Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Misc. - Olympic Version

--I thought the queen's willingness to participate in the James Bond stunt for the opening ceremonies was absolutely hilarious and was a great PR occasion for her.  The forging of the Olympic rings was also really great, as well as the countries each bringing in a petal for the Olympic flame.

I did NOT care for the obvious commercial for Britain's National Health Care system that was included in the ceremony.

--Frankly, it was kind of nice to see Michael Phelps get soundly beaten the other night in his first race.  The Beijing Olympics were disappointing in that the announcers seemed to focus in on a few marquee athletes and didn't say much about the rest of them.  Maybe now there will be more about some of the swimmers besides. . . Michael Phelps.

--I got an education about water polo this afternoon.  We wondered if maybe the caps the players wear had some kind of speakers on the sides so they could communicate with the coaches.  Wrong.  :-)  They are padded to prevent injury.  Also, the pool has to be at least six feet deep, so those girls are really swimming to stay on top of the water.  That takes a lot of stamina.

Judy's Visit

My cousin Judy left this morning after coming to see me (and then my folks) for several days.  She flew into ATL last week, and then her husband came this weekend to pick her up.  We had the nicest time visiting and swimming, and I'm so glad it worked out.  The one thing we decided, though, is that next time we'll open it up to all the K women and just have a hen party for several days.  I'll have to figure out someplace to send Mike if we ever pull it off. . .something tells me he might not survive something like that.

The internet has made the revival of family friendships a reality.  It was a very nice visit!

This pic is very nice of her but not so hot of me.  Pool-hair. . .

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Nostalgia Pics - Again

Time for some pics from the past again.

Grandma and grandson.  I think this is in front of their house in AL - at least it looks like it from the bricks.  This is a very sweet picture.

ML playing chess with her uncle.  I've always liked this pic. because it shows so clearly her intensity at playing games.  Since she was old enough to think, she has always been a fierce competitor!

Piano recital time.  The head of the music department at the time loved elaborate backgrounds for the spring recitals, and this was one of her largest productions.

This was taken at the Wilds one year when we went for family camp.  We went several years during this time frame of the kids' lives, whenever Mike was not working Labor Day weekend.  It was always a lot of fun and the kids loved to go.  ML and I would always go to the craft shop while the boys went to the rifle range, and we made a lot of memories.  I liked it because even if our entire weekend was taken up with going to camp, I still had Monday to do laundry and get caught up before getting back into the work week. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday Misc.

--My son has been sick for several weeks and finally went to the dr. Thursday - got a diagnosis today - recurrence of mono, and lyme disease.  Fortunately the lyme was caught early and a round of antibiotic should take care of it.  But it will take him awhile to really feel good (although he is slowly improving).

--Took the car to the Honda dealership today to see about the plastic piece on the front of the driver's seat that keeps popping out.  I went prepared, with reading material and a drink, figuring it would take awhile.  Well, a tech met me in the breezeway, took the car to be checked, showed me where to wait - and was back in under ten minutes.  Said they'd need to order a part and would call next week.  I was out of there in about fifteen minutes flat!

--My daughter has been gone for a week helping a local lady with her children, on a trip to Virginia and Oklahoma.  She gets back tomorrow night and I think she'll be glad to see her own bed again!

--Note to self:  When you put gas in the car, yes, put the cap back in, but also shut the little door.  It does help you to see oncoming traffic in the rearview mirror.

--Note to self #2: When you turn on the hose to put water in the pool, it is a good idea to remember to turn it off before five hours have passed.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Thoughts on the Sanctions at Penn State

One of the nice things about being off for the summer is being able to follow some breaking story on the news for several hours.

This morning I have been cleaning bathrooms and floors, while tuning into the ESPN coverage about the NCAA sanctions that were handed down to Penn State this morning.

Some thoughts:

--There is no question that the sanctions are very harsh and that many people who were not involved in the scandal are being affected.  But - the effects of sin are far-reaching.  Sin does not only affect the person who commits it, but many others as well.  Think of the children of alcoholics, drug dealers, adulterers.  Think of the members of a church when a pastor has a moral failing.  The culture of silence at Penn State was horrific.  The fallout is large.

--Some people are saying that Joe Paterno is being decimated for one failure when he had so many positive contributions.  However, this is such a huge failure that it must be included as the defining moment of his career.  Is it a shame?  Yes.  But it is realistic.

--Also, some of the Penn State (and other) people are blaming the NCAA for the strong penalties.  The ultimate one they should be blaming, however, is Jerry Sandusky.  And, secondarily, those who covered up for him.

--And finally:  I find it very refreshing, in this era of rampant sin, particularly of the moral variety, to see that society still finds child molestation, and the covering up of it, to be repugnant and worthy of strong and devastating penalty.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Lovely Photo

My sister-in-law who recently died and her beautifully sweet daughter.  I love this picture.

Al Mohler on the Tragedy in Aurora

This link is excellent reading on the Christian perspective of what happened in the movie theatre tragedy.  Al Mohler can express the truth so clearly.  I got this link from my friend Holly, who posted it on FB.

We forget that this world is full of sin, and the only thing holding that sin back is the Holy Spirit.

Friday, July 20, 2012

"Would You Please Give. . ."

Over the years I have received many requests from people, both teens and adults, requesting financial help for mission trips, camp ministries, and various other service events.  I try to help when possible, but much depends on previous contacts with the person.  I am far more likely to give to someone who has been a hardworking student, or an adult with a known faithful life, than the person who has been a "slackard" or the person who is known to be a taker rather than a giver.

Some requests over the years have been eloquent; some not.  The worst one I ever got was a photocopied request with a blank for filling in the recipient's name; my name was written in, the letter was signed, and the envelope was addressed, by the young man's mother.  (He didn't get any financial help from me.)

I realize that many people, including teenagers, have a genuine desire for service in whatever ministry they are investing their time in.  I also realize that their requests often come from the heart.  But asking for money is something that must be done very cautiously.

This week we received a letter that I think is a wonderful way to make such a contribution request:

"I realize that I am writing to people who already give to the Lord in the forms of tithes and offerings. . .For these reasons I want to emphasize that I do not write to you out of any expectation whatsoever.  We appreciate what you are already doing for the Lord's kingdom.  All that I request is that you take some time to genuinely ask the Lord two straightforward questions:  1) Would You have me support this project?  And if so, 2) What would you have me to give?  I trust you would then obey the Lord's leading or even lack of leading.  I only desire you be able to give cheerfully if the Lord so desires.  Philippians 2:13 says: 'For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.'  If it is His will that you support me financially in this mission, I trust He will make it clear by working in your will so that you actually want to help."

I really appreciated the tone of this letter.  It is a request stated much more eloquently than most, and it lets the recipient make a decision about being a partner in ministry, as led by the Holy Spirit, rather than appear to be a tightwad if he/she decides not to give.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The 100 Most Important Events in Christian History

I have been reading this book:
It's from our school library - checked out last spring and never made it back in at the end of the school year, which now I'm glad about, because it's been a good read.

Of course, any such list is somewhat arbitrary, but this does have a lot of events that I recognize as well as some that I've never heard of.  It also has many from early church history with which I'm not very familiar.

Some of the things a person is reminded of from reading such a book:

--Our generation is just a part of all that has ever existed.  A thousand, two thousand, years ago people were keeping the faith, serving God, living out the Christian life - many undergoing persecutions that we have never dreamed of.

--There is nothing new under the sun.  Hundreds of years ago people were arguing about music and other such issues.  There has been good, bad, and ugly in the church from the beginning of the church.  Sin is still in the world - in all of us - and will continue to be until Christ returns.

--Our small, neatly defined Christian worlds are merely small packets of the overall Christian world that has existed down through the centuries.

A few of the hundred events discussed, each in small sections of two or three pages:

  • The fire in Rome - AD 64
  • Athanasius's Letter Recognizes the New Testament Canon - AD 367
  • Patrick goes to Ireland as a Missionary - AD 432 
  • Martin Luther Posts His Ninety-Five Theses - 1517
  • Anabaptist Movement Begins - 1525
  • Publication of the King James Bible - 1611
  • John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress Published - 1678
  • Publication of Isaac Watt's Hymns and Spiritual Songs - 1707
  • Hudson Taylor Arrives in China - 1854
  • Dwight L. Moody's Conversion - 1855
  • First Christian Radio Broadcast - 1921
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer Executed by the Nazis - 1945
  • Chinese Church Grows Despite Cultural Revolution - 1966-76

Of course, there are events in the book that some may disagree with, but whether one thinks that the events are good or negative, they are still pivotal events in church history.

My good friend, a student of church history, taught me some time ago that if more people studied the events of the early church, and really realized what all has gone on in the past two thousand years, there would be much less disagreement on minor issues today.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Saturday Misc.

--According to my dad's rain gauge, we have gotten almost 3 inches of rain over the past five days.  It has been wonderful.  Friday morning I awakened to the sound of rain, which is an almost unheard-of event any more.  It was so pleasant that I just laid in bed and read for awhile - also an almost unheard-of event any more.

--The tomatoes right now are absolutely beautiful.  I haven't picked any off of our plants yet, but ML's friend gave us some from his dad's garden, and I also have gotten some from Mom and from the farmer's market.  BLT sandwiches have been on the menu for three nights in a row, and slices of a tomato with a little salt are delicious by themselves.  Maybe today I'll have a good, old-fashioned southern 'mater sandwich.

--On Thursday I got a book at a local thrift store for $1; listed it yesterday on eBay, and last night got a message that someone had used Buy It Now to purchase it for $8.  Not a bad return on the investment.  This summer has been a little slow for eBay - just haven't had anything worth selling.  Usually I've had access to some form of textbooks, workbooks, or other things that homeschoolers are vying to get in the summer, but this year has been slow, slow, slow.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Missionary Quotation

Interesting quotation from Robert Bruce, missionary to Iranian Muslims in the late 19th century:

"I am not reaping the harvest; I scarcely claim to be sowing the seed; I am hardly ploughing the soil; but I am gathering out the stones.  That, too, is missionary work; let it be supported by loving sympathy and fervent prayer."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Laura Bush, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Me

Well, apparently Laura Bush's visit to the Laura Ingalls Wilder home merited pictures being allowed inside the home - when I toured it, the guide made it clear that no inside pictures were allowed.  Wonder what Laura Bush did to get clearance for that!!!  :-)  She visited in 2008 as part of the process of naming the home a National Treasure.

But - since photographs were taken when she visited, I'll take advantage of them, because I really wanted to post pics of the interior.  There wasn't one of the dining room where the books were actually written.  This was the kitchen, where we entered.  For quite awhile the family of three lived in this one room.  You can't see it, but behind Mrs. Bush, on the countertop under the window, the original linoleum has been used to cover the counter so that people can see what it was like.  The staff did a very careful match when new was installed, but it isn't exactly the same.  (BTW both Laura and Almanzo were very short, so he made her countertops very low.  I would never have been able to accomplish anything on those counters without killing my back.)  And the wallpaper has been hand-done to match exactly what the Wilders had used.  A scrap of the original is available to see that it really is a careful copy.

The stove was heated with wood, but Almanzo piped in water from the spring in the hill above, and some of it was circulated through the right half of the stove, so that Laura always had hot water.  This was way ahead of their time.  You can't see the 1930s sink, but it is to the right of the stove.

This was Laura's side of the bedroom.  The bed, bedding, paint, photos - everything is exactly as she left it.  Nothing has been replaced.  The bathroom that daughter Rose had installed is behind Mrs. Bush.  On Almanzo's side, the box containing his medicine - both prescription and over the counter - has never been emptied and still contains the meds he used when he died.

In the living room.  Mrs. Bush even got to go behind the barriers.  Sheesh, why didn't we get to do that!!

 And finally, here is Mrs. Bush standing outside the kitchen porch.  Notice the arbor to her left?
And notice the same arbor here?  I believe the bench in the photo above must have been moved to this location.
Glad Laura Bush went to the Little House so that I could show you her pictures.

Another Middle-Aged Moment

Yesterday morning I cracked open ML's door to tell her that Mike and I were leaving to go to the dentist.  She was pretty much asleep, but roused up to say "What about me?  Cleaning?"

Touched that even when asleep she was thinking about how to help around the house I said "Well, you can run the vacuum when you get up."

When I related this to Mike in the car, he just rolled his eyes and gave me "that look."

Monday, July 9, 2012

Evolution of a Pool Liner

We had to put a new liner in our pool this year.  It's been one of those things that would have been nice to do as long as three years ago, but was not a necessity until this year.  The large rips in this picture show why.  And those are not the only rips - there were others at the other end.  Very small rips can be repaired but one of this size cannot.  The liner was about fifteen years old, so we had gotten the use out of it.

I've spared the reader any more "before" pictures, because the combination of the ripped liner and the algae-ridden water is not pleasant to look at.

 After the water was drained out.  That process took several days.

This is the big day of the replacement.  I was at school, but Mike was here, and he documented the entire process very carefully.  Here is removal of the old lining.

The empty hole in the ground--

Cleaning and doing maintenance to the basic pool.

Unrolling the new liner into the hole in the ground--

Bags against the bottom edge to keep liner taut--

This vacuum pump kept the sides of the liner taut against the side of the pool during the filling process.

Some of the last steps of the process--

Filling with water.  That took three days.

Deep end is almost full--

And this is the final result.  The pattern looks like ceramic tiles so it is especially nice to be in.  We have enjoyed it this summer very much.  We were told by the one who paid for the liner that we'd better enjoy it - or else.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Family Dinner

Last weekend Uncle Chuck and his daughter came to visit my folks for the weekend.  Uncle Chuck is my mom's only sibling, and he is a great guy.  And I hadn't been around his daughter, Judy, for years and years, so that was nice too.  Mike and I took them to the nuclear station to visit the World of Energy, but that's an entire story in itself.

Last Sunday they all came to my house for Sunday dinner, as well as my brother and family and my sister and her husband.  We had a houseful on the hottest day of the year, but that was OK.

Uncle Chuck, Mark, Judy

My sister and husband


Grandson and grandfather

Mark and family (two of his children weren't here)

Us with our ever-present animal family members

Mike explaining the story of the fish (over far doorway) to Judy


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Scissortail Flycatcher

We saw one of these on our trip, right as we were pulling into the town of Mansfield, MO.  We were sitting at a stoplight and it was on an overhead wire just as pictured below (photos pulled from internet).  It put on quite a show for us, catching flies from off the wire and then lighting again.  Its tail had that typical scissor motion, back and forth, like the bottom picture.  I had seen one on the way to Mexico, some fifteen years ago, but Mike had never seen one.  We were on the very edge of its range, and it was a treat to see one at a time we weren't particularly looking or expecting to see anything.