Monday, December 29, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
I received a bounty of good gifts this year, and I'm just not sure I deserved as much as I received. My family knows how much I love books and they gifted me with so many that I am in a quandary as to which I should read first:
I also received The Wit and Wisdom of Jane Austen ( a wonderful book full of her quotes) and Jane Austen: An Illustrated Treasury (perfect for an Austen book lover!)
Saturday, December 06, 2008
(below) Lexi takes in a store's miniature Christmas village
(below) The weather turned bitterly cold while we were still out; here we are attempting to warm ourselves up with hot cider (and poor Lexi was in short sleeves!)
(above and below) It isn't an outing with my niece if we don't pose her for pictures at some point. I placed her in front of the tree in different positions while Landon snapped away with his new Canon 40D.
Friday, November 07, 2008
One last thought: history alone will show the kind of leader President George W. Bush has been. For 8 years he lead this country, right or wrong, and he deserves our respect, which is being held from him by the very people who once believed enough in him to elect him twice. In the middle of media-influenced vitriol and spite towards the President, this tribute by former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer stands out as a testament to a leader who never backed down on something once he was convinced it was right. He begins:
I’ll miss President Bush’s moral clarity. The president’s critics hated his willingness to label things right or wrong, and the press used to bang me around for it, but history will show how right he was.
Shortly after 9/11, the president gave a speech in which he talked about the fight between good and evil, and that good would win. Afterward, I told him I thought he was being simplistic: “There are a lot of shades of gray in this war. I think it’s more nuanced.”
He looked at me and said, “If this isn’t good versus evil, what is?”
Then he reminded me that when Ronald Reagan went to Berlin, he called on Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall” — not to put a gate in it or to remove some bricks. Mr. Reagan said to tear it all down.
Mr. Bush saw the presidency as the place to call the American people to big challenges — in morally clear terms. As his spokesman, I knew that many people would be uncomfortable with how easily he made such moral judgments. I also knew that many Americans welcomed his tough, direct and unambiguous moral clarity.I’ll miss that direct talk. In the age of terrorism, the one thing we have to fear more than anything is moral relativism.
Read the rest here.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Election day is nearly over (yes, I voted today!) and at long last we can breathe a sigh of relief to know that whatever the outcome tonight, tomorrow America can move on. Now that you've voted, I think it's time to sit back, relax, and enjoy some election day humor while the ballots are counted. Here, here, and here are good places to start.
Happy Election Day!
Friday, October 24, 2008
Yesterday I attended a women's luncheon at my church. Let me say that I attend a wonderful church which happens to be in a beautiful, wealthy area. Our struggles in the church are not such as dealing with poverty, but more of how to deal with wealth. There are some truly devoted people in my church who do use their wealth to advance God's kingdom, and then there are some who are there only because the church is close to where they live, and convenient to attend. So we have a variety of people at my church, but the most visible are the beautiful, wealthy ones.* All that to say, that I attend a "safe", church in a historic building, crammed full of people who have never been made to suffer for naming the name of Christ (and I am one, too), and yesterday we all attended a beautiful luncheon, each table decorated with fresh roses, places set in perfect order, gifts beside our plates, and delicious food and dessert to munch on while we heard a speaker talk about, of all things, mercy and hope.
What is my point? I don't know how to suffer for Christ because I've never been made to. Our speaker yesterday pointed out that we should never begrudge the happy days God gives us, that we have to deal with them like we do the bad days. God gives both. But you know, I feel so very strange to have it so easy here. I'm not asking for persecution, and in all honesty, I don't want it. But the rest of the world is dealing with suffering every day, and my greatest concerns are what to wear next, or if I should change jobs, or which friends to spend time with. I am happy and have a wonderful life right now, and praise God for such a gift. I'm not saying I never cry from emotional hurts or physical pain, but these things are never inflicted by others because I am a Christian, and that makes a lot of difference. I thought this statement from an article about Gayle Williams strikes the point I have been trying, in a very roundabout way, to make:
"When confronted by the stories of those who live their faith among people who hate them for it, I am inspired, saddened, thankful, and convicted all at once. The death and murder of Gayle Williams startles those at ease to reflection. The pervasive opposition in the lives of believing university students awakens even seasoned believers to their own apathy. How courageous is the believer who follows Christ among those who hurl insults and hostility? How treasured is the Bible that must be buried in the backyard for protection? How sacred is the faith of one who is willing to die for it?"
The author goes on to say:
"Mark Twain once said, 'Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect.' For those of us who live the faith we profess without challenge, trial, or risk, reflection may well be appropriate. Is it possible that we have so shut ourselves up in Christian circles that we have closed ourselves off from the unbelieving world and hence any chance of suffering for Christ? Is it possible that we are so at ease among the majority that we avoid venturing out as the minority among those who might hate or hurt us? Certainly we experience hostility and persecution indirectly; Bill Maher’s new film Religulous is one example among many. But how we are personally interacting with the angry, the lost, and the broken masses Jesus once wept over is another thing entirely. How effectively we live as 'the salt of the earth' that Jesus described depends on our place and posture within it. Surely salt that remains content within the shaker has lost its saltiness."
Read the article in it's entirety here, then reflect on your position as a Christian, and whether you are ready to live, suffer, or even die for the name of Christ.
*Let me say this also about my church: there is an active emphasis on reaching out to the urban areas surrounding the church and beyond, we also send out a great many missionaries, and we are beginning to see more ethnicity represented in the services. The leadership knows it's challenges and is attempting to respond accordingly. Not all people who attend are who's who or have enviable jobs, homes, wealth. We are beginning to see, and we do rejoice in, the variety of people who are coming in as a result of active service by church members in various urban areas.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Anthony Bradley writes:
If there's one lesson from the "war on poverty" programs the US government instituted in the 1970s it is that government programs were the primary source of the destruction of the black family and the erosion of the dignity of the black men in particular in low-income urban areas. Good intentions ain't enough. The federal programs pushed out the church and destroyed many black communities. It took about 20 years to see the effects of well-intended but stupid government programs. The crazy notion that "we just need to get the right government program" is fantasy.
HT: Justin Taylor
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Last Saturday, we had the joy of joining my sister-in-law and Kathryn for an event near their home celebrating the Monarch butterfly. There were butterfly releases, face painting, pumpkin decorating, butterfly picture making, and free popcorn. A few pictures of the event, taken by Landon:
What is an outdoors event, any event, without funnel cakes and:
Kathryn models her very own butterfly LassieGirl pinnie, created for the event.
If the current polls hold, Barack Obama will win the White House on November 4 and Democrats will consolidate their Congressional majorities, probably with a filibuster-proof Senate or very close to it. Without the ability to filibuster, the Senate would become like the House, able to pass whatever the majority wants.
Though we doubt most Americans realize it, this would be one of the most profound political and ideological shifts in U.S. history. Liberals would dominate the entire government in a way they haven't since 1965, or 1933.
The article goes on to cite some examples of bills that would have passed had it not been for the Senate minority stopping them. The author then concludes with this:
In both 1933 and 1965, liberal majorities imposed vast expansions of government that have never been repealed, and the current financial panic may give today's left another pretext to return to those heydays of welfare-state liberalism. Americans voting for "change" should know they may get far more than they ever imagined.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
"...wimpy theology makes wimpy women. The opposite of a wimpy woman is not a brash, pushy, loud, uppity, arrogant Amazon, but a woman of character (and here he provided several examples of faithful, suffering women). Wimpy theology does not give a woman a God big enough or good enough to deal with the realities of life and still rejoice. This poor theology is plagued by woman-centeredness; it does not have the granite foundation of God’s sovereignty underneath; it does not have the structure of a God-centered purpose for all human life."
Go read the rest.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
When you find one, let me know, k? :-)
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Ah, nothing like a visit to the airport to make the travel bug bite deep into a currently stationary object such as myself. Next year promises to be a good travel year for me, if I can only hold out until then... ;-)