Wednesday, April 25, 2007


A friend of ours sent us these photos recently in an email.

This is the size of our earth compared to the other planets in Solar System (except forget poor Pluto)

This is the size of our planets in relation to the sun.

This is the size of our sun in relation to the star, Arcturus.

This is Arcturus compared to Antares and to its campanion star, Betelgeuse, which is part of the constellation Orion.

God said to Job and his pals (38: 31-33), “Can you direct the movement of the stars, binding the cluster of the Pleiades or loosening the cords of Orion? Can you direct the sequence of the seasons or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens? Do you know the laws of the universe? Can you use them to regulate the earth?"

I don't think He was bragging, just trying to lend some perspective.

Kryptonite and Computers

I spent a good part of the day today doing battle with a goofy computer, and finally cleaning out files and folders to try to help it function better. While waiting for some of the files to transfer to a CD, I was browsing some headline news.

I read the shocking headline today on Miners Find Real-Life Kryptonite. At first, I thought, uh ohhh. And then, I remembered that 'kryptonite' is make-believe.

So, I read the article, and found out that some miners in Serbia found a mineral they sent to the British Museum, and it is white, powdery and not radioactive, unlike the glowing green crystals which rob Supeman of his powers.

Whew! Just in case, tho', I'm steering clear of Serbia.

It's been a long day.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Faith and Forgiveness

Last summer Bruce led a group of people to Rwanda for a two week mission trip. One of the participants, Katie Pepiot, was not from our church, but was a friend of ours who was a student at Virginia Tech with our daugter. Katie was featured this weekend in a CNN video piece regarding the church services dealing with last week's tragedy. She had returned to campus to share the grief and to minster to the students there with a message of compassion, faith and forgiveness. Here's a link to the piece, which includes a clip from Sunday's church service at New Life Christian Fellowship, and it's a good message overall.
CNN Faith and Forgiveness

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Fairest of Them All...

Grove City College Children's Theatre Productions are always great! Each Spring, a musical production is put together and performed for area schools to share the joy of theatre with kids.

This year's fabulous show is Mother Goose, Inc., and is comprised of a funny and entertaining cast of characters. MY favorite, and ... the fairest of them all... is Snow White, creatively and hilariously portrayed by our talented daughter, Samantha! She's found her sweet spot, I think!

We saw one of the performances last night (they do 7 of them in 3 days). Samantha's character is the 'behind the scenes' Snow White, who is very much a Diva, and unhappy with her 'new' set of dwarfs (only 6), Winky, Pinky, Binky, Finky, Stinky and Fred. She performs a song describing her new contract demands, I Want It All, which highlights her great vocal gifts, as well as delights the audience with her natural comedic talent. I loved it!!! And I'm going to see it again... and again!

The show is about a rivalry between Mother Goose and The Brothers Grimm fairy tale characters, who ultimately join together against a common enemy, and encourage kids to read! It's a high energy show, with lots of singing, dancing and funny dialogue. The kids in the audience really seemed to enjoy it.... and so did the parents! Especially this parent!

Hokie Hope

Today has been declared a day of mourning for the students and faculty who lost their lives this week in the massacre at Virginia Tech. A campus memorial service is also scheduled, and coincides, eerily, with the 8th anniversary of the tragedy at Columbine.

I can only imagine the profound and devastating grief suffered by family and friends of those who died. I hate to even think about it. But today at noon, I'll join with many others in remembrance of the slain, and in prayer for those left behind.

The VT Alumni Association has organized Hokie Hope, and has asked people to wear something orange and maroon today to honor those killed Monday, and to show support for students, staff, almuni of Virgina Tech. My hope is that the God of all comfort will envelop those who mourn and somehow bring them comfort.

"We will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears and through all our sadness ... " -- Nikki Giovanni, University Distinguished Professor, Virgina Tech

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech

I considered not even posting today, contemplating yesterday's tragic events at Virginia Tech. I realize anything I can say is trite, and words really cannot express the profound sadness I feel for the friends and families of all the people who died there yesterday. Or for the students and faculty there whose world has been invaded by violence. Our daughter and son-in-law both did their under-grad and graduate work there. It's very eerie to see the TV footage, to recognize the campus and to consider what happened there.

One question keeps coming up at times like this, and that is, 'Where was God?' It's a question I think we all may ask at some time or another, facing tragedy. It was a question I pondered once when my dad died suddenly of a heart attack. And an answer actually came to me from a scripture verse, in a note from my mother.

The verse is Isaiah 63:9. In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years.

To me, that verse meant that He was suffering in my suffering. He was there with me. It didn't explain why it happened or why He didn't apparently intervene, but it told me that He was there with me, and that He shared in my pain. It gave me hope that He would redeem the pain; and He did. And until that happened, He carried me.

That's been my prayer for those in the midst of this tragedy. . .

Sunday, April 15, 2007

MST (Mountain Standard Time)

Psalm 125:2 says, As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore.

I love this scripture verse and often claim it as a personal promise from God. When the psalmist got up every morning and looked at the hills surrounding him, it must have been a great reminder of God's steady presence, and an assurance of His covenant.

I was reading this morning about 'siege warfare', a military strategy in which an attacking force surrounded a fortified postition (ex: a walled city), and cut off the roads/supply routes leading in and out of the city. A city's security often depended on the strength and height of their city walls, and their stockpiles of food and water. Symbolically, then, if we, His people, diligently keep fresh our supply of bread (Word of God) and living water, and He surrounds us as our Protector, our security is solid.

Psalm 89:8 says, O Lord God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O Lord, and your faithfulness surrounds you. So, if He surrounds His people, and His faithfulness surrounds Him, we're covered with good stuff.

God equips us for what He calls us to do and to be. Hebrews 13:20 says He will ...equip you with everything good for doing his will... Jesus sent his disciples out on His behalf and gave them authority and power to deal with all the demons and cure diseases. He commissioned them to preach the news of God's kingdom and heal the sick. He said, "Don't load yourselves up with equipment. Keep it simple; you are the equipment. (Luke 9:1 The Message)

And better yet, He guards His plan in and for us. Is 27:2 Sing about a fruitful vineyard: I, the Lord, watch over it; I water it continually. I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it.

Sometimes I can get besieged by a 'siege mentality', brought on by busy-ness, starved by demands, or fed by worry. I pull out these scripture verses and remind myself of God's steady presence and His faithfulness.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

What We Have Is A Failure To Communicate

We have cable TV. Without it, we'd get 3 television channels. With cable we get a lot more channels, and a few added services. Our cable company has had to send service reps to our house several times over the past few weeks because when we try to access a certain feature of our sevice, instead of a 'new world of home entertainment with more choices', we get... a 'communication error' message. Exhaustive attempts to determine the cause of the problem have proven to be ineffective thus far, and we're told that our cable box is experiencing a failure to communicate with the broadcast source.

The problem is consistent, but not constant. So, they tell us that we have to call them when the problem actually occurs in order to try to diagnose it. We have to communicate that we have a lack of communication. Think about it, though, at least we know the nature of the problem, because the little box tells us that it has a communication error. We don't blame the box, but we empathize with its cry for help, for understanding, and we call the cable guy.

Lack of communication is one thing, and mis-communication is another. One letter can change a word, and word order can change the intended meaning of a sentence. Such as in these examples of announcements from actual church bulletins (not ours). All are direct quotes:

For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

Potluck supper: Prayer and medication to follow.

Don't let worry kill you - let the church help.

The choir director invites any member of the congregation who enjoys sinning to join the choir.

Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.

Ushers will eat latecomers.

Punctuation can also change the meaning of text. Did you realize that ancient texts (like the Bible) didn't incorporate any punctuation? Kind of explains scriptural exegesis challenges.
For example, Isaiah 40:3 says:

"The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “ Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God." (NKJ translation)
"A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God." (NIV translation)
Kind of makes a difference.

And punctuation has actually become its own little language, called emoticons. Variations on smiley faces... :-) (happy), :-( (sad), :-[ (pouting); :~0 (surprise), :~r (nyeh, nyeh)

Punctuation matters to the panda... A panda walks into a café, orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires 2 shots into the air. As he exits, he tosses a badly punctuated wildlife manual over his shoulder to the confused waiter. "I'm a panda," he says. "Look it up!" The waiter turns to the relevant entry and reads the definition: Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."

OK, I'm done now. Going to go check on the cable TV. ;-}

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Sonrise 61

Last Sunday, it was 70+ degrees, sunny. This morning it was 24 degrees, and snowing. We've been going to Easter Sunrise service at Hampton Park for the past 25 years; only missed two, I think. There's something about getting up before dawn and gathering in the chilly morning air, to celebrate the Sonrise. There's no pageantry, no fancy dressing (and today, no sun!), but there is always a sense of a special camaraderie as like-minded folks draw together to worship the Risen One, and to hear from God. This morning, 61 one of us huddled together. We were really cold, but it was wonderful!

For the past two years, my husband, Bruce, has had the honor of leading the service. And both times, he has delivered a unique and relevant message from the Word of God. Here's an excerpt with,a few of the highlights:

“We can’t really hear what the stories of the Bible are saying until we hear them as stories about ourselves” (Buechner).

So, let's explore the Resurrection... through the eyes of the disciple, Thomas. He had a nickname of Didymus or “Twin”. But most people recognize Thomas by his other nickname.... “Doubting Thomas”, which seems to exemplify unbelief and lack of faith.

He's barely mentioned in three of the gospels but in John’s gospel, his character is fleshed out. Thomas is the pessimist, the worry wart. When Jesus announced (John 11) that they had to return to Jerusalem, despite the danger for their lives, it was Thomas who said, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” He demonstrated heroic leadership, loyalty, and commitment to the Master, even unto death. Thomas seemed more willing to die with Christ, than to live without him. And then Jesus died; He was gone. Worst case scenario.

Days after the crucifixion, the disciples were huddled in a locked room, fearful and perplexed. And Jesus came to them... alive... spent time with them, and ate with them. Can you imagine? And Thomas missed it; he wasn't there! We don't know why, or how long it was until he rejoined them, but when the others told him about Jesus, the doubter was afraid to believe, to hope it could be true. Disappointment hurt too much.

And then v.26 opens with three words, “Eight days later...”. We often just roll over these words because we know how the story ends, but for a moment, try to appreciate the tension that all of them were experiencing during those eight days, especially Thomas, the pessimist. Have you ever noticed how much of life occurs during those 'eight days'…the time between God’s promise and His delivery? Sometimes it’s eight days and sometimes it’s eight years, waiting. It’s during those eight days that Thomas had to face the greatest fear of any pessimist….to hope in the impossible. But he stayed, he waited.

Then, Jesus met Thomas on his own turf, and He gave him the evidence he asked for, plain and simple with no reproach. Hope had flesh and bones. And Thomas declared the truth of his testimony, "My Lord and My God!"

In some respects it would seem that Thomas has taken the rap for all of them. They all demonstrated the same attitude of unbelief prior to their seeing with their own eyes. Yet, it's his doubt that we memorialize, and perhaps identify with. We're never introduced to Thomas's 'twin'. Perhaps we all, at some time or another are Thomas’ twin. Perhaps we've grown cynical, or perhaps we've decided to 'play it safe' in order to not risk getting hurt again. But the problem with 'playing it safe' is that you really ending up not playing at all.

The same Christ who rose from the dead and restored Thomas's brokenness and pain is alive. He stands before each of us this day, not with reproach, but with compassion and empathy. He says to me, and to you, "Place your fingers here in my hands. And believe again… Believe in My promise of goodness to you and for you.”

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Love Me Do

A comet trails across the sky, with a tail destined to follow it through eternity, as I follow you. Ah, but never will it catch the star.
I wrote that many years ago... poetry written as a love-sick teenager, a meditation on unrequited love. Sigh. Comets aren't stars anyway, just ice and dust, and the tail is just a bunch of hot air. Kind of what I later learned about the 'object' of my unrequited love ;)

But this posting is not about unrequited love. Not about comets either... This posting is about unconditional love. It's about Easter.

In his book Soul Cravings, Erwin McManus illustrates God's love for us in a unique way... He says, "I once met a girl... and I fell in love. I pursued her with my love and pursued her with my love until I felt my love had captured her heart. So I asked her to be my wife, and she said no."

He continues... "I was unrelenting and asked her again, pursuing her with my love, and I pursued her with my love until she said yes... I did not send my brother, nor did I send a friend. For in issues of love, you must go yourself.

This is the very story of God: He pursues you with His love and pursues you with His love, and you have perhaps not said yes. And even if you reject His love, He pursues you ever still... for in issues of love, you must go yourself.

And so God has come. This is the story of Jesus, that God has walked among us and He pursues us with His love. He is very familiar with rejection but is undeterred. And He is... still pursuing you with His love."

When we were separated from His love, He became the way back to Him. McManus says, "God is not passive, for love is never passive, but always passionate; and passion always leads to action."

He came; He gave; He died; He rose; He lives. Unconditional love in the face of unrequited love. Happy Easter.