Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

1. And death now, vanished is the fear now,
banished are my tears now,
death has passed away.

2. The kingdom, praise to God, the kingdom!
Raised up to the kingdom,
we shall live in love.

3. Our gladness, blessful in our gladness,
this will be our gladness,
that he is alive.

4. With him then, die and live with him then,
rise and sing our hymn then,
sing alleluia.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!

Those of you who know me are probably shocked that today of all days, I have written a post titled "Happy Earth Day!"   Either that, or you are shocked that there isn't a picture of an alien at the top of this post, with the caption "Save the Earth: we may want to colonize it one day."  (Courtesy of Shoebox Greetings™ by Hallmark™-- I read it on a coffee mug I broke about ten years ago). But today is not a day I can joke about saving the Earth:  today we commemorate the day the Earth actually was saved.

Romans 8:19-25 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that  the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

On the day Jesus Christ died, he completed our redemption, and that of creation.

2 Peter 3:12-14 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

Just as I won't see my redemption until the "end" of my life, the earth won't look redeemed until it's "end".    Yet in Christ I have the hope for myself, my loved ones, and indeed the whole earth, that we are being renewed.

Do I wish to discourage anyone from sacrificing their time, energy, or resources by limiting their consumption of oil, plastic, or some other material good for the comfort of others?   No, I think sacrifice for others is something that done for the right reasons, can glorify the Lord.   But you, I, and all of us together do NOT need to save the earth:  that has already been done.

John 19:30  "It is finished."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Blest Are They Who...

Blessed are those who mourn, 
   for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4  NIV)

Be Not Afraid

You shall cross the barren desert, but you shall not die of thirst. 
You shall wander far in safety though you do not know the way.
You shall speak your words in foreign lands and all will understand.
You shall see the face of God and live.
Be not afraid.
I go before you always;
Come follow me,
and I will give you rest.

If you pass through raging waters in the sea, you shall not drown.
If you walk amid the burning flames, you shall not be harmed.
If you stand before the pow'r of hell and death is at your side,
know that I am with you through it all.

Be not afraid.
I go before you always;
Come follow me,
and I will give you rest.
Blessed are your poor, for the kingdom shall be theirs.
Blest are you that weep and mourn, for one day you shall laugh. 
And if wicked men insult and hate you all because of me,
blessed, blessed are you!

Be not afraid.
I go before you always;
Come follow me,
and I will give you rest.

This picture of Kristi was on one of her blog posts.

Today my friends and I are "blest" to mourn a dear lady ,Kristi,  "watershack lady"@pagan43 on the twitter.  One day, when we are in heaven with her, we will all enjoy a good laugh, and the tears we shed today will make the joy we feel then all the sweeter.  Indeed, the tears we shed then will equal and surpass those we shed now, but they will be tears of joy and not loss.  We shall all be restored to one another.    It is the having had the treasure of her friendship, and it's restoration, which is the blessing.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Progressive Retreat

Still not bedazzled.
This week's discussion of Mere Christianity is on Chapter 5: We Have Cause to be Uneasy.

We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. (Mere Christianity, p.36)

God bless Clive, he expressed my problem with stubbornness to the letter.   He even goes on to describe a math problem.   That was always my problem in math:  admitting that the time I spent on a problem was wasted and I needed to start over.  

I never could grasp the notion "You learn from your mistakes."   My daddy always said "SMART people learn from other people's mistakes."   I seem to have interpreted that to mean that I can only learn from my mistakes if I'm dumb enough to admit them.  I know my daddy meant well by not leaving an excuse hanging there, but looking back, I don't think it kept me from making mistakes, just admitting them and turning around.

Changing my mind was also seen as a weakness.   Any decision, even the buying of curtains that turn out not to match the kitchen, has to be lived with until said curtains wear out, or it's time to repaint the kitchen.  (The colors in the kitchen also have to be lived with until paint chips.  Then it will be hard for me to decide on a color because I know I'll have to live with it forever an a day.  I have, however, shaken things up by moving the kitchen curtains in the bedroom and the bedroom curtains in the kitchen, which is working out rather nicely for us.)

Not THE floor lamp, but similar to it.
How does my husband feel about this?  I think he'd rather be married to a woman who considers it her prerogative to change her mind than to a woman who argued with him for purchasing the wrong lamp and then argued that I didn't want him to take it back.   I didn't want the Customer Service department at Value City to think of us as weak, even though this kind of thing is actually in their job description. Funny thing is, he won that argument, and I enjoy that floor lamp!  I can be so indecisive sometimes because I know I can't turn back that I make him twitchy.    I can also cause tension by insisting that retreat equal defeat.

There is no denying, though, that Clive makes a good point that I need to take to heart and ponder.  It may lead to the solution of more problems than of which I am aware.   After all, he was talking about spiritual and intellectual stuff, not about decorating my kitchen.  Though I'm sure he would have been most happy to help with it.   Then my husband could have handed him a paint brush when he okayed painting the kitchen lilac, with white trim.  

What progress awaits me?  I don't know yet.  I suppose I have to turn back and find out.

Does Homedepot™ sell drop cloths?

This week, my friend Sarah at "Living Between the Lines" is hosting the book discussion on Chapter 5 of Mere Christianity. Click here to join her.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Have You Ever Ridden on a Duck?

Have you ever been to the Wisconsin Dells?  There are two parts to this vacation.  One can travel on  either a boat or a"DUCK" to see the actual Dells of the Wisconsin River.  Then there is the touristy stuff.  Both are fun and worthwhile.  But neither is an adventure!
About ten years ago, Bob and I thought going to the Dells would be fun.   Bob suggested, though, that instead of staying on strip,  we stay in a fishing resort in Poynette, Wisconsin.  (No, Bob does  not fish)  I figured this was one of those "six of one, half a dozen of the other" situations.   It was near enough to Lake Delton to get there in about twenty minutes, but far enough from there that we wouldn't be kept up at night with partyers.  Besides,  we wanted to visit Circus World Museum in Baraboo, so it wasn't like we just wanted to eat at Paul Bunyan's, ride the boat and the DUCK,
Not necessarily a Wisconsin "DUCK", but a "DUCK" nonetheless.
see Tommy Bartlett's show, and visit Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum.  We wanted to do other things, too!

When we got, there, Bob saw that next door to where we were (it was a lovely place, but by "resort", they mean we had a cabin with a bathroom, not some fancy schmancy place) staying was a boat rental place right on the river.   He thought renting a pontoon boat and exploring the river sounded like fun.  Again, I thought "six of one, have a dozen of the other".  (Really, wherever we go, that's where the party is at, so it doesn't really matter where we are...) So, on a five day trip to "the Dells" we were planning to spend one day in Baraboo, and one day on the river.

Well, we tell the owner of the boat rental place that we are newbies, and he shows us how to drive it.   Then we go for a lovely ride on the river and dock at a nice little restaurant.   We had a nice lunch, and decided it was time to head back so we could return the boat on time.

Well, it on the way back, the boat ends up getting stuck in sandbars, and we have to get out and push the boat out, then hop back in it.  That was all well and good when the water came up to our knees.   But at one point, the boat drifted away from us too quickly, and we had to swim a few hundred feet after it!   Now,  Bob and I tried climbing over the side as we had before, but there was too much boat sticking out of the water, so we swam along side of it for a while.   Then we tried getting in from the back, and that worked much better.  We got in the boat, I looked at Bob, and then I laughed and laughed and laughed.   I'm afraid we didn't take pictures of the event (after all, who could forget...) but the picture to the right reminds me of him when we got back in the boat that day.  Poor guy.  A proper wife would have been worried that he and I would catch a chill, but I couldn't get over how funny he looked!  Bob, bless him, was just glad I was taking things in stride.  Either that, or he was worried that I cracked up. I'm not sure which.
Afterwards things seemed to go rather smoothly, at least until we realized that nothing looked familiar.   It seems we went down the wrong branch!   Nothing to worry about though, as they connected just past where we were staying.   The owner of the shop was getting worried about his boat because it was almost closing time, and the weather had changed.  (Did I mention it had started to rain?  Woops.)   He saw us and towed us back in, while I laughed and laughed.
What was so funny?  Nothing really.  I was just filled with joy that everything worked out okay, and that Bob and I had faced our adventure working things out together and not griping at each other and bickering.  Love is not easily angered, and I was so glad to be sharing any and all adventures with Bob, whom I love so much, and loves me as well.  I hope they all turn out as well, with  us at the right destination when everything is all said and done.

This is being submitted to the One Word blog carnival at Peter Pollock's blog.  Today's One Word is adventure.
(I had thought this would make a good "Life is Funny" post, too, but my friend hasn't been hosting her blog carnival lately.)

Monday, April 18, 2011

"F" is for Facebook, and Other Words As Well


I had a rather humbling experience on Saturday.   Now, normally it is good when awesome people have a humbling experience because it keeps them likable.   I am of the opinion though that I may be a bit less likable to some of my friends now, especially those who are on facebook.
I shall start at the very beginning.  According to the movie The Sound of Music,  "tis a very good place to start..."   I checked my email around 1:00 p.m. and noticed a link from a friend.   She used to send links to the cutest things, but she hasn't in a while.  My first thought was "Great!  She's BAack!".   I read  the message, which was in "event" form with a link to find out who has been looking me up.   I figured if she sent it , it had to be SUPER cute!  Well, it wasn't, and I can no more blame her for "sending" it than I can myself for clicking it.  You see, as soon as I clicked it, I had friends emailing me "NO!  HELEN!!  IT'S SPAM!!!"    No, they did not mean the delicious luncheon meat.   I proceeded to look at my facebook page and find "Wtf... I just found out you've been stalking me... .lol"  and other such nonsense was posted on my friends' walls in my name.   The link was also sent in my name to all of my facebook friends.
I did not know what to do.  First I tried to send everyone a note, but notes aren't what I thought they were... Then I tried to send messages telling people what happened and not to click, but you can only do twenty at a time.  I tried to work alphabetically, but was so nervous, I realized that I missed some people and were sending doubles to others.  It was time to give up, because I was making a bad situation worse.

I tried to delete the message from my friends' walls.  I hope I got to everybody.  It's no longer on my wall, so I can only assume I had.   Just as I was about to give up, I figured out how to "cancel" the event, and add a message explaining what happened.  A few people sent messages saying "no sweat", and the rest seem to be ignoring the whole thing as just poop that happened and had been cleaned up.  

So why do I think I'm less likable?   Truth be told, it has little to do with what happened on Saturday.   You see, I got the same "stalking" message on my wall a few months ago.   It was made to look like it came from a facebook friend I went to High School with.  In all honesty, I don't remember this person, but recognized that she was friended by other friends from High School, and when I checked her info I saw that she did indeed go to the same High School I did.  When I saw the "stalker" message, instead of thinking "spam",  I got a flashback to all the pain I went through in High School and even though I don't remember if she was friend or foe, I thought to myself "B____!   I'm not the one who looked you up, remember?  How am I the stalker?"   The only thing that kept me from leaving that as a comment was pride.   I didn't want to show myself as one who didn't outgrow her insecurities, so I deleted the message from my wall, and moved on.   The only reason I didn't defriend her was because I didn't know how, and was too proud to waste an hour on someone else's cruel joke.

But it wasn't her cruel joke, just like it wasn't my cruel joke.   Someone else is messing with the feelings of strangers, causing hurt and wedges.  (Unless, of course, I'm the only one dumb enough to have ever taken it seriously.  Even then, though, time and effort was wasted.)

I haven't figured out if it would have been better if I had admitted to feeling hurt or not.   Obviously reacting in anger would have been wrong, but should I have eventually commented "Why?  Do you want to defriend?"  Or is it best that I quietly stewed, because this lady has no way to know what I was thinking unless she actually clicks on to my blog now?  

What do I know?  That I have been humbled by making the same mistake she did, and having the same cruel words fly around the blogasphere in my name.   If you were a recipient, and you were not on the receiving end of an apology, please accept mine now.

Hopefully this apology goes over better than the Angry Birds' Peace Treaty. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Book and It's Cover

I know we are not supposed to judge a book by it's cover, but seriously, I am tired of having to use this boring picture for my posts on Mere Christianity.   There are pictures of that book with snazzier covers (which my blog deserves), but wouldn't it be lying if I were to use those pictures instead of the picture of the cover I have?   I'm beginning to regret telling Sarah and Jason to remove me from the book giveaway drawing because I already had the book.  I should have stayed in the contest, then passed my copy on to Duane or Dusty after I won.  But did I think of that in time? No.  Now my snazzy blog is marred by that boring cover, sitting there off to the side, mocking me for being such a dope.  With the word "Christianity" in it's title, you'd think it would be above mocking me, but it's not.   It had better be careful, or I'll take out my glitter and sequins, glue it to my copy, and upload the picture here!  That out to teach it not to taunt me!

Speaking of disturbing, I just looked up my reading history on my local library's website.    Apparently I read over 200 library books in the last  three years.  That means that the amount of money I would have spent would have been between $667 (paperback) and $2,000 (hardcover) yearly.   BTW, I still buy some books, and get some as gifts.  My point?  I am grateful for libraries, because $2000 would blow quite a huge hole in my budget.  My husband has never complained that I don't have a job, and we do just fine, but that is a lot of money!  (Which, writer's, publisher's, book binders, printers, etc. all deserve btw!)

Now that the weather is getting nicer, I'm going to spend more time outdoors, reading and gardening and walking.  I'll need more bug spray.  I LOVE the smell of OFF!™ bug spray.   I have ever since I was a little kid.  I'd wear it as perfume, but Bob discourages that, especially in the winter.  Oh well.  Nobody is perfect.

Here is a taste of the disturbing future:  next Tuesday you will have the opportunity to read a post where I mention rideable ducks.   Enjoy the picture I'm leaving in your head.

For more disturbing thoughts, please check out Duane Scott's Pleasantly Disturbed Thursday Blog Carnival

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Unobservable, But Real Nonetheless

I'm starting to regret not buying a new book.
My blog deserves a snazzier cover!
In Chapter 4, Lewis makes the point that science is all about observable fact.   But God cannot be known fully by mere observable fact any more than man can.   If one were to observe Man as a whole, one would not be able to determine any such thing as a natural moral law.   But because we are men (in the non gender specific meaning of the term), we know what Man is like far better than we would from mere observation.  If man is unknowable by mere observation, how much more so God.
He then uses the example of a mail carrier to explain.

Suppose someone asked me, when I see a man in blue uniform going down the street leaving little paper packets at each house, why I suppose that they contain letters? I should reply, ‘Because when ever he leaves a similar little packet for me I find it does contain a letter.’ And if he then objected—’But you’ve never seen all these letters which you think the other people are getting,’ I should say, ‘Of course not, and I shouldn’t expect to, because they’re not addressed to me. I’m explaining the packets I’m not allowed to open by the ones I am allowed to open.’ It is the same about this question. The only packet I am allowed to open is Man. When I do, especially when I open that particular man called Myself, I find that I do not exist on my own, that I am under a law; that somebody or something wants me to behave in a certain way. I do not, of course, think that if I could get inside a stone or a tree I should find exactly the same thing, just as I do not think all the other people in the street get the same letters as I do. I should expect, for instance, to find that the stone had to obey the law of gravity—that whereas the sender of the letters merely tells me to obey the law of my human nature, he compels the stone to obey the laws of its stony nature. But I should expect to find that there was, so to speak, a sender of letters in both cases, a Power behind the facts, a Director, a Guide. (Mere Christianity, p.34)

Yes, belief in God is "unscientific" but that is only because science is too small, not because it is more real.

Last week, I wasn't very patient reviewing Chapter 3.   That was mainly because I felt that people who deny the existence of a moral law do so because of twistedness.  I suppose that isn't fair.  It's like someone judging me for not being able to wrap my poor little brain around Calculus, accept that this is more important.  (Really.  We all need God.  We don't all need Calculus).   But if I did need to learn Calculus, I would need someone to take me into it with small little baby steps, starting with what I already knew, and then helping me understand one bit at a time.   That's exactly what Lewis is doing here.  In other words, sorry about last week.  :-)

Click here for more brilliant discussions of Chapter 4 in Mere Christianity

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Reality of the Law: Explaining the Obvious

It begins to look as if we shall have to admit that there is more than one kind of reality; that, in this particular case, there is more than one kind of reality; that, in this particular case, there is something above and beyond the ordinary facts of men's behaviour, and yet quite definitely real- a real law, which none of us made, but which we find pressing on us.  (Mere Christianity, p. 30)

What I really like about Clive Staples Lewis is how he can state these philosophical ideas so simply, even I can understand him.  :-)   Okay, I'm not exactly dumb... when I was in college, I was actually considered to be intelligent.   However, I got tired of the mind ______ (insert word which a lady ought not to say, write, or think).   It seems that people will argue things they don't even believe in philosophy, just to prove themselves to have more supple minds than their opponents.   I don't want a twisted mind, thank you very much!  I'd rather look dumb than become twisted!

That is not to say that all philosophers are twisted.  I have a friend who is trying to convince someone on her blog that people have souls.   I find it difficult to participate because the person she is discussing this with is playing the mind game thing.. He can contradict himself right and left so long as he doesn't give in to what she is saying an inch!   I can't deal with that poop.   Not anymore!

What does this have to do with Clive?   It seems to me he is stating the obvious, yet I know it isn't "obvious " to everyone, or at least that not everyone wants to understand this.  He writes in Chapter 3 about how their are laws of Nature such as how a rock must fall or a tree must grow under certain conditions, but there is no such law for people.   People aren't even governed by the rule of convenience, since we might despise and distrust someone who would be a traitor to their country for their own convenience, even if they were the enemy and their treachery made it easier for us.  People are moved by something deeper, something that is at the core of our nature.  

We don't always follow it, but when we don't, we feel shame.  We know we are wrong.  God put this law in each of our hearts.  I believe sometimes we bury it, and maybe even convince ourselves that it isn't there, but is just a manmade idea that we have been shamed and guilted into believing.  But that doesn't explain how even then, we know when someone has wronged us.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Earthly Treasure Points to Heavenly Treasure

(Yes, my parents did listen to this song when I was a child.  You don't run across this song by accident over the interwebs, even when searching youtube "Schatzi only polka".)

I think I may have mentioned before that my daddy was Hungarian.  I may have also mentioned that my father and mother had friends here in Chicago who were from his village.  Somehow among those friends was a German couple.   I don't remember their names.   They were not among the group very often.  The only thing I really remember about them is that the man pronounced my last name in the German way, not the American, and that he called his wife "Schatzi".   I'm not sure if that was her name or not.   I found out later, when I was learning German in High School, that "schatzi" means treasure.   Isn't that a beautiful thing to call someone, whether it is a given name, or a nickname?
I can understand how one could call their spouse a treasure.   My Bob is a real treasure.   In Ephesians it says " Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her ".   I can truly see that my husband's goal is to do exactly that, every day.   What a blessing to me!   I know my husband isn't perfect (who is?), but when I see how he loves me, and I think about how Jesus, who is perfect, loves me so much more, I feel like a treasure!
So what is my treasure?   I guess it's only truthful to say I have two.  Bob, whose goodness, patience, and faithfulness points me to my ultimate treasure, Jesus.

Yes, I do treasure his creativity and sense of humor.

Today we have the One Word at a Time blog carnival over on Peter Pollock's blog. Today's one word is treasure. Click here to find out what others have to say about treasure.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy April Fool's Day!

Thank you to Photobucket for the image, and Matt for the idea.

I don't do pranks.  Okay, maybe a little... My idea of a good prank is to hide the salt shaker, then put it right in front of the plate of the person who asked for it when they are distracted and turn away.  I know.  I'm a wild woman.   

I guess I just have a lot to learn about pranking....
(OH WAIT!  There was the time I... Nah.  I'll save it for when Wendy starts up the Life is Funny blog carnival again.)

Please describe your favorite prank, done by you or to you, in the comment section.  Thanks for teaching me!