Archive for June, 2006

My first class finished this morning, and we drove to beautiful Charleston this afternoon.  We have a great room on the Cooper River with a great view.

Tonight we ate at one of my favorite places…Sticky Fingers.  It was time to baptize Karsten into one of his papa’s favorites.  We shared some wonderful ribs together, and he enjoyed himself thoroughly.  I unfortunately failed to get a picture of his satisfied smile.

We also took an hour-long carriage ride through historic and blooming Charleston.  Though it was really warm it was enjoyable, and you don’t really know a city until you’ve taken a carriage ride.

We also drove by Patriot’s Point to see the outside of the USS Yorktown.  Maybe we will tour it tomorrow.  It’s about 1/4 mile from our hotel.  But the major item on the agenda tomorrow is to spend some time enjoying the salt water and the ocean breeze.  It’s been hot enough that we should probably start early and then go back early evening.  At about 9:30p tonight, we ran out (it’s about 30 feet) and had the pool to ourselves for 45 minutes.  Karsten demonstrated bravery as he fought his fears.

We get very few opportunities like this, and we’re enjoying it.

Here are some pictures of our day, and then the view of part of the spectacular and unique bridge connecting us (we’re in Mount Pleasant) to Charleston…

boys on bedNice doorLeafy stairwayFloral entryUSS YorktownThe View from our place

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A.W. Tozer…

“We are all the sum total of our hungers.  The great saints have all had thirsty hearts.  Their cry has been, ‘My soul thirsteth for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?’  (Psalm 42:2).  Their longing after God all but consumed them; it propelled them onward and upward to heights toward which less ardent Christians look with languid eye and entertain no hope of reaching.”

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This current class (The Principalship) is nearing completion.  Today there were three projects due.  Tomorrow there is one.  Thursday there are two and my 50 minute lecture.

Tonight we fellowshipped for almost two hours with the Dr. Farmer family who just got into town.  Dr. Farmer and Dr. Saldivar will be taking off on Saturday for a full-week of hiking in the Grand Canyon.

Even though we are away, there are still things going on with the family.  On Saturday morning we spent 2-3 hours downtown Greenville visiting the Children’s Garden and the must-visit Mast General Store.  Also…

100_7121.JPGLincoln has been crawling since the last few days at home and is now moving more ably and quickly.  He has been able to go from belly to sitting.  He enjoys sitting at our sliding glass door and looking out at Harry–the squirrel who visits a couple of times per day–and the geese who walk back and forth all day munching the grass.  We especially like Slowpoke (named by Karsten), the goose with a bum right leg who limps behind the pack.

Haddon is always the same.  He’s a happy guy.  He’s been coloring and playing with play-doh.  He likes putting tractors and cars in nice neat rows.  He’s been doing lots of reading (they are currently working on a biography of Adoniram Judson), taking walks in the hot SC sun, and eating lots of grapes.

Karsten has been learning how to write.  He’s working on the capital “K” right now.  Tonight I also spent about 5 minutes teaching him how to read a clock.  After 5 minutes, he’s applied what he has learned about 1 o’clock and 2 o’clock to the rest of the hours.  He has enjoyed eating strawberries and bananas and doing play-doh and watching the geese and watching Harry and Slowpoke and eating basketti [spaghetti] and doing his workbooks [matching skills and opposites] and learning to color in the lines and to use scissors [he recited this list to me].

For those of you who don’t know I teach a new vocab word to the boys every week or two.  We’ve covered words such as arduous, pusillanimous, and egregious [yes, they are only 4 and 2] and the word for this week is vigilant.  Their definition for vigilant is “always watching” [they have simple definitiions for each of the words].  They have been learning that there are lots of things we should be vigilant regarding: how we walk on the stairs, how we walk in the yard where the geese roam, but especially watching out for the Devil…who is like a roaring lion…who tries to make people sin [their words].

Chrissy just read The Time of Your Life which she found very helpful and God-honoring.  Now she is reading Treasuring God in Our Traditions which she is finding to be a must read book for all parents.

We are looking forward to the weekend.  If God keeps the weather clear, we will be leaving after my final exam on Friday morning for a weekend in Charleston (our only real family vacation of the year).  Spurgeon spoke highly of the healthful benefits of a stiff ocean breeze in the face.  We look forward to a nice hotel reserved in our name, a quiet span of beach, beautiful, historic downtown Charleston, and perhaps the USS Yorktown (aircraft carrier) tour.

But there are miles to plow before we go.  I’m off to do my late night habit.

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Busyness is a plague.  All of our comings and goings trying to keep up a form of godliness (because there are so many more things that must be done and can be done for the ministry's sake) are actually a hindrance to our spiritual health. 

Busyness makes our lives broad.  We dabble in lots and lots of things.  Yet we only dabble.  We are very broad, but we are very shallow.  We do so many things that we are unable to do many things very well or fully.  We especially do not know how to rest well.  We do not know how to wade in rest.  We do not have a clue what meditation is.  We cannot drink deeply while we are running.

Being here in SC has afforded my family some time to be still.  While my schedule is relatively the same or maybe even greater, our quiet times are quieter because I have one agenda–one task on which to focus.  Christie's day's gets to be stiller.  The boys get real mama time.

Similarly, this quotation by Lord Avebury, speaks to the issue…

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means a waste of time."

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"Love God and do what you please."

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…the heat from inside was more than oppressive.  It must have been 130 degrees inside.

I'm certainly not accustomed to the heat, but still finding SC enjoyable (not that I am able to really see the outdoors very much–save for walking the three blocks back and forth to campus).

Yesterday there was no air conditioning in the library.  It was funny sitting there working with sweat dripping off my forehead.  Really!  It was funny.  I started laughing at how spoiled I am.

When I come back to the apartment, Karsten updates me on what kind of birds he saw that day out the big sliding door.  Haddon tells me that he's going to eat all the grapes, and I can't have any.  Lincoln just smiles; smiling is his hobby and he is always practicing his hobby.

Right now I am sitting on the couch settling down from the busyness of the day…in a holding pattern waiting to land in bed.  Lincoln is asleep on the couch next to me.  He decided in his dream to prop his little, bare feet up on my arm.  I can't make myself remove them.

An administrative principle that hit me upside the head today was a reference to how Jesus dwelt among them (the people to whom he was ministering).  I'm very comfortable in my office, and need to get out more and see the needs of staff and students and learn to address them better.  But I better stop there.  The more I put in print, the more I hold myself accountable to. =)

Tomorrow things get gritty as I have to start prepping for a 25 minutes presentation I'm doing on Friday.  Next week is a 50 minute presentation.  Ergh.

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We spent 12 1/2 hours Sunday driving from home to Greenville, SC — our home for four weeks while I finish this degree.  We are in a small one bedroom apartment–we happy band of 5.  Lincoln is learning to crawl here.  Karsten and Haddon are hard at play.  Chrissy gets to rest…which she has well earned.

I get to sling my burden on my shoulder and bear it these final four weeks.  As opposed to a correspondence course (which I extend to the maximum 15 months) I like the idea of getting each of these courses done in 2 weeks each.  It's intense and beneficial…usually.  This promises to be a good one.  Happily, there are only three of us enrolled, and it has already made for much more interaction than is normally available.  Sadly, one of the three had to leave his wife and three small boys (same ages as mine) at home in Guam.  I understand his sadness as I have had to do that before.

I don't get to enjoy the hot and humid and sunny and beautiful daylight hours.  I spend them under fluorescent lights in air conditioning working off Adam's curse.  I am tilling my brain and soul, and it is hard ground.  It's Day 1 and I've already feeling the pressure.

This morning as I was praying for good success, I remembered to pray for it like Jim Elliot taught me (in his book)…

"Lord, make my way prosperous–not that I may achieve high station, but that my life may be an exhibit to the value of knowing God."

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My grandma sent me this link below.  View these pictures and remember our amazing God.  I especially like the 5th picture.

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 "Never, never, never, never, never stop bringing us this type of stuff, Boomershine."  — Winston Churchill

"Golf is bland.  TBAP is refreshing."  — Phil Mickelson

"I'm keeping an eye on your site, Ryan."  — Patch the Pirate

"What is 'The World's Best Website.'" — Ken Jennings (Jeoprady super-champ)

"I only slow down to read your website."  — Carl Edwards

"Your site is great but could use a few more death scenes."  — E.A. Poe

"I fell off my bike trying to read TBAP on my PDA."  — Ben Roethlisberger

"TBAP might help establish world harmony." — Ghandi

"Honestly, I love your site."  — Abe Lincoln

"I'm writing a commentary about your site."  — Warren Wiersbe

"The Brits promised me more TBAP." — Benedict Arnold

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Wow this is emerging into a diversified blog, and this is part of that category we call Variety Pack.  Today’s reading took me to the New York Times story on the superlative benefits of breast-feeding.  Certainly the benefits have been touted for millenia, but every generation needs a reminder.  Here is a good reminder with a hefty dose of scientific backing.

A lot of young parents need to take heed.  The parents of my future daughters-in-law need to take heed, please.

I took the liberty of copying the whole article here because you may have to register to read the whole story at the NYT.  All markings in bold are mine.  Links in the story are from the Times.  Don’t go away after the slow start, it gets important as you progress.

Whether you got gypped or not (I did), don’t gyp your kids…we need more pilgrims.

June 13, 2006 – NEW YORK TIMES

Breast-Feed or Else

Warning: Public health officials have determined that not breast-feeding may be hazardous to your baby’s health.

There is no black-box label like that affixed to cans of infant formula or tucked into the corner of magazine advertisements, at least not yet. But that is the unambiguous message of a controversial government public health campaign encouraging new mothers to breast-feed for six months to protect their babies from colds, flu, ear infections, diarrhea and even obesity. In April, the World Health Organization, setting new international bench marks for children’s growth, for the first time referred to breast-feeding as the biological norm.


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A song of worship

If you have a quiet moment that you can listen to this beautiful version of Fairest Lord Jesus, it would be a sweet pleasure to your soul.

Here is the song.  Right click on the MP3 logo and Save the Target to your desktop.  It is 1.3mb.

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An interesting story from the New York Times about kids being kids.

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Such sad news…

I had to fire my manservant this weekend.

The neighbor boy that mows my grass did a pretty awful job (instead of moving the wagon, or the lawn chair, he just mowed a big circle around them).  I was composed and called him up to come over because I wanted to instruct him in proper mowing technique, but his mom would have none of it.  She said that I had received my money's worth.  It was one of those phone conversations (me talking to his mom) in which you feel that nothing you said is being heard and the same thing is said over and over again from the other end.  I explained I wanted to be a help and teach him how to do a good job.  She said that it was good enough for what I was paying.  I said that I wanted to be a help and teach him how to do a good job.  She said that it was good enough for what I was paying.  She said that it was good enough for what I was paying.  She said I was taking advantage of her little 10 year old and that I should be ashamed of myself.  I said it didn't matter that he is 10 years old, but I didn't want him to think that the job was done until it was done.  She said that it was good enough for what I was paying.

I wrote a very kind two-page letter to my ex-manservant's mom this weekend.  I told her that I hoped that she would see that I was trying to help.  I told her that I hoped that my family could be a help to hers should she need anything in the future.

It was a sad weekend.

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Today I turn 30


Today I turn 30, but it feels the same as it did yesterday.

I was thinking about Jim Elliot a few days ago.  His journaling has made such a profound effect on my heart and thinking over the years.  He lived a full life and didn't get as many days as I have been given.

30 is about when Jesus started his earthly ministry.

30 years is a long time.  There's a fog settling over my mind right now making profundity difficult.  I hope it doesn't last until the end.

I suppose I should go do something.

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A little pile of miscellanai (from Good Clean Funnies List)…

My sources are unreliable, but their information is fascinating. -Ashleigh Brilliant

I have CDO. It's like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, only in alphabetical order like it should be. – Spike Donner

The best defense against logic is ignorance.

When people tell you how young you look, they are also telling you how old you are. -Cary Grant

People will accept your ideas much more readily if you tell them Benjamin Franklin said it first. -David H. Comins

I'm going to live forever, or die trying! — Spider Robinson

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Nathan Wilson on the night sky…

"It is strange to look at the night sky, busy with stars, and see understatment: a black canvas decorated with tasteful restraint.  With only billions here, and galaxies there, it is clear that God held back."

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When I was in junior high, a visiting pastor came to our chapel and prophesied the date that Christ would return.  I was confused, because I thought the Bible said that wasn’t knowable.  It really ticked me off too because I think it was right before I was supposed to graduate.

Some people are expecting it to happen today (6/06/06).  Some people are just expecting the unexpected.

Here’s the take from the USA Today.

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It has been a few weeks since I came across this and wanted to make sure that I left it here for your consumption.  It is a stellar piece about the topic of biblical honor by Doug Phillips, and I commend it to your reading.

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At our school, we teach Latin from 3-8th grades.  There are many excellent reasons, and I assume that I will cover them here later, but here is a some of what Dorothy Sayers said about the advantages of knowing Latin.

"I will say at once, quite firmly, that the best grounding for education is the Latin grammar. I say this, not because Latin is traditional and mediaeval, but simply because even a rudimentary knowledge of Latin cuts down the labor and pains of learning almost any other subject by at least fifty percent."


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AmericanFlagI wasn't able to make any comments this past week about Memorial Day, but I think it one of our grandest holidays, and one that should be promoted far more and marketed far less.

Army Private Jason Little was 20 years old when he was killled in Iraq in January.  Jason lived with his parents when he was home about 4 miles from my house in Climax, MI.  I've made a very big deal about him since he died (especially in my home but also in the local paper).  I'm very thankful for Jason's life and his parents.

Remembering Jason was probably what a lot of the locals here were doing at the parade last week.  I tried to make a big deal about the holiday to Karsten and Haddon.

Here is a link you may find interesting.  It is from the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal and speaks to Memorial Day.

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ThomasJeffersonThomas Jefferson to his 15 year old nephew…

"A strong body makes the mind strong.  As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun.  While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind….  Let your gun therefore, be the constant companion of your walks."

Wow!  Seldom is heard such a word in modern America…without confinement following.

Thanks to AJ.

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MessiahText‘Tis not the season to talk about Handel’s oratorio Messiah. Usually, we speak of the work only in the latter two months of the year…especially December.  That’s when I usually have my Bible class listen to it.  For the past six years, I’ve required my Junior/Senior students to come slow their speed of life and just listen to the piece that was was first performed in Dublin (Ireland–not Georgia) on April 13, 1742.

When I was in college (or…”away at University” to sound more elitist), attending Messiah was part of the yearly ritual, and I found myself the chastener of rebellious young men who sounded off disgruntedly about the upcoming event.  Usually all it took was a, “Why in the world would you complain about listening to Scripture sung?”  This satisfied the basketball-inebriated roommate long enough for him to cinch his tie, hike his coat onto his shoulders and trudge on out the door toward his duty.

This school year ended with commencement on Friday night, but this past week I had my Bible students listen to Messiah as their “last hurrah” with me.  I generally give a lot of prefatory remarks, including 1) “the music you are about to hear is not what you are used to in that it is not hokey, nasaly, whiny, shallow, trite, ill-conceived or nonsensical”; 2) I ask them to listen for the onomatopoeia (by observing it and being able to identify it, it will help keep them from poking fun at it); 3) similary, vibrato is not sin and it is not a sign of egocentric piety – it has more to do with a fuller range of capabilities that God has given (whether we appreciate it or not it we should learn not to be distracted by it); 4) I explain the background of the whole work and the amazing speed at which it was written; 5)  I give explanation of the history of standing at the singing of the Hallelujah Chorus.

Listening to Messiah is an act of worship.  It is stirring and convicting.  It is God-centered thinking.  To oversimplify, Messiah is the history and prophecy of the world in song form.  If you have never heard Messiah, or if it has been a very long time, please consider adding it to your summer to do list.  It takes between 2-3 private hours, and I would recommend reading the text as you listen.   Make the time to receive the blessing.

Here is a link that gives a good background information (which I hand out to my students) and also the text of the whole work.  I highly recommend you print off the pages and read along.

I don’t consider myself very literate musically and don’t play any instruments (except hambone), but I do love music, and I can carry a tune, lead congregational singing at church though I’ve never had an ounce of instruction (aren’t you supposed to just move your arms in a regular rhythmic pattern?) and have my own essential music library, but I don’t know how to read music and can’t speak music theorums or history or genres.  I do though think music is a very big deal to God and try to make a big deal of it in my home.  I certainly understand why the teenager of 2006 would not be impressed with the style of Handel’s work, but the Christian of any age in time must be impressed with the content.

Here is a link to my recording that we listen to in class.

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