Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Seasonal humor

I found this cartoon interesting, considering all the back and forth about the “reason for the season”.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

November Life and Thoughts

As I wrote here three years ago, I usually think of death in November.  But this year is different.  Life is abounding!  Above is a miniature rose that i discovered blooming on our rose bush last week when I went out to do the pre-winter trimming.  In November!  Maybe that is common in warmer climates, but around here, November is the first of several drab months.  The leaves have all fallen off the trees or are a dull, brown color, hanging onto the tree as long as possible.  The grass is brown or yellow.  Even the weeds stop growing.   But we have flowers this year.  Not only the roses, but violets and daisies.

Another thought: In the Epistle to the Hebrews, we read of Jesus being our High Priest, yet He was of the tribe of Judah.  The tribe of Levi was the priestly tribe, so the Jews would not accept Jesus as a priest.  The other day, I was reading Luke 1, about Elizabeth and Mary.  Luke tells us that Elizabeth was a relative of Mary's, and that she was a descendant of Aaron, the first priest.  So, by extension, Jesus was a relative of Elizabeth, so He part Levite and of Aaron's family, so He could indeed claim a priestly position.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Are people really so stupid?

I haven't verified this, but it is funny. We got this in a recent email. 

Note To All Hunters: This is from a  San Francisco   newspaper:
To all you hunters who kill animals for food, shame on you; you ought to go to the store and buy the meat that was made there, where no animals we harmed.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

I'm still here

I’m still here, just not as active on this blog as I thought I would be.  Life is busy, time seems short, but all is well.

Some tidbits:
  • Our granddaughter will be a big sister in June.
  • I like the fact that the World Series has two teams that are not from New York or Los Angeles.  Of course, I don’t really care who wins it this year.  
  • I am glad that election day is this week.  Not that I am that excited about voting, but the ads will finally cease!  Every year they get worse.  With all the politicians seeming not to like the negative ads, you would think they could tell their supporters not to air them.
  • School this year is going fast.  Not that I am complaining, mind you.
Since I really do not have much to say, I might as well end this.  Thank you for taking a few seconds to stop by.  Please leave a message so I know you were here.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Take no thought

This morning, I read from D.M. Lloyd Jones on the Sermon on the mount. The chapter dealt with Jesus’s statement at the end of Matt. 6 about our “little faith”. Lloyd Jones says we all have faith, but most Christians fall into the “little faith” category, because we don’t take Jesus at his word. We believe on Jesus for salvation, but do not trust him for our daily lives. We worry about “what we will eat, what we will drink and what we will wear,” when He has promised to provide all those things for us. Not that we do not work and earn our living, but that we do not worry (”take no thought”) over these things. That thought gives me comfort, as I listen to the other teachers all worked up about what the new contract will be, whether we will get a raise or what will happen to our pensions (Illinois is millions behind in pension payments). I know my Heavenly Father will provide my every need because He said He would.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Questions from a reader

This comment was added to the kitchen post below.  Since it has nothing to do with the post, I am making it a separate post.  Here it is:
Peter your Christian. Can I ask you a question personally? Is it against Christianity to marry another race and if your parents do not agree with the person that you're with is that a sin because it violates one of the 10 commandments? I not as religious as I should be but maybe someone with your faith can fill me in... thanks in advance.. Paul 
Paul- I love honesty in questions.  The first one is a yes, you can ask.

Secondly, no, it is not a sin to marry another race, or a person from another race.  You probably are thinking of the Old Testament, when Israelites were forbidden to marry non-Israelites.  This was for religious reasons, as the “Gentiles” did not follow the Mosaic law and worshiped other gods.  As New Testament Christians, we are not to marry outside of the faith, but the faith is open to anyone from any race in any nation.  So a white from America can marry a black from Africa, as long as the two are believers.

Now, if the parents oppose the marriage, the couple should refrain until something can be worked out.  I have known couples that waited, and the parents changed their minds.   It is always good to honor the parents. However, if the reason the parents oppose is not based on Christian principles, then there ate allowances for the couple to marry.  But there is no set rule.  Many variances in Christian practice are cultural or societal.  What we do in the US may be something an African or Chinese Christian would not do, and vice versa.  And by the same token, I know of some Americans who would frown on interracial marriages because of where they live.

Anyone else have some thoughts on this?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Kitchen: The Final Frontier

After a long delay, the final step in the kitchen redo has begun!  We got it painted, and though it does not look professional, we are all satisfied with the results.  Now, the flooring people are here, tearing out the old carpeting and getting things ready for the vinyl floor tiles.  Last night, three of us moved all the appliances and other things out of the way.  I think an appliance dolly will be a good thing to have when the floor is done.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bob Jennings Journal

For those who know Bob Jennings, he has a blog now, set up by his son Jerad.  He has interesting thoughts relating to his cancer and other things. Go to: http://bobjenningsjournal.com/.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Two ways to spend the "Sabbath"

I am not a strict sabbatarian.  That is to say, I do not believe that Sunday is a Christian extension of the Jewish Sabbath, as many reformed believers do.  Let me say that I respect those that hold the Lord's Day in a strict Sabbath interpretation.  My post today is not to refute such belief, but give two different stories of how people in the past spent the Sabbath.  Both are biographical, so we can say that these events did indeed happen.  The first is from Laura Ingals Wilder writing about her father's boyhood in her Little House series, so it is a simplified account for children to understand, and may have some fictional additions.  The second is from the autobiography of John G. Paton, Missionary to the New Hebrides (modern day Vanuatu), telling his recollections of when he was a boy.  Note how each shows the same day of the week in about the same period in history, following the same belief in a "Holy Day" spent in rather different ways.

When writing of her father, Wilder tells of one particular winter Sunday in his boyhood.  His father made him and his brothers sit in the parlor after dinner and wait for the afternoon chores.  They were not allowed to talk or do anything but rest.  He would sit and fall asleep.  Of course the boys could not sit still, and who can blame them?  The story proves the adage about idle minds being the devil's workshop, as the boys left the house while their father slept and took the toboggan down a very steep hill near the house.  Needless to say, they got in trouble afterwards.  My thought here is that children cannot be expected to sit around doing nothing and wasting a day, even if it is a day of rest.

On the other hand, Paton tells of his household, and how the children enjoyed the day. 
Walking to and from church (a four mile trip each way), "...we youngsters had sometimes rare glimpses of what Christina talk may be and ought to be.  They went to the church, full of beautiful expectancy of spirit--their souls were on the outlook for God; they returned          from the church, ready and even anxious to exchange ideas as to what they had heard and received of the things of life." 
Paton remembers that the conversations were not phony and "did not repel us but kindles our spiritual interest.  The talks we heard were ... not the make-believe of religious conversation, but the sincere outcome of their own personalities."

He goes on to tell how at home, his father would relate the message to his mother, who stayed home with the younger children.  They would also take turns reading from and discussing Bible passages and The Pilgrim's Progress, as well as learning from the Shorter Catechism in a way that kept the children, rather than turning them away from piety.  In other words, they didn't just sit around bored, as Wilder implies from her description.

So, how do you spend your Sunday afternoons?  Whether you follow the "Christian Sabbath" or not, biblical discussion with other saints and the family are a good idea, rather than sitting around idly waiting for "the Sabbath" to end.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Why some people trust Glenn Beck

I noticed this morning while looking at a cereal box why so many people trust Glenn Beck.  Could it be the striking resemblance to this favorite icon of Americana?


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Of tour guides and the Good Shepherd

On a recent cave tour I was giving, there was a 10 year old girl who
followed close at my heals the whole time. It did not matter to her
that her mother was stopping to take pictures, or that the two of us
were several feet ahead of the rest. She wanted to stay with the
tour guide so as not to get lost. I was reminded of the Good
Shepherd. Jesus says His sheep follow Him and will not listen to the
voice of a stranger. Now, I was a stranger to this girl, but I knew
the way to go. Her mother was not a stranger to her, but did not
know the way to go.

The lesson: Am I listening to familiar voices that don't really know
the way? Or am I following close to the One who knows me best and is
the only Way?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

More progress

 The kitchen work proceeds slowly.  Here I am beginning the painting.  Notice the tie-dyed shirt.  That way I can make a mess and no one will notice!

We also hired a painter to do the outside gable ends.  They were white and have needed a paint job for years.  While we were at it, we had the painter redo the shutters, which had faded to grey.  I include a "before" picture for comparison (taken last winter from a different angle). 

                 Before                                                    After

Saturday, May 29, 2010

New Kitchen- Phase 2

The kitchen remodel shows progress.  The new cabinets are in:

Here are the base cabinets before the countertop was installed.

Little P having a little fun.  Gotta get that girl a hobby!

The finished product.  Still need to paint, though.
And a new floor covering!
Someday we'll get the blue plastic wrap off the dishwasher.

New Kitchen - Phase 1 continued

The kitchen remodel shows progress.  Here are a few more destruction pics:

The base cabinets were harder to get out.  We needed a plumber to disconnect the water pipes.

The old sink and counter top out in the yard.

More of the wallpaper coming off.  Little P counldn't reach that high.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A new kitchen @ 3rd & College

We are in the process of redoing our kitchen.  What we had was here when we bought the house 6½ years ago.  Below are pictures from the first step: taking out the old cabinets and working on getting the wall paper off.  That part is easy; something we know-nothings can handle.  We hired an out-of-work friend to do the the real work.
Before.  We are not sure how old these cabinets are, but the ½ inch particle board shelves are bowed.
Here I am taking down the last wall cabinet.  I had to improvise as the screw heads were stripped, and I don't have a lot of  tools.  So I drilled around them and pulled them out with vice grips.
Even 15 year olds like to have fun!
H enjoying a new toy: it is called the Paper Tiger.  It has wheels with blades to tear up the wall paper.

Stay tuned for updates.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother’s Day

To any mother who happens by, I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day.  Make sure you tell your children how much you love them.  Let them be a major part of your life today, and every day, especially if they are young.  And if you still have a mother, call her and tell her you are glad she is your mother and chose to give birth to you.  Believe me, women sacrifice a lot to raise children, and their job has not been made easier by modern society.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cinco de mayo

Cinco de Mayo was yesterday.  As a Spanish teacher, I am now going to point out a few things:

  1. It is not Mexico’s independence day.  That is el dieciséis de septiembre (September 16).  
  2. It is not even a victory in a war.  On May 5, 1862, a rag-tag Mexican force turned back an invasion by a much stronger, better trained French army at Puebla.  Mexico owed the French a lot of money and could not pay it back, so Napolean III decided it was time for France to have territory in the Americas again, having sold Louisiana and lost Haiti to a slave rebellion and Canada to the British.
  3. It is not celebrated in Mexico as much as it is in large US cities.  It is a holiday in Mexico, but not as big a deal to them.  Kind of like Presidents’ Day or one of our other minor federal holidays.
So, why is it that I, as a Spanish teacher of Puerto Rican descent, am asked by my students if we can have a party that day?  Because we as Americans like celebrating holidays from other countries.  Think of St. Patrick’s Day.

So I listened with interest as the news reported the high school students in California who got in trouble yesterday for wearing clothing with the US flag on it.  Isn’t California part of the US?  Do we not, as US citizens, have a First Amendment Right of free expression?  The students were told their clothing might offend the Mexican-American students.  Excuse me?  If the Mexican-American students are offended by the flag of their adopted country, then perhaps they need to go back to Mexico.  I am glad the superintendent’s office in the school district reversed the suspension the students received.  Let the Mexican-Americans celebrate their heritage, as do Germans during October, or Jewish adherents during Yom Kippur or Hanukkah.  Just don’t punish American students who want to show a little patriotism, as is their right.

Oh, and if you have a chance, go buy something sold in Arizona, or go spend money in the Grand Canyon State, or write the governor and thank her for doing what our “Representatives” in Washington do not have the guts to do concerning illegal immigration.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Various meanderings of the mind

Okay, so it has been a long while since I posted here.  I probably don't even have any more followers!  (Or they have found someone else to read who is more active.)  So this post will have a few thoughts on some of my "labels".

  • Politics- It looks like a lot of Democrats are getting out of Congress.  This is good news and bad.  Good, because it will mean fresh blood.  Bad because the ones dropping out are ones a good Republican (or third party candidate) could defeat, while the Democrats nominated in their places have a better chance of winning.  That means the Republicans will not gain as many seats.
  • Pondering- While the future looks bleak from a human standpoint, it is good to know God is in control.
  • Peeve- The politicians and the lapdog media that do not want us to see that America is slowly becoming a second rate nation. 
  • Praises- God is in control!!!
  • Pastimes- Baseball season began last weekend.  I just don't get as excited as I used to.  Not having a son at home who listened to every Cardinals' game may have something to do with that.
  • Provoking mirth- April Fool's day came and went without anyone really pulling a major prank on me.  But then, I think the current administration believes us all to be fools. 
  • Poetry- 
It's Spring again as all can see.
A long winter past, from snow we're free.
The grass is green, the sky blue;
My heart yearns for fresh air true.
But summer draws near humid and hot.
Soon I'll look for a shady cool spot.
Then autumn will arrive and the trees turn red,
Then winter again, and all will seem dead.
So, on life goes, the years pass by.
And then some day, so will I die.
In that day, when in heaven I wander
No bad weather will be there to ponder.

Oh well, I guess poetry will have to do without my efforts.  Perhaps that should be under "Provoking mirth"!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The weather outside is delightful...

It's March!  Another Spring is just around the corner.  It seems this winter has been longer than the previous winters.  I guess it is because we have had more snow than any time in the last 30 years, according to some locals.

Anyway, we are finally getting our January Thaw, though it is over a month late.  Wonderful global "warming", eh?  Oh, sorry.  It is "climate change" now.  The pseudo-scientists decided the earth was not warming like they thought, so now they changed the name.  And with all the snow this winter, they are trying to tell us the warmer atmosphere has more moisture in it than before, so we are getting so much more winter precipitation.  Yeah, right.  And the Ice Age ended because early humans discovered fire, which added carbon to the atmosphere and melted the ice.  (I made that last one up.)  Never mind all the carbon emitted whenever a volcano erupts.  Or all the methane from animals passing gas.  Or all the CO2 from all of us exhaling.  But aren't plants fed by carbon?  No problem, then.  Just keep emitting carbon and the planet will get greener.  And if it all warms up, then we can plan our tropical vacation in Alaska and the tundra will be the new bread basket.

Oh, nice to solve the world's problems.  You'll thank me later.  I guess I better get my acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize all written and memorized.  But what to do with the prize money?  Hmm.  I wonder if there is any beach front property for sale in Point Barrow.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thoughts on the Olympics

Just a few ramblings related to the Winter Olympics:

  • It’s great to see so many Americans doing well.
  • It was saddening when the Georgian luger died in that accident.  I cannot imaging going 90mph on a small sled!
  • Can “dancing” on ice be considered a sporting event?
  • Can we ever watch the figure skaters (or other events) without the constant chatter of the announcers?  I want to choke Scott Hamill whenever he groans after a skater messes up.  Comment on the replay!
  • How many times does the announcer need to remind us that “only the first two go on”? It seems like the guy calling the snowboard and ski cross (race between four people at one time) felt like we needed to hear that at least twice every heat.
  • Why aren’t all the American competitors (except the figure skaters) wearing red, white and blue?  
  • What happened to patriotism?  Too many of the Americans either forgot or never learned how to salute the flag during the national anthem.
  • Seeing all that snow makes me cold.  But then, we are getting our heaviest snowfall of the year right now, so I don’t need to watch the Olympics to see a lot of snow!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A short Thank You

Mrs. L. and I would like to thank whomever it was that sent a gift to Heartcry Missionary Society.  At least, it was someone who read my post All I Want for Christmas.  And it has to be someone who knows us personally and our address, as the receipt we received in the mail today has Mrs. L's first name.

Anyway, you need not tell us who you are, just receive our Thank You!

More things I wish people would not say

So, you think I am being OCD about too many adverbs?  (See Seven sayings...)  You don't know the half.  The other day over at Worldmag Blog, some guy was complaining about the use of the noun “Democrat” being used as an adjective when mentioning the political party, as in “Democrat party”.  Several others went back and forth with the guy about how it is not a recent usage, and the Republicans have used it for decades. No, I am not going to defend that usage, as I agree with the guy.  But how many of us misuse adjectives and nouns and never even think about it?  And other misuses of cliches and parts of speech? 

Forthwith are a few more things I wish people would stop saying.  Mostly these are grammatical miscues.
  • “I’m good” as a response “How are you?”  “Good” is an adjective that describes your character.  The question asks how you are feeling at the moment, not what kind of person you are.  The grammatical answer is “I’m well” or “Fine.”
  • “Wall Street to Main Street”  This, along with a few variations, seem to be the latest political mantra.  I guess it is supposed to show the common people that the politician is one of them, and not some Washington bureaucrat or Wall Street fat cat.  Sorry, politicians, but when I hear that line, I want to jump into the TV and scream at you: “Enough with the clichés!”  I personally want Wall Street to do well, as my pension and IRA depend on a strong stock market.  And aren’t we a capitalistic economy?  If Wall Street fails, don’t the rest of us suffer?  Now I realize that the hatred is directed at the company managers who get huge bonuses whether the company does well or not.  Okay, go after the individual offenders, not the whole system! Besides, around here it is the big box stores hurting Main Street, not the stock market.
  • “I could care less.”  So, care less if you are able.  The saying is “I couldn’t (notice the negative) care less,” indicating that the speaker has zero interest in the subject at hand.  To say one could care less, means that person has at least some interest.
  • Using the past tense verb form instead of the past participle and vice-versa.  Here in the Midwest, people are prone to confuse verb forms.  They say, “I seen you at the store.”  Or else “I’ve went to St. Louis often.”  I used to correct it whenever I heard it (as Mrs. L. can testify), but now I repeat it to them correctly in a question: “You saw me at the store? Why didn’t you say ‘Hello’?”  “How often have you gone to St. Louis? Once a month or more?”  Like directly correct them, this approach doesn’t get them speaking the Queens English, but it makes me feel better. One of the worst offenders is someone I work with, i.e. another teacher!  He used to mock President Bush for his mispronunciation, yet he constantly mispronounces common words, like “supposably” in place of supposedly.
I guess that is enough conversational peeves I have.  Any others you care to share with the few, the proud, the brave readers of this blog?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Seven sayings...

Okay, I admit.  When I was young and immature I was a fan of George Carlin.  He was funny, but now I wonder why young people (and even older ones) find gutter humor funny.  (Don't get me wrong, Carlin was a genius, and had a few great skits, just too much crudeness for my older, wiser, Christian self.)  One his most famous skits was called “The Seven Words You Can Never Say On TV”, in which he proceeds to use the foulest language imaginable.  Sadly, many of those things are now used in conversation as if they were never thought of as bad words!  But I digress...

I thought I would herewith propose seven things I wish we would stop using in writing and speaking.  These are not bad, just overused.
  1. Adding Adverbs to Adverbs-- Admittedly, adverbs are necessary, but repeating them or using more than one is aggravating.  I cringe when watching the news and a reporter says “very, very”.  I realize this happens during “off the cuff” moments, and not in scripted reporting.  But why not use that brain that got them through journalism school and come up with another adverb like “extremely”? Why don’t these paragons of intelligence (written tongue in cheek) open a thesaurus in their free time?
  2. Arguably-- Speaking of adverbs, this one has got to go.  It’s become the buzzword of bloggers.  Whatever happened to the good old stand by words like “definitely” or “in fact”?
  3. Simply-- I know, I am picking on adverbs here. But this word is so overused in advertising.  “Simply call 1-800...” is a line that makes me laugh.  Calling toll free numbers now-a-days is not a simple task, unless you know how to get around the voice prompts.  (I have found that pressing 0 three times usually gets you directly to the customer service line, and you get to talk to a real person!)  How many times have I had to enter a ten-digit account number , only to have to repeat it to the representative who finally gets my call?   Sometimes this word “simply” is added to instructions that are so convoluted that it takes an engineer to figure it out.
  4. “Deja vu all over again.” Yes, Yogi Berra was a funny guy, and had many of these cute sayings. But it is getting tiresome to have every sports announcer on the planet saying this at least once in every broadcast.
  5. God’s name in swearing-- This was not one of Carlin’s seven, but I remember when I worked in radio, we had to bleep it out if we heard it.  Live call in shows have to have a six-second delay in order to give the deejay time to push the bleep button.  I wish I could do so for written work before I have to read it.  It is terrible that in print “g--d---” is allowed, but the Anglo-Saxon versions of excrement or sexual intercourse are not.  No, I do not advocate allowing them, just blanking out God’s name when used in a profane manner.
  6. Profanity-- Not only God’s name, but the f-bomb and other “vulgarities” have entered into the mainstream conversation.  I remember when “those words” were not said around women and children, but now it is the women and children using them!  Granted, such words are not evil in and of themselves, but in the 1000 or so years since the Normans conquered the Angles and Saxons, the words used by the latter have been frowned upon.  Yes, even children used those words in the dark ages before William the Conqueror and his hordes invaded and won the Battle of Hastings.   And since the Frenchification of the nobility in England, we do not use them in polite conversation.  I guess America is rebelling still against the British nobility by using language the nobles would not use.
  7. Obama-- I had to find a seventh word to keep up with Carlin, so here it is.  I await 20 January 2013, the day when he is no  longer president.
O, friends, let us simply procure to be very, very careful in our speach, which is arguably one of the hardest things to do.