Thursday, September 30, 2010

Congratulations DS! And Happy Pleasantly Disturbed Thursday!

So....   Our pleasantly disturbed leader, Duane Scott, is getting married the first week of November.   Some of my twitter friends  (@sarahmsalter and @dlrayburn and @weightwhat) were discussing how to make it more memorable for him.   I insisted we want something dignified....  So far we came up with a quartet made up of a pilgrim, Native American Chief and Squaw, and a turkey.   The turkey should be dressed.

Let our key phrase in this gifting always be dignity...  Remember, this is a CHURCH wedding!  No naked turkeys allowed!!!

Dusty suggested we brainstorm other appropriate ways to help  celebrate DS's wedding.

I'm rather stumped... Maybe Steph and Wendy can put something together having to do with squirrels...   Katdish could do a Wedding Gift skymall post... I could teach everyone how to dance the Salsa badly...  Maybe we could send a message to all his facebook friends and get them to help brainstorm ideas to add the kind of dignity that a Pilgrim, Native Chief and Squaw, and dressed turkey singing quartet would add to a Church wedding...

OOoooo.... And songs!  What do we want the Thanksgiving Wedding Quartet to sing?    "Oh Promise Me" has somehow become both a cliche, and a song I never actually heard.   How about a new version of Beyonce's Single Ladies?
"Oh he liked it so he decided to put a ring on it, Uh huh huh, uh huh huh huh huh huh, uh huh huh huh huh huh..."   I'll be working on the lyrics!

For now, though, go check out DS's Pleasantly Disturbed Thursday post, and the blogs linking to it.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Third Great Commandment: Chapter 5 of "The Hole in Our Gospel"

The Three Greatest Commandments

Admittedly, the title of this chapter surprised me.   I had learned that there were two greatest commandments, love God and love others.   And though it is a struggle, because imperfect me cannot love anyone perfectly, it is not hard to love God when we know what He has done for us.  Loving others is trickier, but once we come to terms with the idea that what He did for us on the cross, He did for others as well, we get a clue that He loves them, too, and if we love Him, we should be loving to our neighbors for His sake.
(Any of you have a friend of the family who your mom or dad just loved, but gets on your nerves sometimes, yet you are kind to them and solicitous  of their needs for mom and dad's sake?   Kind of like that sometimes, I think...)

The the third greatest commandment as included by Mr. Stearns is the one given to us by Christ before He ascended into Heaven.

Matthew 28: 16-20    16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Mr. Stearns then tells this amazing story of a man in Cambodia who became a Christian because of the work people from World Vision were doing in his village.  It was because the man wanted to know WHY they were doing all this that he stormed at them and asked, and they gently told him.  Because of all he had been through, he was distrustful of these strangers coming to help his village (who could blame him), and came at them rather accusingly, but they gently told him and presented him with a Bible, and later brought him to a pastor who could better teach him who Christ is and help him become a Christian.

What impressed me in this story is how instead of becoming defensive and burnt out by his outburst, it was like the moment they were waiting for... How often have I been rebuffed by someone I meant to help, and instead of seeing them as an injured soul in need of gentleness and Christ, I allowed myself to feel hurt instead, and backed off, protecting myself?  How often have I feared reaching out because I did not want to be rebuffed again?  

Well.  No turning back now...  There are no do overs for the past.  That is why we read these books; to learn from them and improve upon ourselves.  I have much to improve upon.  And yes, I know that He loves me anyway.  I thank God for that!

More on Chapter 5 of this book is linked here at my friend Jason's blog.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nice Blogger, My New Friend Earl, Scarves, Tomatoes, and a Book Fair.

So, as you can see, it is time for another Pleasantly Disturbed Thursday.

So.   Blogger has a new editing thingy.   The old one is only available for a "limited time" before we will have to use the new one, so I went with the new one as of this post.   So if anything seems weird about today's post.  Blame Blogger (whom I am very grateful to for hosting this free service, btw...)  (Nice Blogger.  Nice Blogger.  Good Boy! Who's a good little free hosting website?  Yesh.  Yesh.  You are.  You are a good boy!)  (That ought to keep Blogger happy for a while.)  (I bet this is some sort of record for side by side parentheses.)  (If not, I bet the record holder would give even me a headache.)

Earl Grey tea is WONderful.  I love the smell of it, and it is SO smooth!  I think I'm going to start talking about "Earl Grey" when my husband comes home and see how he reacts.

Today is the first day of fall.  I know it is actually 88 degrees in Chicago right now, but that has me thinking that I should find my crocheting needle and begin making scarves for "Warm Hands / Warm Hearts".  This year, I will also  do the video series I promised last year, but then I got too caught up in my own worries and feelings to do.

I haven't gotten enough tomatoes to worry about using up and making sauce with, but I have been able to put a home grown tomato on my sandwich every day for a few weeks now.   YUMMY!

Did you ever notice that sometimes you can volunteer to do something "out of the goodness of your heart", and end up having more fun than a barrel of monkeys on a two wheel bike?   On Saturday I had volunteered to help at the Book Fair Barnes and Nobles had for my parish's school.   I thought I was being really nice going there on a Saturday morning and all.  Do you know what I forgot when signing up?  I LOVE hanging out at Barnes and Noble!  Bob and I go there for date night!  I had the best time reading to kids, sharpening pencils, smiling at strangers, and then finding books for myself when my shift was over and having lunch in the cafe with friends who were also volunteering (as a matter of fact, I got to know them from volunteering at stuff).

Okay.  For more pleasantly disturbed people, click on the pleasantly disturbed button above and check out Duane Scott's blog carnival!

Baaaaa: Chapter 4 of "A Hole in Our Gospel"

31"But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.
32"All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;
33and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
34"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
35'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;
36naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?
38'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?
39'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'
40"The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'
41"Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;
42for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;
43I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.'
44"Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?'
45"Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'
46"These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

Matthew 25:31-46 NASB

I must admit, the lamb IS cuter than the goat.... But then I never felt "cuter" than anyone. I was always frumpy, and I feel "frumpy" in the context of this passage, too. Yes, I give a few dollars to the soup kitchen or cans to the food pantry, or maybe something to the person on the street who asks for it. But I haven't given myself.... If I truly believed I was meeting Christ, wouldn't I stop what I was doing and make an attempt at truly spending time and effort with this person, and not just reaching for what I keep on hand in my pocket or in the glove box "just in case"?

Mr. Stearns does an excellent job of explaining that we don't have to give until we are on the street along side them, or even every moment of the day, but as God calls us... He also points out that the "goats" weren't the only ones surprised in the end! The "sheep" are just as shocked to find that they helped Him. Perhaps they didn't even realize they were helping the lowly, but thought they were helping a friend, a loved one... Perhaps they loved so thoroughly that they didn't realize that they had made friends among "the least of these..." I have a long way to go before I get there...

I hope and pray I'll be among the sheep when that day comes! God bless you all! Baaaaaaaaaa baaa baa baaaa-aa. (Sorry. I couldn't resist an opportunity to bleat.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Whom Do I See Broken?

Today’s topic for the One Word Blog Carnival on Bridget Chumbley’s blog is Brokenness.

This poem on Brokenness is written in a mishmash of three different styles: cinquain, ???, and haiku.


Crumpled, crushed

Aching, crying, searching, gnawing

Unable to hold it together


Whom do I see broken?

I look in the paper, and I see the face of a 4 year old who can’t walk because he was shot in the crossfire….

Whom do I see broken?

I watch the news, and I see a woman who says she will never know peace until her husband’s killer is caught…

Whom do I see broken?

I look on facebook and I see a friend worried about her son’s football injury….

Whom do I see broken?

I go to the library, and I see a woman without a job or health insurance, and a nasty cough she can’t get rid of….

Whom do I see broken?

I extend my hand in the sign of peace at Church, and see a pained expression on the face of the man behind me…

Whom do I see broken?

I stop at the intersection, and see a man with a sign “Unemployed Veteran: Please Help”….

Whom do I see broken?

I stand in line at the grocery store, and see a cashier who has been on her feet for seven hours being yelled at for something that isn’t her fault, and see two broken people….

Whom do I see broken?

I see a child being scolded for fidgeting, another two for one I suspect…

Whom do I see broken?

I look in the mirror and see a woman who can do little to heal the broken

but to offer up a prayer to Him who heals and love them in His name.

An injured sparrow

Does not escape His notice

Neither do our tears.

For more on the topic of Brokenness check out Bridget Chumbley's One Word Blog Carnival.

One Word Button

Monday, September 20, 2010

Blog Libs: I Can Copy People, Too, You Know...

Since Wendy is being lazy and just posted a comment she left on Red Clay Diaries Blog Libs post, I figured I'd do the same. You will find out how I freak out the butcher, or perhaps how I frighten men in beige vans once Wendy starts writing original posts for her Life is Funny blog carnival again.

Wow! It’s been 12 days since I last posted! I am such a slacker! No really, THIS time I have a good excuse: I was too busy working on catching M&Ms with my tongue to write. And now I have so much to tell you that I don’t know where to start!

For example: Today was a crack-up. When we got up, Abby discovered that Scruff had gotten into his/her car and danced on it. Well, as you can imagine, we all just laughed and laughed and laughed!

Then on the way to Honolulu, we saw a flower . Whoa. Of course, then Bob giggled. And really, what do you expect?

I almost crashed, I was laughing so hard.

Holy Jalapeno. (I crack myself up.)

Besides all the fun of today, I’ve been learning loads of important life lessons over the past 332 weeks!

Like nobody really needs to know what book you are reading at the airport, just slap a leather bible cover on it.

I KNOW. Isn’t that amazing?! You can quote me if you like.

All this craziness has reminded me of the roof that we had when I was 8. I’ll have to save that for its own post, but here’s a hint: Happy penguins were involved.

I gotta go now! I have so much surfing to catch up on!

Love, Me

So there you go. Go and check out the rest of Steph at RCD's Blog Libs post for other people's versions.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What I Lack/ Chapter 3 in "The Whole in Our Gospel"

Matthew 19: 11-17 11 12 Now someone approached him and said, "Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?"He answered him, "Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. 13 If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments."
14 He asked him, "Which ones?" And Jesus replied, " 'You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother'; and 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"15 The young man said to him, "All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?"
Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, 16 go, sell what you have and give to (the) poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
17 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."

The gist of Chapter 3 is the struggle the author had when he realized that God wanted him to give up his home, security, and the possibility of great wealth in favor of leading a charitable organization. Mr. Stearns is incredibly honest in his description of his struggle.

I'm not sure what my reaction would be if God moved my husband to quit his present job, sell our home, move across the country, and take a job at about 1/3 the pay (I can't even imagine how we'd survive on that). I suspect I'd think Bob was going through one heck of a midlife crisis, and pray for the grace to stick with him "in sickness and in health." Hopefully I'd also credit Bob with all the ways he stuck by me, move with him hoping for the best. But I'm sure I wouldn't be encouraging him to do this as Mr. Stearns's wife encouraged him.

But for now, God doesn't seem to be asking Bob to do that, and me to follow. The question really is, what is it God wants from us. Where are we called to serve, and are we open to that call? As far as I can remember, I never envied anyone their toys, house, or fancy car. The more toys you have, the move stuff you need to take keep track of... the bigger the house, the more that needs to be cleaned.....(Yes. I know that some hire people to keep their house clean. The idea of paid strangers knowing my faults intimately does not make me envious...) the fancier the car, the more problematic it would be to ding it (My green rusty tin can on four wheels suits me just fine, thank you very much). But when I see a harried twenty some year old mom with four kids who from stress looks old enough to be my mom, I'm jealous. You know my story about being unable to conceive. Bob and I have discussed adoption, and got side tracked on numerous occasions, some legitimate, and others just the discouragement of the enemy. The question here is, are we being called to be adoptive parents, or is my desire to be a parent getting in the way of a calling to go back to teaching. I seriously loved teaching children, but honestly, the parents wore me out. It got to the point that I believed if I stopped a bullet for a child with my own heart, parents would complain I had bled on their children's clothes, and demand reimbursement. Perhaps they'd even sue my estate because I left the children unsupervised when I died...
I'm stepping into substitute teaching, hoping to figure out step by step which direction I am truly called. My husband thinks substitute teaching is a fine idea because it will be easier to drop being a substitute when our papers are in order and a child is in our home than it would be to drop a classroom full of thirty students. Which direction am I supposed to go in? I personally know that I can't go in both directions. Some teachers make wonderful parents, but like I said, the parents, not the students, really wear me out, and I don't believe I'd have anything left in me to give a child if I went back to teaching.
Perhaps like Mr. Stearn, I'll find that on this road, I'm being given a push in one direction or another, and God's will for me will be clear.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm a Good Customer (in More Ways Than One)

Yep! It is THAT time!

Yesterday on the twitter I promised @weightwhat that if she put up an LIF post I'd share how I terrorize stock boys now that the stores near my house no longer play music. She has today, graced us with a repost. Technically, that means I should be sticking out my tongue and posting a repost, too, because I am mature like that, but I did not stipulate any qualifications to my wondrous new LIF post besides posting the LIF blog carnival today. I should have known Wendy would play a trick on me!

Before I left for the grocery store last Wednesday, my husband asked me to get him some new razor blades. He told me to get Mach 3.
"Anything else I should know?" I asked him.
"No. Just Mach 3" was his response.

So I went to Dominick's (Perhaps they call it "Safeway" in your stretch of the highway) and loaded up my cart with stuff. I'm in the lane labeled "shaving needs". A stock boy is a few feet away working with the shaving cream, when I see that they have "Mach 3" and "Mach 3 Turbo". I know that Bob said "just Mach 3", but I'd hate to have to come back for new ones, much less the trying to get a refund for the ones I bought by mistake. So I decide to take out my dusty old cell phone with the prepaid minutes and give him a call.

Now, my old purse had a separate phone section on the outside of it, but the strap broke a couple of weeks ago, so I bought myself an inexpensive interim purse that happens to have no outside pockets. I reach into my purse and take out the cell phone and call Bob.

Bob: What's up, Helen?
HRM: Hi hon! I see they have "Mach 3 Turbo" and "Mach 3"
Bob: Just "Mach 3".
HRM: Thanks hon! Bye!
I click the phone and pick up the razors with the same hand. I place the phone in the middle of my purse and without thinking, I almost zip the purse with the razors inside! When I realize what I am doing, I scream "NO! NO! NO!" and flip the razors out of my purse, several feet in the air, and bat it into the back of my cart on its way down.

And what does the stock boy a few feet away from me do. He looks straight ahead of himself, turns in the other direction, and starts work in another aisle. If I see him this week, I intend to say to him
"About last week Wednesday.... it was me, and not you in the least. Really..."

Now, to find out how I freaked out the butcher last week, Wendy will have to write a NEW Life is Funny post next week...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

We Are Welcome

Today at Church, we listened to this reading from the Gospel.

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
"This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."
So to them he addressed this parable.
"What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
'Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.'
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.

"Or what woman having ten coins and losing one
would not light a lamp and sweep the house,
searching carefully until she finds it?
And when she does find it,
she calls together her friends and neighbors
and says to them,
'Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.'
In just the same way, I tell you,
there will be rejoicing among the angels of God
over one sinner who repents."

Father's homily was really very good. But what moved me most was the hymn we sung afterward. It isn't the first time I heard it. I love this hymn. It makes me cry, but in a good way.

Hosea (Come Back to Me)


Come back to me with all your heart
Don’t let fear keep us apart
Trees do bend though straight and tall
So must we to others call

Long have I waited for
Your coming home to me
And living deeply our new life

The wilderness will lead you
To the place where I will speak
Integrity and justice
With tenderness
You shall know.

Have a blessed Sunday!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pleasantly Disturbed Thursday: Two Out of Three Isn't Bad

So, as you can see, it is time for another Pleasantly Disturbed Thursday.

Hmmmm.... I've been disturbed this week with a bad cold, and Bob hasn't had a great week either... but the idea is to be both disturbed AND pleasant, so let's see what I can do.

I still think dishwashers are wonderful! In the past when I have been sick for a week, I not only didn't get to the dishes in the sink, but after the sink got full, gave up carrying them to the sink. (I told you I make a terrible housewife.) But having a dishwasher means just loading it and starting it and dishes are automatically done! I've been a little to under the weather to care whether the dishes got put away though, so we tend to just pull them straight out of the dishwasher to use them, place them in the sink, then load up the dishwasher once it is empty. It's a pattern that has worked so far, but I'll have to go back to actually putting dishes away again once I have my act together again. I know. I'm bad. You like me anyway, don't deny it.

Also disturbing... since Bob and I have been unwell for more than a week, we haven't tended the garden lately. Our elderly neighbors noticed and did it for us. Very sweet of them, but I am embarrassed at what they must think of us. (I'm disturbed here, but they are pleasant.)

CCD starts on Saturday. I hope I'll be 100% by then (though 80% will due).

I moved the van in the driveway today in order to avoid a ticket. This is a big step for me: I never drive the van. I'm used to a much smaller vehicle and fear misjudging lane changes and parking and stuff. Still, it's not like I can goof up bringing it in the driveway. I KNOW it fits in the driveway since Bob parks it in the driveway sometimes! (OOO! VAN! I have a van story I should tell you about in a Life is Funny post someday. Someone out there remind me of it when I claim I don't have a LIF post for the week on the twitter.)

Advice for anyone out there who participates in Pleasantly Disturbed Thursdays: don't ever check google images for "disturbed". Just trust me. Don't google Richard Gere only gerbil either. (Go and ask Sherri why. I'd link the post, but unfortunately can't find it at her site, Matter of Fact. Just bombard her site with questions about it in the comment section. Oh wait. I'm supposed to be both disturbing AND pleasant in this post... Nevermind.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Openness to God's Will: Chapter 2 in "The Hole in Our Gospel"

Today I will be writing about Chapter 2 in Richard Stearn's book The Hole in Our Gospel. This week Sarah is leading the discussion and has links to other's posts on this chapter at her blog.

In this chapter, Mr. Stearns tells us about how it was difficult for him to realize that God was calling him to be the CEO for World Vision because he felt unqualified, and that deep down, he really didn't want to give up his family's comfortable life style and the security their future was expected to hold if he remained the CEO of Lennox. I can't say I blame him for any of that. I imagine with five children, he was blessing and praising God that he had a job that secured their comfort and future (since he'd be able to afford college for them no problem), and that it is easy to become deaf to a new calling when you are shouting praise for the blessings in your present circumstances.
This chapter had me wondering if I am currently deaf to God's call for me. Does he want me to go back to teaching, but I am drowning out His call with cries of how long it has been since I taught and that I'm not sure I am still qualified? Does He want me to somehow use my experience taking care of Mom, but I drown Him out with cries about how much I miss her? Does He want me to currently be a "housewife", and I am blinded by the fact that I just hate to clean? Or is this just my "desert" just like Mr. Stearn's period of joblessness was His?
I know the answer is to continue to pray for purpose, but to add to that a request for the willingness to be open to God's will for my life. I mean, I thought I was open, but am I really? I, too, have played the unqualified card when being led by Him to start a new ministry at Church. Am I playing the same card in His will for my day to day life? I know. Only I can answer that. But right now it seems that I can't. But He can, if I open my ears and heart.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fruition of Hope

Hope is hard to hang onto during grief. I don't mean hope of the eternal kind, but hope that the day to day efforts have any worth. When my mom died, I had the hope of seeing her again in Heaven. What I lost there for a while was the hope that I'd get up in the morning and find it was worth the effort. What I lost for the while was both purpose, and the hope of having purpose again. (Let's face it: I make a lousy housewife.)
I lifted my voice to Heaven to ask "What is my purpose now? How can I hope to serve You?"
"Plant seeds."
What? It's the middle of February. It is still a month too early to start seedlings for the garden.
"Plant seeds."
Bob can't eat tomatoes. Maybe peppers?
"Whatever. Plant seeds."

I was sure this was not my inner voice telling me to plant seeds, but the Holy Spirit. My inner voice would have lost patience with me. (Seriously. Have you ever read my interviews with myself?) So I went to the store and looked for seeds. Yes. They had seeds in the middle of February. I was surprised that they didn't know it was too early to start seedlings, but then figured that if God didn't know it was too early, why should Osco. I bought dirt and tomato seeds (Bob told me to go ahead and plant the tomatoes because I like them so much) and bell pepper seeds.
I took them home, planted them, and watered them about every other day. I can't say I hoped for anything yet. I just obeyed and tended the seeds I planted. Two weeks later, I saw a stem push out of the ground. I felt hope. I hoped not only that that stem would push out and one day come to fruition, but that I'd see more stems push out soon. Most of the seeds sprouted eventually, but a few didn't. For them, my hope was in vain...
Still, I had about 10 plants of each. I looked up recipes for home made tomato sauce, figuring I just might have more tomatoes than I knew what to do with. Peppers we'd eat whole. Bob can help me eat the peppers. I had hopes for these sprouted plants.
A month passed as I tended them in their little planters. May is a beautiful month. I decided that May 15 would be an excellent day to plant them in the solid earth. I placed the planters themselves outside a week earlier, hoping that getting them used to the fresh air would be healthy for them. We had a cold rain one night during that week. Half of my plants perished. For them, my hope was in vain.
I planted the surviving plants in the earth, and went for a walk. My plants looked so much smaller than the plants people bought from Osco and Home Depot and Target. They'd probably have tomatoes in late July, and I'd have to wait until August. That is okay. Maybe February wasn't too early to start the seedlings after all. By June I didn't see any flowers. I was offered a temporary job, and did not have time or energy to tend my plants so often. I looked every so often, but did not see any tomatoes or peppers. It seemed my hopes for these plants were in vain.
We went to a friend's house for a barbecue in mid July, and I noticed he had a few tomatoes. I was glad for him, and noticed he had put up a cage so the tomato plants weren't laying on the ground. While I knew I was supposed to do that, I hadn't gotten around to it. I asked Bob to get some tomato cages at the hardware store for me, and he helped me stand the tomato plants up. Several green tomatoes were growing were I couldn't see them! Tomatoes, yayy! A week later, I was eating ripe tomatoes!
In another month, maybe longer, we will be warned of first frost. I will then remove the green tomatoes from the plants. Some I may fry, some I may let ripen on the window sills in my home. The plants I lovingly cared for in February, tortured in early May, tended in late May, peeked at in June, rejoiced over in July, and reaped from in August will be pulled up by the roots before winter. In February (maybe January?) new seeds will be planted in pots and put on the window sills.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven--

In the meantime, there are other seeds, those of a spiritual nature, for me to plant and watch grow. Some will come to fruition, and some won't. But it is my given task to keep tending the seeds that do, hoping for the best.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Preaching the Gospel in Action: Chapter 1 in "A Hole in Our Gospel"

My friends Jason and Sarah are hosting a a book club. This week the links are on Jason's blog, next week Sarah's, etc...
The book is The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearn. From reading the prologue and Chapter 1, he seems to me to be saying that as Christians, we need to act on our faith, and not just profess it. We also need to encourage others to act on faith in Jesus, and not just let stated belief be the end of the Christian walk.

I love the fact that he quotes St Teresa if Avila before the beginning of Chapter 1.
"Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours.Yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion for the world is to look out; yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now."

The fact that he quotes a Catholic saint implies (to me, anyway) that he recognizes her as as his sister in Jesus Christ. Sometimes Christian authors who are not Catholic go off about how Catholics believe we are saved by works (I'll explain our position on works some day if you'd like...) and therefore not really Christian, but the very fact that Mr. Stearns quotes Catholic saints (on p. 23 he quotes St. Francis of Assisi "Preach the Gospel always; when necessary use words") implies to me that he does see us as his brothers and sisters in Christ. So he and I definitely start off on the right foot early on.

I also like that he includes a Study Guide in the back. The question about what keeps me in my own little bubble was a good one for m to reflect on. The answer I came up with is that I have been willing to help, but only from a distance. I will give money or canned goods to the poor, but have I ever given my time, or myself? No. That is what contributes to the existence of my bubble, and what I think this book will be challenging me on.

Go to Jason's site this week to see other blogs who have linked up and talk about the first chapter in this book. It seems a lot of us are gleaning different things, and none of us are wrong.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hooray for Saturday: Have a "Safe" Labor Day Weekend

It's Saturday and time for @katbrak 's

I was once this good....IN MY DREAMS!

"We can go when we want to
The night is young and so am I
And we can dress real neat from our hats to our feet
And surprise 'em with the victory cry
Say, we can act if want to
If we don't nobody will
And you can act real rude and totally removed
And I can act like an imbecile"

It's like they saw me in the supermarket or something....

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Shooting the (Text) Messenger

Welcome to a new Helen rant, in the form of an open litter. Sit back and enjoy.

To Him Who Think Breaking Up With Someone Via Text Message is Okay:

It's not. As a matter of fact, it really makes you look bad. All that effort you put into appearing to be a responsible young man went *poof*. Your ex is over you. She was over you by the time she finished reading the text message. She was in the "same place" as you in this relationship the whole time, right up to the end.

But after a year and a half, the best you can do is to text that you don't think the two of you could make a go of it, bye? You couldn't tell her that on your date the next day? COWARD! LOSER! Yes. Loser. No, not because you broke up with a great girl. She is a great girl, but that doesn't mean she was right for you. You, sir, are a loser because this great girl would have gladly been friends with you. She liked you. She had her doubts that you and her went meant to ever walk down the aisle, but she thought you were a great guy she could still be friends with. But by disrespecting her, you lost that friendship.

You also lost the goodwill you built up with her family and their friends. They always described you as a respectful young man. Do you want to know how we describe you now? "Oh, you know Ollie... He's the one who breaks up via text message...". Yeah. Good luck if you try to date any of their friends' daughters'. Oh, and they know lots of people. And those people also know lots of people, who know people. Yeah. LOSER!

Most Sincerely,
Tomorrow we shall be back with our regularly scheduled "Pleasantly Disturbed" segment rather than just merely disturbed.