Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Better Late than Never

I just got these mailed out this morning. :-)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Yes, We Did Have a White Christmas!

It's already melting (this is the 26th at around 1:00), but even as it melts flurries are still coming down -

And this is not snow - but I snapped this of our tree before opening presents yesterday morning.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

White Christmas!!!

Who would ever have believed it. Hasn't been a white Christmas in our area in over 40 years. It's coming down beautifully - over an inch so far and up to 3 inches expected by morning. So beautiful and so unusual, and so wonderful to have it happen on Christmas day.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Making the Case for Christmas

THE CASE FOR CHRISTMAS by Lee Strobel. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing, 1998, 2005. 91 pages.

Lee Strobel, a Yale law graduate, journalist at the Chicago Tribune, and an atheist, didn’t have much interest in digging out the religious roots of Christmas – until his agnostic wife became a professing Christian. Following that, he was greatly affected by a tenement family who received a great outpouring of public support after he wrote an article about them. When he returned for a follow-up story, he discovered that the family was giving much of their newfound largesse away. Why? “Our neighbors are still in need. We cannot have plenty while they have nothing. This is what Jesus would want us to do.”

He was astounded as he drove away, thinking “They had peace despite poverty, while I had anxiety despite plenty; they knew the joy of generosity, while I only knew the loneliness of ambition; they looked heavenward for hope, while I only looked out for myself; they experienced the wonder of the spiritual while I was shackled to the shallowness of the material – and something made me long for what they had. Or, more accurately, for the One they knew.”

This small book, easy reading in one or two sittings, is a cutting from Strobel’s longer book, THE CASE FOR CHRIST. Strobel’s goal is to separate hard evidence from tradition and sentiment. He asks four main questions: Can the biographies of Jesus be trusted? Does archaeology confirm or contradict Jesus’ biographies? Did Jesus fulfill the attributes of God? And finally, did Jesus – and Jesus alone – match the identity of the Messiah?

For each question Strobel interviews experts in the field, trying to discover the logical and empirical truth for each question. All the experts give solid answers to the questions he asks, as well as to his follow-ups.

The most interesting interview was with Louis S. Lapides, who was reared a conservative Jew. Strobel devotes eleven pages to the story of this man’s spiritual journey. Lapides began to study the Old Testament, to attempt to confirm if Jesus was the Messiah. When he read Old Testament prophecy, he decided that Christians had rewritten Isaiah’s words to make it sound that Jesus was the Messiah. So he asked his stepmother to send him a Jewish Bible. “She did, and guess what? I found out that it said the same thing! Now I really had to deal with it.”

Strobel asked Lapides if it was possible that the gospel writers fabricated details or that Jesus himself ordered his life in such a way as to fulfill prophecies. Lapides replied that too many people in the Jewish community knew what had happened to let potential fabrications go unchallenged, without making rebuttals. And Jesus could not have arranged for the Sanhedrin to offer Judas thirty pieces of silver, or to be born when he was, or to be resurrected. The accuracy of scripture is strengthened by many external events.

THE CASE FOR CHRISTMAS, perfect reading during this holiday season, may be a small book, but it provides an objective reassurance that outside details confirm what Christians know and can testify of in their hearts and lives.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I found out last night where Ginger is. I had heard that a lady who works part-time at a store in the Food Lion shopping center had picked Ginger up the same day that she ran away after hearing that gunfire nearby - had also heard that this lady absolutely loves dogs. I had stopped by the store several times to try to talk with her, but she had not been working whenever I stopped by.

Yesterday she was there. She is a dog lover - has three other dogs, two large ones and a small one. She absolutely loves Ginger also and is very glad to have a collie. I told her that our kids have gone to college and we just do not have time to spend with a dog - nor do we have any other dogs to keep her company. She said Ginger loves being with the other dogs and is playful with them as well. (She hadn't played here in years.) She also showed me several pictures that she happened to have with her, of Ginger interacting with the other dogs and lounging on the hearth of their fireplace. It sounds like Ginger has a comfortable new life with people who love dogs and have the time (and inclination) to spend with them.

I took her all the remaining dog food that we had here in the garage, and fortunately there was a good bit of it. She is welcome to keep Ginger, and it is a relief to me to know that Ginger has found a good and happy home.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Great Gift

Today I got the best student-given present ever. Not everyone could do this, but in this situation it works. The daughter of our assistant pastor, whose mother used to teach at our school, brought me a Christmas card and inside was a coupon that said "Pick a Friday during second semester. One of us [asst. pastor or wife] will cover your classes for that afternoon, and you may leave at noon. This has been approved through the administrator."

Is that not a fantastic - and creative - Christmas gift for a schoolteacher!!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Rants and Raves

A Christian leader whose blog I sometimes read occasionally posts what he calls a "rant." Well, maybe I can "rant" about some things and "rave" about some others, and get it out of my system. Call it a more intense post than an "ups and downs" one.

RANT: WHY do people not take crying babies/toddlers out of school and church programs? WHY do these people sit near the front to begin with? I've been to two programs in the past week that have been seriously impeded at times because of crying children. The main point of a lovely Christmas sketch done by some of our speech students in the program the other night was completely lost because a screaming child reached his top decibel at the same time the students reached the climax moment of the piece.

I understand that sometimes children have to be taken along. But when my children were little, we sat in the back. And more than once I think I may have almost suffocated one or the other, with my hand clamped over their mouths until I could get them outside of the program.

RAVE: I love getting out all my old painted ornaments from past years and putting them on the tree. There are a number of them done by ML as well. It's always a joy to see them again.

RAVE: I love it being the time of year when you can really see hawks on electric wires and other birds that are here for the winter. And the very cold temperatures we've been having bring them out even more.

RANT: Got to be careful here. Why is it that some of the same people who have urgent financial prayer requests, and who sometimes have to count on the goodness of other people for below-cost deals on, or to be outright given, major necessities - also seem to have the $$ to go to expensive programs and destinations?

RAVE: Along the same lines, I have great admiration for the people who go about their business quietly, making the best of what they have, being frugal, and not blathering all over other people about how tight their money is - and then they watch God provide their needs. It is a blessing to buy from people like that, or support them in any way possible.

RANT: And one last rant. From year to year, I'm used to our newspaper carrier leaving a card or letter around this time, thanking us for the privilege of serving us - hint, hint, please give me a tip for Christmas. But, our newest carrier left--a blank Christmas card and envelope with a business card inside! That takes a lot of chutzpah. Especially since he doesn't even put the paper in the provided box - just rolls it up and throws it on the driveway.

RAVE: Christmas vacation will be here in six days! If I think too much about how much there is to do before then, I get panicky. But maybe a week from now I can relax.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Happy Birthday to Mike

Mike showing Mary Lee how to shoot skeet a year ago at Thanksgiving -

Today is my husband's birthday. He spent the first six hours of it (as well as the last six hours of the previous day) working all night to pay our bills, and will spend the next eight sleeping to make up for that. When he came in this morning, as I was on my way out, I started to say "Happy birthday, old man" - but that's getting a little too close for comfort at his age. Then I started to say "You're only as old as you feel," but to somebody who is coming off of 48 hours of night shift work in four nights' time, that's probably also not a good thing to say.

His entire life he has shared his birthday with remembrances of Pearl Harbor Day - which has been like the more recent notoriety of being born on Sept. 11.

He found a shirt he wanted online and said "This can be for my birthday." Then he bought a blood pressure cuff on eBay, so since he used my Paypal account I told him to let that be part of his birthday as well. (A blood pressure cuff for a birthday present - obviously we are the practical type.) So when he told me not to buy him anything for his birthday, I told him - "Not on your life! I've already spent enough on you for your birthday!" Obviously we are not the romantic type either.

Happy birthday to my hard-working husband.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Saturday Misc.

- Went to our school play last night. The new director did a wonderful job and has taken our school play to a new level. The difference in the two of us: If I had been directing, he would have been sitting in the audience just itching to be involved. With him directing - I sat in the audience and was thankful that it was him and not me!

I told our administrator some time ago that I would not be unhappy if he wanted to bring somebody else on for the speech and drama. I was strictly an interim person, and though it was enjoyable at the time, it is not missed in this corner.

- Am recuperating on a "two steps forward, one step back" routine. Although the last 24 hours have been more of a "one step forward, two steps back" time.

- I keep reading from family members, on blog and Facebook, etc., about all the lovely snow they've received in central Illinois. All we got here was a cold, dreary rain. Bleahh.

- I'm sitting here in the La-Z-Boy (it feels really good these days) watching Auburn pummel USC. I have to call Mike with each score change - but after the last one he said he's ready for me not to call unless it's good news. Right now it looks like that means there won't be many more calls. He manages to have to work during all these big games.

- I had to forfeit going with the quartet tomorrow due to illness. Hated to do that.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

No Fun

"pyelonephritis" = a big word for "I don't feel very good!"

After two days out of school, however, I am back today - teaching from a chair with a heating pad on the back!

Can always collapse at 3:15 today when done for the day.