Tuesday, May 29, 2007
I'm on an impossible sleep rhythm schedule, and I'm hoping that I can break it this week. When I go to work, I'm tired so I drink coffee. Which keeps me up after I go home around 11:30 or midnight. Which makes me sleep in past my alarm to get up and go to cardio class. And on and on it goes. I asked for additional time off this week, so I am going to try to re-work my routine. The plan is to drink coffee a few hours before work instead of when I get there. Let myself be tired on the way home and go to bed right away instead of blogging or reading or doing a little housework. And wake up when the alarm goes off and go to the work out session. No naps!
Self discipline has always been a struggle for me. As a kid, Mom threw me out of the house all the time to make me play and exercise. Taking a walk, riding my bike or going to the pool was never my first choice, but when I was 16, a friend invited me to go running with her. She held the school cross country record and she was going to train all summer to break it again. We ran every morning except Sundays. Mom never had to push me outside again. Ever.
In the fall, I joined volleyball and the first thing our coach did was make us run up and down stairs 15 times. I barely broke a sweat, during the run and afterwards I was standing tall while everyone else around me was clearly suffering. My coach told me "Silva, you're in the wrong sport". She was right. My volleyball coach was also the women's track coach in the spring and my PE coach ever since 7th grade; she always thought that I should have run long distance. I didn't want to compete as an individual, it intimidated me and so, I didn't go into cross country with my friend although I liked to run. Did I choose volleyball because I was a coward or because I liked it? Now that I'm middle-aged, I look back on it and realize that I wasted an opportunity to have a real kickass year. My friend, on the other hand, broke her own record.
Often, not just in sports, I stuck to what was safe and familiar instead of pushing myself to find out what I was capable of within that which was my real ability. I ran for exercise while in college, especially summers. If I was capable of self discipline then, I surely can now.
Monday, May 28, 2007
At work, a new employee who loves to be sarcastic, doubts anything good that I mention about his performance. He mentions that his generation (twenty-somethings) have been lavishly praised throughout their lives because of parents and teachers who worry about damaging their self-esteem. He tells me that he's not typical of his generation. My dear co-worker has an extremely dry wit that he puts into practice by asking me to critique his job on cleaning. I catch on only half way through my positive feedback, because he is finding it hilarious. I realize that he is testing me to see if I really mean what I say, or if I am manipulative. I appreciate this.
When we are trained to relate to that which only makes us feel good about ourselves, it leaves us in Proverbs "fool" catagory. And it waters down the meaning of anything truly worthy of praise.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
If this is an easy way to be sociable then I'm all in. No making dinner, cleaning house and heck, they might even buy something. They probably think we are kind of weird already, so let's make it official. My co-workers are getting into the act, so even better.
As preparation, I'm going around the house trying to come up with a list of things that have to go. After the list is prepared, Dennis and I will have several rounds of negotiations about what will actually go into the yard sale and what will it would be worth. Already, I can tell we both have two separate motives for this sale. My motive is to get rid of stuff. His, even though he has not clearly stated it, is to make money. We both feel the other is ridiculous. The battle between the organizer/neatfreak and the supersalesman is on, after many years of building up steam.
I've already cleaned out our bedroom closet, linen closet, spare room closet so I can begin my initial advance with pricing. I anticipate his counterattack with overcharging for the 15 year old BBQ. He's also throwing in his 30 year old snow ski's as back up. Since he already knows half the neighborhood better than I do, it will be up to his charm and entrepreneurship to take me out at the front line. But he doesn't know about my flank attack with 40 percent of our books at a dime apiece. I might throw in the plywood bookshelves in for free. Knowing his expertise in strategy, I have obtained intelligence reports of a commando raid with near new pricing on his hand me down suits from an un-named relative. Since he is of average size and takes good care of his clothes, this could prove the winning move.
I've got to come up with a plan utilizing the barely used kitchen appliances. This might be a sacrifice, but all is fair in love and war. I'll keep you posted on the ongoing combat. I've engaged a relentless opposition, but surrender is not an option.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Paul, a friend deeply loved by God
When I've been thinking of this verse, I have been thinking about Hebrews 11--the champions of faith passage. People who maintained faith in God despite circumstances. I'm such a person of circumstance--living by sight rather by believing in God's character. The practice of remembering these giants of God puts the process of what I attain through gossip in reverse. Instead of feeling good about my life, I feel inadequate.
Then another source of whatever is of good repute is to think of the people whom I've known who are examples of living for God, and through whom God has worked. "I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts." Psalm 119:63; "Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name." Malachi 3:16
Friends who honor God Michael, lives by faith
I looked up "good repute" on Bible Gateway.com and I found the following commentary on
Titus 2:7 really helpful. I hope you do, too.
John and Brea, being fruitful in many ways
Titus 2:7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness
Heidi, woman of integrity
Instructions for Godly Living
In the months before his execution by the Nazis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: "I fear that Christians who stand with only one leg upon earth, also stand with only one leg in heaven." His concern was for Christians who had disengaged themselves from the world, who could stand by and watch atrocities committed as if the Christian message or individual Christian responsibility had no bearing whatsoever upon earthly affairs.
The fact of the matter is that the Christian faith intends full engagement in the world. Certainly the origin of this new life is otherworldly. Certainly Christian values are not those of the world. Certainly Christian hope takes us beyond this world. But it is in this world that God has called Christians to live, and it is this world's inhabitants that Christians must reach with the gospel. Engagement of this kind requires Christian credibility and participation in the life of the world.A friend who knows God
Credibility especially depends on living, as far as possible, in a manner that the world considers to be respectable. "Respectability" was an important concept in Paul's day. But the values connected with it have always been subject to change. Therefore, the Christian life is first and always to be a clear expression of the will of God.
The church's respectability in the world was very much in Paul's mind as he addressed the various groups in the Cretan churches. This is evident from the patterns of behavior he encourages in 2:1-10, patterns that would have pleased any upright person in that day. It is equally evident in his affirmation of the social categories by which orderly community or civil life was defined. In verses 2-10 he divides the church according to customary social categories (generations, sexes, slaves), and he employs the household-code form of teaching to emphasize that Christians must practice a renewed or reformed quality of behavior within those categories (see commentary at 1 Tim 2:1).
Roy and his family, a friend who fears God
This type of teaching encouraged participation in the social structure rather than withdrawal from it. Exemplary (Christian) behavior within the traditional relationships would help maintain or increase the church's credibility in the eyes of the world and promote the evangelistic mission. But Paul does not simply adopt secular rules of behavior. Whatever affinities this lifestyle might have with secular moral ideals, only faith in Christ can produce the Christian, reformed version (vv. 11-15). This is what Paul means by godly living; and godly living is what this passage is about.
Java doesn't gossip about me--thanks, Java!
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Fourteen years ago, our assistant pastor dropped by for a visit one evening, and as we sipped coffee, he made a comment about objects in homes that identify the occupants as Christians. He scanned the living room of our small town house for an example and couldn't find anything like that. Not a cross, a placard, cross stitched verse or knick-knack. Maybe a few mugs, given to us as gifts, had verses on them. If there was any object, it would've been our bibles and a shelf full of books. It never occured to me back then that we might need to own crosses or statues or anything like that to make our home seem "spiritual". We had one picture, given to us as a wedding gift, but you wouldn't know what it was about just by looking at it--it sort of draws you in and holds your interest instead of making you glance away in embarrassment.
Sugar-coated Gospel, anyone?
But everytime I step into a Christian bookstore, the first thing I usually see aren't bibles or books but tons of Christian "paraphanalia". Candles, magnets, games, pens, jewelry, t-shirts, dolls, bumperstickers, bible covers, statues of angels, statues of Jesus, "gift sets" and coffee mugs of various artistic appeal from "kitsch" to something trying to resemble "class", all with "spiritual" themes. There are more of this stuff than acutual books--and most of the books are of questionable spiritual value. Who buys this junk? And why? And don't get me started on the kids' section. Sure, Veggietales are cute and instructive, but I am sick of how Bob and Larry are merchandised to death. Enough already! Someone needs to take a lesson from Bill Watterson, creator of the "Calvin and Hobbes" comic. Less is more.
A more relevant message: "God wants you to stop gambling!"
One of my relatives asked me if I collected crosses. We were in an offbeat funky interior decorating store that specialized in high end Spanish inspired design--not a Christian bookstore. There was a box of rustic silver crosses, all uniquely and beautifully hand made. I didn't explain to her how I really felt about turning an instrument of death into an ornament, whether it was around my neck or on my wall. It seemed to water down the meaning to me. If someone had to check my jewelry or my decor or my car's bumper for evidence of my walk with Christ, instead of my character or my life, then that's pretty pathetic. It's nice to have a few things that have special meaning (I really like our mugs and a few small ornaments my sister gave me) but when some people go overboard, I always wonder what they are trying to prove.
Noah's Ark gummy candy
Worship as a catch phrase
Friday, May 18, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Today is Mom's birthday. She died due to an infection December 3, 1999. This morning, as part of my quiet time, I read Mom's daily missal. She was a Catholic, and her missal is a devotional that she had all her life since 1937. After she died, Dad gave it to me. I saw that she had bookmarks of novenas and pictures of the Holy Family, as well as a card from her father's death in 1954. I was surprised to see she also included a letter I wrote to her in 1982. I included a Catholic prayer about not loving God just to be saved, but for who He is. I also asked her for forgiveness for something I can't remember.
When I was engaged, Mom asked me to try on her wedding dress, and it fit perfectly. I remember standing on a chair to view myself in the dining room mirror, and I felt wonderful. My three year old and two year old nieces were in the room with their eyes open wide in wonder, dancing around me in delight. It was honor to wear it on my wedding day.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Monday, May 14, 2007
Saturday, May 12, 2007
The next part of the blog are lyrics by a song about a younger woman humbled by an older woman facing the dying process. The younger woman finds that she is inadequate to comfort the older woman in her suffering, except what they both know from Scripture. A wonderful story. It is rare, in secular music or Christian music, to have songs that deal with death and aging.
What Do I Know, by Sara Groves
The Imitation of Christ
The First Chapter
You have here no lasting home. You are a stranger and a pilgrim wherever you may be, and you shall have no rest until you are wholly united with Christ.
If you do not know how to meditate on heavenly things, direct your thoughts to Christ's passion and willingly behold His sacred wounds. If you turn devoutly to the wounds and precious stigmata of Christ, you will find great comfort in suffering, you will mind but little the scorn of men, and you will easily bear their slanderous talk.
He who tastes life as it really is, not as men say or think it is, is indeed wise with the wisdom of God rather than of men.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
And I was interested in art like most of my siblings. I used to take apart old costume jewelry and make contemporary designs with the beads. I wrote poetry and edited a literary journal in high school. I was chosen for a weekend art field trip to Seattle with two upper classman by my high school art teacher. I fought with my parents for years over the practicality of an art career. They won. I gave it up completely in every form and pursued science in college instead.
No more poetry, bead design or anything else creative for a long time. When I married, I started to work with interior design mostly out of neccessity than desire. Most of our furniture was second hand or fourth hand, and I found that with a few scraps of material to make curtain swags I could transform what was yard sale trash into "shabby chic". I then started a few crafty hobbies that I learned from friends and turned them into wedding gifts or baby shower gifts, especially since we didn't have much of a gift giving budget back then. After awhile, my hobby became a women's ministry when I brought my Christian friends together with a few non believing friends to make fabric covered photo albums. Creative, but hardly art.
I have not heard a lot of sermons about art, or read books that take art as a Christian endeavor really seriously. It's treated pretty much as a side issue and truth be told, I think most Christians are very cautious about art. Perhaps it is considered worldly, a waste of money or a distraction. And perhaps in many cases, that's true.
Then there is art that attempts (and succeeds) to communicate something of God. When Seungeun played a familiar hymn for our church's Maundy Thursday worship service, she played it simply and there was a second when time seemed suspended on one pure note and it took my breath away. A lot of people play the piano, but at Seungeun's hands I heard and felt the power of God through art.
A few moments later, her husband, Bart, played another hymn on his violin in a manner that reminded me of Bach's Chaconne. He did not merely perform, I felt, but was praying to God. It was beautiful because it seemed to have a fullness to it that went beyond emotion. I haven't felt that since I heard a soprano soloist in Seattle 19 years ago, the church was not only full of her voice, it seemed, but the Holy Spirit as well, because she did not bring the attention to her talent but to God whom she was worshiping. That pointed me towards a lesson which could be applied to a lot of other things in life.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Friday, May 04, 2007
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
When I went to get the mail this morning, I was amazed to see all these bright yellow flowers all over our yard. It seemed as though some fairy came and planted them overnight. They were everywhere! We were the only yard blessed in the neighborhood with so many sunny cheerful little blossoms, yes, we had more of them than anyone. So, I got my garden gloves and trowel and pulled every one of those suckers out. I think it took me an hour and a half--I had to get the ones popping up in the side yard, too. I filled a whole garbage bag full.
Dandelion flowers can be used to make dandelion wine. The recipe usually contains citrus fruit. Another recipe using the plant is dandelion flower jam. Ground roasted dandelion root can be used as a coffee substitute. Drunk before meals, it is believed to stimulate digestive functions. Sold in most health food stores, often in a mixture, it is considered an excellent cleansing tonic for the liver.
Main article: Medicinal properties of dandelion
Dandelion root is a registered drug in Canada, sold as a diuretic. A leaf decoction can be drunk to "purify the blood", for the treatment of anemia, jaundice, and also for nervousness. The milky latex has been used as a mosquito repellent; the milk is also applied to warts, helping get rid of them without damaging the surrounding skin. A dye can also be obtained from the roots of the plant. A new mixture of roasted roots is sold as a product called DandyBlend which tastes like coffee after the inulin in the dandelion is roasted."Dandelion and Burdock" is a soft drink that has long been popular in the United Kingdom with authentic recipes sold by health food shops. It is unclear whether cheaper supermarket versions actually contain either plant.This plant also is useful in farming, because its deep, strong roots break up hardpan.
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But here’s the bad news. From charity to justice, the good news is yet to come. There’s is much more to do. There’s a gigantic chasm between the scale of the emergency and the scale of the response.
And finally, it’s not about charity after all, is it? It’s about justice.
Let me repeat that: It’s not about charity, it’s about justice.
And that’s too bad.
Because you’re good at charity. Americans, like the Irish, are good at it. We like to give, and we give a lot, even those who can’t afford it.
But justice is a higher standard. Africa makes a fool of our idea of justice; it makes a farce of our idea of equality. It mocks our pieties, it doubts our concern, it questions our commitment. 6,500 Africans are still dying every day of a preventable, treatable disease, for lack of drugs we can buy at any drug store. This is not about charity, this is about Justice and Equality.
Because there's no way we can look at what’s happening in Africa and, if we're honest, conclude that deep down, we really accept that Africans are equal to us. Anywhere else in the world, we wouldn’t accept it. Look at what happened in South East Asia with the Tsunami. 150, 000 lives lost to that misnomer of all misnomers, “mother nature”. In Africa, 150,000 lives are lost every month. A tsunami every month. And it’s a completely avoidable catastrophe.
It’s annoying but justice and equality are mates. Aren’t they? Justice always wants to hang out with equality. And equality is a real pain.