Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dilated Pupils

We saw the eye doctor today to get a prescription for [ta da!] those bifocals I didn't want to succumb to several years ago. Boy, it was the most fun I've ever had at the ophthalmologist! Gary and I spent time in the waiting room with friends who were also there -- lots of laughing and telling stories and having a grand ol' time!

We came out of the building and saw the piles of snow at the edges of the parking lot. Radiant piles of snow. Never saw such shiny, glowing snow! As Gary-of-the-undilated-pupils drove us home, I commented on the fact that my eyes are dilated on such a nice sunny day when I could otherwise have been out soaking up the rays. His response? A perplexed, "Sunny????" Oh.

So, I guess I've found an answer for the lack of sunshine that afflicts us in the north. All you have to do is break into the eye doctor's office, steal bottles of dilating drops, and open up your pupils to the light that's there, and let it stream into your head in humongo doses. Easy as pie! (Shhh, let's not talk about cataracts or macular degeneration.)

And you know what else nice happened today? I saw the new Woodmans being built. I saw the sign on the highway. I saw the concrete front wall that has been erected. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! Woodmans is getting closer to being opened!!!! (Okay, so they need three more walls and a roof before they can even begin electrical work or plumbing or finishing or building a parking lot. Still -- "open" is closer than it was! Let us rejoice and be glad!)

Today's Laugh

A young blonde was on vacation in the depths of Louisiana. She wanted a pair of genuine alligator shoes in the worst way, but was very reluctant to pay the high prices the local vendors were asking.

After becoming very frustrated with the "no haggle" attitude of one of the shopkeepers, the blonde shouted, "Maybe I'll just go out and catch my own alligator so I can get a pair of shoes at a reasonable price!" The shopkeeper said, "By all means, be my guest. Maybe you'll luck out and catch yourself a big one!" Determined, the blonde turned and headed for the swamps, set on catching herself an alligator.

Later in the day, the shopkeeper is driving home, when he spots the young woman standing waist deep in the water, shotgun in hand. Just then, he sees a huge 9-foot alligator swimming quickly toward her. She takes aim, kills the creature, and with a great deal of effort hauls it on to the swamp bank. Lying nearby were several more of the dead creatures. The shopkeeper watches in amazement. Just then the blonde flips the alligator on its back, and frustrated, shouts out, "Oh no! This one isn't wearing any shoes either!"

Friday, January 15, 2010

Before the Foundation of the World

Tonight we watched the Star of Bethlehem movie. The lecturer begins with the question of whether the star was (zap!) a miraculous phenomenon that God zotted into existence when Jesus was born, or was it instead a naturally-occurring alignment of stars and planets that was part of nature? His conclusion is that the star was a naturally-occurring alignment that God built into the skies when He created the world, such that it would point to His Son's birth at the right time and place.

You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you. (1 Peter 1)

If it is true that God built this into the stars, that means these signs (Genesis 1:14) were already planned before the creation of man. If that is true, then God knew from before the foundation of the world that Christ, the blameless Lamb, would shed His blood to redeem you.

Okay, I knew that. I knew that God wasn't [gasp!] caught by surprise when man sinned. God didn't have to come up with Plan B to unite His people to Himself.

But think about what that means. It means that He knew before He created man that He would save them. Not only does it mean He knew, but it means He created anyway. He knew what it would cost Him to save mankind from their rebellion and hatred of Him. But He didn't say "Phooey on this; who needs it?"

That is a love too big to comprehend.

Luke and Chronology

Some pastors I know say that, in the first chapter of Luke, Mary's song (the Magnificat) is the greeting that she spoke to Elizabeth when she arrived for her visit. They say that the Gospel message in that song is what caused the baby John to leap for joy in Elizabeth's womb.

Other pastors say "Poppycock. The Magnificat is recorded after Elizabeth told about her joy and her baby's joy at Mary's arrival." They say Mary sang the Magnificat after the incidents connected with Mary's arrival at Zachariah and Elizabeth's home.

Interestingly enough, the story from Luke 3 shows unequivocally that Luke does tell a story and then go back and fill in some details. The reading for the Baptism of Our Lord tells about John the Baptist's ministry and preaching and that he was shut up in prison by Herod. And then Luke goes back and tells about Jesus baptism ... which happened before John was thrown into prison.

Today's Laugh

A man was passing a small courtyard and heard voices murmuring.

He went in and saw an altar with a large zero in the middle and a banner that said 'NIL.' White-robed people were kneeling before the altar chanting hymns to The Great Nullity and The Blessed Emptiness.

The man turned to a white-robed observer beside him and asked, "Is Nothing Sacred?"

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Today's Laugh

Top Ten Ways to Terrorize a Telemarketer

10. When they ask "How are you today?" Tell them! "I'm so glad you asked because no one these days seems to care, and I have all these problems; my arthritis is acting up, my eyelashes are sore, my dog just died...."

9. If they say they're John Doe from XYZ Company, ask them to spell their name. Then ask them to spell the company name. Then ask them where it is located. Continue asking them personal questions or questions about their company for as long as necessary.

8. Cry out in surprise, "Judy! Is that you? Oh my God! Judy, how have you been?" Hopefully, this will give Judy a few brief moments of pause as she tries to figure out where she could know you from.

7. If MCI calls trying to get you to sign up for the Family and Friends plan, reply, in as SINISTER a voice as you can, "I don't have any friends... would you be my friend?"

6. If they want to loan you money, tell them you are just about to file for bankruptcy and you could sure use some money.

5. Tell the telemarketer you are on "home incarceration" and ask if they could bring you a case of beer and some chips.

4. After the telemarketer gives their spiel, ask him/her to marry you. When they get all flustered, tell them that you could not just give your credit card number to a complete stranger.

3. Tell the telemarketer you are busy at the moment and ask them if they will give you their HOME phone number so you can call them back. When the telemarketer explains that they cannot give out their HOME number, you say "I guess you don't want anyone bothering you at home, right?" The telemarketer will agree and you say, "Now you know how I feel!"

2. Insist that the caller is really your buddy Leon, playing a joke. "Come on Leon, cut it out! Seriously, Leon, how's your momma?"

And first and foremost:

1. Tell them to talk VERY SLOWLY, because you want to write EVERY WORD down.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mexican Brown Rice Casserole

This is from my sister's sister-in-law. We tried it yesterday, liked it, and made notes of what we want to tweak next time we make it. It meets the requirements for the "ideal recipe": inexpensive, healthy, tasty enough to look forward to a few times a month, easy to prepare, and made from whole food ingredients that are standard pantry items here.

1 ½ cups brown rice
3 cups water

While rice is cooking,
thaw 10-oz box of frozen spinach,
and squeeze or drain to remove excess moisture.

Combine the cooked rice with
1 ½ cups salsa
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder

In another bowl, combine
1 quart (or 2 15-oz cans) of refried beans
16-oz bag of frozen corn (preferably thawed)
1 finely chopped onion
4-oz can diced green chili peppers
1 Tbsp chili powder

Layer in the greased pan:
- half the rice mixture
- bean & corn mixture
- spinach
- 1/2 cup grated cheddar.
- the rest of the rice mixture.

Bake at 375° for about 25 minutes.
Add another 1/2 cup grated cheddar.
Bake 5 more minutes.
Top with plenty of chopped fresh cilantro (optional).

Today's Laugh

Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute;
set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

from Miss Drosendahl, via Miss Rhein's Facebook page

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

More Regulations for Homeschoolers

An excerpt from an article in the Fort Wayne newspaper today:

We say we value individuality, yet we refuse to acknowledge this in education. Even worse, we have loads of evidence demonstrating that it’s often the misfits, the bad test-takers, the restless, etc., who often end up making valuable contributions to the world. Yet we have faith in regulations even when they stifle these individuals.

Home schooling in Indiana is an alternative that frees families from this over-regulation and creates the flexibility needed for individuals to truly learn. This is why home schooling works, so it’s completely illogical to propose that families need to preserve the right to home school by taking away the very essence of its effectiveness.

The author also says that increasing regulations would only be interfering with one alternative out there for families who desperately need more flexibility

HT: Jane

Do You Like Your Teacher?

Once upon a time, when we told people we homeschooled, the question was, "Is that legal?" Some years passed, and the question became "What about socialization?" More years passed, and the common response tended toward, "Oh, I know somebody who does that!" We've been to a lot more than our fair share of doctors in the last month or so, and the doctors and nurses have been responding with something that they think is an accepting response. Instead of asking questions, or pointing out (in an "affirming" way -- LOL) that we are not the only weirdos on the planet who do this, they will ask a kid, "So, do you like your teacher?" or "Does your teacher work you really hard?" or "What do you think of your classmates?"

I know they mean no harm; they're trying to be encouraging.

When a kid looks at me helplessly, not knowing how to respond to such a query, I remind the person that our kids don't go to school. In the last year or so, I have been told many times, "Oh, yes, they do. They go to school at HOME. That's still going to school!"

It's not.

Well, in the last year, what we do is indeed looking a lot more like "going to school." But even with that, my kids don't "go to school." Not at home. Not anywhere. They learn. But even the most schoolish stuff we do bears only a little resemblance to "going to school."

Sometimes I want to correct the nurse or whomever. I want them to understand that homeschooling doesn't have to look like what happens in a classroom. I want them to understand that kids can learn in so many different ways!! I want them to understand that their preconceived notions of school & learning & education are just one tiny segment of myriads of possibilities in learning.

But sometimes I just smile and nod and let them keep their faulty ideas. When I try to explain, it is too often all in vain. So we just let them think our kids "go to school" at home.

Today's Laugh

One lovely evening, the detective Sherlock Holmes and his trusty friend Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. After having dinner and drinking a few glasses of wine, they became tired and went to sleep. A couple hours passed and Sherlock Holmes awoke, and shortly thereafter woke Dr. Watson as well. He said, "Watson, look up, and tell me what you see."

Dr. Watson replied, "Well, sir, I see millions of stars in the sky."

Sherlock Holmes asked, "And what does that tell you?"

Dr. Watson paused for a moment and said, "Well, astronomically it tells me that there are billions of stars and possibly millions of galaxies in the universe. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Horalogically I can deduce that it is approximately quarter past three in the morning. Theologically it symbolizes that God is magnificent and that we humans are small and insignificant in the universe. And meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow."

To which Sherlock Holmes replied, "No, stupid! Someone has stolen our tent!"

Monday, January 11, 2010

Today's Laugh

A very attractive young lady was sitting in a fine restaurant one night.

Waiting for her date as she was, she wanted to make sure everything was perfect. So, as she bends down in her chair to get the mirror from her purse, she accidentally farts quite loudly just as the waiter walks up.

Sitting up straight now, embarrassed and red-faced, knowing everyone in the place heard her, she turns to the waiter and demands, "Stop that!"

The waiter looks at her dryly and says, "Sure lady. Which way was it headed?"


I recently picked up some kids' books at the library on bullies. Well, dealing with bullies. Not how to bully! They weren't too bad. Maggie thought they were boring, but I thought there was some helpful stuff in there to think about.

For example, how do we tell the difference between good-natured kidding and mean, passive-aggressive kidding? People can sometimes be downright mean and then cover it up with "Can't you take a joke?" The political correctness out there in the world drives me nuts; it's like nobody can laugh and joke around anymore. So I don't want to go overboard in "not being able to take a joke." But sometimes you just know that the joke was intended to hurt and not to be fun.

A quote from one of the books was particularly concise and insightful, especially in light of a question from Bible class last week. The mom in the story was trying to explain to the daughter that she needed to let the teacher know what was going on, but the daughter didn't want to be a tattle-tale.
Tattling is when you're trying to get someone in trouble. Reporting is when you're trying to help someone in trouble.
It may be the perpetrator you're helping or the victim. And of course we're always willing to put the best construction on our own motivations as to whether we're actually helping or trying to ensure that somebody gets his just deserts. But still, this line does help clarify things for those of us who were emphatically taught that tattling is bad-bad-bad.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Making Merry

We were back on the story of Joseph again this Sunday morning. Pastor was talking about why Benjamin (Joseph's full-brother) was given five times as much dinner as his half-brothers (end of Genesis 43). Turns out that the brothers hadn't bumped off Benjamin many years ago, after they'd gotten rid of Joseph. Turns out that they had brought Benjamin along on the trip as requested. Turns out that it's looking like they might actually be becoming sorry for what they'd done to Joseph so many years previous. So Benjamin gets a plateful that isn't fair; he gets treated better than the others. And did the brothers resent that Benjamin was treated differently? No. They drank and were merry.

Remember the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15)? When he returned home, the father hosted a feast. He wanted to make merry for his son who was dead was now alive. How do we know the older brother was angry? How do we know that he believed in his own merits and not in the gracious love of his father? How do we know he held grudges? Because he refused to join the party and make merry and rejoice in his brother's good fortune.

And here we have the brothers who sold Joseph, who hated him, who wanted him dead -- all because they had resented the grace bestowed on him -- and they are no longer begrudging a brother the gifts he gets that they don't. Instead, they rejoice and make merry.


Finally, somebody writing about the need to get our bodies out into the sunshine, without sunscreen!

I thought it was particularly interesting that kids can store up enough vitamin D during summer's sunny days to get them through winter, but adults cannot. (Kinda makes me think of Frederick.) Also interesting that even people with cancers (including melanomas) can be helped by sunshine.

Today's Laugh

The man got in a fight with his wife last night. He admits that it was totally his fault. When she called from the kitchen sink to find out what was on the TV, he answered, "Dust." Things didn't go too well after that.