Archive | June, 2014

You Can Ignore these Three Critics!

29 Jun

You Can Ignore these Three Critics!

Good thoughts about what is important in criticism and what is not . . .


The Tragedy of Forgetting a Child in a Car . . .

28 Jun

The Tragedy of Forgetting a Child in a Car . . .

These stories hurt so much I can almost not breathe while reading them . . .


My Millennial Friends . . .

24 Jun

My Millennial Friends . . .

Three defining characteristics (can I get a witness?). 


Ready to Get Back to Work . . .

20 Jun

Ready to Get Back to Work . . .

I had my most hopeful interview to date this week at Langley AFB. I would have joined a small team of six trainers on an Air Combat Command contract.

I found out several hours ago that the job went to another candidate.

Too bad. But, though I am disappointed, I am not in despair.

I have been unemployed since December. I know the right job is out there and I am anxious to get back to work.

When depression threatens, I do what I have learned to do over the years that I have walked with the Lord. Meditate on His goodness and remind myself that nothing lasts forever. In fact, I try to imagine myself in six months, working, and I think about the smile that will be on my face then.

My 56th birthday will be Monday. Tomorrow I am going to ride to Northern Virginia so my best friend can treat me to lunch for my birthday.

Sunday we will worship.

Monday I will hit the job search hot and heavy once again.

Lather, rinse, repeat. Life is full of joys and disappointments. But mostly it is full of God and His goodness!

Why Does God Keep Secrets From Me?

20 Jun


Deuteronomy 29:29, “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

In a discussion of where children go after death if they die before an age where they are conscious of God, we encountered the idea of God having secrets from us. The fate of unborn children and infants who die is one of those secrets. The Bible is silent on it.

We had to avoid arguing from silence and just say that God is absolutely good and absolutely just–that we can trust Him to do the right thing in those secret areas the Bible does not address.

Now sometimes some of us rebel against God reserving the right to keep secrets from us (even forever, if we can project forward from Deuteronomy 29:29).

Why do we rebel like that? I can think of three reasons.

1) In a crisis. If someone has just lost a baby, I totally understand her desire to know for sure her child is with God. That is not the time to have a deep theological discussion about arguing from the Bible’s silence. Just be comforting and keep the theological discussions for later.

2) Because we have control issues and resent the idea that God can fence off part of reality, including part of our own lives, and not let us have control over it. But . . . let’s face it. Even one devastating tornado in our neighborhood will prove to us that there is much in our own personal lives we do not and cannot control.

3) Because we have been hurt in the past by bad secrets and assume that secrets are inherently bad. That is where we make a huge theological error. Treating God like a monster because someone in our past has been a monster is just bad theology. God is not an exalted version of the most powerful human being we have known in the past. He is transcendent, meaning totally different from us in form and substance and everything else. The only reason we can ever hope to be like Him is because He is also immanent (become one with us) in Jesus Christ.

While I have all the compassion in the world for a child who was caught in a whirlpool of bad secrets, I cannot and will not form my theology from someone’s emotional state. This world is fallen. That will not change till later, when Christ makes all things new. But He remains God and is sovereign over this fallen world. We must trust Him to be as good as the Word says He is, and as wise and just as well!


Why Does God Keep Secrets? (and can I trust Him when He does?)

20 Jun

Why Does God Keep Secrets? (and can I trust Him when He does?)

Not a perfect explanation of election (because it is a “God concept,” after all), but one that is workable . . .


Southern Fried Faith or . . . Uniquenesses of Christianity in the South!

19 Jun

Southern Fried Faith or . . . Uniquenesses of Christianity in the South!

Can I get a witness? Yes, we do just as this post suggests. Especially the part about ignoring the elephant in the room by way of believing all interpersonal problems will resolve themselves if we just ignore them long enough . . . (that is enough to make this Northern-reared girl crazy. There is nothing attractive about passive-aggressive behavior).


The Correct Discussion to Have on Leaving a Church . . .

18 Jun

The Correct Discussion to Have on Leaving a Church . . .

Love this!  Biblically framed, instead of being man-centered and framed by our foibles.  


How Thin is Too Thin?

15 Jun

How Thin is Too Thin?

I had a glad reality check at Weight Watchers yesterday. There is another gal there who, like me, has lost over 100 pounds. Her name is Stephanie and her exact total is right at 120 pounds. Also like me, she is a Navy contractor who used to be active duty.

My total has been 120 pounds when I was at my smallest (144). My gynecologist actually weighed me in at 264 a couple of months before I went back to Weight Watchers, so I will always have that weigh-in as evidence of how high my weight crept in the end.

However, as the attached photo of me in the red dress shows, even at around 150, I am still plenty slim.

So yesterday Stephanie announced that she had gone shopping with her granddaughters while on vacation and had had a stunning moment when she tried on a pair of pants in size 6 and had to send her granddaughters out to get her a size 4. When she said that, I cheered and clapped, probably more loudly than anyone else!

Yet, I told her later that my wide hips make it less than feasible that I will ever get a pair of pants in size 4. Size 6 if they are loose; size 8 if they are jeans/fitted. That is just how God built me.

And I am glad to note that without the slightest hint of envy. I like who I am and how I look. Stephanie looks fantastic. But we are two different people and our weight loss and maintenance is not a contest.

Better to be there to support each other. It always is.


Eating Healthily on Vacation . . .

14 Jun

Eating Healthily on Vacation . . .

Today our Weight Watchers meeting had the topic of how to go on vacation without going off the rails.
Since Noel and I just returned from an eight day marathon run to Wisconsin and back to Virginia, and since we both lost weight (he lost 2 pounds; I lost 3.8), we had a lot to say about how to do healthy vacations. We are not perfect, but we found:
1) Keeping fruit, granola bars, and water in the car is an important move. Weight Watchers counts all fruit and most veggies as zero points. Go ahead and indulge. It won’t hurt you (unless you can eat your weight in fruit every day . . .). We also like to put some baby carrots in the cooler with our fruit.
2) Do stop at the regional places where everyone goes, even the chains. We love Culver’s and Steak and Shake in the Midwest, especially as we don’t have them near us in Virginia. But we go with a plan. I have not yet tried a shake at Steak and Shake, although my husband has. He still lost weight. We went to Steak and Shake twice this trip. The first time, I had a salad with chicken; the second time, a cup of vegetable soup. Both were very good and satisfying.
3) Don’t make vows that you won’t keep, like not eating dessert just because you don’t usually eat it back home. We attended the graduation ceremony at our son’s college in Wisconsin. Their culinary school made the cupcakes for the reception, so I had one. The two times we went to Culver’s, I had a small lemon ice, which tasted great and was a lower points alternative to a custard with mixins! At my parents’ house in Michigan, I let my mom serve me a half cup serving of her chocolate trifle two days in a row. Excellent stuff!
4) Salad is your friend, but so is soup. Along with the grilled chicken salads at Steak and Shake, Culver’s has some excellent salads with grilled chicken and fruit, too. I had one of those both times we went. Yet, eating only salad is a sure path to boredom and feeling deprived. So when we stopped at other places, I ate soup. A late night snack at Perkins during a sudden downpour led to me ordering a bowl of chicken noodle soup while my men got burgers. So did a late night visit to Cracker Barrel after we had our long day of driving through the mountains. Soup is good, especially when I am with my son and his first question is “Do you want your crackers, Mom?” The answer, for his entire life, has been “no.” He eats my crackers.
5) Cracker Barrel’s four vegetable sampler is the best thing going. Really! I ate it the other time we hit a Cracker Barrel on this vacation. A green salad, a sweet potato, green beans, breaded okra (indulgence, guilty pleasure!), and cornbread make for a very satisfying meal.
There are many ways to do vacations without gaining weight. Those are just a few tips from where we stand!
Have fun!


People who Attend Megachurches

14 Jun

People who Attend Megachurches

I did not expect this. So much involvement, even when they could easily be anonymous and just warm a pew!

Happy Father’s Day

13 Jun

Last Sunday and Monday I fulfilled a bucket list item.  We drove our son back from his college in Southern Wisconsin (just north of Chicago) by looping up through Green Bay to Marinette and on into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

I, who grew up in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, drove US-2 along the north shore of Lake Michigan until it hit Lake Huron in the Straits of Mackinac, then took the Mackinac Bridge down to visit my parents.  What a rush!

I thought I had only been to the Upper Peninsula (U.P., the people there are called Yoopers) once before.  I went straight up I-75, across the Mackinac Bridge and through the middle of the U.P., when I went to summer camp at age 13.  Hiawatha Baptist Youth Camp is still in the center of the U.P., on the way to Sioux Ste. Marie on the border with Canada.

However, my parents told me this week that they took me up to the U.P. when I was about two years old and my brother was an infant.  We went across when the Mackinac Bridge was first built and, having paid our toll, which was a dear expense to my dad as a young professional just starting out, we reached our campground and found we had left the center tent pole home!   

We ended up all sleeping together in the back of our station wagon, which was probably just as well, as it was so cold that my dad got up once an hour and ran the car engine to warm us up as we slept that night.  In the morning, we packed up and returned to the Lower Peninsula!

I love that mental image–Dad, Mom, Tom, and me all cuddled together in the station wagon, trying to stay warm.  How fun and what a sweet memory.  Happy Father’s Day, Dad.  You have always made things fun!!!


Ten Questions to Ask Before Hitting “Post” on Our Blogs . . .

13 Jun

Ten Questions to Ask Before Hitting “Post” on Our Blogs . . .

Finally someone has written a list of common sense questions for bloggers to ask ourselves before we post. Appreciate this.

Great Article on the History of Teetotalling in the U.S.

6 Jun


Tiananmen Square anniversary: How Jeff Widener photographed Tank Man

4 Jun

Amazing account of the iconic picture of “Tank Man” on Tianenmen Square, 25 years ago today.

Global News

WATCH ABOVE: Wednesday marks the 25th anniversary of the deadly Chinese government crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square. The “Tank Man” photo remains a symbol of those days, but his identity and fate remain a mystery. Paul Johnson reports.

In the 25 years since China carried out a brutal crackdown on student protesters one image remains synonymous with the words Tiananmen Square.

It’s known as the “Tank Man” photo — an image of a lone, unknown protester staring down a line of Chinese military tanks in the middle of Beijing’s Chang’an Avenue.

It’s believed tanks like those seen in the iconic image crushed many protesters, who challenged the Communist government and sought greater democracy.

There’s no official death toll from the riots and the crackdown, but it’s estimated to be in the hundreds while thousands of others were arrested for their dissent.

The identity of the Tank Man and his…

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