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April 24, 2011

Venice - photos by David & Jason

David continues to enjoy his nice camera that he got for October's South Africa trip...here is Venice à la David (plus Jason took the one of the golden seahorse on our gondola).

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April 24, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Venice for 2 Nights, April 21-23, 2011

It was the kids' first time to Venice, and the 2nd one that I personally remember for myself. David and I had gone for our 15th anniversary and spent fewer than 24 hours there, as our connecting flight from Frankfurt got cancelled and we had to spend one out of the two nights stuck there. But since we were alone together, it wasn't so bad... :-) However, this visit to Venice for two nights made me sure I'd be happy to go back again - there is so much to enjoy and wander around and happen upon. Getting lost amongst the amazingly narrow alleyways, and charmingly different bridges over countless canals could be a great hobby. You just keep walking and admiring and you end up somewhere. It doesn't really matter where, there's sure to be something to gaze at. God graced us with absolutely beautiful weather - sunny and dry but cool.


Piazza San Marco, in front of Basilica San Marco


Basilica San Marco


On the Rialto Bridge looking at the Grand Canal


Rush Hour on the Grand Canal!


UPS Delivery Boat on Grand Canal - notice the UPS on the Rudder!



Washing on the line over a canal


My favorite load of washing out to dry


Doge's Palace/Palazzo Ducale & Campanile Tower


Grand Canal with Chiesa Della Salute on the left


Glass Flowers in Flower Boxes on Murano


Glass Blower's Mosaic on the Island of Murano


The Danieli Hotel - supposedly where Angelina Jolie & Johnny Depp's characters stayed in "The Tourist" (a fun movie, by the way). A couple buildings down from the Doge's Palace. We watched the movie the night before our trip, which was fun.

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April 24, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 13, 2011

You're born, and then your life is never the same again.

I came to this thought in approximately the following way:

Oh my goodness, my son is going to college later this year, and my life is never going to be the same again.

But wait, there was a time I didn't have him at all, and then I had him, and my life was never going to be the same again.

But before that I left my own parents and went away to college, and my life was never going to be the same again.

Oh, hang it all, I was born, and then my life was never the same again.

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April 13, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Some Interesting Quotes About Atheism and God and Other Things

If there were no God, there would be no atheists. - G.K. Chesterton

I was at this time living, like so many Atheists or Antitheists, in a whirl of contradictions. I maintained that God did not exist. I was also very angry with God for not existing. I was equally angry with Him for creating a world.
- C.S. Lewis

If God were small enough to be understood, He would not be big enough to be worshiped.
- Evelyn Underhill

The greatest act of faith takes place when a man finally decides that he is not God.
- Johann Wolfgang Goethe

To sustain the belief that there is no God, atheism has to demonstrate infinite knowledge, which is tantamount to saying, "I have infinite knowledge that there is no being in existence with infinite knowledge."
- Ravi Zacharias

A heathen philosopher once asked a Christian, 'Where is God'? The Christian answered, 'Let me first ask you, Where is He not?'
- Aaron Arrowsmith

God exists whether or not men may choose to believe in Him. The reason why many people do not believe in God is not so much that it is intellectually impossible to believe in God, but because belief in God forces that thoughtful person to face the fact that he is accountable to such a God.
- Robert A. Laidlaw

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.
- Winston Churchill

Sin has gotten men into more trouble than science can get him out of.- Vance Havner

Atheists express their rage against God although in their view He does not exist.
- C.S. Lewis

Atheism is a crutch for those who cannot bear the reality of God.
- Tom Stoppard

Nobody talks so constantly about God as those who insist that there is no God.
- Heywood Broun

Everything science has taught me --- and continues to teach me --- strengthens my belief in the continuity of our spiritual existence after death. Nothing disappears without a trace. - Wernher Von Braun

There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions.
- G.K. Chesterton

As Christians we accept one foundational truth - God - and everything else makes sense. An atheist denies God and has to accept incredible explanations for everything else. It takes more faith to deny God than to believe in Him.
- John MacArthur

If Christianity is untrue, then no honest man will want to believe it, however helpful it might be; if it is true, every honest man will want to believe it, even if it gives him no help at all.- C.S. Lewis

A great many of those who 'debunk' traditional...values have in the background values of their own which they believe to be immune from the debunking process.
- C.S. Lewis

Really, a young Atheist cannot guard his faith too carefully. Dangers lie in wait for him on every side.
- C.S. Lewis

Someone once said that if you sat a million monkeys at a million typewriters for a million years, one of them would eventually type out all of Hamlet by chance. But when we find the text of Hamlet, we don't wonder whether it came from chance and monkeys. Why then does the atheist use that incredibly improbable explanation for the universe? Clearly, because it is his only chance of remaining an atheist. At this point we need a psychological explanation of the atheist rather than a logical explanation of the universe.
- Peter Kreeft

The real attitude of sin in the heart towards God is that of being without God; it is pride, the worship of myself, that is the great atheistic fact in human life.
- Oswald Chambers

Humanism or atheism is a wonderful philosophy of life as long as you are big, strong, and between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five. But watch out if you are in a lifeboat and there are others who are younger, bigger, or smarter.
- William Murray

The atheist can't find God for the same reason that a thief can't find a policeman.
- Author Unknown

There are no ordinary people... it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit.
- C.S. Lewis

Out of 100 men, one will read the Bible, the other 99 will read the Christian.
- D.L. Moody

If you ask why we should obey God, in the last resort the answer is, 'I am.' To know God is to know that our obedience is due to Him.
- C.S. Lewis

Merely having an open mind is nothing; the object of opening a mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.
- G.K. Chesterton

I am perfectly convinced that whatever the gospels are they are not legends. I have read a great deal of legend and I am quite clear they are not that sort of thing....Christ bent down and scribbled in the dust with His finger. Nothing comes of this. No one has based any doctrine on it. And the act of inventing little irrelevant details to make an imaginary scene more convincing is purely a modern art. - C.S. Lewis

Die: To stop sinning suddenly.- Ambrose Bierce

The lost enjoy forever the horrible freedom they have demanded. - C.S. Lewis

For when we cease to worship God, we do not worship nothing, we worship anything.
- G. K. Chesterton

The kind of changes that Darwinism suggests, Local small changes are not capable of coordinating large complex solutions... it doesn't work when you do this to sophisticated computer programs, so why should it work in the case of biological machines?... Darwinism seems to have become a politically protected sacred cow, and I've never seen a sacred cow I haven't wanted to roast - the fact that you are not supposed to criticize it is just too irresistible to me. - Angus Menuge

Faith is like radar that sees through the fog - the reality of things at a distance that the human eye cannot see.- Corrie Ten Boom
Before faith comes, reason is king. After faith comes, reason is servant. - Unknown

In short, I didn't become a Christian because God promised I would have an even happier life than I had as an atheist. He never promised any such thing. Indeed, following him would inevitably bring divine demotions in the eyes of the world. Rather, I became a Christian because the evidence was so compelling that Jesus really is the one-and-only Son of God who proved his divinity by rising from the dead. That meant following him was the most rational and logical step I could possibly take.
- Lee Strobel

In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't.- Blaise Pascal

God isn't looking for people of great faith, but for individuals ready to follow Him.- Hudson Taylor

We often think of great faith as something that happens spontaneously so that we can be used for a miracle or healing. However, the greatest faith of all, and the most effective, is to live day by day trusting Him. It is trusting Him so much that we look at every problem as an opportunity to see His work in our life.
- Rick Joyner

Fight to escape from your own cleverness. If you do, then you will find salvation and uprightness through Jesus Christ our Lord.- John Climacus

For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it.
- John Ortberg

We turn to God for help when our foundations are shaking only to learn that it is God shaking them.- Charles West

Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.- Oswald Chambers

It's a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet, and what is sand.- Madeleine L'Engle

If there is no God, then all that exists is time and chance acting on matter. If this is true then the difference between your thoughts and mine correspond to the difference between shaking up a bottle of Mountain Dew and a bottle of Dr. Pepper. You simply fizz atheistically and I fizz theistically. This means that you do not hold to atheism because it is true , but rather because of a series of chemical reactions… … Morality, tragedy, and sorrow are equally evanescent. They are all empty sensations created by the chemical reactions of the brain, in turn created by too much pizza the night before. If there is no God, then all abstractions are chemical epiphenomena, like swamp gas over fetid water. This means that we have no reason for assigning truth and falsity to the chemical fizz we call reasoning or right and wrong to the irrational reaction we call morality. If no God, mankind is a set of bi-pedal carbon units of mostly water. And nothing else.
- Douglas Wilson

* * *

More C.S. Lewis:

You will never know how much you believe something until it is a matter of life and death.

If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place of training and correction and it's not so bad.

Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning.

There is no neutral ground in the universe: every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.

A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.

This is the fix we are in. If the universe is not governed by an absolute goodness, then all our efforts are in the long run hopeless. But if it is, then we are making ourselves enemies to that goodness every day, and are not in the least likely to do any better tomorrow, and so our case is hopeless again. We cannot do without it, and we cannot do with it. God is the only comfort, He is also the supreme terror: the thing we most need and the thing we most want to hide from. He is our only possible ally, and we have made ourselves His enemies. Some people talk as if meeting the gaze of absolute goodness would be fun. They need to think again. They are still only playing with religion.

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such a violent reaction against it?... Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if i did that, then my argument against God collapsed too--for the argument depended on saying the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies. Thus, in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist - in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless - I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality - namely my idea of justice - was full of sense. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never have known it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.
- Mere Christianity

If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents - the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the thoughts of the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else's. But if their thoughts - i.e., Materialism and Astronomy - are mere accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents. It's like expecting the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milk-jug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.

A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere -- 'Bibles laid open, millions of surprises,' as Herbert says, 'fine nets and stratagems.' God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous.
– Surprised by Joy

- C.S. Lewis

(I found these in various places around the webscape)

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April 13, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (1)

April 02, 2011

International Pillow Fight Day

Wow, I had no idea there was such a thing as International Pillow Fight Day

It was today...and all around the world.

Jason went into Zurich for it with a bunch of friends and had a great time, except when there were so many feathers in the air that he couldn't breathe (or get out of the crowd, given the 600 or so people around him).

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April 2, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hike to Etzel Kulm in Schwyz

Right to Etzel Kulm, 55 mins






Lake Zurich



Sihlsee and Alps



5 more minutes to go! (and they were spot on in their estimate, with time for photos and all)



Handy sign telling us what each peak is called. From the top, looking out at various points of the compass, we were able to see amongst the stunning views:

* Einsiedeln (a town) - David and I went there last August on a date and it has an amazingly ornate abbey cathedral.

* the Säntis (a mountain) - David, Emily, her friend Livia and I went there last May or so and took the cable car up and heard alpenhorn music.

* Grosser & Kleiner Mythen (twin mountains) - David climbed Grosser Mythen with work colleagues, then he and I saw both peaks from a distance from the Rütliwiese meadow

* Rapperswil (a town) - Jason and Emily and I drove there last summer to visit the Knie Kinderzoo (a circus zoo) and rode an elephant together!

* the Sihlsee (a lake) - this is my first time seeing this (I only just heard of it this morning), but it's the lake from which flows the Sihl river, which we see every single day, as it flows through our village!

* Insel Ufenau (an island in Lake Zurich) - Jason, Emily and I rode a boat to this island last year and visited the ancient chapel and church thereupon



30 minutes back down to the end of the hike.

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April 2, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (2)