Sunday, April 29, 2012

52 in 52 Week 18: Missions and Money by Jonathan Bonk

shop-omsc.rpdesign.com7.jpeg"Is it any wonder that Christians from poorer parts of the world -- in response to the siren appeal of the gospel of plenty modeled by the Western [workers] -- respond to the implicit invitation by saying "Yes!" to materialism? We should not be surprised at the discovery that Western workers are now credited with being one of the greatest secularizing agencies of the past two centuries" (Bonk, p.77)

OUCH!

This book reminded me of a book I read in the early 80's called Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ron Sider. I loved that book because it was both biblical and practical and set some of my convictions about wealth in my early 20's. Bonk even has it as a reference in the bibliography. Good for you, Bonk.

It also reminded me of Richard Foster's excellent book, The Freedom of Simplicity which is also practical and inspirational. 


I liked the book at the beginning, but I feel like he got increasingly critical and judgmental as the book progressed. It is extensive in its criticism and gives a good case for a biblical view of wealth and poverty, but it is very short on PRACTICAL solutions to what he perceives as the problem. 

His thesis is that affluence among western missionaries is the Achilles' heel of missions. He contends that western missionaries sent to Third World countries are usually very wealthy by local standards, and this inhibits the spread of the Gospel because they are not incarnating it or going the way of the cross through self-sacrifice. I think this is true in many cases. It is just hard to know where that line is drawn in some cultures; and again, it is all theoretical and well-researched, but where are the practical steps for turning this long time trend in the opposite direction? He seems to think that all missionaries are turning a blind eye to it and ignoring the call of God, but I can't help but think that they just don't know where to start. Bonk gives no help. 

It is also easy for Bonk to make all these condemnations from his comfortable western existence on the east coast having only spent two years in famine relief overseas in his adult life. Growing up overseas doesn't cut it for me. Why don't you go and try to live overseas by these principles you preach and then write a book?

The tone was judgmental rather than inspiring and challenging. Also, he used big words that could make this book inaccessible for many readers.  

My husband worked for a foreign government overseas. As a foreign worker, he was given a better financial package than his foreign coworkers, but we chose to live at the same standard of living, sometimes below. Our neighbors had two cars (we had one as we did in the US - which is unusual) with their first car being a Mercedes or BMW, and the second being the national car. Our first car was the national car (which was a piece of junk, but I digress). Our neighbors had air-conditioning in every room, we only had it in the master bedroom. Our neighbors had live-in house help from poorer neighboring countries and treated them like slaves. We had three different nannies (one at a time) that came from the US for  our first year there to help me with child care so I could get out and learn the language. We treated them like daughters.  We went to our neighbors houses, and most had two kitchens and expensive furnishings. We had one kitchen and inexpensive furniture purchases.  

I don't say this to justify myself, but to clarify that not all westerners live above the standard of living of the nationals who were quite materialistic in their outlook. Historically, the western missionaries didn't necessarily transport the materialism because missionaries were not (and still are not) allowed for the majority population, yet the majority population became materialistic all on its own. The greed of Western capitalism had invaded their world through the media, not through missions. Look at the grandiose materialism of the Gulf countries where western missionaries have never been allowed. Materialism is in the heart of every man, in my humble opinion.  To blame it all on western missionary influence is far too simplistic for my sensibilities!

Maybe this is the case in places like Africa, where most of Bonk's research originates. I have never been there. I would venture to say that, while missionaries might have had an influence, colonialism was also to blame. 


I think Bonk dismisses the many hard-working and wonderful people who have gone overseas with the pure motive of loving others in the name of Christ. Sure there are those who do it for ego and significance (I know some), but the vast majority have truly incarnated Jesus and walked the way of the cross which is more than I can say for Bonk who has lived in the US most of his adult life. 


52 in 52 Week 18: The Mama's Boy Myth by Kate Stone Lombardi




"What today's mothers are doing for their sons -- primarily teaching them emotional intelligence -- is a critically important gift. Mothers, by affording their sons the emotional closeness that they once offered only to daughters, are giving them access to a fuller experience of humanity" (p.9-10)


My husband said a similar thing to me on our Spring Break vacation with our two boys, ages 17 and 20. I had been experiencing some loss as my youngest had followed his oldest into classes at the community college, leaving me without the job of homeschooling after 14 years at the helm. 


Those years brought me daily contact with my boys, doing history, science, literature, and read-alouds on our couch until their middle school years. These academic subjects were segues into deep talks about everything under the sun. 


In their high school years, their education was more self-directed, but I still interacted with them over papers and literature they were reading for the British, American, and Homeric literature classes I ran with other homeschoolers in our co-op. They were segues into the realm of values, principles, and feelings in this rhetoric stage of their education and development. 


In addition, our rides in the car to co-op activities, plays, field-trips, and community service projects were the "car talk" times Lombardi talks about in her book. Many times there were other kids in the car with us and not technically "one on one," but I had many "sons" those years of homeschooling and was a second mom to them. 


There has been a closeness with my kids because of homeschool, and I will never regret our decision to do so. Our discussions were not just about academic subjects but springboards into deep discussions about life, and we laughed together a TON. Weekday mornings were "our" time.


Last fall, all the time together that homeschool afforded was gone, and I realized this loss on that Spring Break trip.


I won't go into all the reasons, totally unrelated to my kids, why I was emotionally fragile on that trip, but the fragility caused me to express that loss to my boys. We didn't have the time "carved out" for us like before, and I missed it. With encouragement from my husband, I ran the idea of a weekly "talk time" with each of them, and they were all for it. 


Since Spring Break, I have spent time with both of them.  On Mondays, the youngest and I walk to the local Wendy's, eat dinner (while dad has a meeting and oldest has class), and walk back. I let him set the agenda for what we talk about. The first time, he opened up to me about many deep things. I thought the time would be over when we were back home, but he stuck around, and we talked in our living room until dad and oldest got back, at which time we all talked together until late into the evening. 


My oldest is much quieter, and I find that walking is what gets him talking. So, we do the "hospital hill" two mile walk that takes us about 40 minutes, and I don't have an agenda, I just listen and let him run the topics. Since he is naturally quieter, I thought we might walk in silence if I didn't ask questions, but this hasn't been the case. 


I heard Lombardi's NPR April 8th interview on "All Things Considered" only eleven days after having this Spring Break ephiphany and a few "talk times" with my guys.  Perfect timing!


Lombardi's book confirmed what I had felt.  It is funny that she should talk about Freud's Oedipus Complex because I reported on The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud's 1899 publication that put forth this theory, in my first counseling class in graduate school. I also read Oedipus when my oldest studied classical literature. So, I really tracked with her on the ridiculousness of Freud's theories that have been debunked with modern research. 


As I read, I thought about different books I had read throughout graduate school (I have an M.Ed. in student personal work with an emphasis in counseling psychology) when I researched male/female roles during my internship with the women's center on the Oregon State University campus. No sooner did I think of the book, when she would quote from it. So, I felt like I tracked well with the book. She put careful thought into her research. Bravo for her. 


My only hesitation in recommending this book is her liberal, feminist leanings that I do not share. Her writing on sexuality is so not where I would even fathom or entertain in my relationship with my boys. While trying to be funny in her opening on this subject, I found it crude and distasteful. It was only a few paragraphs. So, I skipped it.  


Another hesitation, toward the end of the book, she had quite a bit to say and research to prove her case about the value of working moms in raising boys to the exclusion of explaining the benefits of stay-at-home moms. I have read research to the contrary. I think there is poor mothering with both stay-at-home and working moms, and I don't necessarily think one is more superior than the other, and she definitely shows her bias since she is a working mom (contributing columnist with the New York Times).  She is leaving out the growing population of mothers who are staying home with their kids with her working mom bias, almost dismissing them by ignoring them. 

Also, throughout the whole book she is trying to make a point about throwing away the stereotypes of what is truly masculine and feminine, but she gives us this, up front, caveat on p. 14:

Also, my son, a young man now, is more than six feet tall, plays ice hockey has many male friends and a steady girlfriend. Why do I feel the need to tell you this? Because in this culture, I must reassure you -- and myself -- that my deep emotional bond with my son hasn't compromised his masculinity. Look -- he and his mom have this tight connection and my son is still "a guy's guy."
She defeats one of the main points of her book before she even starts with this statement IMHO. My kids don't play sports (even though they were raised by a mom and dad who were both college athletes) or have a steady girlfriend. Where does this statement leave me if my kids aren't "guy's guys"?  Think about it Ms. Lombardi: can you see how this statement nullifies the whole point of your book? You need to get over your insecurity and learn from what your extensive research has shown you! 


But I won't throw the baby out with the bath water because it was confirmation of my gut about the time I have spent investing in my boys. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

15 Minute Freewrite

I am trying a new font for this freewrite just for fun. I don't know if it will change when it actually posts because I have seen otherwise on my Bible Book Club blog. 


I slept in! Yesterday was just three hours of sleep from 12-3, and I was wide awake. I got so much done, I almost finished a post on Isaiah 6 & 7 (such important chapters in the Word), caught up on correspondence, prayed, went to Pilates, shopped, prepped for a fresh steelhead dinner, and made cranberry cream scones with lemon curd! I also finished listening to Stuff Christians Like as I prepped for dinner. 

Yes, I got a ton done in the quietness of the morning, but it felt like 3 pm at 11 am yesterday because I had already been up for 8 hours!  I got a bit of a perk up as I needed to take Dial-a-Book books back to the library and took Paul along so he could catch the bus to LB. He didn't have to be in until 1 pm yesterday because his math teacher couldn't find a sub for Friday. That was nice for him.



I told Paul I might as well just stay at the library and do some work there until he returns back to the  transit station from LB. I was there two hours, and it was lovely (Other than the elderly man who was constantly coughing, but I prayed for grace and the ability to block him out instead of getting all huffy, and God did it. MIRACLE!). I finished most of my work for Kingdom Community next week (it is going to be really busy next week after this rest day on Saturday). We are reading a book by Jonathan Bonk called Missions and Money, and it is convicting and frustrating all in one breath. I will write more in a review posted tomorrow. I have a few more pages to read, and I have much more to think through. I am not sure I totally like this book.


After returning the DAB books and bringing Paul back home. I settled in to more Bonk and rested a bit.  We had a lovely Sabbath Dinner together last night with candles and grape juice (Blessed art Thou oh Lord our God King of the universe who brings us fruit from the vine.). It was great to just be a family, and I think we are going to try for more Sabbath Dinners this terms. We talked about our upcoming vacation and are making a decision about heading east instead of down south as we had thought this summer. I have a 35th class reunion in August, but Taylor is getting married in Corvallis the same day, and Micah is getting married in Pittsburgh in July. My ancestors on my dad's side are all from Pennsylvania, and I already have a second cousin that would love to take us on a tour of the ancestor sites. We could also combine it with a Pilly and Washington, D.C. trip that we have saved miles for for YEARS. I wanted to do it during US History in high school, but George was in so much job transition, he did not have any vacation time. Now, he has four weeks, and the boys are both studying US History in college, and they are really up for it. They said they want to go to Cali, but we could go for Spring Break next year instead. That would definitely be much cooler for us. 


Well, the timer is going to go off. I still have much more to say, but I can go on. There is no law that says that I have to stop at 15. Maybe that is a good sign that I can write for more time than that. 


I also talked to Julie yesterday, and she told me about the stupid convention fiasco with her. When will followers of Jesus learn that you must be genuine and peace-loving rather than blindside people all the time. So silly. I wanted to call those organizers and give them a piece of my mind, but I know that wouldn't be appropriate. 


Last night, I watched news and read Bonk, but I could keep my eyes open and fell asleep at 10:00 (early for me) and slept until 9 am this morning (I woke up from 5:45 am on and forced myself to go back to sleep). I am looking forward to a quiet family day at home. YAY!


Want to write out and review in my head everything going on next week:


Sunday - church and MacDonald funeral in Newberg, dinner with mom
Monday - Pilates, New Morning with Stacy, lunch with LeAnne and Jean, shopping with Heba with return to her apartment for listening to her dissertation defense presentation.
Tuesday - Romans study with Kim and Rachel, discipleship time with Kathleen
Wednesday - Heba's dissertation defense - all day, help with set up, be there, wait for her afterward, Kingdom Community at night to discuss Bonk book
Thursday - Morning theophostic session
Friday - free again!
Saturday - Book Dames to discuss Their Eyes Were Watching God


Better go now. I plan on resting and reading today!

Friday, April 27, 2012

52 in 52 Week 18: Stuff Christians Like by Jonathan Acuff

I have to admit that this is a seemingly frivolous book to read after The Diary of Anne Frank last week.


This is a poke of fun at American cultural Christianity and more specifically, evangelical churchianity. It is irreverent at times, but I walked and worked around the house and laughed out loud.  It is all satire (except the last section where he put his "serious Wednesday" essays), and pokes fun at a Christianity that I left long ago (not the faith but the culture), but it was OK for a lighthearted comedy for this very serious woman (well, most people that meet me don't know I am so serious because I do like to laugh a lot, but if they just know me from my writing, they think I am pretty serious which I really am more serious than silly, but I digress. . . ).


It is supposed to be a take off on the book What White People Like: A Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions (even down to the number of pages of the book).  The authors says that this is the book that inspired him.


Many of his essays resonated, especially the ones about the mega church versus the small church, and I plan on playing those two essays for our kingdom community. Others were frivolous and boarding on pretty stupid where I wondered why I was wasting my time listening, but they were funny, and I was entertained, and that is not so bad.


I was not raised a pastor's kid like the author, nor was I raised in the church (especially a Southern Baptist one, but my dear husband WAS). In this way, I can't relate with someone who was raised in the center of cultural evangelicalism. He has a lot to say, sad as it is, about the state of mediocrity of the American church. I think it would really hit home if you were always raised in it or had bought into the superficiality that he pokes fun at.


I have always been an outsider looking in. So, his essay on "making out with girls your first time at youth camp" was humorous but all too painfully true. Yes, it even happened back in 1973 when I, as an outsider from a "non-churched" home, was invited on a camping trip to Joshua Tree National Park. The weekend was so significant (I almost died the next day), but the night before almost perishing, I got stuck in a cave with a "church regular" who thought he could make out with me!  Even as a 13 year old, I could see the superficiality of such a move and ran for my life (He quickly found solace in the arms of another girl who is now gay). I returned to the camp to find myself the only youth among all the adult leaders because all the kids must have been out in caves making out (or at least I perceived it that way and gathered that many had partaken from the chatter in the bus on the way home). It was a lonely evening and weekend for me, and my disillusionment with cultural Christianity began. I was on a desperate quest to know God and find real meaning in life, and the "church kids" were too busy hooking up and passing notes while I hungrily listened during church. 


Thirteen years later, I found it was almost expected for youth to behave this way. Due to one of the camp counselors being bitten by a bat and having to be flown out for rabies shots, I was given one hours notice to spend a week with a group of girls from Kentridge High School in Kent, Washinton at the Young Life Malibu Club in Canada in the summer of 1986.  


I shouldn't have been surprised I was asked to be a camp counselor because just an hour before, I prayed that God would give me the opportunity to see what goes on during the whole camp. (I was three miles away in a mountaineering camp, but I would see portions of the program when I cam into Malibu to pack the food for the mountain trips.)


The week was very fun, but one things really BUGGED me: camp romances were expected, bordering on encouraged by the following song sung to the kids by the adults who ran the camp: 


On the boat to Malibu

I was making eyes at you

Honey, won't you love me for a week.
NO JOKE! And it happens, by the end of the week, many of the teens had paired off and were making out in the bushes!


Thankfully, I had a group of modest girls who were hungry to know God like I was at their age, and only one out of ten girls became entangled in a "Malibu Affair," and the other nine encountered Christ in a real and significant way. 


There were many other things that hit me and liked about the book, but you have to remember that it is SATIRE. He is not being serious. 


I think I wouldn't mind meeting Jonathan Acuff, grandson of Roy Acuff, one of the greats of the early Grand Ole Oprey:


Roy Acuff ( far right) points to a board
announcing the expansion of the Opry’s
Prince Albert Show network broadcast on NBC.

I also wouldn't mind meeting Jon because he is pretty humble and self-effacing, and I loved his interaction with the Somali refugee woman who cut his hair (that made me get off the fence about the book. I liked what he had to say from there on out). His humility comes out with his story about wanting fame and the "meet and greet" with is adoring following. (Have to read it to find out why it was necessary for him to write a quiz for the event).


I also want to meet him to tell him that I actually got through the acknowledgments and the funny song at the end that he thought no one would listen to (what can I say, I think he is funny, plus my hands were covered in cranberry creme scone dough so I couldn't turn off the iPod when he got to the end). I also want to introduce him to some very radical believers I know in Atlanta. :)




I got Acuff's book as a free audiobook download, but I cannot remember how or where or even why. It has been sitting on my iPod for about two years waiting to be listened to, and I was between classics.  It was a nice change, and  I am sure people wondered what that tall woman was listening to as she walked and guffawed loudly. 


It is very humorous, but I believe after watching the profile below that there is a method to Acuff's madness. I know now that Jon is using satire to try to change the superficiality of the American church. You might really like his short bio:





After watching this and seeing the other videos by him, it just dawned on me that I had watched Jon when he did the Christmas Charity giving thing on the Dave Ramsey website! I KNEW his voice sounded familiar, and I couldn't place it. That made me laugh too. I thought, "Who is this goofball?"  Little did I know he was waiting to be listened to on my iPod.


You are funny, Jon so . . . 


Go, Jon, Go. I get you. I really do. 




Thursday, April 26, 2012

Focusing Freewrite

I have had a great morning so far, but I am definitely out of my normal routine of getting up, journaling, meditating in the Bible Book Club reading (I am 6 weeks ahead of the blog), writing, applying, praying. Then, I go on to my exercise (Pilates MWF, walking/running TTH) and whatever is up for the day (discipleship, counseling, more writing).


No routine to speak of today. I normally get up between 5:30 - 6:00, and I woke up at 5:45 am and rolled back over and slept until 7 am. That always involves me running into George before I get some good time in the Word and prayer. So, we chatted quite a bit this morning as he fixed his lunch and coffee. Not complaining. I do not have a husband who grunts and gives one word replies. Our morning talks can be awesome and hard to stop once we start, but he does have to work. :) So, parting is such sweet sorrow, but he left me.


Just as he left, I hear the door open and one man goes in the shower, and the other boy (at least for another seven months) comes out for breakfast. I am determined to not be writing or preoccupied when they are here because I don't see them as much now that they are both in college. So, we talk.  The other man comes out, and we talk.


Then, the Skype (the I had been turned off but came on with my computer reboot - PDF still not printing. Usually a reboot makes it spit out whatever is in its jowls, but to no avail, but I digress . . . ) came on with one of my listening prayer international Skype appointments. OH . . . It was 9:30 pm YOUR time, not MY time. OH NO! Not prepared. My morning is an hour behind due to rolling over in bed and sleeping that hour away.  The kids are eating breakfast, making lunch, and preparing to launch. The time is precious, and I have two hats: mom of almost adults and listening prayer counselor. I opted for postponement to my time. All was right with the world (literally, since we are on two continents).


The kids scampered downstairs for final school prep, and I saw I had about 1/2 hour, and the SUN WAS SHINING. There is an 80% chance of rain today. So, there was blue sky surrounded by blackness everywhere. The window of opportunity was short. So, I went for a walk. I listened to the "Bible" section of Stuff Christians Like (still debating about whether I really like this satire, but he said ONE thing that totally redeemed himself on this leg of the book), but I turned it off after that section to really "get down" in prayer as I walked. There was so much on my heart, and there is something about walking that just helps me to pour out and listen to Him!  AWESOME TIME!


Then, I went by the commotion of roofing and realized that it was the Stauber's house. They had found some leakage during my last stroll down their lane, but I didn't know it would involve a total re-roofing project! Wow. They are in Utah, but Mr. Callis was there to fill me in (never met him before, and he is nice). 


So, I got way-laid in my attempt to get home to say good-bye to he kids before they went to class, but they were turning the corner off of our street as I was crossing. So, I waved and prayed them away just as I began to feel slight raindrops on my cheek.

The sky has turned dark, and I am writing now so that I can FOCUS. While cooking my breakfast, I got a call from Vickie about doing pictures for the screen at the women's retreat (that I decided not to go to), and it would have to be done before tomorrow. So, I politely declined, but I had a nice chat about all things listening prayer (listening is what the retreat is all about this weekend).  I have two counseling appointments today, and I am not afraid to say I am already behind with my day and want to have a family dinner today since Thursday seems to be our only day now since Michael has class and bible study on Monday and Tuesday, and we have Kingdom Community on Wednesday. So, Geo and I must switch our date night to another night. Stay tuned. 



I made eggs, strawberries, and a bagel, and I sprinkled it all with Sensa. I am so curious about it and ordered a free sample to try it out. I don't think it is a hoax. I don't think it is bad for you either. It is just a trick of the taste buds to make you feel full. I always have this 5-10 pounds (more like 5 right now), and I NEVER feel full. So, I am curious to see if it works. I just had breakfast, and I definitely feel VERY FULL, and I never feel that way after a meal. I could always eat way more than I do, but it is that extra 125-250 calories a day that make me struggle with the off and on of 5-10 pounds. So, I want to learn to control that by portion control. We will see how it works. Call it a science experiment. 


The bell range a while ago, but I still had more to say. Not sure if that is a good thing or not. 


Off to the call of Isaiah and the prophecy of Immanuel!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thoughts

Arrogance and divisiveness really bothers me. I am just praying that it goes away. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mid Day Freewrite

I had a busy morning in Isaiah. Then, Elizabeth told me Micah was online. So, I talked to both of them for about an hour!  It was fun to congratulate him and process with her too.  I love my life.

Then, I took the boys to class (math and bowling), and I went to wait for my dental implant prep appointment. Dropping them off meant I was an hour early. But I used the wireless and communicated back and forth with Tim about some business stuff. I love my life (even the dental implant part).

I am being implanted on May 8. Woohoo.

Then, I realized I had two hours before I go and get the boys. I was going to go running or walking, but it ended up raining, and I didn't bring my rain gear. So, I am treating myself to a lunch at Red Robin!  Yummy Chicken Wrap and Chicken Tortilla Soup as I type here and listen to Stuff Christians Like. I am still debating about whether I like. I am laughing a lot, but it isn't where I live.  

Well, the time has flown by on this fifteen minute freewrite because this small computer is harder for me to type on than my big one. I will go to work a bit since I have an hour to kill before I pick up the kids, and this is much more comfortable than Takena Hall at Linn-Benton Community College. 

Should I have desert or not?  Hmmm???????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday Morning State of the Well

It has been a while since I have done a status update of "The Well."  Monday morning is a good time.


It is "red sky" at morn. I have a feeling our two days of sunshine has gone away, and we will have some storms. The east coast is going to get blanketed today. I should look at some pics.


Well-Watered Soul


I am doing really well in my soul. George and I did some listening prayer yesterday because something really agitated me in my spirit from Saturday. After 2 hours of talking, he suggested prayer, and God quickly showed me the lie I was believing and gave me truth. He brought me to a memory of when I was doing a team report in junior high with two girls who were best friends. I did something that made them be really mean to me. I was clueless about what I had done. I remember feeling so terrible about that. Anyway, God revealed truth to me about it being just the issues of junior high girls, and I was accepted by Him. That was what was most important. 


I had a struggle in Hosea all week, but that we probably more because I was so tired last week from lots of sitting and talking with people about exciting things. It took me all week to recover, mainly because I had quite a bit of things to do and people to meet with. I declared Friday a "Restoration Day," and God led me on a prayer walk that cleared the air and also allowed me to have a divine appointment with NS in my neighborhood!


All that to say that on Friday, I was able to breakthrough in my reading/meditating/writing about Hosea, and I loved it. 


Now, I am in Isaiah, and I do believe he is one of my favorite of all the prophets. He is such a great balance between God's justice and mercy. I will soak deeply again this morning.


Well-Educated Mind 


My "100 Great Books" list includes Hemingway and Faulkner, and I just wasn't ready to start one of those on a beautiful Sunday, too depressing!  So, I am listening to The Ascent of George Washington by John Ferling because I got it on Free Book Friday with www.learnoutloud.com. It is the type of book I usually read about 4th of July, but I am in the mood for an uplifting book! 


Well-Adjusted Heart


I am well. Last week was exhausting, and I had a big weekend. Visiting Lorraine and Ginny was so lovely, and it helped me in my "balance." I met with a group in Monmouth after that, and it ended up being two hours with the group and three hours with one of the girls. She was so sweet and young, and my shepherd's heart had some concerns, and that was part of my prayer with George from above.


I also did Theophostic with a girl on Sunday. It was more counseling and a bit of Theo. Again, my shepherd's heart wants to get her ready for the challenges she has facing her in the near future. She was not doing well, and I told her so. It was a really GOOD time, and we have a game plan until she leaves in six weeks. I love her so much. 


I made (and George encouraged) a decision to skip corporate prayer with the gang on Sunday so I could get out and hike in the sunshine. Since my Saturday was inside from 8:45am - 8:00 pm, I needed to get out and sweat. It was a good call for my heart. I need that balance for me!  


I am not exhausted now, and I hope to be more balanced all week long!


Well-Tuned Strength


I had a muscle pull in my back from Tuesday morning until Saturday morning. It even bothered me after a Thursday morning adjustment because I sat in a chair for TOO long in a Theophostic session. For my Sunday session, I sat in my office chair, and this was much better!


I have been overeating again. I had lost about 3 lbs at the beginning of April only to gain it back. I am only 4 lbs over, but I hate that. So, I am working on portion control. I am convinced that something in my fullness meter goes horribly wrong after menopause because I never feel full!  I recognize that and don't go overboard because 4 lbs is pretty good!  BUT, I like to be at the right weight, and it is better for my back to be this way.


I am determined to get to Pilates all week this week. It is SO GOOD for me! Also, still am considering having Andrea from Therapeutic Associates giving me an overall weight program that really WORKS for my back issues. Shandra's didn't work (even though I love her to death!).


Well, now I am going. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

52 in 52 Week 17: The Diary of Anne Frank

What an absolutely beautiful book. This was an amazingly bright and perceptive young girl. I cannot believe that I have waited so long in life to read/listen to this book. I think it should be on everyone's "must read" list!

Click image to view full coverI began reading it and didn't realize that it was Holocaust Remembrance Week. I mourn the loss of this bright light. 

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” ― Anne FrankThe Diary of a Young Girl 
“I don't want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I've never met. I want to go on living even after my death!” ― Anne Frank 
“I want to go on living even after my death! And therefore I am grateful to G-d for this gift, this possibility of developing myself and of writing, of expressing all that is in me. I can shake off everything if I write; my sorrows disappear; my courage is reborn. But, and that is the great question, will I ever be able to write anything great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer?” ― Anne Frankdiary of Anne Frank
“People who have a religion should be glad, for not everyone has the gift of believing in heavenly things. You don't necessarily even have to be afraid of punishment after death; purgatory, hell, and heaven are things that a lot of people can't accept, but still a religion, it doesn't matter which, keeps a person on the right path. It isn't the fear of God but the upholding of one's own honor and conscience. How noble and good everyone could be if, every evening before falling asleep, they were to recall to their minds the events of the while day and consider exactly what has been good and bad. Then, without realizing it you try to improve yourself at the start of each new day; of course, you achieve quite a lot in the course of time. Anyone can do this, it costs nothing and is certainly very helpful. Whoever doesn't know it must learn and find by experience that: "A quiet conscience mades one strong!” ― Anne FrankThe Diary of a Young Girl 
“In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.” ― Anne FrankThe Diary of a Young Girl 

Update May 22, 2014: It was our immense privilege to go through the rooms of the house on a one day visit to Amsterdam. Sobering and real. Tears.

52 in 52 Week 17: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Click image to view full cover While reading this book, I thought, "I feel like I am reading William Faulkner."  When I was done with reading this, I read somewhere (now I can't remember where) about how she loved Faulkner and Woolf (She wrote her master's thesis on them). 


I read As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury by Faulkner when Oprah had a challenge of reading three Faulkner books over the summer. I spent my anniversary reading him at a beautiful hotel on the beach. What a way to ruin a perfect anniversary! Notice I only read two. I refused to read the third (even though I am addicted to closure and finishing what I start) because I disliked the first two so much. The only Woolf I have read is Mrs. Dalloway. I didn't dislike her as much as Faulkner, but she is not my favorite author. 


I didn't like the style of this book. It also had some graphically sexual parts that made me want to throw up. ICK! It was also very confusing and jumped all over the place. It seemed like a horrible attempt at a first novel. Her later ones were more critically acclaimed and awarded. I read Song of Solomon many years ago, and I liked it much better. 

Here is one quote:

 Love is never any better than the lover. Wicked people love wickedly, violent people love violently, weak people love weakly, stupid people love stupidly, but the love of a free man is never safe. There is no gift for the beloved. The lover alone possesses his gift of love. The loved one is shorn, neutralized, frozen in the glare of the lover’s inward eye.
I read a review by Whisper1 at www.librarything.com that contain my sentiment exactly:
O, Toni Morrison, you mystify me. You are a Nobel Prize winner in literature, a recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award and have received countless accolades. 
The number of books I've read in 55 years could stretch into many miles. I consider myself astute, intelligent and savvy in working with words, yet, whenever I read one of your books I feel perplexed and stunned. 
When reading The Bluest Eyes I was enthralled by the pure beauty of your words and then, wham, felt cold water thrown on the pages as once again I grew weary of the violence, of the savage depiction of black culture, and my struggle to understand why your vivid images lack poignancy. 
You make your point about the struggles, the hatred, the every day beating down and the difficulty of surviving, then you literally hammer it home until I feel bruised beyond healing. 
No doubt you are a well deserving winner. But, also, no doubt I won't read another of your books. Dec 10, 2011 |


Friday, April 20, 2012

Freewrite Fifteen Friday

Well-Watered Soul Well-Educated Mind Well-Adjusted Heart Well-Tuned Strength


It is already 11:15, and I am just getting to some time with God (other than a little prayer time at the edge of the amphitheatre at Calvary Chapel this morning. That was lovely. 


I slept in this morning. I don't know why, but it has really taken me a long time to catch up from last week's seminar and Sunday's activities. I had so much people time. Then, I had lots of people time this week too after only one day of rest. Jean instant messaged with me and told me to REST, but I already had some appointments, and there is always so much follow up after seminars like this. 


So, I need to store up some "I" time today. I want to just journal, pray, spend deeper time in Hosea, and finish my books. I am trying not to spend time with people today, but I am already off to a bad start! LOL! Visited a bit with Cindy at Calvary, and she told me about some people who are interested in what we are doing, and I really want to meet them. It is hard to be an introvert and like people so much. 


I also went to Pilates today, and it really helped this pulled muscle in my back. It isn't out, but it is not right. I went to Dr. Koen, but then I went into a MEGA theophostic session where I sat for TOO long. I should have just stood up once we were just chatting after the session. It was a good session, by the way, and it seems like, after a month of inactivity, I am fully booked and overflowing again (like the fall).  It has been so good, and I am finding that God is fulfilling by identity as "boldly beloved." I have become more assertive in my times by having a person stay in a memory instead of jumping around so much. Some times people jump to avoid the pain. I sensed that yesterday, and I gently said, "Let's just stay here for a while." It turned out that the memory they wanted to jump to was tied to that and once she had release in the memory we stayed in, she found freedom in the other one. So, I am glad I was a bit more assertive. That was what I found difficult with two of the people I had been working with before. When they are a strong personality, they have tended to run it (instead of God). So, it is OK for me to facilitate by saying, "No, let's stay here for a bit."  I was too paranoid of interfering with the process, and I realized that this is precisely why I am there!  


Another thing I have discovered is that if the person cannot let go of bitterness and resentment, it really inhibits the process. Sometimes, the person needs to cognitively process their lack of forgiveness and come back to me after that. I had one person who did that in February and came back in April, and the process was fabulous. In February, it wasn't. Yesterday, I gently asked if the person was willing to forgive. They said it was hard. So, I put our session on pause to do some teaching on forgiveness. They were willing to let go of their resentment, and we could move on toward God's truth coming in loud and clear.  I would like to develop something that could prep them for this before they come to the session. The closest I have gotten is the Steps to Freedom in Christ, but I am not super wild about that either. So, I need to write with a Holy Spirit pen in God's timing.

Our Kingdom Community is shutting down in six weeks, and it will morph into something different, but I have loved this group of people so much. I love hearing everyone's story and praying for them. Something that keeps on coming up over and over had us wanting to check out what is happening with our kids, and George had a really open talk with one of them last night. He is such a good dad. :)



Well, the timer went off long ago. I am looking forward to getting back to Hosea after some false starts for the last few days. Things have been good, but I really want to soak today. 


Pressing the button with no proofreading. :)



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Myers-Briggs Cross Between

Even in my twenties, I only slightly preferred extroversion. I know that research shows that this scale is the one that tends to shift in middle-age, and I find myself in the preserver (even though people who know nothing about Myers-Briggs try to put me in the extrovert category). I still am a cross between the two in many ways. I have put the things that are really me in red.


PRESERVER - ISFJ


Quiet, friendly, responsible and conscientious. Work devoutly to meet their obligations and serve their friends and fellow workers. Thorough, painstaking, accurate. May need time to master technical subjects (just have no interest to but can do it quickly if I have to). Patient with details and routine (not a routine gal but get everything done). Loyal, considerate, concerned with how other people feel. Dedicated and service-oriented. Dependable and orderly. Relate well to individual needs. Traditional and procedural. 

SOCIALIZER - ESFJ


Warm-hearted, talkative, popular, conscientious, born cooperators, active committee members (dislike committees), need harmony and may be good at creating it. Always doing something nice for someone. Work best with encouragement and praise. Little interest in abstract thinking or technical subjects. Main interest is in things that directly and visibly affect people's lives. Sociable and outgoing (I am not afraid to initiate but dislike social stuff). Responsible, attentive and traditional. Loyal and hardworking. Dislike obstructions (true when I was younger but accept them as inevitable now)


I am definitely a cross. Now back to work. :)


"Main interest is in the things that directly and visibly affect people's lives."  That is THE thing that is most like me of all of this. You could write that on my tombstone, but yet I am selective about who I affect. I don't want to affect the multitudes like Donna W., who is a true ESFJ. I prefer quiet, one-on-one influence and, at most, a small group, except when I write the Bible Book Club which is perfect way for me to affect many people's lives without having to deal with lots and lots of people. 


My parents trained me to be sociable and outgoing. I am outgoing to the degree that I LOVE learning about people and who they are, where they have come from, and where they are going.  Therefore, I have learned to be talkative, but I do a lot of listening if people need that, especially in my counseling. I really am a cross between the two, and I am SO WIPED out after all the people contact last weekend where George went to work and is back to normal. I am still struggling to get my equilibrium back. I want to go to my "girl cave" and commune and hear the "sweet whisper" of Jesus for a few days, but I have some people-oriented things to do this week like meeting with Terri, kingdom community, theophostic appointment, and going to see Lorraine and Ginny. I might also meet with the Monmouth gals about starting a HUB community there. So, Sunday will be my day to rest. :)







Longing for Hosea and Prayer

Fifteen Freewrite


I am listening to The Diary of Anne Frank. This is such a beautiful book. I cannot believe it has taken me so long to read it. It is a true classic. She would have made a wonderful writer had she lived past adolescence. It makes me sad to know she is the same age as my mother-in-law, and she died at such a young ago. She is up to January 1944 and exactly half way through the book. I wish we knew what happened to her.  


I probably shouldn't do this for very long because I am going to Pilates. Then, I am meeting with Terri to debrief about the Shabbot retreat. I am still debating about going to the chiropractor tomorrow. I must have pulled a muscle two days ago because I woke up with rickety back for the first time since getting this bed. The good news is that another night on the bed has made it go away. I am sore from the pull, but I think it is all back in place.  So, should I spend 24 dollars or shouldn't I.  I also have someone wanting that Theophostic spot too, and I am not sure if I should do that after having an appointment because sometimes I just need to lay down and rest to let everything settle. What to do?  I am not sure.


I am still not recovered from last weekend. It was a BIG weekend, but a GREAT weekend. I wish all my friends could go to this great seminar and learn. Even though I rest all day Monday, yesterday ended up being a busy day because of a double lesson in Precept Romans study, follow up from the seminar and looking toward the future (Nate calling, Mary instant messaging me, Jamie emailing me), meeting with Greg to set up a living trust, and going to one of our financial institutions to set up a P.O.D. for our accounts there.  Now, I have follow up with faxing the deed to our house and finding out about different things. I also need to set up Michael's prostodonics.  Many when it rains it pours. I also have a girl asking for Theophostic that I really need to pray about. Last time, it was a 9 am - 2 pm thing, and she is somewhat dependent in wanting a ride home afteward.  I am not sure if it is the best investment of my time as I am really concentrating on those connected with our ministry. With all of this, and I am still so tired right now.  The muscle relaxant (which I have taken in AGES) is not helping me in my decision making! What to do Lord?


Even now, my cell phone is buzzing. I wonder why? Pilates class reminder so no worries.


George has awakened, and he is making coffee. My chai tea is right next to me coaxing me into the day. I want to soak into Hosea for the last day. I wish there were a Pilates class in the mid-morning because that would fit in more with my schedule. I love my morning time, and if I decide to sleep in a bit (woke up at 5:30 but forced myself to go back to sleep until 7 for extra rest I think I need). So, my time is curtailed.  


Well, I think I will go to Hosea and prayer now. Bye.



Sunday, April 15, 2012

52 in 52 Week 16: Near Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well by Billy Graham

As I had already mentioned in an earlier post, I got tired of reading classic 20th century tragic novels, and I needed a breather. This was a wonderful break! It isn't anything really profound, but there was something sacred about reading what will be Billy Graham's last book. He is moving toward heaven, and this book is full of the wisdom that almost 93 years of life can bring. 




Here is a picture me reading it in the library. After realizing that the cumulative effective of two months of tragic novels was hurting my soul, I road my bike in the sunshine to the library and read this book in my favorite room in the city! 

4:35 AM Freewrite

I am not sure if I will write for fifteen today because I really want to get to my study of Hosea today. I tried several times during our seminar this week, but I ended up doing the book table for most of the weekend because the guy they assigned to man it didn't know anything about any of the materials, and people were asking a ton of questions. Since George, Kathleen, and I know about all of them, we ended up sitting back there and enjoying time with different people. It was a blast really with many really fun conversations! 


I tried meditating on Hosea 4, but there were so many interruptions. So, I am up early to have some time until the flurry happens all over again today as we are at the book table again at Calvary Chapel for the morning service. Then, Jamie, Donna, Jon, and Amy are coming to our house to talk to our kingdom community about kingdom living. 


We went to the Mandate School graduation after the Friday and all day Saturday event, and I was so TIRED. My new Tempur-Pedic mattress awaited me! So, we just stayed for the graduation, skipped the dinner and games afterward, and picked up pizza and calzone and watched FUNNY British comedies on PBS while i had the massage on my bed at full throttle. :)


I fell fast asleep at 10:12 pm only to wake up at 3:45 am this morning. I am glad to have the extended time with God before going to Calvary this morning. I love people, but I am really tuckered out. 


It was interesting to talking with one of the young guys at Calvary about Myers-Briggs. I think he makes it a lot more complicated than he needs to make it; talking about dominant this or that. Stuff that others have probably tried to make out of the Myers-Briggs that isn't really there. I had no idea what he was talking about, and I have taught on it for 25 years now. So strange that it has been that long! I graduated from grad school in 1987! Where has the time gone?  I was such a confused person then. That job at Lane Community College was such a disaster. What made me take it? It was so UNFULFILLING! That is when I first sense the power of other people's intercession in my life when I started sending out little prayer cards (by mail then because that was the only way), and how God just PLOPPED Steven Hawthorne and Bangkok in my lap at Proclaim 87. He also PLOPPED George Weaver in my life at Proclaim 1987 after a very brief encounter in March of 1987!  That was such a God thing to go from total lack of fulfillment in a "career" job to a life direction and life partner all on one God-directed November day.  It was all because God told me to cancel that retreat with Carla's mom and go to help Tom with his workshop there. God is so good!


BYE!

52 in 52 Week 16: Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse

Click image to view full coverICK!


I only read three classical books in high school:


1) The Holy Bible - My upbringing included no Bible. So, I jumped at the opportunity to take "The Literary Survey of the Bible" from Mr. Watson in my public high school in 10th grade. GREAT decision, and the best classic I have ever read. It is my life goal now to help people understand it: www.3yearbiblebookclub.blogspot.com.


2) The Great Gatsby - Read it in 9th grade and didn't understand it. Saw the movie when it came out in the movie theatres in the 70's and didn't understand that either. I read it in my 40's and appreciated its brilliance.


3) Siddhartha - Read this in the same class in 9th grade, and it was my first exposure to Hinduism, but I thought it was odd that it was written by a German, Herman Hesse. Maybe I should try it again? (Addition: I went for a walk with my friend, Cathi, and she said one of her friends said Siddhartha was her favorite book. So, I think I will try it again.) 


So Steppenwolf is my second Herman Hesse novel.  It is an autobiographical/psychological novel, and I wonder if Herman Hesse was on drugs when he wrote it. He only admitted to alcohol and hashish in his lifetime, but many have speculated because this book talks about drug use (opium) and explicit sex (thankfully never describing it), and the end seems so hallucinogenic!  


I think Hesse had a hard life. He was raised in a Pietist home, and he was an interesting child:  



From early on, Hermann Hesse appeared headstrong and hard for his family to handle. In a letter to her husband Johannes Hesse, Hermann's mother Marie wrote: "The little fellow has a life in him, an unbelievable strength, a powerful will, and, for his four years of age, a truly astonishing mind. How can he express all that? It truly gnaws at my life, this internal fighting against his tyrannical temperament, his passionate turbulence [...] God must shape this proud spirit, then it will become something noble and magnificent -- but I shudder to think what this young and passionate person might become should his upbringing be false or weak."[8]
Hesse showed signs of serious depression as early as his first year at school.[9] (wikipedia.org)

You can see Hesse's peitist roots in the words of Hermine about the Kingdom of God. That was the best part of the book. We are made for another world in the Kingdom of God, and I heartily agree with this. (The lifestyle of Hermine makes you question how much she really understood living in the Kingdom of God in the here and now.)


This book is about a man's inner turmoil between the "wolf" and the "man."  It had moments of brilliance; but overall, I would not recommend it for the sensitive soul.   



It is weird, and I didn't like the mood it put me in. Toward the end of the book, I wanted to throw up as I listened to one of the situations.


What gives with these 20th Century novelists? Were they just so jaded after World War I that they had to pour it all out on the page?


Some quotes supplied by kuniyoshi | Aug 8, 2011 |  on www.librarything.com:

On art: 
“When he worships his favorites among the immortals, Mozart, perchance, he always looks at him in the long run through bourgeois eyes. His tendency is to explain Mozart’s perfected being, just as a schoolmaster would, as a supreme and special gift rather than as the outcome of his immense powers of surrender and suffering, of his indifference to the ideals of the bourgeois, and of his patience under that last extremity of loneliness…” 

On fate:
 
“The man of power is ruined by power, the man of money by money, the submissive man by subservience, the pleasure seeker by pleasure.” 

On man’s insignificance:
 
“…the Steppenwolf’s look pierced our whole epoch, its whole overwrought activity, the whole surge and strife, the whole vanity, the whole superficial play of a shallow, opinionated intellectuality. And, alas! The look went still deeper, went far below the faults, defects and hopelessness of our time, our intellect, our culture alone. It went right to the heart of all humanity, it bespoke eloquently in a single second the whole despair of a thinker, of one who knew the full worth and meaning of man’s life. It said: ‘See what monkeys we are! Look, such is man!’ and all at once all renown, all intelligence, all the attainments of the spirit, all progress towards the sublime, the great and enduring in man fell away and became a monkey’s trick!” 

On living life:
 
“How I used to love the dark, sad evenings of late autumn and winter, how eagerly I imbibed their moods of loneliness and melancholy when wrapped in my cloak I strode for half the night through rain and storm, through the leafless winter landscape, lonely enough then too, but full of deep joy, and full of poetry which later I wrote down by candlelight sitting on the edge of my bed! All that was past now. The cup was emptied and would never be filled again. Was that a matter of regret? No, I did not regret the past. My regret was for the present day, for all the countless hours and days that I lost in mere passivity and that brought me nothing, not even the shocks of awakening.” 

“It is certain in any case that life is quite disarmed by the gift to live so entirely in the present, to treasure with such eager care every flower by the wayside and the light that plays on every passing moment.”
 

On oneness:
 
“Man is not capable of thought in any high degree, and even the most spiritual and highly cultivated of men habitually sees the world and himself through the lenses of delusive formulas and artless simplifications – and most of all himself. For it appears to be an inborn and imperative need of all men to regard the self as a unit. However often and however grievously this illusion is shattered, it always mends again.” 

On selling out:
 
“Most intellectuals and most artists belong to the same type. Only the strongest of them force their way through the atmosphere of the bourgeois earth and attain to the cosmic. The others all resign themselves or make compromises. Despising the bourgeois, and yet belonging to it, they add to its strength and glory; for in the last resort they have to share their beliefs in order to live.”


On suicide:
  
“No, I am sure he has not taken his life. He is still alive, …. , listens to the world beneath his window and the hum of human life from which he knows that he is excluded. But he has not killed himself, for a glimmer of belief still tells him that he is to drink this frightening suffering in his heart to the dregs, and that it is of this suffering he must die.”





This book made me want to read Faust by Goethe though because he is mentioned many times in the book. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Free Fifteen

Free Fifteen


I am so happy! There is life after taxes! I pushed the button at 4:45 pm yesterday, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. It has been hanging over my head. I had finished them a while ago, but we needed to strategize about how to lower our tax bill! YIKES! A combination of lower withholding at OSU than the USDA AND some non-deductible (but Kingdom minded) donations made for a much higher bill than normal. Also, we didn't get the child tax credit this year because it only goes up to children under 17, and Paul turned 17 in November.

All that to say is that I talked to Bob K, my mom's broker. He isn't a tax consultant or financial planner, but he is a personal family friend after so many years of handling my mom's funds. He gave me great counsel. So, I begged George to come home so we could just get it OFF MY PLATE. We went to two different institutions and shifted money to our individual IRA's and contributed more to the Oregon College Savings Program. VOILA! Tax bill significantly reduced and even a REFUND for Oregon! WOOHOO!

I am sure Bob thinks I am a total idiot when it comes to all of this. Actually, he knows we are not into money, which is a very good thing. My mom was so good at all of that. She would call him almost daily. I mentioned that I am more like my dad, and he concurred that my dad never called him and didn't want to think about money. It was always my mom. I just don't have time to do it. The good news is that George and I both like to be frugal with what we have! So, even though we aren't "into" money, I think we do pretty well at managing it.

Speaking of managing it, the whole Jesus Community from our first two groups wants to do the Dave Ramsey Financial Freedom course. They asked me if I know anyone who has it. I know who has the high school edition, but I need to figure out how to get the "adult" one. (Just went an wrote someone to ask to borrow them and forgot I was in the middle of a freewrite!)

Speaking of being frugal, we bought a Tempur-Pedic, and the biggest hindrance for me eight years ago was how expensive they are, but I feel like there is a difference between being frugal and being too cheap when it comes to health. So, we took the ENORMOUS plunge and bought two twin extra-long beds.  I am so happy with it. We kept on telling ourselves it was going to be like when we bought air-conditioning for the house when we had to replace the furnace. One was a necessity and the other was not, but every year when Michael's allergies are too bad for us to open the windows on a hot day in the summer, we know that we made more a necessity purchase. Now that I have spent two nights on that mattress, I know that I live with low-level pain every morning that I have to work out of my body before I can fully function!  I haven't had to do my normal routine the last two mornings. I am "unlocked" when I rise!  YAY!

OK, I am not proofreading and hitting the button because I want to use this early morning to meditate in Hosea. My Bible Book Club time has been shorter recently because of having these taxes!!!!

BYE!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

10 Minuter

I am in the mood for just a 10 minute freewrite. We still haven't decided about what we are going to do about our taxes, whether we will add more to our IRA and reduce our tax bill or just pay our taxes outright. Decisions. Not sure why OSU didn't withhold more because our AGI was about the same this year as last year, but they withheld much less than what the USDA held in his check. I must decide by the end of today though because I have too much going on tomorrow to worry about it. 


Jamie and Donna are coming on Sunday, and I am very excited about this. I want to keep the group to our Kingdom Community though so they have time to ask questions and really talk. The number we had when Bob came was perfect. So, we will hopefully have that number.


Today, I really am going to meditate deeply in Hosea. I started it yesterday. It is sort of a sad book when you think about Gomer's unfaithfulness and Israel's too. It has some of the most beautiful passages in it though. One of which was in my wedding:



"“I will betroth you to Me forever; 
Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, 
In lovingkindness and in compassion, 
And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. 
Then you will know the Lord." (Hosea 2:19-20, NASB95) 
It is a beautiful book. 


Steppenwolf, on the other hand, is not a beautiful book. There is such darkness and weirdness to it. I am almost done with it, and I am pretty glad about that! The Bluest Eyes isn't much better. It is getting pretty sad. I don't know where the story is going because I refuse to read a synopsis, but it is pretty sad. I can tell. I read The Song of Solomon by Morrison, and I remember liking that, but I remember it was sad. It was so long ago, I can't remember what it was, but I think there was violence in it. 


Nearing Home has been sweet. Billy Graham is still with us, but we lost Mike Wallace, who was also born in 1918, along with my dear old dad who died far too soon. The anniversary of his passing, May 2, is coming up. Heba is doing her dissertation defense that day, and that should keep my mind off of it. It used to really affect me. Now, it just gives me a sweet reminder of how blessed I was. That generation rocked! 


Well, ten minutes is quick. Pressing. NOW! 




Old Herbaceous

This was a sweet story about a gardener in England from the time he was a boy to an old man. It made me cry it was so short and sweet.  Here...