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February 28, 2010

So Busy

Wow, I've been so busy since Friday. Sometimes (often?) I issue multiple Facebook status updates per day, but I realized this evening that I hadn't posted there since Thursday.

I haven't been able to clear out my recent emails since then either. I've been trying to keep reasonably aware of what's in there and pare it down.

Tomorrow is March!!! There is only ONE patch of snow left on our lawn now: the sad remains of the giant snowman the kids built back on February 3rd, with snow that had been on the lawn since January 2nd. I wonder if it will be all green grass by tomorrow morning.

Friday night we had a friend over, Saturday Jason had rehearsal and then we had more friends over in the evening for dessert and games (Mad Chatter, Cancellation Hearts, Pit, Bananagrams, Ping Pong). 

This morning at church we tried out a new computer program (OpenSong), a "free, open-source software application created to manage lyrics, chords, lead sheets, overheads, computer projection, and more." It worked GREAT. David was on sound board, Jason on drums, I was singing, and Emily ran the chord charts on my laptop! So much better than flipping through a powerpoint presentation like crazy when the worship leader decides to sing different parts of the song over again in different orders, etc. Just click on the slide you want and presto. So nice for the singers (me, in particular) not to have to run the slides, either. Just sing, worship, and keep an eye on the worship leader for cues. Way better.

After service, we had pizza all together and then stayed for an afternoon course for ministry leaders or people wanting to serve and help at church. Then a quick trial of teaching a new barn dance to 12 willing subjects (a much-needed exercise as it was a royal mess and now I know exactly what NOT to do at a real dance evening with this dance!). Then home for some downtime...

And now it's time for bed again already! Sleep well. Or have a nice afternoon, if you're on Pacific Time...

Posted via email from K's Café

February 28, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1)

February 27, 2010

Colour-Coding Leviticus

I've just finished Exodus and started Leviticus, the third book in the Bible. There are a LOT of repeated words in these instructions to the Jewish priests and people. Serious themes emerge as one examines what gets stressed.

This time as I read it, I am colour-coding various repeated words. It helps me to:

a) see what is repeated and emphasized (and therefore important to God)
b) think about the themes and how they relate to me
c) get through it without drowning!
d) make pretty Bible pages...?

So this is how I decided to underline:

WORD/PHRASE COLOUR
Sin Brown
Guilt/Responsible/Unclean/Guilty Gold
Burn/Burnt/Burning/Fire Orange
   
Acceptable to the Lord/Pleasing to the Lord Light Green
Without defect Pink
   
Before the Lord/To the Lord Yellow
Holy/Most Holy Purple
   
Blood Red
Atonement Light Blue
Wash Dark Blue
   
Forgive/Forgiven Dark Green

See how it starts with sin and ends with forgiveness? I sure need and like that ending. But it has to go through offering something without defect and pleasing/acceptable to the Lord, coming before the Lord, being atoned for with blood... the Israelites used "perfect" animals...but they had to keep on sacrificing them day after day, never finished, thus they didn't really take away the sin. Every sacrifice was pointing towards the one final, really perfect, voluntary one: Jesus, once for all, finished and done. Thank You for washing me, making me clean, taking away my guilt, forgiving me and making me holy.

Posted via web from K's Café

February 27, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Is Our House in the Bermuda Triangle?

Last night we were supposed to have a group of guests over; bit by bit they cancelled, and then the last few just never showed up. Leaving us to eat all the carrot-sunflower-seed-chocolate-chip-coconut-banana muffins. Not too bad a fate.

However, we had an overnight guest who was already at our place; she, too, disappeared early in the morning before we got up (she left a nice note, though).

Now we are waiting for someone to come and pick up Emily to go for a playdate; they are 30 minutes late and have not called. Have they disappeared as well?

Perhaps we're living in the Zürich Triangle.

But it's sunny and calm and David is baking delicious-smelling walnut brownies...so we are content and patient :-)

* * *

Postscript later: now everyone's disappeared but me! Ah, but that's a bit misleading. I drove Jason to his play practice myself and came back home. Emily's friend did arrive and take her away for a day of fun in the next kanton. And David took some ailing computer gear to the Apple Store in Zürich. Leaving me to color-code Leviticus - the subject of the next post.

Posted via email from K's Café

February 27, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 26, 2010

Thankful

Thankful for:
my husband
my mom & dad
my mom & stepdad
my son
my daughter
my health
my home
the sunshine
the wind
the hail
technology
my really long-term future
my value in the eyes of my Maker
sleep

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February 26, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 25, 2010

First Snowdrop 2010

Our first snowdrop is out in the yard today!!!! Also, green shoots for daffodils and tulips. And little pink beginnings of flowers on a tree, and the large, tightly furled hellebore buds. Plus soft, fuzzy magnolia buds. Spring is starting! Maybe it will still snow one more time, though, like last year after the snowdrops came out?

I took my 20th Meeting Anniversary Purple Tulips (thank you, my dear one, for that colourful surprise last night!) outside for a little walk to make them appreciate the fact that they weren't out there with the remaining bits of snow. And because the natural sunlight makes it much easier to get the right colour in a photo.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

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February 25, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Did you know there's one Swiss canton mentioned in the Bible? Which one?

Click for answer here: Swiss canton mentioned in the Bible.

(Unless you count this dubious "mention" of one other Swiss canton.)

You're welcome for your Swiss Biblical trivia of the day.

* * * * *

Yesterday's mid-week luncheon at home with my only son, whose last 18 months with us I am relishing before they are over and he flies the coop:

  • Caprese (mozzarella balls, halved cherry tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, balsamic vinegar, olive oil)
  • Homemade guacamole with corn chips (leftover)
  • Salmon and asparagus (leftover)
  • Quark-cereal bread with goat cheese
  • Homemade chocolate-chip-peanut-butter-chip-ground-oatmeal cookies (kind of dry, need water sprinkled on them and microwaving!)

The first item was the only one planned, but we kept finding other fun tidbits hanging around to add. It turned out to be a feast. Got to keep those teenaged sons' bellies full of growth materials.

* * * * *

Three thoughts that keep coming back to me from the ladies' study on prayer I've been attending since last month:

- God as the "Most High" (there's nothing higher, no higher authority, nothing greater or stronger)

- Prayer = Drawing Near to God

- An Intercessor = a role someone can be called to, to spend special time praying for others (a place to start if you don't know what else God might be calling you to do)

* * * * *

A thought that occurred to me in the car this morning:

I recently got my favorite boots resoled.

God re-souls me.

What a difference in my boots! What a joy to walk on! A newly solid foundation.

How much more will the restoration of my soul make a positive difference! Does that make God the Great Cobbler? :-)

* * * * *

From my reading this morning - 

I had never thought about the significance of the symbolism of the

"four rows of precious stones" on the Jewish high priest's clothing (ruby, topaz, turquoise, sapphire, emerald, amethyst, etc.), "mounted in gold filigree settings." 
"Twelve stones, one for each of the names of the sons of Israel, each engraved like a seal with the name of one of the twelve tribes."

In all times previous, I just completely passed over the meaning of this! I thought, oh pretty, and moved on.

Today, it dawned on me that the stones represent God's people, AND:

  1. The stones are PRECIOUS.
  2. The stones are BEAUTIFUL.
  3. The stones are each DIFFERENT.
  4. The stones have NAMES on them - He knows us by name.
  5. The stones are worn over the high priest's vital organs, including his heart.

Wow. We, the people who bow down before the Creator and want to be His people, are precious to Him, beautiful because He made us, different by design, and known by name. We are close to His heart. This reinforces to me that every part of the Bible has good lessons for us, even long descriptions of stuff we don't use anymore!

Posted via email from K's Café

February 25, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Every Day for A Month

I've posted here on my blog daily since January 24th, more than a whole month in a row. That's pretty good. I've been receiving grace (via co-conspirators) to keep up quite a few daily disciplines lately, that have for long stretches of various sections of my past eluded me:

- Prayer (at least ten minutes alone while not doing anything else)
Accountability: five other ladies on Facebook private group.

- Bible reading (several chapters - reading the whole thing this year)
Accountability: a group of about seven other people on Facebook, sometimes dwindling to three active people - but hey, I only need one.

- Flossing & mouthwash at night in addition to brushing
Accountability: my son, with whom I'm writing stories one word at a time as rewards.

- Blogging
Accountability: that would be you guys. So...any lurkers who'd care to delurk by commenting on a post in the next week? Who's reading? Say hi. If you don't mind.

I know: how can these things be listed together, right? Sacrilege. But still, they're all things in which I want to engage every day (though the blogging isn't as important). Now, if only I could add some three-times-a-week exercise. Guess I need to find people to do that with as well. Preferably in person. Low-key amateur tennis, walking/hiking outside, low-impact aerobics, anyone I know locally? Then the real challenge: finding time in the schedule between other regular meetings and lessons and chores and ferrying, and meshing schedules with another person (or several). Maybe someday. For now, I'm happy to be practicing these particular rewarding doses of daily discipline.

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February 25, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 24, 2010

Some Experiences are Not as Nice as Others

I wander around the store looking for a caramelizing mini-blowtorch. After some time, I happily find it. Victory! Now I have something which will tickle David's culinary fancy on our 20-year-meeting-anniversary. He likes making crème brûlée (and other types of custard), and using fire inside the house, to compensate for the fact that we don't currently have a gas stove.

There are lines at all the cash registers, but I shuffle my way to the front of the line in due time, where the cashier asks me with a tired, raised eyebrow whether I realize the blow torch is empty and needs butane gas bought separately. In Swiss-German, of course. Or maybe it's German, because I understand that much. But then she proceeds rapidly to explain where I can find the fuel, and says I could quickly go get it.

At which a lady in line behind me makes an exasperated noise, as I pass her to seek out the needed container. Except I really only understand the word "green" out of the location instructions. I see some green bowls, so I head their direction rather cluelessly, still not so sure the blowtorch actually is empty, and wondering anxiously how mad the people behind me in line will be when I finally return.

I can't find the stuff, and give up in order to finish my original transaction and let the other customers get through the line, thinking I can come back around for a second pass afterwards. But the cashier now informs me that she has suspended my order anyway (the other shoppers have been passing through successfully in the meantime), and it's just over there somewhere (more directions given that I really don't understand, apart from perhaps "down low" and something to do with a lady - of which there are several in the general direction she is pointing). The expression on her face spells out that she doesn't see why I couldn't find it.

I head off again, snag another employee and attempt to communicate what it is I am looking for, but it's her turn to look clueless, until I show her another blowtorch from the shelf and combine this visual aid with more clumsy German words (mixed with the French "crème brûlée" which I feel certain must be an international expression). This woman claims at first that they don't sell the fuel (to which I reply by asking how I'm supposed to use the thing, then?), and then that the gas is already in the device. I ask her if she's sure, and she tries to find confirmation on the packaging. Then she asks ME whether the device is empty - which clearly I don't know and am confused about. Next, she spots the fuel canister on the shelf (down low, yes), and hands it me (so, they DO sell it?). It's only 4 Francs and 30 Rappen, so I take it, just in case.

I get back to the register, excuse myself in front of a fresh crop of strangers, and go back to the front of the line. The cashier now asks me if I was planning to pay by card (or something about a card, anyway). I go into stunned mode, trying to remember where I left the card with which I had been in the middle of paying, way back at the beginning of this débacle. I say yes... and with a critical look, she holds up my card, which I had left in the machine. Her gaze makes me feel like an irresponsible idiot. Or it at least feels like that's what she's trying to convey. Anyway, she hands it back, and we put the payment through.

I leave with my mission accomplished, but a sour aftertaste.

Then there are those other pleasant cashiers who smile.

Post-script a few hours later: the cashier ended up being correct and very helpful in her insistence and information; the other staff person was wrong on both verbal assertions she made, though correct in her choice of canister. There was no fuel pre-loaded in the tool, and the fuel they sold me was the right stuff for the job. I'm thankful for the assistance from both ladies, however belittling and confusing and embarrassing. We ended up with a working blowtorch! David made the ramequins of crème brûlée tonight to chill overnight and torch tomorrow...

February 24, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Twenty Years of Thinking About You with Excitement, Fondness, eventually True Love

Exactly 20 years ago today, my life took a sudden turn for the way, much, seriously better, and bright, steady sunshine began to shine on me: I met David for the first time. Who cares that he doesn't remember meeting me at that particular moment? He remembers the 2nd time :-) We can celebrate that too, three months from now.

Thank you for loving me, David! You sure are easy to love.

Posted via email from K's Café

February 24, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 23, 2010

You know Dugongs?

Have you ever wondered what a DUGONG is?

Maybe you have, briefly, if you've read about the building of the Tabernacle that the Israelites carried around in the desert as a predecessor to the Temple, before settling in the Promised Land. The hides of "sea cows" (another name for dugongs) were used as the outer covering of the structure. I guess they're pretty waterproof in case of rain! They were also used to wrap up and protect the tabernacle accessories during travel.

Sea cows are mentioned 13 times in the Bible: six times in Exodus chapters 25-39 and seven times in Numbers chapter 4. 

And what are they? Well, they're a lot like manatees. They are real animals, still living, even if we from North American and Europe maybe have never seen one or really heard of them. They are marine mammals which nurse their young for two years, and invest in a lot of parental care, as the young do not reach maturity until 8-18 years old. They live to about 50-70 years old. They are to be found around Australia and Malaysia and neighbouring areas.

Honestly, I wasn't sure from the photo on wikipedia whether I was looking at the front or the rear of the creature. What do you think? 

Some of the more interesting facts from wikipedia's dugong article:

"Its range... spans the waters of at least 37 countries throughout the Indo-Pacific, though the majority of dugongs live in the northern waters of Australia"

"It is easily distinguished from the manatees by its fluked, dolphin-like tail"

"Dugongs are also threatened by storms, parasites, and their natural predators, sharks, killer whales, and crocodiles."

"The word "dugong" derives from the Tagalog term dugong which was in turn adopted from the Malay duyung, both meaning "lady of the sea." Other common local names include "sea cow," "sea pig" and "sea camel.""

"Dugongs are referred to as "sea cows" because their diet consists mainly of sea-grass."

"There is a 5,000-year old wall painting of a dugong [in] Malaysia. This was discovered by Lt.R.L Rawlings in 1959 while on a routine patrol."

"Worldwide, only six dugongs are held in captivity." (one is called Gracie!)

Pretty cool that wikipedia notes another location of dugongs these days: "in the Red Sea in Egypt." Of course the Israelites got their hides in plundering the Egyptians on their way out during the exodus.

There, now I can continue my reading as a better-informed amateur marine biologist, with a boosted grasp of the details of the account. Don't you love learning stuff?

Posted via email from K's Café

February 23, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)