Monday, January 30, 2006

Super Hero repost.

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I don't know about anyone else, but today my life is a job for a super hero ~ thank God I have one.

I have a super hero. You shouldn't be surprised, you have one too. The other night I had a dream. I dreamt I was kneeling on a chair and I needed to get somewhere. But before I could even think about getting up or how I was going to get there an invisible man hoisted me into the air, chair and all, and placed me on his shoulders. He began to carry me where I needed to go. We went through potholes, mud, crowds and all kinds of confusion. At first I was a little worried , because he was invisible and I couldn't see how on earth he was going to manage
to get me where I needed to go. But he began to talk to me along the journey and after a bit I could tell he was made for the job. In fact he seemed more than able to handle anything I might need. He was very friendly. He got me where I needed to go and he put me down, but he didn't leave me. I have a super hero. Can you guess who my super hero is? If not I'll give you a hint, the Holy Spirit is a "He", not an it.

John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever--

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Reservoir

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Viktor Borisov-Musatov (1902)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Max II

I am adding to this - a previous post.

Of the many cats I have had in the past, Max was one of my favorites. I loved Max. I had no choice. One can resist only so much irrepressible, selfless love and affection. Max was born on my back porch in a litter of stray kittens. When I saw how badly they all had fleas I took pity and gave them flea baths. All of Max's siblings scrambled away, legs splayed and yowling upon release. But Max was instantly tamed. When I would put food out on the back porch, all of the other kittens would run for the dish. Max would run for me. When ever the kitchen light would go on there was Max up on the window ledge, rubbing back and forth against the glass, purring. Yes, Max tied a string around my heart... I would like to be a lot more like Max in the love dept. A lot more selfless, more willing to overlook an offense, more extroverted and relentless in my affection. Of course even Jesus couldn't win every one's love and affection, but He died trying.

There are people in my life that I can't dislike - they won't let me. They are always there with a warm smile, and big hug and a word of encouragement. Its hard to misinterpret that. Many times throughout my life I have found to my own surprise that a person dislikes me for no reason I can consciously account for. I start racking my brain to try to pin point what it was I did or said that offended. My usual response is, "Why? I didn't do anything to them." Now I find myself asking if perhaps that wasn't the problem in and of itself. Many times as a teacher's assistant I will correct a child and hear, "But I didn't do anything!" to which I respond, "That's the problem! You didn't turn around, you didn't follow directions, you didn't close your mouth." Its hard to misinterpret a warm greeting, a kind word, and a hearty embrace. Maybe not doing those things is a bigger problem than we think. I'm not saying that we have to run around with a fake smile on our face and a Pollyanna pose. But perhaps we all could stand to take a look around our lives and make more of an effort to embrace and reach out to those whom we might have overlooked for whatever reason in the past. Perhaps we all need to make more of an effort to make our love more unmistakable.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend."

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Friday, January 20, 2006

What I Learned in School.

This is a true story but I have changed the names of the students involved.

I learned something in school today.
I work with first and second graders as a teacher's assistant and aftercare teacher, and we have had a problem lately with snack being stolen. Theft is usually the cause of much angst with teachers. You fear approaching the wrong child with an accusation will scar him or her for life, not to mention invite an angry "How dare you!" phone call from the parent. Then you have the parents of the child with the missing item calling to demand justice, restitution and what have you. You're stuck in the middle and and its not a nice "middle" to be in. The children have all told me that the thief is Eric, but Eric's mother is not the kind of parent you approach about her child with out cold hard evidence, even though he is in trouble with everyone all of the time. So we decided that the best solution would be to simply collect the snacks at the start of the day and place them out of six year old reach. James was one of the student's who's snack was stolen. Two days in a row he came to me with tears in his eyes telling me that his snack was gone. He went home and told his mother Eric had taken it.
Today James came to school with his snack packed as usual and another in a brown paper bag. He and his mother had packed it just especially for Eric. They sat down and ate their snack together like best friends. It was the most powerful sermon I have ever witnessed.
I am 41 years old and I have been saved and in church for most of my life, but today at snack time I learned how to be a Christian.


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I had a friend who used to drive a milk truck. He told me this story 20 years ago and I have never forgotten it. He worked in the country and would often stop his truck somewhere along the dusty dirt roads of Alabama to take his lunch. One sunny day while he was eating he looked up and saw a hawk flying around in the sky. It was being tailed by two very small birds. It was obvious that the hawk had something the little birds wanted pretty badly because they kept swooping and pecking at the hawk. This continued for a while, the much larger hawk circling and circling with the smaller birds doing everything they could to torment it. As he watched this, my friend thought to himself, " Pretty soon that hawk is going to get sick and tired of those little birds picking at him like that and he will turn and let them have it." but it was at that moment that something unexpected happened. Rather than turning to fight with the birds the hawk began to stretch its wings. It began to take broad deep strokes and began to pick up speed and altitude until it got so high that the little birds could no longer follow.
Sometimes its hard to be the bigger bird. Sometimes its hard to be the bigger person. Especially when you know you could defend yourself. Sometimes its hard to walk away from the scene of the accident in silence, refusing to offer your litany of evidence that would exonerate you. Sometimes its hard to let go and trust God. Let's be honest sometimes you want to turn and let them have it. Sometimes letting it go is the last thing you want to do. But you have to make a choice. You can't soar into the high places of the tomorrow God has for you while circling in flight with those who want to keep you down on their low level.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Great T- Shirt Quote

Who's the director of your show?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Run to Win

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things.

Philippians 3:14-15

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Eric Liddell

Eric Liddell was a student of pure science at Edinburgh University (born 1902 - died 1945). He was a keen sportsman and athlete. He played on the wing for Scotland at Rugby as well as representing the UK in the Paris Olympics. He was known for his strong Christian beliefs and morals and refused to run in the heats of the 100m, as they were to be held on a Sunday. He had a very distinctive running style and was immortalised in the film, Chariots of Fire, as the Flying Scotsman. He won a gold medal in the 400 metres at the Paris Olympics. He became a missionary in China where he died at the age of 43.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Flaming June - in January

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Flaming June
Lord Leighton of Stretton

This is one of my all time favorite works of art. I just love it and couldn't tell you why.

Friday, January 06, 2006

"Where is My Cross?" II

April 4, 1968

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Dr. King is assassinated in Memphis, Tenn.

More than a Dreamer

As King Day approaches I am working on projects with my students to celebrate the man behind the movement that made one of the most profound changes ever in the lives and history of Americans. In doing so I ran across some photos that we don't normally see of the man. This time of year it seems like every time I turn around I hear the ghostly echo of "I have a dream, I have a dream, I have a dream . . ." and it was most certainly a beautiful sentiment and speech, but it was so much more than that, and Dr. King was so much more than a dreamer. He put actions behind those words. Those words were bathed in blood, sweat, sacrifice and even uncertainty. That is the amazing thing about it. It is easy to look back now and hear "I have a dream" in a romantic light and forget "I may not get there with you . . ."

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

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"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Verdure Al Forno

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How to Handle a Zucchini Explosion

I have never posted a recipe on my blog before, but I was so impressed with this one I just had to for several reasons. First of all, as a girl, I remember zucchini as being one of the easiest vegetables to grow in the garden. There was not only an abundance, there was an over abundance to the point that dispensing of it could become quite the challenge. Now that I am a city girl (only by circumstance, mind you!) I still buy zucchini, but I have been wishing I knew some different ways to prepare it. As providence would have it, I received "Everyday Italian" by Giada De Laurentiis as a gift, and it just so happened that the first recipe to catch my eye was Verdue Al Forno. I prepared it tonight for my sons, and let me tell you it did not disappoint!

I know this post is a wee bit late for you gardeners out there, but spring is just around the corner!

2 t. extra-virgin olive oil
5 medium zucchini (about 1 1/2 lbs. total) cut crosswise in 1 inch thick slices
1/2 t. salt, plus more to taste
1/2 t. black pepper, plus more to taste
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. grated mozzarella cheese
1 c. grated fontina cheese
6 T. grated romano cheese
1. c. plain dried bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Coat the bottom of an 8 inch square baking dish with the oil. Arrange a single layer of the zucchini slices to cover the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle with one third of the salt and pepper. Pour over 1/3 cup of the heavy cream and sprinkle with one third cup each of the mozzarella and fontina. Sprinkle with
2T. of the romano then with 1/3 c. of the bread crumbs. Repeat layering two more times in this way. Place the baking dish on the baking sheet and bake uncovered for about 40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Just some personal notes - my corner produce market didn't have anything as fancy as "fontina" cheese, but it still tasted great with a mixture of mozzarrella and *wince* cheddar. Also on most of my layers I used a vegetable peeler to stripe the zucchini before I sliced it. I forgot on a little bit of the final layer and found that the "striped" slices were much easier to deal with as far as eating.

"Where is My Cross?"

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February 5,1997 marked the 400th anniversary of the first Christian martyrs in Japan. The Japanese martyrs became Christians as a result of the witness of Roman Catholic missionaries who first arrived in Japan with the Portugese in 1543. The Jesuit priest Francis Xavier, whose mission work between 1549-1551 from Kyushu to Kyoto, laid the foundation for the future Christian church in Japan. In 1563, Omura Sumitada became the first daimyo baptized by a Jesuit priest. The first church was built in Kyoto in 1576. According to Martin Repp of the NCC Center for the Study of Japanese Religions, "between 1579 and 1582 the early missionary work was revised under Father Alessandro Valignano, one of the few who understood that Christianity had to loose its European flavor in order to become acceptable to the Japanese" (Martin Repp, "Introduction" Japanese Religions, Vol. 19 No. 1&2, Jan. 1994, p.1).
Because of unrest among his subjects attributed to Christians, Shogun Hideyoshi issued in 1587 the first decree banishing the propoagation of the Christian faith. After a century of civil war, he feared unrest that might lead to peasant revolts. He stated that the religions of Shinto and Buddhism were the only religions of Japan. Nevertheless, for ten years Christian missionaries enjoyed toleration in a restricted way. After the arrival of Spanish priests of the Franciscan and Dominican orders in the beginning of the 1590's, rivalry and quarrel arose among the Christian missionaries. The conflict was also between different European nationals. In 1596 the "San Filipe" incident dealt a serious blow to the Christian mission. The Spanish ship "San Filipe" ran aground and its cargo containing a lot of ammunition was confiscated. The ship's pilot was said to have told during interrogation that Spanish colonial expansion was normally proceeded by missionaries preparing the way for military conquest. This argument was taken up very quickly by the Japanese rulers.
In 1597 Jesuits and Franciscans were taken prisoner in the capital (the Jesuits were released soon due to their connection with the court) and twenty-six Christians, Japanese and foreigners, were executed in Nagasaki, becoming the first martyrs in Japan. The Rev. Sigfrid Schneider describes an incident from the martyrdom on February 5, 1597," On the way up the hill a nobleman tempted the youngest boy, Louis Ibaragi, who was only twelve years old to renounce his faith, He would not yield but eagerly asked: 'Where is my cross?' When they pointed out the smallest one to him he immediately embraced it and held on to it as a child clings to his toy." (Sigfried Schneider, Ofm, The 26 Martyrs of Japan, Chuo Press, 1980, p. 16)