Saturday, November 29, 2008

Not Throwing the Baby Out with the Bathwater

Concerning The Shack......

In an attempt not to "throw the baby out with the bath water...."

I don't think I would want to give this book to someone who was not grounded in their view of the Bible's perspective of the Trinity as I believe the book's explanation of it is flawed, but there's much to gain from this book. There are truths....truths about man's state and man's rationalizations concerning the lust for control rather than trusting God with our lives. Mack, the main character of the book is separated from God, but it is not God who has done the separating. I like the fact it shows us (believers) that in the midst of any pain we should not run away from God, but we should run TO Him. I like that it teaches God is really on our side because of the reconciliation we find in Jesus we are no longer enemies with God. I like this story because it shows how we are unable to actually forgive or do much of anything we are suppose to do without the help of the Holy Spirit.

Yes, I see flaws....several...mostly in the relationship of the three persons of the trinity with each other.....I just don't think a lot of the statements about how they relate are right ....but that is a mystery none of us really understand. The story of Mack, his journey through his pain and the Lord's ability to facilitate his emotional and spiritual healing is quite compelling. I felt there was some animosity against the church, but some of the indictments do have grounds. Regardless, I didn't like what Jesus and God (Characters in this book.) had to say about the church. The author's bias is evident here. There is more I didn't care for, but like I said I tended to focus more the transformation of Mack who is set free from "the great sadness" that has been present in his life for a very long time. I believe the Lord is the antidote for pain and He really does want to set us free so He is able to use us to show His love to others. Mack went to the shack fragmented....stuck in neutral and unable to be effective and came home whole giving love to others. His transformation had to do with him having a revelation of God's love, forgiveness, and the ability this has to empower Mack to do His will. I think there is merit in that message as it is the central message of the New Testament. Also, it is allegorical. Because of this book I don't see God as an African woman any more than I see God as the Lion found in C.S. Lewis's Narnia series.

I wish there was a way to write out all those aspects I don't believe are plumb with the scripture. Be careful when you read this that you don't take it all to heart as we do the scripture. I don't believe the author has figured in the idea there is not only a heaven, but also a hell. In fact check it out with your Bible handy. I believe much of the action in the story could remain the same.....the restorative power for all sinners found as a result ofa relationship with Jesus Christ....and ultimately God the Father.... is central and that is the part I will remember about this book.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving 2008

Just wanting to wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am aware of a lot of pain and suffering due to illnesses, deaths and other tragedies this year and I am just going to be praying that all those who are suffering will be able to muster up a feeling of thankfulness to the Lord.

I love that we have a corporate day of Thanksgiving in this country and I pray the thanks is directed to the source of all blessing. There is no other name above the name of Jesus....the ultimate reason to be thankful!

God Bless you and yours!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Reading The Shack

Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right.” -Charles Spurgeon

I am in the midst of reading The Shack and I like it very a work of fiction, but I am sure it is not a good means for revealing docterines of the Holy scripture or giving us a picture of Father God. I am making notes of those parts which are giving me pause and will communicate them at a future may take a while to get my thoughts all together so they are coherant and easy to I am not done with it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Anyone besides me....

I took my very first steps trying to get next to the TV when my favorite commercial was on the screen. Speedy Alka Seltzer was one the of the cutest commercials ever my humble opinion.

Sick to death of Sally Fields talking about her once a month pill for she is just too busy to take a pill each day. Come on, Sally, you have at least 20 seconds a day to take a pill.

I am also sick and tired of that stupid commercial where the mop sings, "Baby Come Back". I used to like that dumb song from the 70's and now it has been defiled.

Jim is sick of caveman commercials. I actually like some of those. My mom didn't like the Abe Lincoln talking to the beaver commercial....a sleep know, "your dreams miss you" commercial. I thought it was sorta funny, but did get tired of seeing it.

And what about Billy Mays? According to my observations he drives most folks into seizures.(Remember on Seinfeld when Krammer's seizures were caused by Mary Hart's voice)....they switch off the TV before they even know what product he is pushing. I am always too curious to see what miracle product he is selling. Yes, I do have the "handy switch" and just love it. I don't have to use a pull chain anymore. I want to get those lids that seal any size dish......and we got some mighty putty. That works well in certain situations....not all as Billy has led us to believe...but as usual....I digress. (sorry)

And then there are those commercials about the problem of E. D. That is waaaaayyyyyy tooooo much information and I avoid those at all costs. I think these might need to be banned. Enzite (sp?) might have the most offensive of the commercials in this genre......the guy in the elevator with a variety of "young ladies" is the ultimate in disgusting!

Yes, I am sure Speedy Alka Seltzer drove some folks nuts back in the 50's, but I still miss him....I guess Speedy was a lot like our little Geico Gecko.....just a cute little spokesman who doesn't shout at us, expect us to listen to a singng mop, or talk to us like we are morons without enough time to take a pill each day!

So What is all the Hub Bub About?!

Okay, promise not to laugh.....I went to see Twilight the movie based on the book of the same title. Stephanie Meyer wrote it and the book is amazingly close to the book as compared with other movies based on books. I was one of the oldest people in the theater. I did see one little lady who looked to be about 75 or over. Mostly there were rows of tweens and teens and were enjoying it a lot more than I was.

I quickly tired of the many glances cast longingly between Bella and Edward....the love sick young couple of Forks, a small rainy town in Oregon. Granted this genre is older than Edward, the one hundred plus year old vampire/ Romeo, but the dialog just didn't have the kick William Shakespeare's did....but then whose does?

I didn't hate the movie. It just lasted too long. At first I was thinking it was Saved by the Bell meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but the two lead characters portrayed the characters accurately even if the Edward and Bella of my imagination looked differently than I imagined. Stephanie Meyer must be thrilled they were true to her vision. I thought they did a great job with a fairly weak script.

Now the thought of a vampire boy with a human girlfriend is an interesting idea, but it creeps me out just the same and I just could never get passed that. I wanted Bella to choose life, real life and not forget "living" forever even if it meant being with her true love. I wanted her to run for her life from Edward and to live a normal life like the other teens of fight off her emotions and enjoy being in the world of the living. Wanting to become one of the immortal dead just made me sad. I kept wondering about her immortal soul and figured if she were to become a vampire eventually she would be damned to hell.....even if for now Edward was every young girl's beautiful, loving, and mature dream. (but you expect a guy over one hundred to be some what mature.) He loved Bella so much he wanted her to choose life. Like me he didn't want her to become a monster...what he thought of himself. But Bella like most teenage girls was not thinking too far ahead and was acting on her emotions. The movie ended with Edward and a very human Bella dancing at their senior prom ....she remained human due only to Edward's ability to restrain himself. Will his restraint last? Will Bella become one of the undead dead? Stay tuned. There will be more to come I am sure.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Congratulations, Julie!

I am very proud to announce my little sister, Julie, kindergarten teacher extraordinaire, has gotten her National Board Teacher Certification!!!! For those of you who don't know about the NBTC it is a long and grueling process. It is a lot of preparation and work getting all the writing of the portfolio, and videos of classes and examples of work together and it has to be sent off in an exact configuration.... if you pack your box in the wrong fashion you could be disqualified. Then there is the test. You have to have everything exactly right.....and every year teachers all over the country log onto the NBTC website only to find they didn't make it. I have known awesome teachers who have gone through the whole process and didn't make it. I know how much work Julie put into this and I know how stressful it was for her to complete especially dealing with three teenagers at home. That fact alone should have earned some extra credit!!

Now I know if I ever get the courage to go through this process I will have an expert to go to for help.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Friday Morning Musings

Chatty Cathy was an expensive gift at $25 in 1960. A nice house was $8,000....a new car about $2,500.....our rent wasn't quite $50 a month! So that puts it in perspective!

Bail outs, shmail outs! What is going on in this country? I have been wondering for sometime where all the excess we experience in this country was headed and I had a feeling things were gonna get scary when the bubble finally burst. Folks, we (collectively as a country) have abandoned the principal of delayed gratification and we are all gonna pay for that now. I am gulity as well. I just remember a time when you didn't have everything you wanted...right when you wanted it. I learned it early when I had to wait several Christmases to get my Chatty Cathy.

My family lived in an upstairs apartment until I was eight years old as my mom and dad saved for a down payment for a house. We had one car and we never used charge cards. My father, a bricklayer, worked away for weeks at a time taking our car so my mom, my sister and I walked to the grocery store, the laundry matt, and even the doctor's office when needed to go. My grandparents were ten miles away in the county seat and would help out if we really need to be driven some place. We were well fed and had lovely clothes from the best children's shops for school........we just didn't have a car much of the time. Thankfully we lived in a small town and everything was within walking distance! (I mean EVERYTHING!) Once a month we would all head to NY State for whatever we lacked in our little town and stocked up. We always visited King Solomon in Portville who had the best meat market in the area and picked out wonderful cuts of steak and roast. I always knew I had it good. I saw fellow students at school who were not so fortunate. My mother always made sure all my old clothes were given to someone who really needed them. I remember boxing them up for students less fortunate and feeling really good about that. It never crossed my mind I was not on equal footing as those students living in large, spacious homes.

I loved our apartment with the huge front porch and cried when we finally moved into the center of town on a tree lined street with older two story homes. I had my favorite climbing trees on the grounds and missed them like you miss a best buddy. (The house had been a huge single family home with grounds surrounding.) I was also the oldest kid up on that hill and all the other kids pretty much followed my lead. Being the boss was something I enjoyed back then. I was the one who decided if we were going to play kick the can or hide and seek. Moving to a neighborhood full of kids....some who were older was quite a trauma. Hahaaa.... I remember thinking how bossy that Debby McLauglin across the street was. My mom cracked up and thought it was time I got some of my own medicine.

You know I think of happy times in my life and I go back to the apartment house on the hill. I wonder if my parents enjoyed it there like I did. There were great neighbors to laugh and talk with on the porch in the evenings. We had a huge garden and there were lillies of the valley growing under the huge lilac bush. It was evident there had been someone who planned the grounds there and I had a sense those flowers were there on purpose. I remember wondering if some mom and her little girl had planted them many years ago........I spent a lot of time outside by myself early in the mornings and I loved the smells and the sounds of the birds. I had a fantastic sand box and could see my mom upstairs in the kitchen window. I would get busy on "baking" beautiful mud pies with flowers adorning them. There were also red berries (we thought they were poison) and purple elderberries to put on top of my pies, too .......I also remember the beautiful white birch trees. Those were good times and sometimes when I feel stressed I close my eyes and go back to those spots where I felt peaceful and surrounded by beauty. The feeling is much like the one I had when I met the Lord so now I know He was there with me all along and I had no idea. It is humbling and comforting to realize. While we were waiting for a home of our own the Lord was there and while waiting REAL life was taking place.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Introducing Doctor Jo!

This is a picture of friend, Jeananne when she was my neighbor at school.....although she is still my neighbor down the street. She is a great teacher, mother/step mother, grandmother and wife. She is able to keep more balls in the air than any juggler I've seen. It is just great she is able to add this accomplishment to her long list. It must be a great relief not to have to make time to write and edit her thesis any longer!!

Pure determination and single mindedness is what is needed when entering a doctoral program. If you are brave enough to tackle all the research, presentations, and class work you are also going to need to be patient and also be persistent. I knew there is a lot of course work to go through, but all the other hoops doctoral candidates have to jump through are numerous. This is not to mention the DISSERTATION! That takes so many hours. Sometimes it is tough getting all the ducks in a row. But it all pays off in the end.

Jeananne (aka Jo) has worked very hard and emerged victorious and will soon have her much sought after diploma in hand. I know she must feel a huge sense of satisfaction and pride. It is well deserved. I know all she has gone if you see her tell her:

Doctor Jo!!!!!!

Let me stand...I mean sit.... next to your fire...

Ok...this song might be a bit over the top....but it sorta fits....hahaha...sorry.

While I was in school on Friday, Jim was busy getting ready for a cookout we had for our small group on Friday night. We were sorry several of our group were missing and we especially felt the void left by Dr. Dale's absence. He was just down the street with daughter in law Rachel who took marvelous care of him in Helen's absence. We were so glad she was able to make it. Thanks Rachel for your kind gesture!!

Jim really out did himself cooking. My favorite of the taste treats were the spinach/artichoke cups and also Carmel turtle bars....YUM! I never knew my Jim was so talented. He cooked all the food we ate on the deck he designed and built and then later he played a couple of requests on the piano. I think I always knew he was very talented, but he has surpassed any of my expectations. He gets his gift of hospitality from his Mom. She loved to have people over to eat, too. Thanks Jim for a memorable evening.

What is it about humans that love to sit around a fire? Yes, we put a small fire pit on the deck....on top of some ceramic tiles. Jim was a bit nervous about this idea of mine, but I want to feel at home out there and as Frank Loyd Wright stated without a hearth there is no home. We were going to make somores, but we were too well fed and just couldn't do it. The makings will keep for another time.

We always enjoy getting together .....there is always a lot of laughing. Last night Bobbie taught us all how to speak like a reeaaall southerner.....suthonah, I mean. We learned to go on and on about mundane topics and add syllables to all our words. It was great! Helen quoted much of Gone with the Wind verbatim.....amazing. I think she has seen that movie nearly as many times as Jim. (It is his favorite movie....and I think it is right up there on Helen's list.)

Sophie the Bichon and Sadie the King Charles Spaniel got along just great.
Notice Jim in the background doing the cooking........This is him on his new charcoal grill. Our old grill finally rusted through so we really didn't have a choice. We picked out one that is a bit can raise and lower the charcoal, rather than the actual grill grate. We thought that was cool. It also has another level to put my burgers on, as I like mine a bit more rare than most folks. He seemed to enjoy cooking on his new grill....sorry I didn't get a better shot. Next time, okay?

I have always liked poking at a fire.....Bobby was the official fire poker....sorry I didn't get a shot of that as he kept the fire just perfect.

Here is a shot looking up to the house. I think this deck is my favorite room "in" the house.

After everyone left I sat by the fire reflecting on those people the Lord places in our lives and I felt very thankful that He has chosen to bless me so.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Cedar Town Weekend

These are my purchases! I love the red polka dot trim on the Christmas cake painting.

Randi and her sweet grandmother manning "The Art of Happiness" booth on Saturday.

Josh and Randi getting ready for a big day at Cedar Town.

This weekend our multi talented daughter-in-law, Randi, had a booth at the annual Cedar Town Christmas Market held at the local Civic Center. With the help of Randi's grandparents she and Josh set up on Thursday afternoon. Everything in the booth was made by Randi.... there were ornaments, and paintings, magnets, baby clothes, picture frames, and some jewlery. Her "ginger bread" houses are so cute. It truly was the cheeriest little corner at Cedar Town. I just can not imagine the amount of work she has done....the hours she has put into all this work. Thankfully it was a successful sale and a lot of folks were giving Randi's happiness art included.

Check out Randi's web site at !!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day 2008

I don't like war.....I don't think anyone who is sane does. The only positive result from war is to procure freedom from oppression. There are and always have been those leaders who want to dominate, control, and destroy.....we can look back and list off names of the infamous who are part of the darkest aspect of history. Just wars are those that stand against such coruption.
Of late toppling the evil Sadam Hussein and his cohorts and standing against the insurgents who want to grab the power away from the people is our country's mission . I know this war is not popular and I too am weary of hearing of American casualties and seeing those soldiers who have come home maimed needing prosthetic arms and legs. It is so disturbing and I am praying we will be able to bring all of our young men and women serving in Iraq back to their families, but I am so proud of our service people bringing freedom to a people who were so oppressed and who lived in such fear

The World War II veterans are disappearing group who also stood agains evil. That generation is one of a kind and I don't believe our generation can really understand the sort of sacrifice that generation made. I fear most of my generation and the generation to follow are not made of the same grit. I pray I am wrong and we could step up to the plate if faced with the challenge of a World Wide conflict just as our fathers and grandfathers did. The world owes them a great debt.

Pray daily for the safety of our service men and women....thank someone who is serving (or has served) our country..... We need to respect them and their leaders; support them as they want to finish the Iraq War well.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

1995 Again instead of 1973

Josh and Papa and Joe Pa

Joe Pa

The favorite college football team around our house has always been Penn State. Son, Josh, has especially been a fan due to the influence of his beloved Papa, a proud alumnus of aforementioned University. They have suffered through a lot of tough seasons, but this season promised to be special. We all had hopes of an undefeated year this year and a possible shot at the National Championship, but what a difference a day makes.

I also consider myself a fan..well, as much as I can be a "fanatic" for a sport. I became interested in Penn State football when they were undefeated my senior year of high school. I was enamoured with John Cappeletti, of 1973 Heisman renown, and also held them in high esteem because it was the only team I heard about nonstop while growing up. (I was brain washed to a degree.) I thought Joe Paterno was a future applicant for sainthood because my Dad always talked so highly of him....even when he was having a bad year. I knew he wasn't like the other coaches because academics were more important to him than having a winning season. I don't know any other coaches who have that claim to fame. He turned down several excellent players due to low GPAs and I just think that is unique in any age. Plus Joe is the king of the snappy come backs. I always get a kick out of his common sense and sometimes glib and obvious answers to constant grilling from sports announcers. 81 year old Joe still has "it" and is quite a guy at any age. A few years ago they started calling him, "Joe Pa". I don't know where it came from exactly, but I don't know if I will ever think of him as anything but just Joe.

As I was saying before I became some what historical....this season has been a great one and until last night I sorta thought this would be a replay of 1973. Yesterday, Penn State lost to Iowa (of all teams!!!), by ONE point in the last few seconds of the game. Josh was here with us to watch the game and it was a real heart breaker. They had been #3 in the national rankings; I have no idea what they are now.....but losing to Iowa is going to knock them down good. Alabama beat LSU and that doesn't help Penn State either. I was really rooting for LSU yesterday.

What I hate even more than Penn State losing (I hate to see Joe Pa's team lose....) is that my Dad and my Son are now very, very, very sad. It is crazy a football team can effect them like this, but it is so great they have this common bond and during football season they talk several times a weekend discussing all the ref calls and different teams and their possible rankings. I know they enjoy all the speculation and commentary just as much as the actual watching of the games.

Both have turned his hopes towards the Rose Bowl, which the Lions won in January 1995. (I remember it well as Papa and Nama were here in Louisiana for that one.) We had a banner and both Josh and Papa had on their new Rose Bowl sweat shirts. It was a memorable evening! So instead of returning to the high of 1973 we will settle for another great evening the likes of Jan. 2, 1995....and we will remain loyal fans....mostly fans of Joe....(oops I mean "Joe Pa") no matter what.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Down to the Wire....

Well, the media is telling us that Obama is a shoe in and maybe it will be that way.... I am not sure I believe the polls, but regardless of what happens I believe that God is in control and He sets rulers over us. He may choose to set Obama over us to take our focus off of ourselves and back on Him. It certainly has worked in Cuba. Those who were for Castro in 1958 recognize their folly in hind sight, but their dependence in God is far deeper than it would have been if he had not come to power. It is sad it takes such drastic action to bring people into a closer relationship with God, but I suppose if it works it is well worth it. We must believe the Lord has our best interest at heart.... even though discipline is painful. We know the Lord does discipline those He loves.

Also, if we put on our forever eyes.....eternity is VERY long and this life is VERY short. We must try to get that perspective. Those who are in charge are only there because God puts them there. So I will pray for mercy and accept His choice.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hiding Out...

For those of you who have been wondering why I have not been blogging.....well, here is one reason. I have been hanging out on the new deck, reading, and occasionally eating dinner. I just love it out on the deck and with temps in the 70's I feel like I must get my time in before those bone chilling rainy winter days when we won't be using the deck at all. I am happy to get away from all the strife of the election. It will all be over soon, but I am not under any delusion that the strife will when it starts raining I am wondering where will I hide....but for now, the deck perfect.

This is a pic of Deb (me) finishing up Twilight. The book was entertaining, but I am not so crazy about reading about the undead. Don't know if I will read any of the other books in this series.