Saturday, September 30, 2006


Why when you pick a nice warm sweater on a brisk day do you end up pushing up the sleeves? Why when you wear 3/4 sleeves do they seem to annoy you by bunching right where your arm bends (just like capris at your knees)? Why when you wear short sleeves do your arms a) glare their untanned whiteness, b) feel cold, c) look hairy? Oh, and the sleeves tend to look unfashionable!

Have you ever found yourself changing the position of your sleeves every 30 seconds, shoving them up out of your way, then back down because you're cold, then back up as a nervous habit? I've seen people roll the sleeves of their dress shirts. They roll it under, I think. Some blouses have little tabs that button up rolled sleeves. How did Eowyn do it?

To God be all glory.


What places in the world (including the US) do you want to visit? Why?

I don't like answering "favorite" questions. "What's your favorite Bible verse?" Um, I have to pick? "What is your favorite color?" Today? So I like lists. Long ones. When you answer the above question, you can leave a list as long as you want.

After I've gotten three responses, I'll post my answer.

To God be all glory.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Sense and Sensibility Sketches

Fanny Austen-Knight (1793-1882) by Cassandra Austen
Fanny Austen-Knight (1793-1882)

My appetite being now thoroughly whetted for a long trip to England or at the very least a viewing of Pride and Prejudice (the five hour Jennifer Ehle version), I thought I'd share some Sense and Sensibility character sketches from my journal this spring:

Colonel Brandon fell instantly in love with Marianne. But he was not going to pursue her because he thought it would be better for her to marry someone nearer her age. So he sought to be only a blessing to her. He had been a bachelor settled and content, so practiced at supressing his heart that he hardly cares. Only the deepest (most selfless) love will induce him to matrimony.

Elinor is a steady girl, aware of reality yet unable to fully reconcile herself to it. She is a woman of her word ever self-less. However, she is not so strong as to be able to bear sorrow cheerfully.

Marianne cares only for the dramatic and romantic, embracing both ecstasy and despair equally. She says what she thinks, and behaves as she feels. It does not bother her that a man should take liberties with her without commitment. The amazing thing about her is her recovery. She settles into a love that is calmer but runs deeper, and so it brings her deep joy.

Edward is a man of mistakes and self-deception. His love is self-giving, but certainly not self-controlled. He is also a man of duty, though it torment him, he could still, I believe, have been happy marrying his first love. He is conflicted much of the time: between keeping his vow to Lucy and his regard for Elinor, between obligation to his family's expectations and his dreams.

Mr. Willoughby is a tragic, horribly appealing villain. He does have great self-control, but that leaves him without excuse for his conduct. He is always selfish, and irreverent. He enjoys romance as Marianne does, but he does not live (and die) for it. He is uniquely able to give away his heart completely separate from his intentions and choices. That this causes him pain - anguish - is his sacrifice to the ideals of romance.

"Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove.
O, no! It is an ever-fixed mark, that looks on tempests and is never shaken." - Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare

To God be all glory.

Click Here - I mean it!

For any of you who are Jane Austen fans, or if you just love pictures of the verdant British isles, you should check out Mrs. Chancey's blog of their trip to England. The architecture is beautiful, and the stories of little cultural details. I am so excited she got to wear her Austen-era dresses in England!

To God be all glory.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Thoughts on Failure

"If you are not failing, you are not trying to succeed."

This can be an encouraging thought: when you have recently experienced failure.

This can be a discourging thought: when you are about to embark on an attempt to succeed.

This can be a challenging thought: when you aren't doing anything.

This can be a false thought: when success finally happens.

To God be all glory.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Not fifty years ago there were three ways to respectfully address women: Mrs. for married or widowed women, Miss for unmarried women, and Ms. for the feminists. I don't mind the existence of Ms. anymore than I mind the existence of feminists (and I wish they would all convert to a freeing, fulfilling, biblical view of women's roles). Nevermind the abbreviation is not short for any word. Never mind the other two titles cover everyone.

Not twenty years ago, there were three ways to respectfully address women. Ms. was more common as it became harder to tell whether a woman was married or not. The issue of divorce was becoming more and more sensitive. One didn't want to accidentally call a divorced woman "Mrs." How horrible! Besides, the marital status was a private matter, not for common knowledge to the strangers who deliver the mail.

Today, there are two ways to address women, and we can count respect out. Mrs. is for the old fashioned type, those who actually got married, especially those wives who are also mothers. Ms. is for everyone, especially everyone else. Except, excuse me, me, over here! I'm not a Ms. I am a Miss, and I don't see the benefit in keeping that fact a secret. Nor do I want to be associated with the undefined, confused class of women who go by Ms. However, in many cases, I don't have a choice.

When I recently contacted my senator via the Internet, the "title" section was mandatory, and "Miss" was not an option. Oh, they had Dr., Mr., Mrs. ... Not Miss. In my address to the senator I added my dissatisfaction with the lack of options. When I got a return note, it was addressed Ms. I gathered two conclusions: the letter was automatically generated and sent based on the selected category, and the senator did not read my letter. He probably didn't care.

That's understandable. Senators are secular, and they're the epitome of "politically correct." However, I am on Campus Crusade's mailing list, and they keep addressing me as Ms. Campus Crusade! What do I do? How do I object? Is there any hope for returning the feminine and unashamed title of Miss?

All my little girls in Awana, and most of my friends, get little notes addressed Miss. It isn't a statement of age. To call them Miss is a statement of expectation: I expect them to be ladies and proud of it! Little changes. Little protests.

To God be all glory.


Titles like "concluding" or "good-bye" or "signing off" on a blog always strike fear into my heart that the blogger is ceasing. No one has really done that to me yet, though. I think that to start blogging, you have to be a writer at heart, and no matter how busy you get, you cannot altogether abandon the art.

No, I'm talking about concluding and finishing, in general. You may have noticed if you read my last post that I'm not very good at wrapping up my writing. In a grammar book today I read that you should avoid phrases like "in conclusion," or ending letters with "I can't think of anything else to say, so I'll close." How horrible! Of course they don't suggest creative ways to close. They just forbid the obvious.

Ending things makes me sad. Maybe that's why I have so little practice. Yes, this morning our youth pastor's wife was sharing about her grandmother. The old woman was a starter. She started dozens of quilts and projects before she died which she never finished. The youth pastor's wife's mother took it upon herself, as a finisher, to complete every project. I am more like the grandmother. You may have gathered that from my post about reading books.

For example, I have four serious stories half-written right now. One is novel-length, waiting to be typed and edited before I attempt to have it published. Yet there is this concept and story in my head that is just dying to try itself out on paper. So the debate is whether to buckle down and finish at least one of the others, or to begin yet another narrative in hopes that someday my descendants will publish "the collected unfinished works of Lisa." One can dream.

To God be all glory.

Conservative Talk Radio

My news comes from two sources: the Internet and talk radio. For Christian news like the latest Vision Forum conference, book release, or any articles published about education or biblical womanhood, the net (especially blogs) are a consistent and reliable resource. For the political and national security type news, talk radio keeps me up to date. I catch snippets here and there just as I fall asleep (mesmerizing voices) or as I drive (not so mesmerizing, you hope). Between the different moments I get to catch the news, my spectrum of programming exposure is pretty wide.

I keep mentioning different shows on which I heard a comment or a view. So I decided to provide you with the names of the hosts to which I listen (or don't) and what my opinion of them each is. They are different, with different perspectives, degrees of accurate theology, a spectrum of priorities, and simply different styles.

Laura Ingram is a tough woman. She gave up practicing law to make fun of political and entertainment figures. She is so outspoken that her listeners are either praised for agreeing with her or derided for disagreeing. It's immature sometimes, but upbeat. She has a true heart for soldiers. In my opinion her crew is unbeatable. They can pull out the shortest or most entertaining sound clip at a moment's notice.

Dennis Prager is a converted Democrat who failed to leave behind all the liberal tenets of being one. He is selfish and encourages selfishness in others, especially through his Happiness Hour once a week. Philosophy and interviews are his big thing. He likes abstracts like evil, but not the Devil. Clarity is the object of his show. He adores his doting audience. Each show is a search for knowledge and answers. At the least he is a good listener.

Sean Hannity is like a big brother to his audience. He works to know what he knows and to form well-reasoned opinions. He laughs and teaches, but he also corrects. God is a real part of his life and worldview. Patriotism is high on his list of priorities. He is a conservative for truth and justice, not just a Republican for victory.

Hugh Hewitt is a stuck up lawyer. Though claiming Christianity, he is a hypocrite. Rather than hold out for principle, he advocates taking the best visible choice. A high point of his show is the upper-level education in subjects ranging from precedents to history and literature.

Mark Davis is a relatively mellow man with good opinions, but I don't know what he's like because the time at which he is programmed on my local station is 10 PM-12 AM, at which times I am usually otherwise engaged.

Michael Reagan has been in the business so long that he is very comfortable with his audience. But, being the son of a public figure, he is skilled at keeping his distance. His show is about common sense from economics to politics to defense to education.

Michael Medved can be loud-mouthed and close-midned. He has a generous view of the U.S. and a useful understanding of Judaism and Israel. Watching so many movies, he has become good at recognizing political insinuations, but the moral and philosophical messages do not get filtered. He has, therefore, become a crtiic, seeing all things from too professional a standpoint.

Mark Taylor fills in for almost everyone else. He is a Christian, unafraid to argue (and repeat) until his point is driven home. He is humble and listens. His tone is sincere. However, he is a staunch Republican, and would rather help a "Republican" (even in name only) win than to vote according to conscience.

Janet Parshall is the grandmotherly type (or at least the grandmother stage of the hard-hitting conservative communicator). She's been married for a long time, and she loves, respects and submits to her husband, who is usually involved in her show. Her concern is for the children and families as well as the serious and political topics. Sometimes she runs creative segments such as interviews with Larry from Veggie Tales.

To God be all glory.

Ezra, Persia, and Temples

For my devotions this week I have been reading through Ezra. The account is of a priest, Ezra, who was commissioned by King Cyrus of Persia to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple. He took a thousands of Jews with him to help, as well as letters from the king requisitioning supplies. King Cyrus returned the vessels and utensils which Nebuchadnezzar had plundered.

Some of the local population requested that they be allowed to help build the Temple, since they claimed to worship the same God. In Exodus and Leviticus, God had been very specific about the people who could be associated with the Temple or Tabernacle. Children even of converts were not allowed in the Temple for something like ten generations. These people in Ezra's day were those who became known as Samaritans. After the deportation of Jews from Judah, Nebuchadnezzar relocated some other conquered population, which intermarried with the pathetic remnant of Hebrews and apparently adopted some of the Jewish worship, mixing it with their own paganism. Such were the superstitious Samaritans of Jesus' day. At the rebuilding of the Temple in Ezra, this man of the line of Aaron refused to allow them to help.

The bitterness all started at that exclusion. And their opposition to the "Jewish way of doing things" began immediately. They sent a letter of complaint to the new king of Persia, Artaxerxes. For 16 years, their letter succeeded in postponing work on the Temple. The Samaritans appealed to King Artaxerxes' paranoia and desire to protect his power. "When the Jews have a wall around this city of theirs, and a Temple, they get rebellious. Look at history," they warned.

King Artaxerxes went for their argument. Kings of this empire tended to be gullible, or easily manipulated. I don't know why. When I studied Persian history, I also noticed one other prominent fact: no man stayed in power long. Brothers, cousins, sons, friends, and strangers were all willing to murder each other in order to gain the throne. Soon after Ezra the empire's influence succumbed completely to the succeeding power. I think it was Greece. So Artaxerxes was desperately protecting the unstable authority structure. My imagination presents the picture of him sticking a finger in every leak of his dam, until he ran out of fingers.

On the radio this week someone commented that the North Koreans are so dangerous for the same reason. Their regime is weak. Any regime would be weak that had little money and whose people were starved and tortured. Public approval rates are probably pretty low. Discontent breeds, well, revolution. The leadership of this extreme government desperately needs a show of power to prove themselves. Since the display they threaten is a nuclear attack on the US or their neighbors, they cannot be allowed to succeed. That and the fact that their government is evil and oppressive.

Eventually King Darius became ruler of the Persian empire, and he reinstated work on the Temple. This point encouraged me in my life right now. My latest batch of eBay attempts produced discouraging results. I still need wisdom in how to proceed. Other plans for my feeble start-up business have been halted by government restrictions, requirements, and licenses. But if Ezra can endure setbacks for a cause to which God called him, then so can I. To keep in mind that cause is important.

God is so faithful to provide reminders that He is active. He puts up signposts reminiscent of those yellow and black arrows posted on a sharp curve in the middle of nowhere on a highway. A succession of events, articles, verses, and conversations point me toward those things He wants me to heed right now. For example, last Sunday part of the Sunday school lesson was on the preparation of the Temple for the people to meet with God. So I began reading Ezra, which had this connection with North Korea. And I also read the Copper Scroll (Joel Rosenberg's new book) which happened to be about the eschatological building of the Temple. So those different points fit. I'm not sure of the overarching theme/lesson, but the little applications have been nice.

To God be all glory.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Flutter of One Wing

An etymology website reminded me the other day to try to cut out "ing" and "it", the latter especially to start a clause. In Old English, the author of the site said, "It is raining" was impossible. One had to say, "The rain falls," or "The rain floods." Wouldn't that make language more alive?

One of my passions is how little decisions affect your life. Little changes affect revolution. One vote changes the course of the history. This article, from Kingdom Building Ministries, talks about that very thing. I recommend it.

The Butterfly Effect, as a principle, is also a fascinating concept related to my passion for time and time travel. What happens if you go into the future and change something? What if you go into the past? Does that sufficiently change the future which was your present so that you're no longer in the past - or maybe even your present? Irrelevant, I know, since I don't actually believe (theologically, not scientifically) that time travel is possible. Perhaps I love time travel because that concept demonstrates the butterfly effect with the most impact.

Speaking of impact, Kingdom Building is dedicated to maximizing the impact of Christian service through their speaking ministry and through their "institutes." If you're interested in a semester mission experience/education, check out the rest of their website.

To God be all glory.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Anti-Star

Stars. For as long as there have been movies, there have been stars. Even before there was audio with the movies, before there was color, before there were computer generated graphics - there were stars.

I like movies with unknown people. Low budget, outside of Hollywood movies are some of my favorite to watch. Sure, the acting isn't always that great. But consider: sometimes you stumble upon a great actor or actress of whom none of your friends has heard.

Our culture craves stars. We're devoted fans of famous people. I mean devoted. We watch all their movies, know all their stats, vote for them every time.

However, we also like to root for the underdog. The American dream, Cinderella rising from the ashes of servitude to appreciation as the princess of the land, has an appeal to our own dreams. So when we discover the little guy making it anywhere close to big, it is inspiring. It is our little secret encouraging thought.

Tom Cruise did not get his contract renewed by Paramount. To tell the truth, I just figured out which actor he was this year. And I don't care. I think it's a sign, though, that our fascination with stardome is waning. We the media-loving public are just as willing to be entertained by a short clip or homemade movie on Youtube or Everyday News or one made by our friends as a big, mass-advertised Hollywood movie.

This is more than a rebellion against movie ticket prices. It is more than convenience. The trend to the little guy is an indication of a shift in outlook. As the economy progresses with telecommunications technology, I think the whole way we do life and business will move back into a localized model. Businesses will be run out of the home on the internet. Sales will be between neighbors, who talk to each other. Church will be localized (with a big missions focus, though). And entertainment will also be what it used to: friends gathering to share stimulating forms of media be it a family around a book at the home library or buddies linking to a clip on the web.

What do you think?

To God be all glory.

The Week in Speech

I think the United Nations hosted Dictator Week. I don't mean that everyone who spoke was a dictator. I just mean they invited dictators to spout their tyranny manifestos and threats against the free world in the name of international brotherhood. I like what Dennis Prager said of that organization: any group of thugs can get together and vote. The result will still be evil.

Dictator #1: that guy from Iran. If I wrote his name, you'd know whom I mean. But since I can't spell it or pronounce it, I don't think it will hurt if I reference him the same way you do whenever you think of him. He spoke. He seems to think that the "righteous" deserve all the benefits and everyone else should be quiet and submissive so that "justice" can rule. It's a little scary, what he said. But he disguised his real message by repeating boring lists. Justice, Ethics, Compassion... Over and over and over. Excuse me for yawning. Also excuse me for not highly esteeming his thoughts.

Dictator #2: Dictator Chavez of Venezuela. He didn't try to disguise anything. He tried to help it down with a spoonful of laughter. I only heard excerpts of his speech over the radio, but I can picture his smirk. Again, it is annoying that the other delegates care what he says. It is not all that relevant to my life.

On the other hand I read an article today about Senator Barack Obama. When he was running for his senate seat in Illinois, I heard him speak on the television. Despite disagreeing with his whole worldview, I had to acknowledge that he was a great orator. He also has avoided mass-murdering his constituents, which makes him more likable than the dictators above. During a recent visit to Africa, he was greeted with cheers everywhere he went. Some people are talking about a possible presidency in his future. Those people are, of course, only trying to prepare a successor to Senator Clinton. The Republicans, though scrambling for a candidate to endorse, are not that desperate.

What is it about great orators that makes them so likable? At least I respect them more than the droning or raving politicians. On the Michael Reagan Talkshow tonight I heard a man call in with a delightful Scottish accent, and he spoke so vividly, using real life examples and making his points clearly and succinctly but still bringing a smile to my face at the cunning expressions. Except for the fact that his whole premise was wrong and I didn't agree with a thing he said, I really liked the man.

My youngest brother is a great communicator. He has an ear for metaphors. His thoughts are so often on national defense and exercise and things like slanted pockets and octagonal stiffness of his camo that I don't get to enjoy his speaking. Then I ask a question, and he doesn't say anything. We still have some breakthroughs to make there...

Another talkshow call-in asked whether young people know that they will be paying huge taxes to cover their elders' social security but will not likely receive any benefits themselves. As a young person, I do know that. I know that Iran threatens to develop nuclear weapons, and that so does North Korea. I know secular humanists have taken over the schools. Churches are watering down the gospel. Media is corrupting anyone who watches (have you seen some of the commercials on during prime family time - like college football!). And I care.

There is something called the tyranny of the urgent. Earlier this evening I posted "Is there not a cause?" There are too many causes. I cannot possibly worry about all of them without crippling my daily life. So in answer to the question about social security, yes, I know. The reason I'm not demonstrating or rioting about it is because it isn't pressing. For one day a year, the day before I cast my ballot, I pay attention. I care. I do something. The other months I take each cause as it comes.

Earlier in the week I had a lesson to teach. After hours of practicing, I got it down to the allotted 10 minutes. My voice projected, I cut down on the number of um's, and at the moment of truth everything went so quickly that I didn't have time to forget anything. God was good to help my overly-anxious self get through that.

"Let the words of my mouth,
and the meditation of my heart,
be acceptable in thy sight,
O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer."
~ Psalm 19:14

To God be all glory.

Is Balance Good?

I really liked this post by a guest blogger at YLCF. It is about balance. Everyone talks about how life should be balanced. In the Christian life there are some things that ought to be very out of balance.

Being "open-minded" is similar. In some things open-mindedness is good. I should never assume that just because I thought of it, it is true, or that my plan is the only plan that will work and that should be used. However, on issues of truth as revealed by God in the Bible, I need to be close-minded. The truth is that in no other name than Jesus is there salvation. My mind need not be open to the possibilities of Buddhism, atheism, Hinduism, Mormonism, Islam, or any other religion. That is like being open to the possibility that my name is not Lisa. I know that it is.

Tolerance is a hot-button issue that falls in the same category. We have to be tolerant. I can't run around screaming at everyone who disagrees at me. I need to patiently tolerate differences of opinion on non-essential issues. It's all about doing whatever I do for the good of the other. Also read this article about "tolerance" in public schools by Ann Coulter.

A lot of my life is spent walking a fine line. Of course one could argue that the center of God's will is as large as a headpin to a host of angels.

To God be all glory.

Is There Not A Cause?

And David said,
What have I now done?
Is there not a cause?
~ 1 Samuel 17:29

This rally cry I borrowed from Kent Hovind. The story is of David and Goliath. Visiting the front lines, David hears Goliath ridicule not only the nation of Israel, but also their God. The giant issues a challenge, and no man responds. After such provocation, David is beside himself. He runs all over the camp asking what is to be done. Is there not a cause to defend, worth fighting for?!

Terrorists know why they are fighting. They have a goal for which they are willing to die. In their training and execution of plans they are single-minded.

Mormons send every male to the mission field for two years. They knock on doors of strangers. The Book of Mormon is offered free of charge to any who would take it.

Football players dedicate their health and energy, not to mention the large portion of their memories required to learn plays and rules, to becoming the best, to winning. They run toward the prize.

Two of my friends are currently in Marine Bootcamp. When they left home they were allowed to bring their Bibles and the clothes on their backs. No letters. No novels. No comforting objects from home. Just the Bible and whatever could be slipped between the pages. For however long Bootcamp is (my future Marine brother will kill me for not knowing), their attention is pretty undivided. With all their waking strength their mind and body must be aiming towards that one goal. (Again, my brother would know what that one goal is, but he wouldn't be able to explain it to the uninitiated.) The point is television, friends, books, video games, camping, computers - anything that would divert their attention - are out of bounds.

If you've ever known a Marine, you probably have a taste of the result. What if there were Christianity bootcamp? What if after six weeks of intense Bible study without distraction from the aforementioned entertainments, you came out and lived life? What would people see? Now what if bootcamp never ended? What if your whole life, Ephesians 5:17 was true: "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit..." Excess is in some translations dissipation.

Do you know why you are living? What is your cause? If all these other people doing petty or even diabolical things are dedicated so much that they let nothing distract them, how can Christians, who have the greatest truth and the greatest strength and the greatest hope sit at home?

"Know ye not
that they which run
in a race run all,
but one receiveth the prize?
So run,
that ye may obtain.
And every man
that striveth for the mastery
is temperate in all things.
Now they do it
to obtain a corruptible crown;
but we an incorruptible.
I therefore so run,
not as uncertainly;
so fight I,
not as one that beateth the air:
But I keep under my body,
and bring it into subjection:
lest that by any means,
when I have preached to others,
I myself should be a castaway."
~ 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

To God be all glory.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


In Old English there are a number of color words that refer more to the brightness than to whether it is red, blue, yellow, green, brown. This may be because there wasn't a whole lot of color in their lives. Perhaps the spectrum of England ranged from the blue-green of the ocean to the green of the grass to the brown grass on the hills to the rocks to the pale grey sky of a winter rain to the dark abyss that formed their night sky.

I know I already wrote about fall. But the sight outside my back door is sad. Without the least provocation the once green and fully watered grass is fading to brown. Only the edges of the leaves are showing hints of turning. Autumn is usually my favorite time of year. Without the radiant colors, and without the rain and the wind and the smoky smell of the air from all the local chimneys, the world is sad. It needs the bounty of Thanksgiving: apples, squash, pumkins, turkeys, corn to brighten it.

Yes, my world is wan:
from the O.E. wann "dark, lacking luster," later "leaden, pale, gray," of uncertain origin, and not found in other Gmc. languages. The connecting notion is colorlessness.

see also dun:
from the O.E. dunn "dingy brown, dark-colored," perhaps from Celt. (cf. O.Ir. donn "dark"), from PIE *donnos, *dusnos "dark."

It is my suspicion that the phenomenon of old color-words referring to luster and not its hue is not relegated to the British Isles only. During a conversation with a friend who had been a missionary to China for a while, something she said made me wonder if Chinese is not the same. Does anyone know? If I ever find out, I'll be sure to report. Meanwhile, I hope that reading is cheering your day.

Oh, and it is supposed to rain tomorrow, which if it is overcast, it really ought.

To God be all glory.


Read this post by Pamela. I live like this. Don't forget to come back and finish reading my thoughts, though...

...ok, you read it? A long time ago, for reasons I can no longer remember, I stopped lying. I decided to, and with God's help I did. Not that I had lied all the time. Just whenever those little white temptations came along, I had ammo. I don't lie.

"He that worketh deceit
shall not dwell within my house:
he that telleth lies
shall not tarry in my sight."
~ Psalm 101:7

All this practice not lying has made me sometimes a painfully honest person. I'm not a very open person naturally, unless I'm convinced I can trust you. It is one of my weaknesses. However, if you ask me a question, however personal and however little I think you would like the true answer, I tend to tell the absolute truth. In this way Mr. Darcy is one of the characters in fiction to whom I best relate. As he comments, saying what he means can sometimes cause offense, which is not his intention. Nor mine.

The thing is, giving up lying is easy. Giving up deceit is harder. Telling the truth in love is hardest. In the end we are still sinful, weak humans. How much easier is it to give the impression that you think one thing while you really mean another. But you didn't say a falsehood. Or you run around giving your opinion here, there, and everywhere, with boldness and not grace. The reason you speak is not to build others up but to prove you're right and smart and all that...

Amazing what you learn about yourself when you take a moment to observe. I would never have prefaced a hurtful truth with the facts above: that I'm only trying to build up my image. It was true, though. Now days I'm learning to shun all deceitfulness, for God hates that as much as a lie. As part of the process, I make sarcastic remarks saying exactly the flawed motivation I was using, when I catch myself. "I knew that ten minutes before you," I will say, and realizing, add: "Because obviously I knew everything ten minutes ago..." And then we laugh. Hopefully my friends can recognize this method of self restraint. I need it. Self would take over.

Truth is something of which I can never get enough, though. I miss bold people who will tell me the truth, who will true out my truthiness in search of the truth of my heart. That's the kind of friend I seek to be, as well. You will frequently find me double asking "How are you," for the simple reason that the first answer was "fine."

Ultimately I think honesty makes you a better friend. People who know you know what to expect. You're dependable. And if they're smart, if they don't want to hear anything your answer could be, they won't ask you at all.

"Sanctify them
through thy truth:
thy word is truth."
~ John 17:17

To God be all glory.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Some of my favorite Bible stories involve trees. I love the story of Creation. And the Fall is so vivid. C.S. Lewis thinks the tree is more significant than the moral fall. But he wasn’t taking Genesis 3 literally, which I do.

Take a look at what other things happen under trees.

In Genesis 18:4-8, Abraham is greeting the two angels and the LORD:
Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.

This is just a sample for balance of some unsavory happenings under trees: Deuteronomy 12:2 Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their
gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree:

Deborah ran her courtroom under a tree in Judges 4:5
And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.

1 Samuel 14:2
And Saul tarried in the uttermost part of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron: and the people that were with him were about six hundred men;

Not only did King Saul tarry under a tree, he was also buried under a tree after his mighty men recovered his body. After such a turbulent life and death, it is such a peaceful scene: 1 Samuel 31:13
And they took their bones, and buried [them] under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.

1 Kings 4:25 is a picture of peace and prosperity with which God blessed His people during the reign of King Solomon:
And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.

1 Ki 19:4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I [am] not better than my fathers. This is the story of Elijah when he was depressed after Queen Jezebel chased him in retribution for the slaughter and defeat of her priests on Mt. Carmel.

Every little kid learns the song about Zacchaeus. The actual account is found in Luke 19:4
And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.

Each of the Twelve have some fascination for me. I have to say though that Nathanael is one of my favorite. And this passage is one to which I relate. The narrative is so visual. My imagination wakes up with the details. John 1:48-50 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.

Aren't you glad God made trees?

To God be all glory.


Yesterday I hung out with one of my dearest friend's kids. The kids were really well behaved. If you're like me, you probably fall for the darling mischievous types. My memo board would be covered with pictures of the cutest kids on the planet if only I carried a camera with me everywhere. Such are these.

We cleaned house, played, watched a movie, made dinner, put on a concert. While we were eating I told the kids their parents would be back soon and I would have to leave for Awana. "Can I go?" asked the four year old? It took me some time to convince her she had to stay.

Mac & Cheese devoured, we returned to our movie. Since I have never seen Akeelah and the Bee before, I was pretty focused. My friend and her husband returned, and I began to wish her kids good-bye so I wouldn't be late. The little girl (who looks just like a blonde Cabbage Patch doll) squeezed my neck and said, "Don't forget your shoes, tebu." ('tebu' has no definition to my knowledge. It is just a Dr. Seuss type rhyming device.) "I won't, silly," I answered.

It didn't take me that much longer to finish my good-byes. I hurried to the front room where I had left my three bags and shoes. However, only one shoe was present. I slipped it on my foot and called my little friend's name. Of course she came running. "Where is my shoe?" I asked.

"I didn't take it." A little later, "I don't know. Did you look for it?"

"Where would I look?" Admit, I'm at a disadvantage here. I'm in a hurry. She's not the two year old who hid behind a lamp post a few years ago, or under a piece of paper. The shoe could be anywhere, and it's her house!

"Did you look... here?" Her voice goes up in excitement and she produces my shoe just like a salesman at the store. She told me her brother took it. He had been asleep for the past hour.

Kids are cute. I don't endorse lying. But the sentiment was nice. She wanted to keep me there. Little did she know I seriously considered just leaving barefoot. I was in a hurry!

To God be all glory.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Everyday News

Late this spring, Vision Forum introduced a fun new media section of their website and ministry. All over the country families are invited to film and submit reports on everyday life at their homes. Topics have included chivalry, bugs, treehouses, family games, and so many more. I have the link on my sidebar because the kids are so cute! Just listen to them.

One of my favorites is the 1,000,000,000 children report. I don't think God requires every family to have ten kids, or that His object is to get 1 billion Christian children in ten generations. It is just interesting to note the impact of having a few more kids. Right now it seems like the sacrifice involved in providing for a large family may not be worth it; in the long-term vision, though, what could be more worthwhile? In addition, is the world about people or money? Does God provide based on our wisdom or His promises?

I thank God for the vision of Doug Phillips and his ministry partners at Vision Forum. My prayer is that the vision would catch on all over the world.

To God be all glory.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Wisdom is Justified by all her Children

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 ~
"For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all,
that I might win more of them.
To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews.
To those under the law I became as one under the law
(though not being myself under the law)
that I might win those under the law.
To those outside the law I became as one outside the law
(not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ)
that I might win those outside the law.
To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak.
I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.
I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings."

Some people say that evangelism should be about learning to relate to the world around us. Figure out their language. Communicate on their level. Use movies and current events and current lingo to explain the truth of Scripture. Paraphrase the Bible for modern readers.

1 Corinthians 14:24-25 ~
"But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters,
he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all,
the secrets of his heart are disclosed,
and so, falling on his face,
he will worship God and declare that God is really among you."

Titus 2:1-10 ~
"But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.
Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love,
and in steadfastness.
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior,
not slanderers or slaves to much wine.
They are to teach what is good,
and so train the young women to love their husbands and children,
to be self-controlled, pure, working at home,
kind, and submissive to their own husbands,
that the word of God may not be reviled.
Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works,
and in your teaching show integrity, dignity,
and sound speech that cannot be condemned,
so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything;
they are to be well-pleasing,
not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith,
so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior."

Philippians 2:14-16 ~
"Do all things without grumbling or questioning,
that you may be blameless and innocent,
children of God without blemish
in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation,
among whom you shine as lights in the world,
holding fast to the word of life,
so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain."

1 Peter 2:11-12 ~
"Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles
to abstain from the passions of the flesh,
which wage war against your soul.
Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable,
so that when they speak against you as evildoers,
they may see your good deeds and glorify God
on the day of visitation."
Matthew 5:16 ~
"In the same way, let your light shine before others,
so that they may see your good works
give glory to your Father who is in heaven."

2 Timothy 3:15 ~
"...and how from childhood
you have been acquainted with the sacred writings,
which are able to make you wise for salvation
through faith in Christ Jesus. "

1 Peter 2:2 ~
"Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk,
that by it you may grow up to salvation..."

Other people say that it is more effective, and that it highlights the work of God more to simply live holy lives and preach the very words of God (though I don't think many would expect salvation to come to an American by hearing Romans 10:13 in the Greek).

Luke 7:33-35 ~
"For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine,
and you say, ‘He has a demon.’
The Son of Man has come eating and drinking,
and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard,
a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’
Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”

Is it possible that there are different ways to evangelize, all approved by God? What do you think? Which way do you prefer? Why?

Philippians 1:15-18 ~
"Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry,
but others from good will.
The latter do it out of love,
knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.
The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry,
not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment.
What then?
Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth,
Christ is proclaimed,
and in that I rejoice."

To God be all glory.

(all Scripture quotations from the English Standard Version, emphasis mine.)


Pragmatism, according to, is
1. character or conduct that emphasizes practicality.
2. a philosophical movement or system having various forms, but generally stressing practical consequences as constituting the essential criterion in determining meaning, truth, or value.

In my words, it is making decisions based on what works. It is outcome-based reasoning. And, in my opinion, it is backward.

Voting for the lesser of two evils has practically ruined our government. Unless the people demand candidates who well represent their values, we will keep getting the richest or most popular candidate. And unless we reward those who do share our values, by giving them our vote, our views will never be defended in government.

As it stands, almost no one could really believe in a canidate's views, and he would still get elected. If he is deemed "most likely to succeed" by the powers that be, everyone in his party is obligated to vote for him or else betray their "side."

Should there be sides in politics? In the beginning of our country, there were many canidates with good morals and political understanding. Instead of choosing the lesser of two evils, one could choose the best of several good choices. Imagine.

Do you know why this happened? For one thing there were more good men available. For another the people were good, and therefore knew the importance of voting for good men. They took their vote seriously. They took representation seriously. After all, they fought for it.

I take the position that no change happens in majorities. If the world is going to change, it will change one decision, one person, one vote, and one voice at a time. As long as I keep following the corrupt system, the corrupt system will appear to have my approval. My conscience and my faith, however, will not allow me to advocate evil.

"Who is he that overcometh the world,
but he that believeth
that Jesus is the Son of God?"

This is the key to combatting the pragmatic world. Believe God. Believe His ways works. He created this world, and probably knows best how it will run. He also is the mastermind behind the attempt to redeem the world, and so His methods will be most effective.

When I believe that God will bless where man's wisdom says blessing could not come, I have overcome the world. Because God is faithful, and because He does bless. So having a lot of children is helping to restore the world. Even though it looks like it would make you poor, God says they are a blessing, and it turns out to be true.

When I believe God, I am free from the priorities of the world. Suddenly not having three cars for our family doesn't I don't have to go to college as a woman because I don't have to have a career because I don't have to rely on a job for prosperity because I know that God has promised to take care of me, and the Bible tells me He wants me doing other things. Amazing how that works.

Pragmatism has invaded our churches as well. Why do we take offerings each week? Because it works. Why do we have one senior pastor? Because it works. Why do we do youth groups? Because it works. Why do services last 2.5 hours once a week? You get the idea.

Except... It doesn't work. When we set out to do these programs and continue these customs, from what man can see and reason, we think it will work. Look at the results, though. Giving is down. The money churches do receive is directed toward special effects and buildings and overly-credentialed staff and best-selling programs. The senior pastor of each church is burnt out. Congregations expect pastors to spoon-feed them spirituality. Youth fall prey to temptation. After youth group, they leave the church altogether. There is little to no community in our churches.

God's projects are best done God's way. Each time I face a decision, be it voting or ministry or something in my personal life, I have have decided that "It works" will not be allowed as a legitimate justification. I trust God to provide me with the instructions I need for life.

2 Timothy 3:16
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof,
for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect,
thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

To God be all glory.

Community of Feasting

I am still thinking about church. My ideas and questions have plateaued for a while. The concepts are still there. Church is community. Church is the Bride of Christ. Church is for edification. The Church must preach the gospel to every creature.

Two of my heroes are Jim and Elisabeth Elliot. Their words so perfectly express Christian truths. I am always challenged by the things they wrote. What's more, their lives back up their admonitions. I found this quote by Jim about church: “The pivot point hangs on whether or not God has revealed a universal pattern for the church in the New Testament. If He has not, then anything will do so long as it works. But I am convinced that nothing so dear to the heart of Christ as His Bride should be left without explicit instructions as to her corporate conduct. I am further convinced that the 20th century has in no way simulated this pattern in its method of ‘churching’ a community . . . it is incumbent upon me, if God has a pattern for the church, to find and establish that pattern, at all costs” (Shadow of The Almighty: Life and Testimony of Jim Elliot).

A few years ago I started to do a Bible study of worship. It seemed to me that something so important could not have been overlooked by God. I also guessed that He would care how He was worshiped. Truth be told, I got bogged down in the endless supply of verses dealing with worship and praise and singing and bowing. Apparently, God has a lot to say about how we worship. The same is true, I believe, of Church.

One of the most vivid lessons I've ever had was taught by a man in a Bible study I attended. He put up a white board and, holding the marker up in his right hand, asked for us to list all the things wrong with the church. After we'd exhausted our many complaints, he erased it. "Good. Now forget all those things." And then he asked what a bride should be. He received various responses from "beautiful" to "economical" to "barefoot." Finally he pulled up another whiteboard and had us list what the church should be. Then he put the two boards side by side. If the Church is the Bride of Christ, shouldn't we be expecting some bride-like behavior?

R.C. Sproul, Jr. and his Highland Study Center sent out an article in their bi-monthly magazine about feasting. If the Lord's Supper is a preview of the Wedding Supper of the Lamb, as indicated by Jesus' comments about when He would again drink wine, shouldn't it be an all-out feast? Shouldn't we celebrate? The medeival and ancient understanding of feasting has been all but lost in our American culture. But think of any medeival feast about which you may have read. Singing. Dancing. Laughter. Platter after platter of delicious food. Smells of delicious food. Colorful fruit and costumes. Conversation that is witty and kind. Don't you think the Church should be doing that?

Do you know how many times joy is addressed in the Bible? I don't; I haven't counted. But I know it is often discussed.

Rom 12:9-15
"Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil;
cleave to that which is good.
Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love;
in honour preferring one another;
Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation;
continuing instant in prayer;
Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep."

To God be all glory.

Monday, September 11, 2006

"We're at War"

All day I've been remembering what my life was like one day, exactly 5 years ago. On September 11, 2001, I remember how I heard. I remember watching the events unfold, grasping the big picture: my country has been attacked. The reality of the cost to those people in the planes, in the towers, in the pentagon, and their families, took a little longer to sink into my young mind:

Five years ago this morning I woke up and crawled out of bed. I was homeschooled, so the morning was casual. As soon as I got to the school room, Mom was up, which was normal. On a normal school morning she would be grading papers before we started school. The TV was on this morning, though, and she was riveted. In a groggy voice, I’m sure I asked what was going on. Of course she didn’t know a lot. She replied in a shaky voice that a plane, they thought, had hit a big building in New York.

We watched the television coverage, video after live video of the smoking building. Witnesses started calling into the major news stations trying to report what they thought they’d seen. Anchors worried about field correspondents who were missing. With the cell phone overload happening then, it is no wonder the reporters couldn’t contact their news desks. Right before our eyes, while still spinning with the panic on the air, another plane flew into Tower 1. My first reaction was that they had found footage of what happened. But both towers were visible, and both were smoking now. Anchors were trying to describe, trying to make sense, trying to remain calm.

Calm was not something I wanted to be. I didn’t want anyone in charge to be calm either. We were at war, obviously. That was my reaction. Terrorists had hit our country, and we were at war. What would that mean? Would it be like Israel, everyday wondering if a suicide bomber would pick our favorite restaurant to blow up.

As the next few days progressed, the reality didn’t affect my sheltered world too much. The news was on every night, showing the rubble. We learned about the “Let’s Roll” plane in Pennsylvania, and I worried about a friend who lived there. There was the Pentagon attack, too, which I was sorry got so little coverage. And everyone was flying their flags. No one was fighting amongst themselves. That stood out.

When it came out, I read Lisa Beamer’s biography of her husband, and that was the first time I cried. I didn’t know anyone in New York or Washington D.C. so it was hard for the reality to sink in. Recently I cried again when I finally heard the 911 recordings that were released. Sean Hannity played them in a montage on the radio. Those cries, the helplessness of the 911 operators, and the knowledge that the result was so many of those people dying, finally hit home.

The final vivid memory I have of the whole event was President Bush giving the State of the Union address. “We have seen the state of our union, and it is STRONG,” he said. It was true. It still is.

To God be all glory.

Moms and Delight

"I think we delight to praise what we enjoy
because the praise not merely expresses
but completes the enjoyment;
[praise] is [enjoyment’s] appointed consummation.
. . . The delight is incomplete till it is expressed."

C.S. Lewis wrote that in Reflections on the Psalms. I agree. This blog, especially when I link to a separate web page, is about sharing the internet and my delight in other things. I'm happy you're reading. I'd be happier if I knew who you were. You can comment and let me know. Just a first name is fine, and a little about yourself if I don't know you and if you're not a Blogger member (which means I could link to your biography).

My mom is excited about my blog. Hi, Mom! For a long time I've been sending emails to a group of friends, so the writing isn't such a new thing to me. But she wasn't on the list, and now she is. Since she knows about it, she has told all her friends and relatives about it. I think, after her account to me this afternoon, she has told more people about my blog than I have!

A friend from church exposed my mom's practice of telling everyone she knows about my blog. She said I think deep thoughts. Well, I do think a lot. People say I think too much. I got the C.S. Lewis quote above from Ravi Zacharias' website, and he has a program that is called Let My People Think. I love that. Just don't always count on deep posts. I like to tell you what my life is like, too. I like to make you laugh.

To God be all glory.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Summer Past

In two hours it will be September 10th. It's one of those moments when life seems to have gone by quickly. Lanier posted about the end of happy summer days on YLCF. I wanted to cry out, "No! Wait. I didn't enjoy them enough. I only went swimming once. I had to work. Summer can't be over!"

Since this week went by so fast, it highlights the speed at which summer flew. The week was so busy, but fulfilling. I'll have reminders of the productivity of my week for months to come. That's what life should be.

Despite all the rain we've been getting here, the weather is cooler, and the ground knows autumn is coming. Instead of being rich summer green, the lawn is fading. We broke out the sweaters a few weeks ago. The crispness in the air is tantalizing. I want to go out in it, properly swathed in layers of wool and fleece, and enjoy its freshness on my face. Over the horizon the moon is big and red, but it looks a little askew, as though someone kicked it, and it tipped.

I wrote this a long time ago. My poetry doesn't win any awards, but it provides a way to end my post! = )

Adventure stirs withing the soul
People go crunching by
Once green leaves turn to bright gold
Migrating geese southward fly.

Sweaters pulled close against the wind
Beneath a thin grey sky
Soft, drenching rain soaks to the skin
Bleared sunlight seems to lie.

For warmth and green are passing quick
Pale brown the grass is now
Scent of smoke outside drifts thick
Leaves are on the ground.

Just after harvest first snow falls
Evenings are spent inside
Bright leaves carpet tree-pillared halls
Where autumn secrets hide.
To God be all glory.

On Names and Titles

Do you know why I call this blog Lady of Longbourn? The lady part, I hope, is obvious. Longbourn is the home of the Bennets in Pride and Prejudice. In the good old (rich) days, houses had names. Only, I don't understand. Names don't cost anything, so why don't we have them any more, even if we're not as well-to-do?

I love Pride and Prejudice. The five sisters run around dancing, debating, visiting, traveling, sewing, arranging flowers... It's lovely. If my life were like that, I don't think I'd complain much. In an effort to make my life more like that, I am trying to start a home business. Home sewing and beautifying.

After going through a few ideas for creatively communicating the image of women working at home: Cottage Industries, and stuff like that, I arrived at Lady of Longbourn. Like Elizabeth. I'm at home, carefully crafting useful and beautiful objects. And I'm blogging about things like literature and pride and prejudice and romance and Victorian things. It's fun. I hope you like it. And I hope some Austen fanatics will search for Longbourn, find my site, and decide to stay even if I'm not increasing their trivial knowledge of all things Austen. I can't even give you a floorplan of the house used in the (A&E/BBC) Pride and Prejudice for Longbourn - though I have looked. I cannot tell you why Jane Austen spelled Longbourn without an 'e' on the end. I would have. I like e's.

To God be all glory.


When I was in elementary school, I loved to read the Boxcar Children mysteries. I devoured them. Each scholastic catalog would offer another book, and I acquired quite a collection. After I finished the final chapters came a deep sigh. All the mysteries happen to them.

The Lord of the Rings is my favorite book. I have to say "The Lord of the Rings" because I can't choose between the books. The Fellowship of the Ring is moving and exciting. There is the Knife in the Dark, and Moria, and all sorts of history and humor. But the Two Towers is cool because there is the battle at Helms Deep and meeting Faramir. The Return of the King. Ahh. Horns and battles. A woman in disguise, rescued from the brink of death to find love. An incredible love story. Eowyn is my favorite character. I would finish Mount Doom and sigh. They just don't make adventure like they used to.

And now I read Amy's Humble Musings, and laugh 'til my sides hurt. I tell all my friends of Amy's exploits. And while I enjoy her musings on everyday life, I sigh. All the funny things happen to her.

Don't get me wrong. I laugh at myself a lot. But I have an overactive sense of humor, and you all would probably be bored to know that I opened the cupboard door and then tripped over it the other day. I laughed. I made a fool of myself. The retelling loses something.

However, I am currently laughing. Not at what I'm writing (I'm multitasking). My family is discussing logic and recollection and quotation. See, Mom says she heard my brother say something that now he says he didn't say. So we're trying to figure out how Mom got what she got from what she said. My other brother is analyzing it according to the logic class he's taking in college now. Brother one is losing, logically speaking. We keep making logical conclusions and he says "No. No. It's like..." and then he uses some very clever metaphor. My favorite today: "It's like throwing me a wadded up piece of paper and expecting a flat one back. Your question was too confusing." (Mom was complaining he didn't answer her questions coherently.)

So maybe you're not laughing. So why are you reading if you want to laugh? Go read Amy.

To God be all glory.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Today I read Tilly, by Frank Peretti. It is a small novel based on a story he originally wrote for the radio. The story was so enchanting that it took several hours to shake the feeling that all before my eyes was a dream.

There is one part in the story where a little girl is assuring an older woman that Jesus wipes tears away, that He comforts and heals. She speaks from experience. That little part of the scene struck me.

I've long found the passages about Jesus' care for me beloved. He knows all my tears, and will one day wipe them all away. Today I saw Jesus' care for all of His children and just swelled with awe at His complete love.

Have you ever watched someone whom you know well do something heroic? Or generous? And your heart just shouted with pride? That is how I felt. It is intimately special to know Jesus loves me. It is jubilance that will not be kept silent that knows Jesus loves everyone. For so many hurting, guilty, weary people, Jesus is preparing healing and comfort and a place and a fellowship. My Jesus does that.

So I was startled, after rejoicing in my God's great goodness, sending rain on the just and the unjust, to read this post on YLCF. Isn'g God so often seen in the little things?

To God be all glory.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Learning about a New Word

Since I am so fond of words and their history, I really liked this post on Like Merchant Ships. It's almost enough to prod me into making "serendipitous" a part of my regular vocabulary!

To God be all glory.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Thinking about the Little Things

Do you ever think about what you do? No, I mean the little things. See, I’m pet-sitting for some friends right now, and I wonder how many things the woman usually does for her dog that she doesn’t even think about. They’re acts of common sense, or affection, or personal preference. She may like the food bowl out from the wall a little. Or she’ll randomly stroke her dog. Maybe her cat will get a little verbal comfort during the day. There are plants in her house, too. Do they have names? She probably knows how much each one grows, the best place to water it, and the best time of day to do so. What things in her house are special, just the way they are? Is there a reason for the way she makes her bed?

When she instructed me in caring for her house, she didn’t have time to go over things like that. I was told where the food was, and how often to feed the animals, how often to leave them out. Not only did she not have time; she probably never thinks about the things that are just part of her life.

So how many little things with which you busy yourself do you ignore? I’m not talking quirky things. Just average things. How do you brush your teeth? Does your right foot hit the floor in the morning before your left foot does? Do you turn your dog’s food bowl when it’s half eaten so she can get to the food better?

Last night I had a pen in my hand, so I was writing. Yes, that is exactly what I mean. At first there was something specific I was jotting down, but later I was just writing because the pen and journal were there. I never do that. I know; I have really long blog posts, long letters, long emails, long stories. But I never just write about the simple world around me. Because I never notice.

Last night I noticed. And without being brilliantly descriptive in my metaphors or word choice, I was communicating on paper (to myself, of course) like I rarely do. It was me, pointing out the little things I noticed, the small things that were part of my world and would never have received conscious notice without the pen.

It’s interesting to discover who you are in the small things. Even more interesting is to notice other people in the small things. Only beware! This exercise is not for the purpose of annoying you and complaining against them. How does your mom dry dishes? List the three things your best friend does when they first get in the car. Think. Look. Notice.

Finally, respond. This morning I was confronted with the truth that I lean more toward gaining knowledge than practicing application. Way more. It’s nice to know that there are people who have a pattern of little things that make up their day. But it doesn’t mean anything unless it changes you.

I don’t know why humans give the cold shoulder to change so often. I do. Change is uncomfortable. But does life have meaning without it? Is life being lived if you’re not going anywhere, at least growing? I mean, a plant doesn’t usually go anywhere, but it grows. Is that it’s purpose? Poor plants; they don’t have a conscious purpose. But we do.

Theologians debate about this. The old confessions of faith state that our purpose is to glorify God. Modern church movements at least show that they believe evangelism is the real priority of life. Which is it? Is it something else? What do you think? Does the Bible have anything to say?

Been great talking to you, observing. My thoughts aren’t often about the concrete, but just to give you a sample: the dog likes to make noise. Her tail hits her cushion. The collar around her neck jingles with the tags attached. In fact everything in this house makes noise: the ice maker, the refrigerator, the swamp cooler, cat, dog, the cat’s automatic litter box. Yes, every once in a while that fantastic invention screeches its way to clean. And it’s nice, because then when you go to sleep in a mostly quiet house and you hear a noise, you don’t worry; it’s just the dog.

To God be all glory.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

In the Temple with One Accord

"And all that believed were together,
and had all things in common..."
~ Acts 2:44

"And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple,
and breaking bread from house to house,
did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart..."
~ Acts 2:46

"Now Peter and John went up together
into the temple at the hour of prayer,
being the ninth hour."
~ Acts 3:1

"And the multitude of them that believed
were of one heart and of one soul:
neither said any of them that
ought of the things which he possessed
was his own; but they had all things in common."
~ Acts 4:32

"Go, stand and speak in the temple
to the people
all the words of this life."
~ Acts 5:20

"And daily in the temple, and in every house,
they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ."
~ Acts 5:42

"Then Paul took the men,
and the next day purifying himself with them
entered into the temple,
to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification,
until that an offering should be offered for every one of them."
~ Acts 21:26

These verses were running through my mind as I looked at our church today. In Acts we are given an almost poetic picture of the way the early Church gathered. Look at the expressions of worship in these verses.

To God be all glory.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Fairy Tales and Romance

"Do you believe in fairy tales?" the reporter held a microphone to Miriel. She laughed at the obvious implication that she was living a fairy tale. Since she had met Prince Edmund a year and a half ago, she had been pinching herself to make sure she wasn't dreaming.

"I believe in the power of fairy tales," Miriel began diplomatically, "to give us perspective, and to unleash our imaginations, and to remind us of past traditions. Our dreams are more often found in fairy tales than in our ambitions."

"What are your dreams?" another reporter shoved her way forward. "Did you dream to marry a prince?"

"Princes are not fairies. They exist in our world. Princes can fall in love just like you or me. To dream that is not a fairy tale..." A reporter began to interrupt, but she held up her graceful hand for silence, then continued, "In the past year, to marry your prince and to serve your country has become my dearest dream."

"What makes you think you are qualified to serve us?" Miriel recognized the cocky reporter from the back of the crowd. He was a pessimist and a trouble maker.

Thinking out her reply carefully, Miriel answered, "Many people serve your country. Cooks and secretaries, mechanics and soldiers make this country run. The royalty may have different responsibilities, but they are not greater than the people who do these other tasks. I do not pretend to be any more qualified to deliberate in your treaty talks than to repair your car; but I will use the skills I do have to serve your country. And I will invest myself in learning more skills."

I sometimes get little bits of inspiration that cannot be fit into any longer story. It has been a long time since I pushed a little notebook in front of a friend and made them read it. So I thought I would share it with you today.

This week I began to read Captivating. Several personal friends recommended it, and several websites criticized it. So I am trying to be open. An undeniable effect of the book so far is imagination. Mine is all alive with memories and ideas and stories. (In the adventurous, enchanting sense - true or not.)

As an add-on to the above post, when I was looking for the passage which I typed for you, I also found this list titled, from some years ago, A Christian Girl's Philosophy of Romance. Each point has a lot of explanation behind it which I never bothered to write down.

  • Father figure - My dad approves a suitor as suitable and worthy.
  • Big brother factor - God, dad, and brothers defend against those with harmful intent.
  • Principle of waiting - Both I and my future husband are waiting, hoping, and maybe eventually protecting each other by silence.
  • God's sight - While I am waiting, I am aiming to please God. The suitor, I am praying, will see me through God's eyes, so I will be pleasing to him, too.
  • Sacrifice - Giving every desire and thought and my future to God as an act of worship.
  • Playwright - The Author will write a beautiful love story (Ephesians 3:20-21). He is able to give good gifts.
  • Charged by the does - I won't seek love until it finds me; love is a choice.
  • Given to God - Until I am married, I should be caring for the things of God, keeping a pure spirit, and being satisfied with God.
  • Dependence - Depend on God who never fails and who always forgives, before He gives me His creature on whom to depend.
  • Wilderness of loneliness - Waiting can be a training ground to make me more like God and focused away from myself.
  • There is only ONE - Statistically, there are billions of men, but only 1 created and prepared for me. He's out there; he's mine; and I'm his. Act accordingly. In the end, it doesn't matter if there are hundreds who meet the "qualifications" or just a few. I'm waiting for 1.

Proverbs 31:12 ~ "She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life."

Song of Solomon 2:7 ~ "I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
By the gazelles or by the does of the field,
Do not stir up nor awaken love
Until it pleases."

1 Corinthians 7:34 ~ "...The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit..."

What Church Should Be

"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."
Hebrews 10:24-25

This year, and especially this summer, I have been learning a lot about the Church. That might sound strange for a girl whose family has been a part of it all her life. I've memorized verses about church. God has been really stripping away my assumptions about church recently, though. Does a church need a youth pastor? Does a church need a youth group? Does a church need a senior pastor at all? What about a building? What does the Bible say?

And that led into questions like, What is the church supposed to do? Who is the church supposed to comprise? How should we spend money? How should we collect money? What is the admonishment in Hebrews, not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, really saying?

Since my questions started pouring forth, I've also done a lot of research. This is Bible research. Check out 1 Corinthians 12-14 for one of the simplest descriptions of the church (meaning the gathering.) And I've also looked up different articles about church. A Christian Home had one (I think it got lost in computer craziness) about the real church being small groups. You find small groups all across the board of small churches, big ones, evangelistic, or discipleship-minded. There is a site called the New Testament Reformation Fellowship with some interesting arguments for home churches, which I see as still doing the small groups and crossing out the traditional Sunday morning 200+ gatherings. There is a little more detail there, though, because they aren't just suggesting a strategy for small groups; they're pointing out and trying to implement the instructions given in the New Testament.

All this to say I finally reached the same conclusion that was superficially in my mind before I started asking. The Church is about people. Build them up. Love them. Be faithful to speak the truth to them. Learn and serve at their side. The Church cannot be confined to a building. It is every Christian you know and with whom you communicate.

To conclude, having learned these things and become passionate about them, this morning I read this post from Gretchen at Young Ladies Christian Fellowship. Note that the congregation began serving them after just one week!

To God be all glory.