I grew up in one of those Judeo-Christian homes that apparently strike terror in the hearts of the likes of Betty Friedan, Alan Grayson and Kathryn Joyce. My parents never had sex until they got married to each other. Theirs is an enduring...

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

This and That

A little bit of this (an original Christmas music video), a little bit of that (a remarkable courtship story), one of these (a testimony of salvation), some of this (a sweet album, same artist as the music video), some of this (testimony of a blessed bedtime) and some of that (words well put). I keep trying to draw a connection between Free on the sweet album and the amazing love story on Resolved2Worship. Let me know if I'm all wet. Also, if you're unfamiliar to blog surfing (duh, if you are, you're not reading this, right?), you might like to remove the latter part of the URL of any article, in order to reveal just the blog where it is found. You can sometimes use this trick to learn a little more about the writer. Some of these writers are a huge blessing to me!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

We Interrupt This Blog

Ha! I actually have a queue of posts, some completed, some part-written, some just composed in my head (and some lost forever), which are waiting for my life to get dull so I will attend to them.

For instance, after two weeks of "needing to", today we finally managed to leave the children with grandparents and go into town, just my husband and I, (not the little town, six mile drive from here, but the town-town, an hours' drive from here, what folks call the city), to accomplish some much needed errands, and for some much needed conversation, between the two of us. Which is to say, I haven't been in Southern California since the middle of August.

But something urgent came up, and it needs to be broadcast, now, primarily to Californians, and I am interrupting my stagnant queue of posts. (So if you know any Californians, please do be considerate and pass this along.)

First is this helpful story, about the insidious nature of California's Proposition 31, on the November 6th, 2012 ballot and then the ballotpedia summary of the measure.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Bride Wore a Red Hat

Tuesday evening* we witnessed an exchange of wedding vows at the other end of the world- in Thailand, in real time, on live-streaming video. It was quite the trick, really. The video quality was that of a really bad Skype, from almost ten years ago, interrupted every 15 minutes by a commercial for a violent video game. But like all things technological, and new, it shows promise of being obsolete in about six months.

The real miracle taking place that evening (or Wednesday morning, as the Thais have it), was the joined lives of a Kachin believer from Myanmar (Burma) and a dear friend of ours from small town Washington state. Yes, she has brown eyes. No, she does not look like she could have been born in Asia. It was very cute to see her wearing the traditional make-up and big dangling earrings. I don't think she wears make-up or earrings as a general rule.

Of course we had to celebrate by eating Thai food (somehow it turned into Japanese food), and looking at pictures of Thai wedding food.

As all good marriages are a testimony to the supernatural, may God's grace be on this unique union, intervening throughout their married life to the praise of His glory.

Our friend wore the dress of the traditional Kachin wedding. And here is a video of a Kachin bride (I presume), getting married in the United States.

*It wasn't actually last Tuesday evening. It was three Tuesdays ago.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving, 2011

To whom are you giving thanks?

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Nonfunctionally Tired, and I Write

I received this e-mail recently.

What are your thoughts on this article?

I'm kind of bummed, because I hoped to delve into the topic of clothes one day, and this is not what I had in mind. But, I'm way behind in my average of one post a month, so here it is.

It was a great article. Um, it described one aspect of what Mrs. Albert Mohler has been up to lately. I did completely crack up over her not allowing her daughter to wear this reasonable list of articles of clothing which could be problematic and don't ever need to be worn anyway, and then adding "or anything made by Abercrombie and Fitch". I thought that was funny.

Modesty is really a hot-button issue, for several reasons. One is that contextually (and in a cultural, historical context as well), when the word "modesty" is used in the Scripture, it has little to do with refraining from wearing mini-skirts or short shorts. There is no record that any woman, pagan, barbarian, Greek, Roman, Christian or Jew... or even prostitute for that matter, ever saw the light of day in a mini skirt or short shorts, or in a skin tight shirt, in, say, 30 to 300 AD. What a woman wore in that day to be seductive was made without elastic, without sewing machines, actually, without powered weaving machines, without electricity and like as not without scissors. It was washed without the aid of a washing machine. Cloth was actually hard to come by, let alone clothes, and your average woman like as not owned two garments, possibly per year, because with daily wear, they would, well, wear out. In the context of the New Testament passages regarding modesty, from a face-value reading of the whole passage, it seems women were cautioned against extravagance or finery in the choice of their garment(s). They were not to try to impress people with their clothes.

What we call modesty today is advised in the New Testament where women are cautioned to be chaste. But the current culture of dressing to invite lust is nearly impossible or at least extremely unlikely in a society in which every woman's clothes must be hand-woven from scratch out of hand-spun fibers. The very existence of said culture springs from an effort to sell people more clothes than they need, because of a new ability to handily make far more clothes than are needed. Otherwise, what are they going to do? Put several hundred-thousand people out of work? How many clothes do people really need? A person probably absolutely must have two sets at a time: a set to wear, and a set to wash. And when you go to all the trouble to spin fiber to weave cloth- if you can get by with one item instead of two, it's probably better to wear clothes that are too warm than too cold. I guess in a warm climate, you could own an over-cloak for several years because you wouldn't wear it every day. So in a purely [edit 2/11/12] subsistence society, what we call modesty is a very different kind of issue. It's an issue without stores, without marketing, without models, without mannequins, and without peer-pressure.

Another reason is that the issue is full of hypocrisy. There is the hypocrisy of people who preach it while their wives and daughters wear things that are inconsistent with their message, evidently with their complete blessing. There is the hypocrisy of the attitude of acceptance or dismissal of the character of an individual based on, actually based on the individual's behavior, which, if God overlooked our behavior and accepted us, who gives us the audacity to reject another person based on behavior? There is the hypocrisy of an inconsistency in clothing standards. To one person, this garment is immodest, to another it's that other garment, until, well, some cultures have solved this hypocrisy by banning the appearance of a woman from society altogether, save for her eyes. And there is the hypocrisy of calling repeatedly on a passage in the Word of God which clearly says not to try to impress people with your clothes, in order to justify an attempt to impress people with how godly or "modest" our clothes are.

The issue is also very two-sided (maybe four-sided). It is very difficult to tackle both sides well, in the same discussion, and unfair to tackle only one side. In which case, the article you sent did splendidly. Mrs. Mohler is evidently, as a woman, addressing women and girls. And that is where the discussion of chaste clothing, pertaining to girls, probably ought to take place. Chaste clothing will not eliminate lust. Nor will unchaste clothing cause lust. And yet, to wear clothes which deliberately invite lust is distinctly unloving and unlovely. For a guy to try to urge a girl toward more chaste dress is probably as awkward as it would be for a girl to try to urge a guy to control his thought life.

In this regard and I may be wrong, I suspect guys need men, and girls need women. And most men should have a wife to capture their imaginations one day, and Doug Wilson says the "power on her head" verse indicates that in all of the submitting, this is one area a woman should exercise authority over her husband. I'm not completely sure what I think of this, but Paul says that each married person's body belongs to their spouse... And most girls should have a dad and one day a husband, to provide insight into the weaknesses of men and instruct their wardrobes.

(Other sides to the issue, rarely addressed in the Christian community, making it possibly four-sided, are women who lust, and immodest men, though a man probably rarely defrauds a woman through her eyes.)

I don't know if this is anywhere near what you wanted, but you asked what I thought about the article, and not having any outstanding thoughts about it, other than my first paragraph, I made some up. Basically, I agree with Mrs. Mohler, somewhat, or mostly, and think she's doing a great thing. Why?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Perfect Timing and Peppermint Pajamas

Waiting for the arrival of a baby is an exercise in uncertainty. I didn't have any idea how much the uncertainty would bother me. I did not know what to do with an entire month in which, well, I don't know, I might be having a baby that day.

So when my friend chose to have labor induced for her seventh born, after six natural births, I could see where she was coming from. "I'll know my husband will be there, not stuck in Los Angeles, fighting traffic to get home. I'll know my doctor will be there."

Waiting is all so uncertain, kind of like wondering if you'll ever meet that special someone you are meant to share your life with, or like hoping to conceive a child.

The second time around, I anticipated it would be a bother, and prepared for it.

Then out of the blue, whammo, I was struck with a sore throat... and a runny nose... and a fever... and a sinus headache... and my eyes turned black and blue. I was better in a couple of days. The next weekend my husband was sick. Then my son caught it. The week after that, I got sick again. And then they got sick again.

And my baby "dropped". I understand not all babies do this, but two of mine have. All of the sudden I can no longer walk. I am reduced to an awkward waddle. I become slow, very slow. Actually, I was already slow, but this is ridiculous.

But as I bend around my belly over my toddler's crib each night to wipe his nose, put chapstick all over his irritated face, and brush peppermint oil on the front of his pajama suit, I breathe a little prayer. "Lord, I don't know when we're going to be well again! Then we might get sick again! I'll be happy to keep carrying the baby until You say so. You pick the day."

A few days before my baby dropped, in a phone call with my grandma, she pointed out that with three premature births, she never had the foggiest clue when her babies might be coming! My hat's off to all those whose blessings came early, late, or without a due date, or came two or three at a time without any prior warning. Maybe we have less control over life than we thought we did. Maybe it's better that way.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Car Culture

When I learned to drive, there were few rules. The first was not to endanger any human being. I remember my dad telling me, with great animation, "Go ahead and destroy the transmission. I don't care if you don't use the clutch. When you need to brake, BRAKE! Go ahead and wale on it!" I was thirteen. This lesson has never left me. (It also left somewhat of an impression on my right foot.)

The second rule was not to hit anything. Dad told us it was very embarrassing to hit something that wasn't moving. I did not regard this rule as well. I have managed to hit a shopping cart, our hose bib, my uncle's trailer, Valerie's license plate (several times), the front of my dad's truck, someone's rear bumper, and scrape one moving mini van. :(

The third rule was to honor the rules of the road. "They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.", Proverbs 28:4. Dad also challenged us to consider that God may have ordained the posted speed limits in order to keep us out of a given intersection at a given time- maybe to prevent our timing from coinciding with the crossing of some hard-to-see little kid.

The fourth rule was to be courteous, that is, to take utmost care not to impede the progress of any cars behind us. We were conditioned to go at green lights, move to the far right, or the far left of our lane before slowing for a turn, maintain the speed limit as long as comfortable before making a turn and to reach 65 mph by the end of the freeway on-ramp. We were also encouraged to know how inaccurate our speedometers were and to adjust our speed accordingly. Traveling below the speed limit without having a really good reason was a sin.

Pretty much, we were expected to have our heads firmly affixed to our shoulders if we got behind the wheel.

Oh, there was also some complicated code about what we could be seen driving in and by whom.

Enter my fiance, in a 1997 Saturn station wagon in which he had yet to install the reverse function. He had learned to drive by a few rules as well, including some time-honored tradition of not owning any vehicle with less than 100,000 miles on it.

My family was making plans for a family gathering out in the desert, around a special event, the last of its kind, and the dates coincided a little too closely with my due date. As I expressed our regrets, my sister quipped that if we went, and I went into labor, my husband might discover that he could exceed the speed limit after all.

I realized my family doesn't begin to comprehend the rules my husband drives by.

The first rule is to never drive faster than the speed you are comfortable with. Any driving hazards may warrant slowing down. Something you wanted to look at by the side of the road probably does not.

The second rule is to honor the rules of the road. If the sign says 50 mph, it probably means 50 mph, even in Oregon, where the signs do not say "limit". Passing someone on the freeway is no excuse for going over the speed limit.

The third rule is to stay very far away from the car in front of you. He likes to drive with at least a 3-4 second following distance. In ice, this rule is adjusted to, "if no one is on your tail, you're moving too fast". [edit 2/11/12] A good rule of thumb is to always be getting a little farther away from the car in front of you.

The fourth rule is to never push your car's capabilities. If making the speed limit by the end of an on-ramp means going into 3000 rpm's, he's probably not going to do it, hence the continued usefulness of a car after so many miles.

In Better Off, Eric Brende cites a study, saying that every time you get behind the wheel of an automobile your blood pressure necessarily rises. After using the new rules for awhile, I'm not so sure. If it must rise, I know mine now rises a little less.

Oh, and a gallon of gas takes me a bit farther than it used to.

edit: After posting, I came across this great article about driving habits.