Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jewish Ethics and Ambulances

I was listening to a radio interview of Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, who was talking about his new book, A Code of Jewish Ethics Volume 2: Love Your Neighbor As Yourself. The interview (and the callers) moved to the idea of praying for the person in distress when you pass an ambulance. A caller stated she had learned this from a nun in grade school, and the rabbi agreed it was a proper way to love your neighbor.

That said, I passed an ambulance today.

I took the opportunity to pray for the person, and I was dissatisfied with my quick prayer for healing. What I really wanted was for the person in the ambulance was to experience God in a real and meaningful way, and so, be healed.

And that, I believe, is loving your neighbor as yourself.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Excerpt: Ashamed of the Gospel

[We need] not an unfriendly church, but a vibrant, loving, honest, committed, worshiping fellowship of believers who minister to one another like the church in Acts chapter 4 -- but who eschew sin, keep one another accountable, and boldly proclaim the full truth of Scripture. People who have no love for the things of God may not find such a place very user-friendly. But God's blessing will be on the fellowship of true believers, because that is what He ordained the church to be like. And He will add to the church, as He promised.

Ashamed of the Gospel, John MacArthur, chapter 2

Monday, February 23, 2009

That's In Europe?

Either I wasn't listening in geography or they added a whole bunch of new countries to Europe. Play the map game for Europe. Beat my pitiful score of 76%.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Open Eyes

2 Kings 6 details the miraculous deliverance of Elisha at Dothan. There is a phrase in the midst of the passage, in verse 17 that resonates with me.

..."O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes...

Would that we be uttering this prayer more, knowing that indeed, the LORD will hear!


I am of the opinion that polyester was invented by a manufacturer of anti-perspirant.

My spouse believes it was invented by 2 women.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Burden-Bearer

Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried...

He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities...

These two lines from Isaiah 53 are very familiar. They are also very different in content. Later in the chapter it is revealed that the LORD was pleased to crush Him. It was in God's plan for Christ to both bear our griefs and be pierced for our transgressions.

The beauty in these lines is that not only did Christ die for our sins. Although surely, that in and of itself is beautiful. But

He came to bear for us grief and sorrow.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dancing with the Star Wars Stars

This is just crazy.

And so is this.

As Said by Psalty

"We don't need to trust God to get to the top of the mountain. We only need to trust Him to take the next step."

Kids' Praise V, as said by Psalty the Singing Songbook

The Discipline of Desire

It took 2 weeks, Phil, but it just clicked for me.

"It" is this: the discipline of desire.

When I say discipline, I am speaking NOT of punishment, but of accustoming to regular and systematic action; to bring under control so as to act systematically.

And so, the desire for God results in a disciplined life. If I desire God, I get in the Word, I go to church, I fellowship with His people.

"Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteouness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun." Psalm 37:3-6

Summer Wardrobe

When you meet someone in winter, you have no idea what their summer wardrobe looks like.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Finished: The Collected Tales of Nurse Matilda

Ugh. I actually did not want to finish reading the collected tales. These are the stories that the movie Nanny McPhee (starring Emma Thompson) was based on. Never saw it. Not sure I ever will.

If you desire repetition and nastiness, then this book is for you! The premise is this: There are very bad kids doing things not even possible for bad kids to do. There is an ugly nurse that comes to take care of them. She alters their behavior my means of a large black stick which she bangs on the floor. This stick-striking causes the children to remain in their state of mis-behavior for a very long time, until they are sick of that particular behavior and desire to be rid of it. Thus they learn never to do it again. But there is always an again. As the children's behavior gets better, so do Matilda's looks. When she is beautiful, she goes away. Until she comes back again in the next tale, ugly as ever.

Boring. Boring. Boring. Not well written. And in case you can't tell, I really didn't like this book.

On a positive note, the author has a pretty name.
Nanny McPhee: The Collected Tales of Nurse Matilda, Christianna Brand

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dolly Levi Theology

One of my all-time favorite musicals, Hello Dolly!, has one of my all-time favorite lines in it:

"Money, pardon the expression, is like manure. It's not worth a thing unless it's spread around, encouraging young things to grow."

And herein lies the theology behind that quote:

Luke 16:9-10 Make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails, they may receive you into the eternal dwellings. One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much...

1 Timothy 6:17-19 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

Some Counsel About Hair Dryers

Note to self: de-dust the intake prior to the motor burning out. Cleaning it afterwards is no good.

If You Haven't Yet Read Jan Brett

We've been on a Jan Brett kick lately. Right now, we're reading The Umbrella. Here is a link to Jan Brett's website, with all sorts of free downloads. We're going to be making the umbrella mural today.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Kind of Kind

A man came up to me in the grocery store today, and said, "Are you going to spend more than $30 today? Here's a coupon for $2.50 off."

I thought to myself, "How kind! I think I'll go home and post a blog about him."

So I did.

Then I thought, "Hmmm...can anyone go home today and post a blog about a kindness that I rendered?"

"She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." Proverbs 31:26

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

State Game

Try this out! Then tell me how you did! I got a 94%, with an everage error of 10 miles in 359 seconds. Thank you Mrs. Constance Andrews, third grade teacher. I still have my button that says "I know my states and capitals".

Monday, February 9, 2009

Finished: The Trumpet of the Swan

My daughter and I enjoyed sitting together and experience the adventures of Louis together. This book made me want to go discover a pond all by myself deep in the woods and develop a friendship with a wild swan! But then, I thought...that may be a little too Thoreau-ish, so perhaps I'll just stick to nature walks and wildlife refuges.

I did, however, just sign up to become a member of the National Audubon Society. I was suckered into it! The free address labels that they sent me had Trumpeter Swans on them, and I get a magazine full of nature photos and a free windbreaker. And it's tax deductible. Ahhh...junk mail. For once, at the right place at the right time.

P.S. For those concerned: I am aware that this society is a little, well, not exactly where I am on the political spectrum. I think I'm ok with that.

The Trumpet of the Swan, E.B. White

Goat Milk Drugs

I ran across this article on a new pharmaceutical that is derived from genetically engineered goats. I am particularly interested in the fact that these goats are breeded solely for the purpose using their milk for pharmaceutical use. To quote a line from the article, "if more drug is needed, the herd can be expanded." To read more, you can click here.

If you have an opinion, I'm interested in hearing it.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Excerpt: The Trumpet of the Swan

This quote follows a discussion of what worthy cause to donate money to. It has been decided that the money should be given to the Audubon Society because they are kind to birds, and that some birds face extinction. A boy involved in the conversation speaks up,

"What's extinction?" asked Al(fred) Gore. "Does it mean they stink?"

I found that extremely funny. Borderline hilarious. I added the parenthesis.

The Trumpet of the Swan, E.B. White, chapter 20

Friday, February 6, 2009

Shampoo Wonderings

I wonder what happens when you use shampoo that is not the right "hair type".

For example: you use shampoo for permed hair, and you don't have a perm.

Or: you use shampoo for normal hair, and your hair is anything but.

Or: you use a shampoo called "beautiful lengths" and you're a guy named Al.

Raja's Cup and John's

Some time ago, our friend, John M. was over. It was late. We wanted coffee, but we didn't have any decaf. Looking in the pantry, I discovered a box of Raja's Cup. This highly sought after tea was a cast-off of an office Christmas party. "Here, Michelle. I don't want this gift that Dr. D gave me. Do you want it? Take the peach chutney, too."

It was free.

It is touted on the Maharishi website that "in a blind taste test, coffee drinkers didn’t notice when they were served Raja’s Cup instead of decaffeinated coffee!" Of course, John knew he was going to be drinking Raja's Cup.

The ingredients are four: Clearing Nut, Kasmard, Licorice and Winter Cherry.

It was John's opinion that the Raja could keep his cup.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Finished: Peace Like A River

This book is marvelous. The writing is poetry, the text is moving and the characters are ordinary. That is, if you believe in the miraculous as ordinary. But the miraculous scripted into this novel is beautiful and believable, not mushy.

My favorite chapter is "Be Jubilant, My Feet". It came at a perfect time, when pondering the rapture of Heaven, and includes this, "I tell you there is no one who compels as does the master of that country -- although badly as I wanted to see him, Dad must've wanted to more, for he shot ahead like a man who sees all that pleases him most stacked beside the finish."

Read, and read again.

Peace Like A River, Leif Enger

Excerpts: The Trumpet of the Swan

--she would have to remain in Philadelphia the rest of her life, a horrible fate.

The Trumpet of the Swan, E.B. White, chapter 18

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Excerpt: Peace Like a River

Let me say something about that word: miracle. For too long it's been used to characterize things or events that, though pleasant, are entirely normal. Peeping chicks at Easter time, spring generally, a clear sunrise after an overcast week -- a miracle, people say, as if they've been educated from greeting cards. I'm sorry, but nope. Such things are worth our notice every day of the week, but to call them miracles evaporates the strength of the word.

Real miracles bother people, like strange sudden pains unknown in medical literature. It's true: They rebut every rule all we good citizens take comfort in. Lazarus obeying orders and climbing up out of the grave -- now there's a miracle, and you can bet it upset a lot of folks who were standing around at the time. When a person dies, the earth is generally unwilling to cough him back up. A miracle contradicts the will of earth.

Peace Like A River, Leif Enger, Clay

Monday, February 2, 2009


"But in the LORD all the descendants of Israel will be found righteous and
will exult."

Hear the Word of the Lord in Isaiah 45:25.

We will exult! We will exult!

The Rapture of It All

I came across a line in The Trumpet of the Swan that stirred desire within me. And is this worship in all of life: to be transported from reading a children's book to my daughter to eager anticipation of seeing the Lord?

The line was this: "I think love is like the rapture of the deep". It got me to thinking about the meaning of the word rapture.

I've heard of "the Rapture" all of my life. It is a theological term, not found in Scriptures, and highly debated. But one thing is clear and undisputable.

When our Lord Jesus Christ comes again, it will be rapture for His people.

Finished: Mary Poppins

I must say, I do like the movie better. I think Disney did a good job of "cleaning up" this one. But maybe my opinion is jaded by the fact that I have seen the movie lots of times and I love Julie Andrews, coupled by the fact that it has only been recently that I've known the book has existed.

I have a few book warnings:

There is a creepy scene in the gingerbread shop where an old lady breaks off her fingers to give to twin babies. The fingers turn into a tasty treat, and they do grown back immediately onto the old women, but still. Babies eating other people's fingers? That wigs me out.

There is also a weird Eastern chanting like scene in the Zoo where Mary's birthday is being celebrated by the animals. It is rather mystical and has a Secret-Garden-Broadway-versionish quality about it. (I just love hyphens.)

There a few delightful scenes as well, though:

John and Barbara are twin babies, and there is a chapter devoted to them. Evidently, all under-ones can understand the language of animals. It is a comical chapter of them speaking rather properly back and forth, understood by Mary and a Starling that has come for a visit, but completely misunderstood by their own mother, for whom they stop crying simply because they love her, not because she actually even knows why they are crying. (I think my own babies can relate to this!) I was saddened at the end of the chapter, though. John and Barbara were adamant in their ability to retain their communicative abilities past the age of one. But their birthday comes, and all they can say is "Be-lah-belah-belah" and "Ba-loo -- ba-loo -- ba-loo".

The chapter about the bird woman is also delightful. Her language ability is very limited. I'll have to try her methods. She can only say "Feed the birds" and "Tuppence a bag". So when Jane and Michael say good-bye, the interchange is this: "Good-bye," said Michael to the Bird Woman. "Feed the Birds," she replied, smiling. "Good-bye," said Jane. "Tuppence a Bag!" said the Bird Woman and waved her hand. Come to think of it, I would probably drive my children crazy if I tried her methods. But then again, I drive them crazy anyway, so what's one more way?

I particularly enjoyed P.L. Travers' manner of writing and turning common nouns into proper ones. I think that I could probably write in that Manner, but I do enjoy Hyphens more, so I'll stick to hyphenation as my Schtick.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Excerpt: The Conversations of Jesus

"Scripture translations in this book are the author's own"

Oh, to know Greek.

copywrite page, The Conversations of Jesus, Simon Kistemaker