Sunday, April 29, 2007

Memaloose State Park

Oh, and just because it looks cool, this wasn't Memaloose, it was in my front yard. Click on it, I didn't know the detail until I saw it up close, you can see these beautiful water drops standing on the edge and one about to drop from the bottom of the petal. It is exquisite.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Goldfish and the object lesson

Ok, so I need to blog about this, because it weighs on me and I found it disturbing, and I think, maybe it's just me, maybe it isn't. Do I need confirmation for feeling a certain way? Not really, but I wonder if this seems as wierd to anyone else.

I went to church today, we haven't really been going regularly anyway, but it is the church my kids go to for youth group. Seems to me the last time I went I had to blog about it also. Hmmmm.
The sermon was delivered by the youth pastor, and it went something like this....he walks to the podium, and starts to take a drink of water from a cup, stops and says there is something in the water. He pours the water out of the cup intoa pitcher on the table, holding his hand across the top to strain what is inside. He then pours what is in the cup onto the table top, and it is live goldfish. There they are flopping around on the table and onto the floor. He walks away and leaves them there, goes to the podium and begins his talk.
Everyone is pretty much sitting there gaping, no one really knows what to do, this goes on for a while and eventually a couple of the teen age girls goes up and scoop them back into the water pitcher.
At the end of the sermon he says the thing is, when the fish were in the cup, he knew what the problem was, but we didn't, when he dumped them out we all knew what the problem was, and what needed to be done. We simply had to put them back in the water. When we see people who are floundering, we know what they need, we need to overcome our own discomfort and act, tell them about God, do the thing you know needs to be done.
While I certainly understand the object lesson, I am horrified that this guy would be willing to dump a hundred or so goldfish out to prove a point. I also think that in the middle of a church service, it is unfair to pull this stunt, and then point out how long it takes for people to respond, when no one really knew what his plan was. You're sitting there and you're thinking, surely he won't just leave them there, this is a church, why would someone do something so horrible in a church? It feels like a kind of violence, an assault on one, emotionally, to witness. I think it is manipulative to try to make people feel bad about not running up there,w hen we don't know what his plan was, he dumped them out, on purpose, it is part of the lesson, what are we supposed to do? I don't think God tries to make us feel bad in order to make us behave a certain way, nor does he hurt other things to make us behave a certain way. I found this disturbing and upsetting. I wonder, is this the place for me and my kids?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

some more pics from Belknap Hot springs

I always wanted to be a photographer, but never pursued that line. I love digital cameras, I get instant gratification and I don't have to waste money developing crummy pictures. These are a few I took on our trip to Belknap.

I love this one, you can almost see the water running, it is a spring along the trail to the gardens.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Books I haven't read in forever

So, this is kind of exciting, and kind of funny. I remember in jr and sr high being very fascinated with science and physics and trying to understand how it all worked. I loved reading about this, but I hated the math part and it made it tough to really grasp the topic. But I tried. My son is getting fascinated by it now too, his science class is beginning to talk about physics and he is so gung ho, he says he just wants to move on and learn all he can about it. I read some great books at his age, I especially liked reading about Richard Feynman, very funny person, very interesting writer, I loved looking at MC Escher, I would spend hours tracing around his little labyrinths and designs. I remember one book called godel escher bach, but it was one that I had to wade through a bunch of times, it was tougher to chew, not soft and springy like a twinkie. I ordered my son some of the feynman books I enjoyed, and one called flat land, to help him understand dimensional space, and godel escher bcah, well, just because the kid is a little cocky, and either it'll give him a headache or he'll get it and explain it to me. It is just really cool to see him getting so excited about things, and I remember feeling like that too. This kid is the one who is most like me, I understand what he is thinking and I just get him. He likes the things I like although he can talk my ears off about gaming and stuff I don't care about. He really enjoys having these deep philosophical discussions, great for a 12 year old. I wonder if he will go through the same trouble I did, wanting to fit it but knowing I didn't really. Noone else wanted to talk about that stuff when I was his age, and it made boys look at you funny. No that he cares how boys look at him. I think he will be ok, he seems pretty ok with himself, comfortable in his own skin, he doesn't seem bothered by anyone's opinion of him, except of course for us, his parents. Never has been, either.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

We have done these cookies every year for the last several years, and I appreciate that it walks the kids through the story in a hands on kind of way, much more so than trying to make some connection between rabbits and eggs and Jesus. Logistically, you have to start beating the egg whites to a soft peak before adding the sugar or it just never gets firm, you end up with puddles not peaks. Also, they stick to everything, you don't get neat little cookies you can pick up and eat, they turn into dust. But they taste wonderful! Maybe I will find a silpat and see if that stays nonstick better......
I seem to be the only eater of the cookies but the kids like making them so, here we go again!

To be made the evening before Easter
You need:
1 cup whole pecans
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vinegar
zipper baggie
3 egg whites
wooden spoon
pinch salt
Preheat oven to 300 degrees (this is important-don't wait until you're half done with the recipe!)
Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3.
Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.
Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11.
Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27.
So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16.
Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isa. 1:18 and John 3:1-3.
Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read Matt. 27:57-60.
Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matt. 27:65-66.
GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22.
On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matt. 28:1-9

I, for one, am indescribably grateful for the love God has for me that allowed him to come to earth, stand in my place and put his life on the line, to gain victory over the enslavement, the hold that sin had on our lives. He set me free to be the person he created me to be. He stepped up and took my punishment, my sin on himself before I was even born, and even when I fall flat on my face even now, he still loves me. He is infinitely patient, undeniably in love with me, unbelievably merciful and wonderfully, beautifully present!