Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Don't have time to do much for Christmas this year, but we Hope you have a Merry Holiday!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Shushan / Susan / Susa

>may i ask why your name is 'shushan' now?
It always was. Shushan is merely a variant spelling of my first name.

Susan/Shushan/Susa is an ancient name whose original meaning is unknown. The current definition given for it is 'lily of the valley.' However, this is a guess at which flower grew in the valley of the first city of Shushan. That flower was said to be a small, delicate, star-like flower which was either white or blue. It may have been an astor, edelweiss, a daisy (maybe they weren't everywhere back in the day!), or lily of the valley. The flower grew well in unlikely spots but didn't always respond well to cultivation. Merchants and travelers took it back with them all over the ancient world, and the name went with it. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the city precedes the flower as the source of the name "Susan.'

I read a very interesting account of this ancient history in a university library as a teen. Apparantly the most famous Susa/Susan/Shushan known now was a capital city under the Persions/Medes..but this may have been the third city of that name.

According to a falling apart tome I found in Wake Forest University's rare book section...Shushan was a legendary city built in a green valley at the crossroads of the world. The inhabitants, or at least their rulers, dedicated themselves to the principles of hospitality, simplicity, and learning. It was said that for long periods the founders limited the amount of wealth that could be held inside the city, in order to discourage pride...and robbers. They were said to have been great stone masons and teachers, but eventually the merchants took over. Once wealth began to accumulate within the city-state, the fame of the place insured invaders. The city was rebuilt with walls at least once on the same location before a change in climate caused the people to migrate away.

That's the legend.

What is known for certain is that Susa / Susan was a capital city of Persia for many centuries. Esther's beautiful story is supposed to have taken place in the great city of Susan.

I strongly identified with the virtues mentioned...hospitality, humility, and learning. The only reason I didnt use Shushan as a screenname to begin with is...well, its my name. It is just an unusual spelling of my name. I consider it a family reference, as every toddler I have ever known pronounced my name as "Shushan." It tickles me to think they may be right.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Not so tasty cookies

Many of you know I love to share sweet baked treats with my family & friends, but I didnt arrange these. Some not so tasty cookies from a not very nice person seemed to have been attached to my site in the last couple of days. I contacted blogger about it immediately, giving the technical data my security returned to me, and they seem to be gone already. Hopefully I gave blogger enough info to chase down the culprit.

The SSL is false. They were not the usual session cookies. I've been told that MANY sites (especially blogs) of people who have been related to the Myst community have been hosting these precise cookies (they are actually pretty distinctive).

So please clear your browser cookie cache, if you don't usually do so on a regular basis already. It is a good idea to clear them everyday, as too many will slow down your computer on and, eventually, even off the 'net.

Now here's a sweeter idea for your perusal:


Saturday, November 19, 2005

Brk!Brk! Brk!

chef jpeg
You are the the Swedish Chef.
You are a talented individual, nobody understands
you. Perhaps it's because you talk funny.

"Brk! Brk! Brk!"
Kokin' der yummee-yummers

"Wild Strawberries...and Creme"

"Der Swedish Chef Kokin' Bokin'"

"Vergoofin der flicke stoobin mit der brk-brk

What Muppet are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Intelligent Design

People are still talking about the tentative gains toward public recognition Intelligent Design has achieved in a few places. The most common attack is to call it all unscientific, by which they usually mean one of the following:

1 the faith of the scientists in question means they can't be good scientists because scientists should have no framework drawn from any source other than that allowed by NSF (or other currently governing scientific guilds)

Your position on the relative position of the universe to yourself is part of your belief system (aka religion, with or without a God. Atheists must also have faith, because you can't truly disprove God)

I have read any number of quotes and refs that have established beyond doubt that many who push(ed) the evolutionary framework have had their own humanistic faith (bias) to guide them. This included Darwin, though he may or may not have repented of it at the end.

They did NOT leave their faith at the laboratory door, Sir. They left everybody else's there.

2. No good scientists are involved in this effort.

Actually MANY good scientists have questioned evolution. Many of these were not believers in the Bible at the time, but being pilloried for daring to hold a 'religious' view, when they were only (initially) questioning a detail in the evolutionary framework, opened their eyes. Not all became believers then, but they ceased to be blind followers of Darwin.

Some were actually trying to improve upon evolution in a new direction, but found themselves on the receiving end of demonic attack, at last understood that there WAS a battle going on, that it did concern faith in God, and that they had been deceived by the system.

The pilloring itself, (ie the sort of garbage thats currently aimed at Behe), is part of what has become a standard process to demonize and discredit anyone not following the party line. Behe was recognized as a leading scientific light before his 'defection.'

Please understand that not all those who have given some credence to ID, or who question the Darwinian framework, are Christians, let alone conservative believers. The common identification made by the media/establishment is for two reasons 1) evangelical believers have been the quickest to recognize the importance of the debate. 2) These believers were already being demonized and there are those who see tarring all dissenters with this label as a way to discourage other defections. Its an implicit threat. Anyone NOT a believer would prefer not to have to seek conservative Christian support in order to continue their scientific studies. Once you are portrayed in this manner, it is likely to be very difficult to receive grants or gain tenure.

If the evolutionists truly believe they are correct, why do they feel the need for so many political dirty tricks ? The truth should be self-evident. If they truly value all searchers for truth, why be so hostile to those exploring another paradigm?

Currently those who do not already hold very strong positions or very strong beliefs are going to be discouraged to speak of any doubts they may have in such a charged atmosphere. At its base, this shrill cry is persecution, plain and simple because it doesnt respect any other point of view than its own. Worse, it insults people of faith as being incapable of logic. (They teach that at some colleges too, but its a different course).

Bluntly, our society is becoming increasingly intolerant of monotheists/dissenters from the current media-drenched culture. It just hasnt gotten down to the level of concentration camps and gas chambers...yet.

3. Mixing science and scientific study with elements of one's faith will produce not produce 'pure' science. The results should not be treated as though they were equal to purely scientific studies

Most people have yet to realize that their view of science reflects a taught bias most received from their earliest years in education. One of my children's textbooks, purchased from a public school, cheerfully informed them that scientists are impartial beings who set up studies purely for the love of knowledge or to solve a problem. They were assured that all real science is based on laboratory results and theories based in impeccable logic. T'ain't necessarily so.

I've already mentioned the current bias against monotheism, but there are other issues.

First off, science, as defined by that textbook, has overstepped its bounds. If only that which is reproduceable in a laboratory is good science, then most of what I see, hear, and read from the scientific establishment is the worst sort of charlatanism. They can not reproduce fossils by a slow process over millions of years. They cannot make a universe with a big bang in one. They cannot show a slow change, unaided by intelligent agents, even within a species, let alone a change from one to another. Closest they can get is to show single cell organisms using their amazing, built-in adaptive mechanisms to defeat the challenges we put in their way. Adaption within a species is designed into the creature. It is not 'progress' in the evolutionary sense.

Most think science and worldview can be separate at all levels. On some levels it can, as per chemistry and most Mythbusters experiments. But when you get into the age of the world and other BIG questions you start accepting some other unproven (and unprovable) hypothesis in order to move forward. Evolution is one of those uber-theories. Its a belief framework under which other hypothesis can be framed and tested, but the results will likely be interpreted ONLY in terms of the base belief/theory. Unless another truly different paradigm is substituted, you will probably never know if the results of your test/study could have a different meaning than the one you assigned to it.

The interesting thing to me is how many results of known studies change so drastically in significance when the ID framework is adopted.

Evolution has been billed to young children (and the general public) as the only good theory that covers all the facts, despites its many contradictions and failures. Students, being younglings, usually believe what they are told. Even by college days, they are still highly influenceable. They follow their professor's lead and continue to frame all questions in light of what they were told. They wish to look good to their elders. They wish to be recognized in the world. They are told evolution is the one ring of science that rules all others. One day, some of them become professors themselves...and Mordor's influence grows. (Sadly, I believe this West-dominated, scientific monoculture has not been wholly wonderful for the advancement of mankind.)

Imperfect humans rarely engage in perfect activities of any sort. Most logical constructs of any complexity develop flaws that may or may not be readily apparant to reviewers. They may or may not recognize their own prejudices. Some quite racist studies at late 19th/early 20thC held many societal and prejudicial errors in both the framing of the questions and in how the scientists in the experiments sought their answers. Those studies stood for decades. It was not pure science that budged those 'laboratory results' in the end. It was social pressure and a change in public attitudes. The mistakes are fairly obvious to any educated modern audience ~ who does not share their views. So much for 'pure' science. :P

The world doesn't have to get saved to recognize intelligent design as an alternative. The recognition for the catastrophic framework need not be religious per se. There are several possibilities that could account for their discoveries. The Bible's account would do so but so would the transplanting of species from elsewhere to this planet, once a catastrophically unstable world (that eventually settled down). Direct intervention of the Arthur C. Clarke variety, but earlier in the day, would have the ID effect. Cyclical quantum effects, especially between universes, might also produce dramatic effects that could account for an ID framework. Who knows?

*I* believe God is the cause, true. All I ask is that you recognize that He is a possibility and show me respect as a fellow, thinking human. Anything else is between you and Him.

Yes, the results do encourage Christians...and Hindus and ufologists and certain New Age sects. Christian ID scientists have found that allowing the words they believe came from the Maker of the universe to guide their searches has an illuminating effect.

but that doesn't make their work based on this alternative framework non-scientific.

Besides, its about time somebody else got a word in edgewise.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does
not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself
from it.

- St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)

Susan's addendum: The enemy's servants don't recognize humility when they see it practiced either, invariably mistaking meekness for weakness or deception. They don't do any better recognizing forbearance, forgiveness, unselfish affection.....

So let us practice the virtues of Christ and confuse 'em all!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Pat Robertson & the latest brouhaha

It never surprises me to find unkind comments and anger aimed at believers and other dissenters to mainstream dogma. People usually believe whatever they are raised with, and whatever they hear most often. Repetition from enough quarters sounds like well established fact to the average person.

I am most saddened, however, when I hear similar things from fellow believers. I don't usually say much about it, but in the last 24 hours, I have felt pressed to speak up.

Pat Robertson has often been a focus of late because of the attention of mainstream media. Pat has said some unpopular but true things, but is often reported lately saying unkind things I could never agree with doctrinally or any other way. [Strange that I never seem to hear him say these shocking things when I am listening.]

I understand perfectly why Robertson's reported words anger people. To be blunt, I'm not too damn happy about it myself. Our wonderful media isn't into repecting opinions not their own, and because his views are harsher than what many believers hold, we feel his comments reflect badly on our witness. Still, I am not gonna blast him for it. Some people really believe as Pat does. I imagine Pat believes what he is saying or he wouldnt bother. Irritating or not, only God is fit to judge this servant.

So, while I realize Pat is a tempting target for our anger considering the demonization believers consistently receive, because he sounds so judgmental in these quotes, I ask you to consider that is exactly what this is...a temptation to judge a brother in Christ.

Pat's show isn't blasted on every channel. He's being asked for comments. He's being watched closely for anything that can be used. They don't talk about the good things they say and do over there, just the unkind bits.

You'll note how few ministers of any sort aside from Robertson get mainstream airtime. Its like a blackout.

In this way, some in the media are both nominating Pat as spokesperson for protestant Christians and then picking apart his comments to denigrate all those they can associate with him. They never report him praying for everyone in America. They never mention all the good mission work they do over there. Its not a balanced account.

No, this is a triple-prong attack. It seeks to convince many living 'on the fence' that we are much less loving as a group than many of us actually are. This negative image promotes division within the body of Christ over one of the only visible leaders. This garbage encourages believers to play the "more liberal than thou" with one another and in front of unbelievers (who, if they believe you, wonder why they should consider Jesus if you are just like everybody else. After all if being like everyone else is what makes you better than those 'fundamentalists'...). This clever trap encourages even strong believers to judgementalism, pride, and hostility. None of this honors Christ.

If we fall for it, our walk with Christ and the very witness of our life will be impaired.

thanks for listening.

I am:

(from Jennifer's blog)

I am: redeemed
I miss: hanging out with some of you
I want: many things that could make a differrence!
I have: an amazing family
I fear: very little
I play: adventure games
I never: seem to get to the end of my to-do list
I hear: a history documentary on Sparta
I care: about people
I smile: because I am happy
I wonder: how long until Christ returns
I poke: pillows to see the dent
I love: my family
I mess: up my typing
I think: about which project to work on next
I always: dream up stories
I am not: a bigot
I wish: I knew how to play musical instruments
I keep: a great many notes
I can't: do every thing I'd like to
I write: often
I lose: well, I'm trying to lose weight
I smell: leaves on the damp wind
I confuse: positive and negatives in my writing sometimes
I dance: only near soft surfaces (I B klutzy)
I sing: along with Lamb
I laugh: at Pat's jokes
I cry: "please think for yourself!"
I talk: freely, only to friends
I am: wondering what you will say...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Bookshelf quiz

I wrote this post but it could still be considered a cheat of sorts because its lifted from my replies to a webboard forum questionnare. I figured it could do for today. Wouldnt mind hearing some of your answers to it. yes, emails are still okay.

I *am* still writing but will have to finish 10 talents later. Sorry to say, I've been fighting my usual fall flu bug of late. Praise God for His healing & deliverance!


What books you read as a child still linger in the memory in later years?

There are so many in that catagory!

I grew up reading Tolkein, C.S. Lewis (not just Narnia), S. Cooper, Asimov, Silverberg, R. L. Stevenson, Frank L. Baum, Jules Verne, Madeleine L'Engle, Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling (have they really banned him? Thats very sad indeed), Ray Bradbury, a few by Oscar Wilde when mother wasnt looking....

As I got older, my mother shared more and more of her collection of classics, including the Great Books series (Plato, Bacon, Shakespeare...) as well.

As the grandpa said in Princess Bride, "in my day t.v. was called books"

Has a book forced you to re-think your opinion on a subject?

often! Latest being Hancock's Underworld book (on ancient ruins underwater)

The most important being the Bible. That work reshapes my opinions on a regular basis. Though I do enjoy studying other belief systems Tao and Zen.

Have you a favourite author and grab every book they have written?

Or as many as I can find anyway! Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Ellis Peters, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, George MacDonald, Jules Verne, G.K. Chesterton, Mark Twain, C.S. Lewis, Rand Miller...

Do you tend to stick to a single genre or do you read books on many topics?

I have favorite subjects, especially history, but I read a variety of things. I think most bibliophiles do.

Do you recommend books you have enjoyed to your friends?

yep! which ones depend on the interests of the friends. -

Has a film adaptation of a favourite book pleased or disappointed you?

I'd be very surprised if anyone answered this question with a 'no.' The delight is when they don't disappoint. I have hopes for a couple of movies coming out this holiday season.

Friday, November 11, 2005

For Veteran's Day ~ TAPS

(read this on Gameboomers and thought I'd pass it along. Never knew all the verses to TAPS either)

(complete lyrics on this page)

This is a gentle reminder to each of us that "So much is owed to so few by so many." Well, I guess history has never stopped amazing us. About Taps, a gallant story. If any of you have ever been to a military funeral in which taps were played; this brings out a new meaning of it. Here is something Every Canadian and American should know.

We in Canada and the USA have all heard the haunting song, "Taps". It's the song that gives us that lump in our throats and usually tears in our eyes. But, do you know the story behind the song? If not, I think you will be interested to find out about its humble beginnings.

Reportedly, it all began in 1862 during the Civil War, when Union Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison 's Landing in Virginia. The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land. During the night, Captain Ellicombe heard the moans of a soldier who lay severely wounded on the field. Not knowing if it was a Union or confederate soldier, the Captain decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention. Crawling on his stomach through the gunfire, the Captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him toward his encampment.

When the Captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was dead. The Captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb with shock.

In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier. It was his own son. The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out. Without telling his father, the boy enlisted in the Confederate Army.

The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked permission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial, despite his enemy status. His request was only partially granted. The Captain had asked if he could have a group of Army band members play a funeral dirge for his son at the funeral.

The request was turned down since the soldier was a Confederate. But, out of respect for the father, they did say they could give him only one musician. The Captain chose a bugler. He asked the bugler to play a series of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper in the pocket of the dead youth's uniform.

This wish was granted. The haunting melody, we now know as "Taps" ... used at military funerals was born. The words are : Day is done..Gone the sun. From the sea. From the hills. From the sky. All is well. Safely rest.God is nigh.

Fading light. Dims the sight. And a star. Gems the sky.Gleaming bright. From afar. Drawing nigh. Falls the night.

Thanks and praise. For our days. Neath the sun. Neath the stars. Neath the sky. As we go. This we know. God is nigh.

I too have felt the chills while listening to "Taps" but I have never seen all the words to the song until now. I didn't even know there was more than one verse. I also never knew the story behind the song. I didn't know if you had either, so I thought I'd pass it along.

I now have an even deeper respect for the song than I did before. Remember Those Lost and Harmed While Serving Their Country, and also those presently serving in the Armed Forces. Please send this on after a short prayer. Make this a Prayer wheel for all soldiers.

(My Thanks to Blondie_BC)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Because He's Mine, I walk the Line

We like fun around here. We believe in God and would not do what displeases him for the world, but we love fantasy books, movies, and games. For a time there we deliberately gave many of them up while we worked out if we were being led to drop our 'toys.' Finally came to the conclusion we weren't, as long as we stayed in bounds. We have taught our children what scripture says about witchcraft and, in detail, why 'magic' as opposed to petitioned 'miracles' may not be sought by saints. [May cover this in more detail later] We also covered the theories of unusual natural gifts from God. (the Harry Potter series uses this grey area a lot, but also incorporates other worldview elements making this bit of fun fruitful ground for discussion of what is and isn't in bounds according to scripture.) Such a perspective makes us a little weird to many serious brothers and sisters in faith, as well as to the mainstream who don't understand the scruples we live by. For us, even playing video games involves a few limits and several discussions of what is and isn't wise to pretend. We seek not to cross our interpretation of Christian ethics, the lines set by our beliefs.

For example, we see nothing wrong in dressing up in neat costumes any time of year. We see Halloween as an excuse to share one or two , but we don't celebrate Halloween as such. We'd be just as happy dressing up for a sci-con or Renaissance fair.

Granted Becka's starry tunic this year looked kinda 'wizardly,' especially when she added a star-covered medieval hat going to Busch Gardens, but she'll be able to wear it all year (at home). Its a combination of several 'historic' patterns she liked done 'fantasy.' We still hope to make a dress in a more expensive fabric sometime this winter. William wanted (& got) a proper cowboy hat this year and dressed western most wherever he went this October. He has Jedi pjs in winter & summer fabrics that we made him, but these ARE regular night wear for him so he didnt want to wear them outside.

They didn't go trick or treating in their neat outfits, though they got offered candy when we went grocery shopping etc. I didnt make a fuss about that, though people got the honest answer when asked what we intended to do on Halloween. (nothing). We sent a few cards, drank hot chocolate, & ate some candy. We just didn't make a big fuss over the day. That was the line.

The fuss we saved for Becka's big day, which happens to be about the same time of year. I am happy to report she loved her dolphin cake, cds, perfumes, mirror, and Celtic tissue box.

We do acknowledge Reformation Day, All Hallow's Eve, & All Saints Day but we haven't worked out what we ought to do with these occasions. Right now we've chosen to remember these times by praying regularly through these days for Christ's persecuted church, unity for those of us in Christ's body, wisdom for us all to choose His ways in these decadent times, & mercy upon the good souls who have passed ahead of us.

Reformation day has my attention lately.

Another blogger described Reformation day (aka Halloween) as a success of evil against the true church because of the great division created that day. I am sorry about the division too but I don't honestly believe it was the enemy who won the war over Reformation (though he certainly got some battles).

I truly believe many of the Protestant sects, and the populations they influenced, got a lot closer to God than they would have had the errors that were building in Martin Luther's day continued unchallenged. For good and ill, reformation changed the world & a church that needed changing.

I also believe the Catholic church benefitted greatly from the free discussion that followed the break. Reformation brought real change to the original body too as the apologists and thinkers of both sides studied the views of the other. Reformation encouraged a fresh look at old practices and a substantial purging of ungodly elements. Believers like John Hus are better understood and much more appreciated since these changes.

If only ths growth hadn't been accompanied by so many persecutions of believers of both stripes. Jews and pagans also suffered once the idea of permantly 'purifying' the world of 'wrong believers' took hold in Europe, for it went in all directions. That was not Biblical, and it was not a good witness for our loving Lord.

Jesus loves sinners, He just hates sin. This make sense given how much He loves us. Sin kills. Sin destroys. He gave Himself to cure of us of that awful disease in all its forms.

Since it is still the Halloween season, its fair to mention that Christ loves actual witches. He just hates the witchcraft and other sins that keep them apart from fellowship with Him. Witchcraft is actually a form of idolatry as well as paganism. Followers of it look to their own knowledge, skills, or cleverness to gain what they want and need, instead of looking to God. This is why it is a serious sin, but also why being too greedy for gain & depending on material possessions/people of influence/your own schemes to gain what you want was called just as bad.

Since Christ loves sinners, we should all understand that Christ loves 'heretic' believers too. (whatever variety you think that is) They may not be heretics to Him. Or, to put it another way, we may all be. None of us follow perfectly even in what we think we know. Many of us likely hold incorrect ideas about His purpose in our lives, His divinity, and so on. It is not wise to judge others walk with Christ, though fair to teach what we believe to be the truth, as long as it is done in love. Hey, we might be wrong about 'an important doctrinal point' too! If they are wrong, but put Jesus first, Christ will take care of the serious errors in His own good time.

The books of martyrs, both Protestant and Catholic, hold some very sad entries of believers killing one another over doctrinal differences. May it never happen again! There are plenty willing to kill us all (and the Jews too, come to that). May such never be able to shelter behind our doctrinal differences and pretend to be one of the disciples of Love Incarnate!

Paul speaks only of exiling(excommunicating) those from the church who will not not follow the gospel. Jesus warned that we would be persecuted and betrayed as we followed our Shepherd. He didn't give any orders about persecuting back. Quite the contrary, in fact.

Jesus Christ did not kill when He came 2000 years ago. Judgement will come but He didnt tell us to do it. He told us NOT to judge, let alone carry out sentence. Our orders are to share and live the gospel we have chosen to believe. We are not called to jihad or to judge unbelievers in any manner. That is God's job and the Almighty is well able to do it!

Where do I stand?

I love unity but can't bring myself to plump for Catholicism or Protestantism in its entirety. [Which makes me a Protestant by default, I'm told.] I love Christ's Holy church in all her forms but how can I choose between family? Even in all love, I would have to think that one side or the other had all the important doctrines right. I don't. I believe there is a purgatory and in the sanctity of sacraments, but I also believe in personal salvation as taught by Messianics and Evangelic sects. I believe we should study God's word daily, prayerfully, for ourselves, rather than having it interpreted first according to tradition. Nevertheless, we should study the lives and sayings of known saints when we can. I think immersion baptism gets the point across better than sprinkles. I don't think we should worship Mary. I do believe we can ask saints in heaven to pray with and for us, including Mary. I believe there is an understanding God has given of himself to every people, and therefore we can learn from other faith's understanding of Him. However, I am convinced Christ is the perfect fufilment of all those partials. He is the Great Spirit, The only Ascended One, The Tao, The Truth. We should seek to empty our limited lives of selfish desires that we may be filled by the excellence of God, the Infinite Almighty One, and wonder at the love that allows His perfection to put up with our frailties.I agree with the Nicene creed. I don't accept the Book of the Mormon...and, yes, I have read it. I think there are true believers who are officially Mormons though. I also have respect for Eastern Orthodox believers, the Coptic Egyptians, and other variations that I know even less about. There are a lot of ways to appreciate God. I don't think unity can come until the Holy Spirit gives further insight to the Bride of what is and isn't critical to faith. All believers must follow their conscience to live properly before God.

and, in practice, this means.......

I think I am right in being hospitable to all those who claim to love Jesus, whether I think their doctrines are right or not. However, the NT epistles say I should cease speaking to those who claim to be believers who continually show bad fruit, plainly do not follow even the most obvious reading of the Holy Scriptures, and refuse counsel on it (at least as believers).

I seek to be hospitable & peaceable with unbelievers too but do not 'hang' with them when I know they are engaging in active sin. I do not 'party' with them, but I might share dinner or a chat. I like people generally. I don't believe God is unhappy with this. He cares too. Besides, if I never spoke with nonbelievers how should I ever witness with my life?

Yet, I must not shun family for non-family. I should seek fellowship of fellow believers when I there's another balancing act.

Lines, lines and more lines not to cross.

How much discernment is needed to live as a Christian!

No, I do not believe I should judge you whatever you are or do. An affectionate temperament helps, but this isn't always easy for me either. I ask you not to judge me. If you don't think I'm right about something, speak in love or not at all.

Meantime, I'll keep walking that strait and narrow line ~ hanging on to Love's hand.

Monday, October 31, 2005

quagmired in quizes

I have plenty or 'real' blogging to do, but I just gotta share the latest round of silly quizes first. I've been having too much fun for my own good.

What candy am I? hmm a favorite! excellent

Reeses Peanut Butter Cups

Very popular, one of you is not enough.


What part of fall am I?

You Are Apple Cider

Smooth and comforting. But downright nasty when cold.

Yum! I loved warm, spiced cider! Apparantly this person hasnt had MY mulled cider. Its best warm but still pretty good at other temps...


Veggie Pizza

Upscale and trendy.

You're the most likely to go for a gourmet pizza.

You have impeccable taste in everything.

You truly enjoy the finer things in life.

Trendy? no. Its just that I have working taste buds, pal. Thats why I make my own pizza.


Your Personality Is

Idealist (NF)

You are a passionate, caring, and unique person.
You are good at expressing yourself and sharing your ideals.

You are the most compassionate of all types and connect with others easily.
Your heart tends to rule you. You can't make decisions without considering feelings.

You seek out other empathetic people to befriend.
Truth and authenticity matters in your friendships.

In love, you give everything you have to relationships. You fall in love easily.

At work, you crave personal expression and meaning in your career.

With others, you communicate well. You can spend all night talking with someone.

As far as your looks go, you've likely taken the time to develop your own personal style.

On weekends, you like to be with others. Charity work is also a favorite pastime of yours.

Yet another tests says I am an idealist. If by this they mean I have ethics and vision, then they are on the right track. My family felt this one was fairly accutrate but objected to the 'heart ruling' thing. I think they have a point. I care, but my decisions are more likely to be made in favor of what I consider or believe to be right than what I feel.


All American Kid

Popular but not plastic. Athletic but not a jock. Smart but not a brain.

You were well rounded and well liked in high school.

I was well-liked, mostly because I liked everybody. I hung with the brains, for preference. I like an intelligent conversation! My personal style was nearly unique, as opposed to fashionable, but nobody minded.


Your Haloween Costume Should Be


Have to admit, I deliberate chose this response by tweaking my replies. (the 'real' response was candy corn LOL) Hey, God owns every day. All Hallows Eve is His too!


You Passed the US Citizenship Test

Congratulations - you got 9 out of 10 correct!

Nice! Which one did I miss? (ggrrr... should've got'em all)


You Are Somewhat Machiavellian

You're not going to mow over everyone to get ahead...
But you're also powerful enough to make things happen for yourself.
You understand how the world works, even when it's an ugly place.
You just don't get ugly yourself - unless you have to!

I understand Machiavelli. I STUDIED Machiavelli. I just won't BE Machiavelli.


You Are Likely an Only Child

At your darkest moments, you feel frustrated.
At work and school, you do best when you're organizing.
When you love someone, you tend to worry about them.

In friendship, you are emotional and sympathetic.
Your ideal careers are: radio announcer, finance, teaching, ministry, and management.
You will leave your mark on the world with organizational leadership, maybe as the author of self-help books.

Yes, I grew up as an only child, but am I one? I had two half brothers who I rarely saw before they died young. My main frustration is that I didn't get to be their big sister. Despite the convoluted circumstances, I cared about both of them very much.

Requiescat in pace

I will never forget you.

On a lighter note, I've decided my next self-help book will be how to escape from the grip of fun little mini-quizzes...


Your World View

You are a fairly broadminded romantic and reasonably content.
You value kindness and try to live by your ideals.
You have strong need for security, which may be either emotional or material.

You respect truth and are flexible.
You like people, and they can readily make friends with you.
You are not very adventurous, but this does not bother you.

All this from one question? hhmmm.....

What Your Sleeping Position Says

You are calm and rational.
You are also giving and kind - a great friend.
You are easy going and trusting.
However, you are too sensible to fall for mind games.

...or it could just be that I enjoy my body pillow. (another one question test)


Your Inner Child Is Happy

You see life as simple, and simple is a very good thing.
You're cheerful and upbeat, taking everything as it comes.
And you decide not to worry, even when things look bad.
You figure there's just so many great things to look forward to.

My inner child has candy..... 'nuff said


Your Hidden Talent

You have the power to persuade and influence others.
You're the type of person who can turn a whole room around.
The potential for great leadership is there, as long as you don't abuse it.
Always remember, you have a lot more power over people than you might think!

...if you say so

and, apparantly, I am also 40% weird, would get the most from learning French (okay, I should brush up), am exceptional in mathmatic/general knowledge/verbal usage, and still a 'true believer.'

but of course!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Cool result

Proverbs is one of my favorite books of the Bible, right behind Psalms and ahead of Isaiah and the epistles of Paul. This one is so complimentary I regard it as a goal to strive for rather than a level achieved. nice

You are Proverbs
You are Proverbs.

Which book of the Bible are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Captain Jack??

Yep, did another test from a blog. Did two more even ~ but these results are ridiculous!

You're Captain Jack Sparrow: smart, savvy, a demon with the eyeliner and the best damn pirate we've ever seen. And only a litte crazy. Savvy?

Which POTC character are you?

this quiz was made by alanna

but where's the rum???

Your Linguistic Profile:

40% General American English

35% Yankee

25% Dixie

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern

uh huh. I've lived in the south most of my life and I'm only 25% dixie dialect? I guess this is a little bit better than the test that was 85% sure I was a true Michiganer (never even been there)

FWIW, the expert linguist/dramatist who taught elocution in my college said my accent is primarily 'English standard' with mild dipthong surprises courtesy of Texas & Virginia.

Okay, time to get back to making dinner now....

~ Harlequin ~

Right after posting, I went blog surfing again and found this Who would you be in 1400 test mentioned. The lady got 'prioress' but seemed surprised to receive a high rating for monk as well. (That made sense to me, monk is an almost gender equivalent of prioress). My daughter received similar results.

I expected to get the same thing, but apparantly I am ::

The Harlequin

You are a mystery, a jack-of-all-trades. You have the king's ear, but also listen to murmurings of the common folk. You believe in the value of force (knight) and also literature. Truly you are the puzzlement of the age.

0% on Cardinal
95% on Monk
85% on Lady
56% on Knight

odd test!

The results on this test seem to bear out the idea that I am sometimes hard to classify:
Global Personality Test Results
Stability (60%) moderately high which suggests you are relaxed, calm, secure, and optimistic.
Orderliness (46%) medium which suggests you are moderately organized, hard working, and reliable while still remaining flexible, efficient, and fun.
Extraversion (53%) medium which suggests you are moderately talkative, outgoing, sociable and interacting.
Take Free Global Personality Test
personality tests by

Makes that ole Donald O'Conner song from Singing in the Rain run through my memory...

"Make 'em laugh. Make 'em laugh. Don't you know that the world wants to laugh..."

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Two tests

Wandering the backrooms of blogspot, I encountered Karen's blog and found a link to a test for Catholics. I'm not a Catholic but a more-eucumenical-than-most independent.

Only reason I took it (as opposed to just showing to my Mom who is a Catholic) is that I've been reading/watching/listening to more Catholic teachings inthe past few years and wondered how much had 'rubbed' off.

I came up as Evangelical Catholic.

You are a Protestant convert, or have been affected by evangelical Protestantism in some way. You love Scripture and incorporate into your daily life. You have a clear vision of Catholic morals and doctrines, and you make great effort to adhere to them. However, your interpretation of Scripture may not be in line with Catholic teaching, and you may not accept legitimate plurality in doctrinal expression. You might want to read the Fathers of the Church and Papal encyclicals to deepen your Catholicism.

Evangelical Catholic 95%
Radical Catholic 71%
Traditional Catholic 62%
New Catholic 57%
Neo-Conservative Catholic 50%
Liberal Catholic 26%
Lukewarm Catholic 5%

Mom came up as an Evangelical Catholic too, but by a much lower margin.

According to many Baptists & Evangelical protestants I have talked to, I am very much a moderate in my worldview. The more bigoted 'liberals' online would brand me as extremely right-wing, but then they seem overly ready to apply that label in any case.

In this test

I scored as Classical Humanist.

You think that persons are ontologically good but morally bad. You are traditional and orthodoxy is very important to you. You are most likely Catholic, or else your religion is ancient, with a long continuous tradition. You have a good sense of humor and like to take things easy. You aren't a very exciting person, but are dependable. You think that people need to cultivate the virtues of prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice. You think that the study of science is good, but don't often keep up with the products of technological progress. You believe that the study of history has great application to understanding current events. You think that people can govern themselves most of the time, and that government needs to be mainly small; however, you do not expect too much of government. Your favorite philosophers are Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, Marcus Aurelius, Augustine of Hippo, and Thomas Aquinas.

At one time I admired all of these folks. Now I admire some of their sentiments but do not agree with others. Actually my favorite philosophers right now are the Apostle Paul, C.S. Lewis (he was more than a logician), G.K. Chesterton, and...Terry Pratchett. [Hey, I had to say something shocking or you'd get bored!] Actually, what I mean by this is that I find my views on many things are similar to Pratchett's, except when they disagree entirely. (After all, philosophy is a simply a well thought-out point of view that affects how you view other things in your life.) As Terry isn't a Christian, this happens often but less often than with many writers...or maybe it just seems that way because of the amusing way he expresses himself. Guess I'll work that out later. My opinions do change over time.

I was reading Plato's Timeaus last week (Becka's latest book report came from it, so I wanted to refresh my own memory). I surprised myself by disagreeing wholeheartedly with everything Socrates said. I should reread The Republic soon and see how much my viewpoint has changed about that one.

You live, you read, you choose a philosophical view....and then you change your mind. heh

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Small Treats

This has been an interesting week!

I think I mentioned my delighted surprise to be seeing and hearing things I'd been missing for years. This trend continues on cable and elsewhere. Sherlock Holmes (with Jeremy Brett) is as good as I remembered, for one.

A friend sent me some really, really old songs I'd mentioned enjoying as a kid. He looked them up for us as a favor, avering what we wanted was cheap enough if you knew where to look. Evidently he DOES know where to look. Thanks again!

and now its gotten even better!

Got a catalogue today listing some Christian cds for sale that I actively sought to buy for years. I did google searches. I called companies. I put my name on a list for backorders. At length I gave up my practical efforts, but I kept praying about it when it occured to me.

and now a catalogue with ALL of them is sitting on the hallway table, on sale no less!


Friday, October 07, 2005

Breathing Space

About time I gave an update, eh?

Tom has officially reached that next stage of better. We've had medical appts every week to every other week now so long it had become a way of life ~ but now we get a real break.

He only has that last procedure to reverse a temporary measure he lives with for now, and then...he should be done! Gotta hope, because we've heard this before. Still, he's looking good as far as his doctors are concerned. He is moving much better, and since he was wide open for the major surgery there are no more mysteries about whats been plaguing him for so many years. They don't think he will grow back any of that nonsense, but they will check directly when 'replugging' him.

But thats later.

Now we can focus, at last, on normal living for a couple of months. Our son has outgrown his shoes again. My daughter and I have projects in hand. Tom has been able to clear to the woods again and is tinkering with some improvements around the house. We are enjoying having cable back as they finally added the Christian channels and improved the programmable filter. Its been great to see Poirot, new documentaries, and funny animal clips. The only downside is that this also cuts into the time I used to spend online. Seems like everybody in the family (except my son) spends more time online than I do lately. Ah well, " every silver lining has a touch of grey" as Jerry G would say...or sing.

There's been plenty of good news in our circle. One of Tom's friends is back, found a good job, and got married recently. My favorite group of people in the entire northwest finally caught a break. Myst V is out and I found the collectors edition at CompUSA for ten dollars off (essentially a free upgrade). Looks like the authorities have caught the bad'un they were looking for in our area. Been hearing and seeing favorites I thought were lost forever on an almost daily basis. etc etc Basically, we've tons of blessings to thank God for these days.

but what about...?

Yes, I know. There's been great cause for sadness. There are many collections for the victims in our area too. There's a lot of stupidity being tried on right now too. I pray about it often. We'll have to get involved again one of these days. I don't think we could stand not to help, eventually.

But right now we are really enjoying the breathing space God has seen fit to grant us. :)

Fun stuff we have found::

penguin wallpaper and game

fantastic photos for wallpaper

best traditional clothes patterns we know about

Lehrer funny teaching songs for free

Saturday, September 10, 2005

A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Overcrowd

I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it - there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle "A Study in Scarlet" in the character of Sherlock Holmes.

The March 2005 National Geographic issue focused on recent research into how the mind works. Seemed like many scientists would agree with Sherlock on many important points. Apparantly the more we use our brains in any particular way, the more our brain optimizes to those functions. Sounds reasonable, right? But the studies also found that those who spent many hours on any form of minutia had the relevant lobes expand to the detriment of adjoining areas.
"An MRI study published in 2000 by scientists at University College, London, showed that in London taxi drivers the rear portion of the hippocampus was enlarged compared with those of control subjects, confounding the long-held notion that the adult human brain cannot grow. But the bonus in brain tissue may not have come free of charge. On average, the front portion of the hippocampus was smaller than normal in the taxi drivers, suggesting that the effort to build an increasingly detailed mental map of the city had recruited neighboring regions to the cause."

I found that a bit worrisome, but referenced in the same article ["bigger brain"] a similar study from Germany on people learning to juggle indicated the brain can change conformation back if you change your habits. (In this case, the studied folks stopped juggling.)

Wired's May 2005 article "Dome Improvement" has got me thinking again because of the counterclaim by that surveyor/professor that intelligence in the general population is rising. Practical experience suggests otherwise, as do other standardized tests. Careful analysis make it clear that its largely visual intelligence he's referencing. That would seem to go with the National Geographic study. People's visual abilities may be increasing at the expense of other forms of knowledge processing.

Another article discussed a widespread perception that there are fewer and fewer new gamers who enjoy puzzle/reflective paths.

And my point is?

Everything we do has a cost. Our brains may not be efficiently used, but our time & capacity for any particular activity is not infinite. We micro-focus at the expense of other studies, and even capacity for study. I have found, in practice, that trying to learn D'ni (Myst's make believe language) cut into my ability to keep French, Spanish, & other real languages relatively usable. (Calling myself fluent would be seriously pushing it.) I felt bad at one point for letting so much of popular culture slide beyond me. Well ~ better those ephemerals than anything else I could name! Knowing every major movie plot takes up memory. Learning Klingon takes up language capacity. At some point wisdom suggests dropping most non-essential extras into our mind's recycle bin & defragging the little grey cells!

So. I'm definitely going to be stressing logic studies for the children, though they have already had more than most. Logical systems allow you to retain information far more efficiently ~ another point an old Sherlock story pointed out. It was established in an earlier tale that Sherlock knew from the sort of mud a person had on their clothes which part of the city they had been in. How did he do it? Had he memorized every street in London? Sherlock replied that he had studied the geography of the land, and the knew the major areas of commerce...and deduced their effects. Elementary.

Wonder if that would help those taxicab drivers?

(written last May. Finally finished!)

Monday, September 05, 2005

Labors and rest in Him

This has been a wild week and a weird labor day weekend.

Katrina's damage had us praying/worrying about friends for most of the week and crying with another acquaintance who lost several members of her extended clan. Felt inside the missing friends were probably okay but how can you truly relax until you know for sure? Thankfully they were able to send word this weekend. In other news, Cyan has just announced major cutbacks, though it sounds like they can save the company for now. I feel peace about this too. I am convinced God has something good in mind, as rough as it seems right now. Two neighbors were buried. Recognized the names, but we didnt know them well. We heard some very anti-Christian noises kicked off by Robertson's comments and by ill-tempered folks who apparantly don't like Bush's nominee. Some Christian broadcasters have had alot to say about the ugly noises made as well. Hard not to notice where things seem to be going but still the internal calm and sense of victory in Jesus reigns in our hearts.

Tom has had some tough evenings lately, and more trouble sleeping, but as near as we can tell its because he's reaching a new level of healing.

Honestly, things have been strangely peaceful at our house given all thats going on. The kids have gone swimming at Water Country. Tom and I saw his folks midweek. (Found myself led to pray a lot that day without knowing why, though I've had plenty of reason to pray all week!) Its enough to make me feel a little guilty. So many people have suffered lately. But its not that we don't have plenty to worry and and stress over, just seems like we've had more grace to rest in God's hands.

I've definitely felt God's grace over us this weekend. Its been pretty blessed for my immediate family. We've seen penguin documentaries and favorite mystery shows I haven't seen in forever. My duckling a la orange came out extremely well. etc etc

Gotta wonder what next week will have for us all.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Diotrephes & the spirit of the Age

We know that in these last days many will fall under the influence of the spirit of the Age, which is antichrist, but ~ do you know it when you see it?

I've been noticing scriptures that speak to this issue and will probably have a book worth's soon. Figured I'd share a piece of it.

This reflection comes from the epistles of John:
7 For many deceivers have entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver, and an antichrist.
8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
9 Whoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
2 John 1 :7-9 WB 1833

Here is one of the first ways to tell one who believes from one who pretends to believe. They don't really believe Christ, the sinless son of God, came in the flesh and made atonement for us by his sacrifice. You'll meet many who have decided that much or all of scripture is allegorical. Others say that Christ was a child of God and/or a prophet, but not more so than many other spiritual leaders.

The allegorization comes most often from those who have been succesfuly indoctrinated with the repeated claims that scriptural accounts of our Genesis, the exodus, the fall of Jericho, and other events are not born out by 'scientific study.' Therefore, they accept the secularist, humanistic, atheistic accounts for these events and the evolution-based psychology as a rule for personal living rather than scripture. Some even denounce believers who dare to base their worldview on the Bible alone as ignorant extremists, which is what THEY mean by 'fundamentalist.'


the support for NOT taking the Bible literally comes from biased research & selective studies.

For some decades most, if not all, funding from public sources has been only to those who accept an evolutionary framework for their research. Supposedly this is because their case is long since proven. Never mind that many of these 'proofs'~ cited in law-changing cases like Scopes ~ were in time shown to be frauds. Ever heard of Piltdown? Nebraska man? Those were some of the 'proofs' that instituted evolution in public classrooms. I'm serious.

& Has anyone ever told you that such famous skeletons as the "Lucy" standing ape had pieces so small and flattened you could have formed them into any shape you wished?

The historic studies haven't been much better. As a lay historian, let me give you an example. The official chronology is the reason that Jericho is called a non-event in spite of the existence of a layer of damage completely consistent with the Biblical account. Good archeological method says that when an account matches evidence but not your timing, then your scale must be the thing out of whack, but this is often not the approach used when the subject is the Biblical account.

The chronological framework for ancient times is extremely shaky before the institution of Anno Domini. Few methods of dating objects or even deciding the relative reigns of ancient kings (the old dating method) are beyond criticism. Even dendrochronology (though better than most of the carbon-dating methods of the 20th C) isn't as solid as most have been lead to believe. It is not certain trees grow exactly the same sorts of rings every year under all conditions.

Meantime many more people have developed well-reasoned doubts about the fairy tale of the steady progress of mankind we all grew up with. There are huge, ancient monuments all over the world that tell of civilizations and times of which we know little or nothing. For all our 'progress' we'd be hard pressed to recreate any of them full-sized. There are ancient stone cities underwater in various parts of the world. One former harbor is now way up in a mountain range in South America. All of this supports the idea that we have had catastrophic changes and lost more information in them than we have retained over the millenia. Add in the records of catastrophic flooding on more than one occasion, (some may well have been from meltwater behind glacial ice dams that caused the sea to rise globally by some meters) and you have a scenario that easily accounts for many instances of suddenly drowned flora & fauna becoming fossils under floodwater/sediment pressure. It could easily explain the creation of large canyons as huge amounts of water flowed down overland from glacial sheets. It would also explain why these canyons aren't everywhere. If they were formed by slow, gentle, natural forces, they should be.

Official academia is well aware of the effect that would be produced if they allowed the official dates and theories to fall (on which so many built their names & credentials.) Secularist humanism has become a religious belief system that holds positions of power and acknowledges no rivals for the ultimate revelation of truth ~ but its wrong just the same. It has depended on political authority and indoctrination to maintain itself for too long now.

Once the real truth is finally acknowledged, the Bible's version of history will become more plausible, but so will other belief systems that mentioned these catastrophes. I support the scientists who are trying to show the plausibility of Genesis but I hope they remain aware that this will only convince those to follow Christ whose hearts were open to the idea in the first place.

But for those who accept the Bible as truth, the quest is to follow God's will for our lives. It is important that we test every spirit, and leader, by God's word to see whether their walk reflects Christ or his opposition in this world.

4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
5 Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;
6 Who have borne testimony of thy charity before the church: whom if thou shalt bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou wilt do well:
7 Because for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing from the Gentiles.
8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we may be fellow-helpers to the truth.
3 John 1:4-8 WB 1833

Implicit in these verses is positive evidence of a Christian walk. Here we see the good fruit of believers. God's children seek to walk in truth and love (charity) to each others and toward strangers. Their efforts for Christ do not focus on gaining wealth or position from non-believers (the world). Christians trust their God to provide what they need and put them where He wants them. The attitude is one of service and humility towards your fellows, as Christ said to his apostles when they asked
which of them should be accounted the greatest.
25 And he said to them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them, are called benefactors.
26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
27 For which is greater, he that sitteth at table, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at table? but I am among you as he that serveth.
Luke 22:24b-27 WB 1833

This compares sharply with what someone influenced by the spirit of antichrist will be like.

9 I wrote to the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the pre-eminence among them, receiveth us not.
10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content with that, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
3 John 1 :9-11 WB 1833

Will you look at this guy??? He joined the church only to take over the local body 'to gain pre-eminence.' He sounds ambitious. As a matter of fact, he probably only made a profession of faith in order to forward his desires, seeing an opening for his ambitions. New groups are usually fairly open (trusting) and not organized into any formal hierarchy. If they are not devoted to democratic principles this makes them easier to take over.

Once Diotrephes had gained the leadership position he desired, he set his aims yet higher. Now you see him striving against, even slandering, the apostles whose word he supposedly was following in becoming a follower of Christ. It gets better. Those who oppose this goal he has thrown out. Those who come from the apostles he refuses to receive. He won't let them speak to the church and shows no hospitality toward them. Those who oppose him in any manner he seeks to excommunicate from the body of Christ in his community. He even ignores a letter from John, an apostle chosen by Christ himself!

Quite a snake, eh?

but despite what must have been some considerable personal charm, not everything is going his way, even locally. John himself tells us that some in the area are trying to show hospitality & act as Christians to their brethren & sisters in faith ~ beyond this fellow's influence. He praises Gaius for being one those who refused to turn on his fellows to please Diotrephes.

Diotrephes made divisions, sought to rule, & once established, sought to punish (as far as he was able) those who opposed his goals. He was not above using lies to turn others against each other, to cause people to do his bidding.

This letter also tells you of the end of Diotrephes ambitions within the larger church. John plans to come in person and appoint a new leader of the real church in the area.

"For whoever exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
Luke 14: 11 WB 1833

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Cruising at a slower pace

For the past few weeks we've been 'living from appointment to appointment,' as Tom put it.

One of the big happy thingys this month was a very nice visit with Tom's sister who came from where her family is stationed in England. She said she tried to come right after the surgery but couldnt get an opening until the week she came. She also reassurred us that life in the UK has remained generally peaceful, despite the weather & man-made shocks since she's been there.

The daily routine plus adjustment periods for each 'step down' of equipment, medicine, and treatments has eaten most of every day. Found little time for the net and less for doing much else.

Not to say that there has been no time for fun at all. Mom has continued to take the children over to Busch Gardens & Water Country on good weather days. I went out with my children to see March of the Penguins and the new Willy Wonka. Both movies were a bit better than I was expecting. I'll definitely be on the lookout for the penguin movie on dvd later

Finally said a limited amount about some of the garbage thats been directed at us as a warning to others who might be impacted similarly. That upset a few people, but it was high time I did. I begin to think I have been quieter than has been beneficial to the public good.

Mind you, many people are talking in those circles, and many are upset with things that have gone on in the past couple of years. Covert warfare by slander had become the example of some of the leadership, greatly influencing community to take that form of retribution when angered about anything, but now the 'cold war' mentality is developing hot spots. Somebody or several somebodies has been targeting Myst-related fan sites over the last eight months, maybe more. My own Myst site was attacked just before Christmas (at the same time as Ryan Warzecha's & a couple of others.) It might have been coincidence that someone targeted several Myst-related servers at one time, but the problem has definitely been on the increase since then. Any number of Myst fan sites have had 'technical' &/or 'server' trouble since then, usually in waves. Seemed to hit a peak this month when several major Myst fan webboards were shut down at once, according to posts on the Lyst. Not all these sites have the same philosophy regarding Cyan, Uru, & Ubi. None of the sites were kept down long. IMO These attacks are as futile as they are senseless.

Perhaps someone wishes to stop discussions at certain critical times. Perhaps the one behind it all is the same someone who has made 'begging to bully' their regular modus operandi. (I'm helpless *sniff* you gotta insult/beat up so-and-so for me *boohoo* Remember all the bad stuff I said about them that made this sound like a noble thing to you? If you don't support me in this you aren't my *cry* ffrriieennddd.. and you know how I feel about those who aren't my ffrrriieendd... *more crocodile tears & gnashing of teeth*) It is also possible that it began with a random act of stupidity from an outsider and has been escalating as those affected war against those they think are responsible for their own reverses (and others react just as they did.) D'no

but I will be very surprised if someone doesnt find out, eventually, who is behind all this. Wouldn't surprise me if it was the same people behind the attacks on the original Lyst & fan communities.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Biting off more than...

Tom has his own blog now, but is still unable to sit at the computer long enough to share his latest parable, so I'm doing the honors.

'I had a friend with some of the silliest cats you ever saw. They were well-fed, never looked like they had been much harmed by anyone, but they were fearful, greedy, and would turn mean fast..especially if there were any good foods around that could be stolen.

One afternoon my friend and his father returned from an excellent day of fishing and crabbing, and set all the buckets and crates of (mostly live) seafood on the porch while they got set up to process their catch.

First the neighbor's dog took to nosing up to the containers. He was called away over and over but kept trying to catch something anyway. Finally someone got annoyed enough to flip a live crab at him (to encourage his departure). The crab landed on his rump, and took a good hard grip and.... yyyyyyyyyeeeeeooooooowwwwww!!!!!!! The pup howled, hopped, and skipped about in circles trying to shake his dinner. When that didnt do it he finally yelped his way over to one of the people to get help, and thereafter, took off running

Meantime one of the parent cats (all their cats were related) had captured a live mullet and was attempting to eat it whole. The problem was that the fish was way too big for one meal, and was still alive! If anyone, or any other creature got anywhere close the cat would growl, hiss, and choke itself on the fighting fish. They thought it was going to choke to death for sure.

Seeing this cat with a huge fish hanging out of its mouth encouraged the others to try for something just as good, or better.

One cat mewed, got a bait fish, and went away happy.

One pawed surreptiously into one of the buckets and caught a fish hook.

The last one went for the biggest thing moving in the crates

It caught, or rather was caught by, a rather substantial blue crab who definitely liked the idea of eating cat for dinner. That also made for some interesting noises! Mr Crab wasn't the least intimidated by all the hisses, yowls, and clawings that had served Ms. Kitty so well in the past. Catching the dancing dervish pair proved no easy feat, and Ms Kitty was rather bruised by the time she was rescued.

Eventually we were able to help the ambitious felines. The one with the hook needed to go to the vet. One didnt eat anything much for nearly a day because it couldn't eat the fish in its mouth and wouldn't drop it until its prize was thoroughly rotten

Only one cat had a good day. The one that was happy with the little bait fish.

Its best not to be like the greedy kitties... or that thieving dog.'

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

How Did It Go?

If you are reading this then I am assuming you would like more detail about what we’ve been up against this last month or so, in the wake of Tom’s surgery at the end of June. I didn’t have access to the internet in Richmond while staying in the Hospitality House, and I’ve not had much time for the net since then, either.
As a matter of fact, I’m not online now, in case the nurse wants to call and remind us of her next visit. But I’ll go online tonight and leave this for you to see.

Guess I’ll skim over the missing days since the last post.

June 29th, we are in Richmond at the HH. Tom’s prep begins that afternoon. He doesn’t do well with it and is in pain all day & night. Neither of us get much sleep.

June 30th At 5am, we sign into the surgical area, but they don’t take Tom to the back for another 40 minutes (We’re early.) 6:12am-9am: Tom is checked, rechecked, given an IV, pain meds, & had a few tests done. They are concerned but decide to go ahead, as his condition is serious and unlikely to improve without surgery.

9:30 am – 7:15pm A long, llllooonngg day of waiting. MCV has a neat system involving pagers & internal phones which allow the doctors & anesthesiologists to call me every so often and say how things are going. Thus I get phone calls every hour or two saying Tom’s condition is very good, all things considered. His surgery is much more complicated than even they had expected and it will be at least an hour or two more, if Tom continues to hold in there the way he is presently.

My one lunch break was at the Chick Filet in the hospital’s food court. There I happened to overhear one of the assistant surgeons (doctor student) talking to a colleague about the case while in line. I recognized him from that morning, but I don’t think he had seen me sitting in the corner of Tom’s room. He pretty much says the same thing I’d been told on the phone, but his version is much more detailed. I don’t mind as it was reassurring to hear him talk about how brilliant the lead surgeon is (by name), how well “the tough Scot” is doing, how they’ve established a rotation to keep people from getting too tired, how fascinating, complicated, & unusual this case is, how he hated to leave it but it looked like it was going to run into the evening before they could wrap up. (He had an afternoon appointment he couldn’t break.)

Tom’s vitals held rock steady throughout the whole business, which I regarded as a blessing from God in itself. He’s had trouble with anesthesia in much shorter procedures. I know you guys were praying. You made a BBIIGG difference, believe it.

At 7:15-ish Tom’s doctor tells me that the surgery is a success. They have cleared the scarring tissue, the deep abcess, the fistula, & more. His situation was bad but they believe they got it all. Its clear he’s had a building problem for many, many years. They’ll have to do a follow-up to undo some of the care they had to do today (bypasses to let his system heal) & make sure nothing grew back that shouldn’t, but they don’t really expect it will. In the long term, he may better than I’ve ever known him to be. Best guess is that some of this trouble has been building for decades, possible since his teen years.

At the end, they decided to wake him up very slowly, given how long he’d been under. I waited awhile longer, but at last the day & previous evenings with short & interrupted sleep took their toll on me. I was told he was fine but not to come to ICU (where he was sent) until afternoon.

So I went back to the hospitality house, thanked God, prayed, and feeling His grace upon me, slept like a log until noon, nearly. This was just as well as the doctor had suggested I not arrive until afternoon after they had finished the tests and adjustments.

July 1st

I found that Tom had his own room in ICU, which was cool. He had the best room in the ward actually, and the quietest, though he was in no shape to make full use of its amenities. They were obviously taking wonderful care of him, but…

Nothing can prepare you for seeing your beloved in ICU.


At his side there was a beeping, blinking Christmas tree of boxes, bottles, and IV bags. The automated air bed moved him around gently, like an oversized doll. On the other side a large machine kept track of his vitals and tended his breathing, supplementing as needed.

He wasn’t really awake, though he responded to his name and would try to squeeze my hand now and then.

The doctors and nurses, who checked on him every few minutes, said he was doing great! (considering) Making steady progress.

I stayed with him all afternoon and talked to him, though I knew he wouldn’t remember. They’d already told me he wouldn’t, because of the sedative/anesthetic chosen. He was unconcious so he wouldn’t be distressed by all the stuff attached to him, easing his recovery. Yes, he’d been awake that morning. Everything was on schedule, though he’d probably be in ICU a few days.

July 2nd -6th

Tom got steadily better as the days went by, despite small reverses. At one point they were very worried about his kidneys, but he recovered full functionality on his own very soon. Slowly, day by day, the collection of medical hardware thinned. Large machines were turned down and then off, one by one. Finally he was left with an oxygen line, some basic sensors & an IV with a couple of bags attached. By this time he was able to look at the card & bear I’d been allowed to bring with me, though regular conversations weren’t yet possible. Tom knew who he was. Tom knew who I was. He knew he’d had surgery & was getting better. That was it.

During this period they had to unplug the electronically-controlled sink across from him. It would keep running and running the whole time he remained under, unless they unplugged it. Worked fine after Tom woke up on the last day. The nurses muttered about quirky electronics. One of the doctors speculated about whether electronic sensors in too close a proximity might not trigger each other. Me, I think Tom just wanted a nice hot bath.

July 7th- 9th

Tom’s first day in a regular room was way too exciting. His first nurse left his rails down while caring for him, then startled him later by simply reaching for what she wanted to check without announcing she was back in the room, which caused him to fall out of bed. When I arrived, the doctor there had just put him back together, set his oxygen at a higher rate, and they were watching to make sure he wouldn’t have to be shipped back to ICU!

Those rails (and other settings on the ICU bed) proved a continuing issue for a couple of days, as they were a bit tricky to set properly. Most of the nurses on that floor weren’t familiar with the new ICU beds. Despite my geeky leanings, I couldn’t help but so much. I hadnt seen everything the nurses had done & I sure didn’t want to guess incorrectly.

Thankfully, by the evening of the 8th, Tom was well enough to move to a regular bed. Just the same, the doctors ordered ‘sitters’ who sat with him round the clock for the next few days. I also stayed each day, and gave the day shift decent breaks while I was there.

I could not stay with Tom at night, but I stayed close by at Hospitality House & swapped stories with the other patients & families at the facility. There was a small library I could borrow books from. The kitchen wasn’t well supplied, but there was often muffins & doughnuts for the mornings and cake at night. Sometimes I took the shuttles & escorts, but on nicer days I walked over the 7+ blocks to the main hospital. By now, I had settled into a sort of routine. Eat breakfast. Walk or ride over. Stay with Tom until early evening, grab a sandwich & head back. Enjoy cake, books, & sometimes a nice conversation. Wash, rinse, repeat.

On July 4th I found that the shuttle service was reduced again, so after munching a couple of banana nut muffins, I walked over to see Tom. When he was awake we looked at the weather channel & train travel docs together. Early that evening a local broadcast shared a musical program done by the Air Force band. After 7, I asked for an escort ride back to the House & called home to tell them how Tom was doing. (You can’t use cell phones in the hospital.) Later, I saw fireworks from the balcony of the HH on July 4th & watched “Independence Day” downstairs with the other residents. They had dinner for us that night. Spaghetti & holiday-themed cupcakes. Not bad.

July 10th- 12th and homecoming ~

I was supposed to be able to stay with Tom until his release, but an office worker botched the paperwork. It was possible to fix it by pestering the ward nurses but both Tom & I thought I should go home instead and check on our household in person, get a few things for him, make sure his room was ready etc. So that’s what we did. I ran home & back a couple of times, bringing his best robe, get well cards, & a few goodies. Sadly, after the 11th, Mom had to do the driving. I just suddenly seemed to run out steam & health all at once. Mom got Tom home safely at the end of an exciting day (Her car developed a flat halfway there. Hurray for AAA!) On the 12th I found I had presents & a few cards. Best present was the Lord of the Rings elven brooch. That will look awesome on my cloaks! We decided to save having a cake until Tom could enjoy it with us.

Settling back in ~ now

Tom is now home, recovering slowly but steadily. Not surprising its taking awhile when you consider how long he has been suffering from this (over 20 years!) Right now, He still requires a fair amount of care & isn’t supposed to go anywhere until he sees the doctor on Aug 1st.
I was trained to change his bandages & I do, often.

He spends a lot of time reading and watching movies.

MCV assigned a nurse to check up on him every so often & lend a hand. Nice lady.

As for me, I’m hanging out with Tom, filing paperwork, & re-reading the first 5 Harry Potter books before taking my turn with the new release. Becka pre-ordered it & says its better than Phoenix. I already know who the Half-Blood Prince is, however, and was surprised. My guess wasn’t even close!

We finally chose a nice a cake for my birthday the other evening. Its been too busy to make special a Myst cake this year, so I ended up with this.
Tis a very tasty cake. The car model turned out to be the right year too! Very cool

After Tom was definitely better, Mom and our young'uns checked out Water Country, USA. Sounded like they had some fun.

Soon as the weather cooperates, they will probably be back there, or else at Busch Gardens

So that’s where things are at. Tom has a great deal of healing to do, but he is making steady progress day by day. Please keep him in your prayers when you think of it. Thank you very much for the wonderful prayer support you’ve given us! We can’t thank you enough!