21 June 2007

19 June 2007

Snakes & other pertinent news

I guess I ought to update....


Ok, seriously, we just got a snake today. She ROCKS. She looks a lot like this.

She isn't poisonous, and she doesn't bite. But she is VERY strong. Since her chief way of getting prey is constriction, she feels like a solid muscle. Note to self: Don't hang around neck. It's a little frightening to hold her. She does tend to tighten up when she's frightened, and she doesn't like sudden movements.

In other news, we're expecting our sixth kid, due mid-January. Please pray that the pregnancy goes well for my mom.

Um...I am still not done with school yet. I am working v.e.r.y. hard on biology, though, and I should be done with it shortly. Even if I have to work on it all summer, I won't be bummed out, because it, combined with chores and other goings-on will keep me from being bored this summer.

Some of my friends are *blessed* to be in VA this week for debate camp. They are all going for team policy debate and I'm pushing my intial jealousy aside to wish them a great time in Virginia! (And hoping that they'll share their notes & acquired wisdom with me... heh heh....)

NCFCA nationals are over. I didn't go, though I'm not sure I would have gone if I'd qualified. I don't think I'll go to nats (even if I qualify) until my senior year, when I may go even if I don't qualify to watch.

I think that covers it. (If anyone's reading this...... :)

24 May 2007

Music says .... Part I: Promises

I'm starting up a mini series about the things we can learn from music. I know there's a lot of music out there that seems to have absolutely no purpose other than to disgust, shock, horrify or repulse its audience. Flawed as music is (being performed by flawed human beings), I honestly do think we can learn from it.

Music has a lot to say about promises. Def Leppard and Aerosmith talk about ‘late-night’ promises that were made spur-of-the-moment and were forgotten by the morning. Stereotypically speaking, the entire premise of country music is regretting broken promises. Frequently, we’ll promise something that we’re sure we can deliver, only to wake up ten minutes after it’s too late to take our words back, realizing that not only is there no way we can deliver what we promised, we had no right to promise anything like that in the first place.

A good example of promising more than we can deliver is in our relationships. When we’re caught in a fast and furious relationship with some guy or girl we really like, it’s so, so easy – too easy – to promise that we’ll be their friend forever, or, if our relationship is more advanced (or we are more foolish) that we’ll love them forever, and we’ll be there for them whenever we need them.The simple problem with promising such extravagant rewards to any human being is that we’re completely incapable of keeping our word. When we say we’ll be their friend forever, we don’t take into account that we don’t know everything about them. We don’t know their flaws. As we get to know them better, we may find that we can’t stand them as people. In which case we simply iron over our words, hope they’ve forgotten them, and say our goodbyes. Love is more complicated (isn’t it always??). Put plainly, we have no right to swear our undying (!) love to anyone in any situation outside of marriage. If we swear our love to the first person who comes along, *knowing* that person is who God made for us, we are not only foolish, but we’re flirting with fire...so to speak. The people you swear to love usually do not forget such oaths, wish as we might they would.

That’s the waking-up-ten-minutes-after-it’s-too-late part. Speaking from personal experience, I am never aware of my mistakes until after I’ve done with them. I don’t realize my foolishness until after I’ve spoken. I don’t realize my temper until after I’ve shouted. And I certainly don’t realize my pride until after I’ve patted myself on the back. While I’ve never professed undying love to any person (and don’t plan to for quite some time), if the past and other people are any indication, I’m just as likely to rush ahead and spout my feelings before I recognize that saying how I feel is a form of selfishness...the desire to see my emotions reciprocated precisely in the other person.And then, there's the truth element. I find myself listening to music that promises the world. But I realize that I won't always be there. There's no way I can be (it's humanly impossible - think time-space continuum). I can't promise to love anyone forever except in the formal, God-honoring form of marriage vows. So there's no reason to rush ahead and promise things I don't know if I can deliver. My word is my word, and I mean to keep it. Proverbs 15:4b tells us that an upright man is one who "keeps his oath even when it hurts." We can set standards for ourselves before we're ever tempted to promise something rash so that keeping our word is an infrequent occurence.

Honestly, making rash promises is a form of selfishness. If we don't think through our own words, we most likely will end up paying for them. Even if we don't, someone else does. Speaking after you think and promising according to God's standards - not our flighty feelings or boastful beliefs - is just one more example of maturity. Hebrews 5:14 tells us true maturity is being able to tell the difference between good and evil, and getting that skill by constant usage. Let's learn our lesson from Def Leppard & Aerosmith (probably one of the only lessons we WANT to learn from them!) and watch what we promise.

15 May 2007

Aaah! I’m so sick of my own writing! It all starts out really well...nice-sounding...well-organized...but it becomes vapid and boring after awhile. Argh. I think I’d better major in art or something besides writing.....

Anyway, yup, I'm working on a term paper right now. Any advice for surviving said paper would be greatly appreciated.



10 May 2007

Free will, prayer, and the future!

This is a part of a debate/conversation I'm having right now with some friends of mine. We're all being raised in Christian families, but our opinions do diverge on certain issues: For example, the effect of human prayer on changing the future. Here's what I said.
Human free will as pertains to the future

I firmly believe that humans have free will. However, I don't concede that God doesn't know the future. It's odd to say that God does some things half-way...that he either knows the future in part, or he knows it all the way and can't change it. That's a false dilemma, because if the past is any indication, God doesn't do things half-heartedly. Is God limited in any of his abilities? Not from what we can see, though we are certainly limited in our knowledge of him. How could he be? We don't know of a single thing that God cannot do, other than sin. Can he not predict our actions? There's simply no way that so many people could predict so accurately Jesus' birthplace, career, punishment, death, and ressurrection by simply using human intuition. If God didn't know the future, he wouldn't have been able to tell these people about Jesus. Didn't he create us? If he created us, he ought to know all our quirks. If he knows all our quirks, he ought to know what our free will is going dictate we do. It follows that he can use the Holy Spirit to actually change the course of action we take when we follow our free will. Thus we have free will, but he has the ultimate plan, and uses our free will to accomplish his plan.


I think God listens to what we have to say. How he'll reply to it (yes or no) depends on what he knows we need...but I believe he will reply to it. We can pray about the future but whether or not God will change it as a result of those prayers is probably something no one will know until they get to heaven. I'm not convinced it's possible to know FOR SURE if God changes things because of our prayers in any way short of divine revelation...which doesn't occur a lot these days.

That's a brief outline of what I think of prayer, etc. I tend to be almost fatalistic when I pray for something: I ask that God's will be done, and (depending on the circumstance) that he work through me. It's complicated....I'm up for debate, though! :)

03 May 2007

Sometimes you do what you're sure is right, and then you're miserable. Why does it work that way?

23 April 2007

Joy to the World!

Babies are born knowing how to cry, but they have to learn how to laugh. Every mother knows this: By 2 months her baby can smile in response to attention, and by 3 or 4 months she begins making imitative noises. But real, honest-to-goodness belly laughs don’t occur until 5 or 6 months. Crying comes right out of the gut; laughter requires context.

What makes a baby laugh is the essence of all humor—a sense of unexpectedness. A baby’s life is basically a serious business of getting needs met by adults who carry, feed, dress and change him. Then one day there pops around the corner of consciousness a truly antic figure, well past toddlerhood yet far short of adolescence.

This figure hangs upside down, makes faces, grunts like a chimpanzee—and it’s hilarious. Mother may say, “Stop acting silly, Jimmy,” but Baby is shaking with uncontrollable mirth. Smiling and talking are learned responses, but laughter comes out of nowhere and takes him by surprise.

A baby has to understand congruity to recognize incongruity. From such unsophisticated beginnings his sense of humor is on a speedy track to underwear and potty jokes.

Like everything else, humor is corrupted by sin and too soon becomes cynical, bitter, or mocking. It’s the way Sarah laughed at the prophecy of her coming motherhood: “A bag of bones like me swelling up like a dewy young bride? That’ll be the day.”That was the day, when Sarah laughed again. This time for joy—and for surprise, because she had been around long enough to know that this is not the way things work in the world. She named her baby Laughter, for “all who hear of it will laugh with me.”

G.K Chesterton once made a similar comparison between paganism and Christianity. Paganism was usually rated a religion of joy and Christianity of sorrow, but in truth it was just the opposite. Paganism has taken the world’s measure and knows that life is sorrowful business at heart; therefore, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we will die.” But Christianity recognizes that a world of hurt is surrounded by a universe of joy.

Our faith teaches a three-personed God so full of love He could not keep it to Himself. We know the foundations of the earth were laid “when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7). Our God saw the end from the beginning, calculated the sum of blood and pain and destruction and death and abomination—and still considered the whole creation enterprise to be worth its cost. Joy is fundamental; grief is a passing shade.

One notable occasion during His earthly life, the Man of Sorrows, rejoicing in the Spirit, looked heavenward and cried out, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children” (Luke 10:21). The “little children” were the 12 disciples, who had returned from a mission trip all agog that the demons obeyed them in Christ’s name. Like, wow! No jaded cynicism here: These were boys who could still be surprised, babbling like babies at the wonders they’d seen. Jesus knew the grief that lay before them. But he also knew the hilarity.

No sorrow on earth has ever come near the sorrow of the cross; no abandonment has ever equaled that suffered by the Son; no necessity was ever so grim as that which put Him there. Yet He endured it “for the joy that was set before Him.” We who believe are little children, just experienced enough to be surprised. Yes, care weighs us down, but the irrepressible joy of the universe occasionally pops out and reveals itself, and our youth is renewed…. “There was some on thing,” Chesterton wrote, “that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth.” While low in the grave he lay, the world was not surprised; this is its way. But up from the grace He arose, and the world was turned on its head.

Joy to the World
Don’t let anyone tell you that Christianity is a religion of sorrow
Janie B. Cheaney
World Magazine
April 14, 2007

01 April 2007

I sat down to write a long, industrious, educational post for my blog.

But the only words that would come out of my fingers were...

...stinkin’ messed up.

...because that’s what I think of a current condition that I see. It’s this situation where a guy has not made any move in a relationship (possibly because said relationship has been around about...two weeks?) and the ever-patient girl makes the first move by asking if he likes her. Guy replies, “Sure!” (hey, it’s flattering to have someone who wants your attention) and boom, the relationship is off too a rip...roaring...start. That right there doesn’t seem right to me. Don’t ask me why: it sure is easier on the guy to not have to do any awkward, “So...uh...do you like...................................cars?” moments when he really wants to ask a girl if she likes HIM (not cars). But is that how it’s supposed to be? Is it really the right way to go, just because it’s easier?

I thought God designed men to be the initiators in a relationship. It seems to me that guys dread having to make the first move and girls jump on it. But there’s a consistent pattern of guys making the first move and girls who are able to follow coming together, getting married, and sticking together for life...whereas when a girl initiates, it’s usually because of something much less serious than actually caring about the guy. My argument with the theory that girls can initiate because it makes it easier on guys is simply this: Guys who are decent, upstanding young men will move forward in a relationship when they see real growth in it. They’ll take the relationship seriously. Girls tend to be very fluttery as to the condition of a relationship. Sometimes we really are incapable of gauging just how serious it actually is, due to healthy young imaginations, a good dose of self-pity, and a less-than-optimal sense of self-worth.

If you’re a guy whose parents say it’s ok for a girl to ask you out, I pity you, because in doing so, your parents are most likely trying to make it easier for you to get into a relationship...a potentially disastrous and heartbreaking relationship. They’re trying to make it easy on you, and that isn’t the real world. The real world won’t be easy on you.

I welcome challenges, critiques, and comments on this idea/theory/thingy I’ve mulled over the past week or so.

tobyMac In the Air

I had a dream last night about the other side
And I must confess that it was quite the ride
I had a dream last night and the fact that you weren't there
Gave me quite the scare
People were afloat all around me
Yet their weightless state never seemed to astound me
Everything was grand till I noticed one thing
That you, my friend, weren't on the scene

I've been workin' all morning trying to spin my dream
Cause I just can't believe you weren't in my dream
Remember you and I said we would paint the sky
And the leaves on the trees and the stars at night
We made beats and we even wrote rhymes
And played golf, I think, a million times
Now we never got around to spiritual matters
But we sure made time for our mindless chatter

I wanna see you there
In the the air
One day we'll be singin' hallelujah

I wanna see you there
In the the air
One day we'll be singin' hallelujah

Hello, wassup (wassup), how ya doin' (just fine)
I was sorta wonderin', could we make the time
(Just kick it) why not at our usual spot
Latte's in May, mine cold, yours hot
(So where we goin') much deeper than our usual chat
(Like who's beats is weak and who's beats is phat)
Nah, my man, this some next level junk
(Like when we discussed if Tiger Woods could dunk)
Just meet me there, seven o'clock, rain or shine
With a fat cup of bean and a wide open mind

This song scared me! How many of my friends would I not see if I were to have a dream like that tonight?

28 February 2007

I was reading a book earlier today that talks about how the male mind works.


I honestly don't think girls can understand how different guys' minds are! I know I don't get it. I'm sad to say that I was not at all convinced that modesty was important. But reading this book, I realized that it's a battle that has to be waged every day - on both sides: For guys keeping their eyes to themselves, and for girls to forgo a little extra attention. Argh! It's so frustrating! (With that out of my system, I'll proceed.)

Girls are dumb. Guys are taxed. Both are cursed. Unless they both realize it, nothing will happen. Yup yup. (Sorry, I can't come up with anything else right now.... )

27 February 2007

If GM had advanced at the same rate as Microsoft...

For all of us who feel only the deepest love and affection for the way computers have enhanced our lives, read on.At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon."In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release stating: If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.

2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.

3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this.

4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.

5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive -- but would run on only five percent of the roads. (amen!)

6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation" warning light.

7. The airbag system would ask "Are you sure?" before deploying.

8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.

9. Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

10. You'd have to press the "Start" button to turn the engine off.