Saturday, January 31, 2009

Honk, Honk, Beep, Beep

Did you ever honk your horn accidentally and wonder, "Who's honking at me?"

Friday, January 30, 2009

Finished: A Murder Is Announced

Here, finally, an Agatha Christie mystery that includes clues so that it is possible to figure out the murderer as you read. My previous experience with her writing is that she throws in something in the last chapter, to explain all. But not so in this one!

Once I got past the four typographical errors (Blocklock rather than Blacklock, could feet rather than cold feet, etc), the book was a joy to read. I will enjoy even more seeing a bunch of high school girls waddling around rheumatic in the coming days.

Excerpt: A Murder Is Announced

Miss Marple thought that as the secretary of a big financier Miss Blacklock might be presumed to know the world, too. But probably what Dora Bunner meant was that Letty Blacklock had always been comfortably off, and that the comfortably off do not know the deeper abysses of human nature.

A Murder is Announced, Agatha Christie, chaper 13

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Majestic Sweetness

"Majestic sweetness sits enthroned upon the Saviour's brow."

This hymn line penned by Samuel Stennett in 1787 has a curiousness about it. Christ's glorious and merciful nature has been captured in the words "majestic sweetness".

We have a Saviour who has all the pomp that accompanies a King: riches, honor, glory, majesty. We have a Saviour who has all the compassion of a Shepherd: gentle, kind, loving, merciful.

Who better to guard and to guide than One who carries this mysterious nature within Him, and cannot act contrary to it?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

His Promise From Time Past

"I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring, And My blessing on your descendants; And they will spring up among the grass Like poplars by streams of water." Isaiah 44:3-4

Here is a promise to a wicked and rebellious people. God is promising that He will not visit their sins upon their sons, but rather, will pour out His Spirit upon them.

I found this to be a prophetic utterance of the fulfillment of the Great Commission, and had a beautiful vision in my mind:

A wasteland, dry and dead. Unwelcoming. No hope. No future.


The Spirit of the Lord came upon it. There was one blade of bright green grass unfurled. Then another. Then another. The unfurling green was joined by splashing drops of rain, breathing life into death.

Surely, the wasteland transforms into a meadow of vitality. Verdant and full of expectancy.

God's Spirit dwells among His people.

It is His promise from time past.

"I will pour out My Spirit."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Excerpts: Mr. Tickle

"Just think. Maybe he's around at this very moment while you're reading this book.

Maybe that extraordinary long arm of his is already creeping up to the door of this room.

Maybe it's opening the door now and coming into the room."

This is not a horror story. This is a children's story by Roger Hargreaves called Mr. Tickle. And it makes my 4 year old giggle, so I guess it's not that bad.


I've always found the idea of powdered water fascinating.

Just add water.

Monday, January 26, 2009

He Has and He Will

"He turned away from them and began to weep." Genesis 42:24

"He wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him." Genesis 45:2

"Come close to me." Genesis 45:4

"Do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves." Genesis 45:5

"And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them" Genesis 45:15

"I will provide for you and your children" And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. Genesis 50: 21

Does this sound like the natural response that a man would have toward men who threw him in a pit to die? Who sold him as a slave? Who hated him so much they could not speak a kind word to him? Whose actions resulted in years of being in prison?

And we have trouble being nice to someone who has caused a momentary offense!

Surely God works in the hearts of His people. He has and He will.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Finished: Seasons of the Moose

In all seriousness, I wonder why I even read this book. It was sitting on the floor...a gift for the kids bought by a friend for 50 cents, purchased for it's moose photos. But as I glanced through looking at the photos, I discovered an interesting script of one woman's journey through a year of the moose.

While the book certainly isn't an all-inclusive documentary on the life of the moose, it held my interest throughout, and was enjoyable to read. It starts out in autumn...rutting season for the moose. Interesting, anyway...

Seasons of the Moose, Jennie Promack

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Who's It All About?

There was a brief phrase in our Bible Study this morning that captured my attention. It is found in the midst of Isaiah 43:7 and it is this: "whom I created for my glory".

You know that quirky person that sits a few pews back from you in church? God says that he is "whom I created for my glory".

You know that Christian woman who wants to talk to you all the time? God says that she is "whom I created for my glory".

You know that other person who does such and so that drives you crazy? God says that person is "whom I created for my glory".

Do you treat people as though God created them for His glory? Or is it all about you?

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Kind Word

While preparing for a Sunday School lesson, I came across this verse: When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. (Genesis 37:4) This, of course, is referencing Joseph. While I may be able to justify the brothers' anger (after all, Joseph seems to have been a bit, well, shall we say, braggy?), I cannot get past the environment that Joseph lived in. His brothers could not speak a kind word to him.

This text urges me to check my voice, my speech, my attitude in my household. Am I being kind? Will my children grow up and reflect that "not a kind word was said"? May it not be!

"Live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love." Ephesians 4:1b-2

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Finished: Home

Julie Andrews is a different woman than you would expect. She is not Mary Poppins, nor is she Maria. She remembers the scenery of her life in vivid detail, and her autobiography of her early years is enjoyable to read. Often, she will recall certain flowers in bloom, or scents on the wind, or weather conditions. Her ability to weave these moments into her life makes her writing rather poetic.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Abide With Me

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless.
Ills have no weight, tears lose their bitterness.
Where is thy sting death? Where grave they victory?
I triumph still, abide with me.

Abide with Me, Henry Lyte, vv 1,3,4

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Finished: 1984

I really don't have anything to say about this except: disturbing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Excerpt: 1984

I have discovered proof that when my friend's son was three, he was reading literature in the middle of the night. Here's the proof:

In a discussion with his mother, she asked him, "What do you hear when I talk to you?" (The question was prompted by a lack of response when she was instructing him.)

His reply: quack, quack, quack.

There is only one place he could have gotten this answer. George Orwell's 1984. And I quote,

As he watched the eyeless face with the jaw moving rapidly up and down, Winston had a curious feeling that this was not a real human being but some kind of dummy. It was not the man's brain that was speaking; it was his larynx. The stuff that was coming out of him consisted of words, but it was not speech in the true sense: it was noise uttered in unconsciousness, like the quacking of a duck.

Syme had fallen silent for a moment, and with the handle of his spoon was tracing patterns in the puddle of stew. The voice from the other table quacked rapidly on, easily audible in spite of the surrounding din.

"There is a word in Newspeak," said Syme. "I don't know whether you know it: duckspeak, to quack like a duck. It is one of those interesting words that have two contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it is abuse; applied to someone you agree with, it is praise."

George Orwell, 1984, chapter 1 section V

The Spiritualized Itch

It has occurred to me that much self-control is required when dealing with an itch. Once you begin "the Scratch" it is really hard to stop. You may say to yourself, "I'll just do 'the Scratch' once. But you can't. You've got to keep 'the Scratch' going. And going. So you just need to not even start 'the Scratch'. It's the only way.

Sin is like that.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Driving Too Fast

As I was driving along this afternoon, passing cars here and there, going above the speed limit and trying to reach my destination in a timely manner, cars kept slowing down or cutting me off, or putting their brakes and turn signals on. I thought to myself, "Everyone is against me!"

It is good to remember that God uses other drivers to keep me safe.

Excerpts: The Trumpet of the Swan

"My dear," said her husband, the cob, one afternoon, "do you never find your duties onerous or irksome? Do you never tire of sitting in one place and in one position, covering the eggs, with no diversions, no pleasures, no escapades, or capers? Do you never suffer from boredom?"

"No," replied his wife. "Not really."

"Isn't it uncomfortable to sit on eggs?"

"Yes, it is," replied the wife. "But I can put up with a certain amount of discomfort for the sake of bringing young swans into the world."

"Do you know how many more days you must sit?" he asked.

"Haven't any idea," she said. "But I notice that the ducks at the other end of the pond have hatched their young ones; I notice that the Red-winged Blackbirds have hatched theirs, and the other evening I saw a Striped Skunk hunting along the shore, and she had four little skunks with her. So I think I must be getting near the end of my time. With any luck, we will soon be able to see our children."

The Trumpet of the Swan, by E.B. White, chapter 3

Monday, January 12, 2009

How I Know I'm Praying How I'm Supposed to Pray

This brief list from John Piper is helpful in directing prayer, "praying in sync with the way God works".


I am a multi-tasker. I am a very good multi-tasker. It has occurred to me that the ability to multi-task is a blessing. It is also a non-blessing.

Let me clarify: I am on hold with the insurance company while drinking my morning coffee while waiting for a report to print for work while checking e-mail while saying, "come away" to the 1-year-old and putting Lego heads on and off for the 4-year-old while writing my to-do-list for the week and remembering Jessica, just in from South Africa, in prayer. Oh, and the laundry is in the dryer. This is how I function. This is what I am like. All the time.

But I forget that there are things that I should do at times while not multi-tasking. I need to remember:

"Devote yourselves to prayer." Colossians 4:2

While I can and do and should pray without ceasing, (and this in and of itself implies a type of multi-tasking), the very word devote implies there is also a time when prayer should be done when wholly devoted. Devoted without distraction. Having prayer included in my multi-tasking is not devotion without distraction. It is good, but it is not all there is.

Wholly-devoted-prayer-time kind of time doesn't just happen by chance. It is sought for with jealousy, with fervor, with intention. I have a hard time finding that kind of time. But I know it exists. And while I pray while multi-tasking, I am confident that God will give it to me. It is His desire that I give Him that kind of prayer.

Make it so, Lord Jesus.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Lego Firehouse

OK. I still play with my Legos. And I let my son play with them, too. But this is too good to be true. I have discovered the assembly directions to the fire station that I used to have. I need to go build now. 1983 has just become a very good year.

Activity Planning Around Pressure Systems

I just discovered that there exists a weather forecast for the arthritic. There is a day arthritis index and a night arthritis index. (Going camping? There is also a mosquito index. Working outdoors...a UV index. Have asthma index, Fearful of the flu...flu index, getting married? There's even one for you...a frizz advisory!). This really is fascinating stuff. Check it out here. The details of the arthritis index explain that it is well documented that arthritis sufferers can predict the weather based on the severity of their symptoms. Changing pressure systems, temperature, and humidity are all things that have been known to effect the symptoms of the arthritic. The part that interested me was the following: "arthritis sufferers can have advanced notice of when they are most likely to have increased pain, allowing them to take appropriate medication and to better plan activities".

Friday, January 9, 2009

Finished: The Glass Menagerie

I read Tennessee Williams' play "The Glass Menagerie" again. I think I last read it in high school. I've got one word: Depressing. In a bad way. I like depressing literature...all those people in Dickens that die, give me a Russian novel, and I'm happy as a clam. But this was bad depressing. Note to self: don't read this again. I read through some suggested essay questions to wrap my brain around what it was about. They didn't make it any more pleasant.

There was one thing I did like, though. Mr. Williams wrote this as a memory play - it was to be understood as a piece of someone's memory of what happened. Intermixed with the actual text of the play (as is most playwrights' customs), were the scripting and lighting recommendations. I enjoyed reading this through those eyes, seeing the set as described, and the lighting fade or focus. Sometimes reading instructions like that makes it a clearer visual.