Monday, July 31, 2006

I Think This is Good News????

Here are the results of an online quiz I just took.



You Are 36% Gross



You're a tad gross, but generally you're a clean, hygienic person.

No one can be perfectly clean all the time, and it's better to be human than a neat freak.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Wrist Vacation

Today, I'm amusing myself by seeing if I can drive the mouse left-handed all day. Well, actually my right wrist has been sore and I'm afraid I'm developing one of those repetitive-stress-injury-office-malady-whachamacallit-things, so I'm giving my wrist a break to see if it helps.

So far, it's just a good time-killer since I'm super slow with my left hand. I'm getting better, but it's still pretty pathetic. One of my co-workers walked up behind me and saw me overshooting everything on my screen and said "You aren't left-handed!"

Yeah, no kidding. Maybe I should just learn every keyboard shortcut known to man.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Whatever It Takes To Plays The Banjo

I smashed my left index finger yesterday, and was feeling sorry for myself because it was too swollen for me to play the banjo. I decided, however, that I had no cause for complaint after watching a video of Mountain Heart. The amazing Barry Abernathy plays banjo though missing all the fingers from his left hand. Incredible. I guess I'll just make do with three fingers for a while.

This link takes you to a CMT page. "I'm Just Here to Ride the Train" is a good one for watching the banjo player.

I showed the video to Katie, and she says, "Why would anyone want to play the banjo that much?" Banjo players are so misunderstood.

Concert Tricks

I found this picture on the website of the Dortignac family and thought it was fantastic. Look carefully and see if you can connect each hand to its correct person!


This reminds me of a concert my family went to last weekend that featured similar musical acrobatics. Here's my brother, Seth's description of it: "For one song [the hammered dulcimer player] said he would play the harmonica, hammered dulcimer and guitar all at once! He started with the dulcimer and harmonica. Then another man came up behind him and started playing the guitar! Afterward the guitar player lifted up his arms and scratched the other guy’s head like they were the other guy’s arms. It was really funny."

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Have You Ever Stolen Anything?

Several members of my family like to give away million-dollar-bill tracts, which are very popular. That fact was driven home the other day when my sister went to the orthodontist office. Both she and my father have braces, and when she went for her appointment, the lady at the front desk asked her, “Is your father the one who gives away those million-dollar bills?” When Anna said yes, the lady asked if she had any more because someone, probably the cleaning people, had taken hers. It turned out that my mother had some in the car, so they gave the lady a replacement. Anna noticed that the lady had a big yellow post-it note on her desk that said, “To whoever took my million-dollar bill: I want it back!!”

We all thought that was hilarious, and find it fantastic that people are asking for tracts, and when they lose them, they ask us for replacements!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Surprise at the Country Club

I went to a wedding reception at a country club on Saturday. It was very nice and I enjoyed it, but that’s not the point. There would be no story if everything had been merely nice. So here is what happened.

My friend and I were in the restroom, and when we came out, we were met by a staff person who asked us if anyone else was in there because someone had just told him there was a snake in the restroom. A SNAKE!!?!!?!! There are very few things that are more startling than being told there is a snake in the restroom just as you are coming out!

We went back in to help the guy find the snake and to watch the door to keep out females prone to screaming. We were soon joined by another staff person with a big plastic bucket. That’s when it really got funny. These two guys in black uniforms and aprons were in the ladies restroom catching a little grass snake with a five-gallon plastic bucket! The snake turned up next to the sofa in the lounge area, and the guys slammed their upside-down bucket over him. Then, they stood there thinking, “Now what do we do?” We suggested they get a tray out of their kitchen to slide under the bucket and capture the snake that way. They were in no mood to take advice from girls, though. They eventually tilted their bucket a tiny bit, grabbed the snake, and took him outside. The bucket really served no purpose at all!

I hope no one saw the kitchen crew member walking down the stairs with a snake. If they did, at least it was after lunch!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Door Destroyer

Recently I had the unique experience of replacing a door which had been kicked in by my client. Said client is at least six feet tall and built like a bull. Upon finding himself locked out of the house one day, he lost his temper and destroyed the back door. When I got there, I found bent and twisted pieces of the deadbolt and doorknob scattered on the ground, and a mangled steel door. In the interest of self-preservation, I decided to do what I could to stay on this guy’s good side.

Friday, July 21, 2006

This is Funny

Now the evolutionists say mammals began evolving into humans because they were afraid of snakes.

Uh-huh.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Have You Thanked God for Electricity Today?

I have a new appreciation for it after sitting a very quiet, very dark, very boring office for about 3 1/2 hours this morning. There's a new highway going in right behind our building, and something related to the construction knocked out our transformer. It's remarkable how little you can do with no computer and no phone: literally nothing. I lit candles and sat in a comfy chair reading a mazagine in between chatting with my co-workers. We were told the power would be back around 10:00, but that came and went. When we got back from lunch, we called again and the estimate was 4:00, so we said that's it, we're going home. Just as we were walking out the door, the lights came on. I could not believe it. What a disappointment!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Another Reason to Eat at Chick-Fil-A

They just started selling milkshakes!! You can get chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, or cookies 'n cream, all with whipped cream and a cherry on top! Yum!Except, maybe not, since excessive consumption of dairy products contributes to acne, allergies, anemia, cancer, colds, colic, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis....

:-(

End Times Study: Is It Important?

First of all, I must say that anything in the Bible is certainly worthy of study and careful consideration. But, I have come to believe that end-times theology just isn’t worth arguing about. The Bible tells us a lot about the end times, but not everything. Many times, when people discuss and debate the passages that talk about the end times, it turns to mere speculation.

For another thing, what difference does it really make what scenario we come up with? As long as we believe the basics that are clearly laid out in the Bible, do we really need to try to figure out all the details? Will it make any difference in what we believe about God or how we live our lives? Won’t we be seeking righteousness, sharing the gospel, and worshipping God whether we call ourselves pre-trib, post-trib, or whatever?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Challenge: Spell English Words

from today's newspaper:


Don't you love the English language? The funny part of this is that spell check wouldn't have helped this guy, actually.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Clown Hair

My family went to the circus yesterday, which was a lot of fun. We got in a discussion on the way home though, about whether Bello the clown's hair was real or not. I'd heard that it's his real hair and it grows straight up naturally. Most of the rest of the family said something like, "yeah right."

So here you go guys. Although I must admit that the website only says that he says it's his natural hair.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Culture Change

This may surprise some, but I've been finding it hard to get very worked up about legislation dealing with moral and social issues like marriage, abortion, and drugs. Every victory looks good on its own, but over past years, we have seen a steady disintegration in the values of the American population in general. We have gone from fighting no-fault divorce to fighting homosexual marriage. Instead of trying to stop first trimester abortion, we are trying to keep doctors from removing feeding tubes from living adults.

The next generation of judges, legislators, journalists, and voters is one which has been taught that there is no creator, that there is no natural law, and that they owe no more allegiance to America than they do to any other nation. They have been instructed that every religion is equally tolerable unless one takes said religion so seriously that he believes it is the only true religion.

As long as we fail to train children with uncompromising Christian values, we will be fighting a losing battle. We may see a federal marriage amendment ratified, but on our current path, it will be repealed twenty years from now. We may have a ban on partial birth abortion, but eventually we will be arguing about whether to kill human clones to harvest organs. Passing moral laws without producing moral people is like taking cough drops to treat pneumonia. If our culture turns around, it will not be through good laws, it will be through changed people.

The best way to produce people of this sort is to have children and to have a lot of them. Children are blank hard drives just waiting for data. There's no way to estimate the impact of a man with many well-raised children.

The only other way is to retrain existing people. The fields of unbelievers are ripe for harvest. Evangelize. However, evangelization is not enough to create people who will take our country in the right direction. We need to be prepared to train younger believers on how the Bible applies to current events and politics. We need to teach them the implications of God being the Creator, and of the intrinsic value of human life.

Having said all that, I must point out that in all our endeavors, whether as lobbyists, evangelists, or housewives, we should not depend on success for incentive to persevere at our task. God may save our nation, but He may also decide to bring persecution to the church and to allow America to become a Babylon of immorality. Our part is simply to do what we know we must do.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Are You A Soldier?

I’ve been reading the book, Don’t Waste Your Life, by John Piper. It’s excellent, and has a lot of good insights in it. I’ve liked every John Piper book I’ve read, and this is no exception. The last chapter is about missions, and while he stresses that you don’t have to be a foreign missionary to keep from wasting your life, you do need to consider it and be willing to go if God sends you. He had an excellent analogy in there of comparing the church’s task of missions to a war.

In a war, certain people are rigorously trained, properly equipped, and sent out to the front lines of battle. But back at home, there are vast numbers of people building guns, planes, and tanks, sending supplies, praying for the safety of the soldiers, and excitedly receiving any news from the front.

In one sense, we should all view ourselves as soldiers in this spiritual battle, but in another sense, this is a good analogy to the way the church should function. Everyone is either sending or being sent, and every task is valuable. Also, those of us who are senders should be ready for action when it becomes clear that we’re needed on the front lines.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Is It Okay to Look for a Spouse?

This is a topic I’ve been thinking about recently, and even more so since discussing it with my family last weekend. You’ll soon see that it’s definitely still in the thinking stages. First, two disclaimers are necessary. 1. This will probably seem very disjointed, with way too many questions. But, it’s not an article. You are merely eavesdropping on a conversation I’ve been having with myself. 2. You are welcome to let me know if you think I’m nuts because it is quite possible that I am, indeed, nuts.

So, what about it then? Expect for when I dabbled with online matchmaking, I’ve generally thought that I should just contentedly wait for God to bring me a spouse: the right person at the right time. I’ve thought that if the man hasn’t shown up yet, either I’m not ready or he’s not ready, and if God wants me married he’ll bring The One along with no help from me.

But now, I’m having a fairly radical thought: what if there isn’t just one? Does God really have just one person out there somewhere who would be my ideal match? If that’s true, what if he died at birth? What if someone else married him by mistake? How does that fit with widows who remarry?

I believe that God cares about every aspect of our lives, but is it over-spiritualizing to think that God has just one person who will miraculously come across my path? Maybe it’s not true that if the man hasn’t shown up one of us isn’t ready. Maybe if everyone around me thinks I am ready, I should go find someone else who’s ready.

I also believe that it’s important to have standards and not lower them out of frustration. Better to be married to a godly man for forty years than a jerk for fifty. But what if there’s more than one person who qualifies? Or what if there’s almost nobody who qualifies and just happening across such a person is an extremely remote possibility?

Honestly, I think very few people are truly “called to singleness” and the rising numbers of single adults make me think something must be amiss. Are we holding out for perfection? Is it possible that the idea of waiting for a “soulmate” is based in selfishness? Are we looking for someone who will make us completely happy rather than looking for someone with whom we can raise a family? Why don’t we just pick somebody, make a commitment, and then stick it out, for better or for worse?

Some have said to me that if you go looking for a spouse you might be jumping ahead of God’s timing and missing something better he had for you. But isn’t there a danger with that kind of thinking that you’ll be holding out forever for something even better? As long as we don’t abandon our values and standards, I don’t think we should be that concerned with missing out on perfection, especially since perfection doesn’t exist in this world. For example, how can we expect to find someone who’s never crabby but will happily put up with us when we’re crabby?

And what about couples in the Bible? Didn't Abraham take a look at his son, decide Isaac needed a wife, and promptly send a servant out to find one? Hmmm, I wonder how other Biblical couples got together?

  • Adam and Eve--this was definitely a miraculous, divine intervention, but it cost Adam a rib.
  • Jacob and Leah--why I'm not advocating arranged marriage
  • Jacob and Rachel--Jacob: a man obsessed with beauty; Rachel: the beautiful cousin. Ok, nevermind about that one.
  • Boaz and Ruth--She asked him because he was rich. Wow.
  • David and Abigail--Hot-headed future king meets intelligent beauty in a moment of drama. God conveniently kills her pathetic husband.
  • David and Bathsheba--no, falling in lust with a woman and murdering her husband is not a good idea.
  • Job--this might be a good case for staying single, actually.
  • Hosea--God told him to marry an unfaithful woman. She was probably easy to find.
  • Joseph and Mary--probably another arranged marriage. I guess it works sometimes.
  • Aquila and Priscilla--an excellent example of a couple who are truly partners in every aspect of life. I wish the Bible told how they met.

Well I'm not sure what to think about all that, except that there doesn't seem to any sort of magical formula, that's for sure.

Ok, that’s all. If you made it to the end of all these disorganized thoughts, congratulations! You are now free to tell me I’m losing my mind. But you might want to do it quickly, because if this train of thought continues, I might have to recant all that stuff I said about online matchmaking.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

This is what happens...

...when a banjo player goes out in public.*

Just kidding. Although, sometimes I think John wishes it were true.

*Don't worry, it's just a sticker. The only girls who ever kiss him are in his immediate family (as far as I know :-) ) and we don't wear lipstick.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Quotes on Getting After It

"Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up knowing it must run faster than the fastest lion or be killed. Every morning a lion awakens knowing it must outrun the slowest gazelle or starve to death. It doesn't matter if you are a lion or a gazelle, when the sun comes up, you'd better be running." Anonymous

"Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle." Abraham Lincoln

Five Things Survey

I was tagged for this quite a while ago, and am just now getting around to it. Oh well, better late than never.

5 things in my refrigerator:
1. light bulb
2. drawers
3. ice machine
4. batteries
5. food

5 things in my closet:
1. pipe cleaners
2. contact paper
3. slide projector
4. luggage
5. clothes

5 things in my purse:
1. cell phone
2. pen
3. gum
4. wallet
5. nail clippers that aren't actually there right now because my brother borrowed them and hasn't given them back

5 things in my car:
1. Belkin wireless ipod FM transmitter
2. gray spring-loaded umbrella that I bought in Istanbul
3. key map
4. silver window shades
5. Kleenex box

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Spider


I am buying time with this picture of a recently spotted creature. A more thoughtful post will be coming soon.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

20 Ways To Maintain A Healthy Level Of Insanity

1. At Lunch Time, Sit In Your Parked Car With Sunglasses on and point a Hair Dryer At Passing Cars. See If They Slow Down.

2. Page Yourself Over The Intercom. Don't Disguise Your Voice.

3. Every Time Someone Asks You To Do Something, Ask If They Want Fries with that.

4. Put Your Garbage Can On Your Desk And Label It "In."

5. Put Decaf In The Coffee Maker For 3 Weeks. Once Everyone has Gotten Over Their Caffeine Addictions, Switch to Espresso.

6. In The Memo Field Of All Your Checks, Write "For Smuggling Diamonds"

7. Finish All Your sentences with "In Accordance With The Prophecy."

8. Don't use any punctuation

9. As Often As Possible, Skip Rather Than Walk.

10. Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.

11. Specify That Your Drive-through Order Is "To Go."

12. Sing Along At The Opera.

13. Go To A Poetry Recital And Ask Why The Poems Don't Rhyme

14. Put Mosquito Netting Around Your Work Area And Play tropical Sounds All Day.

15 Five Days In Advance, Tell Your Friends You Can't Attend Their Party Because You're Not In The Mood.

16. Have Your Co-workers Address You By Your Wrestling Name, Rock Bottom.

17. When The Money Comes Out The ATM, Scream "I Won!, I Won!"

18. When Leaving The Zoo, Start Running Towards The Parking lot, Yelling, "Run For Your Lives, They're Loose!!"

19. Tell Your Children Over Dinner. "Due To The Economy, We Are Going To Have To Let One Of You Go."

20. And The Final Way To Keep A Healthy Level Of Insanity....... Share this with everyone you know.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

How I Spent Independence Day, 2006

Okay, I might as well admit it right now. The only thing patriotic I did all day was wear a flag shirt. I spent the day transferring folk dance music from one computer to another, posting items for sale on ebay, cooking, cleaning, playing instruments, watching it rain, and being sick. I got a head cold somewhere, but thankfully, it wasn't enough to keep me in bed. I just carried a kleenex box around with me all day. I did go to bed early, and I lay there for a while listening to fireworks going off. We apparently have some wacko neighbors who think it's fun to shoot fireworks in the rain.

Bah humbug.

Monday, July 3, 2006

Neat-O!!!!!!

My sister Anna has a very impressive bug bite on her leg. We've had all kinds of speculations about what got her. Seth says it was probably a deer tick and is probably fatal. Everyone else thinks it must have been some sort of spider, but not a very poisonous one because Anna never felt sick. She had quite a bit of pain yesterday, but not much at all today. Hence the smiling pose.

Dancing in Austin

Katie and I spent Saturday in Austin for an Israeli folk dance workshop. The teacher, Ya'akov Eden, was raised on a kibbutz in Israel, spent several years in a professional folk dance ensemble, and has spent the rest of his life studying Israeli dance. It's a really unique type of folk dance, because the Jews have only had their own country for sixty years. Most Israeli dances from before the 1940's feel very much like Balkan or gypsy dances. The dances we learned are from Israeli choreographers who wrote dances specifically for Israel during the early days of Israeli independence.

Katie and I decided we must be crazy about dancing. We went to our regular dancing in Houston Friday evening, had morning and afternoon workshop sessions in Austin, then went to Austin weekly dancing on Saturday evening, which goes from 7:30 to 11:00. Oh well, it was fun and worth it, and our feet and knees survived without injury.