that this letter may actually have been appended to the second letter, as the last four chapters of 2 Corinthians where Paul defends his ministry, talks about false apostles, even talks about his own personal sufferings, talks about his vision -- perhaps too boastfully for some -- talks about his concern for the Corinthians and leaves them with some final warnings.

But I get ahead of myself. We will look at those chapters when we get to them in a week or so.

For now, perhaps Paul was misinterpreted when he reiterated to the Corinthians about how Jesus had chosen him for the mission field. We do know that Paul was adamant about not offending anyone. In fact, in another passage, he warned that if anyone would contemplate doing anything that just might be offensive to anyone for any reason whatsoever, to avoid doing it.

Perhaps there was money missing from the "benevolence fund" for the poor that Paul was going to collect and take to Jerusalem. And maybe the real culprit was discovered, even though some accused Paul of taking the money for himself.

The truth is, we just don't know what Paul truly meant.

And the reason for some thinking that a "missing" letter just got tagged onto the second letter -- kind of as an afterthought as some would believe -- maybe yes, maybe no.

Those kind of minute details are a distraction from the real truth and beauty of Paul's gospel message. I prefer to focus on this gospel truth -- and not get lost in whether or not Paul ran out of postage and added a few chapters onto a letter so that it would be delivered at the same time.

And then, the thought struck me. Can you just imagine what Paul would have done if he'd had the Internet available to him? He could have readers all over the world and there probably wouldn't have been a single non-Christian left anywhere on the planet.

But wow, does Paul give them all something to really think about. He tells the Corinthians that anybody has caused any kind of grief, then that person ought to be forgiven, not punished. He ought to be forgiven and comforted so that he wouldn't be overcome by "excessive sorrow."

Paul urges the Corinthians to reaffirm their love for this person.

And besides, the reason Paul says he wrote them about this incident in the first place was to see if they would stand the test and be obedient in everything (verse 9). Then he goes on to say in verses 10-11: If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven -- if there was anything to forgive -- I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

Whatever it was, it certainly bothered Paul, because he says that even when he went to Troas to take his gospel message to those people, he still didn't have any peace of mind about the matter. Paul says he was looking for Titus in Troas, but not finding him there, he decided to go to Macedonia.

Paul expected to find Titus and learn about what was happening in the churches in Corinth. A study note in my Concordia Study Bible (page 1777) says that Paul trusted Titus very much. In fact, Titus was supposed to collect the poverty funds that were collected for the poor folks in Jerusalem.

Then Paul becomes himself again and likens his ministry to a triumphant procession for Christ -- not unlike the generals leading warriors into battle.

This forward march for Christ brings a most welcome fragrance to God.

Remember back in the Old Testament when the references of the altar sacrifices lifted a pleasing arose to God in the heavens?

Paul likens this fragrance of the gospel message as also pleasing to God for in verses 14-16: But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.

Paul's reference to the "smell of death" reminds us all that unbelief in this gospel message bring the stench of death to those who reject Christ, and thus God, who sent Christ to save all mankind. Unbelievers choose this death for they banish themselves to eternal damnation in the fiery abyss.

Then Paul closes this chapter with this thought in verse 17: Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.

For discussion:

1. This chapter brings a couple of important thoughts. The first is this business of getting into too much minutiae in our discussions of Bible truths. Have you ever done this? Did it work? 

For so many -- especially potential new Christians -- this can be a real turn-off. Do you have any words of encouragement for people who want to gently back out of this kind of "painting themselves in a corner" with the minute details of a message they want to share?

Oh sure, there are many who still would say that they think they have a responsibility to just go right ahead and bring this kind of an "overload" to unbelievers. If that's the case, then I wonder what the real goal is -- impress someone with how much you know, or try to bring them to faith in Christ?

2. And secondly, Paul has some strong messages to say about forgiveness in this chapter. Go back and re-read those verses that pertain to forgiveness. If you are challenged by forgiving someone else, or even yourself, can you get some comfort by asking the Holy Spirit to come to your aid?

Paul talks about embracing someone in the church at Corinth -- apparently someone who has done something wrong -- with love. But I would say, from a mental health perspective, that a person has to be in a very strong place psychologically for that to happen.

When our psyches are wounded, we have a responsibility to become whole again. That takes a lot of work and it most certainly is going to require you to bring the Holy Spirit deep into your heart because you cannot do this job by yourself. I don't care who you are -- you just are not strong enough to do it all by yourself.

But the good news is that God, our heavenly father, is willing -- even eager -- to send the Holy Spirit to you to help you grow to this point of benevolence -- forgiving and then replacing the pain of whatever that grief was -- with the love that comes from knowing that whatever is done to us through some other human being is really the work of Satan -- not that other human being who acted out of a weakness of his/her own spirit.

We bring our prayers to God: Dear heavenly father, I need to ask you right now to send your Holy Spirit to me so that I can become whole again and bask in the joy of love toward others.

I pray that you will protect me from Satan and all that is evil so that I will not cause pain to anyone.

And I pray that you will forgive me from all my sins -- the ones that I know I commit and even the sins that I commit that I don't even know about -- sins that are at some depth in my being that I am not consciously aware of.

Thank you, dear God, for sending your son Jesus Christ to die for my sins and to rise again in the truth of your most profound love for me.

I pray for all those in the mission field who walk in dangerous places around the world to bring your gospel message to unbelievers. I pray that you will keep them safe and that your message will rise in fragrance to you from their work. Amen.

##

10:24 am          Comments

Friday, January 25, 2008

MY LIFE IN INK --

Today is winter's last blast -- hopefully. It was 6 degrees this morning with the promise that it's going to warm up throughout the day and stay "warm." That is, if you can count temperature in the 20s as warm. There's a real hope that it will be in the upper 40s by Sunday afternoon. Wonderful!

Next stop: Ground Hog Day! Then spring. Every day that passes is one day closer to spring.

My peach jam turned out A-OK as Quint says. I bought four bags of frozen peaches and squooshed them up with the new hand-held blender that I had forgotten I had. Obviously we have too much stuff if I can't even remember what I have. And I was going to go buy another one. Silly me.

I even found the calendar that has all the birthdays and anniversaries on. This year I thought I'd take a clue from how my mom used to do it. She never forgot an important birthday or anniversary. People still remember and cherish her for remembering them every year. I's her legacy.

Anyway, every year on New Years Day she would sit down with a big calendar and go through it with the one from last year and write down whose birthday or anniversary was on which date. I did that too this year. Only problem is, I did something with the calendar and couldn't remember where I put it. I found it yesterday though. It was in the middle drawer of the library table in the living room. I only missed three birthdays by the time I found it.

My mother would sit down on the first day of every month and get all the cards ready to mail. She would write the date of the event in the little area where the stamp goes and that would give her a clue of when she was supposed to mail the cards. Then she'd put a stamp over her handwritten little note.

Worked like a charm for Mom, bless her heart. She made so many people feel so special just by remembering them.

It really doesn't take all that much to affirm someone's value in our lives. And besides, doing something nice for someone else is one of the ways we build happiness into our own lives. It gives our own self-esteem a big boost when we do something nice for someone else.

Bringing joy to others circles its way back to us.

##

BIBLE STUDY: 2 Corinthians: 1-24

In Paul's first letter, we learn much about how Paul thought the congregations ought to behave and how they ought to interact with one another. He was especially concerned about the ever-present vulnerabilities to backsliding to idolatry. He was concerned about the presence of some who put the spiritual life of the congregations at risk by challenging the gospel message that Paul had brought them.

In this second letter, Paul brings kindness and comfort to the congregations where he had been stern in his first letter. He tells the Corinthians that he's coming for one long visit to them, rather than two short ones. The people who opposed Paul seized upon this change of mind or change of itinerary, or perhaps he just didn't have the resources to travel twice to Corinth. These people said that the churches couldn't count on Paul -- that he didn't mean what he said.

Not only that, but they accused him of taking the money that they had collected for the poor and using it for himself. This must have been a hefty sum of money since the Corinthians had been setting the money aside for nearly a year.

And we learn much about Paul himself as we read this letter. He shares a great deal of his own biography in this letter. And he reassures the Corinthians that he does, indeed, mean what he says.

We learn in the very first verse that Paul is the author of this letter, and that Timothy has joined him. He doesn't say that Timothy is the co-author of this letter but, rather, that Timothy also sends greetings to the Corinthians.

I have always found great solace in these early verses of this letter in verses 3-5: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

Particularly as we approach the beginning of the Lenten season and prepare for the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, this last sentence compels me to go deeper into my daily prayers: "For just as the sufferings of Christ flow into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."

And just as we are comforted by our Heavenly Father, we are also to bring comfort to others around us. Paul reminds us of this in verses 6-7.

Then Paul gives the Corinthians some insight into what he has been going through in verses 8-11: We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us.

Does this passage remind you a bit of the faithful lessons from the Old Testament where the Israelite suffered hardships when they forgot that it was God who was really in charge of their lives.

Remember the battle of Jericho? God said, "Now, here's how I want you to do it." And the walls tumbled down.

We need always to remember that God is abundantly willing to bless our lives and prosper us, if only we make a commitment to follow the path he wants us to take.
 
Paul then explains to the churches in Corinth that he has to make a change in plans about his visit. He says that he had planned on coming to Corinth on his way to Macedonia, then come back to Corinth from Macedonia.

How often we make plans for a trip, then change the itinerary when we think better of it. Or not go at all. Paul had to make such a change in plans and he appeals to the churches at Corinth to not misunderstand this need for a change as a lessening of his steadfastness. Or to let this misunderstanding cloud how they felt about the gospel message that Paul brought to them.

The Corinthians -- particularly this yeasty little bunch of troublemakers in the churches -- really held Paul to an incredibly high standard, don't you think? Paul's presence may have changed but his message hadn't.

He wanted them to be sure of this, for in verses 21-22: Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Paul wants to remove any ambiguity that the Corinthians may have had in the gospel message that Paul brought them and he does not want them to interpret a change of plans as anything but just that -- a needed change of plans. This change of plans does not water down the strength of the gospel message that Paul brought to them, for that message is from God through Paul.

Paul, in essence, takes a vow as he closes this chapter when he calls on God as his witness that he didn't return to Corinth to spare them. He says in verse 24: Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.

We'll look to Chapter 2 to see what Paul may have meant by this distress and not wanting to grieve the Corinthians with two visits instead of one.

For discussion:

1. What sufferings are you enduring at this time in your life?

2. Do you feel discomforted, as if everything seems to be going wrong? Or are there just a few little pangs that disquiet your days? Remember that Christ suffered greatly and God delivered him. But oh my goodness -- what a task Christ was sent to do before that deliverance came about.

3. We've all had to change plans because life circumstances changed. Given what you know of Paul, see if you can think of different circumstances in his life that may have prompted him to change his travel plans. Certainly weather could have become a hindrance to travel. Did he even have enough money to travel? What do you think?

We pray: Dear Heavenly Father: I pray that you will help me through all my sufferings, even what may seem to be only a small thing to someone else. These sufferings sometimes threaten to tear me apart. I pray that you would help me remember that you are always aware of my sufferings and that your help is so near to me, if only I would ask for your help.

I am asking now that you bring your great comfort to me and that you would bring an end to my suffering. You know what that suffering is and I pray for your comfort and solace in getting me through these tough times. And I pray that you will deliver me from those things that plague my joy and well-being. Amen.

##

INTERESTING STUFF -- from Becky Mayfield

In the 1400s a law was set forth in England that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. Hence we have the "rule of thumb."

Many years ago in Scotland, a new game was invented. It was ruled "Gentlemen Only -- Ladies Forbidden" -- and thus, the word GOLF entered into the English language.

The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time TV were Fred and Wilma Flintstone.

Every day more money is printed for Monopoly than the U.S. Treasury.

Men can read smaller print than women can; women can hear better.

Coca-Cola was originally green.

It is impossible to lick your elbow.

The state with the highest percentage of people who walk to work is Alaska.

The percentage of Africa that is wilderness is 28%. Now, get this: the percentage of North America that is wilderness is 38%.

The cost of raisign a medium-size dog to the age of eleven is $16,400.

The average number of people airborne over the U.S. in any given hour is 61,000.

Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.

The first novel ever written on a typewriter was Tom Sawyer.

The San Francisco cable cars are the only mobile national monuments.

Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history:
Spades -- King David
Hearts -- Charlemagne
Clubs -- Alexander, the Great
Diamonds -- Julius Caesar

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air the person died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.

Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of their birthplace.

What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laster printers all have in common? They were invented by women.

What is the only good that doesn't spoil? Honey.

On which day are there more collect calls than any other day of the year? Fathers Day.

In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase, "Goodnight, sleep tight."

It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the honeymoon.

In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarters. So in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them, "Mind your pints and quarts and settle down!" It's where we get the phrase, "Mind your Ps and Qs."

Many years ago in England, pub frequenters had  whistle baked into the rim, or handle, of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. "Wet your whistle" is the phrase inspired by this practice.

##



9:45 am          Comments

Thursday, January 24, 2008

MY LIFE IN INK --

You'll be proud of me -- I have no political news to report. We went to a prayer group at church last night and when we came home, watched a movie called Driving Lessons. It was a comedy.

And I knitted. Owing to both the comfort and convenience of UPS, I did not have to drive all the way to Terre Haute to get Sizes 1, 2 and 4 knitting needles. Quint ordered them for me from Jo-Ann Fabrics (online). Guess he got a bit tired of me planning this huge 67 mile trek over to Terre Haute to the Jo-Ann Fabric Store. I got some metallic thread from Wal-Mart the other day to make a scarf and anything bigger than #1 needles are way too big. So I cast on about 80 stitches and knitted my little heart out during the 2-hour movie. Got a whole inch done. Guess it will be a scarf for next winter, since Ground Hog Day is one week from this Saturday. Then spring is right behind the furry little beast whether he sees his shadow or not.

Not much else to report unless you count on the fact that the weather hit the pits again. It was only 6 degrees when I got up this morning. A mighty good day to stay indoors. I'm going to make a Shepherds Pie for lunch. Also some peach jam this afternoon. Yum yum. I made bread yesterday afternoon. We are getting really spoiled with the homemade bread. And we're consistently losing weight too. Maybe because it's real bread. Or maybe because we've given up diet soda pop -- one of the side effects of aspartame is weight gain. So why do they use it to sweeten diet pop? Go figure. Even that sugar free lemonade stuff is sweetened with aspartame.

So I got some unsweetened Koolaid and am going to sweeten it with Splenda. That works.

##

BIBLE STUDY: 1 Corinthians 16:1-24

Paul starts off this chapter with instructions about collecting money for poor people. He says the Corinthians ought to put aside money on the first day of each week just like the churches in Galatia do. Then, when Paul comes to visit the churches in Corinth they will have saved out money for the poor people. Then, Paul says, the churches can select men that they want to take these funds to Jerusalem. And if they want, Paul has volunteered to go with the men.

Paul says he'll be in the Corinth area after he makes a trip through Macedonia -- maybe even be able to spend the winter with the Corinthians. This was a change of plans for Paul. He had originally planned on going to Corinth first, after he left Ephesus, but must have thought the better of it. So he changed his mind (Concordia Study Bible, page 1771).

In verses 8-9, Paul explains why he will stay a bit longer in Ephesus: But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has been opened to me, and there ae many who oppose me.

(Just a reminder note that the word Pentecostmeans "50." Pentecost is the 50th day after the Passover. That's when the Jews celebrated the Feast of Firstfruits. Concordia Study Bible, page 1771)

We learn in verse 10 that Timothy is not with Paul in Ephesus. He must have gone on a separate mission assignment because Paul asks the Corinthians to send Timothy back to Paul if they see him. Paul also asks the Corinthians to "be nice" to Timothy and not to do anything that would scare Timothy. Apparently Timothy was somewhat shy and Paul wanted to make sure that the Corinthians offered Timothy everything that he needed while Timothy was in Corinth.

Paul then addresses a concern that the Corinthians must have raised in the letter that they sent to Paul -- which is one of the reasons that aroused this responsive first letter back to the Corinthians. The Corinthians wanted to know about Apollos.
 
Paul tells the Corinthians, in verse 12, that he had really tried to get Apollos to come back to the churches in Corinth but for some reason, Apollos really didn't want to do that. When Paul says that Apollos was "quite unwilling to go now," couldn't we figure that Apollos just plain old refused? Paul leaves the door open for reconciliation with the added thought, "but he will go when he has the opportunity."

Paul then adds this admonition in verses 13-14: Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.

It seems to me like Paul is warning the Corinthians to be vigilant and watch out for all those people who were lurking about just waiting for opportunities to lure them back into temptation -- maybe to get them back into the temples of false gods and goddesses. Or maybe to come over to their houses for feasts that included food from the sacrifices at these temples.

So Paul tells the Corinthians to be on their guard.

That's good advice for us today too. There are all kinds of people who cross our paths who would just love to tempt us into doing all kinds of naughty things. Things we certainly wouldn't do if Christ were in the room with us and watching us. Oh, but he is. We have to remember that Christ is always with us. And always hoping that we won't give in to temptations that come at us through other people. So we have to be on guard too!

Then Paul tells the Corinthians about the household of Stephanas. He says that the people in this home were the first converts in Greece (Achia). They are devoted to doing whatever they were asked to do. Paul encourages the Corinthians to be like them. And he says he was glad when they came to visit him, because Stephanas and his fellow travelers supplied what was lacking from the Corinthians. Paul was probably talking about affections because he said that the group from Stephanas' household refreshed his spirit (verse 18).

And finally, we have Paul's closure to this first letter. It is, after all, a letter in the classic Greek form. It begins with the first verse of the first chapter identifying the writer, and the whole middle part of the letter is filled with news and admonitions and encouragements from Paul. And then he closes this letter saying that all the churches in Asia send greetings to the churches in Corinth.

He mentions Aquila and Priscilla and all the people who meet at their house. Everyone sends greetings and a holy kiss. These holy kisses were kisses of greeting -- men kissing men; women kissing women, etc. They were not long, enduring kisses of passion.

Then Paul finishes off the letter with the assurance that he had written it himself, and adds this note in verse 22: If anyone does not love the Lord -- a curse be on him. Come, O Lord.

And in verses 23-24, we hear the pastoral benediction: The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.

For discussion:

1. In your own church, how do you extend a welcome to new visitors who come to worship with you? We recently moved a couple of hundred miles south and when we had to find a new church home, I will tell you that we settled into a church where we had been welcomed by a number of people as we left the sanctuary.

2. Paul starts off this chapter with the instruction to put aside some money on the first day of each week for the poor. Most pastors have a "Good Samaritan" fund where they dispense money to people who come into the church looking for assistance. Does your church have such a fund? If so, are you a regular contributor in addition to the money you put into the offering plate that pays the expenses of the church?  

3. Paul expresses his concerns about the people at Corinth not falling back into their earlier temptations. What temptations do you guard yourself against?

4. Do you ask for heavenly beings to come to your aid? Do you ask our Lord to put a hedge around you? Do you use the full counsel of the Holy Spirit to strengthen your resolve?

5. And finally, how do you serve others in Christian love?

We pray: Oh Spirit of the Living God, I pray that you will give me the strength that I need to resist Satan and all that is evil. I pray that you would put a hedge around me so that no evil can get to me.

I thank you Lord for all the blessings you have given to me. And I pray for all people everywhere who need the help and support of your faithful believers.

I pray for the millions of children who die every year -- 9.7 million last year did not make it to their first birthday and four million died during their first month of life. I pray that all of us everywhere in the world could do what we can to overcome the deadly ravages of pneumonia and malaria and infections that could be healed so easily.

And I pray for an end to the wars around the world. And especially the deadly war in the Congo where thousands are dying every month.

I pray for peace everywhere in the entire world. Amen.

##
10:11 am          Comments

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

MY LIFE IN INK --

I feel better now that I'm taking a reprieve from all that political stuff. Will most definitely watch the results come in on Saturday evening though, since both South Carolina and Florida are having elections that day. And Super Tuesday on February 5? Well, that will probably be a late night with big bowls of popcorn!

Shouldn't take too much time out of our Saturday evening, since the news channels have gotten into the bad habit of "calling" an election with a very small percentage of the results in. Like 12% in the Nevada caucuses. If they aren't careful, their advertisers will start running ads only in the first forty-five minutes of the broadcast.

I guess the newsies figure it's no big deal, since they've called the elections right so far.

One of these days, though, the politicos are going to figure that out and start holding back precinct tallies. Then the broadcasters will have egg on their faces. That's what's happened to the pollsters. Now they're taking entrance and exit polls. And folks aren't always telling them how they really voted.

In the meantime, we're watching programs on the History Channel and Discovery and other stuff that Quint likes to watch. So far, I've learned what the earth will look like when there are no people left on the planet. Here's a tip: the little "designer doggies" don't fare too well. The big dogs revert back to the wild and start foraging for little critters to eat. And cats move into the high rises.

And we watched New York being hit by a really big earthquake. And lots of volcano shows and other programs that retired scientists like to watch. And when people make outrageous claims that require a "suspension of his belief system," Quint talks to the person on the TV screen.

I don't care. I'm just knitting and lovin' it. Great way to spend a cold, wintry evening all cuddled up in our nice warm house. Thank you, Mr. Providence (that's my affectionate name for my Heavenly Father.)

In case you have not checked the prayer request page, I have to tell you that our friend John has made a miraculous recovery from his heart-related problem. He's up and walking around. That's fantastic, considering that his heart stopped more than a couple of times while he was in ICU. Ended up with a pacemaker to keep his ticker pumping like it should. Prayers continue for you, John.

If you have a prayer request, just send me an e-mail and I'll add it to the prayer request. Just be sure to put "prayer request" in the subject line. I'll be glad to lift your concerns up in prayer.

##

BIBLE STUDY: 1 Corinthians 15:1-58

Paul delivers a sermon, or homily, in this chapter.

Can't you just seeing him rise from his seated position in the crowd and, standing there, he says: Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. (verses 1-2)

Paul apparently felt that these warnings were necessary -- after all, evil was all around the church members in Corinth. The idolaters didn't go away just because Paul had started a church. And the temples to the little false gods didn't get torn down. No indeed. The warnings were there for the Corinthians just as surely as Moses had warned the children of Israel to hold onto their faith and not go over to the side of the devil where idols were waiting.

Paul then makes this restatement of the gospel message (verses 3-4): For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

Then Paul lists six different times that Christ appeared physically after his death and resurrection:

1. he appeared to Peter
2. he appeared to the Twelve
3. he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep
4. he appeared to James
5. he appeared to the apostles
6. he appeared to Paul, as to one abnormally born
(verses 5-9)

The note added to #3 that some have fallen asleep is a common expression the Greeks used to note that someone had died.

And in verse 6, Paul refers to him as "one abnormally born." What is generally thought is that Paul is saying that Christ chose him a little differently than he did the disciples.

That is, when Christ chose his disciples, he kind of tapped them on the shoulder and said "Follow me." With Paul, however, Christ used a rather dramatic technique that literally stopped Paul in his tracks. Christ blinded Paul on the road to Damascus. Paul had to be led to someone's house where he was cared for and restored to sight.

So the great persecutor of Christians was taken from his tormenting life and brought to a great faith that led him to become the greatest missionary of all times, in my view.

Paul did not mind sharing this history of himself with non-believers if it could help to bring them to faith through the gospel message. And I can tell you that I do not hesitate to use the example of Paul whenever I run into people who have difficulty forgiving themselves for something they have done that they feel is unforgivable in God's eyes. I mean, after all, if God would forgive Paul for all the persecutions and murders of the early Christians, then God will forgive each of us for anything that we have done in our own lives.

Our heavenly father wants to forgive us. He wants us to be bathed in the glory of Christ's resurrection for it was for our sins that he sent his son to die for our sins in the first place. If we aren't going to turn that around and accept forgiveness, then aren't we turning our backs on God's most cherished gift to us?

Think about this: the next time someone gives you a gift, would you turn it back and say, "I really don't deserve this; I've done nothing to deserve this gift, so I won't accept it." How do you think the gift-giver would feel if you rejected the gift? So when it comes to the time when you ought to forgive yourselves for something -- anything -- just get down on your knees and say "Thank you God. I know I don't deserve it, but then -- nobody does. Thank you. I'm even going to work on forgiving myself. I can give myself this gift, thanks to what you've done for me."

In verse 12, Paul mentions that some of the Corinthians were saying that Christ didn't really come back from the dead.

In fact, the Sadducees do not believe in the resurrect to this very day. The Pharisees do though. It was the same back in Paul's day. And since there was a pretty good sized group of Jews in Corinth, Paul addressed this point about the resurrection.

Paul says that if they didn't believe in the resurrection, even that Christ had not come back to life, then Paul's preaching was useless and so was their faith.

It's Christ's resurrection from death that is one of the cornerstones of the Christian faith!

Then Paul goes on to say that if he was going about the countryside bearing a false witness about God because he was preaching that God had raised Christ from the dead and if that were not true, then the Corinthians, and we are too, still living in our sins. (verses 15-19)

And if that's true, then everybody who has died, are still in their sins.

But take heart. In verse 20, Paul assures us that Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.

And Paul likens Christ to the first-fruits of the harvest and in doing so, all who have fallen asleep belong to this same harvest of souls.

In verse 21, Paul brings the whole story of mankind full circle: For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.

So Adam brought death to mankind through his sin -- and Christ brought life to mankind through his resurrection from the dead. And when Christ comes back for the second time, he will gather all who belong to him and bring them to his Father in heaven.

When Paul is talking about destroying all who have dominion, authority and power over people in verse 24, he's talking about the people who do not belong to Christ and all those who oppose Christ.

In verse 25, Paul says that Christ must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

Some say that Paul is referring to the 1,000 years that is mentioned in Rev. 20:1-6; however, John had not written The Revelation at the time that Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians. But the Holy Spirit most certainly could have inspired such a thought to Paul. (It's pretty well accepted that Revelation was written much closer to the end of the first century -- about 95 AD, where this letter to the Corinthians was written closer to the middle of the first century A.D.)

Paul also clarifies what he means when he says that when Christ returns, he will put "everything" under his feet. Paul says in verse 27: Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

Paul mentions baptism in verses 29-30 almost in passing when he says: Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them? And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour?

You might be surprised to learn that some of the Corinthians were being baptized kind of like by proxy for their deceased relatives. They wanted to make sure that their relatives would enjoy the afterlife when Christ returns. Paul did not bring much detail to what he was thinking here. Nor did he leave a footnote for this thought.

Paul quotes from the Greek poet Menander in verse 32b: Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we did. Then he adds in verses 33-34: Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God -- I say this to your shame.

Specifically, ignorant of God because they did not believe in the resurrection. These are the people Paul is talking about when he says that bad company corrupt good company.

Someone then asks Paul what people are going to look like when they come back from dead. Would they be able to recognize their loved ones? On its surface, that's not such a ridiculous question. Keep in mind that the Greeks were enormously curious about a lot of intellectual things, including minute details that most of us may not even think about.

So, yeah. They were very curious about what their loved ones would look like when died and came back to life. I often have the same question about moms who have miscarried their beloved infant babies. They most certainly want to know what their babies will look like and whether or not the babies will recognize them. I don't have an answer for those questions, but I do believe that God will draw loved ones together when he joins us in heaven.

Paul goes into a great detail about how God made us different from the animals and plants. It just depends on what kind of seed you came from. That determines whether or not you're human, animal, plant, or even if you a heavenly body. In the final analysis, God makes things as it pleases him. 

Even Adam, from dust, was made by God. Adam was the first living being. And so it is, as Paul says in verse 45b, the last Adam -- that is, Christ -- is a life-giving spirit.  Very important difference here between the first Adam and the last Adam. When Christ returns, he will give his believers a glorious physical body. In verse 49 we read Paul's words: And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.

Then Paul shares this secret in verse 51-52: Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed -- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

After this change, Paul says that what is written is true -- that is, the sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (verses 54b-57)

Paul leaves this chapter with the following admonition: Therefore, my dear brother, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (verse 58)

---

Discussion points:

1. Imagine that you were a missionary going into a gathering of people who had never ever heard of Jesus Christ. Using Paul's thinking, can you restate the gospel message of Jesus Christ?

2. What are you thoughts about Paul's reference to himself as being "abnormally born?" Since he doesn't really say what he means by that, he kind of leaves us to our own conjecture.

3. Belief in the resurrection of the dead is one of the things that set Christians apart from other religions that do not believe in the resurrection. Do you believe that when you die, you will enjoy an afterlife in heaven?

4. Re-read verse 29 and discuss the matter of baptism, specifically in terms of the Corinthians being baptized for other people. What did Paul say about this?

5. This chapter is rich in its details about Paul's thinking and instructions about how we are to believe in the resurrection. As you read this chapter in its entirety, do you still have unanswered questions about meeting your loved ones in heaven?

6. And finally, what does Paul say we are to do with our lives in verse 58?

Closing prayer: Oh Lord, I come to you filled with wonder and amazement about everything you do for me and everything you have done for me. Most of all, that you would willingly sacrifice your son to die for my sins.

I just am amazed that you would do that for me. Thank you, Lord. I don't deserve it. I can't earn it. I can only thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul.

I pray that you would guide me, fill me with your love, and be with me every day of my life as I try to do your work. And if I falter, I pray that you would catch me and keep me on my feet.

I ask all this in Jesus' name. Amen.

##

10:47 am          Comments

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

MY LIFE IN INK --

I'm not sure quite how it happens but a tooth underneath a bridge snapped off at the gum line. Oh well. I needed to find a new dentist since our move anyway. So now I have a new doctor. Seeing him this Friday morning. And today I saw my new dentist. I had so many pictures taken of the inside of my mouth that I feel like a movie star. Well, not quite. Actually all you can see are the roots of my teeth. Not very glamorous.

Remember when I told you that the candidates were going to start cannibalizing each other? Apparently this started at the Democratic debate the other night. Hillary and Obama finally took off their phony little smiles and started verbally slapping each other around. Oh boy.

And then there was that awful photo of Billy Boy falling asleep at a speech on MLK Day at some Baptist church down south. How embarrassing can that be for Hillary's campaign? It's old news by now and the best way to make it go away is to just ignore it like it never happened. Politicians are good at that unless it's a faux pas on the other side. Then it's a bid deal that they keep bringing up.

The attack plan now includes South Carolina and Florida. Democratic primary coming up this Saturday so we'll see who's loved the most -- Obama or Hillary. It's Obama's turn to win one. So we shall see. The Republicans already primaried out of South Carolina. McCain won the gold, as Romney would say.

Both the Democratic and Republic primaries are in Florida on January 29, so it's going to be a busy Saturday for everybody.

I'm personally hoping there's some good movies added to On Demand. What I want to know about the primary winners I can get from the news. I don't need to sit and watch the pundits sitting around a table prognosticating for three hours. What I really don't like is when the networks "call" an election after only 12% of the results are tallied.

Let's see -- what else is going on in the world around us.

The Dow opened more than $500 down this morning. That prompted the Feds to lower interest rates by 3/4 of a point. Good news -- in fact, great news for you if you're going to be buying a house or a car. Or if you have any kind of financing that's tied to the prime.

The Dow is coming back up now. At this point, it's only down $179 and some change. Chinese stock market fell sharply, as did the British FTSE -- all because the credit crunch/mortgage blues in the United States is scaring everybody. Not to worry, guys -- so don't panic. We'll get things tweaked out just fine. Have a little patience. But from now on, no more 100% mortgages. Those days are gone, comprehendo?

Good news for the baby mortality rate. It's lowering. Used to be, until this new data, there were 10 million babies who died each year. The latest data are 9.7 million. That's still way too many. About 9.7 million too many, but at least the trend is getting better. Sadly, 26,000 children die every day because of pneumonia, malaria and other health problems, according to UNICEF. Four million children die in their first month.

So don't you think our politicians in the United States could fly commercial jets instead of those posh little private things, and donate some of their very own money to UNICEF? Or maybe give up one clerk in their offices. Some of these senators, for instance, have pretty good sized little dynasties. Imagine how much antibiotics they could buy with that $35,000-$60,000 a year!

And then there's the Congo. Still ravaging effects of war, disease and malnutrition are killing 45,000 people every month in the Congo according to the International Rescue Committee. So far, a total of 5.4 million people have died in the Congo in almost the last decade. That's like the entire state of Colorado, or the entire country of Denmark!

Don't we have some antibiotics stockpiled somewhere that we could ship off to the Congo too? And put some food on the plane too. For crying out loud, nobody should be starving to death in this day and age.

The United States has the richest people in the world living here -- just look at the Hollywood types. They want millions to do one picture. Sometimes they only work a month or so for their part in a movie, the collect big paychecks. Hey, share the wealth you guys.

Same goes for the rich politicians who live our on the east coast, like Washington, D.C. Give some of your recent raise away and help poor people living in needy places around the globe.

You'll feel better for it.

And for all you music fans out there who want a good web site, here's a link that's go all the news about who got the Oscar nods: http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Movies/01/22/oscar.nominations/index.html

As usual, Quint and I have not seen a cotton pickin' one of them. I'm still pouting about the know-it-all Hollywood types who think they can preach politics to me, so I'm not giving them any money. Also, I am totally opposed to all the trash coming out of Hollywood. I don't need nudity to tell a story, and all that language is horrible. They all need their mouths washed out with soap. And the only naked man I need to see is my husband's body. Nudity is just not necessary. I do like a good story though. And you can have a good story where everyone keeps all their clothes on.

##

BIBLE STUDY: 1 Corinthians 14:1-40

Paul makes a distinction in the early verses of this chapter between prophesying and speaking in tongues.

He says that when you prophesy, you talk to the people around you.

But when you speak in tongues, you are speaking to God -- no human can understand your mutterings, because people who speak in tongues are talking about mysteries with his spirit.

People who prophesy build up the church. Paul says, in verse 5b, that those who prophesy are greater than those who speak in tongues.

People who speak in tongues build themselves up. No one understands them unless they have an interpreter. Paul says in verse 9: Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air.

But Paul recognized that people really wanted to have gifts from the Holy Spirit, so he adds in verse 12: Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.

Paul says that he speaks in tongues. In fact, in verse 18 he says he speaks in tongues more than all of them. But, in verse 19, he says: But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.

Paul reckons that speaking in tongues is for unbelievers where prophesy, on the other hand, is for believers. For instance, if someone came into the church gathering and everyone was speaking in tongues, the new person would think that all the people in the church group were out of their mind (verse 23). But if they were prophesying, and were understandable, then the new visitor would be convinced that he was a sinner and that the secrets of his heart would be opened up and would fall down and worship and say (verse 25b): God is really among you.
Paul says in verse 33: For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.

That follows several verses (26-32) of Paul's admonition to the Corinthians of how they are to bring order to their worship service. He clarifies once again that the people who speak in tongues are to sit down and be quiet, unless they bring an interpreter with them. He should just speak to himself and to God.

But prophesying -- on the other hand -- is another matter. Remember, Paul said that people who prophesy speak to other people. So when prophets speak, their speech should be weighed by other prophets who are present. After all, the spirit of the prophets are controlled by other prophets.

And then Paul talks about what women ought to be doing in church (verse 33b-35): Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

I have to tell you that we spent a couple of weeks in a rather spirited discussion just on these two verses at our Sunday morning Bible discussion some time ago. I was glad that our pastor was able to give us the Greek interpretation of just what Paul had said. And since Paul wrote the letter to the Corinthians and since Paul was a very literate person, and since Paul's writings had clarity, we can be sure that the meant exactly what he said.

So when he said that women shouldn't talk in church, he wasn't talking about them sitting up there in the balcony exchanging recipes or decorating tips or child-rearing techniques, as I've heard some professors claim.

No. Paul was talking about women addressing the congregation in a pastoral role. I confess that I do not read or speak Greek, but I trust my pastor, who does. And the English word "speak" is translated from a Greek work that means teacher/leader/pastor.

I admit that I like things the way they are, but I also recognize that there are some church groups that ordain women. I can agree to disagree with them. There are many different ways that different church groups worship God. And as Christians, we all worship the same God.

So Paul makes this point, then quickly goes back to the matter of prophesying and speaking in tongues, and finally comes to this reckoning point in verse 39-40: Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

##
7:22 am          Comments

Monday, January 21, 2008

MY LIFE IN INK --

Brrrr -- I thought it would be warmer than 18 degrees today. Wishful thinking, I guess. We have all this arctic stuff still blowing down from our neighbors from the north.

Quint says he read in his latest issue of Science magazine that there is an active volcano underneath the glacial ice in Antarctica -- actually on the sea floor -- that can be somewhat of a cause of ice sliding into the ocean down there. Not to worry -- it has been erupting for about 2,000 years. Could this account for the warming effect that's making those icebers calve? Gee, but I thought Al Gore said that was human-caused-global-warming. Can humans cause volcanic eruptions underneath the glacial ice in Antarctica? How'd he do that?

Have you noticed? Things are getting kind of mean over in the Democratic camp. All of a sudden, after Obama got the culinary workers endorsement in Nevada, the Clintons accused him of voting irregularities because the caucuses were being allowed in the casinos. Clinton said that's like giving the culinary union workers five votes to the other caucus votes being valued at only one. Huh?

Something about the casino caucus votes being weighted in favor of Obama.

Then the Clintons won the Nevada caucus so all the talk about voting irregularities kind of vanished into thin air. Then Obama came out with a veiled accusation of voter fraud.

Then the gloves came off. So to speak.

Even Teddy Kennedy told Bill Clinton to pipe down. It's not appropriate for an ex-president to attack his party's presidential candidate. But then, things get complicated because the ex-president is campaigning for his wife's presidential run for the rose garden.

And then Duncan Hunter closed down his presidential candidacy on the Republican side.

Politics in the United States has become a major industry. No doubt about it. Dinner for the Clintons the other night was reported to be in excess of $1,000. Don't know if they had guest. Maybe it was a super-post restaurant with just the four of them on the campaign trail -- Hillary, Bill, Chelsea, and Hillary's mom. Maybe a seven course meal? But then, maybe Hillary bought cheeseburgers for all her campaign workers. Nah. Probably not.

The race is really centered around getting a whole bunch of delegates at this point. There are 4,049 delegates in total on the Democrat side. Whoever gets a majority of the delegates going into the convention will get the party's nomination.

So that means the nomination will go to the candidate who gets a minimum of 2,025 delegates.

At this point, Hillary has 210 delegates. Obama has 123, Edwards had 52 and Kucinich has 1. These are delegates who are committed to vote for them at the convention based on the campaign outcome in the states they win in.

We have South Carolina coming up this Saturday -- that's a juicy state with lot of delegates for the Democratic winner. In total, I think I read that there are 54 delegates available in South Carolina.

And then there's Florida. Lots more population and more delegates. Maybe 210 delegates in this densely populated state.

Not to mention Super Tuesday -- there's more than 400 delegates to be won in that horse race. More than twenty states have primaries on February 5.

And about the time you think you may have it all figured out on the Democratic side where the delegates are awarded by some kind of formula that considers congressional districts, population and some other number (like maybe the square root of the number of ice cream cones consumed by Democratic candidates during July????) -- who knows how they figure it out.

Anyway, the number count and system to figure it out is computed differently in the Republican primaries.

So all the candidates are running from state to state, setting up headquarters with telephone lines (money money money), running ads (supermoney supermoney lotsamoney) and eating in restaurants, not to mention the highway robbery price gasoline -- comes down to lotsabucks for each state where primaries are being held. And thousands of gallons of jet fuel because you just know these elite-noseintheair candidates don't fly ordinary commercial flights. Oh no. They have chartered special planes loaned to them by their corporate buddies.

So they're counting the delegates. And whoever gets the majority of the delegates gets to the party's nominee at the conventions this summer. And about the time you think you absolutely can't watch another political ad -- and about the time that you think you've heard everything there is to debate, then comes the conventions and the race will be down to one Democrat and one Republican candidate.

That's when campaigns begin in earnest. All the way up to the real election in November. Then it comes down to number of votes because that determines how many electors come from each state. And then after the November votes are all tallied, the electoral college gets together and they vote for the presidential candidate.

And the winner gets to stand up on the reviewing stand on a cold January day in 2009 and be sworn in as president for four years. And then two years after that, the whole process starts all over again, because it seems that we have presidential candidates running around for two years prior to the election, setting up feasibility committees, fundraising committees, etc etc etc. Anything to get their name out there. Familiarity wins elections.

It's an industry, folks. I've often wondered what, if anything, is made in America these days. Seems like everything I pick up in a store has been made somewhere else.

Except politicians. That's what we make in America. We make politicians. It's rapidly becoming our national past-time.

And by the time election day rolls around, all our politicians start to look like little bobo-dolls.

##

WOW! LISTEN TO THIS

New rule in Saudi Arabia: women can now stay in hotel rooms alone. Used to be that they had to have a male attending them. They were not allowed to stay in a hotel room or in an apartment either with an unrelated male.

That's progress coming from the sand dune capitol of the world.

I think I also read in another article that women were also going to be allowed to drive. Yes, that's right. Women drivers in Arabia! Whatever is this world coming to? And isn't it just about time, don't you think?!!

##

BIBLE STUDY: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

The theme for this chapter seems to be "why can't we all just get along."

Paul uses his gift of hyperbole to start off, though, by making another comment about people speaking in tongues. He says that if you're speaking in tongues and nobody knows what the heck you're saying and if you don't have any love for your fellow man, you might just as well be a gong, or a cymbal. Nobody is going to understand you, so you're just making noise.

Same thing for prophecy. If you have this gift and can understand deep mysteries of the ages, but if you don't have love, you're nothing. It doesn't matter if your faith can move mountains.

And even if you sell everything you have and give it to the poor, if you don't have love, you're worth nothing.

Even if you let yourself be martyred and let yourself go up in flames, if you don't have love, you're nothing.

And here comes the passage that most brides are all too familiar with in verses 4-7: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

How many times I have used that passage with couples who come for marriage counseling. I especially like the one part that says love keeps no record of wrongs. We would call that living in the past.

Love does away with all those dialogue-busting, heart wrenching, painful things that people do to one another.

Continuing in verses 8-10: Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

When perfection comes, of course, will be when Christ returns to the earth. Everything else that comes out of the human brain and the human mouth will cease. We won't need humans to prophesy -- we won't need human beings to go around speaking in foreign tongues -- we won't need our imperfect bits and pieces of knowledge. The need for these things will cease to exist because Christ will be here to share perfection with us.

Won't that be great?!!

So Paul closes the chapter with the thought that when he was a child, he thought like a child. And when he became a man, he thought like a man.

But there's an even better opportunity coming when we will know perfection. When that time comes, what we know will be the whole story, not just the little parts of the truth that man knows.

We will finally be able to figure out things that our human brain just aren't big enough -- or developed enough -- to wrap itself around. Christ will bring perfection with him when he returns.

And then Paul closes the chapter with this thought in verse 13: And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

##

9:47 am          Comments

Friday, January 18, 2008

MY LIFE IN INK --

It is a bright, cheery day! Never mind that it's going to be cold outside. I'm not going outside anyway -- except later this afternoon for our walkabout in the mall.

In the meantime, I'm going to make bread and cranberry nut muffins. I use a Bisquick recipe and just substitute Splenda for the sugar. Yum Yum

And the politicians are starting to sound like big cry babies. Wah wah wah -- Told you they'd start cannabalizing each other. What I meant by that is that they'd start chewing each other up. They've been out there on the campaign trail long enough that their real personalities are starting to show, probably owing to physical crises brought on by sleep deprivation. 

Doesn't bode well for people who are used to being in control of everything that moves across the stage of their lives. Out there on the campaign trail, they become enslaved to their calendars. It gets harder and harder for their handlers to get them to venues on time so they can make their little speeches, usually about each other.

That's an old political trick -- to put your opponent on the defensive. If the other guy has to stop what he/she is doing and defend a position, it gets them off point and disrupts the seamless flow of their own offensive maneuvers.
 
Makes politicians frustrated. And woe be to a reporter who stops them to ask a question about a position which they have to defend. Then all that angst gets transferred onto the reporter.

It's starting to happen. This is where the candidates enter into the psychological game of their campaigns. It's going to become like a little mini-psychological war of strategies.

And in the end, if we stay tuned, we'll see someone with real class emerge -- someone who looks like a statesman who deserves to be a player on the world stage. And everybody who's stuck in the adolescent trick of blaming everybody else for their troubles can just go home to that dark psychological cave that they live in.

This is where it gets really interesting.

##

HERE'S MY STIMULUS PACKAGE:

I'd like to see all the lawmakers in Washington give up the big fat juicy raises they give themselves every year and get back to working a full five-day workweek just like the rest of America does.

I'd like to see all the senators get off the campaign trail and get back to Washington when the senate is in session. In fact, I'd like to see that session start right after New Years. And if they aren't there when the senate is in session, I'd like to see them forfeit their pay for that day. That's the way it used to be until they quietly repealed that little law.

And I'l like to see the congresspersons work a full five-day week, not start on Tuesday and leave after the Thursday "week" to go back to their districts (at taxpayers expense probably).

But most of all, I'd like to see all of the lawmakers -- congress and senate alike -- subjected to the very same retirement package that they're giving all the rest of the taxpayers. Let them give up their juicy retirement plan and go on Social Security benefits. That would be the very same year that Social Security would get fixed. Believe me!

And finally, get rid of all the pork spending -- now called earmarks. If people in Iowa or Nevada, or wherever, want special programs, let them build them and pay for them in their own states or counties or municipalities. People in one state ought not to have to pay for programs in other states.

##

MORE BAGHDAD NEIGHBORHOODS ARE SECURE

There are now 75% of the neighborhoods in Baghdad that are classified as secure. That is, enemy activity is pretty much eliminated and economic activity is resuming.

In February 2007, only 8% of Baghdad neighborhoods were classified as secure -- that's a really big improvement in less than a year. Gee, that means it's even safe to walk down the streets in those secure neighborhoods.

The surge is working, folks!

##

BIBLE STUDY: 1 Corinthians 12:1-31

This is the chapter where Paul lists the gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to believers. We also learn the other mighty powers that the Holy Spirit has.

Sometimes I think that we spend more time thinking about what God the Father does for us. And, of course, we all know what the Son of God did for us to cleanse us from our sins. But the Holy Spirit?

I need a chapter like this one to remind me that the Holy Spirit is a powerful, powerful influence in my life. I need to remember that the Holy Spirit is available to give me that quiet advice I hear in my heart when I am perplexed. I definitely to call on the Holy Spirit for help when someone has brought me to pain or grief and the challenge of forgiving may be a bit too much for my human stubbornness. The Holy Spirit is always there to help -- just for the asking.

And Paul wanted the Corinthians -- and us too, through God's Word -- to keep in mind that the Holy Spirit has enormous Godly powers that are available to us.

Paul starts off this chapter telling the Corinthians he's going to help them out. Why? Because he doesn't want them to be ignorant. And he reminds them of the time when they were pagans. Somehow, other people led them astray -- led them to worship idols that couldn't speak to them because they were mute idols (verses 1-2).

He gives some examples of false claims about talking idols in verse 3: Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.

What Paul meant was that if a believer has become a place where the Holy Spirit resides, he would never say anything like Jesus is cursed. On the other hand, it is the Holy Spirit who brings a person to proclaim that Jesus is Lord.

All these gifts that believers are given come from the same Holy Spirit. Let's continue in verses 4-11: There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom,

to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,

to another faith by the same Spirit,

to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,

to another miraculous powers,

to another prophecy,

to another distinguishing between spirits,

to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,

and to still another the interpretation of tongues.

All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

It amazes me that people often do not think they have any spiritual gifts. None at all. As if they weren't "worthy" to receive any spiritual gifts. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Everyone who worships Christ as the Son of God --everyone who believes that Christ died and rose again for the sins of each person -- everyone who has faith is given that spiritual gift of faith by the Holy Spirit.

Every Sunday School teacher, every church leader, every pastor has the gift of knowledge that they share with others.

True, not all individuals are given the gift of prophecy. Not everyone can speak in tongues. Not everyone can perform miracles. Not everyone can interpret when people speak in tongues.

But all believers receive gifts from the Holy Spirit and who gets what is determined by the Holy Spirit.

We all came to the Holy Spirit in our baptism, Paul says in verse 13: We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body -- whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free -- and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

Paul then talks about body parts -- like the hand can't say it doesn't belong to the body, or the foot, etc. All the body parts make up one body, and each body part should have concern for the other body parts (verse 25b) and if one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. (verse 26)

And now, by and through the Holy Spirit, all believers become a part of the body of Christ -- not of Christ's physical body, but rather, individual members joined together in communion with each other through their belief in Christ.

Paul reiterates his discussion about the gifts of the Holy Spirit in verses 27-31: Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.

Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?

Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts.

Discussion points:

1. What gifts from the Holy Spirit do you recognize within yourself? True, we can't all be missionaries but we can teach Sunday School or Vacation Bible School and use the spiritual gift of knowledge to share with others.

We may not be able to write a monthly newsletter for our church, but we could help staple and fold the newsletter or in other ways, use the gift of administration.
 
And certainly we can all use the gift of helping, whether it be for ushering or greeting others who come for worship.

Too often we may think that the gifts of the Spirit are for big jobs, but the truth is, we are given gifts that we can use every day of our lives just by helping others -- doing a good deed is a way of helping others, for instance.

2. Take a few minutes to think about the tasks of the Holy Spirit and how it has touched your life. If you have not yet been baptized, contact your pastor and ask to be baptized. If you are unchurched and reading this on the Internet, find a church home and tell the pastor that you want to be baptized into the body of Christ.

3. Are there areas of your life that perplex you that you could ask the Holy Spirit for assistance with? If you desire that warm inner peace deep within your soul but you just aren't able to forgive someone who has greatly wronged you, did you know that you could ask the Holy Spirit for help with this?

Oh my dear friends, there have been many, many times in my life when I have needed to do this. And I can tell you that it is a wonderful feeling to have all that pain and anguish lifted out of me. If it isn't "instant" enough for you, keep asking.

We pray: Dear Heavenly Father: I pray that you would continue to bless me with the gifts of your Holy Spirit so that I can serve you. I pray that you would let me bring your message to others and when I am timid about doing this, that you would put the words in my mouth so that I can tell others about my own faith.

I thank you for so many gifts that you have given me that make my physical life more comfortable and I pray for all who are not as blessed as I am. I pray that you would extend your blessings to them.

I pray that all who are unchurched will find the spiritual strength to reach out for baptism into the body of Christ. I pray that you will lead people to your House of Worship so that they can enjoy knowing those of us who meet to worship and praise you for the mighty things you do in our lives every day. Amen.

##

8:58 am          Comments

Thursday, January 17, 2008

MY LIFE IN INK --

This probably won't make big headlines but the initial jobless claims fell again -- for the third consecutive week. This week, the number of jobless claims for first-time filers decreased 21,000 from last week.

The only reason I bring that up is because political candidates are running around saying the economy is in such horrid shape and unemployment is on the increase. Another reason why you have to check out all those claims that the would-be presidentials are making. Further, the political rhetoric that's out there could serve as a type of constitution test. For instance, the president does not raise or lower taxes. Tax matters come from the House of Representatives, and specifically the House Ways and Means Committee.

What the candidates are promising to do is not within their power or constitutional authority when it comes to taxes. One candidate says he's going to raise the capital gains tax. No can do.

Another candidate says he's going to cut taxes. No can do.

All the president can do is strongly recommend that congress do something. Then it's up the president to sign the bill or veto it. And Bush has vetoed spending packages because they contain too much pork -- that is, favorite little projects of individual congressmen that have nothing to do with the bill itself.

We used to call that pork. Then when the taxpayers got clued in, congress changed the term to "earmark." So when you hear the candidates talking about earmarks, they're talking about pork.

I personally think earmarks ought to be outlawed totally. It's not that I'm opposed to some of these earmarked projects but rather, I think they ought to be discussed in an open forum out on the house floor. For instance, I'm a taxpayer from Illinois. I don't particularly favor the idea of federal tax funds to build a fine arts theater in some other state. It isn't that I don't favor projects like a fine arts building, but rather, I think the local citizens ought to pay for such things. And they can do that with fundraisers, not tax monies.

But the congresspersons would say that there isn't enough time to stick individual spending requests that are now secret little earmarks into spending packages. Oh, they have time. It just might mean that they would have to work all day Monday and all day Friday, instead of Tuesday through Thursday. They have time. I just might mean they'd have to work a five-day week instead of three.

So I'm listening to candidates when they talk about earmarks. So far, I've only heard McCain say he's never used an earmark and that he doesn't believe in them. Now if he'd just have an epiphany when it comes to amnesty for illegal aliens, he might be my candidate. Otherwise, I'm going to keep looking. I'm not asking for much: a pro-life candidate, one who doesn't believe in earmarks, and someone who is opposed to amnesty for illegal aliens. He got 73% on the scorecard when I took the test at the top of my home page. Fred Thompson got 70%. I'd like to be able to vote for a candidate who at least got an A -- that is, 90% or above.

73% is a compromise vote, I think. And when it comes to voting for a president of the United States, I'm tired of compromising. But then, it's early in the game. We have until conventions this summer. That's when the "hopeful field" narrows down to just one candidate for each party.

Nothing else going on. The weather is mild for a January day -- it's 32 degrees. For two people who are used to subzero stuff in the Chicago area, this is a welcome balmy difference.

We are definitely staying indoors. That is, until it's time for us to drive over to the mall for our afternoon walkabout.

But first I have a couple of telephone counseling sessions scheduled for this morning.

##

BIBLE STUDY: 1 Corinthians 11:1-34

We can only guess that there must have been some discussions about the relationship "order" between men and women because Paul spends the first ten verses explaining that men aren't required to cover their heads when they go to church. This is because man was created in the image of God.

Women, on the other hand, ought to cover their heads when they go to church. If they don't want to cover their heads, then they ought to cut their hair off, but they can't do that either because that would be a disgrace. So they ought to just cover their hair.

So a woman with her hair covered provides a sign of authority for herself, but a man is not required to cover his head. Then there's that comment about the angels in verse 10: For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head.

Paul writes about angels in his other letters too. It appears that Paul wants people to realize that angels have an interest in what is going on in worship services, particularly how people are behaving. He makes another reference to angels in Ephesians 3:10: His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms...

Some have said that this head covering requirement of the woman is to set her under the authority of man, but in verses 11-12, he refines his meaning: In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.

For as women came from man, so also man is born of woman.

But everything comes from God.

What follows next is far from a gentle rebuke from Paul. He has learned that people are coming to communion as if it were a meal. He says this in verses 20-22: When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. Don't you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not!

Tradition has it that the Greeks had a kind of potluck meal in connection with communion. I'm guessing that the rich folks brought more food while the poor brought what they could. But there were some who managed to get to the food first without really waiting for the others to come to the serving table.

Paul didn't find this behavior worshipful. And it certainly defeated the purpose of sharing, like the agape feast was intended to do. And besides, if you're all that hungry, eat something at home before you come to worship.

Then Paul shares what we call the Words of Institution -- they're the words of Christ at his own Last Supper, in verses 23-26: For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."

In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

Paul continues his explanation in verses 27-29: Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.

A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.


Paul wanted the Corinthians to know that the act of what we would call "communion" or the "Eucharist" was a most serious matter. It wasn't to be treated lightly as an add-on following the agape meal, as if it were dessert or something.

No indeed. This communion was to be done in reverence and remembering of all that Christ had done for sinners -- namely, that he shed his own blood and died so all mankind could be freed from the hold that sin had on him. That is what Christians are to remember when they take part in communion.

Paul then makes a point, in verse 31, that if we judged ourselves, we wouldn't come under judgment.
 
But if we are judged by the Lord, Paul says in verse 32, then we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.

Discipline, keep in mind, provides opportunities to repent and change behavior. Parents discipline their children so that they will change their behaviors. Our Lord disciplines the believers, the faithful, just as a parent disciplines a child.

Then Paul closes this chapter by saying that when he gets back to Corinth, he'll explain this more (verse 34b).

Discussion points:

1. Does it surprise you to think that angels in heaven might be watching us while we are in worship? What do you think Paul's point was in telling the Corinthians that women ought to cover their heads because of the angels (verse 10)? Think of how we tell our own children that they ought to behave because God is watching them. Could Paul have been making a similar case for the Corinthians to watch themselves because angels are watching their behavior?

2. Modern tradition has done away with the requirement for women to cover their heads in many Christian sects. Do you think it interferes with worship one way or the other? Does it matter if a woman wears a hat or a veil?

3. The matter of behavior prior to communion is discussed more fully in this chapter. The agape meal before communion becomes a kind of sticking point with Paul who reckons that the remembrance of what Christ did for us is the purpose of the communion service, not the meal prior. How do you prepare yourself for communion? Do you fast? Do you pray earnestly in the worship service so that you participate in communion with a deep reverence for Christ's suffering and death on the cross to bring us forgiveness of sin?

We pray: Dear Heavenly Father -- as I sort out the meanings of Paul's word in this chapter, I pray that you will enlighten me with these messages so that I can gain a fuller meaning.

I especially pray that my own observance in communion services at church will be with the full remembrance of everything that you have done to redeem me as a sinner and I thank you for sending your own beloved son to die for my sins. I know that I can never be worthy of this gift you have given to me, because it is only by your loving grace that you have saved me from my sins.

I pray that you will strengthen me through your love so that I am able to resist all the temptations that are set before me. I thank you, Lord, for all the ways that you show your love for me, but especially for the gift of forgiveness which I do not deserve. Amen.

##
10:04 am          Comments

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

MY LIFE IN INK --

Romney won the Michigan primary. It's starting to look like the Republicans can't make up their minds. Or the Democrats either, for that matter. So far, we've got Huckabee winning in Iowa, McCain winning in New Hampshire, and now Romney winning in Michigan. It's just possible that Fred Thompson may wake up the South Carolina voters enough to put him over the top in that state, and Rudy is down in Florida campaigning his little heart out.

And on the Democrat side -- it's clearly just a race between Hillary and Obama, and by the time the election rolls around, they may have nibbled away at each other so that there won't be much left to vote for. They each have secrets they're whispering about. You just know they're saving the best parts for the "October surprise."

But, in this case, I agree with Quint. There's going to end up being what's called a "brokered convention" this summer. Either in one camp or the other.

The Iraq question will just about be off the table by November. Especially now since the Sunnis and Shi'ites have nearly reached an accord on how to share power and govern their country together.

The economy is going to keep rolling along. True, the growth isn't as robust as it could be -- especially now that the housing market has hit the doldrums, but keep in mind that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers remain in positive territory and as long as those numbers are on the positive side, a recession is not in the definition. And the new job numbers continue to grow too.

May not be true in Michigan, but in the country overall, jobs are growing. Used to be that 6% unemployment was considered full employment in this country. That figure was way back in the old days (1990) when I was taking economics courses at Concordia University in River Forest. That is to say, everybody who wanted a job was working.

I personally would like it better if unemployment were down to 0% but that will never happen. In the meantime, encourage your kiddos to stay in school and take all the computer courses they can get their hands on. And some critical thinking courses. A psychology course or two would also be a good idea -- you know, just to get people away from this notion that they can read other people's minds.

And some good literature and fine arts courses to calm the hungry beasts that live deep inside us. Just to take the edge off, you know.

My point is, this is going to be an interesting election year. A brokered convention just means that each convention is going to open up without a clear-cut winner for the nomination. 

That is, the presidential nominees would be decided by the delegates after the convention is called to order. And it may take more than one ballot. Quint and I are old enough to where we've seen that happen before. That happened in 1976 when Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan were running for president.

A brokered convention happens when a candidate does not have enough delegates pledged from the primary races. You can bet there's a lot of "horse trading" when the convention is called to order, and what usually happens is one candidate will then be considered to be the "most electable" -- and the other candidate will compel his/her delegates to vote for the other guy. Then they call for another vote -- or ballot.

This is all part of the governmental process in the United States. And you can bet that when it comes down to horse trading, politicians do not easily give up anything.

I was amazed when I was watching one of the news programs over the weekend. A reporter was interviewing some young college kids -- can't remember where. The point is, the students were asked if they were going to vote since they were so enthusiastic about one of the candidates.

But they couldn't vote, they said. Why? They weren't registered. Just didn't get around to registering to vote. And that's what happens with the young 20 somethings in this country. They come out in full swing, but they can't vote.

So I'm going to add a civics or government class to that list up above. But then, they all have to pass a constitution test before they got a high school diploma. Were they not in school that day?

Quint and I usually time ourselves when we go to the polls. The most time is has ever taken us was 28 minutes. And that was from the time we got out of the car to the time we got back in to drive away!

So I hope everybody gets excited enough to vote on election day.

In the meantime, winter has returned to central Illinois. It's going to be down in the teens by the weekend. Guess we'll pay for that really nice 60 degree weather we had last week.

Oh well. Spring is coming. Every day we get behind us is one day closer to spring!

##

ANOTHER UFO SIGHTING -- OVER TEXAS AGAIN

This time, the UFO was seen by a lot more than a few. Interesting phenomenon, whether you "believe" in UFOs or not.

This UFO, according to a sheriff who was being interview, was about a half mile wide and a mile long. It gave the townspeople who had gathered quite a little light show, then zoomed off.

Is it a fake? Who knows? Did anyone get a video? No. Don't you think that if everybody went out to see if the UFO would come back, that someone would have brought along a video camera?

Here's the video of what folks said: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/tech/2008/01/16/reaves.texas.ufo.search.wfaa


BIBLE STUDY: 1 Corinthians 10:1-33

As we start this chapter, Paul makes an interesting use of the word "baptize."

Baptism, as we know it, was a sacrament that had its beginnings in the early Christian church. However, there certainly were instances of ceremonial washings in the Old Testament. Hebrews 9:10 makes such a reference: They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings -- external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

Paul makes references to two different baptisms -- John's baptism was a baptism of water, while Jesus came after John and brought a Spirit baptism. In a Spirit baptism, a person receives the Holy Spirit.

Like any good debater, Paul is trying to reach a common ground for his discussion about baptism with the church at Corinth. The Corinthians were starting to slide backwards after Paul left them. Baptism was apparently an area that became a concern for Paul. Had he learned that the Corinthians were no longer baptizing? What exactly did the messengers tell Paul when they went to see him at Ephesus. Now comes a letter this first letter to the Corinthians and Paul is trying to get them back on track, back to the worshipful place where he left them, back to the thriving spiritual worship they had engaged in while Paul was with them.

First he reminds the Corinthians about the forefathers coming up out of Egypt. In the story lore that had been passed down through the generations, the Jews in Corinth would certainly know about the Jews coming up out of Egypt under the cloud provided by God.

Paul uses this piece of their  history to set the stage for where he wants to go forward in the construction of his argument. Interesting comment that Paul uses the water element when he writes in verses 1-3: For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.

These two verses are rich in their analogy. The Old Testament writers used the term "ceremonial washing" while the New Testament references are to "John's baptism" and a "Spirit baptism" that Jesus brought to earth. And here comes Paul with a reference to a "Moses baptism."

Paul wants to make the point that through baptism, we exist under a new covenant of obedience to God. The children of Israel certainly made that pledge when they walked across the Red Sea -- certainly they did not become fishes and pass "through the sea" -- but metaphorically, they passed through the sea because there was a wall of water on either side of the path they were crossing. And we know that pathway was not a permanent one because the sea closed up again and drowned the Egyptian army that was pursuing the Israelites.

Paul uses the reference to baptism as a new covenant of submission to Christ.

And since the church at Corinth was comprised of both Jews and gentiles, Paul wanted a common ground that would be meaningful to both. He was able to reach this common ground with his discussion about baptism and what it meant from a Jewish reference and from a Christian reference.

In the next several verses, Paul talks to the Corinthians about the disobedience of the Israelites. Even with all the privileges that God had bestowed on the Israelites, they would fall into times of disobedience. God didn't like this. Time and again he made his displeasure known. And a wake of dead bodies left a trail across the desert as the children of Israel wandered their way from Egypt to the promised land. And upon arrival to the threshold of the promised land, only Caleb and Joshua were allowed to enter.

Don't you think, that if you were a disobedient, backsliding Corinthian, hearing Paul say that would give you pause to re-think your position? That is, if you were being disobedient. Like if you had gone back to one of the temples of those little gods and goddesses that were all around the town.

Paul still is doing his "don't you remember" story when he reminds the Corinthians about what the Israelites had done in verses 7-10: Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry."

We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did -- and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.

We should not test the Lord, as some of them did -- and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did -- and were killed by the destroying angel.

Paul then says These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall. (verses 11-12)

And then comes this message from Paul in verse 13: No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Temptation, in and of itself, is not sinful. After all, even Christ was tempted by the devil. But yielding to temptation is another matter. That's sinful. So when we are tempted, we especially need to pray for strength to resist temptation. And because we are baptized into Christ, the Holy Spirit has set up camp in our soul deep inside us. It is there that we can win the battle to resist temptation. But if we still need more, it's ours for the asking.

God is ever near. He does not want us to fall into temptation. He will do whatever he can to help us resist Satan and all that is evil.

Paul then moves from the subject of baptism to feasts and the Lord's Supper. Recall from Chapter 8 that there had been a discussion about the Corinthians eating the leftover food from the pagan temples.

Now Paul is saying, "Don't do that." In verses 20-22, he makes his assertion most strongly: ...the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons. Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

But there must have been some groups who thought they had the right to do what they wanted to, and since they were most likely free men (not slaves), who could stop them?

Paul has an answer for them in verses 23-24: Everything is permissible -- but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible -- but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

And then there's that question of what to do if you're invited to a dinner party and the food being served is this leftover food from a temple. What do you do then? Would it be rude to your host if you made a big fuss about not eating temple food?

Apparently this was a common occurrence in Corinth. After all, there were lots of temples to "lesser gods" -- and the meat that was left over from the sacrifices made their way into the meat markets. So it was possible that when the housewife went shopping for her dinner parties, she'd stop by the butcher shop and get meat that had been part of a sacrifice but hadn't been eaten.
 
Here's what Paul has to say about that: If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. But if anyone says to you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience' sake -- the other man's conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be judged by another's conscience? If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?

So Paul is talking about going to dinner at an unbeliever's house. Well, that makes sense. Because a Christian wouldn't be buying meat at the temple butcher shop anyway. But you could end up with temple food on your plate -- then what?

Don't eat it, Paul says. Because if you do, everybody sitting around the table might think you condone eating food that had been sacrificed to a false god. That would give the wrong impression. Or, as Paul put it, that would be a judgment of conscience.

Paul continues: So whether you eat or drink of whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God -- even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

Discussion points:

1. You've probably heard 1 Cor. 10:13 misquoted as "God will never give you more than you can bear" in the context of suffering. But when you read the actual quote and realize that this verse is about resistance to temptation, what does that bring to mind for you?

2. In your morning, mid-day and evening prayers, do you also include a petition for God to protect you from Satan and all that is evil? This is one prayer that you can be assured that God will answer -- immediately, on the spot.

3. Were you surprised to learn that the as many as 23,000 disobedient Israelites died on one day? Do you think such calamities happen in the present day?

4. If you believe that there are such calamities caused by God, do you think that prayers by groups of earnest people reach God above and thus avert disasters? I draw your attention to the little alpine village of Oberammagau.

Going way back in history to 1634, the black plague was making its way across Europe. In nearby Munich, some 15,000 people had already died. So the people who lived in this little town prayed to God for protection and deliverance from the black plague.

They promised that they would do something to tell the story of Jesus Christ and that everyone who lived in the town would participate. The town was spared. And since that time, every ten years and going on forever, the townspeople of Oberammagau have presented The Passion Play.

I think that when God looks down to earth from heaven, he sees us praying our individual prayers as little beams of light shining up to heaven. But when a group of us pray together, it's as if all our individual little light beams form together and make a bigger beacon of light. And when we go to church and pray together as a group, that beacon of light must look like a floodlight.

Don't you think God loves to see all those beams of light coming up to heaven?

5. Has there been anything that you've started to do, but changed your mind, and didn't do it because you did not want someone to get the wrong idea? Or would have been offended by something you might have done.

##

9:19 am          Comments

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

MY LIFE IN INK --

Big primary going on right now in Michigan. Looks like it's going to come down to a race between McCain and Romney on the GOP side; Obama isn't on the ballot, so it ought to be wide open for Hillary, unless Edwards comes from way behind and starts nipping at her ankles.

Next big deal primary before Super Tuesday on February 5 is Florida. That vote is set for January 29. Rudy's down there beating the bushes for votes right now. He skipped the Michigan primary, I believe.

If you have an interest in such things, the people in Stephenville, Texas, are talking about a big UFO recently seen flying low in their night skies. This one seems different. It changes its light configurations and is a lot closer to the earth than usual. You can read the story at: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,322751,00.html. End times? They're wondering.

We're staying inside today. It's not even 20 degrees yet. Maybe we'll dash out to the car and drive over to the mall for our walk this afternoon.

##

REARRANGED LETTERS from Rick Farcas

DORMITORY -- rearranged: dirty room

PRESBYTERIAN -- rearranged: best in prayer

ASTRONOMER -- rearranged: moon starer

DESPERATION -- rearranged: a rope ends it

THE EYES -- rearranged: they see

GEORGE BUSH -- rearranged: he bugs Gore

THE MORSE CODE -- rearranged: here come dots

SLOT MACHINES -- rearranged: cash lost in me

ANIMOSITY -- rearranged: is no amity

ELECTION RESULTS -- rearranged: lies - let's recount

SNOOZE ALARMS -- rearranged: alas -- no more z's

A DECIMAL POINT -- rearranged: I'm a dot in place

THE EARTHQUAKES -- rearranged: that queer shake

ELEVEN PLUS TWO -- rearranged: twelve plus one

MOTHER-IN-LAW -- rearranged: woman Hitler

##

FOOD CONNECTIONS -- from Beverly Thoele

A sliced carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris and radiating lines look like the eye -- and yes, science now shows that carrots greatly enhance blood flood to and function of the eyes.

A tomato has four chambers and is red. The heart is red and has four chambers. Research shows tomatoes are indeed pure heart and blood food.

Grapes hang in a cluster that has the shape of a heart. Each grape looks like a blood cell and all of the research today shows that grapes are also profound heart and blood vitalizing food.

A walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles and folds on the nut look just like the neo-cortex. We now know that walnuts help develop over 3 dozen neurotransmitters for brain function.

Kidney beans actually heal and maintain kidney function and yes, they look exactly like human kidneys.

Celery, Bok Choy and Rhubarb look just like bones. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are 23% sodium and these foods are 23% sodium. If you don't have enough sodium in your diet, the body pulls it from bones, making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.

Eggplant, avocadoes and pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female -- they look just like these organs. Today's research shows that when a woman eats 1 avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight, and helps to prevent cervical cancer. And how profound is this? It takes exactly 9 months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit. There are over 14,000 photolytic chemical constituents of nutrition in each one of these foods (modern science has only studied and named about 141 of them.)

Figs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Figs increase the motility of male sperm and increase the number of sperm as well to overcome male sterility.

Sweet potatoes look like the pancreas and help to actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics.

Olives help assist the health and function of the ovaries.

Grapefruits, oranges and other citrus fruits look like the mammary glands of females and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts.

Onions look like body cells. Today's research shows that onions help clear waste materials from all the body cells. They even produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes.

##

BIBLE STUDY: 1 Corinthians 9:1-27

There seemed to be questions in Corinth and elsewhere in the region that Paul was not really an apostle of Jesus Christ. So Paul spends much time in this chapter offering assurances that he was, indeed, a true apostle of Christ.

So what, if any, difference is there between a disciple of Christ and an apostle?

The word disciple comes from the Latin discipulus, or pupil.

The word apostle comes from the Greek apostolos, or delegate. This is a close approximation to the Aramaic word seliah, which referred to those who were dispatched from the mother city by the rulers of the race on any foreign mission.
read more: http://ask.yahoo.com/20030418.html

Basically, a disciple is someone who believes the doctrines, teachings, or philosophy of someone else. A disciple is a learner -- a student of someone who is teaching him.

On the other hand, an apostle is someone who is sent out to teach and preach to other people.

So while Christ was alive, his disciples were learning from him and after he died and rose again, his disciples became apostles when they went out to teach others the message of salvation they had learned from Christ.

The question about Paul's authenticity arose because people knew that Paul was not one of the twelve disciples handpicked by Christ. Oh, but Paul was picked by Christ. Remember the road to Damascus when Christ appeared to Paul? That appearance to Paul should end any doubt that Paul wasn't handpicked by Christ.

We hear Paul's discussion about his apostleship in verses 1-2: Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

We know from our readings in Acts that Paul did indeed see the Lord Jesus (Acts 9:1-9; Acts 22:6-16; and Acts 26:12-18).

And Paul adds that his ministry -- as an apostle -- has produced spiritual fruit for the Lord by establishing the church at Corinth.

Then there's this matter of who should support the apostles who are devoting all their time and energy to bringing this message out to others. After all, they had to eat. Paul asks in verse 6; Is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living?

Paul asks the questions of whether they have the right to eat and drink, or marry a believing wife. The other disciples did. Even the Lord's brothers did. And so did Peter (Cephas). They all had wives.

Paul raises some other for instances, and finally, in verses 11-12 he concludes: If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? If others have this right of support from you, shouldn't we have it all the more?

And since the Corinthians were all too familiar with this whole business of eating food that had been offered at the temples, Paul even used this as an example to further his logic along, in verses 13-14: Don't you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

Well, Paul may have been deserving of this support but it doesn't mean that it's what he was looking for in this letter. He did not write the letter to the Corinthians with the thought that they'd send him money. In verse 18 comes this assurance: What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make use of my rights in preaching it.

Then Paul explains to the Corinthians that he has made himself a slave to everyone so that he can win as many as possible. So even though Paul, as an apostle, was entitled to their support, he deprived himself of it.

And his goal? To win people over to Christ.

In verses 22b-23, he explains it this way: I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

Paul then likens his efforts to getting ready to run in a race. Now, for the Corinthians, this made a good point. They understood all too well how important it was to train so that they could run in a race. In fact, they had their own games which occurred every other year. These games were second only to the Olympic games in importance. So, yes, you can bet they would understand what Paul was talking about when he talked about running in a race.

Curious, though, that Paul makes the comment that only one runner will get the prize, even though everyone who competes in the race goes into strict training (verse 25). He continues: They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

But this is where it's easy to miss something in Paul's message for I believe that all who run in the race toward Christ gets the prize of salvation or eternal life. When we become believers, we become heirs to God's kingdom and we become children of God.

But listen to what Paul then says in verses 26-27: Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Discussion points:

1. Have you ever worked so hard at any task that you felt like you'd literally beat yourself up? What were you doing? Studying? Students often pull "all nighters" when they prepare for exams. Parents caring for their children and household will often work well into the night with all their tasks. People often work so hard at their jobs that they seem to be a slave to the tasks.

In this century, we use the term "workaholic" -- Paul used the term "enslaved." Same thing. Do you think this is what Paul is talking about at the end of the chapter? Keep in mind that Paul is writing this letter to the Corinthians toward the end of his three-year stay in Ephesus. Because he was in Ephesus preaching and teaching and setting up churches, and not on the move, he may have fallen back on his past career of tentmaking to support himself. While still taking care of pastoral duties. Yeah -- he's probably feel like he was beating himself up.

2. Paul says in verse 27 that he worked and trained hard because he didn't want to be disqualified from the prize. Paul is trying to get the Corinthians to understand that it takes a lot of effort to resist all the temptations that were in front of them.
Resisting sin is takes much effort. It's more a mental and spiritual effort than it is physical effort. If you have ever struggled to rid yourself of temptation, then you know what Paul is talking about. And he wanted the Corinthians to understand that he understand this too. We have all been tempted -- maybe some more than others -- are there temptations you have been successful at resisting that you would share with your discussion group?

3. In this day and age, it goes without saying that our pastors ought to be supported by their church congregations. But in the early days of Christianity, new rules and expectations were being set up for others to follow. Paul speaks to this very plainly when he writes letters to the churches in Corinth and elsewhere. Do you agree that the new churches could have supported this early apostles who were working so hard to bring the gospel message to unbelievers throughout the region? What about today's missionaries in far away places? Does your church support missionaries and is there an opportunity for you to do so? If so, what could you do?

Closing prayer: Our Father in Heaven, we pray that you would continue to bless the work of all who take the message of salvation to unbelievers to others. We pray also for their safety when they are in dangerous places. We pray for their physical beings and for their health and we also pray for freedom from hunger.

We thank you for this chance to look for deeper meanings in your Word and we pray that you will send your Holy Spirit to guide our studies.

We pray for strength to resist Satan and all that is evil.

We ask all these things in Jesus' name. Amen

##

9:18 am          Comments

Monday, January 14, 2008

MY LIFE IN INK --

Well, finally! The sun is coming up one minute earlier. We have been gaining a minute of added sunshine a day since the winter solstice, but it's been due to later sunsets. For some reason, and I'm sure an astronomer with a bigger brain than I have could explain it, but the sun was coming up at 7:14 for the longest time. Now it's finally decided to wake up earlier. By a minute. But minutes count when it comes to solar heat. It's an extra sixty seconds of warmth from the sun. Helps warm up our dirt.

I made another batch of strawberry jam over the weekend. I use the flash frozen strawberries that I get at Aldi. They actually work better than the fresh ones, I think. They're big and plump and juicy and each one is perfect! Don't you just hate it when you get the fresh strawberries and find those little moldy ones hiding in among the good berries? Do you think they pack them that way on purpose so we can't find the bad ones when we're inspecting them at the store?

I only have enough Sure Jell to make 1 1/2 batches of jam, so you know who is going on an adventure search in the middle of winter for Sure Jell! Uh, that would be me. I get the Sure Jell that's made for "No Sugar Added" and I've fiddled with the recipe enough to make it just fine for putting the jam in the freezer. Since the jam doesn't get cooked to death in a water bath (for 35-40 minutes), it retains all the fresh yummy flavor.

Anyway, as I've been unpacking the boxes in the upstairs bedroom and hallway, I am finding things I forgot I had. Like my hand held blender. It works so much better to smush the strawberries than my potato masher.

And Quint found two more bulk bags of crushed red pepper yesterday afternoon. Can't ever get too much crushed red pepper. I guess. I put it in just about every kind of soup I make. Really bams things up. We like spicy. Which is why is bought red pepper flakes by the bagfuls!

And PBS is running a Jane Austen festival on Sunday evenings, starting last night. I am an absolute sucker for everything the dear lady wrote. With only a minimum amount of education, she wrote the most endearing stories of ladies who ended up with their soul mates. 

She was born in 1775 and died in 1817 at the age of 41 1/2. She was a spinster who lived with her folks until the day of her death. All of her ladies depended on marriage, back in those days, for their social status. Her family was gentry and owned their own land. Back in those days, that was really something. And for most of her life, her father George also served as the rector for the Steventon and Hampshire Anglican parishes. (The Steventon parish church was built in 1100.)

She went away to boarding school with her sister Cassandra when she was eight years old, and returned home three years later. The rest of education came from her father, as well as her own readings. And then abruptly, her father retired from his life as a rector and moved relocated to Bath.

read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Austen

We were in Bath when we went to England in 1996, but I had no idea that it had been granted city status by Elizabeth I in 1590!

Bath is situated about 100 miles west of London. It's in the valley of the River of Avon and was actually built by the Romans during the year 69-70 A.D. when Claudius was emperor. I guess the Romans came riding into town and took over the town of Bath from the occupying Celts. The Romans built huge public spas so they could enjoy the mineral baths.

Edgar of England was crowned King of England at Bath in 973 A.D.

Bath has large crescents (kind of look like half moons in shape) of row houses. I remember our tour guide pointing out that the front doors of the townhouses are all painted different colors, offset by the creamy gold color of the stone buildings. Maybe to tell them apart from a distance? Anyway, Bath attracted the well-heeled aristocrats who regarded an address in Bath as quite the fashionable place to live. 

Well, and to live in one of the crescents, whether the Royal Crescent, the Kings Crescent, the Lansdown Crescent, or the one by Pulteney Bridge -- whatever. It was quite the place to live. That is, if you had lots of the green stuff. Or, I guess I should say silver stuff, as in pound sterling.

In the early 1800s, when the Austens would have settled down in Bath, the population was over 40,000. That made Bath one of the biggest cities in all of England.

No wonder Lizzie I broke away from Rome. She wanted her lands back. All of it!

Anyway, on Sunday evenings, if you're a Jane Austen fan, check your PBS station and see if you can get in on the Austen festival. It'll be going on for some time because Jane Austen produced quite an extensive addition to world literature. And if you ever get to England, Bath is one of my recommended stops. Most tours of England include Bath and you'll get to walk about quite a bit and see the big old tubbies that the Romans left behind when they got run out of England.

read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath,_Somerset 

##

BIBLE STUDY: 1 Corinthians 8:1-13

If you're wondering what happened to Chapter 7, I wrote this study on Saturday. So you can scroll down to add it to your studies.

--

In this chapter Paul gets after the Corinthians who are worshiping idols again. They were even sacrificing food to these idols.

Big no no! They weren't supposed to be offering sacrifices to idols, nor were they supposed to be eating the leftovers, or selling the extra meat in the public butcher shops.

In verses 7-8, he explains it this way: Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled.

But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

Then go back to what Paul says in verse 2: The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God.

The thing to be careful about, by Paul's reckoning, is to be careful that were might become a stumbling block for others who have a weak conscience. After all, if they were to see the Corinthians eating food that had been offered to idols, then they might want to eat likewise. So even if the Corinthians knew that the food offered to idols wouldn't actually make them smarter, other people might not know that and would want some of the idol's food so they could get smarter.

Paul puts it this way in verses 10-13: For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol's temple, won't he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols?

So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge.

When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.

Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.

Discussion points:

1. We don't really build temples to false gods in our present day. But can you think of anything that you do, however innocently, that would possibly offend someone who may be watching you?

2. The converse of that may be true also. Can you think of things that you do which could be a good example of someone who may be watching you?

3. Expressing anger is a self-indulgence. Could a little temper tantrum, even though it is an expression of your freedom of speech, be offensive to someone who might overhear you.

4. Reread verse 2: Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Keeping in mind that  you only "know" what you see or hear. Everything else is a deduction. So in your relationships with other people, you can't really "know" what someone's motives are unless they tell you. Paul is warning against the sin of pride, of arrogance -- when he says that knowledge puffs up. Better that we speak to others using words of love. In that way, we build each other up. 

We pray: Dear Heavenly Father, there are so many times when I just absolutely think I know something when I'm only making a deduction. I pray that you would guide me through these times and that your Holy Spirit would brush away the proud moments when I think I know more than I really do. 

I pray that you would keep my heart filled with your love so that I can use my words to build other people up and make them stronger in their faith. I pray that you would help me resist anything that would offend anyone else, no matter what it is.

I pray that you would take the arrogance of my foolish pride away and leave me with an earnest desire to serve you and to warm my heart with your great love. Amen.

##
 
9:24 am          Comments

Saturday, January 12, 2008

MY LIFE IN INK --

I don't usually post a blog on Saturday or Sunday, but I'm taking a break from my knitting.

Quint is off to the lumberyard so I'm guessing he's going to be building things when he gets back. The urge to hammer and nail things together builds up inside him until he can't stand it anymore, then he takes his ballooned out ambition over to the lumberyard. After a while he came back loaded down with long boards to do something with. He has something in mind, I'm sure. But he's not telling me what. I do hear sawing and hammering sounds coming from the basement. Curiosity will get the better of me here shortly and I'll go downstairs to see what in the world he's doing.

I finally found a really yummy recipe for bread. It's light and fluffy. In fact, when it was rising for the second time I thought it was going to take up the inside of my oven. You see, I put the bowl that has the yeast in it into the oven and then put a saucepan that I boiled water in underneath the bowl of yeast. Helps keep the dough nice and warm while it's blowing into puffy dough.

The other thing I do every time is to "proof" the yeast. That way, if the yeast is not any good, or if I've put the yeast in water that's too hot and I killed it (which has happened recently), then the dead little yeasties float up to the top of the water. I guess I was trying to be too scientific because I used a thermometer to make sure the water got up to the 110 degree point. Well, guess what? The yeasts didn't work too well.

And Quint, bless his heart, said the bread was good. He called it "artisan bread." Nice of you to say so, Quint. But I call it a brick of bread! But isn't he sweet.

I have since changed my method and now just use tap water when it's at its hottest. I even tested the temperature yesterday when I made the bread and it looks like it only gets up to about 110 degrees. That's still in the zone, so I used it.

So when I proofed the yeast, it really bloomed. Almost out of the little dish that I had put the water and sugar in. In this particular instance, I did use real sugar since it's only a small amount that gets spread out over the whole recipe.

So here's the recipe for ANGIE'S DEPRESSION BREAD:

4 cups all purpose flour (I use bread flour if I have it; otherwise, I use presifted)
1 1/3 cups warm water (105 - 110 degrees)
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 large eggs
1 pkg. active dry yeast.

In a small bowl, mix 1/3 cup of the warm water with yeast and 1 Tbsp of the sugar. Allow to dissolve and "proof."

In a large mixing bowl, coming remaining water, sugar, salt and eggs. Mix thoroughly with whisk. Add 2 cups of the flour and mix thoroughly. Then add the yeast mixture and stir it up really good. Add the remaining 2 cups of flour and mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl and place in a warm place to rise. Let it rise for at least 2 hours.

(Most recipes tell you to use a damp towel, but if the dough rises too much, it could stick to the towel. What I use is the "release" aluminum foil and even spray the foil with some spray oil.)

Not only that, but you could let the dough rise more than 2 hours if you want to. Like, you could put the dough in the bowl to rise, then go grocery shopping or someplace for more than a couple of hours -- if you need to. Quint says his mom would sometimes let her dough rise most of the afternoon. Me? I'm too anxious to take the dough to the next step, which is:

Punch the dough down and roll out onto a floured surface. DO NOT KNEAD THE DOUGH. That's the part I like best about this recipe. No kneading. I have memories of watching Julia Child beating up her dough. She said you had to get really hostile with beating up the dough. The purpose of kneading in other recipes is to get the gluten working through the dough. This bread works just find without kneading.

Lightly roll the dough to about 3/4" to 1" thick. Using a cutter or drinking glass, cut 2" to 2-1/2" in diameter rolls, cut them and place in a 9" x 14" glass pan, lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange the rolls 3 wide and 5 to 6 long, being careful not to crowd them. Allow to rise again until double -- or about 2 hours.

I made a loaf of bread and six rolls in a 2-quart pyrex dish.

Bake 12-16 minutes in a 400 degree oven (375 for metal pan) or until golden brown. Remove from oven and serve immediately. You can brush with melted butter if you like. I didn't. I try not to add more calories than necessary. Anyway, it makes your hands greasy and you're going to butter the bread anyway. Probably.

I got this recipe from one of the Internet recipe sites -- don't remember which one. What I like about this recipe is that it uses a minimum amount of ingredients and is very simple to make. A lady named Angie developed the recipe because of the high price of sugar and other ingredients during the depression.

And now we have light, fluffy bread which is more to my liking. And the other "artisan bread?" I'll make bread crumbs in my little baby blender, put some oregano in when I'm pulverizing the bread and make a meatloaf, or maybe breading for a pork chop dinner or fried chicken. Who knows. But it's not going to be for making sandwiches anymore.

But try this depression bread. You'll shine like a champ and everyone will be smiling at you.

And that's about it for this bright, sunny Saturday morning. But wait, did you notice that I added some news feeds at the bottom of the home page? Supposedly the news feeds get updated through the day.

##

BIBLE STUDY: 1 Corinthians 7:1-40

Paul expands his ministry in this chapter to include marital behaviors, specifically how a couple should act toward each other in their sexual life. He encouraged couples to share their bodies with each other and in verses 5-7, he says: Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

I say this as a concession, not as a command.

I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.

As far as widows and unmarried women are concerned, he said: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

Well, that's pretty straightforward. Keep in mind that Paul was more than aware of Corinth being the "Sin City" of the area. Maybe there were wild toga parties that he'd heard about. Or maybe a lot of marital infidelity going on. Either way, Paul admonished the Corinthians to get themselves under control and go on and get married if they were have all these deep passionate feelings. But he hastens to point out that these commands are coming from the Lord (verse 10: To the married, I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

Then there's the question of staying together even if a spouse is an unbeliever. Paul points out that the unbelieving spouse is sanctified through the believing spouse. In that way, their children are holy. If that were not so, then the couple's children would be unclean. (verse 12-14)

However, if the unbelieving spouse leaves, then the believing spouse is not bound in such a circumstance, Paul says in verse 15. Then Paul addresses the matter of circumcision once again. Paul says that if a man is circumcised when he comes to believe, then he's not required to become uncircumcised; or counter to that, if a man is uncircumcised when he comes to believe, then he's not required to become circumcised. Paul says in verses 19-20: Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God's commands is what counts. Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him.

Okay, so I get that. But wasn't circumcision also one of God's early laws? In fact, this is such an old rule that you have to go all the way back to Genesis 17:10: This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised.

This is the proverbial "nail" that the Jews in Paul's day were hanging their hats on, so to speak. And the answer to that can be found in Romans 2:28-29: A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God.

In Paul's view, the real sign that someone was a believer was not what they did to the outer body, but rather, by the Holy Spirit that lives in the soul of the believer. So if you are, you are -- and if you aren't, that's okay too.

Paul recognizes that the believers in Corinth often felt the crush of a cultural crisis when they would not participate in sexual immoralities going on around them. Because of this crisis, Paul speaks to the virgins too (verses 25-26): Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for you to remain as you are.

So Paul is talking as Paul in those verses. However, if you accept that Paul's writings were inspired writings, then you can recognize the authority of his messages as coming from God through the Holy Spirit.

And then we have verses 29-31, which has always been a kind of confusion to me: What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.

What I find curious about these verses is the seeming contradiction to the earlier verse in this chapter -- that we are not to keep our bodies from our spouses and yet, in this verse 29, Paul tells the men that if they are married, they should live as if they didn't have a wife.

This would be a good discussion opportunity if you are meeting in a discussion group. Keep in mind that this admonition might be wrapped around Paul's information that persecutions are coming to the Christian believers when he says "Time is short."

Paul gives us a clue into his thinking in verse 35: I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.

Clearly, we are to live our lives devoted to the Lord's affairs and Paul does not want us to forget this -- nor did he want the Corinthians to forget it either.

Paul sums it up in the final verses of this chapter, beginning at verse 39: A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is -- and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.

FOR DISCUSSION:

1. Traditionally, it is accepted that Paul never married. We also have reason to believe, specifically from this chapter, that Paul's life was one of celibacy. What did he tell the Corinthians about his own reason for staying celibate?

2. How do you compare today's divorce rate with Paul's view of marriage?

3. In this chapter, Paul gets down "in the trenches" of the married person's sexual life. Does Paul's view of a couple's conjugal life match your perception of what married life should be like?

4. And here we are talking about circumcision again. This seems to be a major difference in why the Jewish leaders wanted to avoid the Gentiles whom they considered unclean. In fact, we have Biblical reason to believe that Jesus was also circumcised. Yet Jesus told his followers that he brought a new law. How did Paul reconcile this difference of thought?

CLOSING PRAYER: Oh Lord, our Father in Heaven, I pray that you would enlighten me as I read your Word. I pray that you would give me what I need to know so that my life will reflect the joy of following you all through my life.

I pray that you would bless all the people in my life with your gracious love. I thank you for the joy of marriage and children and that you have built in my heart a home that is a house of prayer.

I pray that you would bless all who join us in our Bible Study each day and I pray that you would watch over them in places around the world where they may not be safe in studying your Word. I pray that you would put a hedge around them and protect them from Satan and all that is evil so that they will not be in danger. I pray that you would bless all of us here in the United States who enjoy freedoms of religion and who join us in Bible Studies every day. Amen.

##

5-STAR STUPID AWARDS from Mark Stubbe

When his 38-caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a holdup in Long Beach, California, would be robber James Elliott did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and fired the trigger again. It worked this time.

A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find that a woman had taken his parking place. Understandably, he shot her.

After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar in Zimbabwe, a bus driver found that the 20 patients he was transporting from Harare to a mental hospital in Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, he went to a nearby bus stop and offered a free ride to everybody standing there. He then delivered the passengers to the hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and given to flights of fantasy. It took 21 days before the deception was discovered.

A Texas teenager was in the hospital recovering from head wounds from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told the police he was simply trying to see how close he could get to the train before getting hit.

A man went into a convenience store in Louisiana and put a $20 bill on the counter and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the guy pulled out a gun and demanded all the money in the drawer. The clerk gladly gave it all to him. The thief left in a hurry but failed to take the $20 bill. And the amount in the cash drawer? Only $15.

Seems an Arkansas man wanted a drink pretty badly. He figured all he had to do was throw a cinder block through the window of a liquor store, run in and get the booze, then be on his way. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back and hit him in the head, knocking him unconscious. The window was made out of Plexiglass and the whole incident was caught on the store's security camera.

The Ann Arbor, Michigan, News reported that a man had gone into a Burger King at 5 a.m. and demanded all the cash. The clerk said he wasn't allowed to open the cash drawer without a food order. So the man ordered onion rings. The clerk said they weren't available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away.
 
When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got a lot more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to the motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said the man admitted admitted to trying to steal the gasoline and plugged his siphon hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle decline to press charges, saying it was the best laugh he'd had in a very long time.

##
11:47 am          Comments

Friday, January 11, 2008

MY LIFE IN INK --

Wow! Snow in Baghdad! Can you believe it? The children were literally dancing in the streets. They had never seen snow before in their entire life.

And this morning I watched the Iraq National Orchestra in rehearsal. One gentleman says that his prized 19th century violin was destroyed during the war. Someone heard about it all the way over in Australia and made arrangements to get another violin from that same time period. The violinist was overjoyed. Also, a fifteen year old French Horn player had auditioned and gained a seat in the orchestra. Then they played a piece that I'm not familiar with, but it was very nice and peaceful.

Civilization is returning to Baghdad. There hasn't been much credit given to that. In fact, half of the provinces in Iraq have been turned over to the Iraqis.

So the Iraqis are getting their national orchestra back. Democracy is returning and it's snowing on the streets of Baghdad. The children will be making snowmen any minute now. So far, a pretty good day, don't you think?

Well, from the sounds of it, the debate in South Carolina was quite something. We're taking a moratorium from all the political stuff. It's not that we've lost interest in the process, we just to a point of overload. We just decided that we've watched one debate too many and sat back with a movie instead.

But wouldn't you know, we missed the good one?!! Fred Thompson rang the bell more than once with some good one-liners. Rudy pulled his people out of Michigan supposedly because he's running out of money and has asked his campaign people to work for zip, nahta. Guess he's down there in Florida trying to re-connect from his New Yorkies who became snowbirds. McCain is sounding more and more presidential and Huckabee says the Iranians are getting close to the gates of hell if they think they can play recklessly in the Straits of Hormuz with American warships. Hormuz is international waters but ships at sea are sovereign. And it's Mike who?

Apparently the Democrats all went to Nevada. Hillary is now saying that caucuses are disenfranchising and the Culinary Arts Union endorses Obama. Richardson dropped out with the insistence that he's really happy being New Mexico's governor. At least for a while, politics is the only game in town.

Then comes Super Tuesday on February 5. That's the game of "Last Man Standing."

We may just continue watching spy movies, or Quint's favorite, "Monk." He says "I like that guy." To which I say, "But he's not level." Then Quint comes back with, "But I understand him." Well, okay then. I'm just sitting here tending to my knitting. For a change. Just playing nice.

Oh -- forgot to welcome readers in Germany, Senegal and the Netherlands. Welcome welcome welcome.

##

Story About the rabbi and his son -- from Mark Stubbe

A rabbi's son had just gotten his drivers license and asked his father for permission to use the car.

His father said, "I'll make a deal with you. You bring you grades up, study the Talmud more, get your hair cut and then we'll talk about it."

After about a month, the son came back and asked for the car again. His father said, "I'm proud of you. You've brought your grades up and I see you studying the Talmut more, but you haven't got your hair cut."

The son said, "You know, dad, I've been thinking about that. You know, Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had long hair and Jesus had long hair."

"That's true," his father said. "And everywhere they went, they walked."

##


BIBLE STUDY -- 1 Corinthians 6:1-20

Since Paul closed the last chapter with the admonition that the believers were not in a position to judge those people who lived outside the law. Rather, those "outlaws" -- that is, criminal types -- were to be left to civil authorities who had the right to judge them. And places to put them, too. Like jails.

Now Paul comes into this chapter telling how the Christians, or saints as Paul liked to call believers of the Way, are to resolve their disputes. Paul says in the very first verse that these disputes ought not to be taken before the ungodly for judgment.

This might sound like a contradiction. Not necessarily so. Apparently Paul was talking about resolving property matters, not criminal matters which belong to the civil rulers.

Verse 2 seems to spell out this difference: Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?

These "smaller" matters were better off being judged by believers who had the advantage of seeing things from a godly perspective. That's a note made on p. 1752 of my Concordia Study Bible.

Paul even says in verse 3 that "we will judge angels?" But how could that be, you may wonder. After all, aren't angels heavenly beings created by God to carry God's messages to the people living on earth?

I have a cross reference to Jude, verse 6: And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home -- these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.

So where is Paul going with all this? The believers were not to judge criminals but they could judge each other in smaller matters. 

But how in the world would a person even recognize a rebellious angel who refused to perform the job that God sent the angel to do?

Are those the "secret things" that Paul referred to earlier? The secret things that God had gifted the apostles with knowing? Are the apostles the "we" in verse 3 when he says "we will judge angels?"

There isn't enough information in this passage to do little else but speculate as to Paul's meaning when he refers to being able to judge angels. I don't know how a person would even recognize an angel -- whether obedient or disobedient.

Perhaps Paul wants the Corinthians to just realize that their judgments are limited. They can make judgment calls in trivial matters, like property encroachments. But not criminal cases.

We get a further hint about how Paul wanted the Corinthians to behave toward each other in verses 7-8: The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.

Given what was happening in Corinth at the time, it seems to me that Paul wanted the believers in the church at Corinth to resolve their disputes among themselves and stay out of the Roman legal system. Don't go filing disputes in court, but rather, set up a type of committee among themselves to resolve these small, trivial matters. And maybe there's a warning here not to make a public spectacle out of themselves by bringing trivial matters to the big deal Roman courts.

I've often wondered as I read this chapter why Paul spent so much time belaboring what the Corinthians could judge and what they couldn't -- then immediately moves into three different kinds of sexual immoralities that Paul defines as wicked in verses 9-10: Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Okay, so if these instances of immoralities cause a person to come to the wrath of God, to the point where God denies their entrance into his kingdom, are these wrongdoings more serious than the trivial matters that the believers could judge among themselves?

It's starting to sound like the wicked people were just plain old doomed -- like they didn't have a chance at eternity. It's like Paul was saying, "Now you've done it."

But then, he brings great solace to the Corinthians because he knew that some of them had been engaging in sexual immoralities in their own little version of Sin City. Let's see where Paul is taking them in verse 11: And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, your were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Paul brings the gospel message of Jesus Christ back to them, and the assurances that Christ's death on the cross for all of their sins -- and our sins as well -- washed all mankind from sin. In verse 14, Paul brings the promise: By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.

In verses 15-17, Paul warns the Corinthians that when they engage in the immoral acts of having sex with a prostitute, for instance, they become immoral too: Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who units himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh." But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

Sin makes us dirty. And all the dirtier if we sin on purpose. And then we want Jesus to come and take up residence in our hearts?! After we've made ourselves dirty?

Paul didn't like that. And if he could judge the angels, along with the other apostles, then he could also judge the people in his church who were committing these immoral acts.

These immoral acts are not trivial matters. They are sins that are committed against the person's own body. All the other sins that man commits are done outside his body, but sexual immoralities are much more serious.

Paul concludes in verses 19-20: Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Yes, my friends, we were bought with a price and that price was paid for in the blood of Jesus Christ and his death on the cross.

We also have been given the Holy Spirit by none other than God himself. It is the Holy Spirit who will give us the power to resist evil and help us avoid the temptations of immoralities.

Discussion points:

1. What matters do you think you have the right to judge about others?

2. When you have difficulties letting things go and turning situations back to God, do you think of asking the Holy Spirit to come into your heart so that you can let go of painful old hurts that have been done to you?

3. When you read that Jesus Christ died for your sins, can you let go of the guilt from things you have done in the past?

4. Where do you put smoking, alcohol abuse, laxative abuse, anorexic behaviors, over-eating, and other risk-taking behaviors in there when you define your body as the temple of God?

5. Do you quiet down every day for a few minutes and listen to the still, small voice that is God talking to your soul?

And so we pray:

Oh, Spirit of the Living God, I pray that you will come to me this day and bring me the power and strength I need to resist all forms of sin and immoralities -- big and small.

I know what I'm supposed to do but I don't always do it. Please help me live the life you want me to so that I can be a presence for you in the hearts of others.

I pray that you would bless me this day and that you would put a hedge around me to protect me from all that is evil.

I thank you for your continued blessings and the grace you have bestowed on my life. Amen.

##

9:44 am          Comments

Thursday, January 10, 2008

MY LIFE IN INK --

Welcome readers in Nigeria and India. And last night we filled up the clock. That is, somewhere on earth someone is reading the blog during each hour of the day and night.

And since you are clicking on the tab that leads to this page, I pray that your Bible Study reading will be blessed and that your hearts will be filled with great joy. Christians enjoy a unique experience in that we are able to go directly to our Heavenly Father with all our prayer concerns.

We are also able to listen to what God wants to tell us. And we can do that by reading his Word every day of our lives. True, the Bible is not a seamless work of history. In fact, there are many gaps in time sequences. But the Bible gives us what God wants us to know in order to lead a Godly life.

And since a number of you are using these Bible Studies for your own group studies, starting today I am going to include a discussion question or two for you to think about and talk about in your groups. I am also going to include a closing prayer for you to consider.

As you meet for your studies of the Bible chapter by chapter, I have to tell you that when Quint and I went to England and Ireland several years ago, we went into many cathedrals (and castles, of course). But the cathedral at Salisbury absolutely amazed us because we were in a chapter house. This is where priests come every day to read and study a chapter of the Bible.

Salisbury Cathedral is also the site of where one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta is located. You can bet it's properly preserved and sealed up to keep tourists from turning it over, or snipping off pieces to keep for bragging rights later, and other touristy type activities.

The original cathedral at Salisbury was built in 1075, then went into deterioration. It was rebuilt in 1220. The cathedral is an absolutely beautiful piece of architecture. Its spire is the tallest in the UK. And Handel is said to have stayed in one a room above one of the gates of the cathedral. Lots of rich, rich history connected with this cathedral. Read more at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salisbury,_United_Kingdom

or this site that shows the architectural beauty: http://www.greatbuildings.com/cgi-bin/gbi.cgi/Salisbury_Cathedral.html/cid_1755561.gbi

This aerial view will give you some idea of the breadth of the cathedral with its inner courtyard, the connected buildings in the lower right area -- the smaller one houses the Magna Carta and I believe the larger, kind of octagonal building is a chapter house: http://www.greatbuildings.com/cgi-bin/gbg.cgi/Salisbury_Cathedral.html/51.064944/-1.797557/18

We get to stay in our little house all day today. That is, until we go for on our gerbil trail around the mall later this afternoon. You do know that if you want to lose weight, you can't just reduce calories, don't you. Unless you exercise too, your weight loss will be more muscle mass reduction, not fat burn. So we're up to a two mile hike every time we go over there. We have to drag each other out the door, though. But on our way home, we pay each other on the back a lot. Us being glad handers and all.

##

BIBLE STUDY: 1 Corinthians 5:1-13

We get another insight into the depth of Paul's thinking in this chapter. The word had gotten back to him that the people in Corinth were engaging in sexual immoralities. And to Paul, the worst of the worst involved an incestuous relationship (verses 1-2): It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife.

And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?

Imagine, if you will, the Corinth that Paul's eyes looked at when he arrived there on his second missionary journey.

Here was a growing, bustling metropolis. Its Chamber of Commerce could boast, as our own Sin City does -- Las Vegas -- that what happened in Corinth stayed in Corinth.

Except that someone in Chloe's household got a message to Paul that the Corinthians seemed to have let go of the spiritual truths they once professed. They had become arrogant -- their worship was turning back to pagan practices -- and now, of all things -- there comes word that a man was engaging in sexual intercourse with his father's wife!

This wasn't a disguised, subconscious Oedipal thing going on -- this was out and out sexual perversion. And Paul would have none of it!

It didn't matter that there was a temple in Corinth where Aphrodite was worshipped. The Corinthians may have called Aphrodite the goddess of all things sexual, but we know what Paul thought about false gods and goddesses.

Paul makes his view known plainly in verse 3: Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present.

So what are they to do with this man? Read where Paul's judgment falls (verse 4-5): When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.

My Concordia Study Bible has this note on page 1751: Abandon this sinful man to the devil that he may afflict the man as he pleases. This abandonment to Satan was to be accomplished, not by some magical incantation, but by expelling the man from the church. To expel him ws to put him out in the devil's territory, severed from any connection with God's people.

What Paul is saying here is that since the man had contaminated his faith by having sexual intercourse with his father's wife, he was to be more than shunned -- he was to be cast out, excommunicated from the community of believers.

Interesting remedy, don't you think? There was no "Matthew 18" suggested where people were to go to a sinful person and confront that sinner in hopes of bringing the sinner back into the fold. Nope. Paul says to kick him out and since the man had weakened corrupted by following the wiles of the Liar, then he needed to be put out of the church so that Satan could destroy the man's sinful nature.

Then Paul uses an allegory and compares malice and wickedness to yeast -- the leavening agent that works through the entire loaf of bread. Paul said that they needed to get back to sincerity and truth and that would mean getting rid of the old yeast because it was still working and thus making the bread rise up with corruption (verses 6-8).

Paul wants the bad guys to go. And by "bad guys" he specifically means those people who are sexually immoral.

Then Paul is quick to point out that when it comes to dismissing immoral people, he's not talking about those who are greedy and swindlers, or idolaters (verse 9-10). No, if you're going to do that, you'd have to leave the earth. These kind of immoral people are everywhere.

But when it comes to people who are sexually immoral, don't even go over to their house for dinner (verse 11).

Again, I refer to my Concordia Study Bible for a note here on p. 1752: Calling oneself a Christian while continuing to live an immoral life is reprehensible and degrading, and gives a false testimony to Christ. If the true Christian has intimate association with someone who does this, the non-Christian world may assume that the church approves such immoral, ungodly living and thus the name of Christ would be dishonored.

And then Paul explains to the Corinthians that he has no business making any judgments of what people are doing outside the church. Paul says that God will judge those people who are outside. So by expelling the sexually immoral people from the community of the church worshipers, then they are no longer subject to Paul's judgment.

Paul is strongly encouraging church members to exercise a spiritual discipline over its believers, but that's where their judgment ends. The church is not to judge all the unsaved people in the world -- those people are subject to civil authorities that have penal codes to deal with lawbreakers. 

The final, ultimate judgment for both the believer and unbeliever will be from God.

For discussion:

1. As you read this chapter, do you think there is a sexual contamination present today?

2. It's a fairly easy profession of faith to think of Paul's view of sexual immorality as being "right on." But when you watch movies or television episodes that portray sexual immorality, what do you think this is doing to the core of our culture?

3. How is this either different or like the yeast that Paul refers to?

4. What would you do if you were confronted with information that there was something of a sexually immoral nature going on in your church? Who would you tell? What if it involved incest? These are tough instances of confrontations, and I hasten to tell you that it's going on in churches even today. Would you look the other way and say something like, "I can't really prove it" and then shrug your shoulders?

5. Is it easy for you to give up judging others? Paul closes this chapter with the thought that the final judgment belongs to God. Can you let go of wrongs that have been done to you and forgive someone, knowing that in the end, God will make a judgment.

6. There are Ten Commandments that God has given us. Why do you think that stealing and idolatry and other acts of sin are not to be handled in the same way as sexual immorality? Does this mean that sexual immorality is more important?

Closing Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, we pray that you will send your Holy Spirit into our hearts to guide us through this day. I pray that you will fill me with love for all fellow believers and that I will be a strong voice for faith when I am confronted with any sexual immorality. I pray that you would protect me from Satan and all that is evil so that the Evil One cannot touch me with his lies. I pray that you will keep me strong so that I can share the good news of your love. And finally, I pray that you will give me the strength to do this with strength and joy. Amen.  

##

9:58 am          Comments

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

MY LIFE IN INK --

Welcome readers in Portugal, Brazil, Canada and Spain. I like to especially add a thank you for joining us because all of us here in the United States welcome you to our little blog family. Well, I guess we aren't so tiny anymore -- expect to go over 83,000 hits by the end of this week. I wonder when we'll get to 100,000 hits. Won't that be exciting? If the trend line continues, it will be some time this year, for sure.

McCain took New Hampshire -- that wasn't a surprise.

But was a surprise -- at least to the pollsters and pundits who sat around their mogul tables as the results streamed in -- was the Hillary upset. Obama was the favored one but even from the first poll result that trickled in, Hillary took the lead and managed to hang onto it until the last vote drew breath.

Oh, it wasn't a big win. Single digits, in fact. But no matter. A win is a win. Obama probably had to scramble to revise his victory speech into a concession speech. But he did a good job as he congratulated Hillary and went on to deliver his "Yes We Can" speech which, truthfully, sounded an awful lot like a victory speech with just a sentence or two at the beginning to acknowledge that he had, in fact, not won.

Such is politics.

Now back to the real world. For us, that's taking down Christmas decorations. Still. I'm so grateful that we now have an attic. When we lived in the condo we were at the mercy of wherever there was room in a closet. Even the storage closet couldn't accommodate all the decorations.

I'll put more spider traps up there. Spiders, especially Brown Recluse, like to hide out in secret places, like dark attics. I use a mouse trap to catch the spiders. It works like a charm. I get the mouse traps that make a little fold up tent. Used to be able to get an actual spider trap that does the same thing, but the mouse traps work just as well. The point is the traps have this super sticky stuff on the inside and when the spiders go in there, they can't get off the sticky stuff.

One of the traps I took out from the attic had a pile of spiders stuck and dead. I didn't look closely enough to see if there were any Brown Recluse. I'm not an entomologist so I don't know if I would recognize one if I saw it.

Anyway, if you want to try a mouse trap to catch spiders, it will work. Just get the kind of mouse traps that have all that sticky stuff on the inside and folds up into a triangular kind of tent. And if spiders don't know that they aren't mice, that's their problem. Guess I'm a spidercider.

Oh -- did you know that if you want to make the type size bigger when you're on the Internet, all you have to do is hold down the Control key and then turn the wheel that's on your mouse? That's a great trick, especially if you get some stuff printed in what I call "mouse print" -- that is, 6 point type. My friend Patti told me that a while ago. And it works. It's a great trick for people who find it easier to read the larger type. And thanks for sharing that with us, Patti.

Well, we're going to pay for those balmy springlike days when we enjoyed 60 degree temperatures. It was 30 degrees this morning and going up to maybe 33 this afternoon. But we only have about 24 days until Ground Hog Day and the days are getting longer by a minute every afternoon.

##

BIG EARTHQUAKE IN CANADA? HUH?!!

Yes. It was a 6.1 and hit at 6:40 a.m. Pacific time about 389 miles WNW from Vancouver, British Columbia.

Don't know anything else about damages or the epicenter.

Maybe this will tell you something: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/recenteqsww/Quakes/us2008lzas.php

Oh, and Quint says a new cycle begins for sunspot activities. He says he got that infrom www.noaa.gov -- threatens the power grids, GPS, satellites, phones, etc. He hastens to add that one sunspot won't do it, but rather -- it begins a new cycle.


BIBLE STUDY: 1 Corinthians 4: 1-21

As Paul begins this chapter, he again makes the statement that the apostles are servants of Christ and are those who have been entrusted with the secret things of God (verse 1). Paul doesn't say exactly what these secret things are, but we do know from Acts 17 that discernment is one of the spiritual gifts given to some believers by the Holy Spirit.

But it doesn't end there. Paul continues in verses 2 and 3 to tell us what that means for those people who have been given this precious gift of discernment: Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.

There's a powerful warning here, I believe, for people who think they are the "best Christians" -- who become haughty and lofty in their sense of righteousness -- who become so proud of their piety that they fill up with arrogant pride.

In a way, I think we can say that Paul is telling the Corinthians that they don't know as much as they think they know. After all, if they had really gotten any special message from God they wouldn't have been so reluctant to share what they knew with unbelievers. God wants the good news -- the gospel message -- shared with everyone.

And God certainly does not want people to think they're squandering his good will by not sharing the gospel with people they thought didn't deserve to know the things of God.

Nope. That's a judgment call that men ought not to be making.

So Paul says he's been told the secret things of God. And the people of Corinth know that Paul has been out there on the dusty trails going from one little town to another sharing the gospel message of Christ and bringing the good news of God to everybody who will listen to him.

On the other hand, the people of Corinth had formed a church. They met as a community of believers. All was well until they started to get the idea that they had an exclusive little group going.

When Paul heard about this, he probably figured that they were in need of an attitude adjustment. After all, the gospel message that they seemed to be hoarding was the very message that he, Paul, had shared with them.

And Paul reminded him that this gospel message had come from none other than God. So who in the world were they to hoard this great truth of belief?

In verses 4 and 5, Paul continues: My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive the praise from God.

It was time for the Corinthians to come down off their pedestal. They could not read men's minds; they couldn't figure out what the motives were in other people's hearts. They had not received the gift of discernment, apparently, from the Holy Spirit so they ought not to set themselves up to judge others.

They especially weren't supposed to be the deciders who thought of themselves as experts on the faith, and then, because of their haughty judgmental attitudes, lost the one thing that Paul had hoped to instill in them -- that God's love and acceptance is one of grace. And this gracious love is the path to salvation, righteousness and redemption. It is a path that leads to Christ and through Christ to God.

In verses 8 through 14, Paul uses a message dripping with irony to describe himself against a backdrop of the Corinthians who thought they were doing just fine. In fact, better than fine. They were pretty darned proud of themselves. 

If they thought they were rich and wonderful because of what they had come to know, Paul wanted to remind them that he thought of himself, first of all, as a sinner; that he felt like he was dishonored and persecuted and was the scum of the earth. He told them that he went hungry; that he was homeless; that he worked hard with his own hands.

So if he, Paul, thought of himself as undeserving and humbled, why should the Corinthians think of themselves as rich and kingly because it was Paul who brought them the gospel message that they just conveniently re-engineered into some kind of aggrandizing self-image that had nothing to do with what God wanted them to be like.

No. That was not the message that Paul wanted them to have of themselves.

Instead, in verse 16, he says: Therefore I urge you to imitate me.

At this point in his letter, Paul introduces Timothy to the Corinthians. He tells them that Timothy is his son whom he loves. And Timothy is faithful in the Lord. Timothy will remind the Corinthians of the way of life they're supposed to be living -- that being a life in Christ Jesus.

If the Corinthians can do that then that would agree with what Paul preached everywhere in every church.

At the end of this chapter, Paul reminds them (verses 18-21): Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?


##

OKLAHOMA CITY IS GOING TO LOSE ONE MILLION POUNDS!

At least that's what the Mayor Mike Comett is hoping when he made this his New Years resolution for 2008. Guess he didn't like his town being one of the most obese cities.

So he called for volunteers to sign up to lose weight. Pecan pie will be severely limited. So will cornbread with butter slathered all over it. And sausage and gravy? Only in moderation.

And chicken fried steak? Let's see -- used to be we'd take a steak then roll it in a breading then fry it. Just to see how many calories we could add on. Well, no more. This southern obese-driven delicacy may just go back to being a plain old steak.

So far, some 1200 people have signed up and they've lost 300 collective pounds in the first few days of the new year.

Comett wants to add bike trails and more sidewalks to encourage his citizens to get out and move around. Losing weight is one thing but you tend to lose muscle mass if you just reduce caloric intake and don't exercise. You don't burn fat sitting in a chair even if you do reduce calories.

Good for Oklahoma City! This story inspires me to keep walking through the mall every day. Two miles a day, and believe me, we're not setting land speed records, but at least we're out there moving our bodies around. It's making a difference too.

##

SISTERS -- from Antoinette Oberheu

A young wife sat on a sofa on a hot humid day, drinking iced tea and visiting with her mother. As they talked about life, about marriage, about the responsibilities of life and the obligations of adulthood, the mother clinked the ice cubes in her glass thoughtfully and turned a clear, sober glance upon her daughter.

"Don't forget your sisters," she advised, swirling the tea leaves to the bottom of the glass. "They'll be more important as you get older. No matter how much you love your husband, no matter how much you love the children you may have, you are still going to need sisters. Remember to go places with them now and then; do things with them.

"Remember that 'sisters' means all the women -- your girlfriends, your daughters, and all your other women relatives too. You'll need other women. Women always do."

"What a funny piece of advice!" the young woman thought. "Haven't I just gotten married? Haven't I just joined the couple world. I'm now a married woman, for goodness sake. A grownup! Surely my husband and the family we may start will be all I need to make my life worthwhile."

But she listened to her mother. She kept contact with her sisters and made more women friends each year. As the years tumbled by, one after another, she gradually came to understand that her mom really knew what she was talking about. As time and nature work their changes and their mysteries upon a woman, sisters are the mainstays of her life.

And after more than 80 years of living in this world, here is what I've learned:

Time passes.
Life happens.
Distance separates.
Children grow up.
Jobs come and go.
Love waxes and wanes.
Men don't do what they're supposed to do.
Hearts break.
Parents die.
Colleagues forget favors.
Careers end.
BUT --

Sisters are there, no matter how much time and how many miles are between you. A girlfriend is never farther away than needing her can reach.

When you have to walk that lonesome valley and you have to walk it by yourself, the women in your life will be on the valley's rim, cheering you on, praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the valley's end.

Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk beside you -- or come in and carry you out.

The world wouldn't be the same without women, and neither would I. When we began this adventure called womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much we would need each other.

##

9:35 am          Comments

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

MY LIFE IN INK --

Today is the New Hampshire primary! The claim is made that with very few exceptions, the New Hampshire winners have been the party nominees in the last 28 elections.

So you could say that as New Hampshire goes, so goes the country. Except that it is not necessarily true anymore. Actually Bill Clinton was the first primary contender who lost in the New Hampshire primary but went on to win the White Office.

In 1992, Bill Clinton only got 24% of the Democratic primary votes. He lost to Paul Tsongas' 33%. -- In 1996, Bill Clinton did better, with 83% of the Democratic votes.

Then in 2000, George W. Bush gleaned 30% of the Republican votes in the primary, to John McCain's 48%.

What that tells me is that after Ronald Reagan's White House years, the voters in the United States have become polarized. At least to me, it isn't about Republican turnout or Democratic turnout, but rather -- it's the Independents who come out to vote who determine who gets elected.

Anyway, here's the very interesting website for some history of the New Hampshire primary results that go all the way back to 1952 which was the year I first became interested in national elections: http://www.politicallibrary.org/Past-Primary/History.aspx

It helped that Alben Barkley came from Paducah, Kentucky, where I grew up. He was a vice president and a local son who made good. He had been a lawyer and a judge in Paducah, then went on to be elected to the House of Representatives, then to the U.S. Senate and while a senator, was Senate Majority Leader. He served as Truman's vice president. Barkley died in 1956 and I remember standing at the curb waiting for the hearse to bear his body to the church for his funeral. He is buried in Mount Kenton Cemetery out on Lone Oak Road which isn't too terribly far from where my mother lived.

I couldn't wait for the Saturday Evening Post and Life Magazine to arrive. And the Weekly Reader. I don't remember reading any of the news magazines but I did follow the news about national campaigns that were printed in the Paducah Sun-Democrat.

I was in the fourth grade. I don't know too many fourth graders today who could tell you who the candidates are in the presidential race for 2008, much less go to the library to read about the political goings on in the magazines. But then, I was always a bit "bookish." Besides, today all the news is all over the Internet so maybe the youngsters know more than I think they know. That wouldn't be the first time that ever happened!

It's something else that Quint and I have in common. We have long debates on politics and when the debates start to turn toward an argument, we have enough sense to agree to disagree. We don't let outside stuff interfere with our relationship.

I hope you're all following the news. This is going to be an important election year for our country. And I am thrilled to see so many young people on the news and talk shows getting all fired up about the election and getting into the national dialogue about the candidates.

Well, so much for that. I ended up going to the dentist yesterday after posting the blog and it was rather late when I got back so I didn't get to the Bible Study. Besides, the computer decided it didn't want me to be on the Internet.

So I went back to my knitting instead. After I filled up the cookie jar again. I finally put the finishing touches on the sugar-free sugar cookie recipe and they pass Quint's "quality control" nibbling.

Quint finally got the Internet up and running just in time for dinner. But he can't get on the Internet at the same time as I do so that won't work either. He has more work to do on the configuration but said he'd wait until after I'm done with the Bible Study.

Isn't he nice?

##

BIBLE STUDY: 1 Corinthians 3:1-23

In this chapter Paul makes a distinction between "baby Christians" and "mature Christians." (Those are my words, not his.)

In verses 1-3 he tells how he makes these determinations: Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly -- merely infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?

The immature Christians that Paul refers to as milk consumers are the new believers. These are the Christians to whom Paul give milk, not solid food.

What is the solid food he is referring to? Who are these mature Christians and how are they worshiping and living their lives that are different from the immature Christians who are still on a "spiritual diet" of milk?

To make this distinction, we have to turn to Hebrews 5:12-14: ...by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Uh, does this mean that we are to go around pronouncing people as "evil" or "pagans" in their faith?

I don't think so. Remember only a few verses back we read that only God knows what is in the hearts of man.

So you don't know if someone is evil. But you can tell if someone is behaving badly. Will there be murderers in heaven? Will there be thieves in heaven? If you believe Jesus, there is. Remember the man who was on the cross next to Jesus? Jesus told him that he would be with Jesus that very day in paradise, yet this man was someone who had broken the laws sufficiently to be executed.

Can you honestly tell if someone is sitting quietly, just observing others or in a quiet moment of reverie -- or if that person is praying? Without an outward show, you don't know. But God does.

And some things we need to leave to God's discernment and get the proverbial plank out of our own eyes.

When Paul makes the comment that we have to train ourselves to discern good from evil, I think he's talking about how we react to temptations that are around us -- all the time.

We all have opportunities to be naughty -- to break the laws. Do you cheat on your income tax filing? Do you go speeding down the interstate so you won't get run over by people going even faster than you? Do you tell stories about people that are not true? Do you take things that don't belong to you? Do you have that extra little glass of wine at dinner even though a little voice inside you tells you that you've had enough?

Paul is saying that mature believers are able to tell the difference between good and evil. If you go toward temptation, then you are worldly. You're living your life by human standards, not be spiritual standards that would make you one of God's people.

Then Paul tells a story about the difference between him and Apollos.

Apollos was a church worker in those days. He worked with the new converts that Paul sent him. Apollos' job was to help develop the spiritual strength of the new converts. But Paul wants the people at Corinth to know there is value with what each of them are doing.

Let's read what Paul says in verses 4-9: For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men?

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe -- as the Lord as assigned to each his task.

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.

So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.

For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.

In the next few verses, Paul compares his work to that of laying a foundation for a building. But he warns in verse 10 that anyone who builds upon his foundation. And especially, if someone else is going to try to lay another foundation, it had better be the foundation of Jesus Christ -- because fire will test that work. Gold and silver and costly woods -- they all go by the wayside when the fire tests the quality of man's work.

But -- if what is built survives, then that builder will be rewarded for what he has done. If the building is burned up, he will suffer a loss. The man won't be burned up because he'll escape the flames, but the building will be lost. (verses 12-14)

Now comes one of my favorite passages in verses 16-18: Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

This is the passage that gave me the strength to resist a lot of temptations -- and finally quit smoking many years ago. It's giving me the inner strength to stay on a better diet and to get more exercise. But that's just my physical being. I have to keep my heart and soul and spirit in such a place that I am not vulnerable to the temptations of Satan and all that is evil.

God's temple. God created mankind to be different from the animals that walk the earth. It is within each of us that God wants to take us residence. God gives us a soul. This is where his temple is. In each of us.

But don't get too high and mighty. Paul warns the Corinthians about this and he warns us even today (verses 18-19a): Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight.

So you see, we don't know so much. We just learners. Every time we think we've discovered something great and might, just keep in mind that God already knew that.

What is really important -- what really matters -- can be found in the final verse of this chapter: All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future -- all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God. (verse 22b-23)

##
12:16 pm          Comments

Monday, January 7, 2008

MY LIFE IN INK --

We must be in record temperature territory -- can't believe it was in the 60s yesterday afternoon! Felt like Spring weather. I'll bet we pay for it later though. I'm enjoying it but I know the other shoe will fall one of these days.

We are having computer problems this morning. Fortunately, Quint knows everything there is to know -- that we need to know -- about our computers so he was finally able to get me up and running. And while he was doing that -- took him a little more than an hour -- I added 24 rows to a scarf I'm knitting and watched a biography of Jack Nicholson on television.

I'm getting tired of all the politics. All these presidential campaigners are promising things that they cannot deliver. In the first place, all things that have to do with taxes have to start in the House of Representatives and specifically in the House Ways and Means Committee. The White House doesn't lower or raise taxes. But the political game gets played out and for sure, whoever is sitting in the Oval Office has veto power -- or can strongly suggest a tax cut. But it becomes a legislative action, not an executive one.

Barack Obama, for instance, says he wants to raise the capital gains tax from 15% to 25%. He can't do that. He can only ask the House Ways and Means Committee to present that little package to the rest of the House, and then it goes on over to the Senate to see what the one hundred little miniature presidents will do about it.

Obama is the new senator who come to Washington from Illinois and it seems to me that I heard that when he was an Illinois senator, he didn't vote for a lot of the bills that came before the Senate. What did he do? He said "Present." In fact, according to the New York Times, Obama voted "Present" 130 times. It's worse in Washington. The Washington Post says he missed 166 votes -- 37.6% of the votes. The voters of Illinois are not being represented with Obama out on the campaign trail instead of doing what the taxpayers elected him to do. Maybe he figures he could be a "junket king" if he got elected president. 

So the vote in New Hampshire will be done tomorrow. Actually they start voting at midnight in New Hampshire on their primary day. You just know that the exit poll strategists are going to be busy all day.

Here's a little tidbit that came in under the media radar -- Romney won the Republican primary in Wyoming the other day. The Democratic causes aren't held until March 8.

So much to do, so little time.

In the meantime, I'm just about due at church for Ladies Aid meeting right after lunch. Then I'll come back and continue the Bible Study for the next chapter of Corinthians.

Ta Ta.

##



11:48 am          Comments

Friday, January 4, 2008

MY LIFE IN INK --

First of all, I have to correct myself -- comments made about the winners of the Iowa caucuses never go on to win the party nominations or the White House.

That should be "almost never." When someone looked at me at a meeting at church the other night and said, "Really?" I thought it would be a good idea if I looked it up.

Sure enough, here are winners of some thirty years of Iowa caucuses:
2008 -- Barrack Obama (D-IL); Mike Huckabee (R-AR)
2004 -- John Kerry (Dem); George W. Bush (Rep) -- Bush was unopposed -- does that count?
2000 -- Al Gore (Dem); George W. Bush (Rep) *
1996 -- Bill Clinton (unopposed) -- Bob Dole (Rep)
1992 -- Tom Harkin (Dem); George H. W. Bush -- unopposed
1988 -- Dick Gephardt (Dem); Bob Dole
1984 -- Walter Mondale (Dem); Ronald Reagan -- unopposed
1980 -- Jimmy Carter (Dem); George H. W. Bush
1976 -- 37% of the Democrats were uncommitted although 28% committed to Jimmy Carter; Gerald Ford (Rep)
1972 -- 36% of the Democrats were uncommitted and Edmund Muskie got 36% also; can't find a history that the Republicans even caucused in Iowa in 1972

* It was George W. Bush who was the only non-incumbent candidate to ever win his party's caucus and go on to win the White House in 2000.

So what's the big deal about Iowa? Well, it starts the momentum. In less than a week, the voters in New Hampshire will hold a primary. Then early in February, voters in 29 states will hold primaries on the same day -- known as Super Tuesday.

So who won in Iowa? Clearly the businesses! The candidates have pumped $9.1 million into Iowa's economy. Except for Christmas day, you probably couldn't walk or drive a mile anywhere in the state without tripping over somebody from someone's campaign, or the candidate.

So today is the day after. And the business owners in Iowa can go out to celebrate and take their cash registers to the bank. That's who won and good for them!

I did hear one amusing comment: people in Iowa pick corn; people in New Hampshire pick presidents. Well, that's not entirely true either. John Kerry won the New Hampshire primary and couldn't beat George Bush.

Just file all those pithy little truisms under hyperbole -- unless, of course, they do come true.

And a big welcome back to readers in China, India, Great Britain and Brazil this morning. And also all over the United States. If you're alive out there in Iowa, hope you got some rest last night. Your little eyeballs must be weary from having to stay propped open for a long night.

Quint and I stay up to watch election results. Always did in all the years we've been married. We have more than an avid interest in election results -- he was an election judge for many, many years and I was a precinct captain. So you could say we have a participating interest in how the elections go, even if it's vicariously at this point in our lives.

Hope you've hopped into the election process. Your vote matters.

I've learned a new "Philadelphia lawyer" word out of all these media blitzes. It's disingenuous. I will admit that I kind of gathered from the context that it could mean something kind of next door to a lie. I finally looked it up. False could definitely be a synonym but disingenuous means something a bit more -- like disreputable -- or getting a logical fallacy from a false dilemma. Hmmmm. That's good. But how could they say a candidate's position was disingenuous? The really good definition for disingenuous is "false positive."

So when the candidates draw positive conclusions from all those polls to figure out how they're doing, their claims of victory are disingenuous.

But watch out, disingenuous can also be interpreted as disreputable. And since it's the word de jeure for the 2008 elections, I suspect the media moguls are really saying something's a lie but they don't want to just out and out call someone a liar.

Like Hillary Clinton said to General Petraeus that in order to believe what he said when he reported to congress about Iraq, she'd have to first suspend her belief system. Then later she denied that she had called him a liar. Well, maybe not in those words, but c'mon Hillary. The world knows what you meant. You did say the world was watching you, didn't you? Or was just a disingenuous suspension of your belief system?

##

DONNER PASS GETS SNOW DUMPED ON IT AGAIN

If you want to read some really interesting pieces of history, google "Donner Pass" and read all about it. The infamous accounts of people being stranded there following a 22 foot snowfall led to cannibalism to stay alive. Not all the members of the Donner party died, however.

The Donner party did not have I-80 to get them safely across the mountains like travelers do today.

That must often be a snowy place. I, for one, cannot fathom how those people even got those big wagons across the mountains on a warm, sunny day. But in the winter?

Actually, they didn't. They made a wrong turn and got to the pass too late to cross it. But they weren't ready for a 22' snowfall.

Well, last weekend, the people in Truckee -- which is the town near Donner Pass -- got a 10' snowfall and howling winds that gusted up to 145 mph. That's a Cat 4 hurricane, my friends. And they're expecting another 10' of snow again.

##

BIBLE STUDY: 1 Corinthians 2: 1-31

Paul continues his concern about the Corinthian congregations having the wrong concept of Christianity when he begins this chapter of his letter.

And we get a glimpse of a very human side of Paul when he writes in verses 1-5: When I came to you, brother, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.

Paul stayed focused on Jesus Christ. He wants to keep the gospel message of Jesus Christ in the forefront of his discussions in all his preaching.

Make no mistake about it, Paul was as good an orator as they come. But he didn't want the Corinthians to be persuaded because of his skill as a debater or an orator. Rather, he wanted them to soften to the message because of the Holy Spirit. Paul believed that unless the Holy Spirit was active in the heart of the listener, it didn't matter how good the speaker was. Paul clearly was not trying to outshine anybody in presenting an intellectual, persuasive argument.

Rather, he wanted to bring souls to Christ. That's a spiritual flame that must spark. A purely logical argument wouldn't get him anywhere and Paul knew that. Because Paul was guided by the Holy Spirit, he had complete reliance on this spiritual work that was being done by God, using Paul as a vessel of truth.

We could all follow that example when we witness our faith. Intellectualizing our faith in a logical argument doesn't work well -- and many times, it's a really big turnoff to someone who just likes to bait an argument. Turn those arguments back to the Holy Spirit and let God do this.

Paul talks about this revelation when he continues with verses 6-8: We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.

No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.

None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

How about that?!!

Paul says he wants to share God's secret wisdom with them. As we read more and more of the letters that Paul wrote to the different churches, we find out more of what this secret wisdom is that God shared with Paul. It's that message that Paul wants the Corinthians to pay attention to and to keep in their hearts.

Then Paul says with firm assurance that the rulers of that day didn't have a clue as to what this secret wisdom was. They didn't have a clue as to what God was trying to say to them, and to all who walk the face of the earth.

How did Paul know this? Easy. If the rulers had known and accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God, they certainly would not have killed him.

So there you have it. You can't earn your salvation by good works or by doing things that make other people think you're a really pious Christian. But if you are a Christian, you lead a Godly life.

Good trees bear good fruit, James said.

Paul then quotes a verse from Isaiah 64:4 when he says in verse 9b: No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.

"but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
(verse 10)

Sometimes I think we overlook just how active the Holy Spirit is in our lives and in the world. Speaking for myself, I know I spend a lot more time thinking about what Jesus did for us, and how mighty and powerful and all-knowing God the Father is, but I don't think of the Holy Spirit as much as I should.

It is the Holy Spirit that is the voice in my soul deep inside me. It is the Holy Spirit that guides me and gives me counsel -- all I have to do is ask. It is the Holy Spirit that goes out to others when I pray for them, even those who don't necessarily like me. And it's the Holy Spirit who takes my quiet prayers on up to heaven and presents them to God the Father.

How active is the Holy Spirit? Paul tells us in verses 11-12: For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him?

In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of god.

We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.

This is what Paul was also telling the Corinthians. He sums it up in verses 14-16: The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment:

For who has known the mind of the Lord that we may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

When Paul speaks of the man without Spirit, he is referring to those people who are non-Christian who live their lives dominated by their instincts and see the world of merely physical and defined by natural life. These people do not have a spiritual life until they are born into a new life in Christ. As such, they are not able to absorb this truth from the Holy Spirit until they accept a new life that brings them to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

And while Paul was most eager for the Corinthians to come to this point in their spiritual lives, he recognized that because the Corinthians thought they had gotten this part of the gospel message, they won't supposed to go around bragging about it and hiding the message from others.

No, indeed. Paul wanted the Corinthians to be "sermons walking." This gospel message was not something that they were supposed to savor just for themselves.

-----

And good morning to Melanie and her neighbors. I have learned that they are using the Bible Studies printed here for their own Bible Studies. God's richest blessings to you as you study, Melanie and friends.

I also know that the same thing is happening in China. One of the readers in China is using this study for their own get togethers!

Isn't God an awesome God? Two groups of people -- one in Illinois and another in China sharing the word of God!

##

9:39 am          Comments

Thursday, January 3, 2008

MY LIFE IN INK --

A big hearty winter hello to our peeps in China, India, Great Britain and Brazil this morning. And to all of you here in the good ole USA!

It was all of a big entire 3 degrees (-16 C)at 4:30 this morning. Just in case you might be wondering why I know that, house moans and groans woke me up. I thought I heard metal popping and tearing apart so I got up so I could hear better. Then decided that it must be the vent system of the furnace and went back to bed.

We haven't spent a winter full-time in this house before and all that moaning and groaning is new to me. Oh, for sure, there were some sounds when we lived in the condo but since we lived on the second floor, we didn't get as many house moans as we do here. Not sure that would make a difference, but it seems to.

HEY, HILLARY: SAYING IT DOESN'T MAKE IT SO -- I was really surprised the other night to hear that Hillary made a comment about all Musharraf cares about is getting re-elected. I will admit that it was a fleeting comment and I heard it as I was going through the hallway on my way to the kitchen, but when I went back to ask Quint if she really said what I thought she said, he agreed that I'd heard correctly.

It had something to do with the details of Bhutto's death and why there had not been a more definitive investigation into the real cause of Bhutto's death. You can't have alternative plausibles. Bhutto either got hit by the gunman (who, it appears was standing only a few feet from her if you look at the video), got hit by shrapnel from the bomb's explosion, or hit her head on the lever of the sunroof when she got back down inside the vehicle.

Now Musharraf is asking Scotland Yard to come on down to Pakistan and help get things sorted out, and hopefully the truth will come out.

But in the meantime, we have zillions of candidates running around Iowa and New Hampshire -- each claiming to be experts on foreign affairs and ready to hit the ground running when they get elected.

Problem is, Hillary's handlers should have told her that Musharraf isn't even running for office in the Pakistani election that he keeps delaying. Members of parliament are seeking office in this election.

If they'd have asked Quint, he could have told them. Musharraf was elected in October 2007 and his election was confirmed in November 2007 by the Pakistan Election Commission for a five year term.

I will admit that he came to power in 1999 because of a military coup de'tat that he master-minded and he forced Nawaz Sharif out of office. That doesn't spell "democracy" to me. No doubt, he has other things up his sleeve but getting re-elected is not one of them.

So for Hillary to be running around Iowa saying that's all he cares about is getting re-elected doesn't make her a foreign relations expert either.

Just ask Quint if you have any questions about history or foreign affairs or anything else that requires common sense. He'll be glad to tell you what he knows. And if he doesn't know, he'll find out and get back to you. But even he does not claim to be a foreign relations expert.

THE OTHER POLITICAL BIGGIE IS THE ECONOMY -- There is a simple formula used to define whether or not our economy is in a recession.

Here it is: the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has to be decreasing for two or more consecutive quarters.

The politicians don't get to redefine what is an economic recession is just by saying that unemployment is going up (which it isn't), or the value of the dollar is going down against world currencies (which happens from time to time).

In fact, there were 40,000 new jobs created and added to our economy just in December 2007. Even so, Wall Street won't be happy because it's lower than expected.

Now, I will admit there's going to be a job crunch -- maybe -- when our military personnel start coming back from Iraq. There may be an increase in unemployment at that point, but if the returning soldiers are able to get back to work -- either through jobs that are being held open for them or through new jobs that are created by our very healthy economy that we currently are experiencing, then we still won't be in a recession.

Here's my point -- the liberals need to somehow convince voters that there is a recession and the economy has gone sour. It's their only chance of getting elected to anything.

My other point on this cold blustry morning is that you should do your own homework. You can't necessarily believe anybody who's running for president. After the primaries are over -- and maybe while they're even running for the primary races -- you're going to hear some pretty desperate stuff coming across their lips.

Thank you and good day! Today I'm staying indoors and working on my sugar free fudge recipe.

##

BIBLE STUDY: 1 Corinthians 1:1-31

It's during Paul's Second Missionary Journey that he comes to Corinth. This second journey of Paul's has him traveling much more extensively and by the time he returns to where he started from, he will have put some 2800 miles in his rear view mirror. That would be something like going from Houston, Texas, to Washington, D.C. and back again. Probably on foot!

How in the world did he do that? Did he walk? Did he ride a horse? Where did he eat and sleep?

Those highways and byways weren't always friendly places to be. There's a reason they call the people who jump out from behind the rocks "highway robbers." Keep in mind the story about the Good Samaritan.

People did not generally travel alone for that reason. And for this second missionary journey, Paul is traveling with Barnabas. Then at Antioch, John Mark (who, by the way, was Barnabas' cousin) wants to join them.

Paul did not like this idea. Not at all. After all, he reasoned, John Mark had deserted them once before in Pamphylia. Perhaps Paul didn't think he could count on John Mark. There was a very heated and serious disagreement between Barnabas and Paul.

Paul says, "Fine!" Or something like that. Barnabas and his cousin went off in one direction and Paul was joined by Silas as his traveling companion and helper.

Incidentally, Paul does reconcile his heart later about John Mark. He comes to regard Mark as a very helpful colleague (Col. 4:10, 2 Tim. 4:11 and Philemon 24). This is the same John Mark who wrote the Gospel of Mark. And Mark also acted as Peter's closest helper -- even served as an interpreter in Alexandria. (Concordia Study Bible, p. 1744)

Anyway, at this point, Barnabas and Mark sailed together back to Cyprus.

I found a really good animated map that shows the route of this second missionary journey. Go to this web site: http://www.apostlepaulthefilm.com/paul/journey_02.htm -- what I like about the map is that it shows in which order Paul goes where.

You'll like it.

In these letters to the Corinthians -- which are written from Ephesus when Paul stayed there for an extended period of time during his third missionary journey -- there are lots of references about how people are to behave during worship.

It's almost like we are able to lift the roof off the buildings and peer down inside to listen while people are worshiping. You'll see what I mean as we go along.

What is so disturbing to Paul and what prompted him to write these letters -- is that the people at Corinth had begun to think of themselves as the experts on salvation. Like they had the secret. They thought they could re-define salvation and think whatever they wanted about the gospel. They just seem to conveniently forget the fact that it is through Christ that we have salvation, righteousness and redemption.

And if you remember from Paul's rather blistering letter to the Galatians, nothing irritates Paul more than having people mess things up about the gospel of Christ.

After all, Paul got his information from none other than Christ himself, and the Holy Spirit as well. Paul was the vessel, personally selected by Christ on the road to Damascus. It was his appointment from Christ to bring the gospel message to all people.

True, Paul may not have been a hand-picked disciple who walked with Christ before Christ's death and resurrection, but there can be no doubt whatsoever that Christ personally called Paul to be his apostle.

Well, Paul may not have had the lightning speed of the Internet, but news got around pretty quick back in those days. People were sending letters back and forth to one another.

No doubt when people at Corinth heard that someone was going to Ephesus, they'd say, "Would you drop off this letter to Paul when you see him?" Well, word got back to Paul that factions were building and some sexual immoralities were becoming normalized again. Paul had warned the Corinthians not to associate with those who were sexually immoral so it was disturbing to Paul that people were starting to slip back to their old ways of behaving.

So Paul is going to re-instruct the church at Corinth about the error of their ways. And make no mistake about it, we can benefit from Paul's instructions in our present day.

So here we go. Book 1. Chapter 1.

Paul starts out softly after he introduces himself as the writer, in verses 4-9: I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way -- n all your speaking and in all your knowledge -- because our testimony about Christ as confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

And then Paul tells them that some people from Chloe's household have brought stories about their quarrels and dissensions.
 
That's when Paul opens his appeal in verse 10: I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

Paul's words start to heat up in verses 13-17: Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else.)

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel -- not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Now, Paul was trained in the art of persuasive argument and he was quite the orator, believe me. He could hold his own in synagogue in discussions about the Jewish laws. And Paul was also a Greek. From what I can gather, he was highly educated.

I personally would not want to enter into any kind of debate with Paul. And the people of Corinth should have known that Paul could out-dance them in any discussion about matters of the gospel.

But Paul is not impressed with himself when it comes to intellectual matters about persuasions. Absolutely not! This man is on fire with the gospel message that he wants them all to know.

He tells them exactly what he thinks about the great mind-benders that they think they are in verse 18-25: For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."
(quotation is from Isaiah 29:14)

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age?

Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

And finally, Paul tells them exactly what he thinks about all their bragging in verses 26-29: Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things -- and the things that are not -- to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

Next time you are tempted to feel just a tad high and mighty, come back to these verses and read them again. Or, as my grandma used to say, "Don't get too big for your britches."

Paul tells the Corinthians that if they're going to brag about anything, they ought to brag about Christ.

##

10:14 am          Comments

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

MY LIFE IN INK --

Welcome readers in Germany and Great Britain and, of course, our peeps in the United States.

Remember to be sure to change your dates to 2008. Last year I wrote a couple of checks in early January with the previous year in error. The bank returned the checks because they said the checks were "stale dated." Ooops!

Remember -- new habits or changing old ones -- takes 21 times before the new behavior gets "seated."

Well, the Iowa caucuses are tomorrow and I'll bet the people in Iowa will really be glad to get all those politicians out of their state. The state is literally infested with politicians. I, for one, am getting tired of the political ads and we aren't even near the primary here in Illinois.

I am really sorry that the University of Illinois lost its big game in the Rose Bowl. But then, just getting to play in the Rose Bowl is a really big deal that they can be very proud of. I couldn't watch, though, after those mean old players from USC ran away with the game and the score got into the 30s against the Fighting Illini's mere 10 points. I think the final score was USC with 49 points and the Illini at a distant 17 points.

I pray that this will be a good year for us -- and also for all of you.

Yesterday gave me some time and opportunity to put the finishing touches on a brownie recipe that's sugar free. I use cocoa which does not have any sugar in it. And it's sweetened with Splenda, or Altern when I can get it, usually at Wal-Mart. Anyway, it's ready to go onto one of the panels of the recipes, instead of the oriental sauce.

I'm also working on a fudge recipe that will be sugar free.

The sauces will be another set of panel recipes. So far I've only got the oriental sauce, tomato ketchup, and I'm working on a barbecue sauce. I need two more recipes to complete that set. I do have a really good ranch dressing though.

It was cold this morning. Really, really cold. Quint says it was only four degrees with a wind chill of 11 below. But we take heart because the forecast for this weekend is up in the high 50s and a promise of 61 for Sunday with sprinkles. That won't be bad at all. It will melt the snow that's getting dirty ugly.

And in my resting moments, I'm still knitting. Almost finished with the birthday scarf I'm making. Then I'm going to make a bunch of little baby blankets. Maybe donate them to our local pregnancy center for teen moms.

That's about it for today. I am going to the doctor with Quint -- more to introduce myself and fill out the new patient form. Quint is fine -- just needs a re-check on his prescriptions with the new internal medicine doc.

We're taking our tree down. It takes a while because a lot of the ornaments are dated ones. When we first got married we started buying a pretty dated ornament each year. We have a lot of very special ornaments and last year, we added one that was for "first year in new house." We also have some very precious ornaments that were either gifted by clients or made by children -- both grandchildren and children I used to see in the practice. And I have a number of little dolly ornaments. I have also kept the little lizards that our grandson Jerry made out of beads when he was about six. He's going to be 20 this year, so you see, the little lizards are now teenagers. Anyway, all of those ornaments make the tree a lot of fun and it brings a great deal of joy to us both as we remember the special things that people have done for us over the years.

We are so blessed!

##

BIBLE STUDY: Galatians 6:1-18

This is the final chapter of Paul's letter to the Galatians. It is a letter filled with Paul's passion as he brings some rather stern warnings to the congregations he started when he was in Galatia on his first missionary journey.

And in this letter, he identifies the fruits of the Holy Spirit -- fruits that give evidence in our daily lives that we have become filled with this Spirit of God.

Now, in this ending chapter, we see Paul concerned about each of the Galatians caring for each other.

In verse 1: Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.

Paul uses the word "restore" to mean that the Galatians are to repair discord if its in their midst so that there won't be separating factions within the congregation.

I can tell you that this is a major concern in any congregation today. Pastors care very much when there are opposing factions of worshipers. New building projects can bring out the best or the worst in a congregation. People can sometimes rise up within a congregation and bring discord with them.

Satan, it is said, does his hardest work within a church. Satan doesn't need to go to the maximum security prison -- he's already won those people over. But Satan does go whispering down the aisle of churches, looking at each and every worshiper -- trying to figure out where the weaknesses are so that he can move on in and take over.

Paul knew this about factions and how they could get started in congregations. He most certainly did not want that to happen to any of the churches in Galatia.
 
I particularly am fond of verse 2: Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Although Paul was most likely talking about moral burdens, as my Concordia Study Bible supposes, I think it's important for each of us, as Christians guided by the Holy Spirit to be a minister of presence to those around us. Sometimes this is about going to a funeral to comfort the bereaved. Sometimes it's about writing cheery notes to people who are ill. There are so many ways that we can help each other carry burdens.

Paul then admonishes the Galatians to kind of mind their own business and don't get so filled up with themselves -- not to compare themselves to others, but rather to themselves. After all, each one of us is responsible to God and God is going to ask us about our own life -- not how our lives or actions compare to other people. 

In verses 7-10 Paul tells us that we shouldn't kid ourselves -- if we think we can fool God, we are dead wrong: Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good, to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

It is my own belief that we get very few instances in our lives when we really get an opportunity to test our sense of belief in God -- when we really get that chance to truly forgive someone, regardless of whether they are sorry or not. Regardless of whether they have apologized or not.

If we are spiritual persons, we are required -- absolutely required -- to forgive people when they have wronged us. And you may get only one chance in your entire life when you are put in a position where you have to really get down into the depths of your soul and struggle all the way to your bones with this idea that you have to forgive someone that you don't think deserves your forgiveness.

In those mind-ripping moments, God is with you. He's watching to see what you do. He's hoping that you'll be able to let go of whatever you're holding onto. He's hoping you'll give all those ugly little feelings over to him. He's hoping you'll find it in your heart and soul to forgive. If you can do that -- if you can give all those toxic feelings to God, he will exchange the infecting, toxic stuff with so much peace that you are going to wonder why you even bothered hanging onto unforgiveness.

But if you want to be pigheaded about it, God will let you do that too. But he is watching you and he's going to remember your unforgiveness when you come to him and ask for him to forgive you for something you've done.

Then Paul reiterates his position about circumcision before he closes this letter.

And he also tells the Galatians that he is a servant of Christ because he bears on his body the marks of Jesus.

Just as Jesus was persecuted and whipped and flogged horribly before he was crucified, Paul also bore the marks of suffering because he refused to stop spreading the gospel message -- these marks include the beatings and stoning -- these were the marks of a slave. And Paul most certainly considered himself to be a slave to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

##
9:51 am          Comments


Archive Newer | Older

greensweater.jpeg.jpg

We welcome July readers from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Latvia, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, Vietnam and United States

This video is the most beautiful depiction of what happens in the womb when the baby is developing and growing. The video was developed by Yale professor Alexander Tsiaras. Just beautiful. Warning, though. Some of the images are graphic. But nothing gross. It is just a reminder to me that life is a beautiful baby and life is absolutely precious.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKyljukBE70&feature=player_embedded#!

July 29, 2012

Update on Quint:
He is making an incredible recovery. The skin cancer is essentially gone. When we met with the surgeon for a post-op appointment on Friday, we learned that the biopsy of the frozen section shows all the cancer was removed. The incision is healing nicely. It's about a 6" incision down the side of his face in front of the left ear. The doctor put so many stitches in that any scar is hardly visible. Thanks to all for prayers you have been lifting up for his health. The surgeon says there are dissolving stitches in three levels of tissue. We also met with our oncologist last week and he says the lymphocitic/leukemia will continue to make Quint vulnerable to skin cancers. Please keep him in your prayers so that all his cancers, and mine as well, will remain in remission.

I received the following about a child's reason for why he believes in God from our friends, John and Sherre, in Wichita, KS:

Little Boy's Explanation of God

                                He wrote it for his third grade homework assignment,

                                to 'explain God.'

                                I wonder if any of us

                                could have done as well? 

                                                          

                                'One of God's main jobs is making people.

                                He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there
will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn't make grownups, just babies. I
think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way he doesn't have to take up his valuable
time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.'

                                'God's second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some
people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime. God doesn't have time to listen to
the radio or TV because of this. Because he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in
his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.'

                                'God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you
shouldn't go wasting his time by going over your mom and dad's head asking for something they said you
couldn't have.'

                                'Atheists are people who don't believe in God. I don't think there are any in Chula Vista [California]. At least
there aren't any who come to our church.'

                                'Jesus is God's Son. He used to do all the hard work, like walking on water and performing miracles
and trying to teach the people who didn't want to learn about God. They finally got tired of him
preaching to them and they crucified him. But he was good and kind, like his father, and he told his
father that they didn't know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.'

                                'His dad (God) appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him
he didn't have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So he did. And now he helps
his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of
and which ones he can take care of himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more
important.'

                                'You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of
them is on duty all the time.'

                                'You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there's anybody you want to
make happy, it's God!

                                Don't skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And
besides the sun doesn't come out at the beach untilnoon anyway.'

                                'If you don't believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your
parents can't go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He's around you when
you're scared, in the dark or when you can't swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big
kids.'

                                'But. . .you shouldn't just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and he can
take me back anytime he pleases.

                                And...that's why I believe in God.'

July 13, 2012

Quint is recuperating from surgery on July 11, 2012. Surgeon removed a growth on left cheek that turned out to be squamous cell cancer. Prognosis is good because doctor says he got good margins. Please continue to pray for him. He has a 4" incision on left cheek from about the corner of his eye all the way down to jawbone. Looks worse than it is.

In another matter, this link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2172551/Art-genius-Nine-year-old-painter-tipped-greatness-buyers-world-snap-work.html shows some incredible artwork that a young, 9-year old in England, artist has painted and his work is beginning to sell handsomely.



July 1, 2012

I'm a Lutheran and I sure wish the Lutheran Church had authored this video or one like it: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=D9vQt6IXXaM&hd

No matter, it's a message that needs saying so hats off to the Catholic church!

On another subject, the temperature here in Middle Illinois at 6 p.m. as 102.8 degrees. That's really hot.

Stay safe out there. If you do not have air conditioning, or if your AC goes out in this heat, sit in a tub of cool water. It will do wonders pulling heat out of your body. And let's remember in prayers all those folks on the eastern seaboard who don't have electricity. They don't even have fans to plug in.

Kind of reminds me of going to church when I was a kid. Oh, was that hot. And remember those hand fans that funeral homes gave out free to churches? We wore ours out.

June 24, 2012

The heat is the story here in the Midwest part of the United States. I can't tell you when the last time there was rain, but the corn stalks are starting to look pretty wilted. The word "parched" comes to mind. The beans don't look any better either.

So the big conclusion that some people have arrived at is that God is punishing the United States because so many people have turned away from Him?

Oh really?

Who said.

And how many?

These gloom and doomers pontificate about how we're all going to die and go to hell can't give any numbers. Can't offer any hope.

Well, folks, don't you believe it. God is a God of love. He wants all of us to be saved.

And to those people who think they can define the reasoning of God are being sacrilegious. They are talking when they should be listing to God.

My God is a God of love. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to die for our sins. Because of that, we are assured of salvation and life eternal.

But there are those who are going through these crises of faith. They're noisy. When God talks to you, listen to Him. It's that still, small voice inside you. And don't believe the naysayers who think they have he last word on what means and what God intends to do. They don't know. They just don't know.

Your faith is what will bring you closer to God. Let Him into your hearts and listen to Him.

June 6, 2012

We don't laugh enough. We are not light hearted enough. Way too serious. Oh, there are times when serious is good for you, but there are many more days when we just are not enjoying a good laugh.

So someone sent me a link to Mark Lowry. He's a Christian comedian and good for a real belly laugh, I can guarantee you.

Here's the link: http://jesus-loves-you.org/?p=6641

I'm going to You Tube and search for him and see if he's got other material. He's really funny.

May 15, 2012

Our U.S. Constitution is not flawed. It's not dead. It's not irrelevant!

Those who think it's out of touch with today's "modern thought" fail to realize that the U.S. Constitution is modernized each time the United States Supreme Court reviews a law or an incident and decides whether the rights of our citizens are abridged or impeached.

The language of the U.S. Constitution does, in fact, reside in a little book small enough to fit inside a man's jacket pocket or in a lady's handbag. However, volumes and volumes of interpretive material fills libraries. Interpretation by the sitting Justices keeps our Constitution up-to-date.

May 12, 2012

Our God is awesome! God controls the waters and the seas. Take a look at this video of the angry sea. http://www.dump.com/angryseas/

May 10, 2012

http://www.civilwar.org/maps/

I am in the process of researching the involvement and the role that the National Road (U.S. 40) played in military activities -- specifically troop movements. If you know of any such movements, please email me at jane@janereinheimer.com and put "National Road info" in the subject line. I'd be ever so grateful. If you do not want your name used, be sure to tell me. Otherwise, I'd like to share that you found the information. This is for a funding opportunity for Effingham County and it will focus on the role that the National Road has played in the significance of Effingham.



April 27, 2012

Well, that was a nice little rest.

Since I've last posted, I've fretted that frost would get my lovely irises. It didn't. Nor did the frost chip away at my roses. I have never had roses blooming in April before. They have exploded into full bloom. Bright red blooms against our white house. Wow!

And the irises are just as beautiful. I have some really deep purple irises, light lavender, some two-toned purple and white, bright yellow, a lighter lemon chiffon color, a pink iris and a peach colored one that is a double.

The spirea finally decided it would bloom too.

All in all, considering that I did absolutely nothing last year in the flower bed, it's amazing that my little troopers have done as well as they have. The irises apparently are no longer upset with me for snipping them back at the end of January and early February. Again in March when they started sending up things that looked like they'd bloom.

We've still had frost tucked in between 80 degree days but nothing serious enough to hurt my darling little flowers.

Quint and I are doing well. We continue to see our oncologist every three months and get blood work to check markers for cancer that might have decided to invade us again. So far, so good. Platelet counts are coming back to normal and we're working on our stamina.

I do have to take some medication for five years -- well, four years now -- that inhibits estrogen. It will keep breast cancer from recurring. Problem is, it makes the long bones in my legs and muscles in the thighs really ache. Nothing that can't be tolerated though. Compared to the benefits of what the medicine does for me, I'd say I came out the winner at this point.

Quint's lymphoma is still in remission too, so we're pretty health for the shape we're in.

And now I'm going to fix us a snack of yogurt, sliced strawberries, sliced bananas and walnuts. Then we're going to watch some spy thrillers on Netflix streaming.

Nice to be back and thank you for not giving up on me.

April 10, 2012

I am getting over the grandaddy of all colds. I expect to be better by morning, after having laid around all day today. Finally just gave it up and stayed in bed.

Until now, that is.

And you know how I love kids and their entrepreneural spirit. Well, here's a video of a young lad in east LA who build an arcade out of cardboard boxes in his dad's auto parts store. His name is Caine and he's 9 years old. It's just precious! http://games.yahoo.com/blogs/unplugged/nine-old-cardboard-arcade-launches-college-fund-182844242.html

Oh, and one other thing before I head back to my comfy easy chair. We have frost warnings for tonight. 30 degrees! My irises and roses are blooming. Wonder how that's going to set with them.

I just thought I'd mention something about all those spam emails and telemarketer calls you may be getting. Even if you're signed up for "do not call" lists, you still can get calls. Here's how. If you take part in an online voting request, or if you call to participate in a TV vote, you are setting up what is known as a "special relationship." Special relationships with a state allows any advertiser of that station of promo outfit to put you on their callers who are exempt from the "do not call" status.

If you live in Illinois and you get a telemarketer call, just tell the caller that Illinois is a "do not call" state and you do not want to be on their lists. They are required to hang up at that point. I've tried it and it works.

Also, here's a tip for getting rid of all those preapproved gimmicks that find their way into your mailbox. When I get the offers, the first thing I do is draw a big diagnonal line through the offer and write VOID on it. Then I stuff the document back into the self-addressed postage paid envelope that they provide. The advertisers are going to stop sending you stuff pretty quick rather than pay postage twice.

April 5, 2012

It's Maundy Thursday - the first part of the Easter trilogy.

Maundy Thursday was the night when Jesus shared bread and wine with his disciples and commemorated the event that we've followed in the Lutheran Church for ages since that time.

When I was confirmed on Palm Sunday many years ago, Maundy Thursday was the first opportunity I was given as a new confirmant to take my first communion. It was an awesome experience then, and it continues to be every chance I get.

I hope that it is the same for you as you draw near to the Easter story.

Tomorrow is Good Friday. Part 2 with the significance of Christ dying on the cross for our sins.

And then, of course, there's Easter Sunday when we celebrate Christ's resurrection.

Sin and death no longer have a hold on us because Christ died for our sins.

April 4, 2012

Ready to watch a miracle? Here's a video showing a woman in an SUV sinking. She couldn't swim. The SUV sank. But the miracle is not that she was somehow pulled from the SUV but the after-story: http://salesianity.blogspot.com/2012/04/woman-drowning-in-her-suv-is.html --

May the blessings of Easter catch you up in the miracles going around you every day. Life is a miracle. God brings miracles to us today just as He did thousands of years ago when Jesus died and rose again. I pray that you will get caught up in the miracle of the Easter story all over again. Christ died for our sins and rose again, and because He rose again, we have eternal life guaranteed to us by our Heavenly Father.

April 2, 2012

Want to know what video of a couple of famous dancers has gotten more than 118 million hits? None other than the big routine from Dirty Dancing! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpmILPAcRQo&feature=related

Another trivia question that some of you may know the answer to has to do with the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's failure at sea. April 15 is the date of this tragedy. If you thought most of the folks on board perished in the icy waters, you'll be surprised to learn that only half died. Well, maybe "only" is not a good word. One would be too many on a ship that was touted as unsinkable. There were 2,223 passengers and crew. 1,517 died. A little more than half.

April 1, 2012

If you haven't heard this song by the Barn Again Gang -- On My Father's side -- am sure you'll enjoy it. And thanks to you, Joyce from Frankfort, IL for sending: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5ddoyfn6g4

And here's Kaitlyn Maher, a 4-year old, singing in America's Got Talent. Mind you, she's had 26,585,501 hits on her debut on the national stage. She is absolutely adorable! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwAbtizFCzo&feature=related

Kaitlyn Maher again, this time singing Ave Maria - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CR0AXNtwqZE&feature=related

And she got to sing for President and First Lady Laura Bush: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fpt_UU96EG8&feature=related

Here she is singing the National Anthem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhD9kKb3hSM&feature=related



I have not ever heard the story about the "Praying Hands" so I am especially thankful to Cody in Warrensburg, MO for sending Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with
eighteen children. Eighteen! In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob,
the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost
eighteen hours a day at his tradeand any other paying chore he could find in the
neighborhood.

Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of the elder children, Albrecht and
Albert, had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew
full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them
to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally
worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby
mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy.
Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he
would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or,
if necessary, also by laboring in the mines.

They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and
went off to Nuremberg.

Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his
brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. Albrecht's
etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his
professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees
for his commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive
dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht's triumphant homecoming. After a long and
memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored
position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the
years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition. His closing
words were, "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you
can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream,and I will take care of you."

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat,
tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while
he sobbed and repeated, over and over, "No ...no....no ..no."

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long
table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek,
he said softly, "No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look
... Look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every
finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from
arthritis so badly In my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your
toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush.
No, brother ....for me it is too late."

More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer's hundreds of masterful
portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, water colors, charcoals, woodcuts, and
copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great
that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer's works.
More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction
hanging in your home or office.

One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer
painstakingly drew his brother's abused hands with palms together and thin fingers
stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands," but the entire
world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed
his tribute of love "The Praying Hands."

March 30, 2012

I have to share with you that the operators of this web site have become increasingly frustration to work with. The way I see it, I have two choices: (1) shut down the site altogether and discontinue the blogs, or (2) find a site that is more responsive to what I want from a web site.

In the meantime, one of the questions that Jesus asked is #80 -- If you do not believe Moses' writings, how will you believe me? (John 5:47)

Old Testament writings often come under fire as being "irrelevant" or "out of date" or just "too old."

All of those excuses are flawed, in my view.

In the first place, the Word of God is eternal.

Because the Word is eternal, it transcends time and space.

For that reason, when you read the Bible, the breath of God is still on the paper; still on the words. The Bible is the Word of God. It will never get "too old" or "out of date."

Get into the Word. Absorb it; take it in. If you find any challenge whatsoever about understanding what some passages mean, then the Counselor will be sent to you, just for the asking. Just pray that Jesus will send you His Counselor to assist you in your readings.

Blessings to you in your spiritual journey through the Word of God.

March 27, 2012

Here is one of the most precious tapes I've ever heard of a child: http://www.maniacworld.com/stay-calm-dad.html From my friend Shirley in Arizona. It's just precious!

This is a video I found on my own. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rtt-TmReaw&feature=related I love the innocence of this little girl. I pray that she will hold onto her dreams all her life and never let anyone snatch them away from her.

God keeps the dreams of children in his right hand pocket. And woe be to those who steal the dreams of a child.

Today I am going to discuss Question #66 from Luke 18:7 -- Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?

In the first place, I consider myself one of God's chosen ones because I claim the inheritance of being a child of God.

And how did I get to be a child of God? Simple. I believe that Jesus Christ, God's only Son, died for my sins and offered me salvation. By doing this, He names says that I share in the inheritance of God's richest blessings.

And you most certainly can enjoy this same inheritance and become a Child of God by believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins too.

It's just that simple. You have only to believe.

This is my right, in God's own words. He says: Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? I believe that because I know that God does not lie. He's good for His promises and when He says He's going to secure my rights, what do I have to fear?

And do I call out to God day and night? Yes. In my car when I head out to work. I pray that some idiot does not plow into me head-on. I pray that I don't get tee-boned by someone running a red light or a stop sign.

I pray that when I enter that miraculous place of empty thoughts of what seems to be unconsciousness, that the veil will be lifted in the morning and I will re-awaken to a new day. Sleep itself is a miracle. We fall into a mindless abyss every night and awaken refreshed to a new day. Is that a miracle or what? How does God do that?

I remember reading or hearing this "what if" thought that when you awaken in the morning, what if the only things you had in your life were the things you thanked God for yesterday! Kind of put a new perspective on things for me. Instead of just nagging and nagging -- which I can be pretty good at -- for things I think I want, or things I think I need -- I stop every day and thank God for what He gives me. The gifts are enormous and I only get them because He is a gracious God. I certainly deserve nothing.

But all day and all night I talk to God. We have an ongoing conversation. Help me with this, please. Oh, and thank you for that. Or how about all those problems that you just can't seem to solve. Then He says, "I can help you with that." Or, after the problem is solved and I nod a quiet thank you, He says "All you had to do was ask."

God is my friend. This King of the Universe took notice of me when I was about four years old. That's when I started talking to Him in my head. I knew it was God because I learned about Him in Sunday School. My Sunday School teacher told me I could just talk to God simply like he was an ordinary person. I took her at her word and have never thought of God as anything but.

Even though I know for sure, now that I have a few more years on me, that God is nothing ordinary at all. But I also know that He is never too busy to secure my rights as one of His chosen ones.

Enjoy your day and rest easy in your sleep, dear friends. God is watching out for you.


March 26, 2012

Question #32 that Jesus asked was, "Could you not watch for me one brief hour?" -- Matt. 26:40

There are lots and lots of ways to travel through the Lenten season on the way to Calvary. And the reasons for doing things differently are many and varied.

People offer up the thought that they can worship anywhere. They feel just as close to God, they say, when they are listening to a beautiful piece of music, or walking through the woods in the late afternoon.

Those things are true.

But it seems to me that if you want to go down that path to Calvary, you ought to do it the way that Jesus wants you to do it. Not the way you think, in your not-so-infinite pseudo-wisdom of coming up with these cute little excuses. Cute, you think.

Truth is, Jesus wants you to go to your church, or your temple and watch with him there, in that place.

This question that Jesus asks from Matthew sounds like a plea to me. Couldn't you watch with me one hour?

Well, sure you could, if you thought it was important enough.

Quint and I go to Lenten services and the church is not even half full. Where is everybody? Working? Playing? Doing homework? Driving around? Out to dinner? Where are you? Those who couldn't come to this worshiping place to watch with Jesus one hour.

What if I told you that I had learned that Jesus was going to make one of those rare earthly appearances for one week only. He was actually going to come to church because He wanted to talk to me.

I'd move heaven and earth to get there on time. I want to meet this man while He's still alive. You bet I'd watch with him an hour. In fact, I'll stay up all night if he stuck around to talk to me.

And talks to me He does. When I'm sitting in that pew, I can almost feel his eyes burning a hole in my skin. Kind of at the back of my neck. I can almost feel his hand on my shoulder while he bends around to look at me and whispers to me, "I'm so glad you came tonight. I'm doing this all for you, you know."

He's my Savior. We're connected. It must break His heart to see so many empty pews when they should be overflowing with people who are willing to give Him one hour of their busy schedules.

"Why couldn't you watch with me one hour?" He asks. It's a question you'll have all of eternity to answer Him one day.

March 25, 2012

Now this is precious! It's a two year old dancing to Jailhouse Rock. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wt824D1Bqg He's got some good moves too.

March 24, 2012

At this time of year, one of my favorite places on earth is Kentucky when the dogwood and redbud are in full bloom -- and nowhere are they more beautiful than my home town -- Paducah, Kentucky.

Just look at these gorgeous photos and you'll see what I mean: http://www.terragalleria.com/america/south-east/kentucky/

These quips come from my cousin who lives in a small town not too far from Houston -- well, in Texas, 200 miles is a "small distance" I think: THE POSITIVE SIDE OF LIFE:                

                        Living on Earth is expensive, 
                        but it does include a free trip   
                        around the sun every year.    

                        How long a minute is
                        depends on what side of the
                        bathroom door you're on.   

                        Birthdays are good for you;
                        the more you have,
                        the longer you live.    

                        Happiness comes through doors you  
                        didn't even know you left open.    

                        Ever notice that the people who are late  
                        are often much jollier
                        than the people who  have  to wait for  them?    

                        Most of us go to our grave
                        with our music still inside of us.    

                        If WalMart is lowering prices every day,  
                        how come nothing is free yet?    

                        You may be only one person in the world,  
                        but you may also be the world to one person.    

                        Some mistakes are too much fun  
                        to only make once.    

                        Don't cry because it's over;  
                        smile because it happened.    

                        We could learn a lot from crayons:  
                        some are sharp, some are pretty,
                        some are dull, some have weird  names,
                        and all are different colors....but
                        they all exist very nicely in the same box.    

                        A truly happy person is one who  
                        can enjoy the scenery on a detour.    

                        Have an awesome day, and
                        know that someone
                        who thinks you're great 
                        has  thought about you today!..    

                        "And that person was me.".....  
                        Please don't keep this message
                        to yourself.....send  it to those  
                        who mean so  much to  you.... "NOW". 

Thank you, Frances. I love the one about some mistakes. Hope you don't have too many people out there who are all to eager to point each and every little mistake you make. Those, I think, are the ones who go to their graves with the music still living inside them. It's just too much "vinegar energy" to look for flaws in people. And God knows I have more than my share, it seems. But here's the thing: I don't make mistakes on purpose and I never make mistakes with the idea of making someone's misery index go up. I just thank God that I am surrounded by true friends who cut me some slack. You know the ones. They really care about you. I like the idea that we are all living in a big crayon box. That has to be one of those lessons learned in kindergarten. But then, I'm old enough to realize that we didn't have kindergarten when I started school.

I celebrated kicking off my educational pursuits by going down the big slide on the playground with a somersault from the top. I was grounded from recess for the rest of the week. 


These beautiful thoughts also come from Frances:
  
JUST TO LET YOU KNOW THAT IT IS CHRISTIAN PERSON WEEK AND YOU SHOULD SEND THIS TO
ALL BEAUTIFUL CHRISTIAN PEOPLE 


When I say that 'I am a Christian', I am not shouting that 'I am clean living. I'm
whispering 'I was lost, but now I'm found and forgiven.'

When I say 'I am a Christian' I don't speak of this with pride. I'm confessing that
I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not trying to be strong. I'm professing that I'm
weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not bragging of success. I'm admitting I have
failed and need God to clean my mess.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not claiming to be perfect. My flaws are far too
visible, but God believes I am worth it.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I still feel the sting of pain. I have my share of
heartaches, so I call upon His name.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not holier than thou, I'm just a simple sinner who
received God's good grace, somehow!

Today is Beautiful Christian Person's Day.
Pretty is as Pretty does but, Beautiful is just plain Beautiful..

I'm supposed to send this to Beautiful People,
and you are one of them!!!


March 21, 2012

From the sermon text at our 5th Midweek Lenten Service in Matthew 28:16-20 comes the command of Jesus that we are to go into all the world and make disciples of all men.

Well, I don't know about you but I can't go to the airport and get a ticket to go to some faraway place and work in a mission field. But those very words are the marching orders of the church.

What I can do is partner with the Lutheran Women's Missionary League and be a supplier of stuff that missionaries can use. Quilts, for instance. Quilts are made in Lutheran churches all across this country. They find their way into orphanages. In hospitals. In remote villages where they are placed over a low branch and become the roof of a home. If the villager is lucky, a second quilt could be a floor. We need more quilts -- more than the 355,000 that have been made this winter. That means there will be an unmet need.

Our church is going to put baby kits together. These baby kits will have a few diapers in them. Some tee shirts. Some tiny little caps. Diaper pins and little sleepers. We're making the receiving blankets and it will have a bunch of baby supplies in it, then pinned with the diaper pins. Missionaries can take these baby kits and go into villages and give them to new mothers who often don't have clothes for newborn babies. And if they have a receiving blanket at all, it was made from their old clothes that were too worn out to use anymore. Imagine the joy when a new mom gets a bright, colorful receiving blanket that has been made with so much love and joy and prayers!

Yes, the women of the Lutheran Women's Missionary League can partner with missionaries who are in a position to tell others first-hand what Jesus has done for them. They can ground others by bringing them the Word of God.

And how long are we supposed to do all this?

Jesus says "Until the end of the age." That is, we're supposed to keep on keeping on until Jesus comes back for us.

In the meantime, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of ways that I can reach out to people around the world and spread the wonderful message that Jesus Christ died for our sins and because of his death on the cross, we can claim salvation as a child of God.

So this is the reason I write this blog. It's my way of going around the world to talk to people about what Christ has done for each one of us. That would be you. And it would be me. My computer is my magic carpet and on it, I can ride through cyberspace to reach you in 23 countries so far this month.

God bless each and every one of you.



March 20, 2012

Election results in Illinois: http://www.wthitv.com/subindex/elections/results Not all results are in at this writing.

If you are anywhere near middle Illinois on March 23, you could do yourself a favor and go to the Effingham Performance Center at 8:00 p.m. and catch the show headlined by Scott Wattles of Blue Suede Crew. Tickets are $5. He's an incredible performer for those of us who wax nostalgia over Elvis, Roy Orbison, Marty Robbins, and a host of others. What a voice!

We had an opportunity to hear him for the first time on Sunday evening. All Gospel songs. And a standing ovation for How Great Thou Art!

If I tried that it would come under the category of making a joyful noise, but I am filled with appreciation for anyone who can sing really well. We are fortunate because own Pastor Rensner is also a wonderful vocalist. I love listening to someone who loves to sing. And both these gentlemen do!

Earthquake near Acapulco registers 7.6! That's a really hefty earthquake even if it is about 200 miles from Acapulco. God is sure rattling the earth these days. Two hundred miles is nothing when an earthquake ripples its way through the earth.

It is still 78 degrees in the house. And Quint mowed the grass -- or part of it -- yesterday afternoon. Don't remember that happening in March. Ever. We sure do enjoy having the windows open and soft warm breezes blowing across us when we're sleeping though.

We pray for God's blessings to all of you. Some of you are living in dangerous area and you are especially in our prayers.

And we thank you for prayers too.


March 19, 2012

An anonymous quote: PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID, OR WHAT YOU
SAID ~BUT~THEY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL.


It's time for a patriotic song and this just arrived from Shirley, my favorite snow bird who has not returned from Arizona yet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TPgJSZf5Vw&feature=youtu.be

And here's a cute little story sent by our friends John and Sherre in Wichita:
Subject: A New Pet



                  The Talking Centipede


                  A single guy decided life would be more fun if he had a pet.



                  So he went to the pet store and told the owner
                  That he wanted to buy an unusual pet.



                  After some discussion, he finally bought a talking centipede,
                  (100-legged bug), which came in a little white box
                  To use for his house.



                  He took the box back home, found a good spot for the box,
                  And decided he would start off by taking his new pet
                  To church with him.



                  So he asked the centipede in the box,

                  "Would you like to go
                  To church with me today?
                  We will have a good time."



                  But there was no answer from his new pet.



                  This bothered him a bit, but he waited a few minutes
                  And then asked again,

                  "How about going
                  To church with me
                  And receive blessings?"



                  But again,there was no answer
                  From his new friend and pet.
                  So he waited a few minutes more,
                  Thinking about the situation.



                  The guy decided to invite the centipede one last time.



                  This time he put his face up against
                  The centipede ' s house and shouted,

                  "Hey, in there!
                  Would you like to go
                  To
                  Church with me
                  And learn about God?"
                  ......

                  YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS ......


                  This time,
                  A little voice
                  Came out of the box,

                  "I heard you the first time!

                   I ' m putting my shoes on!"

March 17, 2012

Today is the day when the whole world is Irish. That includes my cousin, Mark, who sends this blessing. It's beautiful poetry by Phil Coulter and narrated by Roma Downey. I thank you Mark for this beautiful blessing and, in turn, send it along to all my friends: http://www.andiesisle.com/ThisBlessingIsForYou.html Looking at the beautiful photos, I am reminded of a wonderful vacation that Quint and I took to Ireland a few years ago. It's a beautiful country and I got an answer to why the green grass is so vibrant and emerald colored. Supposedly it's because of the high level of minerals in the soil, most particularly calcium. And that's one of the reasons why Queen Elizabeth sends here pregnant horses to Ireland to deliver. Munching on good Irish green grass makes for healthy bones for the baby horse in the mom's womb, and also when the little baby horse starts to grow and develop. The grass really is emerald colored. They aren't just kididng.


Ready for a little humor? This comes from my friend Cody in Warrensburg, MO:

Billy Graham was returning to Charlotte after a speaking engagement and when his
Plane arrived there was a limousine there to transport him to his home.

As he prepared to get into the limo, he stopped and spoke to the driver.


'You know' he said, 'I am 87 years old and I have never

Driven a limousine. Would you mind if I drove it for a while?'


The driver said,

'No problem. Have at it.'

Billy gets into the driver's seat and they head off
Down the highway.
A short distance away
Sat a rookie State Trooper operating his first speed trap.

The long black limo went by him doing 70 in a 55 mph zone.

The trooper pulled out
And easily caught the limo
And he got out of his patrol car to begin the procedure.
The young trooper walked up to the driver's door
And when the glass
Was rolled down,
He was surprised to see
Who was driving.


He immediately excused himself and went back to his car
And called his supervisor.

He told the supervisor,
'I know we are supposed
To enforce the law....
But I also know that
Important people are
Given certain courtesies.
I need to know what
I should do because
I have stopped a
Very important person.'

The supervisor asked,
'Is it the governor?'

The young trooper said,
'No, he's more important
Than that.'

The supervisor said,
'Oh, so it's the president.'

The young trooper said,
'No, he's even more
Important than that.'

The supervisor finally asked,

'Well then, who is it?'

The young trooper said,


'I think it's Jesus,
Because he's got Billy Graham for a chauffeur!'

Smile - God loves you! I ask the Lord to bless you, as I pray for you today;
To guide you and protect you, as you go along your way
God's love is always with you, God's promises are true.

And when you give God all your cares, believe with all your might that God will see you through.

March 16, 2012

I see a lot of anxious people who come for counseling. And even though anxious people want very much to not be anxious anymore, they resist doing the very thing that un-anxious people know all about. That is, un-anxious people live their lives on a foundation of faith. Christ lives in their hearts. The Holy Spirit is used as a daily ever-ready counselor.

In going down the list of 100 Questions That Jesus Asked, I come to Luke 12:26 which asks: If even the smallest things are beyond your control, why are you anxious about the rest?

It's a humbling thought that we don't  have all that much control over the external events of our lives. For instance, there's that old Liar, Satan, who likes to poke his nose into every facet of our business. He'd like to think we're easy pickings for his nasty little harvest. And beware that you say such things as, "I'd give anything ..." Satan is the one who will seize that opportunity and yes, he can grant your wishes, too. Many times he does. Then he comes back for payment from you a nickel at a time.

You want wealth? Satan will give it to you. Then what? How many lives have been ruined by winning the lottery? But you say you'd like to just try it? Don't bother. Satan doesn't play fair. He wants to own you, lock stock and barrel.

The Lord, on the other hand, says, Do my work and I will prosper you. God is not against prosperity. It's not money that gets people in trouble. Rather, it's the love of moneythat leads to sin. The love of money leads to greed and corruption. People who are thousandaires strive to become millionaires. Millionaires strive to become billionaires. No matter how weather they are, they are never satisfied with what they have. Prosperity, on the other hand, comes with contentment.

When we are prosperous we thank the Lord that we have enough to spare and some left to share.

Lots of people are anxious about money because they have this idea that they want more and more and more, and never realizing that they don't have enough, and probably will never have enough to suit them.

But money isn't the only thing that causes so much anxiety. It's the fear that we're never going to be in control of situations or events in our lives.

When you look at your life, what is it that you think you do have control over? Your children? Your addicted spouse? Your job? Your ability to drive down the street and not have an accident? Your shopping for food and making the assumption that the food hasn't been tampered with by an idiot who has figured out a way to slip a poison into your food without it being detected until you get sick and are rushed to a hospital? Or you order and egg at a restaurant and get a dose of salmonella.

How's that control thing working out for you?

But here's what you do. First of all, get down on your knees and pray to God. Pray to Jesus Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to come into your heart and help you figure things out better. God likes our prayers better when we are reverent, I've found. That's why kneeling is best; it's humbling.

Don't want to do that? Well, you don't have to. Life can continue the way it's been going for you if you are filled with fears and anxieties. But if you want your life to change, let Jesus Christ into your heart. He has solutions for you that you can't even imagine.

He's the Master of the universe and it's Jesus Christ who is the agent of change in your life, not you.

March 15, 2012

Oh my, what a beautiful day we had today. It warmed up to a perfect 74 degrees. Soft, gentle breezes. Then there was this dark, ugly row of clouds that I had my eye on as I drove to work. It was about twenty miles away. Never did get a drop of rain. The clouds scooted east and stayed out of my way. The storm must have hit Detroit. I saw some pretty ugly video of tornadoes over there late this afternoon. Lots of damage and rubble. Hope there were no casualties.

On another subject, I have been thinking about compassion a lot these days. The people who are able to express and share it with others are so welcome in my world. Here's the deal. We all have to fashion our responses to other people similarly to what our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, would do.

Compassion and gentle tenderness. And love and kindness. And helping one another.

This comes from good friend Shirley all the way from Arizona:

This  is SIMPLY AWESOME!I’ve never seen this before! Whoever put “The Resume of
Jesus Christ” together is surelya  blessing to us all! Please share it!  The last
sentence says it  all...
 
The  Resume of Jesus  Christ
Address:  Ephesians  1:20
Phone:  Romans  10:13
Website:  The Bible . Keywords: Christ, Lord, Savior and  Jesus
_____________________________________________________
Objective
My  name is Jesus -The Christ. Many call me Lord! I've sent  you my resume because
I'm seeking the top  management position in your heart. Please consider  my
accomplishments as set forth in my  resume.
_____________________________________________________________________
Qualifications
I  founded the earth and established the heavens, (See  Proverbs  3:19)
I  formed man from the dust of the ground, (See Genesis  2:7) 
I  breathed into man the breath of life, (See Genesis  2:7)   
I  redeemed man from the curse of the law, (See Galatians  3:13)   
The  blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant comes upon your life  through me, (See
Galatians  3:14)   
_____________________________________________________________________    
Occupational  Background    
I've  only had one employer, (See Luke 2:49  ).   
I've  never been tardy, absent, disobedient, slothful or  disrespectful.   
My  employer has nothing but rave reviews for me, (See  Matthew 3:15  -17)   
_____________________________________________________________________   
Skills  Work Experiences   
Some  of my skills and work experiences include: empowering  the poor to be poor no
more, healing the broken hearted,  setting the captives free, healing the sick,
restoring  sight to the blind and setting at liberty them that are  bruised, (See
Luke  4:18).   
I  am a Wonderful Counselor, (See Isaiah 9:6). People who  listen to me shall dwell
safely and shall not fear evil,  (See Proverbs 1:33  ).   
Most  importantly, I have the authority, ability and power to  cleanse you of your
sins, (See I John  1:7-9)   
_____________________________________________________________________   
Educational  Background   
I  encompass the entire breadth and length of knowledge,  wisdom and understanding,
(See Proverbs  2:6).   
In  me are hid all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,  (See Colossians  2:3).
  
My  Word is so powerful; it has been described as being a  lamp unto your feet and a
light unto your path, (See  Psalms  119:105).   
I  can even tell you all of the secrets of your heart, (See  Psalms  44:21).   
_____________________________________________________________________   
Major  Accomplishments   
I  was an active participant in the greatest Summit Meeting  of all times, (See
Genesis 1:26  ).   
I  laid down my life so that you may live, (See II  Corinthians 5:15  ).   
I  defeated the arch enemy of God and mankind and made a  show of them openly, (See
Colossians 2:15  ).   
I've  miraculously fed the poor, healed the sick and raised  the  dead!   
There  are many more major accomplishments, too many to mention  here. You can read
them on my website, which is located  at: www dot - the BIBLE. You don't need an
Internet  connection or computer to access my  website.  
_____________________________________________________________________  
References  
Believers  and followers worldwide will testify to my divine  healing, salvation,
deliverance, miracles, restoration  and supernatural  guidance.  
_____________________________________________________________________  
In  Summation  
Now  that you've read my resume, I'm confident that I'm the  only candidate uniquely
qualified to fill this vital  position in your heart. In summation, I will properly
direct your paths, (See Proverbs 3:5-6), and lead you  into everlasting life, (See
John 6:47 ). When can I  start? Time is of the essence, (See Hebrews 3:15  ).  
Send  this resume to everyone you know,
you never know who 
may have an opening!
Thanks  for your help.  

'Nuff said.







March 14, 2012

I just got this link from my friend in the Quad Cities area in northern Illinois. It's an eagle mom sitting on her nest. And the article points out that the nest if seven feet in diameter! http://www.alcoa.com/locations/usa_davenport/en/info_page/eaglecam.asp

Got this from Mary, a friend who lives in Springfield. It comes to her from an attorney. And just an aside, when your credit card is stolen, you do know that you have to file the report in the police department where the fraud/theft took place, don't you? There's lot of good advice here and I thank you, Mary, for sending this. I'm going to write "photo ID required" on each card as I receive new ones. That's a great idea!

All Credit Card Users Advice
- Tel Numbers

Advice for all credit card users posted by Bluwolf at Caps Corner
Sunday morning 03/11/2012
 
bluwolf] Read this and make a copy
for your files in case you need to refer to it
someday. Maybe we should all
take some of his advice! A corporate attorney sent
the following out to the
employees in his company:

1.Do not sign the back of your credit cards.
Instead, put 'PHOTO ID REQUIRED.'

2. When you are writing checks to pay
on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the
'For' line. Instead, just put the last four
numbers. The credit card company
knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it
passes through all the check processing
channels won't have access to it.

3.Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If
you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO
Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks. (DUH!)
You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have It printed, anyone can get
it.

4.
Place the contents of your wallet on photocopy machine. Do both sides of each
license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of
the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in
a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here
or abroad. We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in
stealing a Name, address,Social Security number, credit cards..
 
Unfortunately, I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my
wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieves ordered an expensive
monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line
approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my
driving record information online, and more.

But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:
 
5.We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately.
But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you
know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.
 
6.. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc.,
were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a
first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one). But here's what is
perhaps most important of all: (I never even thought to do this.)

7.
Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud
alert on your name and also call the Social Security fraud line number. I had
never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an
application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means
any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they
have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.


By the time I
was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had
been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves'
purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no
additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this
weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them dead in their
tracks.
 
Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about
your wallet, if it has been stolen:

1.) Equifax:
1-800-525-62851-800-525-6285

2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
1-888-397-3742

3.) Trans Union : 1-800-680 7289 1-800-680 7289

4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271
1-800-269-0271
 
We pass along jokes on the Internet; we pass along
just about everything. If you are willing to pass this information along, it
could really help someone that you care about.

March 13, 2012

It has been a really long day at an all day board meeting for Lutheran Women's Missionary League (LWML). The location of the meeting is some 95 miles from home. We passed a resolution for mission grants in the amount of $75,000.

The women of the LWML are amazing. They collect small amounts of change on a regular basis and add them all together and pretty soon, there are thousands of dollars in our district, and almost two million at the national level. Then the money is sent all around the world to help feed hungry children, start new churches, help church workers go to school, and a wide variety of projects that we receive.

One of the member groups, called Societies, is finishing up some 170 quilts they have been making this winter. Another group, from my zone, has made 127 quilts. These quilts will be sent to Lutheran World Relief and shipped to people around the world wherever they are needed.

It's a long day to meet for quarterly board meetings but it's refreshing to partner with so many other women of faith who share a single commitment to help make the world a better place to live in.

We had a mission pastor speak at our church last Sunday and he tells of the horrible poverty in Central America. Did you know that there are children who do not have clothes to wear. And they eat maybe once every two or three days?

Why aren't more people on fire with a passion to join in a partnership with churches that are working hard in these poverty-stricken countries? These are the groups that make sure almost 100% of any money that's collected goes right where it's needed. And much of that money is spent distributing the goods that are collected.

Pray for the hungry and the naked children who live in squalor and poverty.

God bless you, each and every one.

March 11, 2012

Today is the day when it feels like we've moved into another time zone -- one just to the west of us because the sun stays up longer. ha ha

My dear friend Joyce sent me this link to a video that is nothing short of adorable.
http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=vJRDpTUIrJI&vq=medium

It's about a mother black bear and her three newborn cubs getting tagged in the wilds of Ontario. The commentator is pretty funny too. Thank you, Joyce.

Here's another one from Joyce. It's about a young woman who's talking to her grandpa about the ipad she gave him. He assures her that he's using it and knows all about the apps, etc. Watch this:   
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0FVm_H_D18

 -- See, don't tell fibs.


And this comes from my cousin, Frances, in southern Texas:

How children perceive their Grandparents......

1. She was in the bathroom, putting on her makeup, under the watchful
eyes of her young granddaughter, as she'd done many times before.
After she applied her lipstick and started to leave, the little one
said, "But Grandma, you forgot to kiss the toilet paper good-bye!" I
will probably never put lipstick on again without thinking about
kissing the toilet paper good-bye....

2. My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday.
He asked me how old I was, and I told him, 80. My grandson was quiet
for a moment, and then he asked, "Did you start at 1?"

3. After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into
old slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she
heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience
grew thin. Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed into
their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left
the room, she heard the three-year-old say with a trembling voice,
"Who was THAT?"

4. A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own
childhood was like. "We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing
made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our
pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods."
The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this all in. At last she said,
"I sure wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!"

5. My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, "Grandma, do you
know how you and God are alike?" I mentally polished my halo and I
said, "No, how are we alike?'' "You're both old," he replied.

6. A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's
word processor. She told him she was writing a story.
"What's it about?" he asked.
"I don't know," she replied. "I can't read."

7. I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I
decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color it
was. She would tell me and was always correct. It was fun for me, so I
continued. At last, she headed for the door, saying, "Grandma, I think
you should try to figure out some of these colors yourself!"

8. When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept
the lights off until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky
insects. Still, a few fireflies followed us in. Noticing them before I
did, Billy whispered, "It's no use Grandpa. Now the mosquitoes are
coming after us with flashlights."

9. When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, "I'm
not sure." "Look in your underwear, Grandpa," he advised "Mine says
I'm 4 to 6."

10.. A second grader came home from school and said to her
grandmother, "Grandma, guess what? We learned how to make babies
today." The grandmother, more than a little surprised, tried to keep
her cool. "That's interesting." she said... "How do you make babies?"
"It's simple," replied the girl. "You just change 'y' to 'i' and add 'es'."

11. Children's Logic: "Give me a sentence about a public servant,"
said a teacher. The small boy wrote: "The fireman came down the ladder
pregnant." The teacher took the lad aside to correct him. "Don't you
know what pregnant means?" she asked.
"Sure," said the young boy confidently. 'It means carrying a child."

12. A grandfather was delivering his grandchildren to their home one
day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the
fire truck was a Dalmatian dog. The children started discussing the
dog's duties.
"They use him to keep crowds back," said one child.
"No," said another. "He's just for good luck.."
A third child brought the argument to a close."They use the dogs," she
said firmly, "to find the fire hydrants."

13. A 6-year-old was asked where his grandma lived. "Oh," he said,
"she lives at the airport, and when we want her, we just go get her.
Then, when we're done having her visit, we take her back to the
airport."

14. Grandpa is the smartest man on earth! He teaches me good things,
but I don't get to see him enough to get as smart as him!

15. My Grandparents are funny, when they bend over, you hear gas leaks
and they blame their dog.

March 7, 2012

Got this earnest prayer from a dear friend, Diane, who lives in Hidalgo:

Hi Lord, its me.*   *We are getting older and things are getting bad here.*
*Gas prices are too high, no jobs, food and heating costs too high.* *I
know some have taken you out of our schools, government and even* *Christmas,
but Lord I'm asking you to come back* *and re-bless America .* *We really
need you!*   *There are more of us who want you than those who don't!* *Thank
You Lord,* *I Love you.*   *If you agree, send it on---if not just delete.*
*Only you & the Lord will know.*
*"Life without God is** **like an unsharpened pencil - it has no point."*


As a side note, there is a prayer group that stops to pray at 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time. The prayer is for America to return to its Christian roots and rid Washington, D. C. of all corrupt politicians. People all over the country are joining together in this common prayer. Join in if you can.

Last night was Ladies Aid at church. What a privilege it is to meet with other women of like Christian values and to share God's word in a Bible Study, then our hostess for the evening, Melissa, made a wonderful spread of fresh fruit. She also made cookies but I didn't have any. It seems that sugar has become my enemy since learning that I have gout that settled in my lower back and my right thumb. The medicine that I now take is for people who specifically took Cytoxan as a chemo treatment for breast cancer. So, no sugary desserts. But then, since Quint is diabetic, Splenda has become my friend. And I can also get chocolate covered cherries from Figi's and have them shipped to me. Yummmmmmy!

It's really windy here. So bad that the windmill has blown over twice in the last day or so. I also heard that there were 90 mph gusts in Las Vegas. Not that anybody who goes to Las Vegas goes outside to stand on the sidewalks to enjoy the weather. I mean, they don't even have clocks in the casinos. They'd probably like it if people took their watches off, but that's not happening much either.


Got this from both cousins, Mark and Alan, so you know it's serious stuff:

  Seems Reasonable 
        

            Can't eat pork,

            Swine flu...



            Can't eat chicken,

            Bird flu.



            Can't eat Beef, Mad cow

            .....

            Can't eat eggs, Salmonella.



            Can't eat fish, heavy metal poisons in their waters.



            Can't eat fruits and veggies E coli, insecticides and herbicides.

             

            Hmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            M

            M

            M

            M

            M

            M

            M

            M

            M

            M

            M



            I believe that leaves Chocolate and ice cream!!!!!!!!

            

            Remember - - - 'STRESSED'

            spelled backwards!

            is

            'DESSERTS'

March 5, 2012

Got this poignant story from cousin Mark. Enjoy! Gratitude is a acquired pleasure.Have a great day full of love and happiness. 

Change Your Thinking

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.

One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain
the fluid from his lungs.

His bed was next to the room's only window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end.

They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement
in the military service, where they had been on vacation..

Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass
the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the
window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world
would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and colour of the world
outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake.

Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young
lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour and a fine view of the city
skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the
other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by.

Although the other man could not hear the band - he could see it in his mind's eye
as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days, weeks and months passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the
lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.

She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to
the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was
comfortable, she left him alone. 

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the
real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window besides the bed.

It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had
described such wonderful things outside this window.

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, 'Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.'

Epilogue:

There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations.

Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.


And these quips from "kids in church" comes from dear friend, Cody, in Warrensburg, MO:

A little boy was in a relative's wedding.
As he was coming down the aisle, he would take two steps,
stop, and turn to the crowd.
    While facing the crowd, he would put his hands up like claws and roar.
     So it went, step, step, ROAR, step, step, ROAR, all the way down the aisle.
As you can imagine, the crowd was near tears from laughing so hard
by the time he reached the pulpit.
When asked what he was doing, the child sniffed and said,
"I was being the Ring Bear." 

One Sunday in a   Midwest City ,
a young child was "acting up" during the morning worship hour.
The parents did their best to maintain some sense of order in the pew
but were losing the battle.
   Finally, the father picked the little fellow up
and walked sternly up the aisle on his way out.
     Just before reaching the safety of the foyer,
the little one called loudly to the congregation,
"Pray for me! Pray for me!" 

One particular four-year old prayed,
"And forgive us our trash baskets
as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets."

A little boy was overheard praying:
"Lord, if you can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it.
I'm having a real good time like I am."

A Sunday School teacher asked her little children, as they were on the way to church
service, "And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?"
      One bright little girl replied, "Because people are sleeping." 
 
      A little boy opened the big and old family Bible with fascination,
looking at the old pages as he turned them.
     Then something fell out of the Bible.
He picked it up and looked at it closely.
It was an old leaf from a tree that has been pressed in between the pages.
"Mama, look what I found," the boy called out.
"What have you got there, dear?" his mother asked.
      With astonishment in the young boy's voice he answered,
"I think it's Adam 's suit". 
 
          The preacher was wired for sound with a lapel mike,
and as he preached, he moved briskly about the platform,
jerking the mike cord as he went.
     Then he moved to one side,
getting wound up in the cord and nearly tripping before jerking it again.
     After several circles and jerks,
a little girl in the third pew leaned toward her mother and whispered,
"If he gets loose, will he hurt us?"

Six-year old Angie , and her four-year old brother, Joel , were sitting together in
church.  
Joel giggled, sang and talked out loud.
Finally, his big sister had had enough.
"You're not supposed to talk out loud in church."
"Why? Who's going to stop me?" Joel asked.
Angie pointed to the back of the church and said,
"See those two men standing by the door?
They're hushers."

  My grandson was visiting one day when he asked ,
"Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?"
      I mentally polished my halo, while I asked,
"No, how are we alike?"
"You're both old," he replied.

A ten-year old, under the tutelage of her grandmother,
was becoming quite knowledgeable about the Bible.
      Then, one day, she floored her grandmother by asking,
"Which Virgin was the mother of Jesus ? The virgin Mary or the  King James Virgin ?"

 A Sunday school class was studying the Ten Commandments.
     They were ready to discuss the last one.
     The teacher asked if anyone could tell her what it was.
     Susie raised her hand, stood tall, and quoted,
"Thou shall not take the covers off the neighbor's wife."

March 3, 2012

Please lift your hearts in prayer for the victims of this horrible rash of tornados today. These are killer winds. In addition to fatalities reported, there's dangers with houses being lifted off their foundations. It's a good night to stay in, be safe, and pray that God will embrace all those people who are suffering with heavy losses. Harrisburg, in southern Illinois, was particularly hit, it seems to me. But there are other areas, with just as deadly outbreaks. I heard on one of the news channels that this year would be as bad as the tornado season in 1978.

We pray steadfastly, also, that our nation will return to its Christian roots on which it was founded.

I look forward to going to church on Sunday and hearing a message from the Gospel lesson that, at least in part, says For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. March 8:38

I think there are a whole bunch of people out there who have kind of postponed thinking about what they're going to do with all this Christianity stuff. "I'll worry about all that when I get older," they seem to think.

Oh yeah?

Well, think of Andrew Breitbart, who now lays cold and quiet at the tender age of 43. He was one of my favorite reads. He was the kind of journalist that Pulitzer hoped to reward for courage through the printed word. I pray that he was okay with God before he took his last breath. I have a feeling that he was.

But what about all the other people out there? You know the ones -- they don't want the children to pray in school. They don't want to say the word "God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. They don't want to hear anything that sounds like Christian talk. Woe be to those who turn their backs on God. This verse in Mark tells them exactly what God will do in retaliation. And don't think for one minute that they can appease God with some half-witted excuse like, "I didn't mean it. You know I wasn't serious, don't you?"

It's time to pray like you mean it. It's time to spend your days thinking about God. Oh, you don't have to jump up out of your chair screaming "Hallalujah." But you can think about the Great and Wonderful Creator of the Universe who allows you to take each breath throughout every day of your life. Be thankful for that.

I have always wondered about the people who want to go to heaven. Don't they realize that they will spend their time praising and worshiping God? If they are looking forward to the time when they are able to do that, wouldn't you think they could spend more time worshiping and praising God every day, in some way?

There are so many things a person can do to worship God. He sees us when we are kind to others. He sees us when we are compassionate and generous. He sees us when we try with all our heart to lead a life as free as sin as we possibly can - not that we'll ever be totally sin-free, what being human and all. But we ought to try as best as we can to avoid temptation and sin in our lives.

God likes it when we strive to do that.


February 29, 2012

Questions to ask yourself --

Can you tell the difference between being tested and being tempted?

Easy answer.

When you're tempted, it involved a sin of some sort.

Being tested is a form of discipline. Discipline makes you grow in faith. It enriches you and tempers your faith into a tool as strong as steel.

The passage that started all this thinking about being tempted was from the Epistle lesson a week or so ago. It's from the Book of James, and says: Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. -- James 1:13-14

So if you feel like you're being tempted, who do you think might be the culprit?

Another easy answer -- Satan himself.

Satan is the author of evil. Not God. God does not tempt us, Satan does. Temptations involve sins. Testing involves love through discipline.

This notion that there is a person named Satan reared its head out on the campaign trail a few weeks back. Santorum made the comment that "...Satan had his eye on Washington." What a firestorm that set off. Here came the spindoctors who tried to make Santorum look like a religious kook. Until some organization did a survey and found that 70% of Americans believe -- truly believe -- that Satan really does exist.

Remember way back in Sunday School days hearing that the best trick Satan has going for him is that he convinces people that he does not exist. Well, that doesn't happen in the United States.

We're a Christian nation and we know he's real. And his favorite game is Gotcha!

If you want an inkling about who Satan is, take a look at the Book of Job.

In the very first chapter, in verse 6, we read: One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, "Where have you come from?"

Satan answered the Lord, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."

Then follows a conversation recorded between the Lord and Satan. So if the Lord recognizes Satan and calls him by name, who are we to even think that he does not exist?

Rest safely in the arms of the Lord, my friends, and pray fervently for his protection from Satan and all that is evil.

February 28, 2012

Before I go off in a different direction, you have to watch this video of the Daytona 500. Talk about races, burning cars, fast bumps, and one big brewhaha. One spill took out six cars: http://news.yahoo.com/video/turnerweekendtop5-20497430/weekend-top-5-daytona-28446636.html#crsl=%252Fvideo%252Fturnerweekendtop5-20497430%252Fweekend-top-five-homestead-27337497.html

Here's a video that is precious. It's about Pastor Ed Dobson, who developed ALS. He talks about his new role as a different kind of pastor now that he no longer has an active church. http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/18/tending-the-garden-one-person-at-a-time/

Pastor Rensner talked about how come God, who has the power to stop the storms in our lives, doesn't do that. Pastor said that sometimes God calms the person going through the storm rather than calming the storm. And why would He do that? His reasons are his own and they are not my ways.

I am working on a thesis of the difference between being tested and being tempted. I hope to have it finished by this time tomorrow, so I hope you'll come back to read it.

Blessings, prayers and hugs,
Jane

February 27, 2012

This story comes from Connie today. She says it will give you the chills....... GOOD chills. See if you agree.

A young man had been to Wednesday Night Bible
Study.  The Pastor had shared about listening to God and obeying the Lord's voice

The young man couldn't help but wonder, 'Does God still speak to people?'

After service, he went out with some friends for coffee and pie and they discussed
the message. Several different ones talked about how God had led them in different ways.

It was about ten o'clock when the young man started  driving home. Sitting in his car, he just began to pray, 'God...If you still speak
to people, speak to me. I will listen. I will do my best to obey.'

As he drove down the main street of his town, he had the strangest thought to stop
and buy a gallon of milk. He shook his head and said out loud, 'God is that you?' He didn't get a reply and
started on toward home. But again, the thought, buy a gallon of milk.

The young man thought about Samuel and how he didn't recognize the voice of God,
and how little Samuel ran to Eli. 'Okay, God, in case that is you, I will buy the milk.' It didn't seem like too hard
a test of obedience. He could always use the milk. He stopped and purchased the
gallon of milk and started off toward home.

As he passed Seventh Street, he again felt the urge, 'Turn Down that street.' This is crazy he thought, and drove on past the intersection.

Again, he felt that he should turn down Seventh Street .

At the next intersection, he turned back and headed down Seventh.

Half jokingly, he said out loud, 'Okay, God, I will.'

He drove several blocks, when suddenly, he felt like he should stop He pulled over
to the curb and looked around. He was in a semi- commercial area of town. It wasn't
the best but it wasn't the worst of neighborhoods either. The businesses were closed and most of the houses looked dark like the people were
already in bed.

Again, he sensed something, 'Go and give the milk to the people in the house across
the street.' The young man looked at the house. It was dark and it looked like the
people were either gone or they were already asleep. He started to open the door
and then sat back in the car seat.

'Lord, this is insane. Those people are asleep and if I wake them up, they are going
to be mad and I will look stupid.' Again, he felt like he should go and give the
milk.

Finally, he opened the door, 'Okay God, if this is you, I will go to the door and I
will give them the milk. If you want me to look like a crazy person, okay. I want
to be obedient. I guess that will count for something, but if they don't answer
right away, I am out of here.'

He walked across the street and rang the bell. He could hear some noise inside. A
man's voice yelled
out, 'Who is it? What do you want?' Then the door opened before the young man could
get away.

The man was standing there in his jeans and T-shirt. He looked like he just got out
of bed. He had a strange look on his face and he didn't seem too happy to have some
stranger standing on his doorstep. 'What is it?'

The young man thrust out the gallon of milk, 'Here, I brought this to you.' The man
took the milk and rushed down a hallway.

Then from down the hall came a woman carrying the milk toward the kitchen. The man
was following her holding a baby. The baby was crying. The man had tears streaming
down his face.

The man began speaking and half crying, 'We were just praying. We had
some big bills this month and we ran out of money. We didn't have any milk for our
baby. I was just praying and asking God to show me how to get some milk.'

His wife in the kitchen yelled out, 'I ask him to send an Angel with some. Are you
an Angel?'

The young man reached into his wallet and pulled out all the money he had on him
and put in the man's hand. He turned and walked back toward his car and the tears
were streaming down his face.
He knew that God still answers prayers. 

This is so true. Sometimes it's the simplest things that God asks us to do that
cause us, if we are obedient to what He's asking, to be able to hear His voice
more clear than ever. Please listen, and obey ! He will bless you (and the world).
Phil 4:13 

February 25 -- 26, 2012

I'm adding this video at the front. It's from my cousin Mark and it's a video showing an owl coming in for a landing on a security tower. http://www.dogwork.com/owfo8/ It's unbelievable footage showing the owl "putting on the brakes," so to speak. And look at those wing maneuvers! It's only a minute long, but fascinating.

Beautiful photograph by Paul Bunyard, set to music -- called Chasing the Light. It's a four and a half minute respite! http://www.dogwork.com/bnpcduk8/

One of my favorite videos -- this is a dog in a contest -- apparently the judges don't give him very high marks because he can't seem to get it right. But then, just wait until the amazing end! http://www.dogwork.com/tconmv8/

This is a video (1:40) of cranes flying over Venice, Italy. Fascinating photography of the landscape below, but also of the cranes communicating with one another while flying: http://www.dogwork.com/crafly9/

Here's a video, also from dogworld.com that shows a little bird coming into a bluegrass festival and sitting on the lead singer's guitar. Too funny! http://www.dogwork.com/blugrs9/

Now, before you watch this next one, please realize that dogs are not supposed to stand upright and walk, much less dance. But here's a cute little dog doing a Paso Doble. Yes, dancing: http://www.dogwork.com/psdqwk8/

Danica Patrick crashed intot he wall at Daytona today: http://www.breitbart.tv/danica-patrick-crashes-at-daytona/

Oh dear. This video shows someone getting creamed by an oncoming traffic. Just another reason why I don't do any road ranging during ice and snow and black ice weather: http://www.breitbart.tv/nissan-frontier-shattered-into-bits-by-oncoming-semi/

Here's a recently discovered amateur video of the shuttle that exploded. After watching it, the videographers didn't really understand what had happened. It seemed like they thought the crash was the booster rocket separating. http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2012/02/24/vo-challenger-amateur-video.newscientist

And this final video is about a man named Omar and his seeing eye dog Salty. Omar was working on the 71st floor of the World Trade Center when the building was hit. Watch this video of this remarkable dog rescuing and saving his best friend, Omar: http://www.dogwork.com/arfp8/

February 24, 2012

You do know that 2012 is a leap year, don't you? Just thought I'd bring that up, in case you overlooked the fact that February has 29 days in it this year.

So it's Friday night here at home. It's cold outside with the wind whipping around the corner of the house. And we're about ready to settle down to a good old mystery on Netflix streaming and Quint asks from the kitchen, "You want popcorn with that?" Who could say no? Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks.

I made 3-2-1 cakes for dessert. If you remember, I have a big plastic bag into which I mixed together a sugar-free yellow cake mix and an angel food cake mix. Really mix them well. Then, whenever you want a quick little cake, you mix 3 tablespoons of this cake mix and 2 tablespoons of water. Microwave that for 1 minute and you have this unbelievable little cake.

Well, I got fancy, I did. I put about 1/2 tablespoon of margarine and 1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar blend (with Splenda). Microwave that for about 5 seconds until the butter is melted. Stir that up and put in 1/2 tablespoon of crushed pineapple. Then add the mixed up 32-1 cake mix and microwave that for 1 minute. Yummmy!

I'm going to see if sliced strawberries in the bottom of my little dish (which is about the size of a ramekin), then put the 3-2-1 mixed up cake mix and see if it passes for a strawberry short cake. It might. Or it might be close enough to pass for a suitable substitute.

Changing the subject, the weather here has taken a dive down to 36 degrees. This time yesterday it was almost 60 degrees. For those of you who just joined us from the United Arab Emirates, it probably doesn't matter that much. You have heat all year round. But you also have sand. I don't know if I could really get used to living on a sand hill. It just looks - well, dry.

But since readers are from all over the world, it's probably a curiosity for some who never experience snow. (You're not missing much at all.)

And as a side note, I'm so glad that you liked the blog from a few days ago about the man praying the Lord's Prayer. It's unbelievable how many emails I've gotten in favor of this prayer. And how it's made you pause and think about what you're saying when you pray. You know, God really is right around you every minute of the day. And he cares about you, so keep on praying.

My prayer for you is that you will be blessed with many wonderful people and opportunities that God will put in your life today. Enjoy each and every one of them.

February 23, 2012

Last night was Ash Wednesday service at church. It marks a time when we begin a remembrance of the death of Jesus Christ and his resurrection three days later at Easter. It's a somber time and as I sat in church and looked around me, I saw the usual faithful worshipers. I felt closer to them than I do at other times of the year. The imposition of ashes reminds us that we came from dust and it is to dust that we will return. In the meantime, we are to live our lives as Christians and walk through life behaving as if --

...as if Christ were right beside us, visibly point out pitfalls,

... as if Christ were steering us around the misdeeds we might otherwise get ourselves into,

... as if we remember that we are never alone,

... as if we realize consciously that Christ is watching us,

... as if we remember that it is Christ who sits at the right hand of God interceding for us on our behalf,

... as if we remember, also, that it is Christ who will judge us when we catch up with eternity,

... as if we always remember that we are to pray to God, our heavenly father, and we can only get there through Jesus Christ,

... as if we want more than anything to please God and Jesus Christ,

and finally, as if we are truly sorry for all our sins.

This isn't one of the questions that is listed as having been asked by Jesus, but sometimes, when I do really silly stuff, I have this vision of Jesus asking, "What in the world did you do that for?" It helps me not to do things anymore that I really don't want to do and know that I shouldn't do.






February 21, 2012

Did you feel the earthquake this morning? It registered 4.0 on the Richter Scale. I'll have to tell Quint that it wasn't the wind that was rattling the windows that woke him at 4:00 am, but rather, the temblor shifting around close to the New Madrid fault line. Here's a map that shows exactly where the earthquake was: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsus/Maps/US10/32.42.-95.-85.php

But if you really want to see something, take a look see at this map of the United States -- 806 earthquakes in the last 24 hours. California and Alaska are always feeling a lot of shaking going on.

Stay safe out there, my friends.

Changing the subject, back to the List of 100 Questions that Jesus Asked:

Question #79 -- How is it that you seek praise from one another and not seek the praise that comes from God? John 5:44

Walk through this question with me for a moment. Remember the last time you went to get a new outfit? You found something that you thought would look good on you. You looked in the 3-way mirror to make sure the outfit draped across your body just the way you wanted it to. And why is that?

Simple. When we buy something new to wear, we're thinking of what others will think of it. Then they'll tell us how nice it looks.

We'll get praise.

But hold on here for a moment. The question that Jesus is asking is how come you're thinking about what others think?

How come you aren't all that concerned about what God thinks of you?

I think there might be a couple of answers to this question.

One of the thoughts I have is that because we don't physically see God, it's sometimes hard to imagine that he's right here, right now, in this very room, reading over your shoulder. Maybe watching you curiously to see how you get through your day. But, our humanness sometimes fails us spiritually because we aren't always consciously thinking that God is present everywhere at the same time.

How can that be? I don't know the answer to that. My brain can't get wrapped around that possibility, but I know it's true because the Bible says so.

I know that after Quint and I finish our breakfast and we join hands for our daily prayers, God is in the room with us. And I also know that it pleases God when his children talk to him. That's what we do. We let him know what we're thankful for because he does so much for us. We wouldn't have a thread to wear if it weren't for God's grace. Oh, I don't mean that he puts a hanger with clothes on it in our closet. But he makes provisions for us to get the things we need as we go through our lives. And it's been like that since the day we were born.

God has always been a stellar provider. He has never failed to provide us with what we need.

By the same token, he puts situations in our paths to see what we're going to do about them. He brings people to us to see how we're going to react to them.

We need to always think about what we are doing so that we live our lives in ways that please God.

To me, that's a lot more important than whether someone else likes a dress I bought.

I care what God thinks. I most definitely care what he thinks. And I hope that anything and everything I do in life tickles him. He is not a person I ever want to be displeased with at me!

February 20, 2012

And who couldn't use a bit of humor in these harried political days? Got this one from my cousin Al in Virginia Beach:

A female journalist heard about a very old Jewish man who had been going
to the Western Wall to pray, twice a day, every day, for a long, long time.

      So she went to check it out. She went to the Western Wall and there he was,
walking slowly up to the holy site.

      She watched him pray and after about 45 minutes, when he turned to leave,
using a cane and moving very slowly, she approached him for an interview.

      "Pardon me, sir, I'm Rebecca Smith. What's your name?

      "Morris Feinberg," he replied.

      "Sir, how long have you been coming to the Western Wall and praying?" 

      "For about 60 years."

      "60 years! That's amazing! What do you pray for?"

      "I pray for peace between the Christians, Jews and the Muslims."

      "I pray for all the wars and all the hatred to stop."

      "I pray for all our children to grow up safely as responsible adults and to
love their fellow man."

      "I pray that politicians tell us the truth and put the interests of the people
ahead of their own interests."

      The reporter then asked, "How do you feel after doing this for 60 years?"

      "Like I'm talking to a wall."  
    

And our good friend Joyce sends us this cost analysis of how much it costs to run a Volt. Can you tell that Joyce is a banker by trade?

Subject: Cost to operate a Chevy Volt

Take a few minutes to read thru this analysis. This is truly an economic failure,
until technology improves to change these costs! This is what the Obama
Administration is pushing in his new budget! Just another "cash sink hole", from our
taxes, and huge debt!
 
Eric Bolling (Fox Business Channel's Follow the Money) test drove the Chevy Volt at
the invitation of General Motors.

For four days in a row, the fully charged battery lasted only 25 miles before the
Volt switched to the reserve gasoline engine.

Eric calculated the car got 30 mpg including the 25 miles it ran on the battery.

So, the range including the 9 gallon gas tank and the 16 kwh battery is
approximately 270 miles.

It will take you 4 1/2 hours to drive 270 miles at 60 mph. Then add 10 hours to
charge the battery and you have a total trip time of 14.5 hours.

In a typical road trip your average speed (including charging time) would be 20 mph. 

According to General Motors, the Volt battery hold 16 kwh
of electricity. It takes a full 10 hours to charge a drained battery. 

The cost for the electricity to charge the Volt is never mentioned so I looked up
what I pay for electricity. 

I pay approximately (it varies with amount used and the seasons) $1.16 per kwh. 

16 kwh x $1.16 per kwh = $18.56 to charge the battery. 

$18.56 per charge divided by 25 miles = $0.74 per mile to operate the Volt using the
battery. 

Compare this to a similar size car with a gasoline engine only that gets 32 mpg. 

$3.19 per gallon divided by 32 mpg = $0.10 per mile. 

The gasoline powered car cost about $15,000 while the Volt costs $46,000......... 

So Government wants us to pay 3 times as much, for a car that costs more that 7
times as much to run, and takes 3 times longer to drive across country..... REALLY
?????

- I have a question. After the battery just up and dies, how much will it cost to destroy it? I doubt if the batteries will be allowed in landfill. I mean, if you can't even put an old, dead cell phone in the landfill, what are you going to do with the Volt battery?

But what if you keep the Volt and decide to replace the battery. I read somewhere a couple of years ago that the battery alone cost $25,000. Can that be right? Does anybody know? If you do could you shoot me an email. Please.


And this from my dear cousin Frances in Broaddus, Texas:

                  We need to show more sympathy for these people.
                  * They travel miles in the heat.
                  * They risk their lives crossing a border.
                  * They don't get paid enough wages.
                  * They do jobs that others won't do or are afraid to do.
                  * They live in crowded conditions among a people who speak a
different language.
                  * They rarely see their families, and they face adversity all day
~ every day..

                  I'm not talking about illegal Mexicans ~ 

                  I'm talking about our troops! 

                  Doesn't it seem strange that so many are willing to lavish all
kinds of social benefits on illegals, but don't support our
troops?

                  Wouldn't it be great if we took the $360,000,000,000 (that's
billion) we spend on illegals every year, and spend it on our
troops!!!

February 17, 2012

This is one of the best versions of an interactive Lord's Prayer that I've ever read. It's sent to us from my dear friend Cody in Warrensburg, MO. I do pray that it will enrich your life today and that you will think about this when you pray the Lord's Prayer:

THE LORD'S PRAYER- Rather cleverly done. This is in two parts,
The prayer(in blue type) and GOD(in red type)-in response.
It is very, very good.
   *********
"Our Father Who Art In Heaven.
Yes?
Don't interrupt me. I'm praying.
But -- you called ME!
Called you?
No, I didn't call you..
I'm praying.
Our Father who art in Heaven.

There -- you did it again!
Did what?
Called ME.
You said,
"Our Father who art in Heaven"
Well, here I am..
What's on your mind?
But I didn't mean anything by it.
I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day.
I always say the Lord's Prayer.
It makes me feel good,
Kind of like fulfilling a duty.
Well, all right.
Go on.
Okay, Hallowed be thy name .
Hold it right there.
What do you mean by that?
By what?
By "Hallowed be thy name"?
It means, it means .. . Good grief, 
I don't know what it means.
How in the world should I know?
It's just a part of the prayer.
By the way, what does it mean?
It means honored, holy, wonderful.
Hey, that makes sense.. 
I never thought about what 'hallowed' meant before.
Thanks.
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.
Do you really mean that?
Sure, why not?
What are you doing about it?
Doing?  Why, nothing, I guess.
I just think it would be kind of neat if you got
Control, of everything down here like you have up
There. We're kinda in a mess down here you know.
Yes, I know;
But, have I got control of you?
Well, I go to church..
That isn't what I asked you.
What about your bad temper?
You've really got a problem there, you know.
And then there's the way you spend
Your money -- all on yourself.
And what about the kind of books you read ?
Now hold on just a minute!
Stop picking on me!
I'm just as good as some of the rest
Of those People at church!
Excuse ME..
I thought you were praying
For my will to be done..
If that is to happen,
It will have to start with the ones
Who are praying for it.
Like you -- for example ....
Oh, all right. I guess I do have some hang-ups.
Now that you mention it,
I could probably name some others.
So could I.
I haven't thought about it very much until now,
But I really would like to cut out some of those things.
I would like to, you know, be really free.
Good.
Now we're getting somewhere.
We'll work together -- You and ME.
I'm proud of You.
Look, Lord, if you don't mind,
I need to finish up here.
This is taking a lot longer than it usually does.
Give us this day, our daily bread.
You need to cut out the bread..
You're overweight as it is.
Hey, wait a minute! What is this?
Here I was doing my religious duty,
And all of a sudden you break in
And remind me of all my hang-ups.
Praying is a dangerous thing.
You just might get what you ask for.
Remember, you called ME -- and here I am.
It's too late to stop now.
Keep praying.  ( pause .. . )
Well, go on.
I'm scared to.
Scared?  Of what?
I know what you'll say.
Try ME.
Forgive us our sins,
As we forgive those who sin against us.
What about Ann?
See? I knew it!
I knew you would bring her up!
Why, Lord, she's told lies about me, spread stories.
She never paid back the money she owes me..
I've sworn to get even with her!
But -- your prayer --
What about your prayer?
I didn't -- mean it..
Well, at least you're honest.
But, it's quite a load carrying around all that
bitterness and resentment isn't it?
Yes, but I'll feel better as soon as I get even with her.
Boy, have I got some plans for her.
She'll wish she had never been born.
No, you won't feel any better.
You'll feel worse.
Revenge isn't sweet.
You know how unhappy you are --
Well, I can change that.
You can? How?
Forgive Ann.
Then, I'll forgive you;
And the hate and the sin,
will be Ann's problem -- not yours.
You will have settled the problem
as far as you are concerned.
Oh, you know, you're right.
You always are.
And more than I want revenge,
I want to be right with You . . (sigh).
All right, all right . .
I forgive her.
There now!
Wonderful!
How do you feel?
Hmmmm. Well, not bad.
Not bad at all!
In fact, I feel pretty great!
You know, I don't think I'll go to bed uptight tonight.
I haven't been getting much rest, you know.
Yeah, I know.
But, you're not through with your prayer, are you?
Go on.
Oh, all right.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Good! Good! I'll do that.
Just don't put yourself in a place
where you can be tempted.
What do you mean by that?
You know what I mean.
Yeah. I know..
Okay.
Go ahead. Finish your prayer.
For Thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory forever.
Amen.
Do you know what would bring me glory?
What would really make me happy?
No, but I'd like to know.
I want to please you now...
I've really made a mess of things.
I want to truly behave like Christ
I can see now how great that would be.
So, tell me .. . .
How do I make you happy?
YOU  just did".

February 15, 2012

Taking a break from the questions that Jesus asked, I have to share with you that Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) took Secretary (Health and Human Services) Sebelius to task today about whether or not she had consulting with any bishops before drafting the contraceptive order for the White House. Her response was that she had not, but assumed that the folks over at the White House must have.

Well, that wasn't quite good enough to Hatch who then made the statement that he believed all religious organizations should be exempted from the contraception demand. (See article at: http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2012/02/15/sebelius-didnt-consult-bishops-on-contraception-deal/)

There are several layers to this argument, if you ask me. One is that of whether you believe women ought to be able to buy contraceptives.

The other is a question of honoring all religions who are opposed to abortion and believe that abortion is about killing an unborn child. In that event, then the "morning after pill" would make the trip down that slippery slope.

Then there is the constitutional camp which is inhabited by people who believe that the government has no right in tampering with freedom of religion. Forcing organizations, whether directly with religious organizations, or imposing on the insurance companies who insure employees of religious organizations makes no difference. The question isn't about who pays for the contraceptives -- the religious organization or its insurance company. It's about whether the government has the right to mandate any such behavior.

Clearly there is not a lot of wiggle room with folks who believe strongly that they have a right to hold onto their religious beliefs without interference from the government. And yes, of course, the fed have overstepped its constitutional boundaries.

Bet this one makes it to the Supreme Court.




February 14, 2012

The next question that Jesus asked is in Mark 8:12 -- Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign?

This was when Jesus was meeting with the Pharisees and they wanted to test him. Guess they wanted to see if he could really perform some good magic tricks. They asked him in verse 11 for a sign from heaven. You know that Jesus must have been a bit perturbed because verse 12 starts out with Jesus sighing deeply.

Well, if you were the Son of God and you knew you could move a mountain if you just wanted to, wouldn't you get just a bit exasperated with people trying to put you on the spot all the time?

Why couldn't people just believe that Jesus was the Son of God? Would you? If you were expecting the promised Messiah to be more, well, kingly, would you still believe a person who arrived on the scene dressed in something that looked like a homespun robe? So he went around doing miracles. These were real miracles. They weren't magic signs that could be explained by a slight of hand.

No, no. Jesus healed the sick. He made the lame walk. He even touched the leper and made him clean. And he saved his best miracle to last when he raised a dead man back to life.

Was that sign enough?

Not really. Because the very idea that he had brought a man back to life was used to prosecute him.

If you were reading the Galilean Daily Chronicles and there was this banner headline about a dead man walking again, wouldn't you call to get a ticket to this man's next event?

Of course you would. And you'd probably try to get a front row seat so that when this guy Jesus asked if anyone in the audience would like to come down to the front and ask for anything they wanted, you'd hop on down there. What would you want? Win the lottery? Cure for your arthritis? A baby for your barren womb? A fairy tale, drop dead gorgeous superman for a husband? A shiny new Corvette to tool around the Galilean countryside? A big fancy yacht to troll around the Sea of Galilee, catching fish and stuff?

If you could have anything you wanted, what kind of a sign would satisfy you that Jesus is the true Son of God. In fact, he's the only Son of God.

Jesus must have grown weary of people who had to have this proof that he was who he said he was.

Do you think it's any different now -- 2,000+ years later? Aren't people still looking for a sign?

Can you just accept in your hearts that Jesus is Lord? No signs are needed for those who believe.

And for those who do not believe, there aren't enough signs in the whole world to bring the proof that they require.

It's all about faith. And believing.



February 13, 2012

I have my hands on a wonderful list called 100 Questions that Jesus Asked.

What a wonderful springboard for our conversations here on this thread.

Eventually I want to go all the way through the questions that Jesus asked. And the first one is from Matthew 6:27 -- Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your lifespan?

My recent - and I call the last two years of my life as recent -- bout with breast cancer jumps up and out of the depths of that rusty barrel that houses my brain.

I will say that never during that entire ordeal did I feel desperate and anxious about living or dying. That was because of a couple of reasons, not the least of which is the verse quoted above. I know that somewhere in Jeremiah, there's a reference to the fact that God said he knew me when I was still in my mother's womb. In another verse way back there in the Old Testament, probably from a psalm, there's a reference to God knowing how many hairs I have on my head, and also how many days I will spend here on earth.

Some might view those cancers for both Quint and me as God specifically not answering our prayers. I take a counter view because we have both gone through that long, black tunnel of chemo. Radiation added for me. When we talked it through, all the way to the core, we came to understand that God had, in fact, answered our prayer. You see, at our age, if there was to be cancer, it was far better to get it out of the way, so to speak, before we got really old. Advanced age puts severe limitations on what chemo you can get and what you can't tolerate. We are blessed to have gone through all that and are now in remission. In fact, we just may be in better shape now than a lot of people who are incubating cancerous cells and don't know about it.

So, knowing that God knows all those details about my life, I have little to fear because I also know that he walks with me through all my days.

Besides, God doesn't seem to put the same sense of desperation on dying that we humans do. Perhaps that's because God thinks of death as the death of a soul. I figure that he's elated when a person's body dies because those persons get to come back home to be with him in heaven. Who could cry about that?

It doesn't mean we don't go through a grieving process when we lose our loved ones. And there might even be a few people who will be said when my creaky old bones end up in the fiery pits of a crematorium. But I hope they will be overjoyed when death finds me skipping through that tunnel that near-deathers describe.

After all, as Pastor Rensner says, "What are you going to do, threaten me with heaven?"

So, no worries. Enjoy each and every little sunbeam as you travel down the road of life. And get down on your knees and thank the good Lord above for all the blessings he has given you in this life, right now.

February 12, 2011

Navy Seal quote of the week

Dana Perrino ( Fox News) describing an interview she recently had with a Navy SEAL .
After discussing all the countries he had been sent to, she asked if they had to
learn several languages?

His reply:

"No ma'am, we don't go there to talk."

February 9, 2012

I almost ran over a hawk on the way home from work this afternoon. How could I ever explain how I could kill a bird on the wing! But sure enough, the silly thing flew right in front of me about a foot higher than the hood of the car. He got real close to the edge of the air.

That's Quint's reason for airline crashes. Planes crash when they go past the edge of the air.

Changing the subject, I'm making cookies for little kiddos at church. We have an after school program and offer the kiddos a snack when they get off the bus and come into the play area with tummies that have caved in from hunger. They get a half sandwich, a cookie and a piece of fruit. Then they go charging around the gym and burn it all off and go home starved for supped.

I'm making cookies from a cake mix. To do that, you out two eggs into 1/3 cup oil and mix well. Then, mix that into the dry cake mix. Makes a bit more than 2 dozen little cookies. The cookies are baked at 375 degrees for 6 - 8 minutes.

I got a confetti cake mix since little darlings adore confetti and sprinkles.


And I got this beautiful story from my cousin Mark:

Tell me this one doesn't put life in perspective.  

In Phoenix , Arizona , a 26-year-old mother stared down at her 6 year old son, who was
Dying of terminal leukemia.

Although her heart was filled with sadness, she also had a strong feeling of  determination.

Like any parent, she wanted her son to grow up and fulfill all
his dreams. Now that was no longer possible.

The leukemia would see to that. But she still wanted her son's
dream to come true.

She took her son's hand and asked,

'Billy, did you ever think about what you wanted   to be once you grew up ?

Did you ever dream and wish what you would do with your life ?'

Mommy, 'I always wanted to be a fireman when I grew up.'

Mom smiled back and said, 'Let's see if we can make your wish
come true.'

Later that day she went to her local fire Department in Phoenix , Arizona, where she met   Fireman
Bob, who had a heart as big as Phoenix .

She explained her son's final wish and asked if it might be   possible to give her
6 year-old son a ride around the block on a fire engine.

Fireman Bob said, 'Look, we can do better than that. If you'll
have your son ready at seven o'clock Wednesday morning, we'll
make   him an honorary Fireman for the whole day. He can come down to the fire
station, eat with us,   go out on all the fire calls, the whole nine yards !

And if you'll give us his sizes, we'll get a real fire uniform
for him, with a real fire hat - not a toy   one   with the emblem of the
Phoenix Fire Department on it, a yellow slicker like we wear
and rubber boots.'

'They're all manufactured right here in Phoenix , so we can get them fast.'  

Three days later Fireman Bob picked up Billy, dressed him in his uniform and escorted him from his hospital
bed to the waiting hook and ladder truck.

Billy got to sit on the back of the truck and help steer it
back to the fire station. He was in heaven.

There were three fire calls in Phoenix that day and Billy
got to go out on all three calls.

He rode in the different fire engines, the Paramedic's' van,   and
even the fire chief's car. He was also videotaped for the local news program.

Having his dream come true, with all the love and attention that was lavished upon him, so
deeply touched Billy, that he lived three months longer than any doctor thought possible.

One night all of his vital signs began to drop dramatically and
the head nurse, who believed in the hospice concept - that no one should die alone, began to
call the family members to the hospital.

Then she remembered the day Billy had spent as a Fireman, so
she called the Fire Chief and asked if it would be possible to send a fireman in uniform to
the hospital to be with Billy as he made his transition..

The chief replied, 'We can do better than that. We'll be there in five minutes. Will
you please do me a favor ?

When you hear the sirens screaming and see the lights flashing,   will you announce
over the PA system that there is not a fire? 'It's the department coming to see one of its finest members one more time. And will you open the   window to his
room?


About five minutes later a hook and ladder truck arrived at the hospital and extended its
ladder up to Billy's third floor open window --------  

16 fire-fighters climbed up the ladder into Billy's room!

With his mother's permission, they hugged him and held him and
told him how much they LOVED him.  

With his dying breath, Billy looked up at the fire chief and
said, 'Chief, am I really a fireman now?'

'Billy, you are, and The Head Chief, Jesus, is holding your hand,' the chief said.

With those words, Billy smiled and said, 'I know, He's been
holding my hand all day, and the angels have been   singing.'

He closed his eyes one last time.  



February 8, 2012

So there's this mountain of mud sitting at the edge of the yard. It's the residue from the sewer line repair the other day. Rather than spread it out flat with the rest of the yard, we were told that the spring rains would pound it down so that the trench would eventually be filled in. Sounds reasonable to me, but I think I'll get out there with a rake one of these days, all of the same. Otherwise, I'm going to go out there in the next day or so and find a ski lift with very little people using the little mound for their winter fun.

It got cold in the last day or so. Even had a dusting of snow. We are woefully behind with our snowfall. According to the old wives' tale, since we had our first snowfall on the 27th of December, we can expect 27 snowfalls in total. Last night's dusting was only #4. Now, mind you, I don't mind not having 27 snowfalls. It's not like it's a goal or something.

Oh, another thing. Changing the subject, NASA says that the oceans are not rising, but rather, the level of water went down a bit. According to the weather/climate change/global warming gurus, weren't we told that because of global warming, the ice sheets would be melting and we'd have so much more water in the oceans that our eastern coast would be flooded. So how come the water level is going down? Faulty theory = flawed results. But then, just maybe because the Russians drilled a hole in the ice sheet in Antarctica to get to an underground lake, maybe water is draining down into the hole. Hey, it could happen!

Quint took me to lunch at Cracker Barrel today. When we were coming out to go back to the car, we noticed that there had been a bunch of pansies in bloom before they got frosted. Now, who would plant blooming pansies in the middle of winter? Sure enough, they got frostbit last night. I love the meatloaf at Cracker Barrel. If I close my eyes, I can imagine that I'm back at Grandma Stubbe's boarding house in Paducah. Cracker Barrel's meatloaf tastes just like hers. Maybe they found her recipe somewhere. It's delicious. So is their Cream of Potato Soup which is my favorite soup anywhere.

And now my client has arrived for a session. I see her pulling into the driveway now.



February 6, 2012

Want the world to be a better place? Then do something. Think about joining the huge group of volunteers in America.

I know this is old data, but it's the source I found when I went looking. It's a research article on volunteerism in America written by Richard D. Young. He cited a Bureau of Labor Statistics report that says 59% of people in the United States who are 16 years old or older volunteered for an organization in some capacity. And that was for the year way back in 2001 to 2002. that was 27.6% of the American population.

Volunteers most often donate their time to religious organizations (33.9%). Second on the list is educational organizations who get 27.2% of the volunteers. But it's the old folks who are 65 and older who donate
the most time to churches -- 45.2%.

Further, the Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies several activities in which volunteers engage in consistently. The list below shows which activities are most predominate.

Teaching or coaching (24.4 %).

Canvassing, campaigning, or fundraising (22.9 %).

Collecting, making, serving, or delivering goods (22.2 %).

Serving on a board, committee, or neighborhood association (16.3 %).

Providing care or transportation (12.3 %).

Consulting or administrative work (14.0 %).

So this ties in with the Gospel lesson at church yesterday. It's from Mark 1:29-39 and tells the story of Jesus healing Peter's mother-in-law from a fever. What's the first thing she did when her fever went away? She got up and began to serve them.

Not because she had to, as Pastor Gillet said. But because she wanted to.

When it comes to serving in the Kingdom of God, it's something we get to do. We don't have to, but rather, we are allowed to serve.

In another article, again pulling data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we read that ... nearly 63 million Americans, slightly more than a quarter of the population, volunteered for charities last year, providing services valued at nearly $173-billion. That’s down from 2009, when 63.4 million adults, or nearly 27 percent of the population, donated their time. The volunteer rate has not changed significantly since 2006, hovering around 26 percent. Volunteerism reached nearly 29 percent from 2003 to 2005 and has been as low as 20.4 percent in 1989, says a report by the Corporation for National and Community Service, which is based on annual and monthly surveys of roughly 100,000 Americans age 16 or older, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What's neat about this article is an interactive map of the United States that compares the percentage of volunteers in a state and compares it to the national average when you move your cursor over the state. http://philanthropy.com/article/Volunteerism-Holds-Steady-in/128565/

So get out there and be a good neighbor. While you're at it, volunteer to help out at your church too.


February 4, 2012

Quint and I headed over to Culvers after closing up the junior quilting shop at church. When we started looking for a spot to sit down at, I heard a familiar voice say, "Jane." It was the vice president of the Effingham/Shelby Zone and she invited us to sit with her and her husband. They were just finishing up the flavor of the month (chocolate eclair) ice cream, so we sat down.

After talking about a dizzying list of favorite subjects, Chris and I then started talking about cake recipes. I told her I was going to start visiting churches in the Zone. Tomorrow is my first outing. It's at a church where the church council is making soup for lunch. I told her I was going to make a yellow cake with a peach pie filling and after sharing that quick recipe with her (it's on the recipe page over there on the left), she said, "I'll tell you how to make a cake."

She explained, first you mix a cake mix with an angel food cake mix. It can be any kind of cake mix you want, but it has to be with an angel food cake mix.

Then, when you get those two cake mixes mixed well, mix 3 tablespoons of the dry mix with 2 tablespoons of water and microwave for 1 minute.

She says it's easy to remember because it's 3-2-1.

When I got home I mixed a sugar free yellow cake mix with an angel food mix that I picked up on the way home.

Sure enough, it works! So I have this cake mix in a ziploc bag ready to make a cake in a minute.

I even bought one of those new cans of frosting mix that Pillsbury has. It looks like a whipped cream container where you kind of bend a plastic tip a bit and out comes the frosting.

What an amazing age we live in!

I remember when I was a little girl my grandmother would send me to the bakery to buy two layers of a yellow cake if she didn't have time to bake a cake for a church event. And she thought that was cheating. But no one ever knew. She always covered it with her famous 7 Minute Frosting so who would have ever been able to tell.

One of my other favorite memories of my grandmother was her little forest of African Violet leaves. She had a big pan of sand which she kept wet. Then she would take leaves from her African Violets and stick them in the sand. After some mysterious length of time, she'd know when to take the leaves out because they'd have roots developed. She'd plant them in little pots and after a while, little baby African Violets would pop their little faces up through the dirt. Eventually, she'd cut the big leaf off and put it back in the sand to make a new generation.

I got up enough nerve to try that this year. A nurse at the oncology center assured me that this method would work so I gave it a try. I now have a beautiful purple and another pink African Violet and when I get a little new plant, I give them to clients who want them.

Except that I only use African Plant Food water. That makes them bloom like happy little campers. Pretty much all the time too.


February 2, 2012

If the groundhog can be believed, we don't have to worry about winter weather so much. We had fog as thick as pea soup. Not only could the rat not see his shadow, I doubt if he could see his cute little paw in front of his face. Yay! Go groundhog.

I received this from my friend Cody in Warrensburg, MO:


One of the best I've seen lately........

Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?

What if we flipped through it several times a day?

What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?

What if we used it to receive messages from the text?

What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?

What if we gave it to Kids as gifts?

What if we used it when we traveled?

What if we used it in case of emergency?

This is something to make you go....hmm...where is my Bible?

Oh, and one more thing.

Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being
disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill.

Makes you stop and think 'where are my priorities? And no dropped calls!

When Jesus died on the cross, he was thinking of you!


I read another article today on the web warning about yet another scam. This one has to do with jury duty. Supposedly someone sends you an email or calls you to let you know there's a warrant for your arrest because you didn't show up for jury duty.

After you pick yourself up off the floor and start to explain that you never got a summons to appear for jury duty, then the most helpful scam artist at the other end of the phone asks you for your social security number and birthday so it can be double checked against the list of warrants. Now, we aren't going to give anybody that kind of information, are we?

Please say you won't.

Scam artists are mean. They're usually crooks who need to go where other criminals live.

If you live in Illinois, you need to know that Illinois is a "do not call" state. That means if you get an annoying telemarketing call, immediately tell the caller that you are aware that you live in a "do not call" state and want your name taken off the list he/she is calling from. The caller has to stop the conversation immediately.

Also, there's a link on the Links page on this website to put your phones on the "Do not call list." I probably need to do that again because I'm starting to get calls again. Putting your phone numbers on the list is not a permanent solution but when you start to get calls again, just go back in and renew your numbers.

February 1, 2012

We're zipping through the Bible at an accelerated pace in our Sunday morning adult discussion class. It's an ambitious undertaking because we're actually going to go from Genesis to Revelation in a 10-week segment. Oh, for sure, we aren't going to do any really in depth stopping over points. We can always go back and focus on aspects of the textbook we're using individually at a later date.

One of the quick points that was made in an early chapter was that Genesis 15:1 was the first time that the term "the word of the Lord came to..."

In this particular instance, the reference was to Abraham. He was the first man to whom the word of the Lord came. Abraham was a prophet. In this particular instanc, the word prophet means one who receives the word of the Lord.

Don't you think it would be exciting to pick up the Bible and get into the Word? Page after page after page of the Word brings us richness and depth to our soul. It's a blessed journey to walk every day with the Lord.

There's mending to be done when we weep from heavy grief. Our soul yearns for healing and it's right there, in between the covers of the Book.

There's learning that jumps off the pages with so much history. The Bible is not a complete history of what was going on in the world. For instance, from 1250 to 1190 BC the Greeks and Trojans were fighting the famous Trojan War. It happened. We know that from recorded history. But it's not a Bible story.

And did you know that from 1750 - 1040 BC, China's Shang Dynasty had a system of writing. They organized a bunch of armies too.

There were earthquakes too. From 1150-950 BC, earthquakes rattled the area around Cyprus.

Accupuncture was first introduced during the Chou dynasty at 1030 BC.

For sure, there were people in other places doing other things. Their stories were not captured in the Bible.

What the Bible does bring us is the bloodline of Jesus all the way back to Adam and Eve. The Bible traces this lineage through the House of David, through his line of history to a little town of Bethlehem.

There's much in the Word to sift through and think about. Absolutely no other book in the history of mankind has had the impact as the Word of God. Nor has any one single individual, save Jesus Christ, had as much of an impact on civilization than the Son of God who came from heaven to become flesh and blood and to live among us. Then he died as a sacrifice on the cross for the sins of each one of us.

This month we recognize Ash Wednesday as the beginning of the season of Lent. It's a time when we stop what we're doing and ponder the miracle of God's great love which he so graciously gifts us with.

Let the Word of God come to you. Pick up the Bible and just hold it in your hands. Then open it and start to read.

Prepare to be amazed.



January 31, 2012

It's hard to believe that here in Middle Illinois, it's 58.1 degrees. Highly unusual for January 31. Only two days 'til Ground Hogs Day and this year, do I dare say, "Who cares?"

Actually, when you think about it, it doesn't matter whether the rat sees his shadow or not. Spring is six weeks away no matter what. Just count the days on the calendar.

When I left you last night I was talking about the bad rap that controlling and manipulating people have gotten over the years. We've put a negative connotation onto those two words when, in fact, they can be life-saving.

I mentioned that the reason people are controlling is because they want life to be predictable. And who doesn't want that?

But maybe we're asking for trouble in trying to control people, places and events that we don't have any business messing with. There's all kinds of attempts at controlling that could even land you in jail. For instance, if you forged someone's signature because you wanted to control your ability to get out of debt so you think stealing someone's identity and/or money is acceptable. Not.

That's not even close to be included in this discussion.

What you can control, though, is your behavior. How you react to events and people in your life can be a healthy way to control your environment.

Babies, for instance, who smile and giggle at you make it awfully easy and heartwarming to pick them up and cuddle them. They've learned at a very early age that positive behaviors get more favorable attention from the big people in their lives. In a small way, they've figured out how to control someone to come over and pick them up.

I remember when my daughter and her husband were trying to get back to Los Angeles when, for some reason, their flight was abruptly cancelled. No new flights were scheduled at that airline. So she went over to another airline and said to an already overstressed service attendant that she realized the burden that this lady was under and she certainly didn't want to push her for help, but she was hoping ever so much if there was anything that she could do to get them on a plane. She engaged the lady in a few light moments and the next thing you know, she and her husband were on a flight, with a "Thank you so much. You are a lifesaver." And off the went to the other end of the airport where the other airline's terminal was.

She learned when she was a little girl that when you're reasonable, you're more able to operate on your environment and more often than not, get the results you want.

Call it whatever you want, but being pleasant will get you farther along than being pushy and ignorant and belligerent and demanding.

When you wake up in the morning, look at the daylight and say, "Today is going to be a great day. I'm going to have some adventures and come in contact with people I enjoy being with." Then get up, get dressed, and put your very best smile on your face as you out to operate on your environment. Make things happen. But in a pleasant way that shows people you care about them.



January 30, 2012

I'm actually in between clients right now, so this will be a bit brief. I'll finish my thought tomorrow in a bit more detail.

What I want to discuss before the thought goes too far away is this whole idea that controllingness and manipulation is a bad thing. I say -- not necessarily.

The reason we need to control or manipulate things is to make life more predictable. We all need predictability in our lives. So the question really wraps itself around why we feel insecure when our lives are not predictable.

Jean Piaget, the psychological guru who developed the school of cognitive development, says we all learn how to "operate" on our environment and the people in it.

It does not make you a bad  person.

More about this after I've had a good night's rest.


About the time I think there's not much new under the sun, this comes to my email. It's from Linda over in Lawrenceville. Thank you, Linda!


Subject: Monday Morning Message

        This is SIMPLY AWESOME! I've never seen this before! Whoever put The Resume
of Jesus Christ together is surely a blessing to us all! Please share it!
The last sentence says it all... Send this resume to everyone you know, you
never know who may have an opening!   Powerful!
        Have a blessed day!
        The Resume of Jesus Christ
        Address: Ephesians 1:20
        Phone: Romans 10:13
        Website: The Bible . Keywords: Christ, Lord, Savior and Jesus
        _____________________________________________________
        Objective
        My name is Jesus -The Christ. Many call me Lord! I've sent you my resume
because I'm seeking the top management position in your heart. Please
consider my accomplishments as set forth in my resume.
        _____________________________________________________________________
        Qualifications
        I founded the earth and established the heavens, (See Proverbs 3:19 )
        I formed man from the dust of the ground, (See Genesis 2:7 )
        I breathed into man the breath of life, (See Genesis 2:7 )
        I redeemed man from the curse of the law, (See Gal at ians 3:13 )
        The blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant comes upon your life through me,
(See Galatians 3:14 )
        _____________________________________________________________________
        Occupational Background
        I've only had one employer, (See Luke 2:49 ) .
        I've never been tardy, absent, disobedient, slothful or disrespectful.
        My employer has nothing but rave reviews for me, (See Matthew 3:15 -17 )
        _____________________________________________________________________
        Skills Work Experiences
        Some of my skills and work experiences include: empowering the poor to be
poor no more, healing the brokenhearted, setting the captives free, healing
the sick, restoring sight to the blind and setting at liberty them that are
bruised, (See Luke 4:18 ) .
        I am a Wonderful Counselor, (See Isaiah 9:6 ) . People who listen to me
shall dwell safely and shall not fear evil, (See Proverbs 1:33 ) .
        Most importantly, I have the authority, ability and power to cleanse you of
your sins, (See I John 1:7-9 )
        _____________________________________________________________________
        Educational Background
        I encompass the entire breadth and length of knowledge, wisdom and
understanding, (See Proverbs 2:6 ) .
        In me are hid all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, (See Colossians
2:3 ) .
        My Word is so powerful; it has been described as being a lamp unto your feet
and a light unto your path, (See Psalms 119:105 ) .
        I can even tell you all of the secrets of your heart, (See Psalms 44:21 ) .
        _____________________________________________________________________
        Major Accomplishments
        I was an active participant in the greatest Summit Meeting of all times,
(See Genesis 1:26 ) .
        I laid down my life so that you may live, (See II Corinthians 5:15 ) .
        I defeated the arch enemy of God and mankind and made a show of them openly,
(See Colossians 2:15 ) .
        I've miraculously fed the poor, healed the sick and raised the dead!
        There are many more major accomplishments, too many to mention here. You can
read them on my website, which is located at : www dot - the BIBLE. You
don't need an Internet connection or computer to access my website.
        _____________________________________________________________________
        References
        Believers and followers worldwide will testify to my divine healing,
salvation, deliverance, miracles, restoration and supernatural guidance.
        _____________________________________________________________________
        In Summ at ion
        Now that you've read my resume, I'm confident that I'm the only candidate
uniquely qualified to fill this vital position in your heart. In summation,
I will properly direct your paths, (See Proverbs 3:5-6 ) , and lead you into
everlasting life, (See John 6:47 ) . When can I start? Time is of the
essence, (See Hebrews 3:15 ) .
        Send this resume to everyone you know,
        you never know who may have an opening!


        Thanks for your help.

September 26, 2012

Got these one-liners from friend Cody in Warrensburg, Missouri:

Don't let your worries get the best of you;
Remember, Moses started out as a basket case.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
Some people are kind, polite, and sweet-spirited
Until you try to sit in their pews.. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
Many folks want to serve God, 
But only as advisers. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
It is easier to preach ten sermons 
Than it is to live one.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
The good Lord didn't create anything without a purpose,
But mosquitoes come close. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
When you get to your wit's end,
You'll find God lives there. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
People are funny; They want the Front of the bus,
the Middle of the road,
And Back of the church. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
Opportunity may knock once,
But temptation bangs on the front door forever. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
Quit griping about your church; 
If it was perfect, you couldn't belong. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
If a church wants a better pastor,
It only needs to pray for the one it has .. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
God Himself doesn't propose to judge a man until
he is dead. So why should you?
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
Some minds are like concrete 
Thoroughly mixed up and permanently set. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
Peace starts with a smile. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
don't know why some people change churches;
What difference does it make
which one you stay home from?
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
A
lot of church members singing 'Standing on the Promises'
Are just sitting on the premises. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
Be ye fishers of men. You catch 'em - He'll clean 'em.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
Don't put a question mark where God put a period.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
Forbidden fruits create many jams. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
God grades on the cross, not the curve.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
God loves everyone,
But probably prefers 'fruits of the spirit' over
'religious nuts!'
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
God
promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
He
who angers you, controls you! 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
If God is your Co-pilot, swap seats! 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
Prayer:
Don't give God instructions, just report for duty!
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
The task ahead of us is never as
great as the Power behind us. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
The
Will of God never takes you to where the
Grace of God will not protect
you. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
We
don't change the message,
The message changes us. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
You can tell how big a person is
By what it takes to discourage him.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
The best mathematical equation I have ever seen:
1 cross + 3 nails = 4 given . 


Do you think the US Navy would ever name a ship after an army guy, even if he is a Green Beret? Well, if your name is Roy Benavidez, it would. Benavidez got the Medal of Honor too. You have to see his story to believe it. This comes from cousin Mark: http://biggeekdad.com/2010/01/tango-mike-mike/

 
Oh my goodness - what fun! This letter from a New Orleans attorney provides, in addition to a good argument, a bit of history at the same time. Thank you, Mark:

You have to love this lawyer.......

Part of rebuilding New Orleans caused residents often to be challenged with the task
of tracing home titles back potentially hundreds of years. With a community rich
with history stretching back over two centuries, houses have been passed along
through generations of family, sometimes making it quite difficult to establish
ownership. Here's a great letter an attorney wrote to the FHA on behalf of a client:

A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client. He was told the loan would be
granted if he could prove satisfactory title to a parcel of property being offered
as collateral. The title to the property dated back to 1803, which took the lawyer
three months to track down. After sending the information to the FHA, he received
the following reply:

(Actual reply from FHA):

"Upon review of your letter adjoining your client's loan application, we note that
the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While we compliment the able
manner in which you have prepared and presented the application, we must point out
that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral property back to 1803.
Before final approval can be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back
to its origin."

Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows:

(Actual response):

"Your letter regarding title in Case No.189156 has been received. I note that you
wish to have title extended further than the 206 years covered by the present
application. I was unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly
those working in the property area, would not know that Louisiana was purchased by
the United States from France, in 1803 the year of origin identified in our
application. For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the
land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France, which had acquired it by
Right of Conquest from Spain. The land came into the possession of Spain by Right of
Discovery made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had
been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch,
Queen Isabella.

The good Queen Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful about titles as
the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope before she sold
her jewels to finance Columbus's expedition...Now the Pope, as I'm sure you may
know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly
accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that God
also made that part of the world called Louisiana. God, therefore, would be the
owner of origin and His origins date back to before the beginning of time, the world
as we know it, and the FHA. I hope you find God's original claim to be satisfactory.
Now, may we have our loan?"

The loan was immediately approved.


September 24, 2012

Before I do another thing, I want to share a link with you from a friend of mine. It's an outstanding vocalist, a ten year old young lady named Jackie Evancho. You know how I love to watch and hear people who excel at anything, regardless of their age. Just listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foUrBztgzZA She was on America's Got Talent, and boy does she!

Changing the subject, today was the day when one of those mega-mega-zoom-zooms arrived from our sun to lay havoc with the Earth's magnetic fields. Even Delta Airlines re-routed some of its flights to dodge the solar winds from the Coronal Mass Eruption. http://www.space.com/12581-stunning-photos-solar-storms-flares-sun-weather.html

Wow! The northern lights must have danced quite a little Texas Two Step.

Now, on to other matters of some import. It's all about retraining your communications ability so that you don't fall victim to people who want to get and keep you on the defense.

In the first place, don't think you have to jump in and answer someone who demands an immediate answer. No no no. Take a deep breath and give yourself a bit of time to send a response back over the fence, so to speak.

Yes, it's more than okay to answer a question with a question. In fact, it's how you get out of all those defense-intended maneuvers that are being shot at you. You simply do not have to answer with all that immediacy.

For instance, when someone says to you, "Why don't you want to talk to me?"

Your response could be, "About what?"

Or, "Why didn't you call me?"

"Was I supposed to?"

"Yes."

"Who said that?"

Slow down a bit and give yourself time to frame your response.

Try it. It will take some time to get in the habit of allowing yourself to proceed slowly. In the long-run, it will help you set your boundaries and maintaining them. Especially if you get the inkling that someone is trying to invade your peace of mind by demanding that you defend yourself.

And how can you recognize defense maneuvers? Aside from your gut reaction, densive maneuvers usually start with the word "Why."

"Why" questions are not part of polite conversation. The intent is for one person to try to get and keep the upper hand over someone else.



September 23, 2010

This is one of those off the beaten path pieces of information that you may not have known. I didn't either until today's issue of American Profile arrived.

The there it was on Page 12. Yet another reason that Chicago can claim to be a winner at something.

The Field Museum in Chicago has won the 2011 America's Best Restroom Award.

So what, you may ask, does a "best restroom" have going for it that would beat out other competitors? Well, for starters, it has little people potties. And there's a nursing room complete with a sofa in it.

So congrats, Chicago. 'Nuff said about that.


Now it's official. Quint is in remission from his chronic lymphocytic/leukemia. We made our trip to the oncologist today and learned that the results of the CT scan he had a couple of weeks ago show that the lymph nodes have returned to normal. Thank you for answered prayers. We're both now on the once-in-three-months regimen. I did have a new medication to the list of what the doctor has in my file. That's Allupurinol. So when I told him, he said, "Oh, you've got gouty athritis."

Yep. That's me. The medication is specifically for people who has been given Cytoxa for chemo with breast cancer.

But then I found out that eating cherries -- only 6 a day -- will help out a lot. Sure enough, we found cherries in the produce aisle. Fresh from Chile. They are delicious. After only a week of cherry snacks, I've seen an improvement. I can now bend my thumb with no pain at all. That's the only place, plus my back, that seems to be bothered. Oh, it's just a nuisance. Nothing fatal. I'll take nuisances.

January 20, 2012

We are just jumping up and down for joy watching those pink icy, wintry mix patches float by on the weather map. And up north, oh my goodness. I remember those days when a six inch snowfall was kind of sort of ordinary.

We do not miss it.

Here is a link to a beautiful young girl who is a prodigy -- Akiane Kramarik. She has been painting since she was very young, age 4. Her paintings are incredible. And thanks to friends in Wichita, John and Sherre for the link: http://www.shangralafamilyfun.com/prodigy.html

Here's a link to Gene Simmons of KISS performing for the troops: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=5MtdIO23MKM Makes me want to stand up and march around the dining room. Thanks, Mark, for sharing.

January 20, 2012

We are just jumping up and down for joy watching those pink icy, wintry mix patches float by on the weather map. And up north, oh my goodness. I remember those days when a six inch snowfall was kind of sort of ordinary.

We do not miss it.

Here is a link to a beautiful young girl who is a prodigy -- Akiane Kramarik. She has been painting since she was very young, age 4. Her paintings are incredible. And thanks to friends in Wichita, John and Sherre for the link: http://www.shangralafamilyfun.com/prodigy.html

January 18, 2012

Okay, so here's my ignorance showing. I don't know where either of these teams are from -- Trinity and Millsap -- but this link that my cousins Al and Mark sent to me shows one of the most phenomenal football plays I have ever seen in all my born days: http://www.dump.com/2011/02/22/end-zone-angle-of-the-final-football-play-of-trinity-vs-millsaps-video/

Talk about teamwork! This one play won the game. Wow!

And Mark  sends these tips too:

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be toimmediately clear your computer
history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an
argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to
nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know
how to get out of my neighborhood.

I especially like #7.

As for the second point, I'll have to see if Quint can even remember a time when he was wrong. About anything. ha ha

Me? I try to keep my mouth shut unless I know pretty much what the answer is.

Reminds me of a fella in grad school who had a most unique form of discipline. He says it's more effective than time outs and has been using it since his kiddos were real little. He makes them sit down so that he can tell them the entire history of slavery. All total, it takes about 45 minutes.

January 17, 2012

We went from 61 degrees this morning to a cool 28 now. There's a raw wind blowing that makes it feel like 2 zillion below zero.

Thank goodness Ground Hogs Day is only weeks away. That's the day I first celebrate spring.

I remember when I was a little girl the teacher would pass around those mimeographed pictures for our class to color. After I became an adult, I realized that the ground hog is nothing but a big rodent and the whole thing used up all my brown color crayons. Big deal.

My irises did die back again though. Poor little things. I can hear them shivering under their little dirt shoes. I have a huge variety of colors. Some are yellow, a peach color that's really a double. Looks pretty and frilly. Various shades of purple, one almost black. And finally a pink iris. I like irises. They remind me of Vincent Van Gogh. He painted irises for the whole year that he was in the asylum. People sometimes comment about how they must have been Van Gogh's favorite flower. The truth is, they were the only flower planted at the asylum. So of course he painted irises. What else were there? Besides, by that time he was probably tired of doing self-portraits, being one ear shy of having a full face and all.

Thank you for all your "as if" comments. It was very interesting to hear about how you are using the same concept. Actually it's little more than positive thinking. But it works. People who are negative get dumped on a lot. They aren't any fun and they suck all the air out of relationships, out of the sky and out of their hearts. So lighten up everybody and live your lives as if you are the successful person you want to be!

January 16, 2012

Live your life as if --

It's a Biblical concept. Believe you will get what you pray for, and it is yours, we are promised.

It's the underlying principle of the best-seller The Secret.

So let's all put a whole bunch of positive energy out there. The idea is that if you send positive energy out from yourself, it will come back to you.

That's where you embrace the idea that you'll do better in life if you live your life as if.

For instance, married couples who live their lives as if can somehow keep a vibrancy alive in their relationship. Remember those days when you tried to do all the thoughtful, courteous things you could to attract this handsome guy, or gorgeous lady, into your life? If you're going to be late, do you call and let somebody know you're being detained? If you're living your life as if, then you're going to do such thoughtful things like making a call.

Or how about getting that dream job? What happens when you are sitting in your cubicle doing some grunt project and wishing the clock would advance a few hours so you could get out of there? Well, if you're living your life as if you'd just gotten into an interview and were trying to convince a prospective boss that you really wanted the job, you'd go ahead and do the best you could do, even if every day isn't always exciting and creatively challenging.

Or how about parenting. Remember those days when you couldn't wait for Little Baby Ten Toes to arrive? Live your life as if those days beckon you and you back to the days when you promised yourself that you'd be the best parent you possibly could be to the new baby yet to be born. Living as if will help you get through long, fright-filled nights when you're waiting for an errant teenage to wander on back home.

And most of all, live your life as if Christ were headed this way from the other side of the universe and he is just about ready to come down out of the clouds. Living your life as if he were just about here just may change your life choices.

Good luck with that. Think about ways you could live your life as if.


January 13, 2012

Yes, we got the snow. Not much. Just a couple of inches. Then it stopped for a few hours. I reminded Quint that when the snow started up again, it counted as a new snow. At least for my reckoning. He doesn't have to count the snows separately if he doesn't want to. It's just that if you don't, you end up with some extra snowfalls anticipated by the end of the season.

Yesterday I saw a red fox loping along across the neighbor's yard across the street. At first I thought it was a dog, but then, that tail is a giveaway. Red fox it was. Pretty good sized one too. We have some woods behind our house. Figure he lives back in there with the deer who come out every once in a while looking for good chow, like when the neighbor's beans are about ready to pick. I told her to get a bottle of Liquid Fence at the hardware store, last year. It works. It's kept deer, squirrels and rabbits away from my garden goodies ever since I planted a garden down here. Not too cheap, but it does the trick. You spray around the perimeter of the garden, not on the veggies. A quart bottle lasts most of the season.

It even works on those naughty dogs who like to hike up their legs and take a leak on my rose bush out front. Actually they're probably marking their territory. Doesn't matter, me and my Liquid Fence go out there and give the bush a squirt where the dogs squirted. They don't come back so much. Nothing to reclaim if they can't get a whiff of their aroma.

Tomorrow I'm going to my first meeting of the Christian Writers Group here in town. Looking forward to meeting others who are plying their craft too.

I'm anxious to see if anyone else uses what I call the Ernest Hemingway approach -- you know, three to four word sentences. He was a master at it and I figured if he made it work, so could I. Problem is, my spell checker does not like fragmented sentences. But hey, that's the way people talk. So I say I write "conversationally." ha!

Oh, changing the subject. What do you think the stock markets are going to do on Monday morning, now that Standard and Poors has downgraded the financial houses of Yerp? France and Austria lost their AAA ratings. A total of 15 European nations' ratings were cutting in the S&P slash and burn come-uppance move. One of these days, the US is going to get downgraded again if we don't get a grip on spending.

You can't spend all your money!

I watched one of those news interview programs, maybe a Jay Leno man on the street. Not sure. Anyway, the commentator was asking the people where they thought money came from. One lady said she thought the president printed the money in the basement of the White House. Unfortunately, she was serious. She even knew who the president was.

God said something about wasting the blessings He gives us. We'd better all listen up and pay attention, folks.

January 11, 2011

I'm so glad that Netflix survived the stupidest marketing debacle yet -- raising money on top of money by doing a double tier charge system. Never could figure out what they were going to charge so we canceled everything but the streatming, which we used mostly anyway. We do get one video still, though. What we have both come to really like is the video of a fireplace burning. That's all it is. Just a fireplace burning. It makes the living room seem warm and cozy. Okay, so it doesn't make the room actually warm, but the crackling fire and licking flames do okay by me.

Just in time, too, for a winter storm heading our way. I fear that this one isn't going to miss us. We might get several inches out of it. It's heading SSE out of Iowa and looks to cut a big swath across Illinois as it heads east. I guess that's the end of our 40 degree winters.

Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.

Now, on to Groundhog's Day which is February 2. Somehow I don't think the little groundhog is going to be a harbinger of spring. This is going to be one of those winters where it's going to be snowing for Easter, I'll bet. When the girls were little tykes I remember them hopping through snow on the way to the church on Easter Sunday. Didn't do their little patent leather slippers any good.

Not much news going on except politics, in case you haven't noticed. Politics in the US has become a mult-billion dollar business. So the ads and speeches and debates and spin doctoring are going to continue until November.

One good thing did come out of the Supreme Court today. Believe it or not, the justices reaches a unanimous decision that says churches can hire people of their own choice - whether it's a priest, pastor, rabbi, or imam. The supremes said the government had to "butt out" in so many words.

Well, it's about time.

And my cousin Frances in Texas says the jonquils are sprouting and the bluebells are really thick, though not blooming just yet.

I will add that my irises are totally confused. I have cut them back twice now and could cut them back again but I'm not gonna. If they decide to bloom when it snows, I'll take a photo for posterity.

And with that, no matter where you are, please drive carefully. I know that some parts of the midwest are supposed to get 10" of snow or more, but the rest of us can expect 1 to 2 inches of the white stuff. I don't care if we only get one inch of snow. If it's sitting on icy pavement, it can still be deadly.

Prayers for safety for all of you.

January 9, 2012

Had he lived, today would have been my brother, Allison's, 67th birthday. His middle name was Wallace, probably named for some long lost relative I've never heard of. So we called him A.W. because that's what people in the south do. There's usually at least one first degree relative identified only by initials. So wherever you are, A.W., I hope you're enjoying the choirs of angels and that at the last moments on your deathbed you begged forgiveness for a life filled with sins. I suspect that you did get that idea as you lay dying of lung cancer. But I don't know that. I just pray that you did because I would love to see you in heaven.

Changing the subject, I have received more than quite a few emails about this Mayan thing and what's going to happen at the end of 2012.

In the first place, the Bible reference to the end of the world is very clear about who knows what. I believe it's in Revelation where the verse says that no one knows when the world will end except the Father. Even His Son, Jesus Christ, does not have that information.

Yep. It says so in the Bible. Look it up. Or if you don't have a Bible with a good commentary that can point you to the verse, go to www.ask..com and type in a question like, "Where in the Bible does it say ............................................" You'll get a reference.

That's exactly what I did this evening before I started this writing. I knew that somewhere in the Bible, there was an answer to some prophet who asked God how he would end the world the "next time" since he'd promised in a covenant after the flood that he would never destroy the population with a flood again. Then he put a rainbow in the sky. To this day, when I see a rainbow, I am reminded of God's promise not to send a flood again.

But what about this point that the Mayans supposedly thought the world was going to end? Did they actually say that? Not really, unless you interpret their writings to fit into that concept. But what if it'd the Mayan calendar, not the world, that is supposed to end in December 2012? After all, we have Bible texts that say only the Father knows. If He didn't get around to telling His much beloved Son, Jesus Christ, do you really believe He would have told some Indians out there on the Yucatan Peninsula.  

So what did God tell the prophet?


In the New International Reader's Version, in Hebrews 12, we find:

25 Be sure that you don't say no to the One who speaks. People did not escape when they said no to the One who warned them on earth. And what if we turn away from the One who warns us from heaven? How much less will we escape!

26 At that time his voice shook the earth. But now he has promised, "Once more I will shake the earth. I will also shake the heavens."—(Haggai 2:6) 27 The words "once more" point out that what can be shaken can be taken away. I'm talking about created things. Then what can't be shaken will remain.

28 We are receiving a kingdom that can't be shaken. So let us be thankful. Then we can worship God in a way that pleases him. We will worship him with deep respect and wonder. 29 Our "God is like a fire that burns everything up."—(Deuteronomy 4:24)


There are also references to God shaking the earth in Psalm 115:3 and Haggai 2:6.

I am reminded of the reference in Verse 28 that "...we can worship God in a way that pleases him." That pretty much takes care of people who say they don't go to church because they believe they can worship God in a forest, or somewhere else. In fact, God tells us that he wants us to meet in assembly with fellow believers.

So get up on the Sabbath, get dressed and make your way to church where you can "assemble" with "fellow believers." Just do it. Don't say "no" to God.




And then there's this Tebow guy. Don't you love him?! Over the weekend he rushed 316 yards. That was the accumulated passes he threw and I think he ran the ball some too. When he heard the stats broadcast with his last winning throw of the day that he was responsible for 316 yards that won the game for the Denver Broncos, what does he do? Did he swell up and sing, "How great I am?" Not on your life. He dropped to his knee and thanked God for his blessings. He later explained that when he heard that, all he could think of was John 3:16.

January 7, 2012

I'm stuck at the weight where I've plateaued so Quint and I headed for the gym today. That's how you get off those plateaus - either drastically cut back on calories or step up the exercise.

Well, since our life is pretty sedentary as it is, just walking out the door to get intot he car is an improvement on the sedentary lifestyle. So, since we're Silver Sneakers on our Humana insurance, we headed for the gym where we used to go faithfully before all this cancer nonsense started. We walked on the treadmill for a big fat 20 minutes. We got all the way up to a 27 minute mile. Then we did some work on the strength training machines. I got on the machine that works the hamstrings. I personally think my hamstrings have completely atrophied, but that could be just a bit hyperbolic. Truth is, I don't like needing to hang onto something just to stand up, for crying out loud.

Okay, so I don't expect to jump up out of my seat, but I would like to look less like an invalid. I'll work up to walking for an hour, or get up to five miles. I remember when I was a Girl Scout leader I used to go on five mile hikes with frequency. But then, those were called "all day hikes" for Brownies.

Oh well, we're expecting it to take some little while to get some semblance of stamina back.

On our way home, we stopped at Walgreens where I got my flu shot. The doctor only had one left when we were there for our last checkup, so Quint got it.

We also stocked up on sugar free candy. Russell Stover is my friend!

Changing the subject, I can always rely on my cousin Mark to send the Darwin Awards for the previous year. And here they are:


THE 2011 DARWIN AWARDS

You've been waiting for them with bated breath, so without further ado, here are the
2011 Darwin Awards:

Eighth Place

In Detroit , a 41-year-old man got stuck and drowned in two feet of water after
squeezing head first through an 18-inch-wide sewer grate to retrieve his car keys.


Seventh Place

A 49-year-old San Francisco stockbroker, who "totally zoned when he ran",
accidentally jogged off a 100-foot high cliff on his daily run.


Sixth Place

While at the beach, Daniel Jones, 21, dug an 8 foot hole for protection from the
wind and had been sitting in a beach chair at the bottom, when it collapsed, burying
him beneath 5 feet of sand. People on the beach used their hands and shovels trying
to get him out but could not reach him. It took rescue workers using heavy equipment
almost an hour to free him. Jones was pronounced dead at a hospital.


Fifth Place

Santiago Alvarado, 24, was killed as he fell through the ceiling of a bicycle shop
he was burglarizing. Death was caused when the long flashlight he had placed in his
mouth to keep his hands free rammed into the base of his skull as he hit the floor.


Fourth Place

Sylvester Briddell, Jr., 26, was killed as he won a bet with friends who said he
would not put a revolver loaded with four bullets into his mouth and pull the
trigger.


Third Place

After stepping around a marked police patrol car parked at the front door, a man
walked into H&J Leather & Firearms intent on robbing the store. The shop was full of
customers and a uniformed officer was standing at the counter. Upon seeing the
officer, the would-be robber announced a hold-up and fired a few wild shots from a
target pistol.

The officer and a clerk promptly returned fire, and several customers also drew
their guns and fired. The robber was pronounced dead at the scene by Paramedics.
Crime scene investigators located 47 expended cartridge cases in the shop. The
subsequent autopsy revealed 23 gunshot wounds. Ballistics identified rounds from 7
different weapons. No one else was hurt.


HONORABLE MENTION

Paul Stiller, 47, and his wife Bonnie were bored just driving around at 2 A.M. so
they lit a quarter stick of dynamite to toss out the window to see what would
happen. Apparently they failed to notice that the window was closed.


RUNNER UP

Kerry Bingham had been drinking with several friends when one of them said they knew
a person who had bungee-jumped from a local bridge in the middle of traffic. The
conversation grew more excited, and at least 10 men trooped along the walkway of the
bridge at 4:30 AM. Upon arrival at the midpoint of the bridge, they discovered that
no one had brought a bungee rope. Bingham, who had continued drinking, volunteered
and pointed out that a coil of lineman's cable lay nearby. They secured one end
around Bingham's leg and then tied the other to the bridge. His fall lasted 40 feet
before the cable tightened and tore his foot off at the ankle. He miraculously
survived his fall into the icy water and was rescued by two nearby fishermen.
Bingham's foot was never located.


AND THE WINNER IS....

Zookeeper Friedrich Riesfeldt ( Paderborn , Germany ) fed his constipated elephant
22 doses of animal laxative and more than a bushel of berries, figs and prunes
before the plugged-up pachyderm finally got relief. Investigators say ill-fated
Friedrich, 46, was attempting to give the ailing elephant an olive oil enema when
the relieved beast unloaded.

The sheer force of the elephant's unexpected defecation knocked Mr Riesfeldt to the
ground where he struck his head on a rock as the elephant continued to evacuate 200
pounds of dung on top of him. It seems to be just one of those freak accidents.

January 9, 2012

Had he lived, today would have been my brother, Allison's, 67th birthday. His middle name was Wallace, probably named for some long lost relative I've never heard of. So we called him A.W. because that's what people in the south do. There's usually at least one first degree relative identified only by initials. So wherever you are, A.W., I hope you're enjoying the choirs of angels and that at the last moments on your deathbed you begged forgiveness for a life filled with sins. I suspect that you did get that idea as you lay dying of lung cancer. But I don't know that. I just pray that you did because I would love to see you in heaven.

Changing the subject, I have received more than quite a few emails about this Mayan thing and what's going to happen at the end of 2012.

In the first place, the Bible reference to the end of the world is very clear about who knows what. I believe it's in Revelation where the verse says that no one knows when the world will end except the Father. Even His Son, Jesus Christ, does not have that information.

Yep. It says so in the Bible. Look it up. Or if you don't have a Bible with a good commentary that can point you to the verse, go to
www.ask..com and type in a question like, "Where in the Bible does it say ............................................" You'll get a reference.

That's exactly what I did this evening before I started this writing. I knew that somewhere in the Bible, there was an answer to some prophet who asked God how he would end the world the "next time" since he'd promised  in a covenant after the flood that he would never destroy the population with a flood again. Then he put a rainbow in the sky. To this day, when I see a rainbow, I am reminded of God's promise not to send a flood again.

So what did God tell the prophet?

In the New International Reader's Version, we find:


25 Be sure that you don't say no to the One who speaks. People did not escape when they said no to the One who warned them on earth. And what if we turn away from the One who warns us from heaven? How much less will we escape!

26 At that time his voice shook the earth. But now he has promised, "Once more I will shake the earth. I will also shake the heavens."—(Haggai 2:6) 27 The words "once more" point out that what can be shaken can be taken away. I'm talking about created things. Then what can't be shaken will remain.

28 We are receiving a kingdom that can't be shaken. So let us be thankful. Then we can worship God in a way that pleases him. We will worship him with deep respect and wonder. 29 Our "God is like a fire that burns everything up."—(Deuteronomy 4:24)  

January 4, 2011

Warning: this could be the beginning of a developing article about recognizing saboteurs within an organization. You know -- they're the ones we refer to as alligators. Every organization has them. And they show their true colors more prominently than you might think.

Here's an old maxim as you start your new year: If you want people to like you, you have to make yourself likable.

That takes care of the bossy ones. People run from these guys. They sit in their chairs and issue edicts and "fetch orders." "Get me this," or "get me that" seems to be their motto. You don't see these people surrounded by a big crowd of people, do you? Organizations are full of these little chiefs.

So what can you do to make people like you? Easy. If you want something, go get it yourself. That's for starters. The world does not raise citizens who wait for you to beckon them.

That is, unless you're a politician or a monarch, or something that gives your blue-blooded attitude the self-imposed right to sit on a chair and make demands.

Tied to likability is another maxim: Good leaders make good followers. You can spot the good leaders in your organization by looking around to see who the workers are. They're the ones who make the good leaders. The people who don't want to do any real work in a group are the same ones who will keep the organization at the status quo. No growth. They say, "I liked it better when we were smaller." All too often, these little-minded people have a secret agenda of their own. They seldom do anything to help the organization grow. Does the definition of passive aggressive come to mind?

Just remember, aggression is always a hostile act.

And passive aggression is disguised as sabotage. Each and every time. Passive aggressive people are on a perpetual search for power. And what do they want the most? Whatever strength you've got. They're trying to run a little micro counter-culture in your organization.
But there's good news. You reward (reinforce) the behavior you want to continue. That's behavior modification rule #1. If you find yourself surrounded by people who don't share your values, then for your own sense of well-being, find another venue. There are plenty of organizations and opportunities out there in this big, wide wonderful world that welcome hard workers.

It's even Biblical to shake the dust from your sandals and walk away. Whatever happened between the "shake the dust from your sandals" theory and the "turn the other cheek motto?"

Well, that thesis can be bridged with a good sermon. I'm not a pastor so I'll leave that one for theologians to wrestle with.

January 2, 2012

Therefore, be it resolved -----

I don't ordinarily make New Years resolutions. But this year is an exception.

I can trace my weight gain all the way back to 1985 when my thyroid was removed. I had what's known as a "thyroid storm" at work and was taken by ambulance to Northwest Memorial Hospital from the law firm where I worked. An endocrinologist diagnosed Graves Disease, an autoimmune nuisance. Problem was I had my daughter's wedding gown about half done and was looking down the barrel of her wedding in about two weeks. I finished the gown, had the thyroid ablated with a radioactive iodine. Quint said I glowed in the dark. The doctor released me much earlier than he would have ordinarily because I promised to return post haste after the wedding for quick checkups. That only entailed a quick cab ride over to his office from the law firm where I was back at work.

The problem was, my weight started to slowly rise. At about a 60 degree slope upward. I put on seventy pounds in a year!

I tried lots of diets. All the wrong ones. Low carb diets, for instance, are never any good. I don't care who recommends them, they are not good for your body's chemistry. The human being is meant to eat grains and grain products. Problem was, I wasn't eating anything differently than my pre-ablation days.

Then, in 2006 Quint and I moved. We bought a Cape Cod. People thought I was nuts to move into a house that had three levels when we had lived in a condominium that was all on one level. Not to mention that my knees were giving me fits. But after we moved I started to lose weight. Slowly. Ever so slowly. After about six months my knees were not giving me any problems at all. I wasn't doing anything much different except I was out from under the sedentary lifestyle that came with my counseling practice. I was walking around more. I enjoyed the physical activity. At the end of a year I was 49 pounds lighter.

But now is the year I'm going to take off the rest of the 25 pounds that I packed on. And how am I going to do this? Simple. Give up most of the flour products I eat.

Following a gout diet is not that difficult. Sugar is my enemy. Yeast products are also my enemy. Meat is my enemy too. No more bacon with my eggs. No more smoky links that are stuffed with cheddar cheese and jalapeno peppers.

No more cookies. At least not more than two at one sitting. Ice cream is okay so it's a good thing that I really like Eskimo Pies -- sugar free that is. This afternoon I'm going to make a cookie that has a chocolate turtle stuffed inside. The cookie dough is a Pillsbury sugar free cake mix and the chocolate turtles are sugar free from Russell Stove. I'll cut the turtles into quarters to make them go farther. Does it cost more to make them? You bet. But it's cheaper than all the medicines that you have to take if you're diabetic. I can have a couple of cookies with impunity.

Low-fat cheeses and cottage cheese are also very good for me. And for some reason, tart cherries are also good for the gout diet. They are low in purines. The lower the purines in the bloodstream, the lower the risk of too much uric acid in the blood. Fresh apples and oranges and bananas are good for the low purine diet too. But I seldom eat bananas. Once in a while we'll put them on cereal for breakfast. (Did you know that a serving of banana is only 1/2 of the banana?) It has too much sugar in it. I learned that from Quint's diabetic diet.

Two weeks ago I started a lifestyle change that will allow me to get control of the gout. I've now lost 5 and a half pounds.

I'm looking forward to being at least ten pounds lighter by the end of January. That's the only resolution that I've made so far.

I'm thinking about slowing down a bit. Especially now that I'm working at a job that I really enjoy in the afternoons. It's working for a dual parish church office. Fortunately, the pastor I work with was a friend of mine before I started working with him.

I'm not willing to give that up. But I am willing to give up my "over-do" list. It's too easy for people to mistake my generosity with my time and energy. So I'm going to step back this year and let other people do some of the things that I used to do. In the meantime, I have joined a Christian Writers Group that meets here in Effingham County. It's a group of about ten people who are writing for publication. 

And I have a couple of grants that I promised to write for some business people here in the county. I like writing grants. It keeps my paralegal skills honed. And I like helping business people get their enterprises off the ground.

I also want to continue with my own writing projects.

And that should keep me busy and productive in the new year.

That's only two resolutions. They're two that I can commit to that I know I will follow faithfully. That's the key to success when it comes to re-inventing yourself. Pick a re-invention project that you are willing to commit to completely. And don't take on too many projects at the same time. You'll only frustrate yourself. Pick a project that you are motivated to work on. For me, it was the dreaded fear that if I kept on gobbling away, I'd hit 300 pounds. That's just something that I'm not willing to embrace. Besides, losing weight is all about math. If you eat more calories than you use up, you'll gain weight.

I've watched people who claim that they "just can't lose weight." They'd have you believe that they have tried everything. Yet, when you look at their plates, there's potatoes, noodles, and bread and butter. Then there's the entree and maybe, just maybe a little bit of green vegetable. Never ever eat potatoes and bread in the same meal. And I don't know what they think they're doing by dumping noodles or dressing onto the plate. After all, you're not required to eat everything on the menu. So, if you're an adult, make a fist. That's about a cup. Half of that amount would be a serving. If you're eating a closed fist size of mashed potatoes, you're eating too much. Oh, you could have that much in green beans. That's for sure. But not if the beans are highly seasoned with butter and bacon bits, silly.


I figure you've probably seen this letter that my cousins Mark and Al sent to me, but it's worth another read through:

Our 14-year-old dog Abbey died last month.
The day after she passed away my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking
about how much she missed Abbey.
She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God
would recognize her.
I told her that I thought we could so, and she dictated these words:

Dear God,

Will you please take care of my dog?
She died yesterday and is with you in heaven.
I miss her very much.
I ' m happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.

I hope you will play with her.
She likes to swim and play with balls.
I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog.
I really miss her.
Love, Meredith

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey & Meredith , addressed it
to God/Heaven.
We put our return address on it.
Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope cause she said it would
take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she
dropped it into the letter box at the post office.
A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet.
I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed,
'To Meredith' in an unfamiliar hand.
Meredith opened it.
Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies.'
Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened
envelope.
On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:


Dear Meredith,
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help and I recognized
her right away.

Abbey isn't sick anymore.
Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart.
Abbey loved being your dog.
Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your
picture in so I ' m sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and
have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it
and sending it to me.
What a wonderful mother you have.
I picked her especially for you.
I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much.
By the way, I'm easy to find.
I am wherever there is love.

Love,

God

January 1, 2012

What a beautiful message I've received from my cousins, Mark and Al:

 WHAT HAPPENS IN HEAVEN WHEN WE PRAY?
>
> This is one of the nicest e-mails I have seen :
>
> I dreamt that I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around. We
> walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels. My angel
> guide stopped in front of the first section and said, 'This is the
> Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are received.
>
> I looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels
> sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets and scraps from
> people all over the world.
>
> Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section.
>
>  The angel then said to me, "This is the Packaging and Delivery Section.
> Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed and
> delivered to the living persons who asked for them." I noticed again how
> busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station,
> since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged
>
> for delivery to Earth.
>
> Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the door of
> a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated
> there, idly doing nothing. "This is the Acknowledgment Section, my angel
> friend quietly admitted to me. He seemed embarrassed.
>
> "How is it that there is no work going on here? I asked."
>
> "So sad," the angel sighed. "After people receive the blessings that they
> asked for, very few send back acknowledgments."
>
> "How does one acknowledge God's blessings? "I asked.
>
> "Simple," the angel answered. Just say, "Thank you, Lord."
>
> "What blessings should they acknowledge?" I asked.
>
> "If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof
> overhead and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world.
>
> If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish,
> you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy, and if you get this on
> your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that
> opportunity."
>
> "If you woke up this morning with more health than illness.. You are more
> blessed than the many who will not even survive this day."
>
> "If you have never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of
> imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation... You are
> ahead of 700 million people in the world."
>
> "If you can attend a church without the fear of harassment, arrest,
> torture or death you are envied by, and more blessed than, three billion
> people in the world."
>
> "If your parents are still alive and still married.... you are very rare."
>
> "If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm, you're
> unique to all those in doubt and despair......."
>
> "Ok," I said. "What now? How can I start?"
>
> The Angel said, "If you can read this message, you just received a double
> blessing in that someone was thinking of you as very special and you are
> more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at
> all."
>
> Have a good day,  count your blessings , and if you care to, pass this
> along to remind everyone else how blessed we all are..........
>
> ATTN:  Acknowledge Dept .
>
> "Thank you Lord, for giving me the ability to share this message and for
> giving me so many wonderful people with whom to share it."
>
> If you have read this far, and are thankful for all that you have been
> blessed with, how can you  not  send it on?
>
> I thank God for everything, especially all my family and friends.
>

(And do you know how many pearly gates there are? -- If you guessed 12, you'd be correct. See Revelation 21.)


And here's a profound story from my friend Linda, in Lawrenceville:

                    Read it before but just as powerful the second or third time.
GOD BLESS. Please do not forget the real reason for the
Christmas season!

                         This is so beautiful!
                       John 3:16

                       A little boy was selling newspapers on the corner, the people
were in and out of the cold.

                       The little boy was so cold that he wasn't trying to sell many
papers.

                       He walked up to a policeman and said,  'Mister,
                       you wouldn't happen to know where a poor boy could
                       find a warm place to sleep tonight would you?

                       You see, I sleep in a box up around the corner there and down
the alley and it's awful cold in there for tonight. Sure
would be nice to have a warm place to stay.'

                       The policeman looked down at the little boy and said, 'You go
down the street to that big white house and you knock
                       on the door. When they come out the door you just say John
3:16, and they will let you in.'

                       So he did. He walked up the steps and knocked
                       on the door, and a lady answered. He looked up and said,
'John 3:16 .' The lady said, 'Come on in, Son.'

                       She took him in and she sat him down in a split bottom rocker
in front of a great big old fireplace, and she went off.. The
boy sat there for a while and thought to himself:
                       John 3:16 ....I don't understand it, but it sure makes a cold
boy warm.

                       Later she came back and asked him 'Are you hungry? 'He said,
'Well, just a little. I haven't eaten in a couple of days,
and I guess I could stand a little bit of food,'

                       The lady took him in the kitchen and sat him down to a table
full of wonderful food. He ate and ate until he couldn't eat
anymore. Then he thought to himself: John 3:16...           
      


                       Boy, I sure don't understand it but it sure makes a hungry
boy full.

                       She took him upstairs to a bathroom to a huge bathtub
                       filled with warm water, and he sat there
                       and soaked for a
                       while. As he soaked, he thought to himself: John 3:16 ...
                       I sure don't understand it, but it sure makes a dirty boy
                       clean... You know, I've not had a bath, a real bath, in my
whole life. The only bath I ever had was when I stood in
front of that big old fire hydrant as they flushed it out.
                       The lady came in and got him. She took him to a room,
                       tucked him into a big old feather bed, pulled the covers up
around his neck, kissed him goodnight and turned out the
lights. As he lay in the darkness and looked out the
                       window at the snow coming down on that cold night,
                       he thought to himself: John 3:16 .....I don't understand it
but it sure makes a tired boy rested.

                       The next morning the lady came back up and took him
                       down again to that same big table full of food. After he
                       ate, she took him back to that same big old split bottom
                       rocker in front of the fireplace and picked up a big old Bible.

                       She sat down in front of him and looked into his young face..
                       'Do you understand John 3:16 ? ' she asked gently. He replied,
                       'No, Ma'am, I don't. The first time I ever heard it was last
night when the policeman told me to use it,'
                       She opened the Bible to John 3:16 and began to explain
                       to him about Jesus . Right there, in front of that big old
fireplace, he gave his heart and life to Jesus. He sat there
and thought: John 3:16,“I
                       don't understand it, but it sure makes a lost boy feel safe.

                       You know, I have to confess I don't understand it either,
                       how God was willing to send His Son to die for me, and how
Jesus would agree to do such a thing. I don't understand the
agony of the Father and every angel in heaven as they watched
Jesus suffer
                       and die. I don't understand the intense love for ME that kept
Jesus on the cross till the end. I don't understand it, but
it sure does make life worth living.

                       John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not
perish, but have everlasting life....

                       If you aren't ashamed to do this, please follow the
directions .

                       Jesus said, 'If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of
you before my Father.' Pass this on only if you mean it.

                       I do Love God . He is my source of existence... .. He keeps
me functioning each and every day. Phil 4:13 If you love God
and are not ashamed of all the marvelous things he has done
for you, send this on..

                       Take 60 seconds & give this a shot !  Let's just see if Satan
stops this one.

                       All you do is:

                       1) Simply say a small prayer for the person who sent you
this, 'Father, God bless this person in whatever it is that
You know he or she may be needing this day.  In Jesus' Name,
Amen ! '

                       2) Then send it on to other people.  Within hours many people
have prayed for you, and you caused a multitude of people to
pray to God for other people. Then sit back and watch the
power of God work in your life for doing the thing that you
know He loves.

(This is a good example of what I call Network Prayers. It really makes me feel great to know that people are praying for me, and I love to pray for others too. Thank you, Linda, for sending.)