Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Reason For Hope

The following was originally published in our daily paper on September 11, 2010, during my tenure as a religion columnist for one year, as an article meant to memorialize the 9/11 tragedy.  The part written about my friend and her family was written with her permission.  Since today marks the 15th anniversary of her husband's passing, I'd like to share it again, this time as a tribute to the remarkable faith this family has shown in the years since then.

One of the precious tenets of the Christian faith is the hope that believers have in Christ, for this life as well as for eternity. No events, not even tragic and life-changing ones, happen without a Christian knowing that he is in the palm of God’s hand.
Several years ago, early one morning, I sat with my dear friend, her family and other friends in a small hospital room as she received final word that her husband had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. The grief expressed in that room was overwhelming; yet, at the same time, the presence of God’s peace soon became obvious as well. In spite of the shock and the unanswered questions at what had just happened, there was an assurance and a calm spirit in the room. The huge sorrow was not horrific sorrow, due to the presence of a heavenly Father and his grace.
In their hour of need, this family did not have to go looking for the solace offered by a loving savior. They already knew him — in their hearts as well as in their heads. They had lived daily for many years in personal relationships with Jesus Christ, throughout the pleasant times and the hard times of life — so that when this moment came, as well as the difficult months afterward, their sorrow was not the “sorrow of those that have no hope” (I Thess. 4:13).
These thoughts are especially relevant in light of today’s commemoration of the events of nine years ago on this date. How could people cope with the horrible events and tragic results of that day? Those who knew the Lord as personal savior, who walked with him before then, were in a position to sense the hand of God, shielding them, loving them and walking with them through the dark days that followed.
Lisa Beamer, widow of victim Todd Beamer, was one such person. She writes on page 276 of her book, “Let’s Roll”: “The reason I’ve been able to [live in hope] is not because I’m a strong person. I don’t want anyone to go out of here thinking, Wow, she’s so strong; look at her! The reason I’ve chosen to live in hope is because of the heavenly, eternal perspective God has given me. That tells me that fear comes from feeling out of control, and if September 11 has taught us anything it is that we are never really in control … But hope comes from knowing who is in control. Hope comes from knowing that we have a sovereign, loving God who is in control of every event of our lives.”
Jeremiah 29:11 and many other scriptures remind us of his infinite love and power in our lives. The Psalms are full of such reminders. And while Christians are subject to the same griefs, the same fears, the same unknowns as anyone else, we also have the promises of the great God of the universe, who tells us, “I will NEVER leave thee, nor forsake thee!”

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Misc.

--Charles Krauthammer on Fox News tonight:  "I'm surprised President Obama isn't blaming the hurricane on George Bush."

--Last night in the message the preacher read the verse in Genesis 2 about the woman being made from the man's rib.  Today in class one of my students said he punched his sister and said "Ha ha - you were made from a rib."  To which she shot back at him, "Well, you were made from dirt!"

--Yesterday I made an apple cake.  It was OK by itself, but the best part of it was the sauce on the top - 6 tbsp. butter, half a cup brown sugar, and half a cup corn syrup, boiled together for about 30 seconds and allowed to cool.  I kept out enough for a taste (or two) and to share at school today, and sent the rest with ML to my folks and to some friends' house where she was headed.

--Tonight Mike grilled hamburgers, went to the grocery and got buns, chips, and slaw, set the table, invited my folks for supper, heated up baked beans, got out all the condiments and drinks, AND cleaned up afterward.  I believe he is a keeper.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

We Will Deserve What We Get

If we as a country choose to reelect a man who refers to his honorable opponent in this vulgar way, who made a vulgar ad to try to appeal to young single women to vote for him (I can't even bring myself to put in a link), and whose vice president uses this vulgar language to "console" grieving parents of a fallen soldier in Libya. . .

If we choose to overlook such vulgarisms (and yes, I'm using that word repeatedly). . .then we will deserve what we get.

A Few More Pics--

A few more pics of the joyful day our girls' volleyball team enjoyed yesterday:

Receiving the state championship trophy:

Above:  Celebrating with their fans.
Below:  Milling around after the big event.

And finally, their coach is also a photographer.  This picture was up on our gym wall.
 If you can't read the caption - it says:  "Remember. . .there is a little girl in the stands that wants to be just like you; don't disappoint her."  Great lesson and reminder.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

So proud of our girls!

So proud of our volleyball team!  Undefeated in regular season play, conference play, and tournament play.  Beat our biggest rival, not only twice in conference play, but today in the championship game to win the state championship game!  And they came back from a 13-0 deficit in the first game to win the match in three games!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday's Fave Five - Something New For Me!

Well I am going to try this.  I've read my friend Barbara's Friday's Fave Five for a long time and have never done it myself, but maybe this middle-aged brain can figure it out after all.  It's hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.

So my Friday's Fave Five for this week:

1. Both of my children were home last weekend.  We had friends for Sunday dinner as well and we had a great time.  Loved having them here.

2. Scheduling.  I was able to do the scheduling of help (concessions, gate, etc.) for our Christian school association's annual soccer/volleyball state tournament that is being held at our school this weekend.  I love to accomplish projects like that and was glad to be able to do it.

3. Freezer fixed.  Mike thinks he may have figured out what was wrong with the freezer this week and turned it on to see if it was working now.  I checked it this morning and it is ice cold inside.  Total cost of repair:  $0.00.

4. Some new autumn clothes.  We had a day off school last Friday. . .and I went shopping.

5. Gorgeous autumn weather.  Love it!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Another Food For Thought

Hope another one of these is not too much.  MacArthur's thinking and writing are so packed full of thoughtful bits that I've got to share another one.  This from EPHESIANS commentary, pp. 32-33:

"Throughout Scripture there is tension between God's sovereignty and man's will, a tension that, in his limited and imperfect knowledge, man is incapable of fully reconciling.  As with all the other antinomies and paradoxes in God's Word, our responsibility is to believe both sides of them without reservation, just as they are revealed.  We know the truths are in perfect accord in God's mind, and that knowledge should satisfy us. . .

"Whatever God's reasons for designing such humanly irreconcilable truths, we should thank and praise Him for them.  For the very reason that they are completely true while seeming to be contradictory, we are humbled in His presence as we stand in awe of that which to us is incomprehensible.  To the trusting believer such truths are but further evidence that Scripture is God's doing, and not man's."

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Night

It was wonderful to have both children home this weekend at the same time!  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thoughts on Independent Voters, Undecided Voters, and Airheaded People

I've been watching some of the hype surrounding the debate, as well as the entire election circus that we are subjected to.

I can see why some people identify as "independent" based on the fact that they do not want to be beholden to any one party.  I cannot, however, see how anyone can be "undecided" at this stage of the game unless their core values are so confused that they do not know what they believe and what they stand for.  The choice is so stark, so clear-cut as to the different visions of the two candidates, that by now any thinking person would have to know which candidate they agree with and can support.

However, some of the people interviewed in "focus groups" were nauseous in their responses.  This morning I heard a lady say that she was "leaning" toward Obama "because he has two daughters so I think he understands women better."  Please.  The future of our country is at stake and that is your reasoning?  No matter which candidate a person is supporting, the thinking has to be better than that!

Well, that is my Wednesday afternoon rant.  :-)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Salvation From God's Side

"Scripture always presents salvation from God's side, in order that He should have full credit.  In our humanly-oriented society, God's wanting exclusive credit seems inappropriate - but only because men have no concept of His greatness, holiness, and glory.  What views they may have of Him are simply projections of themselves.  The praise and glory that men so much desire are totally undeserved and their motives for wanting them are purely sinful.  But God seeks glory for the right reasons and because He alone is deserving of it.  His seeking glory is a holy desire of which He is supremely and singly worthy."

John MacArthur, Ephesians commentary, p. 32

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Special Celebration

Spent last evening with these five and their families, including their dad and his wife - it was their dad's seventieth birthday, and we were privileged to be included.  This family was hugely important to Mike when he lived in Newberry, as well as afterward.  Their dad not only spent a lot of time with him as a spiritual mentor, but also just took him in as one of the family.  We love them and appreciate them very much!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New Christmas Tree?

I might not better publicize this picture too much. . .or we might end up with one this year. . . It's really kinda cute--unless it might end up in one's own living room!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday Misc.

--Enjoyed having both daughter and son home (at various times) this weekend.

--Husband very happy about the USC/Georgia blowout this weekend.

--Really chilly today.  It's a turning point when you realize that it's time to put away the sandals and get out the loafers and trouser socks/hose.  I was doing drop-off breezeway duty this morning and realized--I agreed to do this job in August.  When it was hot.  Windy and cold -- a different story.

--Working on a big crochet project.  Still have a long way to go but it's been kinda fun to do that again. Haven't done anything crochet for about ten years.

--Enjoying a quiet evening without a lot of action.  Very nice.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Advertising and Emotional Appeals

Tomorrow I start spending a week or two on the topic of emotional appeals.  Years ago a wonderful English teacher by the name of Alice Ackley taught a unit on this to my sophomore English class at Austin High School, and I never forgot the lessons she taught us.  So, every other year, the month before the national election, I like to teach a unit on this to the juniors and seniors.  Still deciding on whether or not to include the sophomores since I teach them this year also.  It wouldn't hurt them to get a double dose if I happen to still be their teacher in two years.

Just realized that I could save my power point slides as jpeg files and import them directly into a blog post.  These are only a few of the slides.  There are a lot more appeals that we will go over; however, I can't really upload all 53 slides.  Also, they will come up on the screen sentence by sentence and picture by picture; here you get the full effect all at once.  

What's really great is that this year I've found a lot of ads that help teach this directly on Youtube.  In the past I've had to try to record commercials onto VHS as they come on - always a challenge to get most of the commercial and yet not get the ones not worth saving or that are objectionable.  

Anyway, welcome to the world of emotional appeals, which will be consuming my time for the next few days.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday Misc.

Monday Misc.  Nothing has gripped me lately to write any kind of dramatic or particularly provoking blog post.  Been having a lot of left-side pain lately.  Between my shoulder/neck issues on the left, and the degenerated discs in my lower back which cause sciatica down my left leg--my left side is hurting.  But the right side feels great!  I took half a Lortab yesterday afternoon and consequently slept the afternoon away - but still felt like going to bed at a decent time.

ML was home this weekend.  She has fall break for several days coming up, and she and her dad will be going hunting as he will be off also.  Glad it coincided.

This is a big week for our school as far as games go.  I'll be traveling to Greenville at least once and maybe twice for big games, and there is a big home game also.

I'm also getting up a big unit to teach the juniors and seniors on emotional appeals and advertising, and will probably put up a post sometime this week about it.  It's a fun topic to prepare and a fun topic to teach.  I think they need some understanding about this subject, and teach it every other year to both upper classes, sometime the month before the election so that they will be able to analyze campaign ads.  

In conclusion, here are some funny pics I've collected over the past months.

This one would make a funny bulletin board--I'd title it something like "When Teachers Party."

Too cute.  Someday maybe I'll have a grandson who talks to me like that--

And finally. . . Wish someone had showed me that before I started teaching.  It would have saved a lot of frustrating situations.