Thursday, August 18, 2016

Romans & My Sin

Over the last few months I have been thinking about sin and the depths of it in my life and all of human nature.

It is so easy for me, having been reared in a Christian home and being a "good" girl my entire life, to rest on the laurels of that "goodness" and not really consider the depths of sin actually present in my life.  Any "goodness" in my life, or anyone else's life, is only the Holy Spirit holding back the effects of sin.  It is not due to any inherent righteousness within me.

Paul makes that so clear in Romans.  After narrowing to his thesis in chapter 1, verse 17, he lets us know that vile sin separates us from God.

In chapter 2, he then makes it clear that no one is exempt, not even those whose sins may not be so "vile."

In the third chapter he lets the Jews know that they are not exempt either unless they are walking by faith in Jesus Christ.

In the fourth chapter, he lets us know that Abraham was not justified by being the father of Israel, but only by his faith.

The only way I can truly understand the huge sacrifice that Christ made for me is by first seeing the depths of my human depravity and the totality of my inability to come to him.  And then I can start to see just how much His gift did to rescue me.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Friday's Fave Five, 8/12/16

LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog

--Tuesday, the last day of summer vacation, I was out shopping and went near our local Kohl's store.  Since two students had given me a gift card for Kohl's last spring, and since I did need a couple of new tops to start the school year, it seemed like the right time to stop in there.  Well - they have a wonderful clearance rack.  I found NINE pieces (for all seasons, not all to wear now), and after using the money on the gift card, which was not a particularly huge amount, the final tally was $63.00.  What made it even nicer was, when after the clerk gave me the total, she then looked around to see if anyone was close by, and then whispered, "Get out your iPhone and go to - there's a 15% off coupon on there you can use."  Now that is a great sales clerk.

--My daughter, who knows I love birds, gave me this lovely cup to take to school this year!

--Not sure how I found out about this - I think just by googling "The Hawaiians," but I found the address of someone who sells these long-out-of-production CDs by this couple whose music I really loved during early college days.  The gentleman took Paypal, so after ordering, in three days this CD was in my hand.  It really brought back memories.

--Yesterday was a long day of getting ready for school.  Mike knew that, and by the time I got home, he was making BLTs for supper - and insisted on cleaning up also.  He is such a good man--

--School is getting underway.  I have a good schedule, a good homeroom, and my last class of the day will only have nine students.  Nice!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Last Day of Summer

This poem, titled "When I Am Old" (the basis for the Red Hat Clubs), tells how a woman, now that she is old, is going to do what she is going to do no matter what anyone thinks.

Well, I have no intentions of being in a red hat club, and though I'm definitely headed in the "older" direction, this isn't about that.  But this afternoon fits in the category of "no matter what anyone thinks."

It's the last day before I have to go back to school.  I spent the morning grocery shopping, getting a few items of clothing and school supplies, going to the gym, doing laundry, and in general finishing up a lot of odds and ends.

So, this afternoon, I will sit in my lazy-boy, reading the paper and my book in progress, playing on the computer, crocheting, watching "Chopped" and the Olympics, eating something I shouldn't be eating, and forgetting about the time.

Happy last day of vacation.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Monday Misc. 8/8/16

--I've been doing a lot of selling on eBay this summer, and am amazed at how some people want you to sell them something for nothing.  I put several auctions on "Make an offer" in addition to the price that was listed, and had more than one person want to offer about (can't remember exactly about the various auctions) $5 for a book that was listed for $15.  That's more than a low offer - it's an insult.  Needless to say, I turned down offers that low.  That kind of offer doesn't even begin to cover the costs involved.  What are people thinking?

--And from the other side:  Yesterday I ventured out to a couple of sales (not many due to back issues) - there was a big estate sale at a home near me.  I noticed people coming and going - but not buying a whole lot.  And when I went inside, it was clear why.  Things were overpriced.  $10 for a set of kitchen glasses.  $5 for each pair of shoes (some of which were nice, but some were not even worth giving to charity stores).  $100 for a chair.  Etc.  The premise of yard sales is to get rid of things.  A seller doesn't have to give stuff away, but if things are priced too high, he/she will still have their stuff at the end of the day.  

--My house is clean.  Nice to go back to work next week knowing that it is clean.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

True Faith

I love the John MacArthur commentary series.  It's work to use it, but at the same time its truths are accessible even to a common mind like mine.

This is a paraphrase from his Romans 1-8 book, pp. 221-226:


  1. Visible morality
  2. Intellectual knowledge of God's word
  3. Religious involvement
  4. Active ministry in Christ's name
  5. Conviction of sin and sense of guilt
  6. Assurance of salvation (because that depends on what the "assurance" is in)
  7. Experience of a past decision (if there is no evidence of Godly living since then)

  1. Love for God
  2. Repentance of, and hatred for, sin
  3. Genuine humility
  4. Devotion to God's glory
  5. Prayer
  6. Selfless love
  7. Separation from the world
  8. Spiritual growth
  9. Obedient living

Monday, August 1, 2016

Monday Misc.

--I found this to be an interesting read:

--We went to watch Hillary's America on Friday.  Spread the word.  It needs to be widely watched!

--Although many needs are genuine, I think that GoFundMe requests for money have gotten out of hand.  And no one should be able to forward a GoFundMe page unless they themselves have donated to the cause.  (No, there's no way to regulate that.  But it would be nice.)

--Our son and his wife let themselves into our house (they have a key), got some DVDs they wanted, and left, while we were asleep in the back bedroom.  We never knew they had been here.  (They had called, but my phone was deep in my purse and I didn't hear it.)  Not sure if I should be a little mad or a little scared.

And finally:

--Lately I've heard of several people who have gotten "fishy pedicures" (they go by different names), in which little fish are added to the water that the person soaks his or her feet in.  YOU COULD NOT PAY ME ENOUGH to have that done.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday's Fave Five, 7/29/16

LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog

1. Great evening last night with guests from both sides of my family - Uncle Chuck (Mom's only sibling) and his daughter and her husband, and Judy (cousin on Dad's side) and her hiking friend Pam (also distantly related on Mom's side).  We don't get a lot of company here from Illinois, so to have that coincidence on the same evening was very nice.  We had a great meal at the Galley (Thanks, Dad) and re-connected with many.

2. New daughter-in-law and I made a run to a fun store in the neighboring city on Wednesday.  It's a real, old-fashioned "five and dime," and they stock lots of creative things as well as some school supplies.  It's the kind of store you can't visit too often, because it's overwhelming with all the stuff packed into limited space, but once in awhile it's a fun trip.

3. Last Monday I used the "Mississippi Roast" recipe (common on the internet) with some venison stew meat in the crockpot, to make lunches for Mike for work.  Instead of using pepperoncini peppers, I used some hot ones from the local farmers' market.  Then I cooked his favorite basmati rice to go under the stew meat.  Oh, and also made some crowder peas, cooked HOT with more of those peppers.  On both Tuesday and Wednesday, I got texts from him, "Great lunch!!!"

4. Thankful for a lazy day today, in which we can kick back in this hot weather, and still get things done but not be under any pressure to do so.

5. And finally, I saw this in the paper this morning, and thought it was very appropriate, especially for a lot of the kids (and some adults) I see today!!  :-)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

"The Final Frontiersman"

Heimo Korth has lived all of his adult life in Alaska, north of the Arctic Circle.  He and his family were featured in a 1992 National Geographic video called Braving Alaska, which I used to show to my geography classes when we studied seasons and length of days and nights.  So it was a pleasant surprise to see him and his wife and daughters on a recent TV show about Alaskans - and then to discover that a book also existed about their lives.  Heimo Korth is the last person to be granted permission to live in the northern Alaskan wilderness.  The permission extends until his youngest child passes away, and then his descendants will have to move elsewhere.

This is an interesting book to see how people exist when they live in such a remote area.  They have three cabins that they live in a circuit in, so as not to put too much pressure on the animal trapping in any one area.  They kill all their meat and eat virtually every part of every animal.  Heimo's wife, Edna, and their two girls are used to making do or doing without.  But they love their existence, and Heimo and Edna have no desire to live anywhere else.  The girls, however, at the time of the writing were eager to leave, and, at the time of the new TV show, had grown up and left the wilderness.

I found their lifestyle to be an extreme version of what many people would like to do - which is pack up and live in the woods.  The book was a little difficult to read because the author (Heimo's cousin) wrote somewhat circularly - going from the current situations that the family was going through (as in planning for winter, finding food in the spring), to Heimo's history of how he got to Alaska, to the political situations that evolved that have caused living in the Arctic to be closed to newcomers.  But the book was a good summer read about a family that seems like old friends.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Regarding The Election

Like many people, I am conflicted about the election.  Out of 17 candidates a year ago, the man who got the Republican nomination would have been my 17th choice to come out on top.  So what to do!!  I am glad that there are still over three months until time to vote.  Much will happen between now and then to clarify the decisions to be made.

However, there is still much to contemplate even now.  I am conservative in views, and want the candidate most in line with those views to win.  I believe we are at a big tipping point in our country. Here are some items I have read, viewed, and pondered in the past few days:

***Matt Herbster from the Wilds wrote:

Not voting for Trump? Please be okay with people who are. Hillary is a big deal. 
Voting for Trump? Please be okay with people who aren't. A conscience is a big deal. 
Christian first. American second.

***And the following woman, Joy Sexton, issued this emotional plea as a comment to the above statement on Facebook:

As a Christ follower, as the wife of a hard working man, as a mother of many, as mother of a former Airman, as a female concerned about the future of America, as a mom of children both involved in ministry and the business world and as a citizen of this world who believes that Christ saved me to be His temple, bringing His glory into every situation of this world, I am a Trump supporter in 2016. I did not jump on any train during the primaries, watched the debates with my children, researched everything I heard in the media and then began doing my own listening to the candidates themselves. I believe with every fiber in my being that a third party vote hands this election to Hillary Clinton and I believe with every fiber in my being that she is the embodiment of everything we believe to be evil! There is not, nor has there ever been a perfect political candidate. I don't think any of us really know how many true Christian candidates there have ever been. I cannot base my vote on whether or not the candidate says he/she is a believer. I also cannot expect unbelievers to adhere to my convictions. What I must do is make my voice heard and my vote count - and sometimes it is AGAINST what is inherently evil. I also cannot base my choice on whether or not someone ever changed their minds on issues - and I would hope that grace would be extended to me over the years as I learn, grow and change. At what point do we extend grace to political candidates? I listened to every moment of the Republican National Convention and I like much of what I heard. I respect much of what I heard and I will be casting my vote for TRUMP2016 because I have HOPE that with his presidency, I as a Christ follower will have a few more years to SCREAM Jesus to this world. I fear that with Hillary I will not! Please, Please don't give this election to her.

***I found this link from TownHall to be interesting.  Have not studied it carefully yet, but the writer does make some good points.

***As they have been to many people, Trump's put-downs and crude comments have been offensive to me.  Is that enough to prevent a vote?  I was listening to Dennis Prager a few days ago, and he said (this is a loose quotation):  "There are things I don't like about Trump either.  He has been vile toward and critical of people in ways he wouldn't have needed to be.  He's said vicious things.  But he is the package we have been given.  He is our only alternative to a Hillary presidency."

***I liked much of what I heard at the Republican convention.  And I especially liked what Trump had to say about Israel.  He made it clear he is a supporter of "our only ally in the Middle East."  That has to bear some consideration.

***In a state like mine, which is very red, this may not make a difference.  But I think about a state like Ohio, or North Carolina, or Florida, which can go either way.  What if the election is very close in electoral votes, and, say, 5000 voters stay home because they don't like the Republican nominee.  What if that tips the state toward the Democratic column, which tips the entire election that direction?  

***And one more thing.  I recognize that Ted Cruz was very much the champion of many conservative Christians interested in this race.  But his behavior at the convention really disappointed me.  By speaking, but refusing to endorse the candidate, or even suggest to his followers to vote for the nominee, he did not come off as a strong independent thinker.  He came off as a sore loser.  

If you lost, and don't like the winner--just don't come to the convention.  That's what a number of former candidates chose to do.  But don't come and be a party pooper like he did.

***Some people would say that voting for "the lesser of two evils" is pragmatism.  Is that so--or is it realism?

I pray for clarity in the next few months!!

Saturday, July 23, 2016


I love to watch CHOPPED.  My husband (who does not care for the show) just rolls his eyes, because every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, I'm setting the DVR to record any unfamiliar episodes.  CHOPPED is a perfect show to watch on the small TV on the counter, while I'm working in the kitchen.

I've learned much from CHOPPED - many professional terms, dishes, and ingredients that were unfamiliar.  That's where I learned that meat is supposed to rest before serving it, or what an aioli is (a garlicky mayonnaise), or many other cooking terms.  In China, I recognized several items that had been used on CHOPPED, such as durian, a very stinky fruit!.  (People in the Chinese Wal-Mart would inspect the durian carefully, and then put several in their basket.  I sneaked a sniff of one after the other people were left.  It smelled terrible.)

The format of the show is sound.  It doesn't resort to crazy premises  to put itself across to the public.  It's a straightforward cooking competition in which the contestants are given baskets of required ingredients, usually very disparate, to include in their dishes.  One contestant (four start the show) is chopped in each of three rounds, leaving one $10,000 winner standing at the end.

CHOPPED has changed some from the early episodes, when the focus of the editing and judging appeared to focus on catching the "snarky moment."  Now it seems to be more solid in just judging the cooking.  And that is how the show is definitely NOT politically correct.  Age, color, gender, do not seem to matter in which chefs win and which are chopped.  And usually the judges do seem to make sound, objective decisions.

The creativity of the chefs is interesting to watch.  It's unbelievable how some of them can do so well at creating dishes from such disparate ingredients, which have gotten weirder in recent seasons.

It's a little disconcerting the way many contestants try to use a "gimmick" to sway the judges (who do not, however, appear to succumb to that).  Cancer survival, loss of a family member, "make my (parents, husband, children, boss, etc.) proud of me," are just a few of the pegs used by some of the chefs.  And some seem to depend on winning this show to define their existence, or to decide whether to continue as chefs, or to even determine their worthiness at life.  I find that to be sad.  It is a cooking competition.  If a parent or child or boss or whoever loses their pride in someone because he or she loses a contest, then something is very wrong.  Just cook, and win or lose, and accept the consequences graciously.

Which brings up another point.  Even the cockiest of contestants during the actual cooking, if he (and it's usually a he) leaves with a gracious spirit, leaves with a good impression made on the viewers.  And the ones who act like they were way too worthy to be chopped, do not leave the viewers with charitable views toward them.

And finally, as in so many areas of life, the principle of "words written on their hearts" (Romans 2) carries through here.  The prideful, arrogant contestants usually end up doing something foolish or being chopped for some reason.  The ones with a more humble spirit often end up winning.  The disrespectful contestants obviously raise the ire of the judges.  People know what is right and wrong even if they do not acknowledge it outwardly, and it comes out even on a television show.

So, I love CHOPPED, and its spin-off program, CHOPPED JUNIOR.  And will continue to watch it, and learn from it, and enjoy it.