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Entries in All Random All the Time (46)


When fearfully and wonderfully made is hard to feel

I did not sleep well last night.  Between alternating moments of hot and cold (oh the joys of midlife!) and hearing songs in my head, I had a hard time.  I don't know why, and I don't know if anyone else has this happen, but when I struggle with insomina, I hear songs.  Sometimes, they're good songs; sometimes, they're the drivel I heard on the car radio earlier.  Thankfully, last night featured Andrew Peterson's song "Come Back Soon."

I woke up very grumpy.  Two cups of coffee didn't do it for me, and as I faced a day of details and an errand later today which I'd rather not do, I was in no mood for my regular bible reading time, so I decided to postpone it and read something else.  I can't read my bible and pray when I'm grumpy.  After reading a few blogs and the news, I was ready.

I thought about Psalm 139, and the line that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (v.14).  I thought to myself that it's a lot easier to feel that way when one is young and productive.  After having given birth to children and nursing them, I felt fearfully and wonderfully made.  When I could chase toddlers, I felt that way again. I'm going to be 48 years old in a few weeks; sometimes, it's hard to feel fearfully and wonderfully made.

But of course, I am thankful for the good health I have, and I stopped feeling sorry for myself.  I may not feel like I'm fearfully and wonderfully made, but Scripture tells me I am, and as a creation of God, I can be confident that He knows me; He knows every detail.  He knows that I woke up feeling tired.  He knows I am discouraged at having insomnia night after night, and having to randomly remove my cardigan throughout the day because I feel like I'm being incincerated from the inside out (note to younger women:  plan ahead for light layers!). He knows that there are days when for no particular reason I just feel like I want to either scream or cry. 

I won't complain because these are issues that are minor, and certainly not life threatening.  I am not, like many women my age, suffering from breast cancer, heart disease, stroke or mental illness.  I can walk, drive my car, and care for my home.  My concerns are such minor things.

This is a reminder that our physical selves are not insignificant, and that we battle them daily.  Whether the battle is with a serious disease, or something minor like the female struggles of the late forties, it is a reminder of the reality that these fleeting physical bodies can control us so easily.  These sin-tainted bodies can control us physically and mentally.

Thanks be to God that He can over rule such things.  Thanks be to God that I can read the words that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  And thanks be to God that I can be reminded that my feelings will lie to me, but His word is truth.


Ancient history, news coverage, and pictures

I'm here with my coffee, constructing a post about nothing in particular.  Wait .... isn't that every day here? Well, this is more random nothing in particular.

Got the kidlets home for the holidays yesterday.  I like the drive there, through the countryside, past some really big farms.  I have a thing for big blue silos and barns, and if it wasn't for the fact that there is nowhere to pull over, and I could very well get run over, I would have stopped to photograph a few of them.  Plus, it was drizzling, and I didn't want to get wet.  

My daughter and I talked at length yesterday about many things, including the shooting in Connecticut.  Earlier, on the weekend, as she shared with me her reactions, she said that she found a lot of the social media content about the shooting very discouraging and she ended up unfollowing some people from Twitter and just avoiding it.  Her comment to me was that she certainly felt like she had something to say, but it wasn't anything profound, so she was holding her peace.  Would that more people would adopt the position of a 23 year old young woman, which is ironic, because she's more articulate than some of the so called professionals I've read over the past while.

I confess to being mostly unimpressed with the way news is covered these days.  It's more about ratings and hyperbole than it is about information.  I find it odd that people can be paid huge sums of money for talking for hours and hours about the same thing which ultimately is nothing more than a pile of information divorced from understanding.  I watch the headlines, but I mostly avoid news networks except for the CBC here in Canada.

I'm really enjoying starting the Read the Fathers project.  I have missed a day here and there, but the readings are presented so that one does not feel out of the loop when she does return.  I am also following up on a suggestion Michael Haykin made in his book Rediscovering the Church Fathers and reading Henry Chadwick's The Early Church.  I've had it on my shelves for years, and read snippets here and there.  I'm about to start reading about Justin Martyr.  I also picked up a highly recommended volume that Dr. Haykin gives in his book, and that is the first volume of Jaroslav Pelikan's multi volume series.  I've seen it recommended in a number of other places as well.  This is the kind of reading I like; a little rabbit trail that is providing all sorts of interesting stuff.  I doubt my occasional blog posts about the church fathers will be of interest to anyone other than me, but I'm finding it really interesting.

Another book that intersected my path as I started down this one is the book Journeys of Faith, which I picked up a while back after reading some reviews of it.  Considering the place that Orthodox and Catholics place on tradition and the teaching of the church fathers, this, too, has been interesting.  I know some folks who converted to Catholicism from Evangelicalism, so this book, too, is an eye opener for me.

I've noticed that many writers employ a curious form.  It sounds sort of like poetry, but is presented as prose. The overall tone is sort of daydreamy and pondery (I don't think that's a word; sorry), and every sentence is its own paragraph.  I have to wait until my English professor daughter wakes up to tell me if that's a common thing these days.  It doesn't really appeal to me, but I know it does others.  I like my poetry as poetry and my prose as prose.  But then, I think I am approaching official curmudgeon status.

Ugly weather and rain has prevented me from going outside much with my camera, but I did edit some pictures from a year ago and put them up at my picture blog.  I demonstrate how I learned through error, and the post before that has some pictures of an Amaryllis, using both a zoom lens and a macro lens.  My husband brought the plant home for its photo potential alone.  I am vowing to spend more time practicing with my camera in 2013.  It's so relaxing and knowing that I am just an amateur, and likely always to be one, takes the pressure off from thinking I need to achieve more than I'm able.  I'm just happy when my husband likes them.

As we all move ahead closer to Christmas and find ourselves either burdened down with preparations or too much eating, may we all remember to take time to sit and just be still.  Advent is about waiting, but we don't seem to be waiting during this time.  We seem to be racing around.  May we all find some time for silence.


Giving praise where praise is due

This is a very random thought, pecked out on my keyboard having only had one cup of coffee, so my apologies if it isn't very coherent.

In recent days, I've read snippets here and there by women who talk about how female authors and teachers "changed their lives."  I'm always a little uncomfortable about that statement.  I'm very uncomfortable when women are too strident in defending their preferred guru but won't defend the authority of Scripture.  When we won't accept public figures standing to account for their teaching, I think there is something wrong.  I'm of the mind that if you're a public figure, it comes with the territory, and when there is argument, simply defend yourself. When hordes of women call others "mean" for objecting to a questionable teaching, discourse begins to crumble.  Cries like that are generally emotion-driven, and I think we can all agree that arguing with an emotional person is rather counter productive.

I have benefitted from the teaching of others over and over again.  I have learned something from books I have read, and been excited and challenged over the things I read.  But, ultimately, what changes me is not Mr/Miss/Mrs Famous Writing Person; it's the Word of God, ministered to me through the power of the Holy Spirit.  If Famous Writing Person did not exist, I could still experience those changes.  In fact, sometimes, Famous Writing Person can stand in the way if I pay more heed to that individual's words than God's Word.

If I cannot see in Scripture how as a woman I am loved, valued, treasured, chosen, redeemed, sanctified, glorified, then what I need is help understanding the Scripture.  Learning to interpret and understand the Scriptures is a life-long process.  And yes (shock!) a male teacher may just be the right individual to help me understand how to interpret and apply the Word of God.  Ultimately, a good teacher will tell us that when we do gain understanding and do feel like we've been changed, we must be careful to give the glory to God, not the famous writer.

One of the drawbacks of the internet is that it can make any ordinary joe (or josephine) seem bigger or more important.  We can all hide behind our screens and keep safely hidden any ugly things about us.  God, however, has revealed in Scripture all we we need to know about him in order to be reconciled to Him and to grow.  He is to be our ultimate teacher.  If we must rely on the sparkling personality of the speaker, or gain strength from the audacity of a public figure, then I think we will ultimately be the lesser for it.  If we want to be fully sanctified and transformed, our ultimate allegiance is to God and His Word.  

When we give thanks for others, let's thank the One who gave those people to us.  Ultimately, God is the one who deserves the praise.


Odds and ends

It was a beautifully quiet weekend during which I did nothing much that useful (insert happy face).  My daughter and younger son were home for the weekend.  Daughter spent a lot of time working on her research and marking papers; my son was working on a philosphy paper.  It was a really nice picture to go into our livingroom on Friday evening and see the two of them in front of the fire, working.  It was an especially nice sight to see my son doing homework, since in high school, he basically fluffed his way through it.  He is loving his philosophy and ancient mythology classes.  He's taking Latin next year, which makes me happy.  We did it when we homeschooled, and at the time, I had nothing but bitter complaining.  Nice to see this change.  I think I may have a classics major on my hands.  I cooked for my at home kids and wished my other boy could be home, too.

The weather has turned colder and I haven't been out picture taking in a while.  There is sun ahead, so I'm hoping to get out sometime this week.  My project for yesterday was to take a picture of a cactus with my macro lens.  I did indeed do that, and hope to edit it later today.

Check out this post at David Murray's blog.  It's an interview with Rosaria Butterfield, author of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert.  That is a book worth reading; and it's not a "just for women" book.  

Reviews of A Year of Biblical Womanhood continue to crop up.  I liked this one in particular.  He mentions reviews done by Kathy Keller and Sarah Flashing, and I really recommend those as well.  You can find links for both of those in his post.

Advent is just four short weeks away!  Better start your Christmas shopping and baking.  I was made to promise my 20 year old son that I would do "a lot" of baking this year.  Apparently, numbers have been down in recent years.  I'll be making these for sure.

Today, we're hosting a giveaway at Out of the Ordinary.  During the month of November, when we are thinking about thanksgiving, we want to be thankful for the kindness shown to us by people who have been reading.  Pop on over and check it out.


When your husband wears socks and sandals

My husband came home for lunch today.  It's a blessing that he is close enough and has the freedom to do that.  It isn't usually anything exciting; usually leftovers or if there are none of those, a peanut butter sandwich.  I think he does it to watch Star Trek for a while.

Today, while he was here he asked me to proofread a post he's written for the currently-on-sabbatical Calvinist Gadfly.  In the post, he mentions an anecdote which I've heard before.  It's really funny, and whenever that post gets around to being posted, I'll link it here.  You'll laugh at it.  

While I was proofreading, my huband began dancing.  He does that sometimes.  He knows it irks me.  I told him that what he was doing wasn't much of a turn on, to which he replied that the dog was enjoying the dancing.  Who am I interfere with a dog's enjoyment of her master's dancing technique?

My husband isn't shy about dancing in front of the kids' friends, either.  The kids and I groan about it, but the friends inevitably say their dad does it, too, and they laugh.  My husband also wears socks and sandals, and while the kids roll their eyes, they tolerate it.  Our son's girlfriend, who is very much like our daughter, objects to this at times.  The dancing she thinks is funny, just like my husband's sad attempts to say French words at the dinner table:  "Please passé the salt."  The socks, she draws a line at.  I have no problem with his socks and sandals provided I am not his escort while he's doing it.

My husband has no shame in doing things that I would never do in public.  They aren't obscene or illegal, they are just silly.  He has the valuable quality of not taking himself so seriously.  He can laugh at himself.  Now, this of course can be taken to an extreme, and there are times when I do think he needs to be careful how he seems to others, but by and large, he doesn't mind laughing at himself.

I wish I was better at laughing at myself.   I think we all need to take ourselves less seriously.  We're one person among billions, why do we assume everyone is concerned about what we're doing?  And if we do look silly now and then, why do we care about what strangers think of us?  I'm at the point where I don't mind living dangerously by going out without makeup on, but I'm still fairly conscious of looking stupid, so that's about as daring as I get.  I haven't gone to the grocery store in my flannel pajama pants as of yet.

And I'm thinking that I won't be shakin' that thang with my Beagle in front of others any time soon, but you never know.