Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sinus Rinse

Stores sell packets of sinus rinse for people with allergies or sinus infections. But if you want to use a neti-pot or a sinus-rinse kit, there's a cheaper way to do it.

The harder way: combine equal parts of baking soda and table salt. Use about 1/4 or 1/3 teaspoon per 8 ounces of water. That would be similar to what's in one of those 11-cents-each packets.

The easy way: just use 1/8 or 1/4 teaspoon of salt in your water.

Much cheaper.
And you don't have to mess with the little packets.

Today's Laugh

Jim asked his friend, Tony, whether he had bought his wife anything for Valentine's Day.

"Yes," came the answer from Tony, who wasn't usually thoughtful about these kinds of holidays. "I've bought her a belt and a bag."

"Wow, that was sweet of you," Jim added, "I hope she appreciates the thought."

Tony smiled as he replied, "So do I, and hopefully the vacuum cleaner will work better now."

Friday, February 12, 2010

Why Theistic Evolution Is Impossible

In public school, they taught me about the Big Bang theory and about man evolving from apes. I believed it.

In Sunday school, they taught me about God's creation of the world in six days, Adam and Eve, and the fall into sin. I believed it.

At school, they told me that the story from the Bible was wrong. I didn't believe that. After all, what else would you expect them say?

But I don't think anybody ever told me that the evolutionary tale they taught me at school was wrong. My Sunday school teachers and parents and pastors told me what was right, but I don't think they ever told me that my school teachers were wrong.

Sometime in my late teens, the conflict between evolution and creation was pointed out to me. For a while I thought theistic evolution -- that God created the world through evolution -- might be a plausible theory. So I do realize that just because somebody believes in evolution does not mean they are damned to hell and standing outside the Church in rejection of Christ's atonement. Christians often live with inconsistencies in their theology and philosophy and worldview.

For a long time, "because the Bible said so" was reason enough to believe that God created the world in six days. And it is reason enough. Not exactly an evangelical, gospel-oriented reason. But definitely a good enough reason. But there was always that little, nagging voice that said, "How do you know for sure that God didn't create the world through evolution? And why does it matter, anyway?"

It matters because of what the Christian Church teaches about sin and grace.

The wages of sin is death.

If that is true, then there was no death before the Fall into sin. If there was no death before Adam sinned, then the whole evolutionary process could not have occurred. According to evolution, amoebas and worms and fish and birds and reptiles and mammals died for millions of years before that first person appeared on the scene.

If you want to believe in evolution, you can do that. It may fly in the face of fossil evidence. But people are free to believe what they believe.

But you cannot believe in theistic evolution and be a Christian. It's an impossibility. It's inherently self-contradictory. If you believe in the triune God who made man and grieved over His creation's turning from Him, then you believe in a God who took man's sin upon Himself and who died in the flesh to satisfy the Law's demand that "the soul that sins shall die."

To believe in so-called theistic evolution means that
you must accept death as a "natural" part of creation,
which would ultimately mean that death is not a result of man's sin,
which would mean the forgiveness of sins has nothing to do with restoring life and undoing "the wages of sin,"
which would make Christ's cross irrelevant and meaningless.

Theistic evolution may fit with some religions. But it cannot mesh with Christianity, where we believe in a God who died to atone for sin and to give life to those who plunged the world into death & decay.

For Bible Study

Sometimes the following links come in mighty handy. And they don't have just the text, but you can do word searches too.

A Greek New Testament.

A Vulgate (Latin Bible).

The Septuagint (Greek Old Testament).

Today's Laugh

A blonde walks into the police department looking for a job. The officer wants to ask her a few questions….

Officer: What's 2+2?

Blonde: Ummmmm… 4!

Officer: What's the square root of 100?

Blonde: Ummmm… 10!

Officer: Good! Now, who killed Abraham Lincoln?

Blonde: Ummmm… I dunno.

Officer: Well, you can go home and think about it. Come back tomorrow.

The blonde goes home and calls up one of her friends, who asks her if she got the job. The blonde says excitedly, "Not only did I get the job, I'm already working on a murder case!"

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Illini Girl Behind the Cheddar Curtain

Last Friday was non-uniform day at our parochial school. The kids were all supposed to wear a Packer shirt (or Bears or Vikings or Cowboys or whatever). It was a choir day, so Maggie would be there, and she decided to wear her Illini shirt from Aunt Karen. Not NFL, but the closest match she had for the theme.

After chapel, as we stood around gabbing, Kara commented on the Illini shirt. Kara is a Wisconsin girl. I don't know what I am any more. I was raised a flatlander. But as of last Thanksgiving, I'd lived more of my life in Wisconsin than in Illinois. (Four more years, and half my life will have been in Wisconsin. Wow.)

Wisconsin is beautiful. My grandpa would go up to the northwoods to fish every year for vacation. He took his family. My mom grew up, and our family went up north. I grew up, and sometimes my mom & dad would take my family up north too. I love it up there (even if the water is too cold for swimming).

Wisconsin is beautiful. The Kettle-Moraine area is lovely to behold. The southwest corner of the state, too, is beautiful in its terrain and fields and woods.

And yet, Illinois is beautiful too. Besides that, I think there's something of a natural love for the place you knew as home. Immigrants talk with fondness of the fatherland. I mean, really, now, how many of you will think this

music is more beautiful than anything by Mozart or Beethoven? Well, I do. The Three-in-One gives me goosebumps just as much as Bach's Largo or Vivaldi's Seasons.

I don't have a clue as to what my own college's song was. I don't know the Badger songs at all. But Oskee-Wow-Wow is a different story. And it doesn't even bother me if my loved ones laugh at me for clapping my hands, thumping my foot in a Chief-like way, and singing Illini songs.
"Keep us marching and singing,
in true Illini spirit,
for our dear old Illinois."

Today's Laugh

During the admission procedure at the hospital, new patients were asked if they suffered from any allergies.

If they did, the nurse printed a special "allergy band" which listed the allergens. This was then placed on the patient's wrist as a reference for all other hospital employees.

On one particular occasion the nurse asked an elderly woman if she had any allergies. The old dear responded by saying that she was unable to eat bananas.

Later that day, the nurse received a considerable surprise when a very irate son came out of the ward demanding, "Who's responsible for labeling my mother 'bananas'?"

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


When I was in teen choir at church, we went on tour each year. One year we headed west and visited Pueblo CO and Pikes Peak. When I arrived back home, I bubbled over with how beautiful the mountains were!

Dad told me that, when he came home from his military stint in Texas, he thought he'd never seen anything so beautiful as those flat fields of corn for as far as the eye could see. And let me tell ya, when you're in central Illinois, the eye can see a long, long, long way.

I didn't understand. It's just flat fields of corn. And little silos here and there. And elevators every 10 miles or so. What's so beautiful about that?

And then I went to college. In Chicago. Where there are buildings. Lots of buildings. No horizon. No sunsets. No space. No fields of corn. No stars at night because of all the lights.

One day Gary and I were driving down home to visit the folks. You know what???? There was a horizon out there in the country! You could see the whole sky! And miles and miles and miles of corn. Beautiful fields full of corn and beans.

Dad was right.

Today's Laugh

After passing the bar exam, a man opened his own law office. He was sitting at his desk when his secretary announced that a Mr. Jones had arrived to see him.

"Show him right in!" the lawyer replied.

As Mr. Jones was being ushered in, the lawyer wanted to look busy. He quickly picked up the phone and shouts into it "... and you tell them that we won't accept less than fifty thousand dollars, and don't even call me until you agree to that amount!"

Slamming down the phone, he stood up and said, "Good morning, Mr. Jones, what can I do for you?"

"I'm from the phone company," Mr. Jones replied. "I'm here to connect your phone."

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Buying Shoes?

I've been in Birkenstocks all day every day for over nine years.

Today I saw the podiatrist. He diagnosed metatarsalgia. Because I have been doing all the right things to keep the problem from getting worse and coping with the pain, the next step is orthotic inserts. The first step in that will be to see if they'll be covered by insurance (probably not) and try to convince them of the necessity. Next step would be getting the inserts. And then comes something that I don't even know how to think about.

Buying shoes.

For nine years, my only choice in shoes was whether I wanted two straps or three straps on my sandals, and whether I wanted them in navy, black, or brown. Now I'm going to have to find some lace-up shoes. The options are overwhelming.

what will I do about church? As the podiatrist and I conversed about my pain and the past solutions and the current options, he mentioned that you can't wear sensible shoes all the time. For instance, you can't wear Birkenstocks to a wedding or to an anniversary party.

Hmm. I guess if your feet hurt badly enough that you're willing to look ultra-dorky by wearing Birkenstocks to your daughters' weddings, then maybe you really do need the orthotics. Do you think the health insurance company will see this as compelling evidence?

Today's Laugh

Patient: It's been one month since my last visit and I still feel miserable.

Doctor: Did you follow the instructions on the medicine I gave you?

Patient: I sure did. The bottle said "keep tightly closed."

Monday, February 08, 2010

New Glasses

Okay, the world is a bit wavy around the edges with these new bifocals. It's a lot easier to be still and read a book or be still and look at the computer than it is to work in the kitchen. I feel like I'm in a science fiction movie and reality is warping and twisting on the fringes. But it's actually easier wearing the no-line bifocals than I expected it would be. I hope I feel the same way by the end of tomorrow!

Wisdom Teeth

Andrew's home from his extractions. At first he was insisting that he didn't go to sleep during the surgery; the doctor and nurse thought otherwise. General anesthesia does tend to put a person to sleep. (Philip and Katie, did you guys have general anesthesia or just local? I don't remember your wisdom teeth being like this.) After Andrew saw the clock and how much time had passed, he thought maybe he did go to sleep for the surgery after all.

Andrew's doing well. He's watching tv and icing his cheeks.

The weirdest thing about the morning was that Maggie fainted. When we were removing Andrew's gauze packs and checking the level of his bleeding, it didn't set well with her. And pretty soon I saw her going. I caught her and broke her fall so she didn't hit her head or become injured in the fall. But that was weird. I've got one home from oral surgery, not barfing, not fainting, coping just fine, and it's the other one who crumples.

Today's Laugh

Funny. I don't remember being absent-minded.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Lofty Goals

Some homeschoolers set lofty goals. They see no harm in shooting for the stars, achieving as much as possible. After all, no harm done if you fail at the goals, right? You've achieved more by setting high goals (and "failing") than you would've achieved if you set lower goals and actually met them.

Other homeschoolers set smaller goals that they're pretty sure they can meet. Whatever they do beyond that is gravy.

Right now I'm reading a book about social-skills curriculum and perspective taking. The author describes that social skills can be learned by folks with autism or VCFS or any number of other impairments. She discusses that the ability to learn these skills is on a continuum: some people just won't get it, some learn with great difficulty, some can learn relatively easily, and then there are the neuro-typical folks who learn social skills and perspective taking naturally. The author discussed recognizing the limitations that some children face:

Some parents express concern that by acknowledging that their child will not completely resolve his or her social/communication challenges, they are giving up "hope" for their child's future. I believe the opposite. Realistic hope helps us focus proactively on how services can help the child progress beyond his or her current level. In my experience, members of the treatment team who have unrealistic expectations often put unreasonable pressure on the child, parents, and supporting professionals. This creates stress and even animosity related to establishing and carrying out the treatment plan.

Thinking About You Thinking About Me: Teaching Perspective Taking and Social Thinking to Persons with Social Cognitive Learning Challenges; Michelle Garcia Winner, 2007, page 4.


Our story in Bible class today was from Exodus 6-8, the plagues on Egypt. Pastor mentioned that blood flowing is always a sign of death. He mentioned the lice and flies which are pesty and disease-causing as a result of the Fall. He mentioned the boils as disease which is indicative of death. He mentioned that locusts are never a sign of anything good in the Bible; they are always destructive.

And then he threw in a side-comment:
I think that's why John the Baptist had the diet he had. Devouring the locusts showed the triumph of the forgiveness of sins over destructive forces.


Today's Laugh

Two silver-haired women entered a restaurant for lunch.

Each caught the other's look of joyful recognition; they had been college mates 50 years earlier. They spent the afternoon laughing and reminiscing.

Then one looked at the other in obvious embarrassment. "I hate to say this," she confessed, "but what is your name?"

The other one thought a moment, then asked ruefully, "How soon do you need to know?"