Thursday, September 27, 2012

Latest eBay Purchase

I am on a mission to collect all the MacArthur New Testament commentaries.  New, they sell for about $30 apiece from various sources, but I've been collecting them off of eBay.  Usually I get one at a time (got Hebrews last week for $1.50!) but just received this set of seven for $40.00.  I already have Matthew 1-7 but can re-sell that one.  These books have really helped in Bible study - they're great for the common reader/non-deep-theologian like I am.  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Great Dilemma

The election/free will debate - I just read this in John MacArthur's commentary on Ephesians and think it is very explanatory.  I had to look up this definition in the Free Online Dictionary:

an·tin·o·my ( n-t n -m ). n. pl. an·tin·o·mies. 1. Contradiction or opposition, especially between two laws or rules.

From The MacArthur New Testament Commentary - Ephesians, pp. 11-13:

"God's sovereign election and man's exercise of responsibility in choosing Jesus Christ seem opposite and irreconcilable truths--and from our limited human perspective they are opposite and irreconcilable.  That is why so many earnest, well-meaning Christians throughout the history of the church have floundered trying to reconcile them.  Since the problem cannot be resolved by our finite minds, the result is always to compromise one truth in favor of the other or to weaken both by trying to take a position somewhere between them.

"We should let the antimony remain, believing both truths completely and leaving the harmonizing of them to God. . .

"Because we cannot stand the tension of mystery, paradox, or antinomy, we are inclined to adjust what the Bible teaches so that it will fit our own systems of order and consistency.  But that presumptuous approach is unfaithful to God's Word and leads to confused doctrine and weakened living.  It should be noted that other essential scriptural doctrines are also apparently paradoxical to our limited capacity.  It is antinomous that Scripture itself is the work of human authors, yet the very words of God; that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man; that salvation is forever, yet saints must remain obedient and persevere to the end; that the Christian's life is lived in total commitment and discipline of self, yet is all of Christ.  Such inscrutable truths are an encouragement that the mind of God infinitely surpasses the mind of man and are a great proof of the divine authorship of Scripture.  Humans writing a Bible on their own would have attempted to resolve such problems. . .

"We should be satisfied simply to declare with John Chadwick,

'I sought the Lord,
And afterwards I knew
He moved my soul to seek Him,
Seeking me!
It was not that I found,
O Saviour true;
No, I was found by Thee.'"

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Last Camp Post, I Promise. . .

This post is mainly for any readers not familiar with the Wilds (although there are some good memories at the end for old-timers).  I've been affiliated with it in one way or another for over 30 years.  I counseled there, and worked as receptionist, for three summers in the early 80s, and also worked many weekends in the office and the craft shop during my single days.  The grounds are lovely and also so is the atmosphere of the place.  It's a great place for spiritual recharging.

View from the bridge near the girls' cabins.  

 My cabin this past week.  "Cabin" is really a rough word for the duplexes where we stayed, at least compared to the "birdhouse" accommodations from the days when I counseled.  These duplexes, while a little rustic inside, are like living in a castle compared to back then.

There would be nights, living in a birdhouse, when somebody in the cabin would have to go to the bathroom, or be sick, or whatever.  Of course those nights were when rain was pouring, and the counselor (that would be me or many others over the years) would have to get the camper to the bathhouse in the dark.  Talk about learning lessons of servanthood. . .

Also in the birdhouse days, we'd take the girls down to the creek behind the cabins (now the opposite side of camp) and wash our hair in the cold mountain stream.  Nothing like feeling a trout swim past your feet while rinsing your hair!  But the pure, soft water was great for conditioning.

The fireplace room where our services were held.  The moose has presided over services there for forty years.

The beautiful lodge, as taken from down the hill.  (I claimed this picture off the internet.)

Looking down the hill from the lodge/fireplace room to the lower level where the cabins and ballfields are located.  100+ steps down.

I have many memories of those days.  I remember, during the receptionist years when a couple of strong guys were needed to help carry something or other, calling out over the intercom system, "Would any available men please come to the office."  Guys appeared from everywhere - "I'm available!!"  Somebody working on the roof hung over the office window announcing his availability.  The lifeguards even called in from the lake.  I took a lot of ribbing for that.

I got my camp nickname from there, "OfficeAnn," and the old-timers still remember it.  In those days things in the office were still a little rustic.  There was a system to call most locations over the campsite, but it was an old-fashioned contraption called the "CampCom."  (The drawback was that if anyone anywhere on the system left their phone off the hook, it wouldn't work at all.  At which time somebody had to go all over the campsite to see which phone was left off the hook.)  Anyway, being the receptionist, sometimes things were so crazy that there was little time to think, much less be overly polite.  So, when the CampCom would ring, I'd grab it up and answer as fast as possible, "Office, Ann!" Both words ran together - so "OfficeAnn" I became.  And still use it for my eBay handle.  Other than those two occurrences, that nickname has faded into oblivion.

One year we had a "pig pickin'" for the staff instead of the usual annual "cow-kill" dinner.  So on Thursday night, any of us who were free went up to the maintenance area to help butcher.  Somewhere I have pictures of myself holding various parts as they were removed from the sacrificial pig.  Somehow the next night, during the dinner, it was a little hard for me to eat any of that pork.  I prefer to think of meat as coming off of plastic trays from the grocery store.

Wilds memories are some of the most special of my early post-college years.  I'm so thankful for what I learned there.

Monday, September 17, 2012


My daughter started her field placement last week.  She works in an elementary classroom 6 hours weekly.  Here she is with her official badge from the school.  She looks very professional!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Camp Post #2 - Personal Ups and Downs

This is only about me, not about the overall experience for all the teens.

UP - My son came to visit on Wednesday! And spent most of the day there with us, going to meals and activities, and talking to old friends of his own.

UP - So good to see old friends from my own counseling and receptionist days there.

UP - Looking in an old "birdhouse" and reminiscing about how rustic it was compared to what the girls' cabins/duplexes are like today.  They were so small, and truly rough.  I remember nights when the rain was coming down and someone would need to go to the bathhouse in the middle of the night, or times when counselors (I never had to do this) had so many campers that mattresses had to be put down on the small amount of walking space that was there.  This is an "up" because the experience is so much nicer now.

DOWN - My knees, particularly the right one, are too close to the edge right now to go through the punishment of several walks up and down 100+ stairs daily.

DOWN - I am too old to be a camp counselor.  :-)

UP - It's lovely to wake up in the morning and walk out to the bridge over the mountain creek, and just be in nature for a few minutes before starting the day.

UP - Going to the Wilds is always a refreshing experience on many levels.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


This week we took our school students to camp.  We've been to a couple of places the past years, but the Wilds is where we always end up returning to.  I think that this was one of the best retreats we've had.  The activities were fun, the students had a good time, and a number of decisions were made as a result of the services.  And the decisions made were not the result of pressure in the services - they were made one on one, away from the service times, students finding sponsors or other students they trusted, to confide their need.  

These pictures are in no particular order - just how they loaded off my computer.

Ropes/obstacle course.  Boys did it one day and girls the next.  They had to work as teams.  It was great to see some of our smaller/weaker boys accomplish this with the help of their peers.

In the fireplace room for chapel.

One of our juniors - a lively, well-liked girl - and some weird teacher at our school.

Free time in the game room.

Hiking to the first and second falls.  The juniors and seniors had to come early on Tuesday because we were shuttling our buses, so they took an extra hike.  For those readers unfamiliar with the Wilds, there are four beautiful waterfalls.  The most beautiful - the fourth falls - is also the most difficult hike.  Not everyone can make the trip, so they went to the first two falls instead.

Riding the giant swing.  These teens are coming to the end of their ride.

Playing Big Ball Volleyball the first night there.  Another school was here this week also, so we got to know some other people as well.  That was new to us - we've always been there alone in the past.

 Since we came in September this year - we usually go in the spring - the lake was still open.  Those kids had a great time jumping off the tower, riding the lake trolley and then dropping in, jumping off the Blob, and coming down the lake super slide.

This is the Blob!  One person jumps on it from off the tower, which causes the person on the other end to come off and then arc into the water.
. . . like this.

Riding the trolley before dropping into the water.

A flotilla of teens in tubes.

Wet but happy kids.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"Churches & Christian Movements Throughout History"

This picture comes to mind anytime I read about or converse with someone who thinks they have a corner on secondary Christian beliefs.

My friend who loves church history says that if Christians just knew more about the past 2000 years, they'd realize that nothing is new under the sun, and that the same ideas/problems/mistakes have been repeated over and over.

In case you can't read it - The chart says "Churches and Christian Movements Throughout History," the person on the left says "So this is where our movement came along and finally got the Bible right,"  and the person on the right says "Jesus is so lucky to have us."

Monday, September 10, 2012


This precious family's young son went to be with the Lord this morning.  He had a mitochondrial disease and has been declining for a number of months.  But even though the family had been aware that the events of this morning were coming at some point, the reality is still difficult to deal with.

Both of these parents graduated from our school in the nineties.  They have a wonderful testimony and counted it a privilege to care for their special needs son.  They have been blessed with inordinate amounts of grace throughout the experience, and I'm sure that God is carrying them now.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I Miss Kiddie Lit

My daughter is taking a Children's Lit. class this semester at school.  I'm a little envious.  That's one class I always wanted to take, just because I've always loved "kiddie lit."  Reading to the children when they were younger was one of the most enjoyable parts of their childhood.

I'll never forget when I was reading The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe aloud, when ML figured out (at age three) who was coming through the forest - Her eyes got big as she said breathlessly, "The white witch!!"

ML got these books from our school library to look at for a project this weekend.  Before returning them for her, I snapped a picture.  Most were old favorites from our own read-aloud days.

It was really through "kiddie lit" that I discovered that some books are truly pieces of literature even when written for children.  There is a reason that Goodnight Moon, and many other books, have lasted all these years - while most of the cheapos that I picked up along the way, on clearance tables at various discount stores, are unheard of now.  Quality children's books become classics when they have good (if simple) plots, the characters are drawn with details and dimension, and they have a theme worth expressing.

Some (not all) of the Christian children's stories we got were a disappointment as well.  In my opinion the  worst were the ones that told a little story, about Mr. Bunny or whatever, and then ended with a little moral at the end:  "And so Mr. Bunny learned to be kind to his friends. . ." etc., etc., etc.  Well, while it's important to learn to be kind to one's friends, that is a very weak way to end a story.  One of the marks of a good piece of lit, for any age, is that it shows rather than tells the theme.

One of our favorite sets was the Beatrix Potter stories.  They are not as emphasized these days; I think a lot of people look at her work as a nice historic set to keep on the shelves but not necessarily to read aloud.  Her stories are absolutely delightful - wonderful little tales with beautiful illustrations, and just enough unusual words to help children learn some new ones.  We'd read Peter Rabbit and come to the word "fortnight" - and both children would say "Two weeks!"  The stories of the Flopsy Bunnies - Mr. Jeremy Fisher, Mrs. Tittlemouse, Two Bad Mice - They are such good quality, and interesting, reading for young children.  The Flopsy Bunnies started out by saying that (loosely quoted) "The effect of eating lettuce leaves is sopoforific."

Of course, some of the the "cheapos" became favorites as well, and that was fine - there weren't objectionable element problems with them; they just weren't that great.  But sometimes they got difficult for the reader (that would be me) to read over and over.  And that's one of the best ways to tell if a book is worth standing the test of time - If it can be enjoyed by the adult doing the reading, as well as by the child being read to - it's a good book.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Monday Misc.

  • I turned a corner with going to the gym today.  For the past three weeks it's been "Ugh, I need to go to the gym."  Today I felt like "I've got to get to the gym - haven't been there since Friday!"  And I have doubled my time on the elliptical, so feel like I'm getting someplace.
  • What would I have done without Labor Day this week?  It took all day to get everything done I needed to do.  The papers are finally graded, the kitchen is cleaned up, the bills are paid, and three loads of laundry are done.  Got a little more schoolwork to do on line - but this really needs doing also.  Doesn't it?
  • Both offspring were home this weekend.  We went to hear Andrew sing at another church last night.  He sang three songs with their church quartet and did really well.
  • ML and I stopped by our school library for her to get some children's picture books to read for her children's lit. class.  That brought back a lot of memories and is probably good for a post all by itself.