Thursday, December 04, 2008
- I started another drama class this week. Last session I had 9 kids and innumerable behavioral problems (one student was asked not to return). This session I have 16 children, and I believe they are the cream of the crop. After our first class I had several declare this is their favorite class, and they are looking forward to next week. I like that kind of enthusiasm! Better yet, they seem to be all well-behaved, mature children.
- last week Mike finally received the promotion that he had been promised nearly 6 months ago. He already was doing the work involved, but he had not received the title or pay raise to go with the responsibilities. Our company was generous and offered him a 22% increase in salary
- we received a call at 3:30 Tuesday night from the embryo clinic saying they were faxing over the profiles on embryo donors. We needed to decide on which donor we wanted and decide fast! Other couples were getting the same information at the same time, and it was first come, first served.
Mike and I decided on 1 couple that night, but really needed God's peace about the whole thing. All we had to go on was brief physical descriptions of the donors and only 7 profiles to choose from. I called the clinic the first thing Wednesday and heard the beautiful words, "The other couples haven't chosen yet because I was waiting to hear what your selection was." After Mike and I told her our choice, she faxed over a more detailed bio on the husband and wife. Would you believe, it's like reading our own bios.
The husband is the same age as Mike, the wife is within 2 years of my age. Both have curly hair. Both share our body build, skin tone and eye color. The husband plays soccer, the wife majored in communications. Better still. The couple had 5 strong, healthy embryos to donate. The wife ended up pregnant with triplets when she used her other embryos. (I'm not wishing for triplets, but it tells us she had a good success rate)
After reading the detailed information, we really felt God's peace and assurance. So, this week we are rejoicing in God's goodness and His ability to answer prayers (from big to small).
Monday, November 17, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Normally I'm a pacifist all in favor of finding peaceful solutions to conflicts, but today I have re-evaluated my stance. Today I became an all-you-can-eat buffet for fleas. I've counted 20 bites thus far on my legs, abdomen, back and arms. We tried vacuuming, washing linens and even taking vitamin B1 (one website said this supplement deters fleas from biting - ha!) Mike and I plan to bomb the house tomorrow, and hopefully find something to spray the yard. I'm open to any other tips!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I’m reading a book written by a freelance writer who gives advice to folks seeking to bust out of the standard 9-to-5 model of work. She asks questions in the first chapter to help stimulate the reader’s thought process regarding what kind of work the reader really would be interested in doing. One of the questions guides the reader to look at hobbies and interests.
By doing so, I now realize I suffer from flight of thought – which my dad gratefully reminds me is a symptom of Schizophrenia.
See, my hobby is reading – particularly anything to do with history. The Schizophrenia part comes in when one looks at my list of materials. A month ago I was obsessed with Henry VIII and the history of his life, wives and reign. I must have read at least 4 books on this topic in just a month.
This month, I’m obsessed with learning all I can about World War II, particularly focusing on the Holocaust. I’m re-reading Wiesel’s “Night” and have checked out other books on this topic – all biographical stories from people who were in Europe during WWII and were touched by the Holocaust. I’m also re-watching “Band of Brothers” and hope to meet with a local widow who is Jewish and escaped from Europe during WWII.
Earlier this year my reading list consisted of nothing but books about the history of Spain, starting with Queen Isabella and going through the last dictator, Franco.
Now if only I could turn this flight of thought and fancy into a career path ….
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Authorities in Iran nabbed two birds believed to be “spy pigeons” near the country’s contentious nuclear facility, the Agence France-Presse reported Monday.
Both pigeons were caught near the city of Natanz, which is home to Iran’s uranium enrichment plant, AFP reported. Both had metal rings and invisible strings attached to them.
A source declined to mention what will happen to the pigeons now that they’ve been caught.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I went into this week’s drama class just hoping and praying that the kids would be calm enough for me to get through the lesson plan. I had enlisted a few friends to pray for me, and I had spent a few days prior to the class praying for the kids. Still, though, I had low expectations.
Imagine my surprise when the one child who seemed to be the ring-leader, J., came into class and said, “Hello, Miss Brittany!” I can’t recall him ever addressing me by name. Then, during class, J. continued to surprise me by reigning in the other kids and helping me keep everyone on task. Later, he held the door open for me and the other classmates, and eagerly ran to the drama director to tell her he had brought one of his grades up.
His good behavior continued throughout the rest of class, and when it came time to recognize the “best behaved student,” others in the class readily recommended J. even before I announced my choice.
I really don’t know what to attribute J.’s change to other than prayer and perseverance. The best part: I was finally able to start pouring into each child, praising them for individual accomplishments and sharing with them about how God had created each one of them with unique skills and talents. I left class quite elated and encouraged, which is definitely more than what I expected.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Friday, October 03, 2008
Check it out! If nothing else, I love the case studies because it makes me think about what would I do or say in the proposed situation.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
- 15 million
- 1.3 million
- 16 million
I think each of these issues deserves our attention at any time - not just in an election year. I applaud those who champion a particular cause and who are so passionate about an issue that they do their best to educate the public about their stance. But I also applaud those who go beyond picketing and protesting and do their part to change the situation - whether it's through donations, volunteering, advocacy, education or mentoring.
As a follower of Jesus, I believe that true change can only happen by and through His direction and power. Politicians can reform laws, but the next group of leaders can reverse whatever temporary change was enacted. Organizations can offer aid relief, but their change, too, only addresses temporary situations.
I really feel this is where the church should be unified and focused: doing whatever we can to offer healing, forgiveness, restoration, hope and love. We should stop focusing on politics and start focusing on people. We should stop drawing lines of divisions and start reaching out a hand of reconciliation. And as God changes lives, we'll also see God overthrow injustices. And God desires to affect change that impacts all lives.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Saturday, September 06, 2008
I've been trying to sort out a revelation that occurred to me earlier this week, and thought I'd offer two views on the same issue. This first post is my initial thoughts regarding the issue/question. The next post will feature the insights of a person who has become sort of a mentor/sounding board for when I encounter these issues.
So I had this spiritual “aha” moment yesterday and it’s kind of thrown me for a loop. I’ve been thinking about blogging about it, but I can’t think of any title other than, “God and the Sex Trade.” See, I was reading a book by McManus in which he discusses the story of Esther. He points out that this Old Testament story isn’t a romantic love story like we all think it is. At its essence, it’s the story of a girl whose people was enslaved by the Persians. God decides the way to rescue his people from annihilation is to plant someone in a strategic location so that this person will be in a position of influence. Sounds great … except His plan involved having a young, virgin girl forced into the king’s harem where she was obligated to satisfy the king’s every whim. Granted, the story turns out fine and dandy: Esther becomes queen and Israel is saved. By why did God’s plan center around a girl being forced into a sterilized version of the sex trade in order to save His people?
The second part that worries me is the question of what if God’s plan for my life involved a similar sacrifice. For the longest time, I thought bad things happen for 2 reasons: it’s a direct result of a person’s sin (ex: Israel’s captivity) or the result of someone making bad decisions (ex: story of Tamar’s rape in the Old Testament). Never had I considered that bad things might happen because it’s part of God’s plan. It’s like God sent Esther to the harem. This wasn’t a case of someone making a bad decision and God having to step in to make the best of the bad result. God ordained the bad situation!
So what if God’s plan for me requires me to be falsely accused for a crime and sent to prison just so other prisoners can hear about God? Or what if God’s plan requires me to contract a horrible disease so that I’ll be put in touch with doctors who are longing to hear about God?
So now I’m in a quandary about what to think regarding God’s compassion when it seems that at times God’s glory will outweigh God’s compassion.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
McManus' latest book, “Wide Awake,” hit shelves earlier this month to much anticipation. His earlier books sketched an image of Christianity that was wild and adventurous - certainly not the tame, mundane facsimile it has become. His latest book promised to challenge believers to embrace the idea that our futures, our potentials, already laid dormant within us just waiting to burst forth into a myriad of colors, sounds and experiences.
I threw the book on the floor after chapter 1.
McManus begins his book talking about why we need to chase after our dreams, boiling the idea down to this central theme: the world needs us to fulfill the potential God placed within us. If all of humanity lived like we were created to live, then many of society’s ills and the world’s plights could be solved. What frustrates me is that I don’t have a dream to chase. I feel like McManus is encouraging us to throw off all inhibition to chase after our futures, and I’m standing at the start line trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be running toward. I have my running shoes on, just no path to follow.
I want to chase a dream. I want to think there’s more to this life than a 8.5 hr. job consumed with answering emails and filing papers. I want to think there’s adventure awaiting me around the bend - but there’s no trail in front of me, let alone a bend. I want to think that when it’s all said and done, I can leave this planet satisfied that I’ve impacted at least one life. Maybe even have improved the world a bit through my existence.
It’s a defeating moment to see others strapping on their shoes in preparation to run off into the horizon when I have yet to figure out where I’m going.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I’m going to steal from a great man’s blog, but at least I’m confessing it up front. Johnathan Acuff crafted a blog post about how temptations don’t swoop in and bang you over the head; they creep in like a slowly rising river. He says it better though …
"On the evening of January 31, 1953, a father and his 9-year-old son were walking along a large dyke. The father noticed that the water was higher than it should have been. With a watch and a worrisome look he took a rough measure of how high the water would be soon.
In a controlled panic, he and his son woke up the mayor of the small town. They woke up the town council and for hours discussed what they should do. Ultimately the council decided that they should not ring the church bell and wake up the town because nothing serious would happen. The reason they believed everything would be OK was that the dyke had never failed before. Their town had always been safe and so they trusted that what had never happened would not ever happen.
The next morning, the father and son started searching for survivors among the more than 1,800 dead.
Chances are, you and I will never feel the rush of water as a damn breaks and a town disappears. But in many ways, we all know what it’s like to stand on top of a wall as the water slowly rises. To see the warning signs in our life and know that perhaps someone should be warned.
Maybe it’s slow, the daily build up of rain washing against your walls. Maybe it’s unexpected, a storm colliding against you with waves and water you never dreamed could be so deep. But in that moment when you stand on the top of your damn and can see the water rising, don’t try to go it alone. Reach out to a friend. Wake up your neighbors. Ring the church bell.
Because in this damn life, it’s just so easy for never to turn into first time ever."
So how are the dams in your life?
I want to be someone who sees that my little life in Virginia can impact the life of a child in India. That I don’t have to be Ghandi, Billy Graham or Mother Theresa to help someone. And distance isn’t an excuse. Plenty of organizations are working in countries that I may never visit, and they need my support.
But the worldwide concern goes beyond a desire to do good and help others. It’s rooted in the knowledge that if I truly believe all people are created in God’s image, then all people are worthy of dignity, justice and compassion. Everyone. Even Bin Laden.
Today, I read a heart-wrenching story from Italy. Two Roma girls drowned near a beach, were pulled on shore and covered with towels until emergency personnel could arrive. Meanwhile, beachgoers continued to eat, mingle and sunbathe within feet of the girls’ corpses. I’m tempted to be outraged at their complacency, but to accuse them would be to condemn myself, too.