As for me and my blog, we will serve the Lord!

June 03, 2006

Speaking of Sidewalk Chalk Art...

check out this artist's work:

Methinks God has blessed him with a talent few can even comprehend. He draws his art in such a way that if it is viewed from the right angle, it appears 3-dimensional. Near the bottom of his web page there is an example of a piece viewed incorrectly and then correctly. It boggles the mind! Here's a taste of his God-given talent:

June 01, 2006

One Boy's Art...

Andrew and I, in an attempt to thumb our noses at this very un-Minnesota heat wave (whatever happened to "Minnesotans, God’s Frozen People"?), have taken to spending early evening hours outside our apartment building. We have been creating multi-hued, many-legged mythical creatures on the walkways with sidewalk chalk. You know chalk - colored powder in a stick cringing in fear at the mere mention of the word raindrops.

Now granted our idea of art and other residents’ ideas of art may vary widely. But, come on, did we really deserve to be accused of "defacing our sidewalks"? And I didn’t have the heart to tell Andrew that our art critic called our work "an embarrassment" and a "mess". Here’s a photo of the note awaiting us by the elevator this evening. There was a duplicate in the main entrance foyer as well.

By the way, the note was TAPED to the wall by the elevator, as opposed to pinned to the cork message board 6 inches away. Now I’m no expert on vandalism, but it seems to me that Scotch tape on drywall would have a better chance of causing defacement than chalk on cement sidewalks.

Against the better judgement of my inner rebellious-teenager-filled-with-disdain-for-anyone-older-than-30-trying-to-keep-me-down, I turned the other cheek (for Andrew to see) and abstained from writing a vindictive, vituperative rebuttal note. That’s what Blogs are for!

We have agreed to their demand to "...STOP your child from defacing the property."

May 29, 2006

"Joy is not the absence of suffering, but the presence of God."
~Elisabeth Elliot

May 27, 2006

A Song For Parents

Mark Harris - "Find Your Wings" (From the album "The Line Between The Two")

It's only for a moment you are mine to hold
The plans that heaven has for you
Will all too soon unfold
So many different prayers I'll pray
For all that you might do
But most of all I'll want to know
You're walking in the truth
And If I never told you
I want you to know
As I watch you grow

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I'm here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings

May passion be the wind
That leads you through your days
And may conviction keep you strong
Guide you on your way
May there be many moments
That make your life so sweet
Oh, but more than memories


It's not living if you don't reach for the sky
I'll have tears as you take off
But I'll cheer as you fly


May 18, 2006

To Sin Or Not To Sin...

35 Reasons Not to Sin
1 Because a little sin leads to more sin.
2 Because my sin invites the discipline of God.
3 Because the time spent in sin is forever wasted.
4 Because my sin never pleases but always grieves God who loves me.
5 Because my sin places a greater burden on my spiritual leaders.
6 Because in time my sin always brings heaviness to my heart.
7 Because I am doing what I do not have to do.
8 Because my sin always makes me less than what I could be.
9 Because others, including my family, suffer consequences due to my sin.
10 Because my sin saddens the godly.
11 Because my sin makes the enemies of God rejoice.
12 Because sin deceives me into believing I have gained when in reality I have lost.
13 Because sin may keep me from qualifying for spiritual leadership.
14 Because the supposed benefits of my sin will never outweigh the consequences of disobedience.
15 Because repenting of my sin is such a painful process, yet I must repent.
16 Because sin is a very brief pleasure for an eternal loss.
17 Because my sin may influence others to sin.
18 Because my sin may keep others from knowing Christ.
19 Because sin makes light of the cross, upon which Christ died for the very purpose of taking away my sin.
20 Because it is impossible to sin and follow the Spirit at the same time.
21 Because God chooses not to respect the prayers of those who cherish their sin.
22 Because sin steals my reputation and robs me of my testimony.
23 Because others once more earnest than I have been destroyed by just such sins.
24 Because the inhabitants of heaven and hell would all testify to the foolishness of this sin.
25 Because sin and guilt may harm both mind and body.
26 Because sins mixed with service make the things of God tasteless.
27 Because suffering for sin has no joy or reward, though suffering for righteousness has both.
28 Because my sin is adultery with the world.
29 Because, though forgiven, I will review this very sin at the Judgment Seat where loss and gain of eternal rewards are applied.
30 Because I can never really know ahead of time just how severe the discipline for my sin might be.
31 Because my sin may be an indication of a lost condition.
32 Because to sin is not to love Christ.
33 Because my unwillingness to reject this sin now grants it an authority over me greater than I wish to believe.
34 Because sin glorifies God only in His judgment of it and His turning of it to good use, never because it is worth anything on it's own.
35 Because I promised God he would be Lord of my life.

Relinquish Your Rights - Reject the Sin - Renew the Mind - Rely on God

Copyright © 1992 Jim ElliffChristian Communicators Worldwide, Inc.201 Main, Parkville, MO 64152

April 16, 2006

The 6-year-old mind

My Christian friends MIGHT, although probably not, be surprised to see my music collection. In amongst the Casting Crowns, Third Day and PFR, there's a few holdovers from my youth: Judas Priest, Pink Floyd, UFO, Frank Zappa. For those less 70-80's musically inclined, these would be bands categorized by some as secular for sure, sacreligious perhaps, some might even say evil (I would argue at's only evil if you allow it to effect your heart. I just like the heavy music and when I'm in the mood, the dark lyrics, and then I move on). I've also been known to blissfully close my eyes for the entire 10 minutes of Samuel Barber's "Adagio For Strings" and to bop around the living room to Asleep At The Wheel's "Miles and Miles of Texas". So there.

Speaking of Frank Zappa...I recently introduced Andrew to Frank's unique genre of music. Yes, Frank gets his own genre. As far as descriptions go, I would agree to juvenile, strange, even stupid where lyrics are concerned. But I would also include genius, virtuoso, original, inventive, clever.

Sure his lyrics are often straight from the mind of a 6-year-old (ex: "Watch out where the huskies go/And don't you eat that yellow snow") which is how I knew Andrew would appreciate Frank. But his musicianship is so clever, his wit is razor-sharp, his sense of timing exquisite, and his guitar-playing virtuosic.

One of Frank's wittier (and near and dear to my heart) songs is called "I'm The Slime". As relevant today as it was in the 70's, it basically speaks to the evils of television. Andrew quizzed me a bit on the lyrics and I explained that the "slime" was a metaphor for the vacuous nature of television. Of course I had to explain metaphor, which he seemed to grasp quite well. As the next Frank track came on, "Stink Foot", Andrew asked, "Papa, what is this a metaphor for?" To which I had to reveal the truth: some of Frank's songs are as vacuous as televison sitcoms.

For those really interested, here are the lyrics for Slime:

I am gross and perverted/I'm obsessed 'n deranged
I have existed for years/But very little has changed
I'm the tool of the Government/And industry too
For I am destined to rule/And regulate you
I may be vile and pernicious/But you can't look away
I make you think I'm delicious/With the stuff that I say
I'm the best you can get/Have you guessed me yet?
I'm the slime oozin' out From your TV set
You will obey me while I lead you/And eat the garbage that I feed you
Until the day that we don't need you/
Don't go for help . . . no one will heed you
Your mind is totally controlled/It has been stuffed into my mold
And you will do as you are told/Until the rights to you are sold
That's right, folks . . .Don't touch that dial (background announcer)
Well, I am the slime from your video/Oozin' along on your livin' room floor
I am the slime from your video/Can't stop the slime, people, lookit me go
I am the slime from your video/Oozin' along on your livin' room floor
I am the slime from your video/Can't stop the slime, people, lookit me go

April 12, 2006

MOA Observations

The Mall Of America is a near-perfect metaphor for the flesh world. Temptations abound. Materialism at its finest. Amusement to be had in many forms: marine life, movies, roller coasters, and Hooters waitresses. There is food and "sweeties" of every taste, nutritional value and national origin. I have no doubt that, with the right connections, you can even buy various illicit products. It would surprise me if you can’t arrange a meeting with a lady of the evening. If not, Victoria’s Secret will allow a young woman to dress as one. And there are many who take them up on their offer.

The range of mall visitors is a great cross-section of the world’s population. The many ethnic groups that visit suggests a change in name to the Mall Of The World. The economic strata represented include Old Money, New Money, the Average Joe and the Less than Comfortable. And the Teens.

The Teens cut across all ethnic categories, but generally speak in a homogenized language that anyone over 40 probably can’t decipher (I know, Mom, history repeats itself). The Teens, based on their clothes, also cut across the economic levels. But I doubt it’s their money they are spending (which brings up the unsavory question of why so many 14-year-old girls dress like the mannequins at Victoria’s Secrets and parade around MOA, sometimes with parents in tow).

One group of mall visitors we can’t forget is the "Thugs". You know them by their "armor": the crotch to the knee droopy pants bunched up at the top of the technologically-advanced basketball shoes with fractal-based engineered lacing pattern, the T-shirt that hangs to just above the knee, disguising the fact that the upper 2/3rds of their boxers are showing above their beltline, and of course the Aunt Jemima bandana worn beneath the creatively cock-eyed baseball cap.
The interesting aspect of this group of mall denizens is that they tend to travel in groups of 3-5, with all members of the pack loudly and often profanely conversing on their individual cell phones to persons unknown. That’s what I call gang camaraderie.

But that’s not what I want to talk about. The worst part of these opinions and observations by me is, quite frankly these opinions and observations by me. I like to say a prayer in the truck before I head into the mall for my shift at the Wild Bird Store. Forgiven, loved and wrapped in God’s warm embrace, I march stoically through the parking ramp, ready to face whatever comes. And what comes are these hateful, condemning judgements of God’s children as I pass them.

This is my confession: I find it terribly difficult to say anything nice about the people I see at the MOA. They are all quickly and carelessly categorized in my mind. I’m sad to confess I don’t know if there is a reserved category for "happy, loving, appealing person".

Father God, I ask again for your forgiveness. I repent from judging your children and ask for your strength to start seeing them as whom they are: beloved children of God.

April 04, 2006

So This Is How It Works

"So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign and has a right to do as He pleases with His own, and that He may not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealings with you.

"God will take you at your word. If you absolutely sell yourself to be His slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love and let other people say and do many things that you cannot. Settle it forever; you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue or chaining your hand or closing your eyes in ways which others are not dealt with. However, know this great secret of the Kingdom: When you are so completely possessed with the Living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of heaven, the high calling of God."
—G.D.Watson (1845-1924)

I'm all yours, Father God!! I "stumbled" across this moments after a whispered prayer out of the side of my mouth when I asked God to stop me from the sin I was about to commit. I don't even remember the sin I was so intent on now. "It's so hard to be loved by God", Scott whined.

March 07, 2006

March 29 is coming

As many of you may know, Minda and I will observe our 10th anniversary on March 29. I say observe because there always seems to be something concurrent that time of the year that supersedes a real celebration. So we make it up a week or two later.

But this year, to really stir things up, we will be renewing our commitment to each other in a "ceremony" the following Sunday at our 25-member homechurch . Ceremony probably isn't the right word; ritual sounds scary but that may be more accurate. It won't be a traditional sort of thing, though. No flowers, ushers, tuxes or organs. Music will be provided by our usual "choir" of capable churchmembers. Our good friend Vic has agreed to pray for us in his inimitable Indian accent (poetry in sound and substance!). We'll be having a celebratory meal afterwards at the home where this "ceremony" will occur.

Basically we will be asking our spiritual family (and our precious and sometimes "jealous-of-our-affection-for-each-other" son) to witness us inviting God into our marriage. Of course He's been there all along. But he wasn't specifically invited to our very sterile, civil ceremony in the judge's chamber 10 years ago. We felt that royal snub needed to be remedied.

We are replacing our wedding rings, but not in the fact, I am already in possession of mine (see below) and Minda's is on order. Mine is a fine example of the ancient metalsmithing art of Damascus Steel. 'Tis very beautiful! Thank you, Minda!

March 06, 2006

Believe it or not...'s just me! Been pretty busy lately, so blogging has fallen to the bottom of my TO-Do list. I have to say, unequivocally, that working outside the home is very, very disruptive to normal life! Of course producing 400 hand-assembled Squngees (with the bell) in about a week-and-a-half is fairly disruptive to normal circadian rhythm as well!

But, we are caught up, we have a realistic production schedule set up, and we are back to sleeping somewhat normal hours. Today as we ate breakfast, we had surprise visitors to our feeders. A mixed flock of Robins and Cedar Waxwings blew into our woodlot and spent a few moments devouring berries from the hawthorn (?) saplings outside our windows. Waxwings are one of my favorite birds and one species I've only seen 4 or 5 times in my years of paying attention to birds. Here's a borrowed photo to display all their splendor (I especially like the subtle yellow on the tail and red on the wingtips). I would love to have posted a photo by Minda, but of course as soon as she turned on the camera and maneuvered for a photo, the birds blasted away again, even the not so shy Robins. We also saw our albino squirrel (or his replacement) yesterday. He hasn't visited since late last fall. He also was camera-shy, so this is borrowed from the internet as well (looks just like him, though!):

We possibly received an answer to prayer today! I say possibly because it's not a done deal yet, but...we toured an "extended assisted living" home for my Mom that proved to be awesome. This place meets her needs, is covered by a medical assistance plan so she won't have to move when she runs out of money, and the best part is, they have an opening, they are holding it for Mom, and it is substantially less expensive than the last 2 places she's been. This could get her out of the hell she's living in now (where the medical treatment is substandard, there is no chapel services, she's afraid to leave her room because of a violent co-resident, etc. etc. etc. etc.). Thank you, Father God!