Friday, November 19, 2010

Today's Laugh

Dragon #1 - Am I late for dinner?

Dragon #2 - Yes, everyone's eaten.

Thanks, Ruth, for letting me steal a joke!

Saying Goodbye

When people move away, they often take leave of friends with promises to keep in touch. They plan to get together at times and to remain friends. That usually doesn't happen. Distance interferes with relationships. Of course, some long-distance relationships can be maintained with much effort (phone calls, letters, pictures) and sometimes an old friendship can pick up right where you left off when there is that rare chance to visit and revel temporarily in the closeness you once shared. Nevertheless, at the time of separation, those intentions to Keep In Touch provide comfort during the transition.

I'm wondering if the same thing happens when a person begins a new life. How long do young married couples remain in close contact with their single buddies, especially after babies arrive? Do widows continue to hang out with the couple-friends they once enjoyed being with? When a person leaves one lifestyle and begins something very different, it may be wishful thinking to plan to hang onto certain aspects of the former lifestyle. But is that wishful thinking part of how we cope with change? If I begin to work outside the home and have to admit to myself right now that I will have to give up writing and bread-baking and daily chapel and online friendships, will that make the prospect too overwhelming to contemplate? Or do I need to be honest with myself about those things so that I don't beat myself to a pulp trying to do it all?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Teaching Yourself

Some people think that high-schoolers should be able to teach themselves. They say that homeschooled kids should be trained to read and study and digest information so that, by the time they are 12-16, they will have become quite adept at doing their schoolwork without involvement from Mom.

That happens for some kids. Especially when they are highly motivated to absorb that particular type of information. But what happens when they want to do their schoolwork and do it well, but aren't particularly interested in the topic for its own sake?

What's so bad about needing a teacher? Is a kid a failure because he can't set up an educational program for himself and figure out the material from a book or video? Don't a lot of homeschooled kids take college classes in their teen years? Why? Because sometimes it's just plain easier to learn to use lab equipment or to understand the causes of the Spanish-American War or to repair a lawnmower engine when you've got somebody to teach you. Isn't that why we have colleges? It's easier to master the material when a master is helping to explain it and make it clear.

I don't think it's bad (or selfish or untrusting) of a teacher to think that her students would be better off if they were taught instead of trying to figure things out on their own.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

John 19:7

When Pilate told the Jews that he found no fault in Jesus, they responded,

We have a law,
and according to our law He ought to die,
because He made Himself the Son of God.

They believed in a law of works. They believed that the Torah taught them to follow the rules. One of the rules was that blasphemers must be put to death. They believed that Jesus was not the Son of God, and thus, according to their law, He ought to die.

Twisted as this is, though, there is truth in their statement. In the story of Jesus' suffering and death, it seems that unbelievers said an awful lot of true things. Problem was, they invested those true statements with screwball errant meanings.

The truth of the matter is that the Torah and the whole Old Testament did indeed require the Son of God to die. The Law could not be fulfilled by sinful man. But the Lord took on flesh so that He might die the sinners death. And all the Law (that is, the Old Testament) pointed to that death that would come in the fullness of time. As Jesus taught the Emmaus disciples, the entire Old Testament was about Him and the redemption He wrought.

Though He had done nothing deserving of death,
according to our law, He ought to die.
And He did.

Today's Laugh

Bryce pointed out this t-shirt to us:

May the
be with you.

(The arrangement of the words on the t-shirt
is funnier than the way I can put it here.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Today I was invited in for a job interview at the bank. It's not our local branch (close enough to walk or bike) but it's not too far away. Twenty hours a week -- two days 10-6:00 and Saturday mornings. The appointment is Thursday afternoon.

His Blood Be Upon Us

Pilate was trying to let Jesus go. But the people kept insisting. Finally Pilate washes his hands of it: "This ain't my fault! YOU asked for this." And the people were fine with that: "His blood be on us and on our children" (Matthew 27:25).

As Pastor says, it must be so. Salvation is found nowhere else but when His blood is upon us.

In Acts, the same Sanhedrin that murdered Jesus was facing another crew of trouble-makers. These dudes who'd been with Jesus were preaching in the temple. The Council nabbed the apostles, put 'em on trial, and then scolded them and told them to shut up and leave (Acts 4). And the Church grew.

A little time passes, and the apostles are caught preaching in the temple again (Acts 5). That same Sanhedrin rounded up the apostles again and threw them in jail to hush them. God did not approve. He let his preachers out of the jail. The next day, when it was time for the trial, the apostles weren't in their jail cell; they were preaching in the temple again. Can't you just hear the chief priests and Pharisees asking, "How many times do we have to drag those guys out of the temple anyhow?"

So they're finally questioning the men. That's when we get to the funny part. The high priest says, Didn't we tell you to shut up? And here you are filling the whole city with your teaching, and you "intend to bring this Man's blood on us."

Hello??? Annas and Caiaphas were ring-leaders early on that Friday morning when the crowds insisted to Pilate that His blood should be on them. And yet, they didn't really want His blood.

Jesus' disciples, however, did want exactly that. They intended to bring Jesus' blood on the high priest and all the Sanhedrin. NOT to make them bear the guilt and pay the price. Not to get them in trouble with the crowds or with the government. But to bring the blood of forgiveness. To wash them in the blood that bore their guilt so that they would not have to pay the price themselves.

Waxing the Floor

Sundown comes early these days. While cleaning this weekend, I ended up vacuuming the hall under lightbulbs instead of during the sunshiny hours. The direction of the light showed me something I haven't noticed before. The hall carpet really needs a good shampooing. (Okay, everybody say "Booooo! Hissssss!" with me.) What's interesting is noticing the pattern of dirt and clean along the hall floor.

Don Aslett says you only put one thin coat of wax around the edges of the floor. Put the multi-layers in the middle of the room, where you're walking all the time, spilling, smudging, dropping things, and generally wearing out the floor. You should almost never put wax near the baseboards or in the corners.

Interestingly, there has been no traffic on the 8" next to the walls on either side of the hallway. The path into the rooms shows a 6" edge of clean carpet near the door hinges, but only a 3" edge of clean carpet on the side where the doorknob is. That should give me a good guideline for other floors in the house.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hidden in My Heart

I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth
From the great assembly. (Psalm 40:10)

Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You!
Blessed are You, O Lord!
Teach me Your statutes!
With my lips I have declared
All the judgments of Your mouth. (Psalm 119:11-13)

But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19)

Not hidden?

Interesting to ponder that distinction...
and how the Word hidden in our hearts will result in speaking His righteous judgments, declared of us in Baptism and preached in mercy to sinners. When the Word is hidden in our hearts, we cannot help but reveal that same Word.

Math for Medical Professionals

It looks to me as though Andrew has been doing well at math. His test grades are great. But he doesn't feel as though he has an adequate grasp of it. We talked to the director of the nursing program at the local college about math. She confirmed what I suspected: it's far more important that he be very comfortable with the arithmetic and pre-algebra that is used extensively in nursing than it is that he graph functions, manipulate matrices, and compute with imaginary numbers.

So it's time to put away the College Algebra book and come up with a math program that better suits his goals.

I began to research what kinds of math we needed to focus on. Graphs. Statistics. Conversions. Metric. Ratios -- lots of ratios and percents. And so much more. As I began to cobble together resources from the library with the books sitting on our basement shelves, it finally crossed my mind that maybe I should sell this program after I put the work into developing it.

And then [light-bulb moment] I wondered if anyone had already created this math course. Some online sleuthing confirmed that someone had! Woo hoo!!!! The book arrived in only six days, and it looks perfect. There is only one thing on my list (understanding a 3-D reality from a series of 2-D pictures, such as in an MRI) that isn't covered in this book.

Flipping through the textbook I see a few topics that aren't explained clearly enough, or where a key point was left out. But if it's something that Andrew hasn't been exposed to elsewhere, I should be able to fill in the gap. The answer key is online, not in the back of the book. That's a little inconvenient; I had to fork over my name and address and all that jazz to create an account where I could access the answer key. I suppose I could have just graded the homework assignments myself. But I didn't want to. :-)

So anyway, I am hyped to have discovered this book that will save me many hours. It will allow Andrew to plug away at teaching himself instead of having to wait on me while I'm making supper instead of developing new lessons. Hooray!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Today's Laugh

A cartoon for middle-aged women who are thinking ahead to Thanksgiving dinner.