Sunday, December 21, 2008

God"s Christmas

God's wrapping: She wrapped him in swaddling clothes
God's Christmas lights: The glory of the Lord shown round about them
God's birth announcement: For unto us a child is born
God's gift tag: For unto you...
God's Christmas carol: Glory to God in the highest
God's Christmas guests: Shepherds...came with haste
God's Christmas party: Wisemen brought gifts of gold, frankinscence, and myrrh
God's Christmas ornament: we have seen his star in the East
God's gift: The gift of God is eternal life
God's Christmas tree: the cross
God's wreath: and he made a crown of thorns

Monday, December 15, 2008


I was the friend you’ll always remember.
I was the stranger you still can’t forget.

I made the comment that brought you to laughter.
I was the heartache time was too slow to heal.

I was the stepping stone that took you to a new height.
I was the stumbling block you had to overcome.

I was the teacher that caused you to wonder.
I was the lesson you shouldn’t have learned.

I was the encourager that held you through grief.
I was the trial that God saw you through.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Christmas Time

Favorite Christmas Songs:
So This Is Christmas
All I want for Christmas is You
Baby It's Cold Outside
Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy--Bing Crosby/David Bowie
O Holy Night
Carol of the Bells
Wizards in Winter

Favorite Christmas Tradition:
Serving breakfast in bed. Opening presents one at a time. String caroling.

Favorite Christmas Gift:
A box of stones. Mom and Dad couldn't afford much that year. They gave a each a box of stones. Each stone represented an aspect of the Christian life. It actually started the idea for the memorial stones that I keep now.

Favorite Part of the Christmas Story:
Luke 2:25-35
And behold there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon...and it was revealed to him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ...and he took him up in his arms...and said...mine eyes have seen thy salvation...a light to lighten the Gentiles.

Most Unusual Christmas:
The Christmases spent in Africa where wishing for a white Christmas took on a whole new meaning, where "I'll be home for Christmas" was banned from every repertoire, where we planned to decorate palm trees, but never did, where we opened a canned ham as a special treat to celebrate, where we sat in church for six hours to watch the African's reenactment of the nativity, where we never hung lights because of a cultural association with the local bars, where our favorite gift was a candy bar.

Most Remembered Christmas:
The year we spent in France. We had an itty-bitty tree that Dad cut down. We made ornaments covering shapes cut from cereal boxes with tin foil. It was the only year we had real mistletoe-not the plastic substitute. It smelled horrible. We strung popcorn and when Christmas was over, we hung the popcorn from the balcony. All these birds came. We invited a Chinese friend to celebrate with us and ate Christmas dinner with chopsticks.

What are yours?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Perspectives on Minorities

I've begun a study on what's happened to second generation Christians, something I refer to as symptoms of silver platter faith. Not a formal study, mind you. That would take the fun out of it. But merely observations, some discussions with friends who are passionate about animated debates, and some reading to add the opinions of people somewhat more credible.

Not unique to my generation, but definitely a huge factor is an obsession with being in the minority. It comes from an innate need to be special. If our ideas or opinion match another, we fear we'll go unnoticed. Yet if they have to match (because of course there are really no new ideas), we match the person who has a reputation for being in the minority. Or we aim for the least popular vote. Or we seek a comment that will achieve the highest shock factor.

And if we have caused our friends to gasp, we feel have achieved some higher insight or understanding. This somehow grants us the right to look pityingly at our friends, smile, and shake our heads.

In my diagnosis of what has happened to second generation Christians, I blame the Christian schools, the youth groups, the Bible colleges, and any other isolated organization in which Christians interact solely with other Christians. Because if we are to satisfy this need to rebel against the norm, well...the result is obvious.

I'm not ready to burn down my school for the higher good. Don't get me wrong. Nor am I advocating that we send our children to public institutions. I think that would raise a whole new spectrum of problems. But I believe strongly in exposure to and interaction with the "real world" (and I use the quotation marks deliberately because the definition is so subjective). On a side note, it's interesting how both the Christian world and the unsaved world have a concept of a real world which is distinctly different than their present world.

Being in a secular environment now, I'm finally experiencing my role as a minority from a different perspective. I'm viewed as abnormal, an extremist, and naive. I've been called a liar (because no one can really be content), and I've been scrutinized suspiciously. Yet I also enjoy the exotic side of being the minority. My political views, my faith, my convictions and standards, my perspective as a whole is basically a novelty.
For the first time, I guess I can say, it’s fun to be conservative.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Kodak Moment

Valinda's first day of school.

Shelly's first day of school.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Done List

Yes, I have a list too. I'm constantly adding to the list: Things to do before I die. I'm a huge advocate for putting check marks on my list. I like to dream big, but I like to see things move from I wish into reality. I don't list the impossibles. Going to the moon is not on my list, neither is running for office in a presidential election. I'll never have the satisfaction of checking them off, and that would just depress me.

I'm not posting my Things To Do list. Maybe another time. Maybe not. This is my Things Done List. And there is already a beautiful check mark by each of them.

  • Taking a canoe down an African river
  • Climbing the Eiffel Tower (3 times)

  • Hiking in the Swiss Alps

  • Eating snake

  • Kissing the Blarney Stone
  • Climbing an active volcano
  • Observing a surgery in a third world country
  • Helping deliver a calf
  • Bottle feeding a lamb in the Pyrenees Mountains
  • Seeing the original Mona Lisa
  • Diving off the side of a schooner into the Carribean
  • Seeing the sun set over the Atlantic Ocean
  • Snorkeling under the "Pirates be warned" rock
  • Sleeping in a jungle
  • Listening to a stalactites pipe organ
  • Touring the Palace of Versailles
  • Skydiving

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

7 hours in the ER

My day started with a phone call at 6:30 this morning. I spent the next 7 hours crammed in a cubicle surrounded by instruments, blinking monitors, beakers of things I was trying hard not to identify, and smells I was trying not to inhale.

I'm with the majority of the population that hates hospitals. I mean, I like knowing they are there, but I'll appreciate their existance from a distance.

7 hours is a long time and an unexpected trip to the emergency room led to some rather interesting conversation.

We talked about dreams and nightmares and and if you can read in your sleep and how to rewind and manipulated dreams. About your life being in danger and what to do. "Jack would not lay down and die. He would find a way. He would do something."

We talked about plastic Christians and silver platter faith, the tragedy of second generation Christians and the problem with fundamentalism. Of friends who left fundamentalim. Of why I did not and why I was still frustrated with fundamentalists. We talked about legalists and liberals and the point where they meet.

We talked about abnormal childhood perceptions. I was the heretic and the skeptic in my elementary Sunday School classroom. But it wasn't my fault. I was misunderstood.
Teacher: Jesus died for everyone in the world.
Me: Are you sure?
Teacher: Of course, the Bible says so and the Bible is true
Me: But it doesn't even make sense
Teacher's perception: This child doesn't believe Jesus died for her.
My perception: The teacher says we live IN the world.
This led to many years of confusion trying understand why airplanes didn't crash into the earth's crust and why China's ocean didn't drip on my head.

I was the kid who at 4 years old was found standing on her Bible singing at the top of her lungs, "I stand alone on the Word of God!" I took Sunday School a little too literally.

I thought the Bible was divided into 3 equal parts: the story part, the memory verse part, and the confusing part. Unfortunately, I could omly find the confusing part.

We talked about being single. And why being older and single makes you a perfect candidate for everyone's brother, uncle or friend who is desparate, old, and willing to settle for anything that's female. Just this week, I was recommended to someone who needs a visa. Apparently, he's willing to pay. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I'm still holding out for someone with a personality.

We talked about burial rituals, tattood lampshades, and cheese.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Life is good

Shelly just started kindergarten
We still have a few more weeks of warmth
I'm off tomorrow
My books are finally alphabetized
Tim gets to go back to school
I've had some good talks with my students
I got to spend some time with my grandma
I jumped out of a plane with Tim
My apartment looks really nice
I made the most amazing chicken salad
I think I'm going to get it patented

Monday, August 11, 2008

Black spikey thing

Sometimes life feels like a funny black spikey thing sticking out of the ground. I'm having a black spikey thing kind of day.

Monday, June 23, 2008

It's Art

I've been to a lot of art museums, my favorite being of course the Louvre, and second, the Met. I like going with the type of people who can stop and enjoy one painting for twenty minutes. Or people who take a sketch book with them and come back with something more than a snapshot. they carry away an interpretation.

You know how anoying it is to wait for a crowd to step out of the way so you can take a picture of a sculpture. Last time I went, I decided I wanted it all. I took pictures of the people looking at the art. I wish I had taken a picture of the scholarly looking group who spent a good 45 minutes in this room interpretting the art. This picture in particular caught their attention. They found a lot of emotion in the brush strokes. I don't doubt the emotion is there. It amused me. I spent considerable time in this room as well. I was trying to determine if art is inherantly good, or if it's value was determined purely by the location. Honestly, would anyone tke this work seriously in any other setting.

I suppose Hector would.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Random thoughts I don't have time to develop

Spring is cruel. All the trees are coming to life with yellowy-green leaves that get thicker every day. Pink blossoms cascading from branches and white poofy ones that look something like cotton candy. I've never been a huge fan of spring. It's muddy. But this place looks like something from a greeting card. And then there's my house with with 8 trees out front as bare as winter would have them. They are the only leafless trees on campus and have become quite depressing. But I will have my revenge. I went out last week and bought a half dozen potted plants. Now when I look out my window, or at my windowsill rather, I see green and feel a little less neglected by the season.

I bought Ocean's 12 and 13 recently because I found them on clearance and someone told me I would like them. I refused to watch them until I had seen Ocean's 11. I finally got around to watching it online this weekend. The Japanese subtitles were kind of annoying, but I couldn't find any other sites that were free.

I've been back from Maranatha for a week now. It was a fun weekend, and I've been meaning to put together a happy list from it, but life got busy again the moment I returned. I had a wonderful time talking to Miss Betsy, watching the Mormon Pride and Prejudice with Chelsie and RuthAnn, singing Head and Shoulders in my old 2's and 3's class, playing violin at Calvary, attending the play. I went to all my old haunts with a notebook and came up with some interesting thoughts which I will not record here. I guess it was weird being back just to visit. But I'm glad I went.

I met the sweetest lady last night. Her name is Irene. She's the kind of character I would write into a book, quaint and happy, talking a mile a minute with something good to say about everyone and everything. You know she must have had a bad day somewhere along way, but you would never hear about it. There was something about her that seemed more fictitious than real. Now my mind is actively trying to determine how many roles I could work her into.

I'm going to Sight and Sound this weekend. I can't wait. I'll try to post something about it.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Life is getting out of control

The little things that interrupt my daily routines are the first cues that something needs to change. Granted, I'm not addicted to routine. I like change well enough to keep life spicy. And I scorn traditionalism. But everyone needs their thread of sameness that connects one day to the next, and my thread is unravelling.

1. My bed is unmade. This is a personal pet peeve. There's no excuse for an unmade bed. It takes all of 30 seconds to pull up the cover, and that single act makes anything else that is out of place look a little neater. I live alone. An unmade bed is no one's fault but my own.

2. I found a potholder in my underwear drawer. Clearly, I didn't have time to sort my laundry. What's worse? It's been there for 3 weeks.

3. My book shelves are still not alphabetized, and all the newly aquired books are growing in verticle stacks on top of the horizontal ones. I live the disjointed personality of an analytical (highly organized) and an artist (highly disorganized). So life is always a little out of kilter, but unalphabetized books are really upsetting my balance.

4. My plant died. I watched a movie that said you're not ready to be in a relationship until you can keep a pet alive, and you're not ready to own a pet until you can keep a plant alive. The moral was something about responsibility and caring for someone/something else more than yourself. I was trying to care for my plant. Honest. My grandma puts used coffee grounds on her plants to help fertilize them. No one told me flavored coffee would kill one. Guess I'm not ready.

5. uh number 5, I don't have time to finish this post, but if I don't post it now, I'll never get back to it...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I'm an ignorant brute. ~Ps 73.22

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Things to do on a plane

I'm flying to Alabama in a week for Spring Break. This list is compiled in preparation for the trip. Soon to come...Things to do in an airport.

  • Create a new identity. Carry half a dozen passports, each with a different nationality. Sort through them before handing one to the attendant. To add to the display, wear sunglasses and carry a briefcase handcuffed to your wrist.
  • Bring a portable DVD player and start a movie marathon of plane crash movies. Keep the volume loud enough to attract some attention. You might include Flight Plan, Snakes on a Plane, Flight 93, etc.
  • Wear a wide brim hat and request a middle seat
  • Evaluate at least 10 nearby passengers and determine what role they would play in the event of a plane crash on a mysterious island in the Pacific. You may want to question them concerning their leadership skills, styles of conflict resolution, past histories, and criminal records. This will give you a head start on who to save as you salvage through the wreckage.

Friday, March 07, 2008


If you ask me, it's just tragic.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Jane Who?

I picked up this delightful little book. It's called Overheard at the Bookstore. And that's all it was, just a little thing with a quote on each page of things people have said while browsing through shelves of books. As much as I love books, watching people is just about as much fun. But watching people with books combines the best of two worlds.

Here are some of the better quotes:
  • You'll never finish that here--why don't you just buy it?
  • I think I could probably write this book.
  • Do you have anything for dummies?
  • I don't know the title or author, but the book's purple.
  • It doesn't make any sense--it's called modernism.
  • This was such a good movie.
  • You definitely don't have it, or you just can't find it?
  • I'm afraid I have to disagree with the reviewers.
  • These are the two that I'm going to buy, and these are the twenty I'm not.

I laughed because many of these I've heard myself. Sadly a few of them were spoken by my mother. So I was reading through them out loud when my parents came over to visit my library. I was already laughing when I read to them my all time favorite--

  • Should I buy a Jane Austen or a Stephen King?

I don't know--somehow that one just hits me funny.

"Wait a minute," mom said. "Now what did they write?" My jaw dropped, and I am still greatly distraught every time I think of it. Don't get me wrong. I love my mom, and she is a very intelligent woman. We just don't read the same things. I directed her to my bookshelf. Ironically Jane Austen and Stephen King were sitting next to each other. (It's the one shelf I haven't alphabetized yet.) And though she was very attentive through my emergency literary lesson, I suddenly feel as though there is this great chasm between myself and my parents that can't quite be bridged.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Alphabet soup

I found a quote that I really liked.

"Interpreting modern art is like trying to find a plot in alphabet soup."

Okay, so I really like modern art. It fascinates me, and it bugs me to death. It seems like a style of art that would be easy. See I like art, but painting is time consuming. To me, modern art is like instant expression. Splash some paint on a canvas, give it a title, convince an audience that it has a meaning, and there you have it--Modern art. Accomplishment without effort. Some of you who read this would take offence if I said, forget the years of study. Bang a few notes on a piano. Make it loud and disjointed, and call it 20th century. Yeah, I get that there's more to it that that. So even if some modern art looks like something my 4 year old niece could do, it just doesn't work that way. I've been playing around with paint for a long time. Realistic art takes time, but is doable. Impressionistic I find easier but takes more initial thought. Expression is just plain fun. Abstract? I can't do it. But I'm determined, and will probably waste considerable amounts of paint and canvas in the effort. If I ever do make something I like, I'll be sure to post about it and include a picture.

For now, I suppose I'll stick to alphabet soup. I like to make words and sentences. Who doesn't? Has anyone else ever tried to write a story? My soup got cold.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Contentment On a Moonlit Night

I watched the lunar eclipse tonight. It brought back memories. The first time I ever saw an eclipse of the moon, I was in 4th grade. I was living in Africa that year. It's actually one of my strongest memories. We and about 5 other families set up lounge chairs in the yard and watched the eclipse, the entire thing from start to finish. I remember as a child not daring to look away from the sky for a second for fear I'd miss it.

Africa was a different world. There wasn't a lot to do. We didn't have electricity let alone TV. Even then, I loved to read, but with no libraries, you can only get so much from reading the same books over and over. Creativity had a different meaning back then, and my brother and I were masters at it. Watching the eclipse was one of the biggest events for us that year. There we sat, mesmerized, all facing the same direction. The Africans would walk by, look at us, look the direction we faced. What are you looking at? We pointed to the moon. Monsieur and Madame has never seen the moon? And they walked away shaking their heads.

Sometimes I wonder if I could still be that content. Could I live someplace that hard again and still love it? Could I give up internet and cell phones and paved roads and clearance racks and ice cream and libraries and Starbucks and every other amusement? Could I give it up and have as much joy as i did that night? I don't know.

But tonight I watched the lunar eclipse, and I remembered. And I called up my family, my parents next door, my brother 4 hours north, my sister 3000 miles west. And I told them to look. And I wonder if they remember too.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pet Peeves

I have taken great care with this list. So before I write them out for you, I need to explain a few things. There are far to many irritating forces in this world to list them all as pet peeves. The boundaries must be narrowed and refined.

1)Pet peeves shared by everyone cancel each other out. They are not pet peeves, thy are commonplace nuisances. Of course I hate hair in the sink and runs in my nylons (which by the way I no longer have to wear--and there was much rejoicing). Of course I hate soggy bread and mosquitoes, but so does everyone else. It doesn't qualify.

2)People are not pet peeves. People are annoying, and they do stupid things, but they are not pet peeves. Calling them such would just admit I was too lazy to identify the specific characteristic which annoyed me in the first place.

3)Pet peeves should not include moral issues. Those are more accurately called standards or convictions. Listing them off as pet peeves usually fulfills an ulterior motive. ie: I hate gossiping; therefore, I believe I am above gossip. I hate legalism; therefore, I believe you are legalistic/Pharisaical. You get the idea. Don't go there.

But here are a few legitimate pet peeves.

1)Amazing actors appearing in dumb movies
2)A book cover that doesn't match book's contents
3)Towns lacking coffee shops
4)Libraries that only allow you to check out 3 books
5)Arriving at a book sale after RuthAnn and Joanna have already cleaned out everything good
6)Museums featuring crooked art work (excluding anything found in the modern art gallery)
7)Limp handshakes