Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Isaiah didn't know there would be 400 years of silence. Good thing God's got things covered.
Week Four: Can It Be?
The fourth Sunday of Advent
This summer, my family and I spent a wonderful week vacationing in Massachusetts. Our main destination was Plimouth Plantation, a recreation of the village (near modern-day Plymouth) where the historical first Thanksgiving is said to have taken place, and the Mayflower II, a full-size, seaworthy replica of the original Pilgrim ship, is docked. My six-year-old son studied the Pilgrims in his kindergarten class and heard about this fascinating place. His excitement convinced us this would make a great place to visit. The village consists of a series of weather-worn wooden buildings and fenced-in areas where historical breeds of livestock and heirloom crop varieties grow. Throughout the village, costumed actors go about their daily lives, playing characters from 1627 and assuming the language and customs common to these early European settlers.
We all were fascinated by the details of the colonists’ difficult life: Each family, even a family with 15 children, lived in a single room dwelling of about 800-square-feet, which was seemingly constantly covered in dirt. Two hours were spent every day grinding corn with a wooden mortar and pestle to come up with enough flour to make a loaf of bread. Pilgrim children did not attend school (which my children were interested to learn), because they were working in the fields all day as soon as they physically were able (which my children were strangely less interested to learn).
This new life followed a grueling two-month trip living below deck in a dank, small single room which was semi-sealed to keep out ocean water and, consequently, light and fresh air. During the first winter, more than half of the 102 settlers died due to weakened immune systems. Over and over, I was struck with the difficulty of life in the new land, and left with a question: “Who does something like this?!?”
My answer came from one of the actors, an older colonist who invited us all into the Meeting House—a nondescript wooden structure which was used primarily for worship services. Once assembled, he began by teaching us, by rote, to sing: “Guide me, O though great Jehovah!” After our first attempt, he stopped us abruptly, yelling: “the Lord says we are to make a joyful noise! Not a ‘polite noise’ and not a ‘pretty noise.’ We make a ‘joyful noise’ because we are a people of joy, and we are a people of joy because we are a people of faith. The joy in our faith is what brought us here, and it is what sustains us through these trials.”
My mental picture of these people, who had undergone such difficulty in their new lives, was missing one vital part of their reality: joy. I had not considered they could experience so much real, life-affirming joy. At that moment, I understood that, as fellow-followers of Jesus, they too knew God’s faithfulness and love. They were able to go in faith, knowing that while they were in the darkness, the light of Jesus was coming. They knew, as Jesus taught us, greatness lies on the other side of suffering. It is my prayer that, in this Advent season, we may all know the joy of God’s love in our lives. In the words of the psalmist: Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it. Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord; for he is coming!
— Timothy Dixon, DMA
professor of music
Psalm 96; Isaiah 52:7-10; Luke 1:57-80 source: Messiah College Advent devotional book 2014 TL;DR: “The Lord says we are to make a joyful noise! Not a ‘polite noise’ and not a ‘pretty noise.’ We make a ‘joyful noise’ because we are a people of joy, and we are a people of joy because we are a people of faith. The joy in our faith is what brought us here, and it is what sustains us through these trials.”
Friday, December 19, 2014
Ikea has done it again. What would you ask of your parents for Christmas, compared to your letter to Santa?
There's also a second clip in the link, also very good, about materialistic Christmas.
(Warning... bring Kleenex. It's awfully dusty in here...)
So all week UPS has been delivering packages, multiple packages, to Credo from QVC. Thing is, neither Big Frog nor I have ordered things from QVC, possibly ever.
But Credo's former owners have. Often, evidently.
And we've been getting packages addressed to their current address, with stickers pasted over and around the ostensibly correct "ship to" addresses which redirect the packages our way.
But unlike the United States Postal Service, United Parcel Service won't let you just marker "please forward" onto the item and throw it back into the mailbox. Instead, I went online to figure out what to do, and the "chat now" person had me take photos of the packages, which she passed along to the local office, which sent a brown truck back our way to retrieve and redeliver. The drivers have been very gracious about it, but they seem as mystified as I about who would keep correcting a "ship to" midway through the process.
I am a night owl. This is not news to anyone who has ever met me.
And although we have our outdoor and tree lights set to "dusk + #h", they're on sometimes dusk to dawn, sometimes longer. It depends on how light hits the sensors. Or maybe we have a bad optic. We're not sure, and this is the first year we've relied on them instead of just using them as switches.
So I was awake and reading, and the lights were still illuminated and blinking merrily away in the darkness at 1am when a knock sounded at the door.
Even though I always say, "It's never too late to call, although it may be too early," few people call after 10p. And really no one calls after 11p, even if you tell them to. So a 1am knock was really unexpected. Haven't had one of those since college days, when everyone was on a semi-nocturnal schedule.
I open the door and I'm greeted by a complete stranger, an African-American woman whose face immediately falls and she says, "Oh, [former owner] moved." She starts backpedaling into an apologetic, "I knew they had their house on the market, I just forgot, I'm so sorry," and I learn that the previous owner's mother has passed on unexpectedly. This night visitor just an hour ago learned about the passing and hopped in her car to support her friend. Who no longer lives at my house.
Longtime readers may recall how God providentially let us meet the previous owner and her mother the very day I moved to NC. In a show of completion, when I arrived in NC, I met Big Frog at the house rather than at the hotel where he was then living. Not 15 minutes later did the previous owner show up to do some last minute tidying before turning the keys over. So instead of prowling around the perimeter with cat-like tread and bobbing flashlights, we went into the house and took photos of us in our new kitchen. We exchanged cell numbers and invited the former owners to EOPS.
So, 1am notwithstanding, I was able to give the friend all the reasonably-current contact information I had for their friend.
Ain't God good?
Hebrews 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Monday, December 15, 2014
Saturday, December 13, 2014
Friday, December 12, 2014
The pattern by Priscilla Hewitt calls them "scalloped potholders", but they fly well and are soft enough for indoor use, and are foldable to fit into a pocket to just have around. Plus, you can throw them in the wash when they get dirty.
One of redditgifts international exchanges actually got this going; one of my giftee's interests is disc golf, & he was very specific on "I don't want something you just clicked to have sent to me. Give me something with your fingerprints on it." Done!
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.
John 1:29 (also Handel's Messiah, Part II, 1st chorale)
Lest our honorable desire to live lives that embody Christ overreach into some messianic identity that says we are Christ to the world, it may be better for us to ask, “WWJBD? What would John the Baptist do?” To do as John the Baptist did is to call attention to Jesus Christ and then to say to all who are within hearing distance, “Hey, look! See! God is alive. God is in our midst. The Holy Spirit is at work in us and through and for us and even in spite of us! Behold! The Lamb of God!”
~Every Valley: Advent with the Scriptures of Handel’s Messiah
Compiled by Jessica Miller Kelley
Culturally, we may sing Messiah most at Christmastime, but it really is three parts: 1) Jesus' birth, 2) Jesus' death &resurrection, & 3) Jesus' triumphant return. We live in the inbetween-times.
Saturday, December 6, 2014
Sometimes the most remarkable things seem commonplace. I mean, when you think about it, jet travel is pretty freaking remarkable. You get in a plane, it defies the gravity of an entire planet by exploiting a loophole with air pressure, and it flies across distances that would take months or years to cross by any means of travel that has been significant for more than a century or three. You hurtle above the earth at enough speed to kill you instantly should you bump into something, and you can only breathe because someone built you a really good tin can that has seams tight enough to hold in a decent amount of air. Hundreds of millions of man-hours of work and struggle and research, blood, sweat, tears, and lives have gone into the history of air travel, and it has totally revolutionized the face of our planet and societies.
But get on any flight in the country, and I absolutely promise you that you will find someone who, in the face of all that incredible achievement, will be willing to complain about the drinks.
The drinks, people.
Summer Knight, by Jim Butcher, ch 30
At tonight's Christmas tree lighting, here in NC, there were burn barrels and hot cocoa to keep people warm.
I only wore my coat because it gave me pockets, which my choir dress lacks.
Also, in addition to The Kerner Chorale and a local HS madrigal group singing carols, another high school sent their drum corps and cheerleaders. Never heard a drumline play Silent Night before. But I guess you can only reorchestrate pah-rum-pum-pum-pum so many times before it gets old.
photo credit: Rheanell Baker
Also, a few snaps from our Messiah rehearsals and performances. Note to self: don't rent harpsichords. And certainly don't transport rented harpsichords in a pickup truck in the rain. photo credit: joyverflow Remember, sing British, not southern!
source: Blame it on the voices
Here's an addendum:
Monday, December 1, 2014
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Did a brief phone-video house tour before heading north for Thanksgiving... unfortunately, due to the limitations of battery and memory, in my redo of the main floor, the living room got cut off... maybe after Christmas has come and gone we'll loop thru the living room again.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The new Texan recently blogged about her mug-shot-like new driver's license, and I realized I hadn't changed mine yet. I'd actually been delaying it because according to the official website, regardless of if you were moving to the state or if you were a new driver, you had to take the written test and possibly even take a driving test pending the examiner deeming it necessary. And THAT was not high-priority for me. (The website overstated. Real people let an out-of-state license suffice.)
But although they took a photo, they didn't send me home with it on an immediately-ready shiny plastic card. Instead I got a North Carolina 20-day Temporary Driving Certificate. If I got stopped, I would have to show my PA license as well as this half-sheet of printer paper with all my stats.
The real card will come by mail next week.
Which is one thing for a library card (they do that to verify your address), but on a driver's license it means that the infamous driver's license photo goes unseen until there's a week between you and the clerk at the DMV. There's no doublecheck on the photo. There's no retakes. And the clerk gets no repercussion. The mail carrier might, though.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
God asks us questions not because he does not know the answers but because he wants us to know the answers.
One learns salvation their entire life -- there are no adults of God.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Friday, November 7, 2014
No one wants that wagon wheel chandelier.
Lowe's doesn't carry it any longer.
Even the furniture consignment shop gave me specific directions to goodwill.
In all honesty, they would have taken it for consignment if it was in perfect condition. But it was hung so low that even I walked into it, and I never have to duck for ANYthing. It was inevitable that something break on it, and indeed it had a single cracked globe.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Our mixed marriage on a night like tonight:
Big Frog: You broke his NOSE that one time!
me: We TOTALLY broke his nose that one time!
Big Frog: SQUAAAAAASH!
me: Go go go!
We have two guaranteed NFL head-to-heads/yr, & often another in the playoffs. Also we have a Big 10 head-to-head (most?) years, & one in cousins' league FF. So far we've never had all 3 in the same weekend, but I suppose it's possible.
Good thing the Sunday School on conflict resolution started today. :-)
Thursday, October 30, 2014
I don't know if I'd necessarily recognize a first date if I saw one.
But I sure wouldn't look for one at the local diner or at the Mexican restaurant.
Why, then, have the last two times we've eaten out were we asked, "So is this on one check?" We've only been together 16 years at this point.
PS It belatedly occurs to me, maybe they think we're "just friends"! What does that look like? Of course Big Frog is my best friend, but still... Curious...
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Thursday, October 23, 2014
I remember my dad, who is and always has been an engineer who thinks in engineer and speaks engineer, marveling that my eighth grade geometry class included trig tables. We quickly moved to scientific calculators and then the exciting world of graphing calculators. I remember one of my friends making 6-slide flip books on the graphing calculator in the middle of non-math class, and even "taking notes" on it. (We knew, and the teacher knew, he was drawing. But he actually had English notes in there too, so she couldn't call him on it that time.)
One time I forgot my graphing calculator and borrowed dad's scientific calculator... it threw me for a loop because not only did it have a cord and an adapter, you had to enter your data using reverse polish notation (Instead of 3 + 4 - 5, you type in 3 4 + 5 - ). When he bought it, for several hundred dollars, it was really top end high tech. After all, the whole of NASA when we sent men to the moon had less computing power than a flip phone has nowadays.
Go ahead and start by reading this to get an attitude of gratitude going. We'll wait. Did you read it? I mean it. Go read about "A Whole New & Necessary Way to See Your Messy House" now!
Incredibly thankful for those, and there were many, who helped me purge, and purge, and sort, and organize, and pack Selah up prior to the move. So many boxes! When everything was finally packed, I literally had to edge around the house in the sole pathway from my bed (camping mattress, at that point) to even the bathroom.
Then suddenly, everything was gone, on a van for a month of storage. W-e-i-r-d. All that was left was me, a suitcase, the aforementioned camping mattress, and the dust rhinoceroses who have been lurking in untouched places, growing in the 12 1/2 years we lived in Selah. (And all the sundry things keeping me from flying to NC & having the movers take Titan, my car. And all the random things I needed in the interim, like my tap sneaks and show pants. But without some important but packed things, like toothpaste. In an amusing twist, the same day I emptied Selah to "bare essentials", I made a Walmart run.) We were blessed, incredibly blessed, beyond blessed, by a wonderful cleaning crew of NCF sisters who swooped through, cleaned every nook and cranny, and disappeared a mere two hours later. Left to my own devices, that could have taken weeks.
I drove to NC and, as previously blogged, met Big Frog at Credo, and serendipitously was able to go into the house because the previous owners were picking up some last items from the place. We continued to indoors-camp even after closing on the house while waiting for flooring to be installed -- out with the tortoiseshell cat carpeting, in with the sleek "Oregon Walnut Fog" flooring. The trio of installers Costco sent us, amazingly were able to do the entire transformation in a single marathon day, which given that it was slated as a three day project, gave them a midweek weekend. And gave us a glorious expanse of empty floor (no furniture yet) in which to sock-skate, which is to say, dust by wearing fuzzy socks. Furniture Friday saw our household goods, plus some planned items from my mom (and a few surprises), arriving in boxes and crates.
We also successfully surprised Big Frog with PA artwork autographed by many of our friends. Literally hundreds of our friends kept the secret from him and helped me coordinate it across a number of events, several held under his very nose even before he left PA.
And now most of the boxes are open and we need to fill this hospitality house with friends. One of Big Frog's questions, early in the househunting process, was, "I wonder who'll be first to stay over at Credo?" We certainly have grown as people since we bought Selah. To that end, our Housewarming Party is on Sunday, November 9, 3-6p. Please come, and bring friends, and we'd appreciate if you brought a plate of your favorite cookies as well as its recipe. We're excited to be building our community here in the Triad.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
They gave us crayons at the restaurant (Dame's Chicken & Waffles). I drew either a very large flower, or a very small elephant, or perhaps both.
Although I intended to bring them home with me, I am not a neat enough eater for that.
me: This is better. I'm taking him home digitally.
Big Frog: And sharing him!
me: He could go anywhere in the world, virtually.
Big Frog: That's awesome.
me: To be a virtual elephant?
Big Frog: Yes!
Saturday, October 18, 2014
It's NPR pledge season now, and I recently heard one new supporter say that she changed the channel because it was all pledge breaks, but had back to NPR because she enjoyed even NPR pledge breaks more than the programming on other stations.
But in Big Frog's car he's got a lot of gospel stations programmed, and not a few bluegrass stations as well.
So we're driving around town and talking, and therefore not really listening to what's on the radio. Unexpectedly, both his and my ears do the auditory equivalent of a doubletake when the singer breaks into a chorus of,
"I'm breaking in a brand new pair of shoes Don't look at me like you think I've got the blues 'Cause I'm walking 'round and around and I'm seeing most of the town I'm just breaking in a brand new pair of shoes."
me: Wow. Just... wow... Wow.
Big Frog, tongue firmly in cheek: Wonder what the inspiration was for that one!
me: Wow... Wow.
Big Frog: Bluegrass. Where songs come from life.
There's a lot to get used to, living in the South. Also, this. On a brighter note, here's an alligator video by one of my favorite children's illustrators, Sandra Boynton:
It is from her awesome book-and-CD, Frog Trouble.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
(There are at least two points where the screen goes to black instead of going to station identification; just wait them out or roll the playbar a little ways forward until the show comes back.)
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Big Frog: Body parts warehouse...
(Remember, we've just been to the asian market, where they have pig uterus & hog maw (pig stomach) & tripe just as readily as they have chops & steaks. Salt cod, anyone?)
Big Frog: I'm sure they mean car parts!
me: (laughing nervously) Sticking to the main roads!
Monday, October 13, 2014
"People were spending about $38 billion a year on kerosene. The poorest people were spending the most for the worst. You and I complain when the cost of our flip-a-switch electricity goes up to 15 cents a kilowatt hour. The people using open-flame kerosene lighting are paying on the order of $80 a kilowatt hour. Again, these are the poorest people in the world."
Saturday, October 11, 2014
"Do you know what I like about you? Not your talent, because although you are gifted, so are we all. Because you have the desire that makes the difference between success and failure. Those who succeed are the ones who are willing to follow their talent into all of the unknown places it will take them." ~Julian, dance pro in Mambo in Chinatown by Jean Kwok
Friday, October 10, 2014
We turned off our feeds.
We focused on conversational catch-up.
And the O's started to come back.
We occasionally peeked over at the scores, and every time we did, the O's were doing better.
So... we don't get to watch the game. Because reasons.
source: Pearls Before Swine, by Stephen Pastis, 1/2/2011 Go Bawlmer birds!
- I'm definitely in the south. Earlier today I saw a fast food lettered sign advertising fried bologna and Velveeta sandwiches.
- My nails are purple, except for my ring fingernails are glitter orange. Without Brenda choosing purple and orange for her wedding (two kids ago), I never would have done this. But I've always drunk orange and purple Kool-Aid, and it's a pleasure to get to drink them both in October. Let's go Bawlmer Birds!
- a quote from WBAL: "With the rain tonight, I hope the fans stick around." "They've been sticking around for 12 or 13 years. They'll stick a little longer."
- Further proof of our God being a God of abundance: My first trip to Harris Teeter today, and I was going to pick up a 2L of Cheerwine (Addicted already. It's like an even better Dr Pepper.). Also unexpectedly found some Maine Blueberry Soda which reminded me of our trip to Thomas WV, and which I unsuccessfully to get Wegmans Mechanicsburg to carry. Charmed, I thought to myself, "God is so good! Wouldn't it be funny if there were Vernor's (a cream-soda-like ginger ale from Detroit) here too?" There was. When I got home, I asked Earl what he thought would be the most unexpected drinkable find in this area. He said Troegs. Whose Troegenator I remember seeing in the Octoberfest beer display, and which ostensibly is also in the year-round beer aisle as well.
- Tangentially but more generally, I'm still thrown to walk around the corner at Target and see a wall of beer. Definitely not in PA anymore.
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Instructables on juniper stump removal
Here's one that's a bit more picturesque about the process.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Friday, October 3, 2014
Big Frog got to Skype with his Collab mentees the other day. They greeted him with, "How's the afterlife?" and, "Welcome back from the dead!", which neither he nor I knew anything about. Don't you think that we would know at least something?
Turns out, one of our wonderful relationship-minded Collab friends, who was on the call, had come in the other day, mournfully reporting, "Big Frog died," which shocked her teammates, who had no idea that anything was even wrong with my hubby.
Fortunately, we're all getting better at asking good questions to get to the bottom of the matter. The team quickly learned how much this fabulous, hula-hooping individual appreciated & respected Big Frog. (Completely in earnest, not teasing in the least.) As she instantly realized what a galvanizing effect her words had on the team, she clarified, "I named my fish after you."
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Monday, September 22, 2014
So, who wants to, or knows someone who wants to, buy a wonderful bungalow just north of Harrisburg? Fenced yard for pets, slate courtyard perfect for entertaining! Hot tub stays! Perfect for an individual, or a young couple, or a pair of roommates. We're entertaining all reasonable offers.
All that good stuff.
(real estate info here)
Please join us in praying for the new owners... our hope is that they step up soon, & our trust is in God's perfect timing.
Sunday, September 21, 2014
Saturday, September 20, 2014
- "Mine are glued and screwed." "Better be careful who you say that to!"
- "Oh, it's a Tortilla song!"
Gonna miss everyone! No goodbyes, just "see ya later"s! Look, I'm taller than Becky! photo source: M Rebecca Long photo source: Janet Shatto Baderak
5-6-7-8 Tap Pups!
Friday, September 19, 2014
"You're here! I thought you were not here anymore at all! But you're here!"
"That's my party trick, I pull out the banjo!" (Joe then proceeded to cover Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, on banjo.)
"Who gave the drummer a mic?"
What a delightful end to a day full of boxes! (Everything I've ever owned is in a box. But there are no boxes in the moving van. It makes a small house super small, in a "my house is too small!" "invite the chickens indoors" "cows in the house" sense. Next week our house Ia gonna feel huge! And while I did put everything I expect to need in a closet labeled "Do not pack", I failed to label it "Keep access clear." Rookie mistake.)
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Hello is too. We have three new babies in our church this month so far -- that's a lot of casserole dishes zipping from house to house. There's definitely a love language of "eat more!"
Big Frog said that when we move, he definitely needs to prioritize finding a breakfast prayer group. In his last week living in PA, he has eaten with the Dennitarians, the Church of Perkins, and the men's coffee group. Collab had a kickoff picnic which, at our suggestion from last year, intentionally invited spouses and families. Also, on virtually no notice for a sendoff dinner on a busy night, we introduced 8 people from the worship team to dim sum (literally, "to touch the heart"; practically, "Chinese tapas") at China Tea House (best Chinese food in Central PA).*
* Great WSJ article about making dim sum here.
Have we taken photos at any of these gatherings? No. Should we have? Maybe. But sometimes we (I) need to get out from behind the lens to relish the time with people.
On Big Frog's last Sunday at NCF (and as a PA resident; we packed the car the night before and he drove down to NC direct from church), our church also brought us to the front to send us off properly. They presented us with a coffeetable book on PA that they'd signed, and had cookies after worship. We even sang Earl's favorite hymn and mine during service. (Part of that is making your wishes known. While there is often cake for a sendoff, I'd emailed in that I really wasn't a cake person but loved cookies. And with our ties to the worship team, I had no qualms about dropping an unsubtle hint about song suggestions. That being said, I meant it to be a surprise for Earl, but I didn't doublecheck the cc list before sending the email. Oh well. Of all things.)
Monday, September 15, 2014
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Sunday, September 7, 2014
Big Frog took a new job.
And not a job in the building next door to his previous job (although it's the same company!)
We're moving south.
To North Carolina.
(We are so glad to be doing this now, in the internet age, and not 5 or 10 years ago, let alone in 1981, when my parents moved from Michigan to Maryland.)
We took 2 different househunting trips and looked at 40+ homes (really.), culled from the scores of homes we looked at online. (Amazing realtor. Very much in tune with what we were looking for. And bend-over-backwards go-the-extra-mile service.) (Not like the unethical listing agent of one of our first favorites, who let us do a walkthru even though it had already been sold. She didn't cancel our first visit, nor tell us when we called asking for a second visit on the same day. It wasn't until we were talking numbers that she admitted that the sellers had already accepted an offer. Because of that burn, we were hypercautious about being aboveboard on everything.)
And we took the plunge.
photos from zillow.com. The house was listed in April; the dogwoods are obviously not in bloom in Sept.
We're naming this home "Credo", which is Latin (and Spanish) for "I believe".
Goal date is to close on October 3. Please keep praying! We know there are a lot of steps ahead, both with Credo and divesting ourselves of Selah.
God is faithful.
And Big Frog told me he's excited to see who comes to stay with us first.
Exciting times indeed!
(PS EOPS is, as always, on Palm Sunday. This year we're hosting the annual potluck at our actual home! And we're extending our timetable on it to potentially two meals, lunch and dinner, because we have pastor-friends who are local on a slightly bigger scale than we've drawn from in years past. We hope you can join us, but we hope also that you'll visit us long before then.)