Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day

In honor of "Leap Day" or whatever you call it...Josh and Kurt and Simply Youth Ministry have come up with something different to do today...and it totals 29:

Do 3 Random Acts of Kindness
Call 5 folks who haven't heard from you in a while
Pray for 10 people by name
Make a list of 7 things you love about your spouse
Meditate on your 4 favorite Bible verses

Yep, that makes 29...for more details, check out "something different" highlighted above...


I thought this fitting for the 29th of February which is officially "Leap Day".

Joe Ayoob has broken the distance record for the flight of a paper airplane. Of course Guinness has to verify it but it flew for 226 ft. 10"! Far outdistancing the competition at McClellan AFB. Anyone who has ever folded a piece of paper to enjoy the experience of watching it it is!

Years ago we had a lady in our congregation who was a wizard at folding paper airplanes out of church bulletins. My son could hardly wait for the end of worship so he could dash back and beg her to once again fold his bulletin. But he knew the rules, he could ask her to fold it...but he could NOT fly it in the sanctuary!

One Sunday morning after worship, I was entering the sanctuary from the choir room when an airplane went flying past my nose! What???!!! How many times had I told him??? As I proceeded to speak his name through gritted teeth, one of the "pillars" of the congregation hurried towards me saying, "Don't fuss at him, I've watched for weeks now and just had to see one of them fly, I threw it!" Needless to say, son rode home that day with a smug look on his face. He had watched his airplane soar up towards the lofty roof of the sanctuary, and didn't even get in trouble. It was a good day!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

God and Elvis

Imagine starring in 2 of Elvis' early movies "Loving You" and "King Creole" and also starring with George Hamilton and others...and then moving on to your life's vocation as a Nun...Mother Delores did! In 1959 she presented an Oscar, this year she was up for one! See her story here.

A Franciscan Blessing

Lent 2011: A Franciscan Blessing from World Vision ACT:S on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mary's Way of the Cross

Every other year, I take the youth of our congregation and visit the local Catholic Church. Along with at least one of their members, we walk the Stations of the Cross. Although we do not recite the prayers, the person leading us reads the story associated with each Station. I find it beautiful and uplifting each time we visit. The young ones seem to see it the same.

Some Catholic Churches have chosen to follow "Mary's Way of the Cross. Although I haven't seen it in person, I'm sure it's touching to behold. I thought I would give you a glimpse of each station. I have attached the meditation for each but if you'd like to see it in it's entirety, visit here.

"Mary's Way of the Cross" follows the mother of Jesus as she walks the road to Calvary, where Jesus was crucified, emphasizing her sense of surrender: "I knew it had to be, so I walked on silently." Enter an intimate journey of faith through a deep reflection that will unite one's pain and suffering with Jesus on the cross through the sorrowful heart of His Mother.

It was early Friday morning when I saw my son. That was the first glimpse I had of him since they took him away. His bruised and bleeding skin sent a sword of pain deep into my heart and tears down my cheeks. Then Pilate, from his chair of judgment, asked the crowd why they wanted my son executed. All around me they shouted, "Crucify him!" I wanted to plead with them to stop, but I knew this had to be. So I stood by and cried silently. 
Regaining a little strength, I walked with the crowds to the entrance of the square. A door flew open and my son stumbled out, the guards laughing behind him. Two men dragged over a heavy wooden cross and dropped it on his shoulders. Then they shoved him down the road. My pain for him was unbearable. I wanted to take the cross from him and carry it myself. But I knew this had to be, so I walked on silently. 
I followed close behind my son as he stumbled toward Calvary. Nothing had ever hurt me more than to see him in such pain. I saw the cross digging into his shoulders. My heart dropped when I saw him fall face to the ground, the heavy cross landing squarely on his back. For a moment I thought my beloved son was dead. Now my whole body began to tremble. Then the guards kicked him. He rose slowly and began to walk again, yet they still whipped him. I wanted to protect him with my own body. But, I knew this had to be, so I walked on and wept silently. 

I had managed to break through the crowd and was walking side by side with my son. I called to him through the shouting voices. He stopped. Our eyes met, mine full of tears of anguish, his full of pain and confusion. I felt helpless; then his eyes said to me, "Courage! There is a purpose for this." As he stumbled on, I knew he was right. So I followed and prayed silently. 
I could now see almost complete helplessness on the face of my son as he tried to carry his heavy load. Each step looked as if it would be his last. I felt his every pain in my heart and I wanted the whole thing to end. Then I noticed some commotion near Jesus. The guards had pulled a protesting man from the crowd. They forced him to pick up the back of the cross to help lighten my son's load. He asked the guards why this had to be. I knew, and so followed silently.
As I continued close by Jesus, a woman pushed past the guards, took off her veil and began to wipe my son's sweating, bloody face. The guards immediately pulled her back. Her face seemed to say, "Why are you doing this to him?" I knew, so I walked on in faith, silently. 
Again my son fell, and again my grief was overwhelming at the thought that he might die. I started to move toward him, but the soldiers prevented me. He rose and stumbled ahead slowly. Seeing my son fall, get up again, and continue on, was bitter anguish to me. But, since I knew this had to be, I walked on silently. 
I was walking a few steps behind Jesus when I saw him stop. Some women were there crying for him and pitying him. He told them not to shed tears for him. They had the opportunity to accept him as the messiah; like many others, they rejected him instead. He told them to shed tears for themselves, tears that would bring their conversion. They did not see the connection between that and his walk to death. I did, and as he walked on, I followed silently. 
This fall of Jesus was agony to me. Not only had he fallen on the rocky ground again, but now he was almost at the top of the hill of crucifixion. The soldiers screamed at him and abused him, almost dragging him the last few steps. My heart pounded as I imagined what they would do to him next. But, I knew this had to be, so I climbed the hill silently behind him. 
With my son finally relieved of the weight of the cross, I thought he would have a chance to rest. But the guards immediately started to rip his clothes off his blood-clotted skin. The sight of my son in such pain was unbearable. Yet, since I knew this had to be, I stood by and cried silently. 
As they threw Jesus on the cross, he willingly allowed himself to be nailed. As they punctured his hands and his feet I felt the pain in my heart. Then they lifted up the cross. There he was, my son, whom I love so much, being scorned as he struggled for the last few moments of earthly life. But I knew this had to be, so I stood by and prayed silently. 
What greater pain is there for a mother than to see her son die right before her eyes! I, who had brought this savior into the world and watched him grow, stood helplessly beneath his cross as he lowered his head and died. His earthly anguish was finished, but mine was greater than ever. Yet, this had to be and I had to accept it, so I stood by and I mourned silently.
The crowd had gone; the noise had stopped. I stood quietly with one of Jesus' friends and looked up at the dead body of our savior, my son. Then two men took the body from the cross and placed it in my arms. A deep sorrow engulfed my being. Yet, I also felt deep joy. Life had ended cruelly for my son, but it had also brought life to all of us. I knew this had to be, and I prayed silently. 
We brought Jesus' body to a tomb and I arranged it there myself, silently weeping, silently rejoicing. I took one more look at my loving son, and then walked out. They closed the tomb and before I left, I thought, I knew this had to be ...... it had to be for you! I would wait in faith silently. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012



And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountain green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.

Until recently I don't believe I had ever heard this English Hymn. The words caught in my imagination and I just had to know the history behind them. 

Come to find out, the first line "And did those feet in ancient time" is the title of a short poem written in 1804 by William Blake, the beloved English poet. It is found in the preface to his epic Milton a Poem. The poem Jerusalem became a hymn in 1916 when Sir Hubert Parry wrote the music.

Blake's poem was inspired by a legend that Jesus, as a young person (during the "lost" years), accompanied  his uncle (or family friend) Joseph of Arimathea, to the area that is now England and visited Glastonbury. The legend is linked to Revelation 3:12 and 21:2 which describes the Second Coming, wherein Jesus establishes a new Jerusalem.

Blake does not assert that his poem is an historical truth but lifts up his desire that such a country be created again. He had a complete distrust of materialism and the corruptive nature of power and asserts that Jesus' visit would have created "heaven" in England. Heaven would overcome the "dark Satanic Mills" of the Industrial Revolution as he believed the "mills' would destroy nature and human relationships. Many feel he saw the coming industrial ageas aa a mechanism for the enslavement of millions, surrounding the people with a physically and spiritually repressive ideology.

It has been performed by numerous artists over the years...from the traditional church hymn:

to solo performances:

to a rock version by Emerson, Lake and Palmer:

and prior to a rugby match:

As you can see, the English love this song! Can't say that I blame them...

Friday, February 24, 2012

John Newton...

Slave trader, clergyman, songwriter, author of "Amazing Grace" and the piece below that is often misquoted 
and assigned to "anonymous" or to another author. We should each review it from time to time to check what we feel is the status of our soul. Can we heartily agree with what he says?

I am not what I ought to be — 
ah, how imperfect and deficient! 

I am not what I wish to be — 
I abhor what is evil, and I would cleave to what is good! 

I am not what I hope to be — 
soon, soon shall I put off mortality, and with mortality all sin and imperfection. 

Yet, though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor what I hope to be,
 I can truly say, I am not what I once was; 
a slave to sin and Satan; 

and I can heartily join with the apostle, and acknowledge, 
"By the grace of God I am what I am."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Worth a mention...

An Ohio church is offering a drive-thru Ash Wednesday blessing for parishioners pressed for time or reluctant to come inside the church for the Lenten observance.

The Rev. Patricia Anderson Cook of Mt. Healthy United Methodist Church in Mount Healthy offered the ashes Wednesday evening for people of all faiths beginning around 5 p.m. in the church parking lot.

Bridget Spitler, the church's secretary and building manager, said the church had received a lot of positive feedback for offering the drive-thru ashes.

"Some people may not be too comfortable coming in for a serious service," she said, adding that people with severe arthritis or other ailments that make attending the service uncomfortable also appreciate the drive-thru opportunity.

The pastor will provide a church brochure and a Lenten booklet, and the church offers a traditional Ash Wednesday service inside at 7 p.m.

You can read the rest here...
Although we at SFUMC Youth are not offering an opinion, just providing information, there is a place on the website linked to "vote" on the appropriateness of drive-thru Ash Wednesday.

Public vs. Private

We like to make a distinction between our private and public lives and say, "Whatever I do in my private life is nobody else's business." But anyone trying to live a spiritual life will soon discover that the most personal is the most universal, the most hidden is the most public, and the most solitary is the most communal. What we live in the most intimate places of our beings is not just for us but for all people. That is why our inner lives are lives for others. That is why our solitude is a gift to our community, and that is why our most secret thoughts affect our common life.

Jesus says, "No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house" (Matthew 5:14-15). The most inner light is a light for the world. Let's not have "double lives"; let us allow what we live in private to be known in public.

                                                                  Henri Nouwen


Polycarp who lived between 70 and 155 A.D was a disciple of St. John. Since he studied under one of Jesus' disciples, he heard firsthand accounts of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection.  From a young age Polycarp embraced Christianity and as Bishop of Smyrna he became one of the most important Christian leaders of the early church. Along with Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch, he was considered one of the Apostolic Fathers (meaning he was of the generation that had personal contact with the 12 Apostles) and was one of the first Christians whose writing survives. Called "Letter to the Philippians", it is described as follows:
There is also a forceful epistle written by Polycarp to the Philippians, from which those who wish to do so, and are anxious about their salvation, can learn the character of his faith, and the preaching of the truth.
It is believed he wrote a number of letters but the one referenced is the only one that exists. During his lifetime there were a variety of teachings about the sayings of Jesus. Because of his proximity to St. John the Evangelist, he was called upon to pronounce whether the teachings were genuine to the Apostolic Doctrine.

After decades of serving as Bishop, Polycarp was arrested at the age of eighty-six. To save his life he had only to say that Caesar was Lord and to denounce Christ. He refused. "Eighty-six years I have served Christ, and He never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me? Bring forth what thou wilt!" Because he stayed true to his Christian faith, Polycarp was burned alive. Legend has it that the fire made a wall around the martyr's body and did not burn him. A soldier stabbed him to death.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lenten Calendar

Once again, the folks at Busted Halo are providing us with a Lenten  calendar to show us our utter dependence on God. Visit every day...starting today!

Ash Wednesday...

Today is the day!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

And so it begins...

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten season. Several at our church (myself included) will be following A Disciples Path on Sunday mornings. While the meeting is an hour, we must commit to reading and writing in our workbooks 5 days a week. While it sounds like it shouldn't be a big deal, we have promised to meet certain other requirements in order to make this a life changing study. I am looking forward to a time in which I will draw closer to God and allow my life to look more like His.

While I am excited about what I've chosen for Lent, my hat is off to Kevin Alton.

My challenge this year is that my fast for Lent has outward ramifications. The kind that pastors and staff committees need to know about in advance. I’m fasting from the culturally perceived need of fashion and cleanliness to experience what it would be like to be suddenly homeless with only the clothes on your back. Throughout Lent I’m restricting myself to a single set of clothing and barring myself from the use of a traditional shower or laundry facilities. If I or my clothes are clean, it will happen in a sink. Be sure and read the rest of the article .

 I expect to push myself in order to be obedient to what I'm asked to do but otherwise there will not be any discomfort. Kevin will definitely experience discomfort. Follow along with his experience at I'm sure it will be a most interesting read.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Life and Death...

But I’m not always lucky. The family may ask me to use my physician superpowers to push the patient’s tired body further down the road, with little thought as to whether the additional suffering to get there will be worth it. For many Americans, modern medical advances have made death seem more like an option than an obligation. We want our loved ones to live as long as possible, but our culture has come to view death as a medical failure rather than life’s natural conclusion.

An interesting article concerning our view of death from a doctors it here.

Reshaping the world

Faith contains the potential to reshape our sure and watch the video all the way through.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Quote

from Thomas a Kempis

"A man is raised up from the earth by two wings--simplicity and purity. There must be simplicity in his intention and purity in his desires. Simplicity leads to God, purity embraces and enjoys Him.". From The Imitation of Christ

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Laughing during Lent

Are we allowed to laugh and feel joy during Lent? From all I have seen in the Bible, we most certainly can! The way I read Proverbs 17:22, "A merry heart is a good medicine; but a broken spirit dries up the bones", God is telling us that laughter has the power to heal! And It heals in a way nothing else can.

We have all read articles that show the impact of stress and depression on our lives. The suffering and illness provoked by these and similar issues can be debilitating. But researchers use all manner of tests to measure the impact of a laughter in our day to day living.

Think of what happens when you're handed a soft cuddly puppy or watch a beautiful and serene sundown, or view movie clips from a drama or a comedy...these will all affect (many times very quickly) our outlook and our attitude. Laughter can actually increase our blood flow.

If it can do that to our bodies, think of what it can do to our spirits!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!

If you understand the title, then you are or have sometime in your life lived in somewhere between southern Louisiana and southern Alabama. The title is Cajun French for "Let the good times roll!' and is most often associated with Mardi Gras. If you've never experienced this festive season in one of these areas, you've missed something!

I spent some of my childhood in Mississippi and Mardi Gras was always a favorite. One of our neighbors was a member of a local "krewe" (they're responsible for putting on parades and hosting Balls during the season) and those of us from his neighborhood could count on being weighed down with bead necklaces

and doubloons (this was back in the day!).
Today the Krewes throw a variety of objects to those lining the parade route with most of them being known for a particular trinket. The most prized object being thrown is the Zulu's "Golden Nugget" (or coconut)

The celebration of Mardi Gras was brought to Louisiana by early French settlers. The first record of the holiday being celebrated in Louisiana was at the mouth of the Mississippi River in what is now lower Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, on March 3, 1699. Iberville, Bienville, and their men celebrated it as part of an observance of Catholic practice.

The starting date of festivities in New Orleans is unknown. An account from 1743 notes that the custom of Carnival balls was already established. Processions and wearing of masks in the streets on Mardi Gras took place. They were sometimes prohibited by law, and were quickly renewed whenever such restrictions were lifted or enforcement waned. In 1833 Bernard Xavier de Marigny de Mandeville, a rich plantation owner of French descent, raised money to fund an official Mardi Gras celebration.

The New Orleans Carnival season, with roots in preparing for the start of the Christian season of Lent, starts after Twelfth Night, on Epiphany (January 6). In addition to the parades, balls (some of them masquerade balls), there are also King Cake parties. It has traditionally been part of the winter social season; at one time "coming out" parties for young women at debutante balls were timed for this season.

Celebrations are concentrated for about two weeks before and through Fat Tuesday , the day before Ash Wednesday. Usually there is one major parade each day (weather permitting); many days have several large parades. The largest and most elaborate parades take place the last five days of the season. In the final week of Carnival, many events large and small occur throughout New Orleans and surrounding communities. All celebrating ends at midnight on Fat Tuesday with battalions of street sweepers symbolically (and literally) sweeping the revellers out of the French Quarter and to their homes to begin the Lenten season.

In 2012, this coming weekend (through Tuesday, 2/21) is the height of the Mardi Gras celebrations and so...
Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hardcore? Worship?


Even though there are those in our congregation who would like to see a different atmosphere in our 
worship services, I just don' think this is it...

Feast Day of

Martin Luther (1483-1546): Was born in Eisleben, Germany.

His biblical rediscovery of God's grace in Jesus Christ inspired and ignited the sixteenth-century Reformation in the Western Church. His writings, translated into English, fill over fifty volumes.

He started out studying to earn a law degree (at his father's request) but became a monk instead. He was caught in a terrible thunderstorm and was so afraid that he promised St. Anne he would enter a monestary if she would see him through the storm. She did and he did...entering as a member of the Observant Augustinians in 1505.

Because of a strict upbringing, he proved to be an impeccable monk. Praying, fasting, flagellating, and going without sleep, he pursued the rule earnestly, exceeding its requirements. He once said, "If anyone could have earned heaven by the life of a monk, it was I." With a doctorate in theology he became a professor. Yet the nagging question remained: "How can I find a gracious God?" ...

The phrase that bothered Luther the most was "the righteousness of God." Luther and the people of his time believed that God's righteousness was satisfied by a system of cooperation between God's grace, dispensed sacramentally, and human efforts and good works. But the system did not work for Luther. He could find no peace. As Luther dug deeper into holy scripture, he discovered Romans 1:17: "The one who is righteous will live by faith." Luther discovered that faith is a gift given by the Holy Spirit. We are made right with God by grace through faith in Christ alone, apart from the works of the law. The whole Bible took on a new meaning in light of the gracious God known in Christ. Luther said he felt born again. ...

After this spiritual awakening to God's unconditional and unmerited grace in Jesus Christ, Luther publicly questioned the system of indulgences in ninety-five theses, followed by a variety of treatises promoting reform in the church. With the political support of the emperor, he was able to stand against the power of the papacy; and the Protestant Reformation began. ...

Luther wrote the Small Catechism to nurture Christians in the basics of faith, and he composed many hymns, including "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." He translated the Latin mass into German. ... On February 16, 1546, just before he died, Luther wrote down his last words, "We are all beggars. That is true." Luther's life taught him that we are beggars and sinners; yet God loves us, accepts us, and saves us as we are, with no conditions.

Most of this information came from MethodX

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The wolves within...

There is much wisdom in the "old" stories...

An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, "Let me tell you a story.

I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.

But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times." He continued, "It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.

But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger,for his anger will change nothing.

Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit."

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather's eyes and asked, "Which one wins, Grandfather?"

The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, "The one I feed."

A Cherokee legend...

Youth Leaders

Finally, someone has managed to describe our world...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love and Romance

Part of an essay by Father Dwight Longenecker:

While many emotions perceived as ‘love’ can be explained with these crude theories, a problem remains, and the problem is this: everyone everywhere who believes in love believes that whatever love is, and wherever it comes from, what it  most expressly is not, is naked self interest. All the great poets and preachers, all who have sighed and swooned and died and crooned about love believe that love is not self interested, but self sacrificial. The most sublime lines on love have not been written about what the lover can get, but about what the love can give, and the greatest line on love of all is, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man should lay down his life for his friends.”

Without doubt this self sacrificial love is debased into self interest, but this is not love. It is lust. We have simply misunderstood a distinction in terms. If there is such a thing as love, then it is defined as being interested more in the welfare of the beloved than oneself, and if such a virtue exists, then the mystery of love becomes even greater.

...If such a precious idea is true, or even if one believes it to be true, then we can see why all the worlds’ heroes bear a sword. This most precious gift of love is the greatest treasure, and is worth the most dangerous quest. If earthly love connects us with eternal love, then it connects us with eternal life, and that most precious gift is something that is not only worth a long journey, it is also worth a fight. It is worth a fight because anything so precious must be surrounded by many thieves. Anything so good must be surrounded by much evil, for evil (be definition) wants to destroy what is good, and that is why the hero bears a sword–because love must be fought for, and to win the love of the fair maiden the dragon must first be slain.

You can read the whole piece here, and it's worth your time...

St. Valentine...

I don't suppose we should be surprised that on the day dedicated to love we remember at least 3 St. Valentines.

The feast was first established in 496 by Pope Gelasius I in recognition of those "...whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God." Not much was known, even then, about the lives of these three, except that they were martyrs.

One was a priest in Rome
One was a bishop of Interamna
One was a martyr in the Roman province of Africa

Even though we don't have a thorough history of them, at least one did actually exist as archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Saint Valentine.

Monday, February 13, 2012


I'm not here to comment on her life...or death. But to just remember once more that beautiful, God given voice...

Friday, February 10, 2012

A God with toes...

I have a God with toes. Isn't that amazing?

As I meditate, my own mother's heart begins to rev in high gear. I muse about the Babe of Bethlehem, born to Mother Mary and Joseph. I picture the delightful scene, where natural mother-love kisses the feet of her newborn. Oh yes! Kissing infant feet and lavishing love from head to toe! Of course, I'm only surmising here, but you get the picture; I can quickly recall my own joy in kissing and counting and adoring those "piggy toes" of my three children.

But these toes that I find in the chapel, once treasured by a young mother Mary, are now mature—and then I'm thinking of another woman.

Read the rest of this piece...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My idea of fun...

Yes, it is dangerous, and Yes, it is against the law but me, oh my, just once to drive at those speeds...well, and just to drive a Veryon! Ok, I could do without the Arizona State Trooper at the end...can't imagine what he thought!

I once (thanks to a very generous brother in law) was able to drive the Charlotte Motor Speedway in a Nationwide car...average speed was 145 for 30 laps...and yes, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

What can I say? I have a need for speed!

A little help from my friends...

Watch the video below to see what I mean...

The video footage does not show the dive team who went in to free the Orca, The back story is here...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Hubby and I can both be voracious readers, given half a chance...and we have birthed at least one other. We don't confine ourselves to one genre of literature, but try to experience them all. I have to say, push come to shove, if we don't have anything on the top of the reading pile we will reach for a) something we've read previously and loved or b) a classic.

How cool is it to find old English (with modern English subtitles) performed in such an inspiring way...

These are the opening lines...

This is Grendel's ambush...

This is the battle...

Kind of makes you want to read it...doesn't it?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


She didn't serve on the front lines but she did put in her time with the Women's Royal Air Force. But when she passed on 2/4/12, Florence Green, at the age of 110, was the last known surviving WWI veteran.   It is seen as fitting that the last veteran would be a female. After all, wars are not confined to the front lines, they affect life everywhere. It's a collective experience.

The service trained women to work as mechanics, drivers and in other jobs to free men for front-line duty. Green went to work as a steward in the officers' mess, first at the Narborough airdrome and then at RAF Marham in eastern England, and was serving there when the war ended.

Green's husband died in 1970. She is survived by two daughters, a son and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The date of her funeral was not immediately known, but Air Force personnel will attend and the RAF Association will provide a bugler and a Union Jack to drape on the coffin

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sleeping with babies...

I have a couple of friends who will be welcoming new babies into the world in the next few months. For their edification, I thought I would share this information. For those of you who have already gotten your children past this stage, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about...

Having an infant in the bed makes for stressful sleeping're worried about rolling over on it, or the thousand other unlikely things that may happen. Add the fact that they are so recently from the womb and are relishing the new found space in their world and the parents end up losers every time.

Of course, if you have a child who is frightened by thunder and lightening, they may never grow out of this stage. Last time I remember my oldest crawling into our bed, she was 18 and getting ready to leave for college. I am 5'3, hubby is 6'3 and daughter is 5'10...who do you think ended up hanging on for dear life in this scenario?

Ahhh, memories!!


For the last few weeks, our Youth Group has been studying the 7 Deadly Sins. Imagine their surprise if I were to spring this on them....

Suddenly there are 21 extra ones to consider...ah well, it's always something.
This artwork is not my belongs here...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mary's purification

Today is celebrated as Candlemas and is a day of purification, renewal and hope. It is on this day, exactly 40 days after Christmas that we remember Mary's obedience to the Mosaic law. She presented herself at the Temple as commanded:
Leviticus 12:2-8
Speak to the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them: If a woman having received seed shall bear a man child, she shall be unclean seven days, according to the days of separation of her flowers. And on the eighth day the infant shall be circumcised: But she shall remain three and thirty days in the blood of her purification. She shall touch no holy thing: neither shall she enter into the sanctuary, until the days of her purification, be fulfilled. But if she shall bear a maid child, she shall be unclean two weeks, according to the custom of her monthly courses, and she shall remain in the blood of her purification sixty-six days.
And when the days of her purification are expired, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring to the door of the tabernacle of the testimony, a lamb of a year old for a holocaust, and a young pigeon or a turtle for sin, and shall deliver them to the priest: Who shall offer them before the Lord, and shall pray for her, and so she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that beareth a man child or a maid child.
And if her hand find not sufficiency, and she is not able to offer a lamb, she shall take two turtles, or two young pigeons, one for a holocaust, and another for sin: and the priest shall pray for her, and so she shall be cleansed.

And also from the New Testament:
Luke 2:22-24
And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord: As it is written in the law of the Lord: Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord: And to offer a sacrifice, according as it is written in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
This is the day they meet Anna and Simeon and hear the prophesy (also from Luke 2):
"And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined to be the rise and the fall of many in Israel, and a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.”

Msgr. Charles Pope has written an article called "A Dramatic Moment That Almost Everyone Missed":
The ascent to Jerusalem is a steep one. The mountains surround Jerusalem and the City sits up at a higher altitude than the area around it. As the ancient Jews made the climb they sang the psalms of ascent: Psalms 120-134. As Joseph and Mary ascended they too sang the words that instilled joy: I Lift up mine eye to the mountains from whence cometh my help (121)…..I rejoiced when they said to me let us go up to the House of the Lord (122)…..To you O Lord I have lifted my eyes (123)….Like Mount Zion are those who trust in the Lord (125)….Out of the depths I call unto you O Lord! (130)…..Let us enter God’s dwelling, let us worship at the Lord’s footstool. Arise O Lord and enter your dwelling place, You and the Ark of your strength! (132)….Come and bless the Lord, You who stand in the House of the Lord Lift your hands to the Sanctuary and bless the Lord. The Lord bless you from Zion (134).

Singing these songs, Mary carried Jesus. The climb was even more difficult carrying a newborn babe. But the burden was sweet. A final ascent up the stairs to the Temple Mount. Likely they entered on the southern side through the Huldah gates. Going up the steep stairs, through the tunnel in the walls and emerging on to the bright Temple platform above.
God had returned to His Temple. He, and the Ark who carried him, were found. Mary the Ark, carrying  Jesus in her arms. Jesus, very God, true God from True God. Yes, God and the Ark had been found and God was once again present among His people on the Temple Mount. Scripture says:
And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his Temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? (Mal 3:1-2)

A Super Bowl party...

Did you know that the NFL has set rules and guidelines about what you can or cannot do during a "Super Bowl Party" at church? I didn't...good thing I'm not in charge of one!

I ran across this clip outlining a few of the rules just for your information...

Although the Youth always participate in a "Super Bowl Quiz", we don't have a party. The quiz is a mixture of questions about the teams, players and NFL history along with guessing some of the things that may or may not happen during the game. It's great fun and whoever gets the highest score wins a pair of movie tickets. Since we can't know the response to several of the questions until the game, you can be sure I'm in front of the television so I don't miss the answer.

Here's hoping your favorite team wins!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


In closing, to those who have closed the door on religion — I was recently asked by a non-Christian friend if I thought he was going to hell. I said, "I hope not. It will be hard to enjoy heaven without you." If those of us who believe in God do not believe God's grace is big enough to save the whole world... well, we should at least pray that it is.

Truth can be found in the strangest of places...

Herding Sheep...

In this video, you will see one remarkable bunny rabbit, herding sheep. As unlikely as it seems, he does a good job!

In the Bible, people are called sheep many times. There are definite similarities...wonder how many times we have allowed ourselves to be herded by wolves dressed as bunnies?