Forgiveness and Beheadings

This afternoon as I was reflecting on the message Pastor Alex preached this morning at Summit Church, I went online to see if I could find a clip from an old miniseries I watched as a teen. In the process of searching, I found an article on the Christianity Today site that, while unrelated to the clip, is a perfect example of a point made in this morning's message that God can take evil and transform it into something beautiful, something that brings Him glory. If you have a few minutes, use them to read this article. It speaks loudly of how God makes beauty out of ashes as well as testifying to the uncommon faith of Christians who face persecution like we have never seen in the US. We would do well to learn from these Egyptian Christians since I believe the persecution they’re facing now is just around the corner for us. Here's the link.
In case you are curious, the clip I referred to is the execution of the apostle Paul from the 1985 miniseries A. D. What impacte…

Just Say NO! to IT

When I started this post, it was going in one direction. I was going to address the issue of the Oregon shooter who was targeting Christians, and how the media has totally downplayed the hate crime aspect of this tragedy. But I decided to do some research first to get my facts straight. My search led me to another issue that turned my attention in a whole new direction.
I know I’m a few weeks behind the times, but I came across a controversy over an opinion post made in a college newspaper, where a student gave his opinion on the Black Lives Matter movement. This student, a 30-year-old white male war veteran who served two tours in Iraq, stated that he was disturbed by the way some of the BLM activists seemed to cheer the recent murders of American police officers. I am not here to give my own opinion on the BLM movement. That would take a whole other post. But I'm concerned about the way freedom of opinion is being stripped away in our society. 
Before I go on, let me stop and s…

Just Call Me Nathanael

In John 1:46, Nathanael, a Jewish gentleman who would soon become one of Jesus’ disciples, asked Philip, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” His question was in response to Philip’s claim that they had found the Messiah, and that Jesus of Nazareth was that man. It’s understandable that Nathanael responded skeptically since Nazareth had a bad reputation. The Nazarenes seemed to understand they had that ill repute because they were not good people. I find it interesting that God chose that town of sinners as the place where His Son, the promised Messiah, would be raised. Maybe it’s because the Nazarenes were at least honest about their spiritual condition. Maybe it’s because they didn’t raise their sinfulness like a banner and shove it down the throats of the rest of Judea in the name of tolerance and equality.I wonder what Nathanael would say of the University of California at Berkeley. Actually, I don’t wonder. I know what he would say. “Can any good come out of Berkeley?”
I am…

"Lost" but not Forgotten

“Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.”
The introduction to chapter 20 of my World History book, the chapter on World War I, uses these words to describe the mindset of folks going about their lives just before the outbreak of the Great War. Émile Coué, a French psychologist at the beginning of the 20th century, had his patients say the above phrase over and over in order to propel themselves to self-healing. A similar belief to Coué’s mantra permeated Western thinking at the time. The booming progress of the 19th century had caused the standard of living of many to rise. Scientific and technological discoveries made life easier, and advances in medicine had helped to cure or eradicate many of the diseases which had devastated the populations of the world. Truly, the world seemed to be getting “better and better” every day. 
Then right smack dab in the middle of 1914, a child barely out of diapers (ok, so he was 19…old enough to know better) committed an act that w…

Lessons from the Garden - Plant or Weed?

Have you ever looked back over your life and suddenly realized something really ugly about yourself? I have. Several times. I’ve known for some time that I can be a really irritating whiner. I don’t speak in a whiny voice. I’d slap myself. But when I look back on my younger days, and some of them weren’t so far away, I realize that I really did complain a lot. Some of it was just to God, some of it was also to my husband who has the patience of Job with me. And occasionally I whined to my girls or friends. But some of the worst whining I did was on Pinterest. Yep. Before we bought our home, I would pin these lovely garden ideas with a message that read something like this: Sigh…some day…if I ever get a house with a backyard.
How pitiful is that?

I’ve now been in my house with a backyard for over two years. That’s three summers of being off from school. We’ve done a little gardening. Put in some extra palm trees, some crape myrtles and mandevilles, but it’s still looking rather ragg…

The Three Little Pigs...

Since I decided to start blogging again, I've had a monsoon of topics deluge my brain. I wrote down the ideas and have been working on making them take shape for the past couple of days. I think one of the reasons I didn't keep up on blogging when I started back to work is because it takes me so long to write a single post! So I'm stocking up ahead of time. Smart, if I must say so myself.  :)

I don't know how many hits I'm getting since I lost whatever audience I had in 2008, but I'm going to try to post reasonably often. Yet I don't want to post just to post. That's rude. This afternoon when I sat down to get started, I opened an email from my boss with a link to the best retelling of the Three Little Pigs I've ever seen. As a former English/literature teacher and current history teacher, I truly appreciated this. It's a little long if you're in a hurry, about 8 minutes and 23 seconds, but if you do have the time, and you appreciate a littl…

Beauty and the Mona Lisa Smile

Have you ever wondered about the woman from da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa painting? Who was she? Theories abound and range from a da Vinci self-portrait, to his mother, to a princess, to an unknown courtesan.

Self-portrait, you ask? But wasn't daVinci a man, and isn't Mona Lisa a woman? There are some who look at Lisa and think she has masculine facial features. I didn’t think so, but after learning a little more about beauty standards in 15th and 16th century Italy, it made a little sense. 
Lisa has a normal forehead. No bangs, but not so wide that it looks as if she has a receding hair line. Women of the Renaissance wanted wide foreheads, and if they didn’t have one naturally, which most women didn’t, they would pluck out the hair around their faces in order to get that look. My research tells me that hair was a bad thing for women. They would often pluck their eyebrows either completely or to a very fine line. While no eyebrows is kinda weird, thin has been an on again off ag…