Saturday, December 13, 2008

Obesely Hungry

Gary said he heard on the radio yesterday that the poor people in America are disproportionately obese. The middle-class and rich are thinner. This is SO different from how it is in other countries and how it has been throughout history: the fat people were the ones who had money enough to ensure a plentiful food supply; thinness was a sign that the person didn't have enough to fill his belly.

I think this news story is intimately connected with how horribly we have stripped the nutrition from our food supply. I remember so clearly when Jenn talked about her husband coming back from his soldiering and being able to cut back on his portion-sizes. Apparently he needed to eat huge amounts of the food the army serves (food much like typical American diets) to be able to meet his nutritional needs. When he came home and was eating organic veggies and grass-fed beef and whole grains, his body was getting what it needed, and thus he wasn't as hungry.

This makes so much sense. When a body takes in food that is lacking in nutrients, the body gets the calories but is still craving the vitamins and minerals and proteins it needs. So even after we eat, we're hungry. Hunger is our body's way of signaling malnourishment.

In America, we eat white bread and white rice. Our salads are small; our vegetable servings are tiny. We put chemical fertilizers on the fields and gardens instead of cow poop. We irradiate food. We genetically alter seeds. We keep chickens cooped up in tiny boxes without letting them see the sun and scratch for bugs and stretch their legs. We fill ourselves with pop and Snapple. And then there's McDonalds and Twinkies. And have you read the labels on lunchmeat and salad dressing? The recipes online this time of year are loaded with ingredients like Cool Whip and Cheese Whiz and Jello. What are we eating? Our idea of "getting our vitamins" is to pop a pill or eat a bowl of Total cereal. It's stunning that with all this food available, with all these calories we consume, we are still malnourished. But it's true.

Problem is, those healthy foods (like fresh produce, or eggs from happy chickens) cost a lot more than what you can buy at Aldi. And then us po' folks are stuck with some hard decisions.


I don't know about you, but I never learned about the lymphatic system when I was in school. We learned about skeletons and hearts and stomachs and brains. But not lymph. So now I am supposedly teaching my own children. Oops. Jay Wile's section on biology (in the general science book) has intrigued Andrew. He's telling me all this cool stuff he reads and learns. Some of it I knew. And to some of it I say, "HUH?"

Lymph is what I just do not understand. So in addition to what Andrew taught me from his science book, I checked me out a kiddie-book from the library. Best I could find was a book on the cardiovascular system and the lymphatic system. As I read, I discovered that the authors didn't have too much to say about lymph. I guess that's why the lymphatic system didn't warrant its own book, eh? I suppose I could get a grown-up's book on the subject, but deciphering that would leave me no time for onion-chopping and laundry-folding and snow-shoveling. So I delved into the kiddie-version.

Well, here's what I learned.

The lymphatic system is made up of vessels (like the veins and arteries) all over the body, almost like a frontage road following along the highway of the cardiovascular system. The tubey-guys are bigger than capillaries but smaller than the smallest veins and arteries. And the tubey-guys in the lymphatic system have valves that go only one way; they take lymph AWAY FROM the body's cells.

Interstitial fluid is the liquid in the body that allows movement of molecules. That is, the slippery slidey lubrication, in my super-advanced way of categorizing things. This excess fluid flows into the lymphatic system, and then it is called {ta da!} lymph. Lymph looks a lot like plasma and has much the same composition.

Lymph flows through the lymphatic vessels. Scattered all along this frontage road (the lymphatic system) are lymph nodes. These guys I understand. They are places where the germies meet up with the germ-fighters. That's why lymph nodes swell when you're sick, because you have extra germ-fighters. Lymph nodes are the part of the lymphatic system that is so important to a person's immune system. I did not know, though, that tonsils are a big ol' collection of lymphatic tissue.

After the lymph makes its circuit around the body, there are two bigger tubes in the chest where the lymph gets dumped into the blood. I guess that's where the white blood cells fight off the rest of the germies that made it past the lymph nodes??

So here's what I want to know. When you get a teeny-tiny cut or a cold sore, and you get that yellow crusty stuff instead of a scab, is that lymph and not plasma?

Today's Laugh

I've come up with a set of rules that describes our reaction to technologies:

1. Anything that is in the world when you're born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.

2. Anything that's invented between the time you're 15 and 35 is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.

3. Anything invented after you're 35 is against the natural order of things.

Hat tip: Elephant's Child from quite a while ago

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas in Advent

I recall years when I was torn between the two viewpoints: "getting ready for Christmas" that had been so much a part of my Decembers versus the rule of "waiting for Christmastide" until we actually arrived at the 24th or 25th. I can see the point of those who don't want to do anything "Christmasy" during Advent, but I still rebel against the idea of putting up a tree on the 24th when I'd rather be in church. In some of my blog reading this week, Pastor Cwirla made a point that made more sense than any I'd heard before.

He spoke of having distinct seasons of Advent and Christmas within the church. He said that, in his home, there was a blend of "getting ready" and "waiting." But what I loved most was his perspective on what's happening out there in the world, with manger scenes set up the day after Thanksgiving:
In society, I rejoice whenever I see a nativity scene or hear an actual Christmas hymn, even if it's the day after Halloween. With everyone trying to wipe Christmas off the holiday map, I don't need to help them. I'll gladly sing along with the Christmas carols at Home Depot and wish anyone a "Merry Christmas."

It IS amazing, isn't it, to hear
He from whom joy streameth
poor in a manger lies

while you're shopping for mittens, or

veiled in flesh, the Godhead see,
hail the incarnate deity!
Pleased as Man with man to dwell,
Jesus, our Immanuel

while trying on jeans at Fleet Farm.

Before the Face of All People

As we studied Joel 3 in Bible class this week, one thing confused me.

God is speaking about judgment on the nations who persecute believers, the nations who reject His word, the nations who despise His grace. Even though God's people may appear to be downtrodden, the Lord will vindicate them in the end. He will bring His people back to the Promised Land. The thing that confused me was how the believers were supposed to know whether these promises in the prophets were something that would happen in time, with regard to the physical land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, or if these prophecies would be fulfilled only at the Last Day. After all, we reject the modern-day false prophets who are always promising us goodies in this life (and pretty darn soon, too, in pretty good abundance) as they preach a theology of glory with a focus on how God is going to make us healthy, wealthy, and wise.

As Pastor answered my question, he spoke about how God's people could know what the prophets meant (that is, how the physical land itself would need to be restored prior to the Messiah's birth, as well as how the main point was the restoration of creation and the Church through the sacrifice of the Messiah) only as they studied and meditated upon what the prophets preached. He said that, yes, these things were made known to all peoples, but that they weren't seen by all.

Simeon knew. (Not about the Babylonian captivity and the restoration of the Jews to the promised land. That was already history by Simeon's time. I mean he knew other things about which the prophets preached.) He meditated on what the prophets had taught. He prayed. He listened. The Holy Spirit enlightened him with His gifts, and sanctified and kept him in the true faith. Simeon prayed that he was ready to die when once he had taken the baby Jesus in his arms and had seen Thy salvation which Thou hadst prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.

But so few see it. The blindness is great. Look at all the things Isaiah said about the people sitting in darkness, and the blindness that pervades the world. Look at all the miracles Jesus did to give sight to the blind -- not just so they could see the pretty clouds and pretty trees and their dear family members' faces, but the healing of blindness is more significantly that we can see
what the fathers most desired,
what the prophets' heart inspired,
what they longed for many a year.

When He
stands fulfilled in glory here,
God grant that our blindness be healed that we may see aright His glory in the Son of David.

Today's Laugh

Kari says these are quotes from Douglas Adams:

The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair.

I'm spending a year dead for tax reasons.

Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?

It is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it... anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.

It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.

The knack of flying is learning to throw yourself at the ground and miss.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hymn Greeting Cards

I've been meaning to post pictures of some of the greeting cards available from Hymns in My Heart. They are beautiful and priced quite nicely compared to cards in the store. And they are designed with hymn stanzas!!!!

While I was dawdling in further advertisements for these people (who are strangers to me) who have the fabulous cards, the creator's father set up a website to make it easier for people to see and order cards. It's definitely worth a look!

Joel 3:5

... because you have taken My silver and My gold,
and have carried into your temples My prized possessions.

Roger pointed something out in Bible class today. This verse is in the past tense. It was recorded by Joel around 250 years prior to the time when Babylon came into Jerusalem, destroyed the temple, and carried off the gold and silver. But when God is speaking, it's in the past tense.

I find that fascinating. It fits so well with the understanding that Jesus' cross is the center of all the Bible, and that everything (before and after Him, in time) is affected by the pivotal event of all history ... because to God, it IS. God is not confined to seeing things as we do, always within the passage of time. For Him, there isn't some "waiting around" for things to happen.

2 Peter 3:8 With the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

Baby Pictures

Approximately 5 weeks old:

I know those of you who are Facebook-friends with Katie have already seen these, but there's my mom who needs to see too.

Psalm 87

This psalm had always drawn my mind back to the hymn, "Glorious Things of You Are Spoken." What I'd always noticed before was the specialness of Zion.

But what is all this stuff about being born in Zion? Three times it says that.

I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon
to those who know Me.
Behold, o Philistia and Tyre, with Ethiopia:
"This one was born there."

And of Zion it will be said,
"This one and that one were born in her;
and the Most High Himself shall establish her."
The Lord will record,
when He registers the peoples:
"This one was born there."

Both the singers and the players on instruments say,
"All my springs are in you."

Somehow, some way, there must be something important about that "being born there." And interestingly enough, the psalm states that three times. Three. Such a trinitarian number.

But then there's that business about the Lord recording births in Zion. The Lord registers the people according to their birth in Jerusalem? What's up with that? Hmmmm. John clues us in (end of Revelation 20) that there is a Book of Life, and anyone whose name is not found written in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire.

Wait a minute. Birth!
Unless one is born again,
he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

Ah ha! So THAT is what the final verse of Psalm 87 has to do with the rest of it. The springs --the waters of Holy Baptism-- are in Zion, the Church. We who are born in the Church --born of water and the Spirit-- are recorded in the Book of Life. And this is the "glorious thing" about Zion!

Today's Laugh

passed along from Melody

Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical liberal minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Psalm 89:32

What's the deal with the publishers of the NKJV? We were praying Psalm 89 this morning, and there was not ONE little star in the margin (y'know, those stars that indicate a messianic prophecy). This psalm is, like, messianic all over the place!

If his sons forsake My law
and do not walk in My judgments,
if they break My statutes
and do not keep My commandments,
then I will punish their transgression with the rod,
and their iniquity with stripes.

Hey, what's that about punishing their transgression? WHO is gonna be the one punished for God's people forsaking His law, anyway?

From Isaiah:
He was wounded for our transgressions.
He was bruised for our iniquities.
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him.
And by His stripes we are healed.

Roof Raking

Up on the housetop Grandpa paused,
not with hammer, wrench, or saws,
but with a rake to move the snow.
He wants to make the ice-dams GO.

Down on the ground Grandma sees him.
She groans, "There he goes again!
I sure wish he would not do that.
What if he falls and goes kersplat?"

So here ya go, Mom. Here is a picture of my roof rake. It's aluminum, so it's lightweight enough to wield way up there. And amazingly enough, you use it while standing on the ground.

PS: Note what's up above the roof. A sky. A sky that is BLUE. And notice the shadows of the tree and me and my roof-rake. That means there was sun for a while today!

Sad Kitties

Katie is getting more sleep. Long before she was born, Alia liked to be up and going and active and busy from bedtime to the middle of the night. Alia is beginning to learn that she is supposed to sleep at night and be awake during the day. This means that Alia's mommy gets to sleep a whole lot more. This is good for Alia's mommy.

Snow tally so far:
8" on December 1
3" worth of shoveling drifts on December 2
6" on December 3
3" on December 6
4" on December 9
2" worth of shoveling drifts on December 10

What does the 2' of snow mean? Well, for one, it means I'm tired. I'm really really tired, and I'm watching too much tv and blogging too much because we come in from the shoveling reading to crash.

But for another, 2' of snow means sad kitties. No bon-bons to hunt. No place to go potty. No warm spot to lie in a sunbeam. Good grief, your little paws can't even reach the ground -- the snow is too deep.

So the kitties are inside. Cranky and trapped. Rosie (the young one) is stir-crazy and wanting to chase string, attack the kitty-in-the-mirror, and run run run. Apparently she discovered sources of water outdoors because now that she's stuck inside she is back to her old ways of begging persistently for water faucets to be turned on for fresh water. Athena (the old cat) is hungry (no bon-bons) and growly and altogether perturbed. With indoor kitties we have to be cleaning the litter box and we have to be feeding them more kibble.

BUT I found the silver lining! When kitties are stuck indoors 24/7, they cannot go out at night. And come in at night. And go out at night. And come in at night. Man oh man, I'm getting some good solid sleep, with no beggar pawing gently at my face, "Hey, open the door, I need to find a snack rid you of mammalian pests."

I know it's not the same as the rest Katie is rejoicing to have, but I am sharing her relief in a small way.

Today's Laugh

Erin told me about a church-sign she saw.

Put Christ back in X-mas.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Come, Lord Jesus

I'm not in the mood for Christmas and hanging up lights and finding a place in the [crowded] new house for a Christmas tree. Oh, and doing the grocery shopping is about all the crowd-fighting and money-spending I can handle; I don't want to do gift shopping too.

And it's been snowing and cloudy a lot.

So there is something absolutely wonderful and comforting about the versicles for Advent.

Every morning at Matins we pray:
Praise to You, O Christ, King who comes to save us.

And then Pastor proclaims,
Behold, the Lord comes to save us.
And we respond,
Oh, come, let us worship Him (and continue with the Venite).

And nearly every day,
at the beginning of Evening Prayer,
and at the start of the sermon or Bible class,
we pray,

The Spirit and the Church cry out,
Come, Lord Jesus.
All those who await His appearance pray,
Come, Lord Jesus.
The whole creation pleads,
Come, Lord Jesus.

This is the Christmas preparation that I can handle.

Today's Laugh

From Pastor Colgrove:

The real conclusion to be reached from all the scientific studies on nutrition:

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

Therefore, eat and drink what you like.
Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Reason for Disaster

Today's Bible story was about Zachariah in the temple, conducting the liturgy, praying at the hour of incense, confessing sin. Pastor started us off in Daniel 9 to review what the priests were praying for, what the confession sounded like, how they approached God. Daniel was confessing the sins of Israel, how they had transgressed God's law, and he said in verse 12, And He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster.... As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not made our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth.

Think about that for a minute. What if God had NOT sent the Amorites and the Philistines and the Assyrians and the Babylonians to overrun the Israelites?

In the Torah, God has said thus-and-such will happen if you transgress My law. So His people transgressed His law. If the results/consequences/punishments (or whatever you want to call them) had not come about, that would mean that God's word didn't pan out as He had said.

What would that mean with regard to His promises?

Think about that. Wow. I mean, well, there are reasons that God allows trouble to befall us -- so that we learn to depend upon Him, so that we do not continue in impenitence. But this too -- that we cannot depend upon the happy promises in God's word if some of the rest of His word is lacking in veracity.

Baby Pictures

Four weeks old:

Kewpie-doll hairdo:

Watching dinner-time:

Gingerbread House

Maggie has been yearning to make a gingerbread house, but it didn't look like it was likely to happen. It takes time to make all the parts. Last time we tackled the project, it cost a lot of money to buy all the different varieties of candy. But the other day, we were doing errands at Walmart and saw this kit for a gingerbread house. I splurged for the kit (which was actually much cheaper than doing it from scratch). Friday afternoon she built and assembled and decorated.

Pretty cute, eh?

Today's Laugh

From Kim in Kansas:

Living Wills

Last night, my wife and I were sitting in the living room and I said to her, "I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug."

She got up, unplugged the TV, and threw out my beer.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Double for Her Sins

"Comfort, yes, comfort My people!" says your God.
"Speak comfort to Jerusalem,
and cry out to her that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned;
for she has received from the Lord's hand
double for all her sins."
Isaiah 40

Received double what?

It always seemed to me that what you receive for sins is punishment, so she has received double punishment for her sins. Hmmm. That's comfort??? Not to my way of thinking. Well, maybe because she's been good-n-punished, there can't be any more punishment still waiting???

Pastor has told us in previous years that it is double grace. Okay. If he said so. Didn't make much sense to me though.

But today he talked about it more. We might think punishment is due a sinner. But God takes the punishment for our sins upon Himself, and then He dishes out forgiveness for sins. ("For your thoughts are not My thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declares the Lord.)

And comfort IS the point of the passage. The end of her warfare --and the pardon of her iniquity-- is what the prophets are to speak to God's people. So the double is double grace, double forgiveness, double peace.

Pastor made the point that God's forgiveness is not "just" commensurate with our sin. It's not like He gives us as much grace/mercy as is needed to counterbalance our sin. No, He gives more. A super-abundance. Paul picks up on this notion in Romans 5: But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.

Some Family Pictures

From the weekend of Alia's baptism:

Today's Laugh

Hyperbole is the BEST thing in the whole world!!!!

on a t-shirt pointed out by Rachel