Saturday, February 26, 2011

Editors

Last night I had a visit from the Apostrophe Police. If you recall, I used several apostrophes indiscriminately in the last post. I am thankful I was issued only a warning, so I must be careful from now on or surely I'll be ticketed next time.
English is the most wonderful tongue to have as a native language. It's so bendy-flexi-manipulative that you really need to know the ins and outs to use it with confidence, but you can practically murder it and still be understood.
Funny thing, but language aptitude must be somewhat genetically revealed in my family. My dad taught speech at the Crookston Agricultural School in the 50's. My mom is an RN with heightened English skills (those of you who know her would agree with me) yet no official experience to document it, except that all of her children married people with remarkable English ability. My two brothers both married editors, and I married a man with a major in English Literature. Clearly this is a sign of language gene dominance.
Just because my career field is in education does NOT qualify me to be mistake-proof in the usage of English. But I do not get away with it easily. I have a ready staff of Corrections Officers at my disposal. So, please pardon my English!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spurgeon

I've been reading this week. One thing I finished was a biography about Charles Spurgeon. I didn't know much about him except that he's frequently quoted by pastors, referred to, and admired. Now I have my own opinion.
I think I would have enjoyed knowing him.
He struggled with pain most of his life, yet he always kept the most important thing central; Christ crucified, Christ the Lord. He could fill large auditoriums 2 to 3 times a day just preaching the same thing. There must have been a genuine power to his message and his character.
This encourages any believer in this era.
We might be impressed by the Rick Warren's, the Rob Bell's, the Franklin Graham's, and whoever the preacher du jour is, but it's the day to day life of a true believer that really speaks to the spirit. Lived-out spirituality.
It is a privilege to know someone who actually is living out his or her spirituality. Someone who dares to go against the modern tide of humanism and feel-good (hedonistic) self-help idealism. Pick up any magazine at the grocery check-out and you can't escape it!
I may not be in sync with all of Charles Spurgeon's theology, but it would be great to have known him. The book said his voice was interesting, and that is one of the saddest things about death. The voice is silenced.  At least we have his thoughts.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Forgiveness

The character quality that we looked at last week was Forgiveness. Most interesting to me was its opposite: Rejection.
How many people have I not forgiven because I have rejected them? For me people are easy to reject. I admit it. If someone hurts me, looks down on me, despises me, dismisses me, misunderstands me, offends me, chooses a different path, (and so on) it is easy for me to move on---and reject them!
But what would Christ do? He has already forgiven whomever. What an example to me! I may have strong ideas that tend to polarize (as most people do, really) but I am not allowed to reject anyone. Anyone. I am commanded to love and forgive.
So I am sorry. I am sorry I have rejected so many. I ask to be forgiven even as I extend more forgiveness.

Monday, February 14, 2011

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Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone!  What a fun day it was.  I have One Dozen gorgeous red roses drooping luxuriously on the dining room table.  I have a vase full of yellow carnations in full bloom on the coffee table.  My darling youngster is making a valentine "layer cake" out of heart shaped cookies (baked by Margaret) and pink tinted frosting.  It's fun to get little home made messages on construction paper hearts.  Even the pets got theirs.
We had the Valentine party at Good News Club today at the elementary school today with cotton candy and little prizes for all who came.  Thirteen today! 
The story was about guarding your heart, and it was very effective.  Convicting for even the teachers!  We have an Eye Gate and an Ear Gate, and we must guard them from evil things we could hear or see. Hmmmm.
I read a blip on NPR about a movie coming out which celebrates a life that has been "experienced" versus a life that simply hadn't been "lived."  It sounded like the "experience" had everything to do with sin.
Too bad the experience of purity and virtue are so rarely lived.  It's far more uncommon and far more desirable.  No one is perfect, but to wallow in sinful "pleasures" leads no where but the pit.
There is something about Valentine's Day that triggers thoughts about purity.  Pure Love. Wholeness. Heart's Desire.
Let's celebrate that!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A little Softer

Just some news about life right now.  We're fighting colds, at least most of us are. We are getting out of the house to see science films at the Science Museum---"Hubble," "Tropical Rainforest," so far.  Tomorrow we hope to see another one.  "Hubble" was impressive.  Also I watched online the new documentary "Iranium." Disturbing.
Exercising at the YMCA is not effortless when it is below zero.  It's good for us to get out.  The van is frigid and it takes considerable amounts of fuel to get it warmed up for the two mile trip to exercise. 
I'm happy to see two fat grey squirrels cavorting down the snow paths from tree to tree, along the fence rails and up to the feeders on sunny mornings.  These two little squirrels were young-uns last summer and it is fun to see how grown and healthy they are.  They seem to enjoy each other so much.  There's life out in the icy landscape!
Bees are still alive.
My husband attended the bee meeting tonight at the University and attendance was beyond any expectation!  Twice the usual February meeting number showed up!  Bee keeping is catching on.  That is a good sign.
I was at violin and cello lessons with three of my children.
The instruments don't even sound the same in this dry cold! They lose their voices too.
Everyone is crying out for a little relief from the bitter cold, and it is on the way. Days are growing longer, tomorrow should be in the twenties. The sun is shining and the air is really fresh.
The job search goes on for my husband. It can be very stressful just waiting between interviews, wondering what the companies are thinking, re-hashing what occurred during the meetings. Unemployment is wearing in multiple ways. I'm thankful for the dozens of people who are praying for us, and I know patience is a virtue we could all learn to practice more.  It's just not a pleasant lesson.
Current reading: "Phantastes," by George MacDonald. "The Birth of Venus," by Sarah Dunant. "When a Nation Forgets God," by Edwin Lutzer, "Across Five Aprils," by Irene Hunt, and "Wuthering Heights," by Emily Bronte, (again). 
I'm falling behind in my Sudoku obsession, and I am getting out of practice! But my crossword puzzle skills are improving.
This is the month to play games, and we have enjoyed "Settlers of Catan" and "Dutch Blitz."  I love "Rummicube," but I haven't got that one out yet.
I love to do puzzles in March.  It wiles away the time until Spring. 
Probably there won't be time then with various activities coming up.
Every Thursday my husband and I attend our choir rehearsal.  The Northern Lights Chorale is singing the best program yet!  Old favorites, inspiring arrangements of dear hymns, and some brand new choral compositions of ethereal beauty. Thursdays are a taste of heaven for me.
Five active and productive children are a blessing from the Lord, and home schooling them is also a gift. My life is anything but dull, but this time of year always gets me a little down health-wise. I'm hoping for the stamina to land softly in the season of renewal.

Monday, February 7, 2011

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Black and White

The other day I had coffee with a good friend, and she made a comment about an issue not being "black and white." 
I have to say that my world is pretty black and white.  Some may say that makes me  intellectually challenged.  I would say that if the world isn't that way to you, you haven't thought through the issues deeply enough!  My grey areas are the ones I haven't decided on yet.
Most areas are clearly one of two things: right/wrong, beautiful/ugly, good/bad, clear/indistinct, present/past, complex/simple.
I have been reading a little book on Philosophy I got at Borders the other day.  I bought it because my son is taking Philosophy at the local community college, and I thought the book's helpful summaries would clarify some of the best known avenues of philosophy for him.  He hasn't read it much yet (too busy with other reading!), but I have enjoyed reading about some of the great thinkers from recorded history.  I've also had to ask myself which camp I fall into: realist, rationalist, idealist, pragmatist....
Since most of the Philosophical worldviews fall clearly outside the Biblical one it's pretty easy to eliminate the majority.
My world is black and white.  I use the Holy Bible to direct my life.  There are 10 commandments to structure my values.  There are helpful injunctions to guide my daily life.  Christ's teachings and commands have taught me how to be fruitful.
Love, and forgive. Help people. Die for what is truth.
As a believer who has asked God to forgive her I have entered a different universe of spiritual versus physical.  Because I became a Christian at such a young age it took me years to understand how very different life is without Christ.  My universe is White.  People who don't know Christ live in the Black one.  They are simply unable to experience the depth and understanding of Scripture that I can.  They are spiritually blind.  Dark. 
I will not apologize for living a transformed life.  I am a human being that is no better than any other.  Weak, fallen, prone to wander.
But my universe is different from yours, if you have not repented of your sin and chosen to believe in Christ.  I experience Christ's great love daily.  His plan for me is to prosper me and not to harm me.  He gives me a hope and a future.  My soul will never die.
Have you heard this before?
I'm looking out the window at deep snow, winter trees, and shadows.  My world is black and white.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wednesday. February. Snow Record. Provisions.

It's calm and serene outside, and bitterly cold.  The nation is recovering from a massive blizzard, and everyone seems relieved to have survived.  We got only a few inches of snow, which left us unfazed after the continuous bouts of snow we've seen in the duration of this winter.
Perhaps it is easier to live in this "unfriendly" climate.  We seem to know how to deal with extremes more gracefully than the world to the south! 
We relish the thought of skiing on Friday.  This winter has been "epic" for skiing!  I hope our local ski place is taking it to the bank, and planning for less profitable winters ahead!
And so should we.  When we have much it is naturally our responsibility to save and store (not hoard) for the inevitable hard time to come.  We will then be required to share what we have with those who do not.
My youngest son has a tender heart toward those in need.  He loves to assist at the local charity for children suffering from hunger.  When he gave a generous donation recently I asked him if he really had enough cash to do so, and he looked at me and said, "The Bible tells us to give to the poor."
Just to see if he really knew what he was talking about I challenged him.  "Where does it say it in the Bible?  Show me."
A few hours later he brought me 2 4x6 cards with several verses (with references) written out on them.  All of them were admonishments to care for those in need.  Had to smile.
It was a nice reminder.  I'm thankful for all that we have.  I'm thankful for God's generosity to us.  We need to share!