Monday, December 28, 2009


Do you suppose that the dirt on Mars is called "mars?" Or, do you think that if something has a smell that brings you back to nature that it is said to have a "marsy" smell?

I thought I was for sure done blogging in 2009, but I couldn't resist.

Best vs Favorite

A few years back, in an intro to film class, we had an assignment/exercise where we were to make a list of what we considered to be the top ten best movies, and another list of our top ten favorite movies. Upon first hearing this, I thought, these lists will be identical. I was really lofty in thinking that those movies that were my favorites were also the best, award-winning movies. After some thought though, I realized that even though The Princess Bride is easily a favorite, it is not the "best" movie when it comes to technical stuff about being a movie. Did it win a ton of awards or critical acclaim?

I don't remember what my lists were, and I'm sure my tastes have evolved a little bit since then, and more movies have come out, etc. Good thing this isn't exactly what this post is about.

But it is about something that I have been thinking about lately, which has a little bit to do with "best" vs "favorite."

It all started out when I couldn't find my favorite sweater. It isn't the best sweater in the world, it is only moderately warm, and moderately fashionable. But it is my favorite. I just really like the way it fits. Anyway, I stood on a chair and looked in the farthest corners of the closet, and could not find it. I could not remember the last time I had worn it, so therefore couldn't remember if I had left it behind somewhere (unlikely, but I couldn't explain why I couldn't find the sweater).

We had been doing laundry off the top of the hamper for months, so I assumed that the sweater was at the bottom of the pile with other clothes I had forgotten about. While looking through the closet, I found several sweaters that I didn't wear anymore, or that didn't fit well, and donated them to the Salvation Army. I figured someone else could benefit from them by wearing them more than I did.

There is one sweater that I would say is up there among my favorites, but moreso, it is one of the best sweaters I own. It is thick, warm, stylish, and fits well. I don't wear it often in the winter because it is so thick that my winter coat doesn't fit well over the top of it. But it is perfect for autumn and spring, when you don't need a winter coat, but still need to be warm. I decided not to donate that one, because I felt that I still would use it often. For whatever reason, I felt a little convicted, like, why is it so easy to donate the old, unused, too small, sweaters, but not your best ones? Shouldn't we give what is our best, and not just the leftovers?

And then of course my mind went to Cain and Able, in Genesis 4:2b-5a, When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground. When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the LORD. Abel also brought a gift—the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The LORD accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift.

I told the Lord I would think about it, and moved on with my day. Fast forward to a day or two before we left for Tallinn. We were working on making sure everything was clean before we left, catching up on dishes and laundry, and eating all the food in the fridge. After completing all the laundry, I was reminded that I still hadn't found my favorite sweater, and that it wasn't in the bottom of the laundry pile after all. I searched my mind to see if I could think of where it might be. I had a startling thought: maybe I accidentally gave it to the Salvation Army! It was startling for two reasons. The first being, "What a shame. I accidentally gave my favorite sweater away." The second being, "What a shame that I hold on to my possessions so much!"

Which got me thinking. I know that God wants us to give of ourselves. And not just our leftovers all the time, but things that are meaningful.

But which is better? To give of our favorite things, or of our best things? Or should we aim to live in such a way that our favorite things are also the best things?

I wish I could say that this story ends nobly. It really doesn't. I ended up doing a more thorough cleaning of my closet, and found my favorite sweater in the farthest back corner of the closet underneath another sweater. I packed it up and it went to Tallinn with us. The other sweater, the "best" one, still sits in the closet, undonated.

Hopefully in 2010, I will be a better giver, and a also a better housekeeper (so if I finally am able to give up my favorite and best things, I can find them).

Hello, oh ten.

These are off the top of my head, but here is what I would like to accomplish in the coming year:

(ten things)

1. Relearn the guitar.
2. Take a full load of classes in the Fall.
3. Take on a grown-up's schedule and routine (waking up and going to bed at a decent hour, doing dishes and laundry on a regular basis, eating meals at consistent times, etc).
4. Find a job that doesn't require a "work email" or checking it often.
5. Blog whenever I feel like it, about whatever I want, with no patterns or self-imposed rules and guidelines.
6. Read my Bible as often as I brush my teeth.
7. Sing more. Laugh more. Be myself more.
8. Grow my hair long
9. Print and frame and hang some pictures
10. Give away things I never use

Goodbye, 2009.

Remember last January when I had a different blog and made up some new year's resolutions? Well, it's time for a progress report, so that I can go into 2010 with a clear conscious and a new list of things to accomplish.

Here is the list for this year, with my current thoughts in Italics.

1. Start and complete a 500-1000 piece jig-saw puzzle (This will be difficult. Challenging. And I may have to start now if I want to finish by the end of the year. I am not good at jig-saw puzzles).
Completed this last January. Have not done a puzzle since. Am ok with that.

2. Work my way up to eating 5 servings of fruit per day (I've learned that I can't start cold-turkey. Mmmm.....turkey).
Not even close to that. But I have tried to eat more fruit than usual for me (no fruit is usual). Instead of trying to eat things I don't like, I ate the few fruits I do like...apples, bananas, tomatoes, avocados, and orange juice.

3. Reduce more, Recycle more, Reuse more (not because it's green, but because it's what I've been taught since childhood)
I can't say for sure if I've done this more, but I still try to do this consistently, and whenever possible. I'm glad "green" is not really a trendy term anymore (or maybe it still is, and I am out of touch?).

4. Continue to try to like tea. Learn more about the different kinds enough to have an educated conversation about tea with someone who loves it.
Not there yet. It is a shame that I only drink tea when it is cold and there is no coffee available. Otherwise I could've maybe had this one. I did try some Albanian mountain tea, and also drank my weight in chai tea latte mix....which probably doesn't count for much, being sugar is the main ingredient in those mixes (the Albanian tea does count for a lot though).

5. Practice Lithuanian
I have done this! I am still not a very good speaker, but I am getting to be a better hearer of Lithuanian.

6. Learn the Russian alphabet, and some words
I did learn the alphabet last spring, and have practiced reading every chance I get...but I think I've forgotten about a fourth of the letters. And I still know about the same amount of words.

7. Read the manual for our camera
Did this a little bit on a train in Sweden, but not nearly enough. This might be a goal for oh ten.

8. Stop touching facial blemishes
I'm trying to get better, I really am. Not there yet.

9. Learn more about the church calendar
Still want to do this. Completely forgot about this goal. Maybe next year.

Friday, December 25, 2009

I like this song.

Aimee Mann - Reason to Believe

Aimee Mann and Michael Penn's cover of Bruce Springsteen's Reason to Believe

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Anti-tribute to Ben Harper

When I am sitting in my office, I like to listen to a little internet radio. Now I don't have the luxury of listening to Pandora, because they only let you listen from the United States. I'm over it.
Last year, Yahoo Music had a lot of the same features, you could rate the music, and it would remember what kind of music to play and suggest based on your ratings. Then suddenly they stopped that, apparently it was too likeable and easy to use. So now Yahoo music is only mediocre to listen to. You can rate songs, but it is pretty meaningless. They don't even ask me to sign in. So they don't remember any playlists or anything like that.

Oh well. It is instinctual for me to try to find a loophole, so lately I've been typing in a particular artist, and they will play similar sounding music. And you can still skip songs that you don't want to listen to. So it's ok, I guess.

Anyway, I've been noticing that every single time I feel compelled to stop what I am doing and skip a song, lately, it is a song by Ben Harper. I don't know what it is. Just can't listen to it. Just can't tune it out. Must. Skip.

And the weird thing is, there isn't one particular song that gets me. It is every song. By him. That Yahoo music will play.

Anyway, here is a nice picture of him. I am sorry that I skip you all the time Mr. Harper. I can't really describe why I can't make it through one of your songs.

Does anyone know of a song by him that is tolerable? I would like to develop a taste...or at least a tolerance (so as to be able to tune it out without having to stop everything and hit skip). I need this skill, because Yahoo music plays him a. lot.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Psalm 19

The place where the sun sets in the winter. This picture was taken at about 2pm or so.

Friday, December 11, 2009

oh man oh man oh man. procrastination at its finest.

My final paper is due in 6.5 hours.

It needs to be 3000-4000 words.

Instead of writing the paper I sit here and blog about writing the paper.

It is technically due "Friday at midnight" which is Saturday at 8am my time.

And I'm milking it for all its worth.

Not too old for an all-nighter...yet.

Ask me how I'm doing tomorrow though.

If I survive, I will post a picture of the sky that I took on Thursday. It was amazing. The sky. The sun made an appearance. My letters worked!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Winter Letter 2

Dear the Thick Clouds,
Thank you for being magnificent on the days when there are only a few of you. You really make for some nice sunsets. But lately, you haven't been working well together. Lately, Thick Clouds, you have been stealing the Sun's thunder and upstaging it big time. Please consider working out a schedule that allows you to all be around only at night, and the sun can be out only during the day. Exceptions: nights with a full moon, and nights with meteor showers.
Thank you for your consideration,

Winter Letter 1

Dear the Sun,
Where are you? Even though I try to stay positive and tell myself that it is a gift to be able to watch you both rise and set within one workday, it is difficult when you don't even show your face. Now I know you can't really help that there are very thick clouds everywhere, and I will write them a letter too. But could you please try harder? I need my vitamin D, and it is so tiring when it is dark all day and all night.
Thanks and Sincerely,

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

seek and ye shall find!

Song in my head.

Ok, so when we got here, there were some tall ship races going on. As we stood in the harbor watching the ships parade away, one ship (MIR, I think) had the most beautiful exit song. I don't know the name of it, except that it is a majestic sounding, familiar opera. That evening, with the song fresh in my head, I tried to figure out the name of it. No such luck.

Fast forward to today, I am sitting in the cafeteria eating lunch, and this same song is playing on the radio. Now I am determined to figure it out!

Here are some clues that I can come up with:
A duet sung by a man and a woman
Familiar tune

Then I went online to a virtual piano (I'm in my office, no actual piano in here), and plunked around until I could figure out the notes to the most familiar part...matched with paint brush, here is what I could come up with:

I don't know what time or key the song is in. Sorry.
In case my artwork is hard to read, here are the notes:

GBACBG...and then up an octave...GF#DGF#DBD

Anyone? Anyone? Help me out, I'm losing my mind!

PS: Aunt Linda, send me an email if you know it!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Luke 10 (may possibly share some thoughts later, thus making this a blog...but for now, this is what I got.)

Luke 10

Jesus Sends Out His Disciples
1 The Lord now chose seventy-two* other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places he planned to visit.2 These were his instructions to them: "The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.3 Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves.4 Don't take any money with you, nor a traveler's bag, nor an extra pair of sandals. And don't stop to greet anyone on the road.
5 "Whenever you enter someone's home, first say, 'May God's peace be on this house.'6 If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you.7 Don't move around from home to home. Stay in one place, eating and drinking what they provide. Don't hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve their pay.
8 "If you enter a town and it welcomes you, eat whatever is set before you.9 Heal the sick, and tell them, 'The Kingdom of God is near you now.'10 But if a town refuses to welcome you, go out into its streets and say,11 'We wipe even the dust of your town from our feet to show that we have abandoned you to your fate. And know this—the Kingdom of God is near!'12 I assure you, even wicked Sodom will be better off than such a town on judgment day.
13 "What sorrow awaits you, Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have repented of their sins long ago, clothing themselves in burlap and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse.14 Yes, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on judgment day than you.15 And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead.*"
16 Then he said to the disciples, "Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent me."
17 When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, "Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!"
18 "Yes," he told them, "I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning!19 Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you.20 But don't rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven."

Jesus' Prayer of Thanksgiving
21 At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and he said, "O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way.
22 "My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."
23 Then when they were alone, he turned to the disciples and said, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you have seen.24 I tell you, many prophets and kings longed to see what you see, but they didn't see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn't hear it."

The Most Important Commandment
25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: "Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?"
26 Jesus replied, "What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?"
27 The man answered, "'You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.' And, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"*
28 "Right!" Jesus told him. "Do this and you will live!"
29 The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

Parable of the Good Samaritan
30 Jesus replied with a story: "A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.
31 "By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by.32 A Temple assistant* walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.
33 "Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him.34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins,* telling him, 'Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I'll pay you the next time I'm here.'
36 "Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?" Jesus asked.
37 The man replied, "The one who showed him mercy."
Then Jesus said, "Yes, now go and do the same."

Jesus Visits Martha and Mary
38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home.39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord's feet, listening to what he taught.40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, "Lord, doesn't it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me."
41 But the Lord said to her, "My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details!42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her."


10:1 Some manuscripts read seventy; also in 10:17.

10:15 Greek to Hades.

10:27 Deut 6:5; Lev 19:18.

10:32 Greek A Levite.

10:35 Greek two denarii. A denarius was equivalent to a laborer's full day's wage.

Monday, November 23, 2009

dreams are nice

I dreamed that I did an informal poll on here, trying to gauge the readership of the blog. Within seconds there were like 10 responses.

1. How lame that I am dreaming about my blog.
2. Even if there weren't 10 readers, I would still write...but it's nice to know if you have an audience.
3. In defense of 1, I did have a fever all day yesterday, and still have a higher than is normal for me temperature today. Could write it off as a hallucination (although the fever at its highest was 101.3 F, and I think it has to be a tad higher for hallucinations).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanksgiving comes early...metaphorically speaking.

I love Thanksgiving. It is easily my favorite holiday. Not a lot of controversy around Thanksgiving. Sharing a big meal with loved ones and being thankful are things that can and should happen all year round, but it is nice to have a specific day set apart specifically for that. I feel like I have blogged several times about my love for Thanksgiving, but cannot find it (perhaps was a list on another no-longer-existing-except-in-our-hearts website? I would link to it, but it no longer exists. Except within our hearts).

Anyway, that is not really what this post is about. It is about life. Right now in life, it feels like Thanksgiving. Lots of hustle and bustle. Lots of good food on my plate. Some food that only tastes good when eaten with other things, others that I would like more of, etc. I don't have time to blog, I don't have time to take or post a new picture (if I lived in a different time zone and under a less densely clouded sky, I might have pictures of shooting stars, but alas I don't even have that).

I just have time to sneak in this post, because even though the plate is full of good food, I like to make time for a blog here and there. I don't blog because it is trendy or because thousands of people read it...I actually like to do it. So consider this my ice cream for now. Something that is a treat for me, and something that I always have room for.

On an unrelated topic, here is a question, until next time:

Do you think that people who are night people can train themselves to be morning people? Or are they just fooling themselves? Is being a night person or a morning person something that is learned, or something that is innate?

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I had the song about the steadfast love of the Lord never ceasing, so I thought I would look it up, since it's nice when you have Scripture in your head to just look it up and read what's around it. So here is this and a little more.

Lamentations 3:22-33

The faithful love of the LORD never ends!*
His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!"

25 The LORD is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.
26 So it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the LORD.
27 And it is good for people to submit at an early age
to the yoke of his discipline:

28 Let them sit alone in silence
beneath the LORD's demands.
29 Let them lie face down in the dust,
for there may be hope at last.
30 Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them
and accept the insults of their enemies.

31 For no one is abandoned
by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion
because of the greatness of his unfailing love.
33 For he does not enjoy hurting people
or causing them sorrow.

*3:22 As in Syriac version; Hebrew reads of the LORD keeps us from destruction.

I am most intrigued by verse 26. Is this salvation in the Christian way of thinking about it? Or is it more about salvation from your enemies, or from drama, or from inner-strife? Is it about trusting in the Lord's timing? (Sitting quietly and waiting?) Or is it about maybe the salvation of others that you are praying for? I don't know. It wasn't the verse I was looking for, but it is the one I found.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Getting lost in the tyranny of things

Ok ok. I know that there are better things to dream about. But here are three things that I would like. Someday.

A small house with porch that has wind chimes (the music of summer, in my opinion). We already have some wind chimes, in storage. So that's a good start.

Green doors (the outdoor part). Something about them is appealing to me.

Someday I hope that Steve works at a University that offers courses in ceramics/pottery/etc, and offers them to the spouse of the person working at said University for free. If it is something I truly love, I would go so far as to say I want my own kiln (after taking as many free classes as possible of course).

Monday, November 9, 2009


When I was younger than 8, I always dreamed of the day I would be 8. Eight seemed to be a good age. It probably was.

When I was younger than 27, I always felt like 27 was the age where one "arrived." Or, at least the age where I imagined that I would have "arrived."

Welp. I have 365 more days to arrive at something. (I've already made new year's resolutions and an independence day resolution this year..."the year of arrival" resolutions would just seem obnoxious, so I will just leave it as a vague "something" to arrive at for now).

I'm sure in 19 more years I will think that 27 is as young as 8 seems now.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Reflections of the way life used to be*

A fisherman reflects next to a reflected weeping willow.

A man checks his reflection next to a puddle.

Trees on the Danes River

My current reflection: I still need to read half of Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus today, to keep up with my ambitions.

*I thought this would be an upbeat lyric to be the title of the post, but I looked up the actual lyrics to this song, and it is kind of depressing. Man those Supremes are like the opposite of a country singer...they can make any depressing lyrics sound upbeat and catchy.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Would you rather...

Really like the place you work, but really dislike your job,


Really like your job, but really dislike the place you work?

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Since November is the best month ever, I decided to make it even better by reading through the entire Bible. We'll see how this goes! (It was either this, or write a novel -- and I've already attempted that. Turns out, writing a novel seems too personal for me. Ironically.)

Tentative schedule:
1 Genesis
2 Exodus
3 Leviticus, Hebrews
4 Numbers
5 Deuteronomy
6 Joshua, Judges
7 Matthew, Mark
8 Ruth, 1 Samuel
9 2 Samuel, Romans
10 1 Kings, 2 Kings
11 1 Chronicles, Galatians, Ephesians
12 2 Chronicles
13 Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther
14 Job
15 Luke, 1 Corinthians
16 Acts, 2 Corinthians
17 Proverbs, Amos
18 Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs/Solomon, Lamentations, Daniel, Joel
19 Ezekiel
20 Isaiah 1-33, Hosea
21 Isaiah 34-66, Philippians, Colossians
22 Jeremiah
23 Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
24 John, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Jude
25 Titus, Philemon, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Psalm 1-16 26 Revelation, Psalm 17-35 27 Psalm 36-69 28 Psalm 70-101 29 Psalm 102-127 30 Psalm 128-150

color and texture in klaipeda 4

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Book Recommendation

For my class I had to read the book Christianity Rediscovered, by Vincent J. Donovan.

Clearly I just took Amazon's picture of the book...but trust me, it looks just like mine, only no "click to look inside!"

This is a must read, especially for anyone seriously thinking of working in the mission field. I will certainly read it again, and you are welcome to borrow my copy.

On the surface it is an account of Donovan's time spent in East Africa ministering to the Masai people. But much more than that, it challenges us to think about the meaning of what it is to be a missionary, and how does one go about sharing the gospel without tainting it with their culture? Donovan distinguishes between the difference of missionary work and pastoral work, and the importance of community with regards to faith (as opposed to only focusing on the individual).

It is a challenging and thought-provoking book. The content is easy enough to read through pretty quickly, but the ideas presented are some that I have been thinking about for a while, and some new ones that I will continue to think about.

It really made me question my calling (or, my interpretation of my calling). It is not a new thing for me to question what it is I want to be when I grow up, but recently I have been thinking about it even more. I think the real question is how do I want to partake in ministry, and how does that look? If I ever become a mother, and all the kids are over the age of 5 and in school, what will I do with my time between 8a and 3p? What if I'm finding that I'm not so into evangelism and missionarying, but into teaching and propheting and community building?

Those last few sentences were not really what the book was about, but some of my thoughts as a result of the book.

But seriously. Read it, and let me know what you think.

color and texture in klaipeda 2

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Laura in Wonderland

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

-Lewis Carroll

Thursday, October 22, 2009

More evidence that I am a visual learner (and also that maybe I should've been left-handed at more things).

Think back to last March. Or think ahead to next summer. What do you see? How do you picture the time that was or will be?

Or should I say,

Do you picture or imagine time? I do. Sort of. It is difficult to articulate it. So I have produced some diagrams via paint (the best program a computer can possibly offer) to help me explain.

Bear with me.

Ok, let's start on a big scale. If I were to picture last March, I would picture myself in a linear (although 3 dimensional) calendar that reads from right to left. I would be somewhere on the line where October should be (since it is October, after all), but looking over my shoulder to March. If I am looking ahead to next summer, I picture myself still in October, and in the linear calendar, but since I am visualizing next year, I read it from left to right (although once I am in next year, like as soon as it actually becomes 2010, I will read it from right to left again). I always think of the current year as right to left, and the next year as left to right.

On a smaller scale, when I'm planning my weeks and days, I always think from right to left (looking ahead or behind, but if I were to step outside of it, it would read right to left).

Am I totally crazy or what?

I am not really talking about calendars here, I read those as they are just fine. But in my mind's eye, I just picture time a bit differently. Where does this even come from?

Next week is fall break. Hopefully will take lots of pictures. Maybe a few good ones.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

One of my faves, while I should be doing other things that are more productive

Here is one of my favorite Bible stories, told very creatively. Thanks to Hannah for pointing out the website!

John 11:1-3
Mary and Martha, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, sent word to Jesus, 'Lord, the one you love is sick.'

John 11:4
When Jesus heard this, he said, 'This sickness will not end in death.'

John 11:5
Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.

John 11:7, 14
Then he said to his disciples, 'Let's go back to Judea. Lazarus is dead.'

John 11:17, 20-21
When Jesus arrived, Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Martha came out to meet him and said, 'Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died!'

John 11:28, 32
Martha went and called her sister, and when Mary came to where Jesus was, she fell at his feet and said, 'Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died!'

John 11:33, 35
When Jesus saw Mary weeping and the weeping of the Jews who had come with her, he was deeply troubled and distressed. Jesus wept.

John 11:36-37
Some of the Jews said, 'Couldn't he have done something to keep Lazarus from dying?'

John 11:38-39
Jesus came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 'Take away the stone,' he said.

John 11:39
Martha, the sister of the dead man, said 'Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been there four days.'

John 11:40-43
They took away the stone and Jesus called in a loud voice, 'Lazarus, come out!'

John 11:44
The dead man came out bound hand and foot with linen strips and with his face wrapped in a cloth.

John 11:44
Jesus said to them, 'Unwrap him and let him go.'

Monday, October 19, 2009

What is it about?

Specifically verses 8 and 9. Someone enlighten me, please.

Luke 16
Parable of the Shrewd Manager
1 Jesus told this story to his disciples: "There was a certain rich man who had a manager handling his affairs. One day a report came that the manager was wasting his employer's money.
2 So the employer called him in and said, 'What's this I hear about you? Get your report in order, because you are going to be fired.'
3 "The manager thought to himself, 'Now what? My boss has fired me. I don't have the strength to dig ditches, and I'm too proud to beg.
4 Ah, I know how to ensure that I'll have plenty of friends who will give me a home when I am fired.'
5 "So he invited each person who owed money to his employer to come and discuss the situation. He asked the first one, 'How much do you owe him?'
6 The man replied, 'I owe him 800 gallons of olive oil.' So the manager told him, 'Take the bill and quickly change it to 400 gallons.*'
7 "'And how much do you owe my employer?' he asked the next man. 'I owe him 1,000 bushels of wheat,' was the reply. 'Here,' the manager said, 'take the bill and change it to 800 bushels.*'
8 "The rich man had to admire the dishonest rascal for being so shrewd. And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light.
9 Here's the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.*
10 "If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities.
11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?
12 And if you are not faithful with other people's things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?
13 "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."
14 The Pharisees, who dearly loved their money, heard all this and scoffed at him.
15 Then he said to them, "You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thoughts on coats and other things that come with it.

Tonight in church, it was announced that the Salvation Army is looking for donations now, specifically for warm winter clothes, hats, gloves, etc -- and specifically for men's winter clothes. Unemployment is high right now, they said, and the need is for donations for men.

What does it say about a society, when it is the men that need to be taken care of?

Let's look at a life cycle of wearing coats (if you live in a warm climate, please substitute "coat" with something"sunscreen.").

When you are an infant, your parents put
your coat on you for you. You play no part in buying the coat, deciding when to wear it, or the actual putting on of the coat.

When you are a little bit older, you might start putting the coat on by yourself. You still need help with zipping it up maybe, and you certainly didn't buy it...but when your parents say, "put on your coat," you are able to help yourself a little bit.

Then comes the age where you are completely able to realize that it is cold out and put on a coat. Your parents still bought it for you, but you know how and when t
o use it. Soon, you may even be able to predict that a coat may be necessary later on in the day, and bring it with you when you leave the house.

Then comes the day where you are old enough to go get a job, buy your own coat, and wear it whenever you think you need to.

Back to the donations for coats and other warmities. I really wish that everyone who needed a coat could have a coat. Especially when there are more coats hanging in the stores than people who need coats, it would seem. Or even when my own closet has more coats in it than people living in this apartment.
But how do I help? If the need is for donations for men, what do they really need help with? I am certainly helping them, at least temporarily, if I just go and get a bunch of coats and donate them. But is there more? Certainly
if they need coats, they are at a need for other things too. Food, shelter, income, sense of responsibility, etc.
Where does my responsibility lie? How much should/can I give? Is it better to give someone a coat, or a job so that they can buy their own coat? Is it better to give someone a job, or to give them a good work ethic, so they can keep a job? Or teach them how to budget their money, once they have a job?

(Warning, coming up are a bunch of "absolute" statements. They are meant to be a sort of exageration to drive a point home. Please don't think that for some things I really believe that people "always" are this way, or they "ne
ver" do that.)

Softening the blow.

On one hand, I always claim to never be political. Most of the time if people start talking about politics, I have to leave the room, because I mostly disagree (doesn't matter whose team people are on, usually when people are talking about politics, it is because they disagree with the other side, and are complaining. This is what I disagree with).
It dawned on me the other day, that maybe what I most disagree with about politics is the way it gets in the way of what it was intended to be. If that makes any sense. If politics exist for the betterment and organization of the people, then the problem (and why everyone always complains all the time) is that people generally want to have a say in how they help others. "I don't want my tax dollars paying for that!" "I want everyone to have a coat, but only if they earn it!"
Is this really helping others? Maybe underneath it all, I really am very political, I just don't know enough to articulate it, and I am often too distracted by the feeling of wanting to throw up every time I hear someone criticize the government. Please, United States. Count your blessings and stop your belly-aching all the time.

On another hand, back to coats, should we treat people like the adults they are? If you go out and buy someone a coat and then wish them well, have you really helped them in the long run? Maybe, if that was the inspiration they needed. But is there something more we could do? I've often heard it argued, "But I don't want to give that bum a coat, because then it means that I condone him being a bum, and what he does while he is a bum, and probably why he is a bum."

This way of thinking, I think, is crap. We should always give and do good, and not have our own agenda or motives. We who have more have a certain responsibility to take care of those who don't. Read James 2. If we truly have faith, it will be known by how we treat those who don't have a "perfect" life (and really, who does?). Doing good is the fruit and evidence of our faith. Withholding good from someone, whether they deserve it or not...what is this evidence of?

Ok. Sorry for the rant. I just often wonder how to help people who are clearly at an age where they should be able to care for themselves, yet they can't. For whatever reason. At what age did they stop being cared for? Is it too late to help them? Should I strive to help those at a younger age, so that they grow up able to afford the necessities of life? Or should I help those who didn't have that luxury as a child, and therefore never learned how to care for themselves?

Here is my to do list, from Romans. And for now, my political stance (in remembering my Independance Day resolution).

Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them.
Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.
Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.
Rejoice in our confident hope.
Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.
When God's people are in need, be ready to help them.
Always be eager to practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you. Don't curse them; pray that God will bless them.
Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.
Live in harmony with each other.
Don't be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don't think you know it all!
Never pay back evil with more evil.
Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.
Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

(Romans 12:9-18)
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