Wednesday, February 28, 2007

50 answers about my life

So I've been sent these things before, but most of the questions usually were either too hard to answer or more personal than I wanted to be.
But one of my friends from home in Pennsylvania emailed me her list and I was intrigued by her answers. So here are mine, for better or for worse.

1. What time did you get up this morning? 7:10
2. Diamonds or pearls? diamonds for sure!
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? The Good Shepherd in NB at Christmas time
4. What are your favorite shows? Survivor, The Amazing Race, Corner Gas(a Canadian comdey that is strikingly similar to the Seinfeld humor: stupid people, inside jokes, and making mountains out of mole hills)
5. What did you have for breakfast this morning? A cup of Lipton tea flavored with Vanilla Creamer(the usual) and an English muffin with peanut butter
6. What is your favorite quote? something about "some of my best friends are books"
7. What is your favorite cuisine? Italian grills, steakhouses
8. What foods do you dislike? casseroles, I never met one I really liked
9. Favorite chips? Sun Chips, Lay's Masterpiece BBQ (in small doses)
10. What is your favorite CD at the moment? the homemade Frank Sinatara and Dean Martin ones that are currently MIA!
11. What kind of car do you drive? on most days, none. I share our Honda Accord with my husband
12. What is your favorite sandwich? grilled chicken fajita pita
13. What characteristics do you despise? arrogance
14. What are your favorite clothes? old navy jeans, red sweater, old navy socks and blue running pants that I never run in.
15. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation? the UK
16. What is your favorite Bible Verse? that is impossible to answer, the minute I pick one, I'll want to change it to another one. Favorite portions: Deut. 6; Psalm 19, 103; Proverbs 16, Isaiah 40; Romans; Colossians.
17. What is your favorite novel? Jan Karon's Mitford books
18. Favorite time of day? breakfast and after dinnertime, before I start getting sleepy
19. Where were you born? in a Catholic Hospital as ironically was my son
20. What is your favorite sport to watch? NFL football on tv
21. If you were guaranteed to be safe what extreme sport would you try? no interest at all
22. Person you expect to send it back first? no one
23. Pepsi or Coke? Coke
24. Beavers or ducks? despite having lived in Canada for close to 5 years now, I have yet to see the beaver, so I'll say beavers, but I really do like ducks
25. Are you a morning person or a night owl? morning person
26. Pedicure or manicure? neither, don't touch my feet, please.
27. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? I've hatched a business plan that will probably never take off.
28. What did you want to be when you were little? a librarian
29. What is your best childhood memory? playing at Grandad's house, skating on the neighbor's pond, digging in "the Pile", biking to Crystal Springs
30. Piercings? just ears
31. Favorite summer activity? gardening, hands down the best
32. Ever been toilet papering? yes, a friend's house from high school
33. Been in a car accident? yes, several, with minor injuries
34. Favorite Day of the week? Saturday mornings during yardsale season, Sundays for church,
35. Favorite restaurant? can't say that I have one right now
36. Favorite Flower? can't pick, too many favorites, daffodils, tulips, zinnias, delphanium...
37. Favorite ice cream? Haggan Daaz coffee, Turkey Hill Chocolate Marshmellow, some versions of Mint Chocolate Chip
38. Favorite fast food restaurant? not sure, Subway or Wendy's, Starbucks for the Carmel Frappuchino!
39. How many times did you fail your drivers test? none thankfully, even though I stalled my mother's standard shift on a ridicously steep hill taking off from a stop sign.
40. From whom did you get your last email? my sister, oddly enough
41. In which store would you choose to max out your Credit Card? any good thrift or antique store that includes lots of books or Barnes & Noble
42. Bedtime? 10:30ish
43. Who are you most curious about their responses to this? my mom
44. Last person you went to dinner with? my husband for a weekend Valentine's dinner
45. What are you listening to right now? Little Bear, my son is watching it as I type this
46. What is your favorite color? blues, reds/pinks, and more recently greens, black
47.Name 4 Movies you would watch over and over: You've got Mail, Anne of Green Gables(both movies), Sound of Music, and Mickey Blue Eyes
48. Four places I have lived: Kutztown, PA; Philadelphia, PA; Fredericton, NB and Ottawa, ON
49.Four places I have been on vacation: Florida; Washington D.C.; Prince Edward Island; Nova Scotia
50.Four places I would like to be/go right now: unlocking the door to our potentially new home, digging in the flower bed at my mother's house and making cuttings to bring across the border, shopping(actually spending money) for second-hand stuff on Ebay, entertaining visiting family, and bringing home a new baby.

It's "Guerrilla Gardening"

The web never ceases to amaze me at what a moment's click can produce. Here is my latest off-road romp into "wiling the hour away". I think the site is self-explanatory, so go read and while you're at it, clink the Links button and find out about other curious and related groups that can inspire your "social gardening" efforts.
Who knew?!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Al Mohler and Literary Snacking

Inspiring article linked to by Al Mohler on kids and reading. We Are What We Read...And Eat is his post
and The Taste of a Good Book is the original article in its entirety from Christian Science Monitor.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Understanding the Bible

This is an excerpt from Pyromaniac teamwriter, Frank Centurion on determining a correct interpretation of biblical passages. In his introduction and follow-up from a previous post, he states the following:
So my point in posting so far is to say that God gives us His word for a reason, and that reason is clear to us when we read His word. I’m sure that rubs a lot of people the wrong way (they are probably not regular readers of TeamPyro, but they are out there). But they would tender up this question: “How do you know your interpretation is a good one, cent? What’s the basis for making sure you got it right?”

What follows below is part of the answer to the above asked question. I find this discussion helpful as I encounter Christians deriving an interpretation that differs from what I currently believe and practice. How do we approach God's Word and gain correct understanding? Centurion's words, by way of example, help us understand what it is to have 'humility in our hermeneutics'.
Anyway, that said, can the Bible be figured out? If Deut. 6 is one explanation of what Scripture is and does, how does it turn out that so many people disagree about what Scripture says, and how do I make sure that I don’t fumble the football?

I’m going to use myself as an example of how you figure it out – not because I’m such a bright guy, but because my testimony is that, as an atheist, I could read the Gospel of John and “get it” enough to know that my trust has to be in a savior that saves. When my wife asked me years later, while we were dating, what would happen to me when I died, I told her: “if it’s up to what I've done, I’ll probably go to hell, but Jesus says He is the way -- I'm trusting him.” You can see that [a] that's not bad for a guy who only read the Gospel of John once, and [b] I've come a long way in 15 years.

So my leaping-off place with this is that you don’t need a complex hermeneutic to “get it” from Scripture. What you need is to read Scripture as it is presented. Trying to “get” the Gospel of John by starting in John 2 and then jumping to John 6 and then jumping to John 14 doesn’t give you John: it gives you a fallible version of John – one edited by man.
But here’s the other half of that, in which I am also the example. As my wife (at that time, my girlfriend) acted as the Holy Spirit to me (a role God clearly made her for), we began attending church together, and we started reading Scripture together. And somehow, the topic of Jonah came up.

Yes, that Jonah.

And whilst we were talking about it, I blurted out what I thought was a fairly-intelligent comment about the book of the minor prophet: “Well, it’s allegory anyway.”
Now, my wife is a born Baptist. Her grandfather was a Baptist preacher – a pretty good one as I hear it. And when I said that, the conversation made a screeching stop.

“What?” She said, apparently calm. “What makes you say that?”

And, having the resources of a Jesuit education, I informed her that there was no way that Jonah was a historical story because of the big fish – the whale, if you will. Nobody gets swallowed by a whale, nobody lives through getting swallowed by a whale, and that just makes Jonah into a fancy story. It has truth in it, but it’s not true – not like me typing into my laptop true.
However, being a good Baptist (as opposed to a “pheh!” Baptist), she opened up the Bible to Matthew 12, and read from the NKJV:

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”

But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.
She looked at me and said, “If Jesus believed that Jonah spent 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of the great fish, I do, too.”
And in retrospect, I think it’s a lot more brutally-clear than that. Jesus believed Jonah was real; Jesus believed the great fish was real; Jesus believed the Ninevites were real; Jesus believed their repentance was real. And Jesus believed that all of it together was enough to condemn the Pharisees for overlooking the Messiah, who, by the way, was real.

So the story of Jonah is true and it is verified by the way in which Jesus uses it to chastise the Pharisees.

And what that means, getting back to my point actually, is that we have to use Scripture the way Christ used Scripture. We have to use it the way John the Baptist used it. We have to use it the way Paul and Peter used it – and Stephen, and James, and John and Matthew and Mark and Luke.

You know: the hermeneutic of the men who delivered the word of God to people as prophets and apostles is not actually a very complicated hermeneutic. It is a rigorous hermeneutic, to be sure. And it is hardly an “objective” hermeneutic in the sense that it calls for the reader to be sort of a flavorless paste. And it requires something from us, to be sure. The position these men all put Scripture in was one which is above human reasoning in such a way as to guide and form human reasoning.

But the problem with people today is that we prefer a more-complicated hermeneutic. We have things we like just the way they are, and sometimes we want to find a way to justify that. We can do extraordinary linguistic studies to find out if God saved anyone eternally in the Old Testament in order to justify our truncating of the New Testament expression of salvation; we can do the same thing to make a sin out of wine-drinking, and out of married love, and to tone down the problem of excessive riches because we live in an excessively-rich society. We can use Scripture to buttress our beliefs in the church to make it more than it ought to be, and also less than it ought to be.
And the reason I started this off with the example of me in the first place is to say this: what we ought to do with Scripture is come to it in complete poverty and desperation, knowing that it is the wisdom of God which makes the wisdom of men look like foolishness. Our hermeneutic ought to be one where we frame ourselves not as peers to the writer but as abject beggars before the writer. Our hermeneutic ought to be the sinner who will die without God’s intervention.

That’s what Deu 6 says, isn’t it? The word God has commanded is there for us to remember who God is when we think we have enough that we can live without Him. The word of God ought to be taking us down a notch from satisfied to grateful, from safe to seeking refuge, from comfortable to poor in spirit. You can know your conclusion about the word of God is sound when what you have brought out of the text something you could have never put in there. When you are a student of the text, drawn there by God’s wisdom in the face of your own foolishness, you will be getting it right.

I am sure that doesn’t satisfy anybody, but there you go. Be in the Lord’s house with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day this week, and ask yourself – seriously – am I learning anything from this book we are reading, or am I trying hard to show how smart I am?

You can read the entire post here.

Monday, February 19, 2007

God's Sovereignty in the Old Testament

I am currently reading through 2 Chronicles after spending several weeks in 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings and 1 Chronicles. It has been very profitable and more interesting than I shamefully initially thought. One concept that has repeatedly caught my eye in this narrative of Israelite history is God's sovereignty. As an adherent to what is commonly called Calvinism, I believe that God providentially rules His creation and that it is His will and purpose that is always accomplished by both the good and evil deeds of man.
So it is with this perspective that I understand the following passages.
1 Kings 8:57-61
57 May the LORD our God be with us as he was with our fathers; may he never leave us nor forsake us. 58 May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep the commands, decrees and regulations he gave our fathers. 59 And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the LORD, be near to the LORD our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel according to each day's need, 60 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other. 61 But your hearts must be fully committed to the LORD our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time.

1 Kings 18:36-37
36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again."

2 Kings 19:5-7
5 When King Hezekiah's officials came to Isaiah, 6 Isaiah said to them, "Tell your master, 'This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard—those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. 7 Listen! I am going to put such a spirit in him that when he hears a certain report, he will return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.'"

1 Chronicles 5;25-26
25 But they were unfaithful to the God of their fathers and prostituted themselves to the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them. 26 So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria (that is, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria), who took the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh into exile. He took them to Halah, Habor, Hara and the river of Gozan, where they are to this day.

Isaiah 10:5-7,12-13
5 "Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger,
in whose hand is the club of my wrath!
6 I send him against a godless nation,
I dispatch him against a people who anger me,
to seize loot and snatch plunder,
and to trample them down like mud in the streets.
7 But this is not what he intends,
this is not what he has in mind;
his purpose is to destroy,
to put an end to many nations.
12 When the Lord has finished all his work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he will say, "I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes."
13 For he says:
"'By the strength of my hand I have done this,
and by my wisdom, because I have understanding.
I removed the boundaries of nations,
I plundered their treasures;
like a mighty one I subdued their kings.'"

Lamentations 3:37-38
37 Who can speak and have it happen
if the Lord has not decreed it?
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that both calamities and good things come?

And lastly this verse from my morning reading:
Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in a man's heart
but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Complain much?

I do. I also have noticed that complaining is an integral part of North American society. From radio deejays to store cashiers, complaining is rampant.
Lydia from The Purple Cellar has several posts related to this topic which provide a gentle rebuke and exhortation to stop this ungodly habit. Excellent thoughts.
Daily Devotional: Griping or Gratitude?
Daily Devotional: Light in Dark Place

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Story of Amy Carmichael

Almost a year ago Tim Challies posted a dvd review of this film about Amy Carmichael and her work in India. I watched it yesterday and then posted the following to Challies' website. All of his dvd reviews can be found here.
This past Christmas I asked for and received this dvd based upon your mention and review of it. I had been unaware that such a film existed about Amy Carmichael. I grew up reading and learning about her life in India and even passed along her story to an Indian friend who was able to travel to the Dohnavur Fellowship several years ago.
I took the time this afternoon to watch the dvd and I really enjoyed the simple and straightforward presentation of the film.
The men and women, including Elisabeth Elliot, interviewed spoke so highly of Amy and her work, but yet it is her humility and love for Jesus Christ that is most evident.
This place, the Dohnavur Fellowship, is clearly a Christ-centered ministry that exists soley to provide care in Jesus' name for those who come to it with various needs.
My heart rejoiced over the sincere service that these men and women are providing as they spread the Gospel in India through their work amongst the children.
What a blessing it is to see God's word in sign and song throughout that place.
Thanks for writing about this dvd, it is one that I will treasure and further recommend.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Monday, February 12, 2007

Downtown on the Canal

A week ago Sunday, we joined the skating throngs on the first weekend of Winterlude, a huge outdoor winter festival complete with ice slides and snow sculptures.
Many of the contraptions that whizzed by us contained bundled children, relaxed adults and wheel-chair bound skating enthusiasts with sleds and sleighs in tow.
Dads harnessed to sleds smoothly weaved in and out of the skating traffic while the paramedics and security personnel traveled slowly on ATVs ready to aid those who had fallen prey to the slippery ice.
Couples skated hand-in-hand, while laughing teenagers moved together in small clusters trying to stay out of the cracks and holes marked by orange spraypaint.
And all were on their best behavior, watching for slow-moving children, wobbly knees and sprawled legs. Friendly skaters enjoying this unique activity together.
We were cold, but as long as we were moving, we were happy.
Skating to the first warming station, we rested and then turned back to skate the way we had come. Tired legs pumping hard with the knowledge that we would soon be out of the snowy cold and back into the warmth of the heated shopping mall.

Click here to learn more about the Rideau Canal.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Wild Grows the Heather in Devon

The Savior of the world was called Jesus because he would save his people from their sins, and from the sin nature that lies within them. The fact that sin resides deep in the heart of every man and every woman ought to be the most fearful and terrifying fact in all the universe. It is the single circumstance of the human condition which we ought to combat with more vigor than any other.
Rarely, however, is it so. Instead man fights all known evil except that one overarching evil at the root of everything. Thinking to rid the world of its problems, its inhabitants labor against every plague of society, while ignoring that which causes the rest--their own sin nature.
Alas, our need of a Savior is greater than our cries for deliverance. We battle the world's ills, not recognizing that those ills can never be cured until the great evil is cured.

--Michael Phillips

Monday, February 05, 2007


A table set for twelve? Come right this way! "Smiley Pajamas" will be your waiter this evening.

A most impressive civil engineering feat! Design by Nico & Company.

Someone's gotta haul the snow away. We can't have it lying around here getting in the way of our winter!