Friday, December 31, 2010
Here's wishing all of my bloggy friends a joyful and blessed 2011! See you 'round the bend :-)
Thursday, December 30, 2010
So the pseudo-scientists keep at it, telling us that a cold winter here and there doesn't mean we're not warming to dangerous levels. But, umm, the coldest in a millennium?
Labels: Science, Theater of the Absurd
How about you? Cookbooks or Internet?
Labels: Food, Technology
Ever been standing in front of a new TV or an electronic gadget or a new sofa or even a new car and wondered how long it would take you to pay for it? Even if you pay cash, it will take you a certain number of days of working to pay for it, depending on your current earning power. Here's a handy tool that will help you figure it out (and maybe steer you away from some impulse purchases!).DaysToPay.com
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
This is the
time of year when I like to peruse the reading lists of men and women I respect and get some ideas for reading in the new year. Of course, doing it this way I'm a year behind, as they're advertising what they read from what was published in 2010, and I'm thinking about what to read in 2011; but in the long run I guess a year makes little difference.
But it's also the time of year that I can get easily discouraged: so many books, so few years left. I don't say that in a morbid sense, but it does make me sad that I'm bound to die before I get everything read. I guess I'm just way too intensely interested in too many things. And though I'm an expert in nothing, I'm drawn to so many different fields and want to read so deeply in those fields, there will never be enough time.
So sometimes I wonder: will I have all eternity to learn what I thirst to know? Or upon entering heaven will I instantly know it all? Or will I know nothing more than I do now but not care? Or will I find that I ask way too many hypothetical questions?
This year I read pitifully little, even when I consider the books I listened to. I left most of what I wanted to get read in a pile beside me, and so I start 2011 woefully behind. Behind what? I suppose behind some unreal expectation I've set for myself. But why did God put all these good books on this earth if he didn't want me to read them?
Anyway, for the next few days one of my tasks will be to resort, re-prioritize, even rescale my personal list for the new year. I have some projects that are going to take up a large amount of time so I'm going to try to set more realistic reading expectations...but do you suppose all my favorite authors and all the ones I don't know about yet might consider holding off publishing anything new until I can get caught up?
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Well, I think it's been long enough since I blogged...there's been too much IRL to do and I haven't had time to sit and write. But what that means is that the hours have been filled with fun tasks, visiting with family, and traveling, and I'm more than okay with that!
Our family has had a memorable Christmas already, and there's still more to come. We returned to San Antonio today with the Slaughters and the Longenbaughs, and we'll share our gifts tomorrow night and then bake
Christmas New Year's cookies on Thursday with an army of children. Then Friday night we'll celebrate David's 13th birthday and have a New Year's Eve bonfire, providing our county escapes a burn ban with the current rain. And of course we'll have a mountain of snacks and drinks and a smidgen of champagne!
We miss Nathan and the Weltys and look forward to the next time we're ALL together.
I hope your holidays have been restful and worshipful as well as celebratory...and that you ring in 2011 with a hope and confidence that your eternity with Christ will infinitely outstrip anything we can imagine in any New Year!
Labels: Family, Holidays
Monday, December 20, 2010
below the surface of the annual moaning and groaning about the sorry state of Christmas is a more complicated and more important consideration: what place does authentic Christianity have in 21st century America?
Christmas is hard for everyone. But it’s particularly hard for people who actually believe in it.
In a sense, of course, there’s no better time to be a Christian than the first 25 days of December. But this is also the season when American Christians can feel most embattled. Their piety is overshadowed by materialist ticky-tack. Their great feast is compromised by Christmukkwanzaa multiculturalism. And the once-a-year churchgoers crowding the pews beside them are a reminder of how many Americans regard religion as just another form of midwinter entertainment, wedged in between “The Nutcracker” and “Miracle on 34th Street.”
These anxieties can be overdrawn, and they’re frequently turned to cynical purposes. (Think of the annual “war on Christmas” drumbeat, or last week’s complaints from Republican senators about the supposed “sacrilege” of keeping Congress in session through the holiday.) But they also reflect the peculiar and complicated status of Christian faith in American life. Depending on the angle you take, Christianity is either dominant or under siege, ubiquitous or marginal, the strongest religion in the country or a waning and increasingly archaic faith.
There's little discussion here about true regeneration in the heart of those who embrace not just Christianity but Christ. Nevertheless, the observations of those who, mostly from the outside, step back and watch the effects (or lack of them) of our faith on our culture are instructive. And not particularly encouraging.
Read Ross Douthat's whole article here.
Labels: Holidays, Social Observation
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Sunday snippets, Christmas edition
Well, here we
are at Christmas week. The last Sunday of Advent, and a beautiful one it was in the Lord's house. Praise Him for beautiful music, meaningful communion, sweet baptism, the Word preached powerfully, and the loving family of God worshiping together...
Nathan has now been in AF Basic Training for two full weeks. We miss him but are so proud of his commitment and his willingness to serve our country in this way while he finishes his education. We've talked to him twice, but only briefly, and not enough to get many details about his days. We're hoping to get some mail this week and/or another phone call. If you'd like to write to him, his address is:
AB Warren, Nathan J.
320 TRS / Flt 129 (Dorm A-4)
1320 Truemper St. Unit 364028
Lackland AFB TX 78236-6430
And speaking of the military, this week we have seen our country give its stamp of approval to the continuing degradation of our culture by the repeal of the already pathetically weak laws on allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the armed services. We took the kids out to eat today after church and had quite a vigorous discussion on the rationale and inevitable consequences of the repeal...a good chance to share our views and hear them out on where they are in the midst of a culture and social structure that are obviously changing.
I'm SO behind on Christmas tasks. And while I don't like that, at least I've had lots of time to dwell on Advent themes and follow Mary's example of "pondering in her heart" all that the incarnation of the Redeemer means in the story God has written...
I love my UPS man.
Why do I watch "Chopped"? I hate that show.
This week, a good friend loaned me her cello. She's going to be out of town for two or three months and wanted me to pick it up and see if I can recover some of my early skills so that perhaps I could join the lovely group of strings already contributing to our worship services. That remains to be seen, but just the sight of the instrument has taken me back in time over forty years to my first attempts to play and to the wonderful man who inspired me. I'd love to be able to regain some level of competence, but just the memories nourish my soul. Thank you, Julie.
Another friend loaned me some CDs with messages by R.C. Sproul on finding joy in suffering. She's been through a special brand of suffering in the past few years, and she knows that I've also experienced quite a bit and wanted to share some of Sproul's preaching in 1 Peter with me. It's priceless. Thank you, Robyn.
Every year I
watch "Christmas in Washington", currently aired on TNT. What a disappointment this year, despite its gorgeous venue. One big political agenda set to really, REALLY bad music. On the other hand, this year's CMA Country Christmas on ABC (Nov. 29) was a pure delight!
Is it too much to hope for an Alaskan cruise within the next 18 months?
It felt really weird to go out to a buffet today and look for a table for six. Some people probably looked at us and thought, "Wow, big family."
We're putting off our annual Cookie Day until after Christmas when the Slaughters and Longenbaughs will be with us. Something about a house with four teens/twenty-somethings makes it not as much fun...so we'll wait for elves to join us :-)
From this morning's worship:
Leaving riches without number
Born within a cattle stall
This the everlasting wonder
Christ was born the Lord of all
~"Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus"
Charles Wesley, 1745
to all of you dear ones...Maranatha...
Come, Lord Jesus!
Labels: Devotional, Family, Holidays, Memories, Music, Social Observation, TV
Friday, December 17, 2010
Well...if you've got a strong stomach and won't get squeamish doing a sort of virtual autopsy, check this out:
It's not yet supported by my chosen browser, but the minute it is, I'll be there!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
No longer long in the tooth.
Although I don't have the crippling aversion to dentists that some people struggle with, I'd rather have been almost anywhere today than in "The Chair." I have a great dentist, and I don't think she's ever really hurt me once in all the years she's worked in my mouth. But even though I know I need this work done, it just always seems like such a waste of time. No matter how great the Muzak.
Or maybe it's the hangover. You know, you can't eat without chewing up your lip and cheek for hours. You can't talk without the tongue-pierced smarty at the Walmart checkout looking at you like you're, well, challenged. And you can't sip on that Diet Coke from Sonic without half of it dribbling down your chin and onto that silk shirt you shouldn't have worn. Are you with me?
Well, I might just change my opinion of dentistry after today. Because I've been convinced that they're all going to conferences in Hawaii and sitting around discussing the least conspicuous ways to make us all feel like total dufuses, thereby convincing us that we must really need them or we'd never endure such humiliation. Whatever. I guess my dentist didn't get to go to the last Council of the Fat Lip, because before I left today she shot me with this
. And hard as it is to believe, I could feel my lip again before I even GOT to Sonic! And when I called The Papa from the car, he accused me of skipping out on my appointment since I actually sounded like an intelligent human and it was way too early for that.
"Honest, honey, I had two molars completely hollowed out and replaced with Synthetic Tooth. Yes, I know it sounds like I'm lying, but really...she gave me a shot of this stuff that reversed the Fat Lip Juice and within twenty minutes I could say my name and the girl at Walmart didn't even bat a tongue!"
I'm tellin' ya. Find a dentist that will do the reversal (no, not that kind of reversal, that's a different doctor) and you'll be sippin' through a straw in no time! It's great, and I'm going back for another procedure tomorrow. Okay, it's just putting the crown on, but still....
Labels: Fun, Science
Monday, December 13, 2010
You just THINK you know what's best for those kids. Well don't fool yourself...we know better.
FLOTUS on the care and feeding of your children
Labels: ObamaNation, Theater of the Absurd
Sunday, December 05, 2010
in bed for the better part of a week with a nasty respiratory virus, so I haven't been up to gathering many snippets. Nevertheless, the world as I saw it this week:
asked me today who I'm "pulling for" on the GOP side as we move toward the 2012 election. I told her I'm not "pulling", just watching. Just the watching is going to be an entertaining pastime, don't you think? Entertaining as in, watching some men rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic, maybe?
scheduled to leave for Basic Training on Tuesday. But as of this writing, we still don't know for sure...there's been a snag with his security clearance as it gets caught between an old and a new computer system and it may not get worked out in time for him to get into this next class. If not, he might have to wait until March and none of us will be happy about that. Well, except MAYBE Cheyenne.
coughing fits I've compiled my list of baking and cooking that I (we) will do outside of our normal fare. I wonder if I've ever purchased candied cherries in a month other than December?
last, our little family co-op has finished Tapestry of Grace Year 2 and will start on Year 3 after the New Year. I think it only took us three years to get through it! At this rate, we may never even make it to the Spanish American War before they graduate, let alone the League of Nations. History may just culminate with the War Between the States!
really dislike Bill Maher.
I adore Jacquie Lawson's Advent Calendar
, a sweet gift from my friend Val. Go look at the demo and download one for yourself. No, this is no substitute for something with a Biblical emphasis...it's just fun, sort of like an animated Norman Rockwell village.
finish Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby
before year's end! I've downloaded several more audio books that I'm dying to start, including the new Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy: A Righteous Gentile vs. the Third Reich
via Of First Importance
“The Christian life is a thank-you from beginning to end as we ponder what God has done. What an absurdity to think that we could ever bargain with God, as if there were anything we could put on the table. Nothing we can do would ever earn his favor. Yet all is ours for free. And the cross reveals his willingness to forgive not just once, but over and over and over again. How can we repay such extravagant, generous love? We cannot and need not, and the heart’s only answer is gratitude.”
— Rebecca Pippert
Hope Has Its Reasons
(New York, NY: Harper & Row, 1989), 159
Have a wonderful week!
Labels: Books, Holidays, Homeschooling, Kids, Political Observation
Friday, December 03, 2010
Please Mr. Postman, look and see....
I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas letters.
For the first decade or so of our marriage I refused to fall in line with the folks that I saw as using Christmas letters as a way to do one of two things or both: bragging about their kids' accomplishments, and avoiding having to write a personal message in each card.
But during the years when change was coming fast and furious for us--AF moves, the pastorate, babies and more babies, etc.--and our Christmas card list grew to over 300, I gave up and began doing a newsletter at Christmas to make sure that all the news got to everyone every year. Some years they were more elaborate than others (never as fancy as many I've received and enjoyed!) but I managed to get them in the mail on Dec. 1 pretty much every year. It became a fun family project and one I looked forward to each November.
Fast-forward to the 21st century. We've changed. Our world has changed. And our circumstances, not to mention our addresses, don't change often enough to warrant a newsletter each year. Moreover, most of the people who care about what's going on in our lives either read our blogs or hear our news and see our photos on Facebook. There's nothing wrong with this...it's just one of the ways the world has changed and therefore it's changed the way we relate and interact. And while I love getting a card by snail mail, I am not one of those who will bemoan the passing of the old routines and the instituting of new ones. The world is what it is, and older doesn't always mean better or more valuable.
So this year, I've made the decision to discontinue Christmas letters. I'm still sending Christmas greetings, but I'm not trying to catch everyone up on all that's happening...and those who want to know will either call, email, or check our "pages". It's rather a wonderful feeling to have shed this task, since it was a very time-consuming and expensive way to communicate, and I'm more than happy to find free methods of sharing way more than we ever could have by one page a year!
Thanks to all of you who have read our letters year in and year out since the 80's. We'll still enjoy reading all your news if you're sending letters...and we'll see you on Facebook :-)
Labels: Friendship, Holidays