Monday, July 30, 2012

Here and There

Sometimes life is all over the place. For me, today, it ties together in the Romans 12 passage:  Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10  Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13  Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
14  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17  Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved,never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Basically, it seems to me, marching orders for the Christian in every day life. And a relentless, long, joyful march it is.

So. First. We started the day by delivering Miss Language to the airport for the first of her four flights that will land her in Beijing for her year teaching English there. This is a mix of verse 15 (rejoicing and weeping).

And then I spent time working on organizing my thoughts to participate in a fundraiser for a Dear Friend who has been battling much illness, including leukemia. I want to be able to contribute to the needs of others and to be able to show a bit of Christ's love in the process. I have a button on the side to my fundraising page, or you can click here if you want to help. The observant reader will notice I am wearing the lovely scarf sent to me by Comfy Denim in the wonderful care package she sent me, all about Project Wear Yellow, or HOPE! It seems appropriate for an anti-cancer program.  :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Perfectly Legal

I have been thinking about kindness and have decided that it is underrated. Love gets all the good press in popular songs and greeting cards, but kindness oils a lot of wheels and makes life better.

Today I was at a kickoff for a leukemia fundraiser with my Dear Friend who is walking through this disease. My Dear Friend spoke and I noticed how often she mentioned the kindness of others ~ medical staff, support workers, friends, and neighbors. It just struck me that even at the roughest life gets, kindness touches our hearts. 

And then I started wondering about the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5 ~ the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,self-control; against such things there is no law. I have never figured out if I think those go in any sort of order or not. I always seem to feel that love should come as the capstone but maybe it really is the foundation. If so, I guess it kind of goes: foundation of love; layer of joy in God's goodness; then drawing peace from His goodness and faithfulness; being patient as a result of that peace; and THEN we get to kindness, which looks so simple and childish on the surface. And even kindness is only halfway up the list. God is so good in making us like His Son.

There is no law against kindness. That is very good news in a hurting world.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Could Be Jellylorum

Surely every fan of T S Eliot wonders what their own three names may be if they've read this poem:

The Naming of Cats
The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
   It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
   Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey -
   All of them sensible everyday names.

There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
   Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter -
   But all of them sensible everyday names.

But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
   A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep his tail perpendicular,
   Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?

Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
   Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum -
   Names that never belong to more than one cat.

But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
   And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover -
   But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.

When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
   The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
   Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
       His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name. 

    - T.S. Eliot
       (from "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats")

I think God also has a new name for each of His people - just as he renamed Sarai, Abram, Saul of Tarsus, and Simon Peter. I am so glad God knows my name: Isaiah 43:1 ~ But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel; "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine." 

This call must be by a somehow bigger or deeper name than we use here for each other, in the John 10 passage  (verse 3) we read that the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. There is a unique response to that call.

And just as when a married woman takes her husband's name as her own, somehow believers wear God's name, Jeremiah 15:16 ~ Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts.

Challenge to myself: delight in the sweetness of God's words, and in the ineffable effable effanineffable name by which He alone calls me.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


An online friend posted a question asked by her eight year old great nephew: If most of the time water don't taste like anything, then why does it taste so good?

It seems a brilliant question. I have come back to it over and again for several days. My answer seems to defy wording. It is something like: other things only have to taste good to trick us into drinking them. Water is the real thing. So it does not have to taste like anything, it IS water... water gives life in so many ways... and maybe it tastes like nothing because it is bigger than what we can taste, and our bodies are smart enough to know it (unless we have fooled them too long with lesser stuff).

John 4:14 - Jesus said, "Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

Isaiah 55:1-2 - Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!... why do you spend your money for that which does not satisfy?" 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How to Have Hope plus a Bonus Observation about Boys

This summer I've become a big fan of Scripture Typer, an online site that lets you work against your own best time to memorize passages. A recurring theme in my life for awhile now has been taking hope. I recently memorized this verse which strikes me with its counterintuitivity every time I read it:

Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

It is counterintuitive to me because of the part I bolded: through endurance... we might have hope. What? Really? I thought it was the other way round, and I keep thinking so ~ in the Carpe Version the text reads through hope you might endure. But no, God says, we endure and somehow that gives hope. That is good news, it means that when I think I cannot possibly deal with a situation any more (such as teaching fractions :-P ) I need to preach to myself that by continuing to teach fractions I am building - not crushing - hope. 


Bonus observation:

Boys are like this. Mr Music complained the other day that since we moved, his socks have not been as clean AND that the new washing machine turns them inside-out. Hmmmm. I pointed out that at the same time we moved, laundry was reassigned from my to-do list to Miss Dance's and perhaps she is not taking the step of turning his socks right-side out. Hmmmm. Mr Music seems to think his understanding of the situation is more reasonable. 

I am glad I do not have to depend on his logic to have hope.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Where Was John Piper on My Wedding Day?

I have to admit that it never occurred to me to wonder, but today I found out. If you are curious, you can find out by reading his book, David Brainerd. It is available for download at the link, and is a quick read, well worth the time. 

Two brief quotes that challenged me: first, from Brainerd's diary, "I am not worthy of a place among the Indians"... now, why do I never remember the honor and kindness God has shown me in allowing me to care for my family and those around me? I am not worthy...  and second, that Jonathan Edwards was able to call Brainerd's death (in his home, from TB) a "gracious dispensation of Providence" even though his Edwards' own daughter  died of TB herself after nursing Brainerd. I am pretty sure I could not call something leading to my child's death gracious.

Anyhow. I am sorry John Piper didn't get a slice of my cake, but he had other things to do that day. And that is good, too.

Monday, July 16, 2012

It's a Sickness, Really

Tonight I walked into Target and saw the Back To School supplies. I already own surplus of index cards, paper clips, folders, binders, graph paper, crayons, all of it, sufficient to start my own store. 

And yet, I walked completely up and down the whole display. Twice. The second time round, I noticed I was trembling slightly with excitement. 

Good grief. This is Target stuff. As a child I loved going into the stationery store which really smelled like ink (in bottles - my parents used fountain pens), and thick paper (not xerox paper), individually sold colored pencils (we especially liked heliotrope), and luxury items such as sealing wax (how I wish I had bought them out when it went for 35 cents a stick). Target stuff, in all its plastic glory, cannot compete. And yet, I was excited.

You will be proud to know I left without buying any of it. But I have started to suspect, after 17 years of homeschooling, the strong possibility that my motivation for homeschooling may be more about having a reason to feed my love of office supplies than any philosophical theories of education. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Current Favorite Promise

And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward. ~ Isaiah 37:31

Monday, July 9, 2012

In Case You Were Wondering

Every time I buy canned salmon, I idly wonder about the shape of the can, why is is unique to salmon? Today I actually remembered to ask Google.  :) 

It seems that when canning started the cans were made of three pieces, just like you find surface area of a cylinder, two circular ends and the rectangle that wraps around the side. But then they decided it was more efficient to make the bottom and sides out of a single piece and just add the lid. And they found that if they sloped the sides in, the cans could be nested for more efficient storage and shipping of empty cans.

Which leads to the question: why is only salmon sold in this shape can? Apparently that is because most canneries are large enough to have the can manufacturing itself right there and shipping is not an issue - but since salmon is mainly from Alaska, the cans are shipped in empty, filled, and shipped out again.

Please let me know if you find anything else canned in that shape, because then Google would have some more explaining to do.  :)