Friday, February 27, 2009

Thursday Night Summary

Last night continued in the same great way. First up we had Bro. Bill Abbott, evangelist, preaching about Men on Fire from Daniel Chapter 3. He talked about the three men thrown in the fiery furnace, and how they were different because they were in the crowd, standing, when everyone else was bowing to the image. Then they were daring because they were brought in front of the king. He gave them another chance and they still refused to bow. They were also dedicated because they told the king that, while God could rescue them from the fiery furnace, even if He didn't, they would still not bow. The final point was amazing as Bro. Abbott pointed out that the men were not delivered until they were actually in the fire. He closed with a great illustration of a man putting a potato, an egg and a coffee-filled pouch into boiling water. The potato was hard, but when it went through the fire, it became soft. The egg was fragile, but going through the fire toughened it and gave it strength. And when the coffee went into the water, it affected its environment and turned all the water into coffee. It's really just a question of what the fire will do to you.

The second sermon was by Bro. Allison, and as usual he knocked it out of the park. He preached from Exodus chapter 32 about the golden calf. His question last night, "Which kind of a leader do you want--Moses or Aaron?" He pointed out from the first few verses it showed that the people wanted to give and they wanted to worship. But they were also prone to wander and forget their past promises to do right. V.22 showed that Aaron understood the people. V.23 showed he was willing to listen to their new ideas. V.24 showed he was willing to make the people happy and he was willing to serve publicly. V.25 said he kept them worshipping Jehovah (Note, this was not THE Jehovah. Calling the calf Jehovah did not make it the one true God.) It also showed he was willing to allow shame in the people (they were naked) without rebuke. He had a ministry of "love" and it was enjoyable, but he nearly destroyed the Israelites with his ministry. (God wanted to destroy them because of their disobedience.)

On the other hand we have Moses--instead of spending time with the people, he spent forty days with God. He was always giving commandments, he had a temper and he was severe. (He commanded the people to pick up their swords and kill the ones who were doing wrong.) Although 3000 people died because of his command, he wasn't as severe as God, who in V. 10 said He would destroy all the people.

Pastor ended with the face that a Preacher who is running with God is going to hate sin. He's going to rebuke it and preach against it. He also said that the way to avoid feeling guilty when a preacher preaches is to get right. The main difference between Moses and Aaron? Aaron spent forty days with the people. Moses spent forty days with God.

We also had Reggie Payte here all this week and his singing was really a blessing! In addition, last night we had Larry Harrison, the book cole porter. Lots of good sales going on in the fellowship hall after the service!

We left the church about 10:00 last night. All of my boys were dragging so I put them to bed and told them to sleep in the next morning. To my surprise, they slept until 10:00 a.m. Nicky woke up with 102.5 fever and throwing up. Guess the flu is trying to make a repeat appearance at our house.

Tonight's the final night of the conference. Bro. Abbott will be preaching again and then Bro. John Reynolds will be closing out the conference. I'll share with you on Monday what we learn tonight. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Super Conference Update

We are still rolling through our Super Conference. Three nights down, two to go. Several have asked me if we're taping the messages. We don't have that capability yet. Hopefully we will by next year. Last night Bro. Allison preached on the Valley of Dry Bones from Ezekiel 37. God commanded Ezekiel to preach to the bones and they became a mighty living army. But Ezekiel didn't do that. God did. Ezekiel simply obeyed God's command. Bro. Allison really stressed that we are only to obey, even if we don't understand the command. And also, nothing we do will have any meaning or merit without the power of the Holy Spirit.

Bro. John Reynolds of Volusia County Baptist Church here in Florida followed up with a message on the battle of Jericho in Joshua 6. He stressed persistent obedience, even when we can't see where God is working in our lives. The Israelites were probably pretty excited the first day they went out and marched around Jericho. But day after day doing that, probably with the Jericho-ites mocking them from the wall, had to be tough. And they weren't allowed to say a word. Every day they marched around the city and nothing happened. But they kept obeying until God moved.

Both sermons were used by God last night. Cant' wait to see what will happen tonight!

Update on my flat tire--I actually managed to drive over a curb in the median as I was driving Monday night. (Never dig in your purse when you're supposed to be driving!) I not only ripped a literal hole in my tire, but I bent and cracked the rim. The wheel itself will cost about $170 to replace, and then we have to have a new tire on top of that. From The Emperor's New Groove: "Now I feel really bad! Bad llama!" The men at church are now calling me "Crash". I will not live this down any time soon.

We got home last night around midnight--went to Denny's with several of this week's speakers after the service. I woke the boys up at seven this morning so we could start school. They complained of being tired and begged to go back to sleep. I cheerfully told them no, they had to do school today. But, if they would hurry with their work then we could all take naps this afternoon! Their reply? "We'd rather take our naps right now." Smart guys.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Husband of the Year

Just gotta brag on the hubby today. I dragged myself out of bed this morning, not remembering what day it was or why the alarm was on. I usually get that way by the fourth day of Super Conference. We've only had two days so far--this is not a good sign! But I had to get up early because we have company coming to the house this afternoon. Our house looks exactly like you'd expect it to when everyone was sick for two weeks. Neglected is probably the nicest thing I can think of to say about it. So I staggered out of bed and woke the boys up. (I didn't make the mess by myself; I'm not cleaning it up by myself!)
Terry followed me into the hall and asked what I was doing up so early.
"Time to clean the house." I muttered, knowing I sounded like the Dunkin Donuts guy.
"Go back to bed for another hour," he suggested.
I told him I'd love to, but the house had to be clean and I wouldn't have time after I got home from work to take care of everything.
"I'll get the work started and the boys will help me. You go back to bed and sleep for another hour."
Terry gave me a kiss and headed down the stairs. I staggered back to the bedroom and slept deeply for another hour. I felt much better when I woke up, and when I went downstairs, the boys were working like little fiends. The house already looked better than it had.
Terry's had about as much sleep as I have the past couple of nights. Isn't he the sweetest thing?

For an update on the conference, last night was totally awesome. Bro. Riggs spoke on having good judgement. He used the story of Joseph and Potiphar's wife in Genesis. He pointed out from the text that, when Joseph was tempted, first he looked around and saw how much he'd been blessed. Then he looked within himself and saw that he wasn't the kind of person to do something like that. Then he looked to the future and saw that no good could come from giving into this sin. Then he looked upward and saw how his actions would appear to God. Great challenge on using wisdom and discernment!

The second speaker was Bro. Mike Allison. Anyone whose heard him knows that the message had to be great. He preached on the decline of the church in Jerusalem in the book of Acts. He pointed out that they had over 10,000 saved in the matter of a few weeks. Then people began selling their belongings to help take care of each other. Then they had problems with hypocrites (Annanias and Sapphira) and then no one was giving anymore. Then in the next chapter they had complainers. Then they went to criticizing others that were doing something for the Lord. And finally, several chapters later, they came to the point where they had to dispute what really saved a person because they no longer knew the truth. It was a very challenging and eye-opening message. No matter how close you are to the Lord, there's always room to fall if you don't keep serving Him as you should. Both messages were so challenging! I can't wait to hear what God's got in store for us tonight!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Murphy's Law

When it rains, it pours. You've heard that one before, right? And you know some other gems that comes from Murphy's Law? "If anything can go wrong, it will."

Welcome to Super Conference week at Victory Baptist Church.

I know from experience that, when you've got a revival week of some sort--such as we do this week--that Satan will be fighting extra hard to cause problems. To mess things up.

We got bad news from a family member over the weekend. Nothing horribly catastrophic, but it's not pleasant and there's not a thing we can do about it.

Sunday morning the septic tank at church clogged and the bathrooms quit working. We got it fixed Monday morning, at a cost of $300.

Our entire family was sick for the two weeks before Super Conference. (See yesterday's post.)

Our organist has business meetings scheduled out of town for this week.

Our song leader and pianist cannot be here for the last meeting on Friday night.

I got a flat tire on the way home from the meeting tonight. I ran over something in the road, bent the rim and ripped a chunk out of the tire.

Once the tire was fixed, we took one of the speakers out to get a bite to eat. After we finished eating and were ready to head home (about 11:30), Terry got a call to go pick up a dead body. When Matt is working or sleeping, Terry takes the shift. So he won't get home until about 2:00 in the morning.

We gotta laugh because that's the only way to get through it. But if you wanted to pray a little extra for us this week we could really use it.

On the upside, we heard two fantastic sermons tonight. The first one was from I Samuel 17, the story of David and Goliath. Verse 29 quotes David as saying, "Is there not a cause?" Really challenging about fighting for God's cause. The second sermon was taken from Revelation 2, where the church at Ephesus is described as having left their first love.

After hearing those two sermons, I can see why Satan keeps fighting!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Flu Laws

My family has been fighting the flu for the last two weeks. And what a flu it was! It started out with each of the kids with stomach flu--and all that entails. I can almost see you wincing in a combination of sympathy and relief--that you don't have it! Then the flu morphed into a high fever with headache, dizziness, sore throat, aches, etc. Once that worked its way through the system it settled into a combination of extreme head congestion and a cough that could hack up a lung.
So while I've been tending the sick (and being sick myself) I realized there are a few universal laws to the flu. I've had time to think about this recently and I thought I'd share it with you.

1. If you have more than one child, they will only get the flu one at a time. Subsequent children will not get sick until the first one is feeling and acting noticeably better.

2. The exception to rule number one: if you start feeling sick, then several of your children will become ill all at once. In the middle of the night. Repeatedly.

3. Whatever medicine you have in the cabinet, it will not be what you need to treat the current symptoms.

4. If you do have the right medicine, it will be past the expiration date on the bottle.

5. If your children are throwing up, their ability to make it to the bathroom is directly related to what time of day it is and how you are feeling.

Example: Middle of the day, you're feeling pretty good = child makes it to the bathroom before throwing up.

Middle of the night and you're running a fever = child will throw up in his bed and then repeatedly across the carpet as he tries to make it to the bathroom.

6. The child's need to throw up is directly related to the color of the last food that he ate. Anything the color red = high probability of vomiting without reaching the bathroom.

7. Whichever person insists they absolutely cannot get sick will get sick last. (My husband)

8. The closer you are to an event you can't miss, the more likely you will get sick just before it starts. (Terry held out for a week and a half. He got two days before he had to preach Sunday, and three days before our Super Conference starts.)

9. Your spouse will get sick just about the time you start really feeling horrible and absolutely have to have his help.

10. No one will want to shake hands with you for a full month after your entire family has completely recovered. When they actually shake your hand again, they will get sick within 24 hours and they will blame you.

I promise you that no germs were shared in the typing of this post.

Friday, February 20, 2009

And The Answer Is ...

Ingrid challenged me to come up with some answers to the questions I asked on my blog yesterday. Here are a few I thought up. What about you? Any answers? Silly, thought-provoking, ridiculous--if you think up an answer, share it here!

Why do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke?
Maybe they just like the taste of Diet Coke better!

Why do banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters?
Get serious! These banks loaned billions to people who could not afford to pay it back. They can't afford to give away free pens!

Why do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage?
The cars are insured. The junk is priceless.

Why do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight?
There is a huge conspiracy between the bun people and the hot dog people. In case you haven't noticed, the lunchmeat people are in on it too. I never have enough bologna slices to match the number of slices of bread in a loaf. And why does the bag of chips run out before the can of soda does? It's just wrong on so many levels!

Why do they have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering?
For the same reason that fastfood drive through windows have signs offering braille menus.


Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?
Because doing it the other way just sounds stupid.

Why women can't put on mascara with their mouth closed?
We can, but then we have to hold the mascara wand backward, and it's just a hassle.

Why don't you ever see the headline 'Psychic Wins Lottery'?
I think this falls in the same category as 'Physician, heal thyself.'

Why is 'abbreviated' such a long word?
It's not that long a word, but the double consonants can be confusing.

Why is it that doctors call what they do 'practice'?
Because it makes sense. I've been to quite a few doctors that needed more practice!

Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?
I think the real question is, why are you drinking dishwashing liquid?

Why isn't there mouse-flavored cat food?
For the same reason there isn't cat-flavored dog food.

Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes?
Okay, seriously, this is a good question.

Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?
That's dumb. If a cotton field doesn't shrink in the rain, why should a sheep?

If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?
This isn't a question--it's a true statement.

If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?
Haven't you listened to the news lately? Who said flying was safe?

Okay, there are my answers. I didn't answer them all because I wanted to leave some for you. Well, really it was because I couldn't think of anymore, but still ...

If you can answer one I haven't, or if you have another answer for any of these, fire away!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I'm not completely over the flu, but I have decided I am going to live. What I haven't decided is whether or not I want to live. While I debate that question, I thought I'd share a few other questions with you that someone sent me. Enjoy!

Why do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front?

Why do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke?

Why do banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters?

Why do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage?

Why do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight?

Why do they have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering?


Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?

Why women can't put on mascara with their mouth closed?

Why don't you ever see the headline 'Psychic Wins Lottery'?

Why is 'abbreviated' such a long word?

Why is it that doctors call what they do 'practice'?

Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?

Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?

Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?

Why isn't there mouse-flavored cat food?

Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes?

Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?

You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why don't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?!

Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?

Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?

If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?

If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?

Just a few things I've pondered in my fever-induced haze!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

sick with flu. If I don't die, I'll be back later this week.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Directions From a Country Song

I don't listen to country music, but there is a song I heard once whose lyrics really stuck with me. It was apparently about a couple that had broken up (aren't all country songs about that?) and the man was singing about how, when the girl was at work, he would be in one city and when she got off work he'd be in another city and by the time she was sleeping he'd be further away in still another city. It's a rather pointless song that mirrored perfectly my little drive to the Bible Study.
As I told you on Friday, I was already late, and I had finally decided to completely ignore Terry's GPS unit and find my own way. I did a u-turn and headed back toward 46-A. After a moment of stunned silence, the GPS unit jumped in the lead again.
"Recalculating. In 1.8 miles, turn left."
I ignored the talking idiot on my windshield and turned on 46A. This was more of a residential section. Fewer streetlights, but still a busy street. The unit announced what I already knew about turning left. Then I was glad for it again. Instead of slowing to read every street sign, I let the machine warn me as my turn was coming up on the right. This road would lead to the road Susan lived on. I was almost there!
The GPS unit dutifully informed me to turn right. There was almost a bored quality to the voice now, as though it knew I was no longer listening. This second to last road had a zig and a zag in it. For the first zig, the machine told me to turn right. For the zag, the machine also told me to turn right. I stared to my right at the field, and then turned left. Guess it was trying one last time to still show me who was boss. I parked on the street and took a breath. Then I deliberately turned off the car (and the unit) and reached for my notes.
Unfortunately, my notes and devotional book were still at home.
No matter. I would wing it. I borrowed someone's copy of the devotional and worked from that.
The GPS unit remained unplugged and turned off for the ride home. When I walked in the house my husband greeted me with a big smile.
"So how did it go? That thing took you right to Susan's house, didn't it? Did it work for you?"
"Sure." I answered as I went up the stairs. "I had no problems at all."

Friday, February 13, 2009

You Have Now Entered The Twilight Zone

This is not the sign I saw that night, but it might as well have been. I anxiously watched as the screen indicated that I took the exit, even though I was really still on the expressway. I had ignored the directions of the machine twice. I was afraid it was ignoring me in return. It all felt so confrontational!
"At the bottom of the ramp, turn left." I glanced down at the bottom of the ramp I had just passed.
I breathed a sigh of relief. My little friend was still with me. To make up for my rudeness, I promised to follow the next direction it gave.
"In .3 miles, take the next exit and stay to the right."
I looked up at the sign I was passing. The next exit was the 417. I didn't want the tollway! I thought quickly. Before you actually had to pay any tolls on the 417, there was an exit to Reinhart Road. That was probably the road I needed to follow to get to 46A. The machine had finally anticipated what I was doing! I gleefully took the tollway and headed for the Reinhart Road exit.
"Turn right." The machine's voice was firm. Apparently it had decided not to let me get off track again. I frowned. Shouldn't I actually get to the exit ramp before I attempted to turn right?
"Turn right."
This time the announcement came just as the exit came into view. I took the exit and rode the huge cloverleaf turn down to Reinhart Road.
"Turn right."
Excuse me? Wasn't I supposed to turn left on Reinhart? I thought 46A was still further south. But the machine sounded so sure, so I followed its directions. (In all fairness, who would buy a GPS unit that said, "I'm pretty sure we're supposed to take the next right.")
"In .3 miles, turn right."
"No! No! No!" I stared ahead of me in disbelief. The machine was still taking me back to 46! What kind of a cruel joke was this? It was as if the machine was determined to direct me to a dark, construction-filled area. Would it then laugh mockingly as I pleaded with it to show me the way out? Did it have little mechanical buddies waiting to hold up any unsuspecting soul who was foolish enough to follow its directions?
I angrily ignored the repeated order to turn right and steered my car into the left lane. 46A was somewhere still south of me. I would find it on my own. As I waited for the left turn arrow, I glanced at the clock. The meeting was to start at 7:00. It was currently 7:03.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Which Way Is Up?

So I was headed to my Bible study, guided by Terry's new GPS unit. It carefully directed me out of my subdivision. Turn right, go out. Not a big challenge. After turning right in the subdivision, it informed I had .4 miles to go before turning left. It warned me again at .1 mile and then ordered me to turn left. The thing sounded so know-it-all and smug. Like I couldn't figure out that going straight would land me in Lake Monroe sitting there in front of me. Duh!
I dutifully turned left out of the subdivision, and the unit immediately announced that I had .5 miles before turning left again. But here's where my backup plan came in. Turning left would eventually take me to construction. But if I drove a little further ahead, I could hop on the I-4 westbound. That would take me to 46A (not to be confused with 46). Then I would end up a little south of Susan's home, and I was sure I could find my way back up to her place from there. And if I was unsure of a turn, the GPS would help keep me from getting lost. It was a perfect plan. At least, it would have been a perfect plan if the GPS unit were actually a person and I could have communicated with it. Instead it was constantly playing catch-up. And since it didn't know my ultimate plan, it wasn't able to give me clear directions to do what I wanted to do. It could only give me clear directions for what it wanted me to do.
"In .1 mile, turn left."
I accelerated a little. Too late, I realized that this machine is not subtle. It does not pick up on passive-aggressiveness.
"Turn left."
The machine announced the order proudly, like no one else could have known where to turn. I drove straight through the intersection.
"Turn left."
Now that was dumb. I was now in the middle of the intersection. To follow the directions of the GPS unit, I would have had to cut across several lanes of traffic. Way to cause an accident, stupid machine!
"Recalculating." Did I detect a hint of resignation in its tone? "In .2 miles, turn left."
Yes, I could see the entrance ramp to the freeway. Thanks for pointing out the obvious. After getting on the freeway, the machine directed me to take the next exit. But that wasn't the exit I wanted. I accelerated past it. The machine did not comment. Had I discouraged it so soon? I glanced at the screen. It showed me taking the exit. I momentarily panicked. I mean, I was only 2-3 miles from home. I wasn't lost. But I wasn't quite sure of where I was going. It would be hard enough to figure it out on my own, but it would be much more difficult if this thing was giving me directions when it didn't even know where I was going. And if it had me a different road from where I actually was ...
If only it would have occurred to me to unplug the machine completely! But it didn't. We were in this together no matter what.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Turn Left Here

I have a good sense of direction. I like to know where I am at all times, so I pay attention to where things are at. When I was growing up, my grandparents lived about an hour from us. I always watched carefully the route we took to get to their house. If somehow I ended up on my own, I knew which direction to head in order to get home. (Never mind the dire reasons why a nine-year-old would suddenly find herself separated from her family!) I didn't know the street names, but I knew we turned left by the restaurant with the lion on the door, and I knew we had a right turn past the church with the rock wall surrounding the yard. Yes sir, I knew my way around!
The first time I moved away from home was when my husband and I moved from my neighborhood in the suburbs of Chicago to his neighborhood in the suburbs of Detroit. I memorized all the side streets and cross streets in our area within the first two weeks of living there. I wanted to know my way around.
These days I will usually mapquest an address I'm looking for. I'm aware that mapquest isn't perfect, but I usually back it up with a map of my own in the car. I'll look on mapquest to get a general idea of where I'm going, and I'll note any significant markers such as exit numbers or mileage points. It works for me.
My husband is a little more directionally challenged. He just recently got a new GPS unit for his car, and he absolutely loves it. I guess he'll never get lost again. He loves it so much, he wanted me to try it out the other night. I had a ladies' Bible study to go to. The hostess had provided maps on the back table at church. I dutifully picked one up and just as quickly lost it. It didn't matter, though. I'd been to her house before. It had been a while, but I was sure I could remember how to get there. I just couldn't remember the street I turned onto near her house. My husband had been there recently so I was getting ready to leave, I asked him the name of the street.
"You can't go that way," he informed me. "There's construction and the street is closed."
This caused a problem for me. In most cases I would have known other streets to take. But Florida is different. Every street here twists and turns. There is no direct route anywhere. Streets disappear and reappear miles later. I headed back upstairs to mapquest my directions.
"Wait!" My husband called. "You can use my GPS unit! It'll take you right there."
He so loves his new toy. He ran out to his truck to get it for me. I ran upstairs to mapquest the address so that I wouldn't need his new toy. The idea of a computerized machine talking to me and giving me directions unnerved me. If it was going with me, I wanted an actual map to refer to as well, just in case I got lost. But I only got a quick glimpse at the map before he came bounding into the room.
"See, I programmed the address in here. You'll have no problems at all."
I reluctantly followed him downstairs. "So this thing will direct me to Susan's house?"
"No problems at all."
"How does it know there's construction?"
"It doesn't."
"Then how will it get me around the construction?"
"Just drive until the road closes and then turn anywhere. The thing will automatically recalculate and give you new directions."
This did not sound good to me. Drive in the dark to a closed road. Then turn anywhere in these twisting subdivisions that have no way out and this thing would still tell me how to get where I was going? Was it possible it would recalculate and then tell me to turn around and head back where I came from? (In my husband's defense, he claimed later that evening that he didn't tell me to drive all the way up to the construction. He said he told me to drive to 46, which is a main road, and turn. Then the thing would recalculate. I never heard that part.)
I headed out to my car and Terry followed me so that he could install his new toy for me. He positioned it on the windshield where I could see it clearly. I could see it so clearly it was almost positioned directly in front of me. So I asked him to move it. He put it behind and under the rearview mirror, but then fretted that I wouldn't be able to see it. Why did I need to see it? I thought the thing was supposed to talk to me. He finally got it into a position we were both comfortable with and then happily sent us on our way. I'm not sure if he was waving goodbye at me or at his toy. As I pulled out of the driveway and turned, the screen on the unit swirled to show the new direction. It confused me and made me dizzy, so I resolved I wouldn't look at it again. I had two good ears. It would tell me where to go. But I also had a backup plan. Just in case ...

Monday, February 9, 2009


Everyone loves a hero. Don't they? Someone who performs a daring deed, saves mankind (or at least, some of mankind) from imminent peril. And then of course, a true hero ends up also being a basically nice guy. That's just the icing on the cake. We celebrate heroes. We want to put them up on a pedestal. We want them to be just a little bit better than the rest of us.
Last month such a hero came to the forefront of the news. Captain Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger will forever more have the words "Hero Pilot" attached to his name. This is the captain that landed his USAir plane in the Hudson River last month after a flock of birds damaged the engines. Passengers stated that they were not afraid because his voice was so calm. No one was injured and all were rescued safely.
That's enough to get anyone their fifteen minutes of fame. But then more info started to come out about Sully. He runs a consulting business on the side. For airline safety. He has years of experience and is one of the foremost knowledgeable in his field. Yes, sir. If you're going to land your plane on a river, this is the man you want in the driver's seat.
And then I heard more information about him. Not only can he keep his head in an emergency situation, but he did exactly what he was supposed to do. And he announced it. He didn't crash in the Hudson. He landed there. Because that was the best option for his passengers to survive.
He made the rounds of the talk shows. In these interviews he's repeatedly said that too much attention has been on him and not enough on his crew. Because they wouldn't have had such a good outcome without their calm, professional actions. He's a guy who shares glory. He truly seems too good to be true.
Now, I'm sure that someone somewhere has been investigating Sully's past as soon as he became a public figure. If there's a discrepancy in his taxes, or an affair hidden in his past, it will surface eventually. Not that it will have anything to do with his heroic efforts to save his passengers. It's just that some people aren't satisfied until they've found some dirt in the pool.
But in the meantime, this seems to be a genuinely nice guy. A nice guy that had no idea the tag "Hero Pilot" would be attached to him before the end of the day on January 15th. He had no time to polish up his reputation or sweep a few indiscretions under the rug. Fame hit him suddenly, and so far his reputation has been able to stand up to the onslaught. Moral of the story? Live your life the right way now. You never know when your fifteen minutes of fame might start. You don't want to be unprepared.
By the way, Sully had a library book with him on that plane, but it was ruined in the landing. The book? "Professional Ethics". The library is waving his fees. But then again, this guy will probably pay them anyway.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Floating Body Parts

In all the courses I've taken and books I've read on writing fiction, there are certain rules that I've learned. One is, no head hopping. When you write a scene in a book, you pick one character's point of view and stay in that pov for the entire scene. For instance, you wouldn't write, "She thought he was handsome. He loved the way her eyes sparkled when she laughed."
Another rule is staying in character. Your characters have to be the same personality-wise throughout the whole book. You can't have someone flighty and careless throughout the book suddenly making calm, logical analysis.
A third rule of writing is to be careful of floating body parts. They are phrases we've all heard, or even used, but they tend to give some interesting mental pictures. For instance, rolling one's eyes takes on a whole new meaning when you look at the picture in today's post. And throwing your leg over the chair--did you ever get a mental picture of someone picking up their leg with both hands and actually throwing it? (Maybe it's just us nutty writer-types.) Or one of my personal favorites: throwing up your hands. Regurgitation possibilities abound here.
So in the interest of humor, what kind of floating body parts can you think of? Raising your eyebrows? Would that be half-mast? Go back through some books you've read recently. Find any body parts floating around in there? Share them! Give me a laugh that lasts through the weekend!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

How Do You Spell Relief?

Remember those old Rolaids commercials where the answer was, "R-O-L-A-I-D-S"? Well, in line with yesterday's post, I got to think about how a person can get relief from discouragement. Clearly, it's important to focus on the Lord in order to have perfect peace. Bot God gives us many different ways to focus on Him.
I had a terrible time yesterday focusing on Him. I would remind myself and feel perfect peace for a minute or so before my worries swept over me again. I had a raging headache that even brought me to vomiting, and I strongly considered telling my husband I couldn't go to church last night. I knew I needed to be there--I play the piano for the song service, and I head up the children's program. Sure, someone could fill in for me, but it wouldn't be convenient to them at the last minute. I had a martyr complex and I went because I had to. Plus, I didn't think being alone with my thoughts was a particularly good idea either.
What I didn't realize was, I needed to be there for me, not my ministries. I always enjoy the song services, but the words and music really spoke to my heart last night. I played "When We See Christ" for the offertory and, no matter how many mistakes I made, the message of the song was a great comfort to me.
And then came Kids Klub. Not my favorite ministry by any means. I was supposed to tell the story--I usually do a combination of telling and acting out of Bible stories--but I had nothing to tell last night. So I asked the kids for their preferences. they ended up voting for a story on Ehud, the second Judge in the Book of Judges. Ironically, I had just read the story in my devotions that morning. As I told the story, the message again spoke to me as well as to the kids.
During the prayer request time (It was prayer meeting, after all) I found myself praying for the requests that had been mentioned. Honestly, it was almost a relief to be praying for something other than my problem. Once again I was--in a way--ministering to others. And that ministered to me.
I felt better by the end of the service, but I was still ready to head for home and climb in bed. But one of the ladies stopped me and asked to talk. Her questions again made me focus on helping someone else.
By the time I left the church last night, I was truly focusing on Christ instead of on myself. He had allowed me to minister to some of His children. That action focused my attention on Him more than any struggling internal thoughts of my own could manage.
sometimes we focus on Christ by reading and meditating on His Word. Sometimes we focus through prayer. But sometimes we focus through service. Last night He used service to draw me close to Him. And I'm better for it today.
So how do you focus on Him?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Perfect Peace

When trials come your way, what do you do with them? Do you ever have problems--or the threat of problems--looming over your head like threatening storm clouds? How hard or easy is it to move on with the demands of life, ignoring the boulder that is rolling down on you? (Little flash of Indiana Jones, there.)
I tend to dread things. When problems rear their ugly heads, they end up being a nagging little thorn in the corner of my mind. No matter what else I'm doing, the problem is there. Waiting to be acknowledged as soon as I can't distract myself with something else.
As a mother (and a woman) we want to fix things for those around us. We want to kiss it and make it all better. Sometimes when problems come up, I find myself running different scenarios through my head. "This could end up as this. But if this happens, then we could do that." I don't know if everyone does that, or if this is just a negative side effect of my fiction writing. But when it comes to real life, it can get torturous. I think through every possible happening that could stem from whatever situation I am facing. I tell myself I want to be prepared for every possible circumstance. I want to know how to deal with any scenario that could possibly happen.
But can you ever be truly prepared? Probably not. Inevitably the end result is something I never saw coming. The one eventuality I didn't consider. Sometimes the end result--whether envisioned or in actuality--is something that makes me think, "So why do I even bother?"
I think my problem here is this: why do I think that I can fix it? And why do I have the arrogance to even try? you see, it's not up to me to fix it. Not my problems or anyone else's. I'm not God.

But I know how to talk to Him.

Something came up this week that I did not see coming. Actually, I did see it coming, but I didn't recognize it until it ran over me. As I struggled to deal with it, God gave me a verse one morning in my devotions. Isaiah 26:3, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." I haven't had a whole lot of peace this week. And I realize it's because my mind is on the problem instead of on Christ. When I focus on Him, I can have perfect peace. Why? Because I trust Him. Will He fix the problem or make it disappear? Not always. But I know I can trust Him to help me through this problem--no matter what the end result. I can trust Him. And because of that I have perfect peace.
When the little thorn raises its ugly head and I start worrying again, I have to remind myself to focus on Him. Keep my mind on Him.
Perfect peace. It's worth it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What's In A Name?

A lot of people I know have been having babies lately. (Purely a coincidence, I'm sure) and that's gotten me to thinking about baby names. As with most things, I have a very strong opinion on this topic and since this is my blog, I'm going to share it with you.
I've given a lot of thought to naming children--after all, I've named six of them myself. (With a little help from my husband.) It's a huge responsibility. You are tagging and identifying that person for the rest of their life. The name is usually the first thing given in conversation when you meet someone. It makes a big difference if you introduce yourself as "Alexander" as opposed to say, "Scooter". Whole different first impression.
Every year a list is produced of the most popular names for the previous year. But you don't need to check the list to see what's popular. Just stand at the edge of a playground and yell, "Ashley!" or "Megan!" See how many come running. (Of course this scientific test can be marred by the fact that you might be picked up by the police because you're a grown adult loitering around a children's playground. But that's your business.) It's funny though how popular names can change over the years. The Dylans and Ashleys of today could become the Miltons and Gertrudes of yesteryear.
It always bugs me when people try to show their creativity in naming their baby. You want to be creative? Take up painting. But don't saddle some poor kid with a name like QueegQueeg because you like the letter Q and think it gets a bum rap.
Some people think a couple of vowels adds up to creativity. I once knew a family where the wife was named Tracy. but she spelled it Treacy. Because an extra vowel makes it special, I guess. Their daughter's name was Raechael. Yup. Rachel with a whole lot of extra vowels. That's not creative. All you've done is consign your child to having his/her name misspelled for the rest of their life. Or pronounced in weird ways. Either way, it's not so much creative as it is cruel.
You see, there's a Good Unique you can give in naming children and then there's a Just Plain Wrong. And it's a fine line between the two. I once heard a comic define it this way: Good Unique is when you call your kid and he's the only one that comes running. Just Plain Wrong is when he's running because he's being chased.
And then some people aren't that creative. That's why we have a lot of Bobs and Janes running around. But did you ever notice that the more plain the name, the more likely the family is to carry it on to the fourth and fifth generation? Take Bob Jones for example. You get a college named after you and I guess it's not that big a deal that your name is rather plain. But now they've carried that name for generations. When you have to go into roman numerals in order to spell out your name, maybe it's time to go in a new direction.
Of course, some people are clever and creative. They'll give their child a perfectly normal first name and then slip the creative choice in as a middle name. That's why so many people just put a middle initial instead of the whole name. They're ashamed of their parents' creativity. Again, take up painting. It's less painful and there's definitely a lowered risk of having to pay therapy bills for your children all their lives.
And finally, there's the trap we fell into. We gave one of our children two middle names. Of course we had a good reason for doing this. When our second son was born, we wanted to name him after two different people. But we didn't want either name to be the first name. So we gave him our own choice for the first name and gave him two middle names. Try filling that whole name out on a small form! In addition, we did that because "who knew if we'd have any more boys." We've since had three more, for a total of five boys. Toward the end we got real close to stealing one of Luke's middle names and giving it to someone else.
So there you have it. Play it safe. Extra letters do not mean true uniqueness. It just advertises that you're poor at spelling. And remember, that child you name today will be naming your grandchild tomorrow.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Air Quotes and Other Annoying Gestures

Because I was an English teacher (okay, I'd admit it--and a grammar geek) incorrect punctuation annoys me. I know whether the punctuation goes inside or outside the quotes. I know what the comma rules are, and I'm actually fond of the semicolon.
**CORRECTION--incorrect grammar annoys me when I'm reading something professionally written. I do NOT critique blog comments.** : )
One of my biggest pet peeves is a grammar/gesture: the air quotes. I hate them. For the most part, they're really not necessary. People ought to be able to tell from your speech where your emphasis or sarcasm is. I once knew a speaker who used air quotes way too frequently. In addition, his words were flowing more quickly than he could move. By the time he got his hands up for an air quote, he was gesturing for the wrong word. Way too funny.
Another gesture is the "okay" symbol. You know, where you make a circle with your thumb and forefinger. Does anyone even use that gesture anymore? We've shortened the word "okay" to "ok" already. And now with text messaging, it's even down to "k". It takes more time to do the gesture than to actually say the word. And it wasn't that long a word to begin with.
I think high fives will never go out of style. It used to be a total jock gesture. When other people started adopting it for themselves, they would announce it. "High five," they'd say, sticking their hand in the air. But now it's lame to announce it. Everyone knows what it is. It's also a gesture that's best used sparingly. Otherwise you're back to the jock image. Which wouldn't be so bad if you actually resembled a jock. But if you're a little doughy around the middle and you continually give high fives, you look like a jock wannabe. Not a pretty picture for anyone.
A close cousin of the high five is the fist five. I had a teen stick their fist out at me one time. I fist bumped with her and she was astonished that I knew what to do. What, like it's so hard to figure out? If someone's fist is coming at me quickly, I know to duck. If it's just sitting there, give it a fist bump.
A neighbor of the fist bump would be the hip bump. In case you're wondering, no one does that anymore, at least not in every day life. If you think about it, you're basically hitting someone with your backside. Now in what society would that be considered polite?
One gesture that I both like and hate is the thumbs up. It's a great way to give quick approval, but it can also be overused. And then, of course, people tack on the thumbs down and thumbs sideways communications. And then the one I hate the most--wagging the thumb back and forth both up and down. Either like it or don't like it. Wagging your thumbs back and forth doesn't give approval or disapproval. It merely says you can't make up your mind. If that's the case then you have no opinion at all. And if you have no opinion, why are you giving one?
Another gesture that gets confusing is the wink. This one can get you in a lot of trouble. Since a wink can indicate either fun or flirtation, there's a fine line to walk with this one. A wink has specific rules. The most basic is, don't wink at the opposite sex. It's going to be misunderstood every time. Some people try to get around this by doing the exaggerated wink. You know, they distort their open mouth to the side and very slowly close one eye. Or they vary that by rapidly, repeatedly winking. Only most people don't have the facial muscles to pull that off, so they simply look like they're having a seizure. Wrong message to send.
So there you have my take on gestures. Absolutely useless information, but it may give you a laugh for this Monday. What about you? Any gestures you find annoying? Or use all the time?
(I purposely didn't cover the gestures used often on the California freeways. I don't think they are appropriate topics for this blog!)
Related Posts with Thumbnails