Thursday, September 29, 2005

Chief Justice Roberts

Chief Justice Roberts. May he live a long and healthy life.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Treasure (No Man Is A) Island

It was reported this week that Bill Gates has carried the title of “Richest American” for the 11th consecutive year. Only the Atlanta Braves, now about to win their 14th straight Division title have a longer streak of being “#1”. I’m cheering a lot more for the Braves than for Bill.
And this isn’t due to his being rich, and my being comparatively poor. I can’t even afford sour grapes. I enjoy writing at a keyboard, posting to a blog, neither of which would have been possible if Bill hadn’t been successful in monopolizing and standardizing the computer industry. I benefit, we all benefit from his success, so this isn’t a screed against Bill.
I am richer than Bill Gates. I hope that I am laying up Treasure in Heaven-God judges what my account balance is up there-and that my ERA (Eternal Retirement Account) is well stocked and flourishing. I am richer than Bill Gates because all of his wealth is fleeting, temporary, tied to this world. I have no idea whether Bill is a Christian-if so, then he would agree with me that his true treasure is in Heaven, and this that we play with here is ‘Monopoly Money’ (Am I once again too hip for the room?)
Let me restate this: If Bill Gates trusts to his money and worldly treasure to protect him, keep him secure and happy, THEN I am richer than Bill Gates. If he trusts in God, then we are tied.
Let me share about my Uncle Ralph. Uncle Ralph, as we used to call him, owned the company that I worked for in Las Vegas for 6 and 1/2 years. We called him Uncle Ralph as everyone would love to have a rich uncle, who might, you know, give us a fortune someday, because we are family.
Uncle Ralph had money. He started out poor, built up a construction company, moved to Las Vegas and started buying little chunks of land all over the valley. When someone wanted to build a casino or hotel, they would find that the little corner lot smack dab in the middle of their planned location was owned by Ralph, and they would have to pay his price. With which he bought more little parcels of land, and then a hotel, another hotel/casino, and eventually he was rich.
Uncle Ralph became so rich through his real estate and business savvy that eventually he had more stuff than Solomon. And that’s the thing-he collected stuff, material wealth, millions upon millions of dollars worth of stuff. He built entire warehouse complexes near the airport to house part of his stuff. Airplanes, cars, military equipment, as he was a big WWII fan-anything you can think of as a symbol of wealth, he had entire rooms of. At his main hotel, the Imperial Palace (nice name?) he had an automobile museum to showcase part of his auto collection, which included a side room of over 30 Dusenbergs.
Ralph was rich. Ralph is now dead, and all of the accumulated wealth of his lifetime is now in the hands of others. I don’t know if Ralph ever accepted Christ, but if he did, I’ll see him in Heaven. Maybe we’ll share a laugh about what we used to think treasure was. In this life, if we saw him, we were to acknowledge his presence, but not speak to him or ask him anything-I would have been fired on the spot for being so presumptuous. He actually wanted to fire me once, for making a mistake, but my manager, a tough old bird named Ray, saved me. I always liked Ray, and he is one of the few who could stand up to Ralph and still keep his job.
Bill Gates and Uncle Ralph are/were rich. I am rich, the adopted son of our Father in Heaven. I will come into my inheritance when I am in the Presence of God, where it is of eternal lasting value. Praise God!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Going Home

The train rolled slowly into the station and came to a stop in a cloud of hissing steam with a loud screech and a tired groan. The little boy looked out the window wondering if he would get home at all. It was now dark and earlier in the day the conductor had told him that his ticket was only good to this stop and he would have to change to a different train for the remainder of the journey. But the little boy knew better, he had read the ticket carefully and knew that it guaranteed him passage on this train all the way home. He got up, picked up his bag and headed for the front end of the car. Just as he got to the exit door he spotted the conductor in the car ahead so he quickly ducked into the restroom.

It was filled with men, all smoking because it was the only place on the train where that was permitted. There were perhaps twenty or twenty-five persons there and with a thick layer of smoke hovering just a few feet above the floor, it seemed like a good place to hide. He pushed his way past the men until he came to the far corner of the room. There he sat down on the floor to wait for the train to start. Suddenly, the door opened and a voice called out, "Tickets, I need to see your tickets". The boy crouched lower as the conductor made his way through the thick crowd and equally thick smoke. In fact, it was so smoky he could barely see the shoulders of the man behind whom he was hiding and he prayed it would be equally difficult for the conductor to see him.

Just as suddenly as he had announced his presence, the conductor began to cough. The smoke seemed to be bothering him. He checked only a few more tickets and decided he had had enough. He turned around and left the room just as the train jerked into motion. After a few minutes they were steaming down the track, clackety-clack, clackety-clack. The boy went back to his seat, knowing that even if the conductor returned, he wouldn't stop the train just to put him off. He heaved a sigh of relief as he reclined in the seat and fell asleep dreaming of home. He was going home after all.

That was the summer of 1947, I am that boy and I did get home early the next morning. I ran off the train into the arms of my parents and told them the whole story. They were so proud of me that they scheduled a family get-together for the following Saturday where I got to tell everybody of my great adventures of six weeks on my uncle's farm and the exciting train ride home. This song always calls forth that memory.

Going Home (link)

Many times in my childhood we'd travel so far,
By nightfall how tired I'd grown.
Father's arms would slip around me and he'd gently say
My child, we are going home.

Going home, I'm going home.
There is nothing that can hold me here.
Well, I've caught a glimpse of that heavenly land.
Praise God! I am going home.

Now the twilight is fading, the day soon shall end.
I get homesick the farther I roam,
But the father has led me each step of the way
And now he'll lead me home.

Going home, I'm going home.
There is nothing that can hold me here.
You see, I've caught a glimpse of that heavenly land.
Praise God! I am going home.

Unbelievers are likely to read those words and shake their heads in disbelief as they think or say, "you people must hate life since all you do is look forward to dying". In some respects they have a point which we, as Christians, should consider not because they may be right, but because we may be wrong. They are not right of course, their mockery is the result of their rejection of God. But if we reject the world and only look forward in anticipation of "that heavenly land" are we not falling into an error of our own.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all suggest that this world is not our home when they question the value of gathering worldly pleasures at the expense of spiritual ones (Mt16:26, Mk8:36, Lk9:25). Nevertheless, we cannot ignore that we are in this world and if we believe that God made this world for us as we are told in chapter nine of the book of Genesis, then not enjoying it must be another form of rejecting Him.

Anyone who has ever travelled far from home for a period of time knows the sense of anticipation of returning home. There is an excitement in the preparation, edged perhaps with a little sadness that the sojourn is ended. As we approach nearer to home the familiarity of surroundings impacts our senses and a kind of comfort takes over. And then arriving home...relief. Life offers few comforts greater than sleeping in one's own bed. We don't forget nor do we diminish our enjoyment of the journey, the experiences we had, the people we met, and the pleasure they offered. But at some point we begin looking forward to returning home and the joys of the trip begin to give way to the anticipation of coming home. So it is with a Christian understanding of earth and heaven.

Given that we are transients, even trespassers in a sense, in this world it is not surprising that some find comfort in the knowledge that another home awaits them. A home that we have not earned and do not deserve. A home that is provided solely through the grace of a loving parent. The Bible speaks of this home again and again and holds out God's promise to man. One of the two thieves crucified with Jesus asked to be remembered in the Kingdom and Jesus said to the thief, "today you will be with me in Paradise" and that promise holds true for all who believe. The thief had glimpsed the truth and was taken home.

We are all riding on a train called life. It has many detours and many stops and it has but one destination. The only question is will you be on it when it gets there. Will you be like the little boy who enjoyed the ride, but hid from the danger in order to 'get home' or will you be lured into disembarking? Will you be able to say as the song says, "I've caught a glimpse of that heavenly land -- praise God! I am going home."?

Nuda Veritas

Sunday Fun

Your Age by Chocolate Math

1. Pick the number of times a week that you would like to have chocolate (more than once but less than 10)
2. Multiply this number by 2
3. Add 5
4. Multiply it by 50
5. If you have already had your birthday this year add 1755....If you haven't, add 1754
6. Now subtract the four digit year that you were born
7. You should have a three digit number

The first digit of this was your original number (i.e., how many times you want to have chocolate each week). The next two numbers are YOUR AGE!


This is one of those math things that is probably so simple if you know the trick. But I don't so it seems quite genius! (And math kind of makes my head hurt.) I also stole this from another blog, which I wanted to acknowledge, but I couldn't find it again when I back-arrowed.

God bless your Sunday! Sees, here I come. Rats! I don't think they're open on Sundays!


Thursday, September 22, 2005

His Everlasting Arm

Health scares are the worst. My family went through this anxiety a couple of weeks ago. My mom’s doctor thought a spot on her lung was lung cancer and we all waited to hear the results of a biopsy for what seemed an interminably torturous length of time. Five hours felt like five weeks. It turned out the spot was not cancerous, but my mom does have pneumonia and her recovery from the surgery (they had to make the incision through her back for the biopsy) and the pneumonia has been impeded by medicines she takes for rheumatoid arthritis. She is still suffering quite a bit of discomfort even after these many days.

As I was falling asleep last night I had the silly thought that we’ve all had sometime or other in our lives--that was that I wished God would just give the pain to me so my mom could stop suffering. It is so hard to know that someone we love is suffering.

The thing that non-believers find so impossible to understand, human suffering allowed by a loving God, has invaded my little world for what I hope for my mom’s sake is a brief time. We have a God who is not always safe, but He is always good, as Aslan was described by Mr. Beaver in The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, and this dichotomy is also found beautifully represented in Psalm 85.10. “Mercy and truth are met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” KJV

Sometimes pain and suffering might be the result of our own sinful choices and sometimes God may decide to let the sand under our feet shift a bit to remind us that we need to be leaning on His everlasting arm. Whatever His reason for allowing the suffering, we can know it is never for evil, but always to draw us near, because He is good.

The funniest thing happened through all of this. My sister who is an atheist decided to pray along with the rest of the family for my mom’s recovery.

I think I’ll go call my mom now.


Monday, September 19, 2005

Other wits, other wise

This is just a short post with two links that I would like everyone to look at. At our friend Michael's site there was a visitor recently, a very pleasant lady named Lachen. I checked her site, and was impressed by her warmness,intelligence and...dare I say it? Wit. She has one post in particular that I found very wise and heartouching-"Prayer" a poem prayer found on the wall of Mother Teresa's home. As it is based on a prayer by a man named Dr. Kent M. Keith-some of you are nodding your heads-I felt that I should link to his site as well, so that both the Mother Teresa version and the original can be read. I am respective of copywrite, so I would not post them here, but please, if you want to be blessed, visit both Lachen and Dr. Keith. Lachen's post, "Prayer" is about 2/3rds down the page.
Dr. Keith:

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Ah Youth Long Past

I was once a hood ornament. Posing for a picture on a fine day, a Winter day I can hardly remember, except for this photograph. I am that young boy, but the boy is not yet me. We live, for now, analog lives. A friend recently lent me a movie, “The Butterfly Effect”, in which a man was somehow able to go back and change events in his life, trying to bring about happy results by avoiding tragic circumstance. It didn’t work-every change made things worse for either himself or his friends. This was a little bit like trying to play God.
I wouldn’t do it. When I look at this picture I know the problems, pains, joys and triumphs that hood ornament boy will face-and I wouldn’t change a thing. My life has been average-no horrific traumatic events, no great heroic ones, either. I have lived simply, as a child of God. In His Word He tells us that He ordains our steps, and illuminates our path. Non-Christians call it a cop-out when we say that God, Jesus Christ is Lord, directing our steps, leading us during our time here on Earth. They suggest that we are weak, not self sufficient, believing fantastical myths, deranged. This seems very strange to me.
When I was that hood ornament, my parents took care of all of my needs, led me, taught me, protected me from danger and raised me as best they could. No-one would have dared come up to me and suggest that I was deranged, weak, not self sufficient because I accepted them as my parents, obeyed their rules, lived under their authority.
I am a child of God. He takes care of me just as my earthly parents have, and I am as content, as worry-free as that young boy I used to be. I don’t Hope that things will be okay, I Know that they will, whatever the circumstance. Because He loves me. He loves you, too.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Pray, please

Today is a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance. Please spend some time in prayer for those who have lost loved ones and who suffer because of the loss of homes and jobs in the South.

The President said on 08 September 2005:
"Throughout our history in times of testing, Americans have come together in prayer to heal and ask for strength for the tasks ahead. So I've declared Friday, September the 16th, as a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance. I ask that we pray -- as Americans have always prayed in times of trial -- with confidence in His purpose, with hope for a brighter future, and with the humility to ask God to keep us strong so that we can better serve our brothers and sisters in need."

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Lions Led by Donkeys

I’ve lived through two very large national disasters now, something I couldn’t even have imagined ten years ago. Like the great majority of Americans, neither one has affected me personally or directly. I mean, I don’t live differently than before these two disasters. I didn’t lose anyone I loved. I didn’t lose anything I had worked hard for. I’ve changed in ways imperceptible to my family and friends, perhaps, known only to me. But I do think differently of America.

Following 9/11, the country in general, for the first several months, at least, hurriedly rallied to shore up the victims, and set aside political differences to face the common enemy. We set up the bucket brigade. The temperament of an old-fashioned barn-raising infused our speech and writing, television and newspaper alike. We recognized that it was best to be on the side of our good countrymen and neighbors. The benefits of pulling together were evident. Eventually the tide of political pandering and posturing came in once again, but not before we all had a nice dose of, dare I say, patriotism.

Then came Katrina and everything was different this time. It was less than a week after the hurricane that nearly every political foe of the President had decided that he had caused the disaster, and was responsible for every terrible thing that occurred during and following. State officials blamed federal officials, city officials blamed state officials, police blamed the city…and on. There were virtuous people who ignored the political sport and unselfishly gave for relief efforts. Certainly there were heroic acts by thousands in the eye of the storm. But the media could not get enough of the spirit of division, and we rapidly revealed to the rest of the world the dark underbelly of U.S. political gamesmanship to the great detriment of our citizenry and the victims of this event.

I’ve read some thoughts as to why the national and media reaction to Katrina has been so different from that of 9/11. The Twin Towers represent the rich and the victims of the flood in New Orleans were poor. President Bush was barely into his presidency then and now he’s been elected twice and should have been able to do a better job with this disaster. This disaster was forecast and 9/11, other than some blips on a radar screen, was unforeseen, so less was expected from public officials. But I see a bigger difference between these two events.

When 9/11 hit, we were all scared. Nobody saw it coming and nobody could know whether it would keep coming. The left was compelled to capitulate to the President as their leader, not because they wanted him as a leader, but because they were frightened, and when we’re frightened, we look for that leader to hold our hand and tell us we’ll be better. With Katrina, those outside the eye of the hurricane were not frightened. We knew that a hurricane wasn’t headed for Boise, Idaho or Nashville, Tennessee. I believe the biggest difference in our reaction to these two events has been the fear factor. Fear tamed the political beast for a time after 9/11. This time, the lions were roaring before the rain stopped falling--lions led by donkeys.

I think this time the real political left in America stood up all too quickly. And it’s sad for the victims of this natural disaster. It’s far easier to pull down than to build up. And it's going to take a lot of building up.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Hope to Save Your Life

Hope Hope Hope

“There will never be any peace
Until God is seated
At the conference table. x2

Everybody has a plan-
Made by just a man-
People, can’t you understand
Try to tell them

There will never be any peace
Until God is seated
At the conference table.”

This is one of my favorite Gospel songs, recorded by the Chi-lites back in the mid 70’s. It seems very contemporary, and is still true. No matter how many well intentioned leaders meet to win promises from ill intentioned leaders, no matter how many road maps are implemented, man is unable to solve the problem of man: Sin.
Sin is the dark cloud hanging over the hearts over the populations of the world killing each other over land which belongs to our Creator. Sin is the stain on the hearts of every man who finds a reason to hate his neighbor. Sin keeps the jails full, and the bars, and those living in a culture of sin are so inured to it’s effects that they are roused to anger when someone points to the sin and calls it evil.
The picture above is sin. The sin of men trying to create peace without the source of Peace, God Himself. All human works are doomed to fail, when man tries to supplant God’s Rule and rule in His place. Satan tried that and got booted out of Heaven.
Do you want Peace? An end to war and suffering? Turn to God, and you will find that He can place inside you the only lasting and true Peace: between you and Himself.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


"[It is] testimony to the degeneration of human personality under stresses that had hardened others into nobility."
Bernard DeVoto

New Orleans was a city of balconies. In some respects it still is, at least in the French Quarter. Those balconies have borne wealthy aristocrats, military heroes, bumbling bureaucrats, gamblers, cops on the case, cops on the take, madams touting their charges, prostitutes giving a revealing glimpse of the pleasures to be found inside, and college girls revealing more than any self-respecting prostitute ever would. They have overlooked the slow-marching funerals of the proud and the profane, the young and the old, the famous and the infamous, high brow and low brow fools and intellectuals of every stripe parading down Bourbon Street, with or without music. In some respects, they have come to symbolize New Orleans, but on August 30, 2005 the day after Hurricane Katrina struck the city, they came to symbolize something other than simply the gaudy and tawdry party atmosphere. They came to symbolize something darker and more sinister.

There was looting and stealing, there was mugging and raping, there was fighting and murder, there was lawlessness, chaos, and disorder. For a time it seemed that all decency had left the city and all that remained was ugliness and filth. Rescuers were rebuked, reviled, and attacked until many, having lost their own homes and perhaps loved ones, simply went away, abandoning the city to its own self destruction. At long last the national guard came and block by block restored order. The battle won, the city was once again quiet, but the war was not yet over. There were other battles against the anger, the impatience, the selfishness, the recriminations. It was clear that there was a long way yet to go before the balconies of New Orleans would once again reign over happy faces and dancing feet.

But New Orleans is not the only city of balconies. Nearly every apartment in Copenhagen comes with a balcony.

The winter of 1944 was particularly cold in Copenhagen. This was the winter of the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium and northern France although it had not yet begun. The bitter cold surrounding that momentous battle had been moving southward through Denmark for weeks. Yet standing on the balcony of our third story apartment that December evening I remember people cheering, applauding, and hearing shouts of "Victory" from not only our balcony, but every balcony of the large complex in which we lived. Overhead in the relatively clear night sky we could see large flights of British Lancaster bombers returning to Britain from their raids into northern Germany. They were high above, but not so high that we couldn't hear the roar of the four powerful Rolls Royce engines that propelled each airplane. It was like an angry growl directed at the hated enemy. The cheering was probably not directed at the fliers, they wouldn't have heard it in any case, it was a release of pentup fear and tension after nearly five years of German occupation.

They had come on April 9, 1940 and little Denmark with a population of some four million had capitulated. The Germans said they were going to protect the Danes against a British invasion. The Danes knew better. To the eternal shame of Danes everywhere, the government cooperated with the Nazis until mid-1943 and the Danish police became agents of the occupiers. They were feared and hated more than was the Gestapo. Thousands of Danes became saboteurs, these days we would call them insurgents, sabotage having fallen from grace as a noble calling. They, my uncle among them, risked their lives to cripple the German war machine and helped to shorten the war.

The Germans had forced the Danish central bank to pay for all the goods they 'purchased' to supply their armies and gave the bank IOU's in exchange. It was all legal and above board except that they simply took what they wanted, the Danish bank paid the bill and the Germans dropped an IOU into the till. In effect, they stole Denmark's labor and products in order to finance their conquests. At least they paid Denmark, the eastern conquests had been less fortunate. The final straw was when they demanded that all Jews be identified and listed for deportation. Danes everywhere mobilized and with only fishing boats and other small craft ferried over 7,000 Jews to safety in Sweden, dodging German patrol vessels during the crossing. These were common working people, fishermen, farmers, green grocers, dairymen, factory workers, the kind who work hard, come home dirty, care for their families, ask for nothing, and risk everything to save the life of a stranger.

My uncle, a strapping six foot two, 215 pounds man, was captured in August 1942 and sent to Theresienstadt prison in Germany. Three years later, at war's end he returned to Copenhagen, having left some 125 pounds and his sanity in Germany. His body died in the fifties in an asylum in northern Sjælland, the island on which Copenhagen sits. His spirit had died long before.

Barely six months before this exciting December night, my father had tuned in BBC, keeping the volume low, to hear something other than German propaganda and Wagner. In the middle of Eroica the announcer interrupted the music to announce the landings at Normandy. The long awaited western front had finally opened. The war would be over before Christmas, everyone said. That was two weeks away and the Germans didn't appear to be packing to leave anytime soon. They still walked the streets at night in pairs, each with a rifle slung over his shoulder and a Doberman on a leash leading the way. I didn't mind the soldiers much, I wanted to see their rifles, but I didn't like the dogs.

So for six months all of Denmark had held its collective breath anticipating the departure of the Germans and you could cut the tension with a knife. Not yet six, even I could feel it. It seemed as though the rescuers had at long last come. That's why we cheered from our balconies that cold December night. That's why we cheered airplanes we could barely see and hear. That's why we cheered those unseen fliers and the freedom they represented. That's why freedom loving people everywhere still cheer those who fight for that freedom.

But New Orleans did not cheer from its balconies when its freedom fighters came. It spat on them, cursed them, shot at them, and hid from them. Inevitably, the end came and it came with neither a roar nor with a whimper, but with a whine. Instead of a grateful sigh of relief and invocatons of 'thank you' New Orleans, to its everlasting shame, let loose a torrent of crying "foul" and "why me" and "where's mine" and pointed the finger of blame at everyone except itself.

Yes, some degenerate into barbarism while others are hardened into nobility. So it is and so it has always been. By the grace of God I stood on the balcony of hope and light.

Nuda Veritas

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Birth of the Cool

Once upon a time I wasn't cool. About 1967 I became cool, though I still struggle with fashion. It was about 1967 when I first comprehended music and musician, making the connection that a singer created and sang a song: Johnny Cash, "Johnny Yuma, the Rebel"
was the song. I now have more extraneous music pinballing around in my head than a person should. But I love music, and especially jazz-"Kind of Blue" is kind of wonderful. Find it, or grab it off your own shelf and listen to it today. This may the only post from me for a day or so-my ISP is having troubles, affecting my ability to post from home. Have a great day.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


I just made another visit over to Americans Aiding Americans and just a couple things struck me. Leona Helmsley and Walmart. Makes you think.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005


This isn't much of a post. Just a letter I received from one of two missionaries to whom I send monthly support. Just as an aside to the discussion over at Michael's blog with BG.

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Dear Sponsor,
I really thank God for you who are praying for me and my ministry earnestly. I too appreciate you for your valuable prayers for me and my ministry. I will also pray for you. May God bless you abundantly.
I really praise God for the marvelous works he has done in my life and ministry. My younger child was admitted to the hospital and I was much worried. But the Lord healed my child through prayers.
I serve the Lord among the Thakur, Pandits and Hindu people. Pray with me that the Lord may open their hearts to believe in Jesus.
The Lord has delivered many people from their different problems and healed their sickness. One day some people from a village, asked me to visit their village to pray for a lady who was seriously sick. I went and prayed for her. The Lord healed her completely right after the prayer. Thus she became an ardent follower of Christ. Now she witness in her village.
Sumandevi was suffering from some allergy problem. She spent much money for treatment. But everything was in vain. While sharing the Gospel in her village, I happened to meet her and prayed for her. She experienced the divine touch of healing through prayer. Thus she also committed her life to Jesus.
I train Mahesh for the ministry. He has great zeal for the Lord. Pray that the Lord may continue to give him grace to be well equipped for the glorious ministry.
We distributed 2500 Gospel tracts, 1500 booklets, 18 New Testaments and 15 literatures among the people. By the grace of God five persons received Jesus as their personal Savior through my ministry in the past months.
Also I went through very difficult times in the past months. Once while distributing the Gospel tracts in a village, some RSS (a Hindu fanatic group) people threatened and asked me several questions. Finally they put me in jail. But the Lord's gracious hand was upon me and I was released very soon.
Pray for the spiritual growth of believers. Prayer for me that the Lord may use me mightily for the expansion of His kingdom.
In Christ,
Lal Bahadur

Sometimes I feel very ashamed for my piddly witness.


A Silver Lining

Not long after we were married, my husband and I and our two small children moved from our quaint little hometown to another state for a teaching position for my husband. We were quite happy when he got his first job in an attractive college town, and we felt proud that he had been picked for a good job, all things considered. But at the end of the year, budget cuts necessitated a reduction in force, and because he was a first year teacher and had no status, he was let go. Needless to say, we were distraught. We had lived out the year on the edge of poverty (my husband earned $9,900.00 that first year), but looking forward to at least an automatic cost of living wage increase from the school district in the following year, and making the college town our home. I had been taking several classes toward my degree at the local college, so that someday I too could be a teacher. Then came disappointment.

Other than a viola and a French horn, which we played in the local orchestra, we owned nothing but our clothing, toys, a few kitchen items, and an old automobile. We landed with our meager possessions in a God-forsaken tiny town on the Northeastern edge of Montana, a third baby on the way. We tried to see the positive, but it felt bleak and was definitely a step backwards from where we wanted to be.

It turned out to be where He wanted us to be. We met the Lord there.

I’m relating this story not because I would compare my little family’s situation to the tragic situation of the Katrina evacuees in any way other than I do know what it’s like to be the working poor, of which many of the evacuees are, and I do know what it’s like to be unexpectedly uprooted and living somewhere you did not have your heart set on. I am praying for the evacuees who have ended up here in my home state . So far I believe we have a thousand of them and I’ve heard their grateful speeches on television. They are glad they ended up somewhere dry.

I am praying that if they didn’t know the Lord before they got here, that they will meet Him in Arizona. I am praying that their lives will take a turn toward something better than they ever expected, just like mine did. I am praying that they find the life they were meant to lead.


Monday, September 05, 2005

Random Thoughts Tuesday

Random indeed. Mark Meador in the comments behind me points us to a book by Augustine about the City of God. I don't know Augustine from Sophie Tucker, I've never studied his works, so I have no opinion about whether he is a good source for information. Having said that, I know a better authority about the city of God: God.

"Hebrews 11:13-16
13All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them."
I am a citizen of that City. But until my King returns and establishes His City, His Kingdom on Earth, I am a refugee, held in the protection of my Father's loving hand.

Random Thoughts On Birds

The world is blessed with a huge number of birds classified into a seemingly endless number of varieties. This area, Southern California, doesn't appear to boast as great a variety as some other parts of the country nor do the birds here seem to be as colorful as birds elsewhere. Both of these phenomena, I suspect, are due at least partly to the relatively dry, desert-like, climate. Birds in more humid or tropical climes seem to develop more colorful plumage. Or maybe it's just that only the most dull among us tend to stay in one place.

Perhaps the largest birds we see on a daily basis are a species of crow known as California Ravens. They are large, typically two to four pounds, with shiny black feathers and a loud, almost mocking, "caw". They flock in groups of ten to fifty whenever food shows up somewhere. We throw edibles onto the front lawn just to watch the ravens. It can be occasionally dangerous just driving or walking down the street since the ravens use it to break open the shells of nuts from nearby trees. They will drop them from fifty or so feet overhead, presumably hoping they will break open or that an automobile will run over them to do the job. We have several who show up daily and 'caw' loudly to announce that they are ready to eat and they won't leave until they've been fed.

One day about two hundred or so showed up in front of our house. Flying in from every direction, they landed in trees, on the roof, on telephone and electric lines, and on the ground and yet with all that traffic not one bird crashed into another. It got me to thinking, do birds have a built-in radar which prevents such accidents or do birds indeed occasionally collide with each other? It would seem reasonable to surmise that a collision would occur from time to time. Sooner or later two or more birds would head for the same air space and collide.

Furthermore, when flying in opposite directions toward each other on which side do they pass? The right as we do on our roads? If so, what happens with birds living in say, France, who fly to England? Do they switch to pass on the opposite side from that to which they are accustomed? If so, at what point in crossing the English channel does the change occur and how do the birds know where that point is?

It would appear that we could learn a lot from observing the flying habits of birds. I am thinking of applying for a government grant to perform just such a study. This could easily become my retirement nest egg, so to speak.

Nuda Veritas

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Welcome Welcome le and Allan!

That's two Welcomes, one for each of the finest friends found amongst the blogosphere:le and Allan, who are joining me here, making Fine Dry Wit into a group blog.
I believe three voices are better than one, and each of us have unique thoughts to share, ideas, pictures, songs-rather than "Mine", this is now "Our" forum, so look for posts from each of us. Welcome, le and Allan!

Then Hope Came

Just when it was becoming too much for all of us: for those suffering from thirst and hunger and fear and despair and for those of us watching and waiting and wanting to help more, then hope came. Today all the coordinated efforts of the military, U.S. government agencies, doctors from all over the country, charity and relief organizations, and local help combined to bring hope and care and deliverance to the thousands of miserable victims of the daunting disarray of Katrina.

After days of politicians yelling, “now, now!”, and sad interviews with the afflicted and hopeless sufferers of these southern states, and dreary, bleak visions of burning and looting, we can now all lift our eyes up with the comfort that things are working out. Although many have died, and some of them needlessly, we can be reasonably assured that life for the survivors will get better. Although the road ahead for these victims will be long, there is a light at the end of the tunnel if we continue to lend a hand as is needed, to encourage people to pick up their lives, and to keep praying for the distressed and displaced. Although much has been lost in property and revenue, the generosity of the American people will prop up the tired and weary and impel them to jobs and new homes. For many, this will be the beginning of a better life.

Can anyone live without hope? It seemed that many had abandoned theirs. But I know there were good parents saying to their children during this crisis, “Don’t worry. Things are going to work out.” Husband and wives were clinging to each other, building each other up with words of love and selflessness. Friends were banding together to help the less able, giving each other sympathy and sharing their water and food. You know that that had to have been happening, despite the picture of desperation magnified by the media.

“Thank God for our neighbors,” I heard an interviewed woman say today. “What would we do without each other?” We are neighbors. We wish we could help more. “God bless you!” praises all around for the deliverers, the military and police.

I do thank God for the mercy and love that caused many to reach out and help in this difficult event. The thousands and thousands of prayers being prayed by those who love Him are heard. The generosity of so many is not unprecedented, but so American. The consequences of Katrina will be far-reaching and long-lasting. We need to be steadfast in our determination to work toward restoration for the affected when the predictable back-stabbing and overblown blaming begin in earnest. Don’t let the political banter get the best of you.


Chief Justice Dead at 81

Chief Justice William Rehnquist of the Supreme Court died today at his home in Arlington, Virginia. The link above has the story. At the bottom of the page is a link titled Is Roberts A Good Choice?. Clicking on it will take you to a poll asking your opinions about various aspects of the Supreme Court and its function in our government. Let your opinion be known.

President Bush didn't need this right now. With John Roberts in the dock and the Gulf Coast in the tank, the Iraq constitution delayed yet again, and Mahmoud Abbas saying that Gaza is the beginning of the Palestinian state that will end with its capital in Jerusalem, Bush has enough on his plate. Pray for him that he may appoint a good woman justice to replace Rehnquist, may he rest in peace.

Nuda Veritas

Friday, September 02, 2005

For Shame, For Shame

For shame, for shame

The American Red Cross, CBN's Operation Blessing, The Salvation Army, and others were all positioned near the disaster areas ready to roll in even before Katrina made landfall. They did roll into Mississippi on Monday, but not into New Orleans. Why Mississippi and not New Orleans? Because Mississippi governor, Haley Barbour, had declared a state of emergency and had designated evacuation areas as well as pre-positioned national guard and equipment outside of storm areas prior to Katrina making landfall. He had ordered state troopers and local police to treat looters "ruthlessly" and law and order were largely maintained. As a result, rescuers could move in as soon as wave and wind permitted it. By Thursday streets in Biloxi were being cleared of debris and power lines were being repaired. This was not the situation in Louisiana.

Unlike her eastern neighbor, Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco did not declare a state of emergency until Saturday, essentially too late to evacuate, through primarily three escape routes, the over 400,000 people who remained in New Orleans. When the levees burst Monday night after Katrina had swept through, New Orleans and surrounding parishes were utterly unprepared for the imminent disaster of flooding. Why? Because the governor and New Orleans mayor Ray Nagil had apparently no plans except to depend on the federal government to bail them out. Lawlessness prevailed in New Orleans for four days and nights and refugees from the flooding had no way to escape the city. Herded into the Superdome and the convention center, they were left there with no food, no water, no medicine, no instructions, and no way out. There were no plans evident as to what the next step was to have been. Due to lack of clear instructions, support, relief, and leadership many police officers simply walked off the job, making the situation not only worse, but downright dangerous.

While rescue and recovery efforts proceeded apace in Mississippi, New Orleans was left to flounder because of the lack of foresight of the state's politicians. Rescue workers, medical teams, and volunteers, feared entering the city because of the great risks involved. Some were shot at as looters and snipers fired at apparently anyone and everyone. As a result, people died needlessly while awaiting rescue, medicine, food, water, and the arrival of law and order in the form of national guard troops which finally arrived on Friday.

When the inevitable New Orleans flood of 2005 hearings get underway expect plenty of finger pointing, blame gaming, and recriminations. The Army Corps of Engineers who maintain the levees will be blamed. The various federal bureaucracies established to deal with national emergencies will be blamed. Corporations and auto manufacturers will blamed for creating the conditions that cause global warming which generates more violent tropical storms. Racism will be blamed because the majority of displaced persons are African American. President Bush will be blamed endlessly. But know also that a large measure of that blame will lie at the feet of New Orleans mayor Ray Nagil and Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco. They may not be corrupt in the grand tradition of Louisiana politics, but they are assuredly incompetent.

As those hearings take place as they surely will, remember this. The human suffering continues. Tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people will be without work, without homes, without possessions, without even family members lost to Katrina. Relief and recovery efforts will, and must, continue for the forseeable future. Dig deep and thank God for your blessings.

Nuda Veritas

Changes Are Goodies

Announcing with just enough fanfare, A change coming to this blog, a surprize so marvelous that I must go and lie down, it has wrought me up so. Watch this space.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


Do you know what it means to miss new orleans
And miss it each night and day
I know I’m not wrong... this feeling’s gettin’ stronger
The longer, I stay away
Miss them moss covered vines...the tall sugar pines
Where mockin’ birds used to sing
And I’d like to see that lazy mississippi...hurryin’ into spring

The moonlight on the bayou.......a creole tune.... that fills the air
I dream... about magnolias in bloom......and I’m wishin’ I was there

Do you know what it means to miss new orleans
When that’s where you left your heart
And there’s one thing more...i miss the one I care for
More than I miss new orleans

(instrumental break)

The moonlight on the bayou.......a creole tune.... that fills the air
I dream... about magnolias in bloom......and I’m wishin’ I was there

Do you know what it means to miss new orleans
When that’s where you left your heart
And there’s one thing more...i miss the one I care for
More.....more than I orleans

Louis Armstrong