Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Things I learned in graduate school: People aren't as observant as they think

Last week I re-connected with a grad school friend--last I knew, he lived in Galveston, and I wanted to see if he was ok after Hurricane Ike hit (He's fine--doesn't even live in Texas anymore). I haven't talked with him in at least six years--probably more like ten.

But talking with him brought back lots of grad school memories...

My first year, one of my friends, Elliott, liked to say, "Yeah, right, and monkeys may fly." So I bought a barrel of monkeys and designed ways of making them fly--a hang glider, rocket ship, airplane, parachute...pretty creative, if I do say so myself :) I even got friends to place a couple of them, to throw them off the track.

So I would plant one somewhere near his desk, and see how long it would take him to discover it. Usually it would be a day or two (the longest was a week), and he would swear it hadn't been there when he had gone to XX (lunch, the bathroom, the gym, whatever) just a few minutes ago.

He was a good detective, too--I was sweating it when he was in search of who had the matches I had used to make the hang glider wings (they weren't the standard lab matches). But the funniest thing was that he was convinced that the ones I made had to have been done by a male, and the ones I had others do were done by me.

So the big take home lesson: People aren't as observant as they think, especially in an environment they think they know.

And just because something is well constructed, doesn't mean a guy made it!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lost and found

Tonight we had round 2 of students over for dinner. When it was time for them to leave, somehow our cat got out--we followed her from the porch to the neighbor's yard, to under a car. Ali hasn't been outside in at least 9 years, and considering she's all black (well, Harmony says black and pink because her collar and tongue are pink) and it was dark out, this was a bad situation.

Patrick and I tried for a couple of minutes, while the kids had orders to put pjs on and get ready for bed. (I busted them helping themselves to extra dessert...new step in the bedtime routine!)

The kids were pretty upset, and Henry was sure he had seen her, so we all went out for one more look...no cat. As we were heading back in, Henry wailed, "But I prayed that she'd come back!"

I was gearing up for dealing with the "sometimes God answers prayers right away, sometimes later, and sometimes the answer is no" talk...we spied the cat, under the dining room table.

None of us saw her enter, but there she was. And we had all specifically seen her outside--there are no other black cats in the neighborhood, let alone one with a fluorescent pink collar. Patrick and I were amazed...but not Henry and Harmony. Good ol' childlike faith--I KNEW God would answer our prayers!

And for story time, they wanted to read the "Lost" parables--the lost coin, the lost sheep and the lost son. So despite it being way past bedtime by the time they settled in, it was well worth it.

Thanks for answered prayers, God. Give us childlike faith to believe you do answer prayers.

Melodic Monday: Henry doesn't care

"Henry Doesn't Care"
By Ashley Cleveland
Album: Bus Named Desire
Label: Reunion
Year: 1993
Track number: 4

Baby's got a good laugh on me
He don't have to wrestle with his history
He don't have to worry 'bout thinking too much
Only pressure he feels is the human touch

Foolish things drive me to despair
Henry doesn't care
Henry doesn't...

Baby don't know about false pretense
He never met a soul that he had to convince
He don't hide his anger in a few cheap shots
Or act like he's happy when he knows that he's not

Foolish things drive me to despair
Henry doesn't care
Henry doesn't care

Baby's gonna feel the thumb of powerful men
And learn firsthand about original sin
Got to take his knocks like everyone else
But I hate to see him learn to protect himself

Fearful things drive me to despair
Henry doesn't care
Henry doesn't care

Friday, September 26, 2008

My hearing may never be the same again...

I did this as a demo today in Gen Chem...it definitely woke people up!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Menu Planning Monday

This week went from "nothing's going on" to overful...

L: Ham and cheese sandwiches, banana, milk
D: Clean Out the Refrigerator Night (CORN)
L: Lunchables, apple slices, milk
D: Grogonzola and Sundried Tomato Burgers (with beef, not buffalo), sun chips, cucumbers and carrots
L: quesadillas, fruit, milk
D: half my advisees over for dinner. Salad, Cumin Lime Pork Tenderloin, corn, dressing, apple crisp
L: Leftovers :)
D: Life group in Lafayette. Most likely McD's.
Friday--Patrick at a wedding.
L: ??
D: Something kid friendly!
brunch for a friend with a couple of pictures in the local art show. Overnight cinnamon rolls (my mom's version of this--use 1/2 as much yeast, rise on countertop), crockpot hash browns, egg and sausage strata, blueberry muffins and fresh fruit

Come back next Monday for part 2 of having the advisees over--Asian theme :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Remember my crack about crickets?

We have a real one that's moved into our dining room...but we can't find it. It starts chirping around 10 pm, and keeps going all night...so much for silence. Our cat is usually a cricket hunter, but hasn't gotten this one. It gets quiet when you get close, but as soon as you leave, it's back at it...it's a new torture form!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Thankful Thursday--Jesus's "I tell you the truth"s

Iris's theme this week is Truth. One of my favorite parts of the book of Mark is all the times Jesus says, "I tell you the truth,..." So I'm thankful these are true!

Mark 3:28
I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. I'm thankful for forgiveness--that it covers ALL my sins.
Mark 9:1
And he said to them, "I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power." I'm thankful that we get to participate in the kingdom of God on earth, and in power.

Mark 9:41
I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward. I'm thankful that servanthood will be rewarded.

Mark 10:15
I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." I'm thankful for childlike faith, especially from my kids, and the opportunities to grow it through Kid's Church.

Mark 10:29-30
"I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. I'm thankful for missionaries and their sacrifices, both here and abroad.

Mark 11:23
"I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. I'm thankful that faith will be rewarded (though this is still a hard verse for me).

Mark 12:43
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. I'm thankful that God measures wealth and generosity on a very different scale than the world does.

Mark 14:9
I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she [the woman who poured out perfume on Jesus's feet] has done will also be told, in memory of her." I'm thankful that Jesus hears (and smells) our worship, and enjoys it.

Mark 14:18
While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me." I'm thankful that Jesus not only died on the cross for me and you, but that he did it willingly, with full knowledge of what was coming.

Mark 14:25
"I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God." I'm thankful that Jesus has gone ahead of us to prepare a place in heaven, and someday soon we'll get to meet him face to face there!

So what are you thankful for this week?

What works for me Wednesday--streamlining my surfing

The semester has started, and my surfing time is much reduced. But I found a new function on Blogger--once you're logged on and at the Dashboard, you can choose blogs to follow. Now instead of checking all my favorite blogs, the updates are listed in one place--no waiting for each page to load!

So what works for you? See more ideas at Rocks in my Dryer!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Messages to myself

I'm giving a sermon tomorrow at the religious chapel at my school. It's usually a small group (like 20 or so), but I don't feel very prepared (especially since I forgot that it was this week until the notice went out to campus yesterday!). So prayers are appreciated!

I opened up a sermon I gave last November to check the format, and it was one of those, "I wrote this??" moments--definitely a message I needed to hear...and maybe others do too. So here it is:

I started my Christmas shopping last week, but I skipped Black Friday. Instead, I hit the internet…and bought my brother (and myself) an entry in the Indy Mini-Marathon. I ran it last year, and it was a great experience—there were lots of spiritual analogies in it for me, and I now better understand some biblical principles because of it.

One of those passages is in Hebrews 12, verses 1 to 3:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Love this passage—it’s so visual. You can just see someone casting off their backpack, fixing their eyes on the finish line, and running hard. Let’s take a closer look at it, using some examples from the mini-marathon.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses

• Running with 35,000 people there are lots of witnesses!
• You have lots of witnesses—the “therefore” is referencing the long list of faithful in the previous chapter.
• You also have lots of real life witnesses—those who are around you.
• Cheerleaders on the side, but real encouragement from those running next to you
• Who can you cheer on?

Throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles
• Being a mom, I tend to be part sherpa—rare is the day when I’m not hauling a ton of stuff. A typical morning includes me carrying a school bag, purse, three lunches, and a gym bag.
• Mini—Fedex trucks where you could check your “stuff”. You can do the same thing—check it with Jesus
• 1 Peter 5:7 says "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you," but sometimes I think I'd rather carry them myself and focus on them rather than looking to Jesus at the finish line--my burdens seem more immediate. But when I was in gymnastics, I learned a trick—if you want to do a full turn, the key is to fix your eyes on a spot, like the end of the beam), and keep your eyes on it while you rotate.
• What kinds of things hinder? Worry, anxiety guilt; bad habits like procrastination. Not sins, but things that distract you from the task at hand. There might be things that are good, but get in the way—Does this help me run my Christian race?

let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us
• Faith is an active thing—running isn’t passive
• It’s an endurance race—requires perseverance, no quitting! While the race had a sag wagon that picked up stragglers, no such thing
• Look for the water stops—Jesus
• Midpoint of the minimarathon, on the Indy 500 racetrack, Bon Jovi was playing over the loudspeaker – whoa, living on a prayer, whoa, we’re half way there…Prayer is a requirement
• Sometimes it’s an act of will

fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith
• Mile 12—getting tired, but could see the finish line—and the clock. Focusing on that helped me overcome my tired legs.
• Easy for us in our spiritual race to get distracted from the goal—looking at the obstacles or at others in the race.
• Instead, we’re supposed to fix our eyes on Jesus
• faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
• it starts and ends with Jesus—faith begins and ends with Him
endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God
• Jesus as an example—he fixed his eyes upon the goal and persevered
• It is finished—he has sat down and is done.
At the finish line, you couldn’t just sit down—you had to turn in your timing chip in exchange for a medal, and there was a virtual banquet of water bottles, bananas, cookies

So how’s your race going? Do you feel the support of the great cloud of witnesses around you? What can you do to encourage others in the great race? Are there burdens that are slowing you down or sins that are tripping you up? If so, check them with Jesus. What are you focused on? Are your eyes on Jesus, or are you busy looking at the obstacles or others in the race?

God, give me the endurance and faith to press on when the race feels very long.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Melodic Monday HELP

I'm "up" to preach at chapel at school on Wednesday--silly me, I forgot about it until I got the announcement today. Good thing it's literally a ten minute service! I think I'm going to use the previous post on Samuel and David as the message. But I'm stumped on a hymn...somehow I doubt "Man looks on the outside" is in any of the mainline hymnals.

Any ideas???

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Man looks on the outside, but God looks on the heart

Our Children's Ministry leader has often said "You'll never miss something God has for you because you're working with the kids." That is soooo true.

Case and point:

Last week's lesson was on Samuel annointing David king. God sent Samuel, always the good listener to God, to Jesse's house to annoint one of his eight sons king, under the guise of offering a sacrifice to God. So Jesse lines up the seven oldest, and Samuel goes down the line..."Ah, surely the eldest is the one." Nope, says God. "Do not consider his appearance or his height for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:6-7; The kids sang an awesome song with the last part of the verse.)

Keep going. How about the second? Nope. Third? Nope. Fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh? Nope, nope, nope, nope.

Are you sure you don't have any other sons, Jesse?

Oh yeah, David is out watching the sheep. Hold on a minute (or an hour) while I send someone to get him.

David wasn't even on Jesse's radar screen as important enough to participate in the sacrifice--someone has to stay with the sheep. But that's exactly who God chose to lead His people.

Huh. It wasn't until I started preparing this week's lesson on David and Goliath that it hit me, that passage is relevant to me too. When David came to the battle, his older brothers scoffed him for voyerism. And when he went up to fight, both Saul and Goliath wondered why in the world God was sending a boy to do a man's job.

By outward appearances, he wasn't qualified to do the job. But David knew whose battle it really was--something that no one else seemed to realize.

Have you ever been in the situation where the new kid on the block becomes the teacher's pet? Or someone younger than you is put in authority over you? Or someone who doesn't seem qualified, either in training or experience, is put in a position that doesn't seem right, especially when there are more qualified and better trained people available? Or the new employee is promoted before someone who has paid their dues?

It sets off my "it's not fair!" alarms.

And God says, "You're looking at the wrong things. You can't see the heart."

Totally convicting.

Forgive me, Lord, for forgetting that you're the one who puts people in authority. Thanks that you see the heart, not just outward appearances like looks, degrees, and experience. Help us trust your decisions and pray for our leaders.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thankful Thursday--courtesy of my MIL

My MIL sent this forwarded message to me. It's definitely appropriate for a Thankful Thursday, and I definitely needed to hear it!

I want to thank You for what you have already done. I am not going to wait until I see results or receive rewards; I am thanking you right now. I am not going to wait until I feel better or things look better; I am thanking you right now. I am not going to wait until people say they are sorry or until they stop talking about me; I am thanking you right now.. I am not going to wait until the pain in my body disappears ; I am thanking you right now. I am not going to wait until my financial situation improves; I am going to thank you right now. I am not going to wait until the children are asleep and the house is quiet; I am going to thank you right now. I am not going to wait until I get promoted at work or until I get the job; I am going to thank you right now. I am not going to wait until I understand every experience in my life that has caused me pain or grief; I am thanking you right now. I am not going to wait until the journey gets easier or the challenges are removed;
I am thanking you right now. I am thanking you because I am alive. I am thanking you because I made it through the day's difficulties. I am thanking you because I have walked around the obstacles.

I am thanking you because I have the ability and the opportunity to do more and do better.

I'm thanking you because FATHER, YOU haven't given up on me.

God is just so good, and he's good all the time.

For more thankfulness, please visit Iris.

Sounds of silence

(Insert sound of crickets chirping (if I knew how, or had the time to find it))

It's been pretty quiet in my little corner of the blogosphere--many of the blogs of real life friends haven't been updated in weeks. There are good reasons--new babies, one in the NICU; back to school busy-ness; people connecting more by Facebook. But I have a feeling some of the silence is due to people being too hurt to want to talk about what's going on publicly.

On the one hand, I'm glad people are staying away from what could be construed as gossiping. On the other hand, I'm very sad that we've lost our "real-ness" in the bloggy community--people are hunkered down in their bomb shelters (a good God place to be) and not "talking" (not the healthiest place to be). I think Amy was right when she described blogging as the "canary in the mine" It feels like lots of things have gotten shoved underground...I know that's true for me.

So here's a promise that this blog will get more real...but not today. I need to try to go back to sleep for a little while--the days are definitely long right now.

Jesus, there seems to be too much going on right now. Quiet my heart, give me peace, and restore the "authentic relationships" part of our church's mission statement.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Works for me Wednesday -- cheap cards

Birthday (and other) cards can really add up, so my strategy is to make my own! Michaels and Hobby Lobby carry packages of 50 blank cards for $10, and they often have 50% off any item coupons, making the cards themselves $0.10. I then print (either by computer or by hand) a message on the inside, and attach a picture. Sometimes I use a picture of the recipient, or a fun picture of my own kids.

For example, I've used this picture of Henry (from his 3rd birthday) with "Happy Birthday Partner!" for birthday cards:

Or this one for a new baby, with "congrats on your newest bundle of joy":

Or for "showers of blessings":

For thank you cards (especially from the kids) I take a picture of them with the giver or of them playing with/using the gift.

Depending on where you get the photos developed, the pictures cost less than $0.20, bringing your cost per card to less than $0.30, about a tenth of the price of a card at the store!

So what Works for you? Please visit Shannon for more ideas!

Monday, September 8, 2008

We are the church by Jay Beech

The Jay Beech band played a lot of events at my college...

We are the church
The body of our Lord
We are all his children
And we have been restored

The Church is not a building
where people go to pray;
it's not made out of sticks and stones
it's not made out of clay...

You can go to worship
but you cannot go to Church;
you can't find a building that's alive
no matter where you search...

The Church is not a business
a committee or a board;
it's not a corporation
for the business of our Lord...

The church it is the people
living out their lives
called, enlightened, sanctified
for the work of Jesus Christ...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Daddy's in charge...

...and he didn't feed them dinner (beyond cookies at church) tonight. Here's hoping they don't wake up at 5 am, starving!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Give me Jesus

In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
Give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus.

When I am alone,
When I am alone,
When I am alone,
Give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus.

When I come to die,
When I come to die,
When I come to die,
Give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
You can have all this world,
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus.

At the beginning of his ministry (Luke chapter 4), Jesus quoted Isaiah 61 (below) and said, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners, [a]
to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I have 29 minutes left to figure out how to be thankful. Some days it's just hard...I know we're supposed to be thankful in all things, but sometimes life just doesn't seem fair. What good is going to come of a baby in the NICU?? Everything I see isn't so hot--big bills, separation from the other children, hardship for the parents, not to mention health issues for the baby. How is the upheaval at church a good thing?? I really don't like conflict.

The good news is that I don't have to have the answers. God does. And I just need to trust that those answers will be revealed in time--either here or in heaven.

So since we're supposed to be thankful in all things...
--I'm thankful for the trials that little Samuel and his family are going through. I'm thankful for their faith and ability to rely on You when times are tough. Use them to show Yourself to other parents in the NICU, as well as staff.

--I'm thankful for how you use trials to reveal yourself, and test our faith. Help us to make good choices, and for those most affected by stuff at church to be stretched but not broken.

--Thanks for new classes and enthusiastic students.

--Thanks for a sub, even if it's just for the labs (we can patch something together for the rest of the classes).

--Thanks for sleepless nights...I'll be well prepared for newborn middle-of-the-night feedings :)

--Thanks that Henry loves school--his comment tonight was, "When I grow up, I want to be a dad that plays video games (which Patrick does not)...and a Kindergarten teacher."

--Thanks for the millions of parties Harmony has planned...she better live to 110 to have them all :)

--Thanks for an amazing crew of friends, and the opportunity to socialize with different groups the last three nights.

You know what I find amazing? Once you start, it's hard to stop...even though starting is tough! No wonder we're supposed to give thanks in all circumstances. It might not change the circumstance, but it definitely changes your perspective. Thanks for that wisdom too, God!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Melodic Monday--Vertigo by U2

This is the most requested song by the kids in the car...they like doing the Spanish parts...(1,2,3,14!) :)

Uno, dos, tres, catorse
[Spoken vocal]
Turn it up loud, Captain!

Lights go down it’s dark
The jungle is your head - can’t rule your heart
A feeling is so much stronger than
A thought
Your eyes are wide
And though your soul it can’t be bought
Your mind can wonder

Hello, hello... (Hola)
I'm at a place called Vertigo (dónde estás?)
It’s everything I wish I didn’t know
Except you give me something...
I can feel, feel

The night is full of holes
As bullets rip the sky of ink with gold
They twinkle as the boys play rock and roll
They know that they can’t dance - at least they know

I can’t stand the beats
I’m asking for the cheque
The girl with crimson nails
Has Jesus 'round her neck
Swinging to the music Whoooaaa
Swinging to the music Whoooaaa

Hello, hello... (Hola)
I'm at a place called Vertigo (dónde estás?)
It’s everything I wish I didn’t know
But you give me something...
I can feel, feel

Check mated...
Just for...
Jumping in... yeah

[Edge solo]

All of this... all of this can be yours
All of this... all of this can be yours
All of this... all of this can be yours
Just give me what I want and no one gets hurt

Hello, hello... (Hola)
I'm at a place called Vertigo (dónde estás?)
Lights go down and all I know
That you give me something...
I can feel your love teaching me how
Your love is teaching me how to kneel, kneel

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, YEAH,
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, YEEEAAAAH