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Saturday, January 31, 2009
Today, I was filling out my EOY reports, finding that missing twenty cents for one church and the missing twenty dollars for the second and I realized that with these reports you can tell "where" the church is financially. And by looking to where they were last year we can make some suppositions to where they might be next year and a few educated guesses about direction and speed. However are these really that good as predictors?
I know how people protest against these reports because they "reduce us all down to numbers" and by doing so de-humanizes and de-mystifies this very human and mysterious experience of the Divine. There is some validity to this argument, especially as it seems to remove the Incarnate from this very Incarnational activity of God.
I believe my argument using the Heisenberg Uncertanity Priciple rings true as well however...
The Church is not a Chinese Room thought experiment. These numbers do not paint a complete picture, but are merely a hint -- a whiff -- of location, direction and speed. We don't see enough of the "system" at this point. Maybe I should say "subject" -- we can't see enough of the subject to really form an opinion. True, it is the only way we can make more objective a very subjective thing. The numbers DO paint pictures of churches -- and more importantly, they paint a picture of what we call our "connection."
I think some protest because they think (rightly or wrongly) that the picture is not "flattering." I ask -- do we really need to stick our heads in the sand and ignore the events these numbers very well could be point toward? We have decline in our denomination. We have a large and cumbersome connection -- but it's working on multiple levels. We could just look at these numbers and celebrate at how well we are doing; or we could accept the bad with the good. We could look at churches that show "health" (how to define that health is another thing...) and see if we can implement those healthy attitudes/activities into churches who are not so very healthy.
And on the other hand, are these numbers really what we need to measure "health" or "decline?" They are so very impersonal that all the personal stories; the triumphs and defeats of the individuals are lost in this gloss of numbers. There are times where the numbers appear to tell of defeat, but the real story is one of human love and ingenuity -- as a "death" is counted as a loss of membership, but that number cannot tell the story of the witness of a life -- and the rally of a church's spirit at a funeral. To the numbers, it's just a loss.
So the question become, how do we look at the numbers that we collect and measure "health?" What is a healthy church? Is it growing in some numbers and dropping in others? Shouldn't we look at the health/disease of the surrounding communities? Shouldn't we take in account the decline of our economy? How can we use these numbers in a way that builds rather than tear down? What other report could we "report" that would be a real measure of a congregation?
edited: This is as clear as mud. I hope you understand what I'm trying to say. It was so very clear in my mind!
Friday, January 30, 2009
- How many calories are there in each muffin with the honey and without?
- What is "yeast" and "leaven"?
- How do quick breads rise?
- What is the history of the muffin?
- What is the origin of the word muffin?
- How many calories does the butter add?
Cross posted at "Adventures in Homeschooling"
may, at length, such hearts be ours;
God, please send down from above
your love and truth divine.
And may they cleanse our willing souls
of earthly ills and make them whole;
for Christ did come to share our toil
and will not spurn our prayers.
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. Help us to discern your will -- help us to find our way in this broken and hurting world.
Lord Jesus Christ, Good Shepherd of the sheep, you gather the lambs in your arms and carry them in your bosom: We commend to your loving care the children and adults who died yesterday in Greece. Heavenly Father, send your Holy Spirit into the hearts of the relatives and into our hearts, to direct and rule us according to your will, to comfort us in all our afflictions, to defend us from all error, and to lead us into all truth.
Almighty God, heavenly Father, you have blessed us with the joy and care of children: Give us calm strength and patient wisdom as we bring them up, that we may teach them to love whatever is just and true and good, following the example of our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Hear us, O God, in your dear love,
Let our prayers rise to you above,
And help us, this and every day,
To live as truly as we pray.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Lord, I thank you for the faithfulness of your servants. I thank you for their committment and the grace and love that come from you through them. I thank you for that great cloud of witnesses that surround us -- the saints who are dwelling with us and those who have gone on before us. Thank you for friends, for those I know in real life and those I have met via the internet who minister to myself and each other, mostly unaware. I pray for those today who are sick and ill and suffering -- in spirit and in the body.
Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance;
Govern and uphold them, now and always.
Day by day we bless you;
We praise your name for ever.
Lord, keep us from all sin today;
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
Lord, show us your love and mercy;
For we put our trust in you.
In you, Lord, is our hope;
And we shall never hope in vain.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I'm taking advantage of the incredible clothing prices right now and upgrading my wardrobe a smidge. I purchased all this from Kohl's for a fantastic price and I'm awaiting my Wally World online purchases. Wally World has shirts from $2 with shipping about 97 cents per item. I'm currently looking for shoes. I am so very picky about shoes. If my feet hurt, then I hurt.
I like this outfit -- the jacket fits OK which is amazing, seeing I'm so short and wide. It looks classic -- rather like the early 1960's. I'm going to get a more tailored skirt to wear with it as well. I also purchased several pairs of dress pants that are incredibly comfortable. I hate waistlines that either bunch up or dig in -- White Stag has some that have enough stretch that they don't dig in but lay nice and smooth at the waist. And they came in petites. Yipee!
I do tend to wear a "uniform." For years, it was a turtleneck (white or off white), a nice sweater jacket and black dress pants. For casual use, I'd wear Minnetonka moccasins (I hate to admit), but would have low heeled pumps for "dress up." I now tend to wear Mom Jeans, a cotton long sleeved or 3/4 sleeved top and will throw on a jacket (now-a-days it's a Mandarin collared silk or peachskin jacket). In the summer, I wear a tank. And for the last several years, I've worn clogs or Birkis. I'm boring. So, I'm branching out a bit. Now to shoe shop.
(edited: tried on the blouse. I should never do blouses. I have gap-osis. The buttons are too strained. So much for the blouse.)
Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
-- 2 Corinthians 7:1 (NIV)
1 LORD, hear my prayer, and let my cry come before you;
hide not your face from me in the day of my trouble.
2 Incline your ear to me;
when I call, make haste to answer me,
3 For my days drift away like smoke,
and my bones are hot as burning coals.
4 My heart is smitten like grass and withered,
so that I forget to eat my bread.
5 Because of the voice of my groaning
I am but skin and bones.
6 I have become like a vulture in the wilderness,
like an owl among the ruins.
7 I lie awake and groan;
I am like a sparrow, lonely on a house-top.
8 My enemies revile me all day long,
and those who scoff at me have taken an oath against me.
9 For I have eaten ashes for bread
and mingled my drink with weeping.
10 Because of your indignation and wrath
you have lifted me up and thrown me away.
11 My days pass away like a shadow,
and I wither like the grass.
12 But you, O LORD, endure for ever,
and your Name from age to age.
13 You will arise and have compassion on Zion,
for it is time to have mercy upon her;
indeed, the appointed time has come.
14 For your servants love her very rubble,
and are moved to pity even for her dust.
Lord, the event of the past few weeks lay heavy upon me. The pain of close friends and neighbors -- they somehow become my pain. There are people in this country who are going to freeze to death this year. There are those who I know who may starve to death. Where have we gone wrong?
Lord, when they came for you in the garden, you experienced the pain of the betrayer’s metaphorical knife in the back. Lord, he was someone you loved and I ask myself how could you bear it? I do not know why I feel this way; I feel I have been betrayed by my very society. Have mercy on me, even though what I experience is only a shadow of what you felt. Help me to forgive -- especially those who I love and are close to me. Keep me from participating in sin by giving me forbearance. Grant me the wisdom to find a way to repair or transcend these situations. Help me be a solution to the problem and not part of it.
Lord, I do not understand all the things that trouble me now. The economy, the vitriol I hear in the news; the sadness I feel over the deaths of complete strangers. Or are they strangers -- are they not my neighbors? Therefore I thank you for these problems, because it has brought your will into sharp focus, it has brought me closer to you and to others, and it teaches me my need for you -- it teaches me our nation's need for you. I ask for your grace to persevere in faith as long as this stress in our lives shall last. I ask for a light at the end of the tunnel; I as for hope. I ask for wisdom to know when and how to be helpful to others -- and how to ask for help when I need it. I hand it over to you, so that your will be done. Thank you for you loving care, which I know endures forever. Amen.
Walking in sunlight all of our journey;
Over the mountains, through the deep vale;
Jesus has said, "I'll never forsake you,"
Promise divine that never can fail.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
This is not new news; this has already happened in our communities here in Georgia -- where people don't see any hope in sight and where their problems seem insurmountable.
Yesterday there were a record number of people laid off. Some say up to 70 thousand people. Today there were more layoffs announced. Delta Airlines has lost millions and millions of dollars. Even big scale retailers like Neiman Marcus (Needless Markup) have posted losses for this last quarter. The only retailer I know of doing well is McDonalds. Retailers are trying to cut losses, reducing merchandise 75% to 90% (and I have purchased wonderful things after Christmas because of it.)
On the other hand, feed and hay are rising in price. A large poultry processor in North Georgia has laid off thousand of workers because the farmers are not producing the chickens. And the price of chicken is going up and up. Beef, too. In fact, the same meal that cost my family $20 last year is now costing us $30.
I know so many of my friends and family who are without job and who have few prospects. I wonder -- what now?
They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.
Where can we apply this text to our current condition? How can we hold this text in one with these newspaper stories in the other? Can we preach with authority in this economic climate? Does today's christian have anything relevant to say in this economic climate?
I believe we are inhabited by unclean spirits -- the spirit of greed and avarice; the spirit that cries "more! more!" when we already have enough. We are a nation of gluttons who stuff our faces when our neighbors go hungry. It strikes me that when the unclean spirit departs this man, he goes into convulsions -- it's not clean and pretty; it might even be painful. The solution to our problems today is not going to be clean and pretty. It's going to be painful for us and for our neighbors.
Where is the good news? That we CAN preach with authority; that Jesus preached with authority. That the evil spirits can and will depart.
I will remember this family of 7 who in despair have left this world. I will pray for this nation tonight. I will pray for the unemployed -- and I will give tonight more of my surplus to those who hunger. I will give something of my plenty away today to someone who can use it. It's what I can do.
In addition, today this photo has come to light: Proof of Obama's true heritage? Or is there a Vulcan Obama Shadow Clone?
Monday, January 26, 2009
From the Internet, unknown source.
Thinking tonight of friends in hospice, in the hospital, thinking of those facing surgery this week but especially thinking of those without gainful employment -- including the 30 to 40 thousand laid off today. God, pour your spirit upon those whom I have named -- and upon all those who are weary and heavy laden. Disturb us in our complacency.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
I picked it up initially in August -- I tried reading it again today -- and then put it in the "give away" pile. I wouldn't be surprised if this book made its way rapidly to the remainder table.
I now want something good to read; I don't care if it's fiction or nonfiction. I'm bored with the books I have (all 10,000 of them so that's quite a feat.) I'm going to re-read "The Sparrow" and "Children of God" by Mary Doria Russell because those books made me THINK. She's also written two I haven't read -- "A Thread of Grace" and "Dreamers of the Day." I also love "The Ordained" by Terence Faherty and have ordered a couple more books by him.
Now it's time to write my sermon for tomorrow --
Friday, January 23, 2009
The kids have 1) done Math 2) Science 3) Music and are now working on Social Studies as we listen to Yo Yo Ma on the Airport Thingy that is attached to the printer and speakers . I am pleased. They are doing a project about the 44 American Presidents -- a power point each. Should be good -- after President's day we will go back to World Geography and World History. This afternoon they will read their respective books. I am going to plan some Language Arts for next week.
Every morning mercies new
Fall as fresh as morning dew;
Every morning let us pay
Tribute with the early day:
For your mercies, God, are sure;
Your compassion does endure.
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name.
Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Sprinkle us with showers of blessing -- the blessings that fall like rain on this parched world. Help us to be cisterns of blessing for others -- full of your living water. Help us live for You in this world, by Your Word and precepts and not by the conflicting voices that we hear around us.
Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
SF Signal blogged this; as did Divers and Sundry. Feel free to copy the list and do the same in the comments or on your own blog. I count 54 that I've read -- I find the list lacking: Mercedes Lackey, MZ Bradley, Zelazney, Kurtz, Ben Bova -- missing. I think I still own most of these books, too.
1. Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1979)
2. Brian W Aldiss: Non-Stop (1958)
3. Isaac Asimov: Foundation (1951)
4. Margaret Atwood: The Blind Assassin (2000)
5. Paul Auster: In the Country of Last Things (1987)
6. Iain Banks: The Wasp Factory (1984)
7. Iain M Banks: Consider Phlebas (1987)
8. Clive Barker: Weaveworld (1987)
9. Nicola Barker: Darkmans (2007)
10. Stephen Baxter: The Time Ships (1995)
11. Greg Bear: Darwin's Radio (1999)
12. Alfred Bester: The Stars My Destination (1956)
13. Poppy Z Brite: Lost Souls (1992)
14. Algis Budrys: Rogue Moon (1960)
15. Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita (1966)
16. Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Coming Race (1871)
17. Anthony Burgess: A Clockwork Orange (1960)
18. Anthony Burgess: The End of the World News (1982)
19. Edgar Rice Burroughs: A Princess of Mars (1912)
20. William Burroughs: Naked Lunch (1959)
21. Octavia Butler: Kindred (1979)
22. Samuel Butler: Erewhon (1872)
23. Italo Calvino: The Baron in the Trees (1957)
24. Ramsey Campbell: The Influence (1988)
25. Lewis Carroll: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
26. Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871)
27. Angela Carter: Nights at the Circus (1984)
28. Michael Chabon: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (2000)
29. Arthur C Clarke: Childhood's End (1953)
30. GK Chesterton: The Man Who Was Thursday (1908)
31. Susanna Clarke: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (2004)
32. Michael G Coney: Hello Summer, Goodbye (1975)
33. Douglas Coupland: Girlfriend in a Coma (1998)
34. Mark Danielewski: House of Leaves (2000)
35. Marie Darrieussecq: Pig Tales (1996)
36. Samuel R Delaney: The Einstein Intersection (1967)
37. Philip K Dick: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)
38. Philip K Dick: The Man in the High Castle (1962)
39. Umberto Eco: Foucault's Pendulum (1988)
40. Michel Faber: Under the Skin (2000)
41. John Fowles: The Magus (1966)
42. Neil Gaiman: American Gods (2001)
43. Alan Garner: Red Shift (1973)
44. William Gibson: Neuromancer (1984)
45. Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Herland (1915)
46. William Golding: Lord of the Flies (1954)
47. Joe Haldeman: The Forever War (1974)
48. M John Harrison: Light (2002)
49. Robert A Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)
50. Frank Herbert: Dune (1965)
51. Hermann Hesse: The Glass Bead Game (1943)
52. Russell Hoban: Riddley Walker (1980)
53. James Hogg: The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824)
54. Michel Houellebecq: Atomised (1998)
55. Aldous Huxley: Brave New World (1932)
56. Kazuo Ishiguro: The Unconsoled (1995)
57. Shirley Jackson: The Haunting of Hill House (1959)
58. Henry James: The Turn of the Screw (1898)
59. PD James: The Children of Men (1992)
60. Richard Jefferies: After London; Or, Wild England (1885)
61. Gwyneth Jones: Bold as Love (2001)
62. Franz Kafka: The Trial (1925)
63. Daniel Keyes: Flowers for Algernon (1966)
64. Stephen King: The Shining (1977)
65. Marghanita Laski: The Victorian Chaise-longue (1953)
66. Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu: Uncle Silas (1864)
67. Stanislaw Lem: Solaris (1961)
68. Doris Lessing: Memoirs of a Survivor (1974)
69. David Lindsay: A Voyage to Arcturus (1920)
70. Ken MacLeod: The Night Sessions (2008)
71. Hilary Mantel: Beyond Black (2005)
72. Michael Marshall Smith: Only Forward (1994)
73. Richard Matheson: I Am Legend (1954)
74. Charles Maturin: Melmoth the Wanderer (1820)
75. Patrick McCabe: The Butcher Boy (1992)
76. Cormac McCarthy: The Road (2006)
77. Jed Mercurio: Ascent (2007)
78. China Miéville: The Scar (2002)
79. Andrew Miller: Ingenious Pain (1997)
80. Walter M Miller Jr: A Canticle for Leibowitz (1960)
81. David Mitchell: Cloud Atlas (2004)
82. Michael Moorcock: Mother London (1988)
83. William Morris: News From Nowhere (1890)
84. Toni Morrison: Beloved (1987)
85. Haruki Murakami: The Wind-up Bird Chronicle (1995)
86. Vladimir Nabokov: Ada or Ardor (1969)
87. Audrey Niffenegger: The Time Traveler's Wife (2003)
88. Larry Niven: Ringworld (1970)
89. Jeff Noon: Vurt (1993)
90. Flann O'Brien: The Third Policeman (1967)
91. Ben Okri: The Famished Road (1991)
92. Chuck Palahniuk: Fight Club (1996)
93. Thomas Love Peacock: Nightmare Abbey (1818)
94. Mervyn Peake: Titus Groan (1946)
95. John Cowper Powys: A Glastonbury Romance (1932)
96. Christopher Priest: The Prestige (1995)
97. François Rabelais: Gargantua and Pantagruel (1532-34)
98. Ann Radcliffe: The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794)
99. Alastair Reynolds: Revelation Space (2000)
100. Kim Stanley Robinson: The Years of Rice and Salt (2002)
101. JK Rowling: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (1997)
102. Salman Rushdie: The Satanic Verses (1988)
103. Antoine de Sainte-Exupéry: The Little Prince (1943)
104. José Saramago: Blindness (1995)
105. Will Self: How the Dead Live (2000)
106. Mary Shelley: Frankenstein (1818)
107. Dan Simmons: Hyperion (1989)
108. Olaf Stapledon: Star Maker (1937)
109. Neal Stephenson: Snow Crash (1992)
110. Robert Louis Stevenson: The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886)
111. Bram Stoker: Dracula (1897)
112. Rupert Thomson: The Insult (1996)
113. Mark Twain: A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's Court (1889)
114. Kurt Vonnegut: Sirens of Titan (1959)
115. Robert Walser: Institute Benjamenta (1909)
116. Sylvia Townsend Warner: Lolly Willowes (1926)
117. Sarah Waters: Affinity (1999)
118. HG Wells: The Time Machine (1895)
119. HG Wells: The War of the Worlds (1898)
120. TH White: The Sword in the Stone (1938)
121. Gene Wolfe: The Book of the New Sun (1980-83)
122. John Wyndham: Day of the Triffids (1951)
123. John Wyndham: The Midwich Cuckoos (1957)
124. Yevgeny Zamyatin: We (1924)
Thou Maker of my frame;
I would survey life’s narrow space,
And learn how frail I am.
A span is all that we can boast,
An inch or two of time;
Man is but vanity and dust
In all his flower and prime.
See the vain race of mortals move
Like shadows o’er the plain;
They rage and strive, desire and love,
But all the noise is vain.
Turn now, O God of hosts, look down from heaven;
behold and tend this vine;
preserve what your right hand has planted.
Let your hand be upon the person of your right hand,
and son of man you have made so strong for yourself.
And so will we never turn away from you;
give us life, that we may call upon your Name.
Restore us, O LORD God of hosts;
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
Dearest Lord, I am always worrying about things beyond my control. Make me not to anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly. Life is ephemeral and even now, while I am placed among things which are passing away, help me to dicern that which is really important -- my faith, my family, my friends -- and help me to hold fast to those that shall endure. Amen.
We had a bad day yesterday -- or a good one, depending on how you look at it. I had an appointment at noon, so the girls packed up some reading material and carried it with them. It would have been a good day, except that the LH's car had a flat tire. We met up, I purchased him new tires at Sam's, we went to lunch as the tires were installed, we went back to Sam's and did a little shopping while we were there. We had planned to be home at 2:00 -- instead we were home at 4:00 and they did their schoolwork until 6:00; goofed off too much until Karate at 6:45 (to the point we were almost late) and more Karate at 7:30. I'm sore today from standing around and the cold and medicine changes. My arthritis is acting up and I'm just plumb sore. It was good in the fact that it shows we can be flexible; and bad that we had to pack too much into the day.
I need to work on sermon prep this morning and the bulletins. And the house is somehow worse than it ought to be... maybe because we are spending more time in it. But first, more coffee.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I am concerned about my childrens' education. I was shocked to find out that they didn't know wo Gerald Ford was -- much less Herbert Hoover. I suppose it's not a horrible thing to not know Ford or Hoover, but it shows the holes in their education.
Entropy was ranting and raving about how the school wants them to be "robots" that are programmed. Chaos and I have noted that the system wants them all to be contented cattle, milk cows and beef cattle to be "consumed" by the general public. That questions are not tolerated; nor is creativity.
And they have indeed been conditioned -- they had problems with self direction yesterday -- at one point Chaos just wanted me to tell her what to do -- it's easier than trying to do this on their own. And a certain amount of direction is good; but they must be the engine and they must unlearn that conditioning and find direction themselves.
I feel that my train has jumped track. This is NOT what I had planned for the future. However, it got the point that I had to do something or my childrens' spirits would be crushed. So here we are -- the second day. We will see how the day goes.
But first Today:
- 2nd day of Homeschooling.
- Appointment with Spiritual Director type person.
- Writing Sermon.
- Moe's for dinner (Homewrecker w/o tortilla -- about 400 calories)
Day is almost over (7 pm) and didn't go as planned -- the LH had a flat and the 4 of us went to Sam's -- then Chik-fil-a for lunch -- then Sam's to pick up car, then SHOPPING at Sam's, home, put up groceries, more school until 6 pm -- then yelling at kids to get on their uniforms for Karate.... This may be more "fun" than I planned on.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
"Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large.
And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen." (George Washington)
"Almighty God, Who has given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will.
Bless our land with honorable ministry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people, the multitude brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endow with Thy spirit of wisdom those whom in Thy name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth.
In time of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail; all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen." (often attributed to Thomas Jefferson, it is actually from the BCP)
Monday, January 19, 2009
Can you tell the difference?
I still don't have little "tab" images behind my label words above this posting frame. Still working on it.
I may try 3 columns next...
All praise is yours, all glory, all honor
And all blessing.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy
To pronounce your name.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through all that you have made,
And first my lord Brother Sun,
Who brings the day; and light you give to us through him.
How beautiful is he, how radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Moon and Stars;
In the heavens you have made them, bright
And precious and fair.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
And fair and stormy, all the weather's moods,
By which you cherish all that you have made.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Water,
So useful, lowly, precious, and pure.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
Through whom you brighten up the night.
How beautiful he is, how gay! Full of power and strength.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Earth, our mother,
Who feeds us in her sovereignty and produces
Various fruits and colored flowers and herbs.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through those who grant pardon
For love of you; through those who endure
Sickness and trial.
Happy those who endure in peace,
By you, Most High, they will be crowned.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Death,
From whose embrace no mortal can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin
Happy those She finds doing your will!
The second death can do no harm to them.
Praise and bless my Lord, and give him thanks,
And serve him with great humility.
--St. Francis of Assisi
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
There are so many things in this life that we see as mutually exclusive. I think the very mystery of God is partially this: God allows things that we think are mutually exclusive exist in harmony. The Lion and the Lamb. The Darkness and the Light. Mystery.
Make my life a prayer to You
I wanna do what You want me to
No empty words and no white lies
No token prayers no compromise
I wanna shine the light You gave
Thru Your Son You sent to save us
From ourselves and our despair
It comforts me to know You're really there
Well I wanna thank You now
For being patient with me
Oh it's so hard to see
When my eyes are on me
I guess I'll have to trust
And just believe what You say
Oh you're coming again
Coming to take me away
I wanna die and let You give
Your life to me so I might live
And share the hope You gave me
The love that set me free
I wanna tell the world out there
You're not some fable or fairy tale
That I've made up inside my head
You're God the Son and You've risen from the dead
I wanna die and let You give
Your life to me so I might live
And share the hope You gave me
The love that set me free
Friday, January 16, 2009
2 cups pinto cooked and pureed with water
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk (fat-free)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 unbaked pie shell (I used Mrs. Smith's frozen shell)
Use ONLY unseasoned pinto beans, cooked to a mushy stage. Puree in blender or food processor until very very smooth with one half cup water. Mix in remaining ingredients. Pour into pie shell. Bake in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° degrees and continue baking for 45 minutes or until done. Cool. Garnish with whipped cream, if desired.
Lots of protein and fiber; BUT right around 300 calories for one eighth of a pie. If you substitute Splenda, the calories are reduced to 200 per slice.
Pinto Bean Fudge
1 cup warm cooked pinto beans pureed with very little water, or it will be runny
3/4 cup melted butter
1 cup cocoa
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 pounds powdered sugar (8 cups)
1 cup chopped pecans
Puree beans by any method, but try not to add any more moisture. Add melted butter, cocoa and vanilla. Mix in powdered sugar gradually. Add nuts if desired. Press into a 9 x 13 inch oiled or non-stick pan. Store in the refrigerator.
A whopping 690 calories per serving (one ninth). If you substitute Splenda for the sugar, the calories go to 280. Lots of protein and fiber. You could reduce the overall fat by using margarine, but I don't know how it would turn out... The calories are reduced to 210 per piece by leaving out the pecans.
I have most things in place; ordered textbooks, lesson planning is occurring, educational contract is being written. The decision was not lightly made or easily made, but now there is a tremendous feeling of relief mixed with a small bit of anxiety. I had not realized until I made this decision how I really dislike our public schools. The anxiety comes from them leaving an excellent orchestra program and not having a replacement fully nailed down yet. They are anxious about leaving behind friends -- an anxiety I can fully understand. I have already been in full contact with one homeschool network and looking forward to meeting people in the second homeschool network.
I also have already written my first curriculum. For literature, we are going to read 4 of Shakespeare's plays, starting with one of my favorites "As You Like It." We are going to read aloud to one another every day (diction, vocabulary, poetry). I am going to have Entropy copy a few "lines" every day (handwriting, memorization). The are going to analyze each Act, imagine the staging, costuming. By the end I hope each have created a derivative work of their own choosing. I am also going to encourage them to memorize and stage a scene. We then will watch a couple of movies and go see the play at the Georgia Shakespeare Festival. At the end of the first month, I will re-evaluate, to see if it's really worth it.
So I am going to go an enjoy this last cup of coffee in a completely empty house -- later, y'all.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
To obey is better than sacrifice,
I don't need your money, I want your life.
And I hear you say that I'm coming back soon,
But you act like I'll never return.
Well you speak of grace and my love so sweet,
How you thrive on milk, but reject my meat,
And I can't help weeping of how it will be,
If you keep on ignoring my words.
Well you pray to prosper and succeed,
But your flesh is something I just can't feed.
To obey is better than sacrifice.
I want more than Sunday and Wednesday nights,
Cause if you can't come to me every day,
Then don't bother coming at all.
To obey is better than sacrifice.
I want hearts of fire, not your prayers of ice.
And I'm coming quickly, to give back to you,
According to what you have done,
According to what you have done,
According to what you have done.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
- Reason Thirteen: IE2
- Fourteen: and this. Georgia has upped the number of kids allowable in classrooms because of the economic situation.
- Fifteen: Because of the Draconic attendance policies, sick kids go to school infecting kids who are just getting well in a horrible cycle. Chaos has had surgery this school year so far, about six colds and mono. She's anemic and "run down." But because of the attendance policy, being "run down" is not a good enough excuse to miss school. Entropy had rheumatic fever two years ago and caught strep this year -- scary. Then she had a bad reaction to the antibiotic. No going to school equals less exposure to germs.
- The Methoblogger story was picked up by UMNews. Do I need to pick up the blog like I'd pick up the house for company?
- I'm now friends with Matt Fox on Facebook (of Room by Room fame). For some reason that tickles me.
- I've been playing with Google Insight. It's interesting to note that the search term "United Methodist Church" is most used by ... Alabama. Georgia is high on the list as well -- number 2, in fact, with most searches coming from the Atlanta area. Interesting.
- I've been considering homeschool for the kids. There are several reasons.
- First, I believe that they are horribly stressed out and school is THE major stressor. The peer pressure, the pressure to "be the best", the amount of homework. I see my children becoming depressed from the amount of stress they are encountering and I am ready to say "enough."
- Second, gifted children are not encouraged to feed their gift. My eldest could go through this curriculum so much faster than they are giving it to her -- she's not being challenged. If we homeschool, she can self-pace.
- Third, children who "don't get it" aren't given additional time and space to master the subject. If we homeschool, they can self-pace.
- Fourth, I'm tired of homework for the sake of homework. To spend 5 and 6 hours on homework a night that seems to be just busywork -- this is ridiculous. A homeschooler only needs 4.5 hours of schooling day -- or until mastery is reached. It would actually free up a lot of time.
- Fifth, the new Mathematics curriculum is horrible. They are not going to be prepared for college with this curriculum and I'm tired of fighting the system. Opting out seems the only option.
- Sixth, I'm tired of the underlying themes of gangsta culture in our schools.
- Seven I'm tired of the bullying and violence.
- Eight, I'm tired of the kids' lack of self-worth and confidence that is engendered by these schools.
- Nine, it will be much easier to pull up roots and move eventually.
- Ten, field trips.
- Eleven, I get to select the curriculum.
- Twelve, I'm tired of the two hour difference in the beginning and ending of the two schools.
- On the flip-side:
- This is indeed going to cost: time and money.
- I won't have any quiet mornings at home.
- It will take a large amount of discipline: both from the girls and myself.
- I have to be very careful to select good curriculum and accredited curriculum.
- I don't know that homeschoolers can qualify for college scholarship or things like All-State orchestra or Governor's Honors. More research is needed.
- I would love to hear some other's experiences....
Monday, January 12, 2009
I like John – favorite gospel. Speaks to me – Luke was my favorite, then Mark, now John.
Stresses different stories – ask your spouse the story of your relationship, you will get different stories/ what the other sees as formative/important.
John starts with a beautiful word poem – parallel to the most important point in history to that point, creation. God spoke the Word and the world was created – now the Word has become flesh and is dwelling (pitching tent and all that implies) among us.
It's all about new beginnings. Then moves to John the Baptizer – different points than the story last week – John the Gospel makes it very clear about who John the Baptizer really is: not the Messiah, not Elijah come again, but a voice crying in the wilderness –
John calls Jesus Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world – and testifies to the movement of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ life.
The next day (parallel here to the days of creation), he gathers together two of the disciples – those who will be beacons of light to the world – Nathaniel and Phillip, telling them to “Come and see.” (phrase found a lot in John) They join Andrew, Peter and John as disciples so by this point there are 5 of them.
The fig tree -- why was he under the fig tree? Theory #1 -- his mom was a single mother and would leave him under the fig tree to go work in the fields. Theory #2 -- he was very devout and would sit under the fig tree, praying and studying the Torah. I like number 2.
Why did Nathanael so easily belive??
time to remember and move on,
time to believe what love is bringing,
laying to rest the pain that's gone.
Then let us, with the Spirit's daring,
step from the past and leave behind
our disappointment, guilt, and grieving,
seeking new paths, and sure to find.
-Brian Wren, 1978, UMH 383
Thinking more about resolutions -- like someone quipped last week, I'm not making any new resolutions because the old ones were hardly used.
Most people consider January 1st the beginning of the new year -- where all things are fresh and new. Time to forgive and forget, time to start over, to zero the counters and see where we can go from here.
The Liturgical year begins right after Thanksgiving with Advent. The fiscal year for a lot of businesses is July 1.
Some people's new year begins the week school starts. Regardless of the time of year, we can say to ourselves, "Today is the beginning of my new year. All things are forgiven and forgotten. There is nothing ahead but possibilities." Yes, consequences of the past can and will remain -- the scars never really fade, but we take a moment and remember move on and beyond them, easing their tightness with balm.
So today, I began a diet (I need to loose an entire 6th grader...), I am going to seriously begin to do the spiritual disciplines again in the morning -- prayer, fasting, meditation, study, contemplation. I am going to start walking again, even thought it hurts. I am going to increase my attendance in Karate class to three times a week. I am reducing the clutter in my life -- material possessions, but also the busy-ness of modern life. It is not a deprivation of my children if we get rid of activity for activity's sake -- and concentrate on more of the reasons for existence. It is as nourishing for the person to spend time in leisure as it is to nourish our bodies with food.
I have spent a year in a "purge" and the purge will continue. I am re-purposing things; reclaiming them from the pile of trash and giving them new life. I am giving away tremendous amounts of "stuff" and lightening the load. I am cleaning under appliances and behind things -- taking care of "hidden" dirt. What does it matter if the exterior looks nice if the interior is crammed full of broken and useless things and full of dust bunnies and dirt?
As I have blogged before, I was going to do an art project a while back -- I was going to take a white and gold chasable and make it beautiful -- and then line it with a piece of cheap cloth with stains, tire tread marks and words of filth written in a coarse hand. The lining would be ripped and unrepaired. A commentary on the priesthood, as a whole. But starting with me.
Here is an interesting website about the practice of faith. I don't agree with it one hundred percent, but it is good for contemplating.
But first rest. And rest can be a spiritual discipline.
Christ is alive, and goes before us
to show and share what love can do.
This is a day of new beginnings;
our God is making all things new.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Makes one wonder what Normal really is. Why these weddings at eating establishments? Is there an echo of sacrament -- can we sense the sacramental of the common meal here? Are they drawn to do this sacramental action at a place they hear an echo of the common meal? (we Methodists don't think of it as a sacrament even though we use sacramental language).
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Who was to know? We have our own Atlanta White House. It's 3/4 scale -- and the inside is very lavish. It's for sale, if you have the desire to sit and feel presidential -- $9 million will get you into this estate...
Edited: The home is no longer for sale -- the owner is no longer in foreclosure. He credits lots of prayer for the decision of the bank to refinance rather than foreclose.
Friday, January 09, 2009
A group of us who tweet, blog or are just buddies met for several hours with Bishop Robert Schnase of 5 Fruitful Practices notoriety. Some of us have known each other for a while -- others just met. Our Methobloggers group included:
- Bishop Schnay-Z
- Gavin of Hit the Back Button
- Mid-Life Rookie
- Reverend Mommy (That's me!)
- Jay Voorhees of Only Wonder
- Amy Forbus of God and Dog
- Erin Richardson, and
- Amy Shanholzter. (Nice to meet y'all!)
- The essence of blogging community and how these connections and relationships are just as "real" as ones we have in real life. (My ongoing question: How do we embody an incarnational ministry in a "virtual" environment?)
- Copyright issues: the sharing of information and creative media, the fine line between sharing a blog posting vs. an email; how a blog posting is considered "open game" for many people, a little about Creative Commons.
- Communication across the lines of the church -- how it's a paradigm shift between generations of the medium but not necessarily the message.
- Who are the "bright lights" in Methodism today; I think I would call them "gravitational poles" -- do we even have such where all of Methodism can gravitate? (Perhaps the Bishop himself could be that Bright Light with the 5 Practices?)
- What exactly is role of technology in church?
- We also talked a bit about authenticity and transparency and how authority is perceived by different generations.
- As Gavin said: "we solved global warming, but jay doesn't think it'll work." All problems in Methodism were solved, if only someone would listen.
- We gave some feedback to the Bishop about how his role in the Blogging community could evolve and work -- some discussion of "organic growth" vs. "forced structure."
- The enormous and irreconcilable divide in the Methoblogosphere around the issue of Pork, Beef or Chicken BBQ.
- Gavin wanted to discuss "Twilight" and "Potter Puppet Pals" but we just ran out of time.
- I'm home from the Blogger Meetup and finally am rested up somewhat.
- End of the Year Reports equal lots of excitement (not).
- The family is now very seriously contemplating Homeschooling. I'm going to try to build a game plan today, using a variety of sources. More about this later.
- Working on sermon -- looking for illustrations.
- It's time to put the Nativity scenes away for the year and this makes me sad for some reason.
- Lots of sorting of books on the schedule for next week.
- The Loving Husband is Blogging.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
In an announcement that launched a thousand unprintable puns, adult-entertainment moguls Larry Flynt and Joe Francis said Wednesday that they are asking Washington for a $5 billion federal bailout, claiming that the porn business is suffering from the soft economy. (maybe it just needs some Viagra...)I am glad the headline was not like this one.
So sorry, Larry. You have a BIG misconception going on here: most people do NOT need porn to have intimate relations with a partner.
He's such a Hustler.
On a more serious note: What???
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Monday, January 05, 2009
- My brain is toast so these will be disjointed.
- Critterbit is now better known as "Bad Idea Kitty." She continually has bad ideas. I had a kitty much like this 20 years ago who got run over by a car. He would chase anything. I'm keeping BIK in the house as much as possible. I've too much emotional energy invested to have her squashed.
- The kids are off to school and I'm on my second cup of coffee. I forget how much "alone time" I truly need. I suppose that makes me partially an introvert.
- I'm looking forward to dinner with the Bishop on Wednesday -- not my OWN Bishop, but Bishop Schnase of MO. More details later.
- I did some Second Life networking yesterday. I'm not as into the building of things anymore or gaming -- it's more like a glorified Chat for me right now. I just don't have time.
- I've still got the remains of a cold. I wish it would go away.
- The next project on my own "Personal Home Improvement" show -- I want to strip off some wallpaper and I don't want to use toxic chemicals. I am going to try the fabric softener trick. The wall in the kitchen near the fireplace - I want to paint with blackboard paint. I don't think I need to use a lot of blackboard paint; I think too much would make for a gloomy room. But I am wondering about painting the entire powder room with it and providing chalk.... Hmm....
- Also on the Home Improvement front -- not having boxes of books in the Living Room charges my batteries. Never again, I say, never again will I let the books take over. I have a small table set up in the garage and I am going to sort books out there, making room as I go.And then -- Chaos is all about a Dojang in the garage.
- And Chaos is losing some weight -- necessary as she is a few pounds overweight. She's starting to show definite muscle definition. As she reduces body fat, I can see more and more muscle. She's really wanting a Wavemaster XXL, a stationary bike and an elliptical. Why don't they come in pink?
- Entropy is quiet. She loves her Wii -- she received several games this Christmas. She likes her re-decorated room. We are still waiting on curtains. She's not as outspoken in some ways as Chaos. I'm sure it will come in time. She wants dance lessons, but the local studio is not starting new classes right now -- I'm sure it's tied to the economy.
- In fact, the Karate studio, the music studio and the dance studio are WAY down on enrollment because of the economy. Wave after wave of this recession hit, taking out more and different businesses. Where is the recovery from this?
- One of the major reasons I'm skipping the Congress on Evangelism (except for Wednesday night) is economic -- it would be around $500 for a room and registration. Then there is food and gas and parking and other incidentals. I figured at least $800 for the COE. Frankly, we need an outbuilding in the backyard more than I need to attend the COE. And Entropy wants a dog and we don't have a fence. We need to purchase a fence before we get the dog...
- And the septic tank needs work today. It's not to the "Gross! Ew!" stage yet, but I'm not going to let it get there. And I need a new tire on the Expedition. And there is some necessary clothing purchases for myself and the girls this week -- So there it is. The $800 the COE would have cost me (plus lots more.)
- The septic tank is going to cost ... a lot. A whole lot. Especially seeing that they cut both the phone line and the cable digging it up. I'm pirating internet and watching DS9 on DVD. Season 3, to be specific. There's not a whole lot you can do without using the septic system, the phone system, the internet or the cable. I've sorted stuff, but can't do the laundry. I've wiped the counters down, but can't do the dishes. I can fold clothes that are finished while watching ... DS9, not HGTV. First day I get to "do mommy stuff" and I'm thwarted by the vagarities of life. I think I'll stop pirating cable now.
- There is grace found in ordinary things. There is a lot of grace in slowing down. I get a lot out of just sitting in prayer and holding a sleepy kitten. Why do I keep forgetting this?
Friday, January 02, 2009
- I am going to work on my "house" more until finished. If this is finished this year, so be it. If not, so be it. It's the process that is important.
- I am going to work on my ordination papers. If finished by this year, so be it. If not, then there is always next year.
- Prayer -- every single day, regardless if I blog it or not.
- Healthier eating. Not perfection, but improvement. Reduce fat and carbs. Increase protein and vegetables. Whole grains.
- More exercise. Again, not "perfect" exercise, just more of it.
- I'm not going to do anything out of a sense of "I oughta." There are things that must be done (like job/work stuff and taking out the garbage) but I am not going to fill the schedule out of a sense of "I oughta." I'm going to do elective things that restore my batteries, rather than drain them.
- There are projects that I just didn't finish this year -- blog projects among them. I am not going to sweat it. They will remain unfinished.
Awake, awake to love and work!
The lark is in the sky
the fields are wet with diamond dew
The worlds awake to cry
their praises to the Fount of Life
Christ Jesus passes by.
Come, let your voice be one with theirs
shout with the shout of praise
See how the giant sun soars up
God's gift for all your days!
So let the love of Jesus come
and set your soul ablaze.
To give and give, and give again,
as God's own grace is free
To spend yourself nor count the cost
To serve most gloriously
the God who gave all worlds that are
and all that are to be.
Words: Geoffrey Studdert-Kennedy (20thC)
1 I will always give thanks unto the Lord *
his praise shall ever be in my mouth.
2 My soul shall make her boast in the Lord *
the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
3 O praise the Lord with me *
and let us magnify his Name together.
4 I sought the Lord, and he heard me *
yea, he delivered me out of all my fear.
5 They had an eye unto him, and were lightened *
and their faces were not ashamed.
6 Lo, the poor crieth, and the Lord heareth him *
yea, and saveth him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord tarrieth round about them that fear him *
and delivereth them.
8 O taste, and see, how gracious the Lord is *
blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
9 O fear the Lord, ye that are his saints *
for they that fear him lack nothing.
My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.
How sweet are thy words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Now the house of Israel called its name manna; it was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.
Thank you for the taste of the Kingdom you have given me Lord.
The flakes of manna that have fallen into my life.
Thank you for the honey of the Word
That sweetens all that I do or say.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe,
who brings forth the sweetness from the earth.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe,
who made creation.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe,
who has kept us alive
and preserved us and enabled us to reach this season.
In the Newness of this Year
Form me into what You will --
Shape me into a servant, a mother, a disicple.
Thursday, January 01, 2009
- I am no longer my own, but thine.
- Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
- Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
- Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
- exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
- Let me be full, let me be empty.
- Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
- I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
- And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
- thou art mine, and I am thine.
- So be it.
- And the covenant which I have made on earth,
- let it be ratified in heaven.