Sunday, July 31, 2011


We dropped my son off at camp today. He'll stay a week, a week my husband and I will use for housekeeping and dates. Then we go, as a family, to Christian Youth Conference at Ocean Park. For Jordan that'll mean day camp in the morning, hanging with his friends in the afternoon and evening and much more freedom of movement than he gets at home. He gets the run of campus -- with so many people who love him around, we feel safe with that. For my husband it means two weeks to hide out and plan curricula for next year. For me it means two intense weeks of doing work that I love with people I love. I am excited.

After three weeks, we'll regroup as a family and get back to our normal routines of work and homeschooling. But this break is good for us, I think. And I think that camp is good for kids. Teaches them independence. Not that they shouldn't rely on Mom and Dad at this age, but they need to start the process of moving on. Personally, I think it's good for that to start in small doses.

What do you think about camp for kids?

Christian Youth Conference at Ocean Park, meeting from August 7-19 this year is an awesome leadership development program for teens. All welcome. Still time to register and schlarships still available. Click here for more info.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Face to Face

"I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face."

That's our scripture verse for CYC 2011. Our theme is "Face to Face".

This summer, I have been reading David McCullough's book John Adams. Our second president was frequently physically separated from his wife because of government duties. Some of those were diplomatic in nature and took him overseas. John and Abigail wrote to each other frequently and extensively. Many of their letters are preserved at the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston.

What struck me about the letters quoted in the book is the Adams' longing for each other. They always wanted to be back together. Even though Abigail wrote that she could be freer with the pen than with her tongue, she still wanted to be with John.

This is hardly surprising of course. Most of the time, unless there is tension, we prefer face to face communication. Who doesn't want to be able to see, hear and touch their family and friends. Letters and electronic means of communication can be a good substitute when distance intervenes but they are still a substitute.

So how do we spend time with God? What should our facce to face communications with others be like?

I'd love your thoughts! And if you are a teen come to the Christian Youth Conference at Ocean Park this August 7-19 (yes there is still time) and join in an extended discussion of this topic and so much more.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


An encounter with a contractor got me thinking.

I paid off the contract with a perfectly good check and the contractor had accepted a previous check which did not bounce. But the worker who did the work at my house called to say that the boss would prefer cash. Why? I asked. "Between you and me, I think it's because of taxes"


Well we haven't decided whether to go along with that or not. There are some protections to paying by check. At a minimum we would need the check returned and a receipt.

But it got me thinking.

What about honesty? There may be a perfectly legitimate reason for asking for cash so I am not really going to speculate on this particular contractor. But the following story came to mind.

'Gibbo' who shared an office with his boss Gordon Selfridge owner of the world famous store Selfridges.

The phone rang and the Gibbo answered. The caller wanted to speak to Gordon Selfridge. Gibbo asked the caller to hold on and told Gordon who was calling. Gordon said ‘Tell him I’m not here'

Gibbo handed the phone to Gordon and said ‘You tell him you are not here’

Gordon was furious and Gibbo said to his boss ‘I refused because if I can lie FOR you I can lie TO you and I will NEVER lie to you’

From that moment Gibbo was taken into the confidence of the boss and considered a trusted source.

Some other thoughts:

If your boss pays you under the table would you want to be his/her customer or would you worry about being cheated?

If your boss lies to his/her boss can you trust them to be honest with you?

Would love to hear your thoughts!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Stuck in my head.

Oh to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be...

I attended worship on the north shore last Wednesday and at my home church this morning. At both services we sang "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" and both times the lines above struck me and stayed with me.

Usually my favorite part of that song is "Jesus sought me when a stranger wandering from the fold of God. He to rescue me from danger, bought me with his precious blood."

But this time it is the words about grace.

I wonder why? Does God have a message for me in those lines?

I know that I am indebted to God's grace. Without I'd be nothing, lost. Maybe I need to go deeper into that understanding. I don't know. Guess I'll just have to tune in and keep listening.

Has God been speaking to you through any music lately?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tragedy in Norway

85 teenagers were killed at camp in Norway.

It seems so...senseless, horrible. What are the words?

I work at a youth camp, so this hits close to home. I feel really stricken.
I just cannot imagine what it would be like to be a leader at the camp and have to make those calls. My heart goes out to everyone who was there and to every family member.

At first, Muslim terrorists were blamed. And, then, come to find out the man arrested for the shootings identified himself as a conservative Christian on his Facebook page. Apparently had right-wing political leanings, too.

First off, that shows us we shouldn't just jump at our favorite targets. Wait for the facts.

Secondly, I think it's pretty clear this man wasn't really a Christian. Christ would not condone such behavior.

But back to my main point. I am sickened by this.

Please join me in praying for all the victim's, their families, their friends and the organization that was attacked (which I know nothing about.)

God, grant us peace.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Random thoughts on hot weather.

Well it's over 95 degrees and bike club got canceled because of it. Hear that up in Ocean Park it's 105+ at the horsefield. So I thought I'd put up a few quotes about the heat. Here you go:

Hot weather brings out snakes and slaveholders, and I like one class of the venomous creatures as little as I do the other.

~ Harriet Ann Jacobs

Maybe... do you find people are worse on hot days?

This is going around Facebook. Don't know where it started:

I was going to complain about how hot it is.. then I realized that at least: 1.) it isn't 109 degrees; 2.) I'm not 5,700 miles from home; 3.) I'm not dressed in a full ABU uniform and helmet and carrying 70+ lbs.; and 4.) there is very little chance that anyone will shoot at me or that I might drive over a bomb in the road today! Thanks to all who serve. REPOST so they all know how thankful we are.

Adds some perspective, doesn't it?

It's the same every year, you always have rain, you always have hot weather,

~ Robert Lane

And that's true, too.

How are you doing with the heat.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Baptists aren't big on talking about sanctification, really. We are more into salvation with maybe a bit of justification thrown in.

But God seems to be talking to me about this lately. It first came up at Ockham's Kegger, the Christian discussion group I attend that meets in a bar. We were talking about Dante. Epsicopalians apparently put a bit more emphasis on sanctification than Baptists and Dante was medieval Catholic, so he put even more emphasis on it. (I like hanging out in ecumenical settings cause you get a broader view of things.)

Sanctification, by the way, is the process of being made holy, of becoming more like Christ. The Holy Spirit does this work in us and through as we surrender to Him. But it does take some conscious effort and work on our part as well.

Anyway, after the Dante talk, sanctification has come up in my reading and it was mentioned in a sermon at a worship service I attended last night. So God seems to want to bring this concept to my attention. The question is why? I guess I'd better try to figure that out!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What would it be like to see God face to face?

"As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the LORD spoke with Moses. Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent."
Exodus 33:9-11

God spoke to Moses face to face. Like a friend speaking to a friend.

Interestingly, we note that it is the LORD speaking with Moses. Moses was there, part of the conversation, but it is God who takes the initiative, God who is in the ascendancy. Well, of course, I mean He's God.

What was this like for Moses?

Well, we know that he was bold with God. Isreal had sinned, badly. This passage comes right after the incident with the golden calf. Isreal had been punished by the Levites, who killed the ringleaders and by God who sent a plague. God plans to leave Isreal, but Moses pleads on their behalf and God grants his request. God will stay and continue to mark Isreal out from other nations. Can we be bold with God? What do we need to ask for? How will what we request bring God glory?

Moses wanted more. He talked with God intimately, knew him well, but wanted to know Him better. Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”
Exodus 33:18

God would not fully reveal Himself to Moses, but he did let Moses see more of Himself.

And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

Then the LORD said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock.When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”
Exodus 33:19-23

And that's what happened.

As I was reading this, this morning, I began to wonder about Joshua. He was there in the tent with God and Moses, in fact he didn't leave when Moses did, but stayed there all the time. Did he see God? Did he hear the conversations between God and Moses? What was he doing when he was in the tent? What was this like for him? We do know that Joshua went on to be a great leader, who kept faith when all the rest of Isreal, except Caleb, coward. Perhaps this expereince in the tent had something to do with that.

We are called to seek God's face. God assured Solomon in 2 Chronicles that if Isreal strayed but then turned and sought His face he would forgive them and restore them. I think this applies to us personally, too. How good it would be to see God's face.

In I Corinthians 13:2 we are told that now we see as through a mirror dimly, but when God's kingdom is fulfilled we will see face to face. What will that be like?


Do you know a teenager who needs to know God better? Christian Youth Conference at Ocean Park
will give them that chance. A quality leadership development program for high school students, the Conference begins on August 7 on the beautiful southern coast of Maine and is open to youth from all denominations or none. Our theme this year is "Face to Face"

I am participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge , a blog a day throughout July. But I am way behind.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Drunk Driving

Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the death of a young alumni of the Christian Youth Conference at Ocean Park, the teen ministry I volunteer for. He was killed by a drunk and drugged driver on the way home from a fishing expedition. His best friend and the driver of the other car were also killed.

Drinking and driving isn't really a hot topic right now. It has given way to texting while driving (another dangerous combination). But in the news or not, it still leads to tragedy. There have been many attempts to put a face on drunk driving victims over the years. I am going to try again. If you are part of CYC, you will recognize the ties to a Judson brother. For those who are not, I hope you see a fellow human being, gone too soon.

Tom was 24 years old. He loved life and he was a man of faith who loved God and enjoyed studying the Bible. He built strong friendships in the camp and would chat with fellow campers who were feeling down. He was known for raids and plans for larger than life raids (raids are late night pranks) and even brought night vision goggles to the conference one year. Making others laugh was a great joy of his and he enjoyed clowning around. Tom was kindhearted and has been described as a good soul. His friends feel the world is a little darker and a little colder because he is gone from earth. Tom left behind his wife of nearly five years and their two very young boys. Things weren't always easy for Tom, but he was growing into his responsibilities and was a very loving husband and truly devoted father.

We rejoice that he is in Heaven with Jesus but we shouldn't have to be mourning his absence here on earth. He is gone because someone made a bad choice -- the choice to drink and drive. Help stop these tragedies.

Here are a few thoughts on how:

-- Remember that your judgement will be impaired if you drink, and you are unlikely to notice. Appoint the designated driver before the party or night out. Give them your keys at the beginning of the festivities.

-- Talk to your teens. Be ready and willing to pick them up, without lectures, if they or their driver have been drinking or doing drugs. Later, you can explain your views on teen drinking but make sure that they know you are proud of them for choosing not to drive drunk and that it was the right thing to call you.

-- And teens/ young adults, make the call when you need to. Better upset parents than you dead. Or call me. I'll pick you up or find someone who can. Taxis work, too.

-- Don't forget that if the people you are babysitting for come home inebriated, you can make alternate arrangements to get home. In fact, please do. Your parents won't mind you calling them. Trust me.

-- Be willing to take the keys. If you are the designated driver or witness someone trying to drive drunk, stop them. Sure, they might be mad. But, if they remember anything, they'll probably thank you when they are more clearheaded. And if they don't want to be your friend after that, are you sure they are someone you want to hang out with anyway? At any rate, everyone else on the road will be very pleased.

--Organize an awareness event in town, write a letter to the editor, spread the word that drunk driving is bad.

I am sure you can think of other things. Whatever you do, thanks for keeping the roads safer.

RIP Tom Serewicz.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Native Plant Garden

I am considering turning the rock garden alongside the house into a native plant garden.

Yes, I know that most "native plants" as understood in this context are usually considerd weeds. There are quite a lot of these growing between the rocks. A few are ugly and need to be pulled. But most of them are quite pretty. I think if I rake out the dead leaves from the area, pull the ugly plants and tend things so it doesn't get unruly I could make it into an attractive space. The college I attended has a native plant garden started by a biology professor (someone I went to school with) and it looks nice.

I have heard that such an area can attract butterflies and beneficial bugs. I might add a couple of "butterfly weeds" next spring. It could be fun to observe the butterflies, moths, etc. When, I get my vegetable garden growing next year, these insects could help pollinate it.

Has anyone tried such a project? What were the results? Any recommendations?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ants Be Gone

I had an ant problem. Briefly.

Ants seemed to like one of my windows. Just one. There is a bush near that window, and likely that had something to do with it.

I am an organic-solutions sort of person so I decided to try that first. So… I cut back the bush so it doesn’t touch the house. I washed the sill and stool cap of the window to get rid of any scent markings left by ants. Then, I sprinkled cayenne pepper on the sill and the bottom of the sash. No more ants!

Just thought I would pass that along in case anyone else wants to get rid of ants without resorting to poisons. I have no idea if it will be consistently effective or if it works with all types of ants. But it could be worth a shot.

Have a great day!

Monday, July 11, 2011

I have a TV?

Well, I am officially a TV owner. We made the decision yesterday to keep one of Mom’s TVs. Now, before you have a heart attack on me, assuming you have known me for more than ten minutes, let me explain something. This TV isn’t hooked up to cable and we don’t have satellite or even a converter box. We get no channels. So this TV is essentially a video player. Also, we stuck it in the corner of the room and intentionally set up the room so the TV isn’t the focus. We are trying to think of a way to cover it, too. Videos will still be rare treats. So I haven’t gone complete counter to my previous way of doing things.

Still, we have moved from the 2% of the population that go TV free to the 98% that own at least one. (If you are looking for a TV we do have one to set loose.) Despite all of our efforts, for the moment it feels like the screen dominates the room. Perhaps that perception will fade with time. We’ll see.

Someone rejected this color...

I like the new color of my living room. Really like it. Of course, it was expertly applied by my brother-in-law over brand new plaster walls supplied as housewarming gift from my siblings. So it looks good.

I was thinking today, that somebody rejected that color. It’s true. We found it on the mistint rack. Which means we got to pick it up cheap – really cheap. And it’s beautiful. A gorgeous blue in a good brand. I feel so blessed that we got it!

But somebody else rejected it. That makes me think of a few things.

First of all, Christ is described in scripture as “the stone the builders rejected [that] has become the chief cornerstone.” Christ was despised by men, particularly many of the chief priests and Pharisees. He’s still despised by many. Or ignored. But He is the Chief Cornerstone. The most important thing.

Another thing I think of is the stuff we reject in ourselves. One of the counselors at CYC does a devotion which involves her cabin making cement art with broken glass. She talks to them about how God can turn the trash of our lives into something beautiful. All we have to do is surrender.

What about the rejected people of society? God seems them differently than we do. While he lived on earth, Christ spent a lot of time with “tax collectors and sinners.” Can the church take these rejects and find them beautiful? I think so.

Anyway, those are my musings because of my new walls….. your thoughts?

Have a great day!

CYC (Christian Youth Conference) at Ocean Park is an ecumenical conference in southern Maine that meets for two weeks beginning August 7, 2011. All teens who have completed eighth grade and are 14+ are welcome. It’s a truly life-changing experience. Check out for more info.

I am participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge in July and am trying to keep up. I am writing this on Sunday but will have to post on Monday.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

It's my anniversary

I think I will just ramble a bit today.....

It's my 17th wedding anniversary. We are going out to dinner tonight, child in tow. It's a busy place but you have to have at least four people in your party to make a reservation. Hmmmmmm.....this could be interesting.

My living room is now colonial blue with navajo white trim. It looks lovely. I am going to like it. (Thanks to my brother-in-law Bret and sister Pam who did the painting! And to my brother Glenn who supplied the paint for the trim. And to Pam, Glenn, and my friends Denise and Hannah for stripping wallpaper...Your work is appreciated!) It's amazing what a coat of paint can do if properly applied.

I am planning my yard and garden...need to plant vegetables, want to plant flowers. The landscaping needs some work. It's graded toward the house. Well, this an "over the next few years" project.

Right now I need to get my house organized. Things unpacked and put away. It's getting there slowly but surely.

I think that's all my ramblings for now. Ramble back if you like.

Have a good day!

I am participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge: A post a day for 31 days! I am not really keeping up though....

Friday, July 8, 2011

What Makes a Christian Artist?

Or is that the right question?

There are many artists who are Christians. Some are open about their faith, others are not.

But what it is it about their art that makes it Christian?

Is it only Christian if it is evangelistic? Or if it helps Christians to worship? Or tells a piece of Christian narrative?

We discussed this at Ockham's Kegger, a lecture series on theological topics that takes place at a bar. It was hard to come up with answers.

One of the things I thought of was Tolkein's idea of the subcreator. God is Creator. When we develop something from our imaginations, we are following in His footsteps. This gives us a theological basis for artwork. It also keeps us from being to full of ourselves. When the yardstick is God's level of creativity, we know we will never come up to that. Therefore, we can look at other's work humbly and appreciatively and keep our own in proper perspective.

Not that I am an artist.

My son is getting to be one, though, with his photography. I hadn't thought before tonight about helping him to think theologically about that. I will have give it some consideration.

What are your thoughts on Christians and art?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Battle Hymn

I didn’t get online today. Therefore I am writing this blog on Word and will post it tomorrow.

I went to church this morning, of course. Good service. We sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” in honor of Independence Day. I think that is my favorite patriotic song. My favorite verse is the one that comes last in our hymnbook. I know there are more verses than the ones printed there and I don’t know if this is the last of the whole song, but it does make a good endimg.

In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea,
With the glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me,
As He died to make men holy let us live to make men free
Our God is marching on!

It’s “glory” not “power” that transfigures us. I hadn’t noticed that before. It’s an interesting thought that God’s glory changes us. As we get closer to Him, His glory shines on us more and has a stronger influence on our lives.

I have been doing a lot around the house. For one thing I am covering up lead paint. Covering it up, but it’s still there. The new paint will need to be maintained carefully to keep the toxic dust under control. It can be like that for us. Our spiritual natures need to be maintained so that our old, sinful natures do not contaminate our lives. As we grow in grace – get closer to God’s glory—our former natures become weaker.

Someday I hope to replace the trim around the windows and doors where there is lead paint. In the same way, some day God will take away our old natures and perfect us. We are in some sense a new creation now, then we will be fully changed.

Well, that’s my ramblings for today.

Have a good one!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Can we do this?

I was asked recently if CYC, the youth ministry I volunteer for, accomodates kids with disabilities.

I would love to simply say, "Absolutely, every teen can attend!" I am, after all, an advocate for special needs students. The real answer is that we want every high school student to be able to be there and we will do what we can to make it happen for as many as possible. Over the last few decades we have included students with a variety of physical, cognitive, sensory, learning, health, and emotional challenges in our program. We don't have trained staff. We rely on parents to tell us what will work best and learn as we go. Some kids simply attend -- there are some disabilities that just don't matter in our context. Others we need to learn more about and set up informal supports. Somtimes we have to consult with parents and make a mutual decision as to whether the student can safely work with us.

Actually, CYC is very welcoming to those with disabilities who do attend. In some cases, I have been told that our program was the first Christian community that welcomed the child. That saddens me. I wish the Church as a whole were better at this.

My own congregation has recently added a stair lift and handicapped accessible bathroom. We've had an elevator and hearing assistance technology for a while. I am happy with my church for making these strides.

Usually it is attidunal difficulties not physical barriers that keep disabled people from being part of things. Physical barriers can usually be gotten around.

Is your church or organization doing anything new to include people with disabilities?

Christian Youth Conference at Ocean Park (CYC) is a two week ecumenical conference for high school students held in August on the beautiful southern coast of Maine. The theme for the 2011 conference is "Face to Face" and will look at restoring relationships between God and individuals, and amongst people. Click here for more information.

I am participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge this month. A post a day in July!

Friday, July 1, 2011


It's July 1st.

I have already mentioned that I am participating in both the CYC Prayer Blast and the Ultimate Blog Challenge this month. They begin today.

I am finding that beginnings can be hard. How do you start? Where do you begin? It almost feels artificial, even though I already both pray and blog. In a few days, I will be underway and get into the flow of them. Right now motivation is at a low ebb.

What are you at the beginning of right now? Are you excited or reluctant? How will you get going?

What is this that I am praying for? CYC is an amazing two week Conference for high schoolers. Christian teahing, spiritual development, leadership training -- we offer all that and more. We'd love to have you join us!

I am participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge in July. Check out the link and maybe give it a try!