Tuesday, June 08, 2010
This night of rollersk8ing became a fateful night. I did a fancy show-off move (it wasn't really that fancy) and broke my foot. I didn't KNOW it was broken until the following morning when I couldn't walk. This occurred at the beginning of May and the darn foot still gives me trouble.
I threw in pics of my cat, Abner, just b-cuz I love him and he's my cuddle buddy. Also, he was my best friend when I couldn't walk anywhere. He loved it. It was as if he was saying, "FINALLY you're sitting still long enough for me to have a good nap on your lap". Perhaps that was the reason I broke my foot: to bond with my cat. Who knows?
Thursday, June 04, 2009
I canceled the myspace account after I lost interest, but am still actively using facebook.
The main reason I am back to blogger is because of some friends of mine who are in the Philippines and their blog is updated on a weekly basis. It's a great way to check in with them without having to pay for texting or long distance phone calls. The blog is http://shofar-mc.blogspot.com/ if you are interested in going there. The work they do includes teaching in schools and jails, constructions projects, sponsoring local bands and showing a powerful Jesus movie translated in the native language of the people who live there on Cebu Island.
I have been keeping busy here on the home front. I decided to start my own business during the worst recession in 80 years: I started giving piano lessons. It began with learning how to make a professional looking ad to hang up around town. So far, I have 2 students, and a third is coming today for a consult. I am very excited about this!
This year, I probably won't even make enough money at it to have to claim it on my taxes, but I need to keep track of it as it grows- wouldn't want to get into hot water with Uncle Sam!
I also thought that I should probably start to formally give my own son piano lessons. He's 13 and is actually interested in doing it now. Back when I tried to teach him in 1st grade it was like pulling teeth! Now he's picking up on it quickly is eager to learn.
If any of you are still out there blogging, I'd love to hear from you. I imagine in the coming days I'll pay a visit to whim, imran, dorky dad, dirk star and others who I remember fondly from my regular blogging days.
PS- Dirk: I told you Obama would win.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Take Your Stand- The Right Way
“There was a time when most evangelical Christians were satisfied with silence. When great issues were being discussed, the dedicated Christian watched and prayed and stayed out of the battle. For believers to be involved in politics or social issues meant that they had forsaken true Bible separation.
But now that day is over. Today, dedicated believers feel guilty if they fail to register their convictions about great moral and social issues. With the dawning of this new day, some new problems have emerged. If we do not solve these problems, our speaking out on issues will create more difficulties than did our guilty silence.
Perhaps the first problem involves information. Most of us are not experts in these fields. What we know about Bible translations, abortion, capital punishment, social welfare, and a host of other issues has been gathered second-hand. Our information is selective because most believers read only the literature that they agree with. This means that we have studied only one side of the issue, if we have studied even that. I am amazed at how many Christians consider themselves experts on complex issues simply because they have read a pamphlet or a magazine article.
This leads to the second problem- the danger of manipulation. A few writers and speakers can control the thinking of millions of people because their readers or listeners do not know any better. The word for this is propaganda. By using the techniques of propaganda (name-calling, half-truths, glittering generalities, and so on), clever writers or preachers can convince an audience that theirs is the only righteous cause. It is even possible to twist Scripture to defend their position.
Our third problem is making these issues tests of spirituality and fellowship. The enemy is out to divide God’s people, and he finds plenty of ammunition available wherever believers disagree about matters that have high emotional content. At a time in history when the church desperately needs to be united in its witness, sad to say, we are divided on marginal issues. Instead of devoting out time and money spreading the gospel, we are busy in other activities that neither strengthen the saints nor win the lost.
There is a fourth problem- speaking up on these issues in an immature manner. I have read some of the letters sent by evangelical Christians to people in places of leadership, and I have been embarrassed. To be sure, not all letters are embarrassing, because there are still Christians who know how to disagree with others without being disagreeable. But some of our public servants must have a biased opinion of evangelical Christians after reading their mail.
Having said all of this, I am not suggesting that the church retreat into silent obscurity and never raise its voice in either approval or protest. But I do have some suggestions to make that might, if followed, sharpen our witness to an unbelieving world. The next time you plan to write a letter to anyone in a place of leadership, keep these suggestions in mind.
Get the facts straight. In other words, don’t believe everything you hear or read. Be especially careful about signing petitions in the vestibule of the church. If you have ever played the party game ‘Gossip,’ then you know how the ‘facts’ can get garbled as they are ‘communicated’ from one person to another. In recent years, the Federal Commission was deluged with letters and petitions protesting a law that was not even being considered!
Beware of propaganda. Even well-meaning evangelicals can use name-calling or exaggeration in their zeal to defend truth and oppose lies. Never allow somebody to manipulate your thinking just to support a crusade. Take time to pray and consider the issues calmly and with the facts before you.
Speak the truth in love. If you feel you ought to register your convictions, then do it in such a way that your letter will make it easier, not harder, for the next Christian to witness to the recipient. Many people in public offices are convinced that evangelical Christians are ‘cranks’. (Some of the mail I have read has almost convinced me at times!) Practice the Golden Rule and write the kind of letter you would want to receive yourself.
Don’t get detoured. As the salt of the earth and the light of the world, we must make the principles of righteousness felt in our society. But our main task is not to protest corruption but to preach Christ. The heart of every problem is still the problem in the heart; and that problem can be solved only by the gospel. To devote your energy and time to some personal crusade while ignoring the Great Commission is to play right into the hands of the enemy.
I sometimes feel that the church today is like an adolescent who is trying out his newfound freedom of expression. In recent years, it has been popular to be a Christian, even a conservative born-again Christian. That popularity will not last forever, for the enemies of truth and righteousness will not stand by and do nothing. However, the time has come for us to mature and move out of that adolescent stage. Yes, we must make our convictions known; but let’s make sure they are true convictions and not just shallow opinions or secondhand prejudices. Let’s also be sure that we know what we are talking about, lest we embarrass the gospel by our zeal without knowledge.
Proverbs 18:13 might be a good text for all of us: ‘He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.’”
PS- One last comment from me- I find it interesting that I heard that news story yesterday, got a bit mad about it, and then this morning- as part of my routine devotions- the next chapter I was to read was about this very subject. It really put my mind and heart at ease just to know there ARE sensible Christians out there! BTW, this book was published in 1994. It could have been today!
Friday, June 27, 2008
My husband and I and 2 of our friends are linking arms with a group from Minneapolis to share the love of Christ with the people of the Rainbow Gathering. Some will love us for it, some will not. To read more about Steiger Minneapolis and the missions work they do, click here.
Their aim is to reach the lost world for Christ just like any other church, but the people they are called to reach are usually the people the mainstream church disregards or pretends does not exist. This can mean anyone from Sudan to the inner city of Minneapolis. Much of their church has been built by younger people who came out of lives that ultimately would have ended in an early demise: homeless, drug addicted, abused, or alcoholics- many by very early ages. These folks who have been set free by Jesus Christ have turned around and are now the backbone of an effective and growing ministry that feeds the homeless here and abroad and ministers to those in physical and spiritual need.
My husband and I are blessed and excited to join them in their endeavors to reach the Rainbow people. I will post news of our trip when we return.
If you want to find out more about the Rainbow Gathering, click here.
So wish us luck or better yet, if Jesus is your friend, please ask Him to watch out for us and help us to be effective!
Until we get back...
Monday, March 31, 2008
But today a milestone has been made. Today was the first day in the history of cat ownership that our cat got up the guts to venture downstairs all on his own free will. It didn't last long, and he was quickly overcome with kitty jitters and the anticipation of doggie-chase, but he did it!
Perhaps some of you remember when we adopted our cat, Abner on August 1st (me and my hubby's anniversary, incidentally). Since his adoption, he has warmed to our family swimmingly. He sleeps with us and cuddles up so nice and warm and tight that I can hardly imagine sleeping without him now. And, strangely enough, our dog also sleeps in bed with us, and Abner doesn't seem to mind that in the least bit (sorry dog trainers, we let our dog sleep with us and we like it that way). But once day time arrives, it's a whole different game. The cat simply will NOT come downstairs and the times when I have carried him downstairs to try and show him that it's not really such a scary place to be, his claws dig into me so deeply that I have to use a tweezers and drill set to release them. He's so tense that it feels that he's died and immediately gone into rigor mortis.
My theory is that at his previous home, there was a dog there who loved to chase cats and he's been forever scarred by the ordeal. Now, I must admit, our lab mix, Vern, is no angel in this area. But she is obedient, and will usually listen to us when we discourage activity which we don't approve of. So the cat has nothing to fear.
I just hope that today's first step is the beginning of many ventures into the rest of the house and Abner will soon learn the joys of the living room, dining room and kitchen- not to mention the ability to curl up in my lap while I watch the Simpsons with the rest of the family.
Monday, February 04, 2008
I was thinking the other day that if I ever had a daughter, I would want to do a fairy theme in her room. Fairy tales are the epitomy of childhood, are they not?
On a different note, we went on a couples retreat this weekend and it was great. The speaker had some amazing practical insights into marriage. Here are some random snippets from my notes:
From Matthew 5, the beatitudes:
- Recognize your own spiritual poverty ("Blessed are the poor in spirit...")
- Be merciful to your spouse ("Blessed are the merciful...")
- Matthew 5: 16 (look it up); the application to marriage is to shine God's glory to your spouse!
- As 1 Cor. 13 says, "love keeps no record of wrongs" and if we are to be a loving spouse, we won't either
- Remember that God is soverign- he will deal with your spouse's 'issues'
- Our role as wives is to be a helper (which automatically assumes that we are on the 'same team')
I also reminded myself how cool my husband is- and he really is! I am super-duper thankful for him!
On a completely different note, me and a friend of mine got the very neat opportunity yesterday to go into our local jail and watch the super bowl with the fine incarcerated ladies who are residing there. We were able to bring in some good old Wisconsin super bowl goodies: venison sausage, muenster and co-jack cheeses, an assortment of crackers, cherry coke and oatmeal raisin and peanut butter cookies (thank you Blind Munchies Coffeehouse for the cookies! They were grrrrrreat!)
All in all, I think it was a fun and fruitful endeavor. It is always a good idea for those "Bible study women" to just be real people for awhile and hang out and root for a football team and eat cookies. I saw some sides of the women that I hadn't seen before, and I got a tour of one of their cells, which was kind of her.
Please continue to pray for our efforts in jail ministry! Thanks!
BTW- for those of you hoping we are having more kids, don't take my fairy bedroom comment too seriously, it was just a random daydream that I had!
Thursday, January 24, 2008
I read this and enjoyed it so much that I copied it here to share it with you:
Why Trees Whisper
Retold by Anne Pellowski
In the early days of earth, not long after the trees were created and humans were forced to leave Paradise to work, a man went out to the forest to cut wood. The first tree he came to was a pine tree. But as soon as the man lifted the axe he heard a voice cry out.
"Don't strike me. Can't you see the sticky tears that are already coming out of my body? If you hit me it will bring you bad luck."
The man did indeed see the sticky sap coming from the several cuts in the tree trunk, so he moved on farther into the forest. He came to a spruce tree and again raised his ax. But the spruce tree protested.
"Don't cut me down. You will find me of little use for my wood is twisted and knotty."
Unhappily, the man went on until he came to an alder tree. Once more he raised his axe to strike but the alder shrieked at him.
"Be careful that you don't wound me. Whenever I am cut, blood runs from my heart. It will stain my wood and your axe blood red."
The man went no farther but called out to God.
"How am I to get wood to make fire and to build shelter? Every tree I meet cries out and pleads that I not cut it down."
God took pity on the man and said: "Return to the forest. I will see that hence forth no tree will talk back or contradict you."
The man did as he was told and this time no tree spoke to him. None protested as he cut down to make shelter and to make a fire.
The trees were not happy about this. They dared not complain aloud to God. Instead, they began to whisper softly, each time a person entered their domain in the forests. If you approach a group of trees anywhere, you can still hear them softly whispering to each other. They are gently complaining about their poor treatment at the hands of humans.
Many of our musical instruments are made of natural materials, but they have been refined to such a high degree that it is difficult to find the natural object behind all the polish. Also, we forget that music often imitates natural sounds in the environment: the brushing of leaves against each other; the wind whistling through trees or rocks; the songs of birds; the snap, crackle and pop of growing and dying trees and plants.
When I tell "Why Trees Whisper," I like to have on hand some tree branches to wave through the air to create different kinds of "whispers." It is challenging to see what range of sounds one can come up with while using only natural things, without altering them in any way.
Like the floss of dandelions and milkweed, ancient stories like this one should continue to be sent floating out into the wide world, in much the same way they have drifted down to us across centuries. By telling them, we keep alive our wonder at the tremendous variety of life on our planet.