Sunday, April 28, 2013

Song for Sunday: Little Red Wagon

This song is a tradition at CYC, the teen conference I volunteer for. Totally hilarious. Always sung by the Judson Men's Counselors in the dining hall. Must be on a day after the men sing to the women at banquet because the song leader is afraid it will ruin their voices....

You can't ride in my little red wagon, 
Front wheel's broken and the axle's draggin'
Second verse same as the first 
A little bit louder and a little bit worse.

You can't ride in my little red wagon, 
Front wheel's broken and the axle's draggin'
Third verse same as the first 
A little bit louder and a little bit worse. 

You can't ride in my little red wagon, 
Front wheel's broken and the axle's draggin'
Fourth verse same as the first 
A little bit louder and a little bit worse. 

You can't ride in my little red wagon, 
Front wheel's broken and the axle's draggin'
Fifth verse same as the first 
A little bit louder and a little bit worse. 

You can't ride in my little red wagon, 
Front wheel's broken and the axle's draggin'
Sixth verse same as the first 
A little bit louder and a little bit worse. 

You can't ride in my little red wagon, 
Front wheel's broken and the axle's draggin'
Seventh verse same as the first 
A little bit louder and a little bit worse. 

You can't ride in my little red wagon, 
Front wheel's broken and the axle's draggin'
Eighth verse same as the first 
A little bit louder and a little bit worse. 

You can't ride in my little red wagon, 
Front wheel's broken and the axle's draggin'
Ninth verse same as the first 
A little bit louder and a little bit worse. 

You can't ride in my little red wagon, 
Front wheel's broken and the axle's draggin'
Tenth verse same as the first 
A little bit louder and a little bit worse. 

You can't ride in my little red wagon, 
Front wheel's broken and the axle's draggin'

It really is a sight to see grown men going at this song. CYC would be worth just for this.

What songs do you remember from summer camp?


CYC is a two week leadeship development conference for teenagers, held in August on the southern coast of Maine. We offer an intense experience of God and Christian community, awesome worship, exciting classes and plenty of fun. Check it out here.

Friday, April 26, 2013


135 years ago, J Sterling Morton came up with the idea of setting aside a day to plant trees.

National Arbor Day is the last Friday in April -- today. For a while, having not heard of it since elementary school, I thought it had "morphed" into Earth Day but it's still around.

Trees are beautiful, useful, a wonderful part of the created order. Appreciate them! Hug one if you want. Plant one if you can.

Did you learn Joyce Kilmer's poem in school? It seems perfect for today:


I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree. 
We are going to read this outside at a picnic lunch and then plant a bed of wildflowers. We'll rub our hands over the bark of our backyard trees and offer a prayer of thanks to God that trees are part of our landscape.
How will you commemorate Arbor Day?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Idle -- Not!!

I used to live in an apartment and my son's room had a window that faced on to the driveway. People would pull up to our entrance and idle their cars with the tail pipe right underneath that window.

This bothered me on a host of levels. I feared for my son's health. I was upset about pollution. I felt there was a waste of resources going on. All of those were legitimate concerns.

I was going to write about all the ways idling is bad and fill up this post with facts and figures. Then I discovered that there is an organization called LEAP (Lower Emissions and Particulates) dedicated to reducing the time people spend idling. It is sponsored by an auto parts manufacturer and I am sure they have more expertise in this are than I. So I figured, why reinvent the wheel? I am just going to give you the link to their website.

I found this particular page interesting, but the whole site is information rich. Hope you find it helpful!

Idling Myths & Facts

What's concerning you about the environment at the moment?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day Ramblings

Here I am in the midst of a blogging challenge about the environment, with nothing to say about Earth Day.

That was me, earlier today. Then I decided to just start thinking about stuff going on around this little half-observed holiday.

First off, there was Facebook. One of my friends posted some ideas about how to be earth-friendly in our daily lives. Another quoted the poem The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry. Social media does have a part to play in our honoring of special times and seasons.

Then there was the service project. Some members of our homeschool group organized a clean-up at a local park. In addition to picking up trash, the kids got to explore a cave made by someone searching for pirate treasure. We had fun and, hopefully, helped out.

Finally, my brain kicked over to Texas. The explosion of the fertilizer plant there is a tremendous tragedy in an immediate sense, having caused deaths and severe injuries to many. It's also an event that will have a long-lasting negative impact on the environment, affecting people's health and well-being. As we pray for the victims of the tragedy, surely we can ask for healing for the earth and safety for those who live and work in the area in the days to come.

Those are my earth day ramblings. What are yours?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Second Song for Sunday: Encamped Along the Hills of Light.

I ususally don't post two songs for Sunday, but this hymn captured my imagination in church today. I had never sung it before and it had a feel of strength to it... a strength I feel we need right now...God's strength.

Plus, I larp and I could see some of the Christian larpers I have known really getting enthusiastic singing this. It would suit them.  From my larping experience, I could picture one version of the events described here. It is meant to be a picture, not an encouragement to physical warfare or an endorsement of it. 

This is a hymn I can worship with. 

Encamped along the hills of light,
Ye Christian soldiers, rise
And press the battle ere the night
Shall veil the glowing skies.
Against the foe in vales below
Let all our strength be hurled;
Faith is the victory, we know,
That overcomes the world.  
Faith is the victory! (Faith is the victory!)
Faith is the victory! (Faith is the victory!)
Oh, glorious victory
That overcomes the world.
His banner over us is love,
Our sword the Word of God;
We tread the road the saints above
With shouts of triumph trod.
By faith they, like a whirlwind's breath,
Swept on o'er every field;
The faith by which they conquered death
Is still our shining shield. 

Faith is the victory! (Faith is the victory!)
Faith is the victory! (Faith is the victory!)
Oh, glorious victory 

That overcomes the world.

On every hand the foe we find
Drawn up in dread array.
Let tents of ease be left behind,
And onward to the fray.
Salvation’s helmet on each head,
With truth all girt about,
The earth shall tremble ’neath our tread,
And echo with our shout.

Faith is the victory! (Faith is the victory!)
Faith is the victory! (Faith is the victory!)
Oh, glorious victory 
That overcomes the world.

To him who overcomes the foe
White raiment shall be giv'n;
Before the angels he shall know
His name confessed in heav'n
Then onward from the hills of light,
Our hearts with love aflame;
We'll vanquish all the hosts of night
In Jesus' conquering name. 

Faith is the victory! (Faith is the victory!)
Faith is the victory! (Faith is the victory!)
Oh, glorious victory
That overcomes the world

                ~  John H. Yates

What songs capture your imagination and help you worship?

Song for Sunday: My Hope


We seek it for ourselves and our families. We see it, here and there, in the heroes who came forward, in the unity of Boston's residents, in the selfless actions of many.

Still, in the wake of the tumultous events of this week it can be hard to come by. We wonder what kind of world we are raising our children in -- or what type of world we might bring them into.

A few weeks after 9/11, the CYC Planning Committee held their first meeting for that year. At that meeting they wrestled with the theme for the 2002 conference. Hope kept coming up and eventually they settled on "Hope Endures" based on the Bible verse: 

" Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." 
                                                   (Romans 12:12)

It seems apropos now. Boston, our city, our home, is afflicted. Even with the apprehension of suspect #2 and the death of suspect #1, we have healing to do. For those injured it is far more -- they have weeks, months, years of healing left. So do eye-witnessses. But all of us have some healing to do, some forgiveness to find. 

For that, we first need hope. Hope that we can heal, that we will heal. Hope that our city will go on. Our hope is found in Christ, as this old hymn, written by Edward Mote in the mid 19th Century reminds us. 

My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less 

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

What songs bring you a message of hope?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

In the wake of it all...

Last night, ending our vacation, my family went to a local sub shop and then to an ice cream parlor.

I noticed in each place, a Muslim family was there. (One of them had this gorgeous baby... but I digress.)

A few things came to mind as I enjoyed the time with my family.

First, I was very proud of these Muslim neighbors, who were not giving into fear but were out and about as "the manhunt" was on and the media was announcing that the suspect was an Islamic extremist on a jihad.

Secondly, I was proud of everyone else who was there. No one glared or behaved rudely. As the young children in the families ran about and behaved energetically, as children do, people smiled at them. These were the types of places such antics are expected and tolerated.

Then it hit me. It was Friday night. In the normal course of events, wouldn't these people be at worship? It turned out that most local mosques had closed. Some were in the "lock-down" area and could not have conducted services. Others closed as a precaution against both further bombings and unjustified retaliation.

In the middle of the events, I posted this on Facebook:

"As the media tells us that the suspect on the loose is a "jihadist" (which he may be) and Islamic Centers around Boston close (a sensible precaution) lets remember that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, law-abiding people who will need their neighbors to stand by them in the coming days. Say a prayer for them and reach out to your Muslim neighbors with support and compassion."

Thankfully, many agreed. I hope that Christians can reach out to those around us who may (God forbid it!) become the targets of hate.  Jesus commanded us to "love our neighbors as ourselves." Let's do it!!

And a prayer of thanks that the suspect was captured! We should certainly keep him in prayer, too. Assuming that he really is guilty, which has yet to be proven in court, he is surely a lost soul who needs all the prayer he can get.

What are your thoughts on the manhunt and its aftermath? 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Heroes and Horror

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'" ~Fred Rogers

We have had another incident of horror -- of terrorism, whether domestic or foreign, by group or an individual. We mourn. We worry. We hold our children close.

Whenever there is horror there are heroes. The country song "Don't Ever Sell Your Saddle" reminds us that "you will know a hero from a coward when you see which way they run." Plenty of people ran the right way yesterday -- toward the injured.

I have never run a marathon. I suspect, though, that it is more than exhausting.  You can't have much energy left when you are done, especially if running is a hobby rather than a full time gig.

Dr. Vivak Shah, an amateur running for charity,  had just crossed the finish line when the first bomb went off. He couldn't have been in the best shape at that moment, but he stayed and cared for victim after victim.

I am sure that the workers in the medical tent wanted to get out of there, but they stood their ground and got to work. They were prepared for pulled muscles and dehydration. Severe trauma was not on their radar screen. They had to improvise, and they did.

There were policemen, firefighters and ordinary spectators who lifted, carried, comforted and calmed those around them. People nearby offered water, blankets, food and rides to displaced runners who were carrying nothing and wore only shorts and singlets.

Some runners and watchers ran to hospitals to give blood.

Yes, there is horror. We have seen some of the worst evil people can do.

We've also seen some of the greatest good they can do.

We shouldn't forget either.

God grant us wisdom, hope, peace and justice in the days ahead.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Song for Sunday: Just The Way You Are

I love Billy Joel's music.

His take on it is summarized in this quote:

"I am, as I've said, merely competent. But in an agof incompetence, that makes me extraordinary."

I don't know. Maybe our standards have fallen sharply. I suppose I wouldn't class him with Mozart or Brahms. On the other hand, his music is a different style and has a different purpose.

In case you are wondering, I am aware that his lyrics sometimes encourage inappropriate behavior and are occasionally irreverent. I still like most of them.

Today's song for Sunday is an encouraging one, a love song. Many have heard in it a message of acceptance. It is one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy it.

Don't go changing, to try and please me
You never let me down before
Don't imagine you're too familiar
And I don't see you anymore
I wouldn't leave you in times of trouble
We never could have come this far
I took the good times, I'll take the bad times
I'll take you just the way you are

Don't go trying some new fashion
Don't change the color of your hair
You always have my unspoken passion
Although I might not seem to care

I don't want clever conversation
I never want to work that hard
I just want someone that I can talk to
I want you just the way you are.

I need to know that you will always be
The same old someone that I knew
What will it take till you believe in me
The way that I believe in you.

I said I love you and that's forever
And this I promise from the heart
I could not love you any better
I love you just the way you are. 

What songs give you a sense of acceptance?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Earth is Not Your Ash Tray!

Warning: This is a rant.

Yesterday, I saw something ugly outside my house. I've noticed them around the church building, too. Cigarette butts.

I have been bothered by cigarette butts on the ground for a long time. They are distinctly unattractive, down right disgusting in fact.

I once had some one tell me that this is just my opinion. Others might disagree.

Really? I think I'll go on record saying that anyone who finds butts on the lawn, in the garden, or by the curb nice to look at has something wrong with them. 

I get that most smokers just drop their butt because it is easier or because they aren't thinking, rather than because they think that it will enhance the environment.

It's still ugly!!

I am not going to rant about smoking itself. That's all been said.

However, I appeal to all smokers (and I know some of you do this already) please dispose of your cigarette butts properly.  There are ways. You can figure them out.

Thank you!!

And have a great day.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Iron Lady

One time, I read, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was in a meeting and the topic turned to the increase in rapes in London and what action should be taken to curtail them. One male member of the conference suggested that a curfew be imposed on women, to keep them safe. Ms. Thatcher took exception to this. She suggested that perhaps the curfew should be imposed on men, since they did the raping.

Ms. Thatcher was known as the Iron Lady for a reason. She was a strong woman and willing to take tough, unpopular stances. Some of her decisions were controversial. She took sides. She didn't waffle.

I wouldn't agree with her on everything, but I did admire her. 

As the first female Prime Minister of England, she set the bar high for women and opened up opportunites for them. No longer could people say, with any integrity, that women were not suited to responsible roles by virtue of their gender. Ms. Thatcher was too prominent, her effect too real. 

So, thank you, Margaret Thatcher, for being someone who paved a new road. You were a great woman and you will be missed. 

Quotes by Margaret Thatcher

"If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing."
"I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but should get you pretty near."

"If you lead a country like Britain, a strong country, a country which has taken a lead in world affairs in good times and in bad, a country that is always reliable, then you have to have a touch of iron about you."

"Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country."

"Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important, although difficult, is the highroad to pride, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction."

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Colors

Do you ever think spiritually about the colors you use when you knit?

Colors can remind us of so many things, and they can add an extra dimension to how we think as we stitch. We can allow the Holy Spirit to help us remember truths through them.

For example, a dark color can remind us of our sin. We all have that. Red can remind us of Christ's blood and the cleansing we get from it. We all need that. White can remind us that, in Jesus, we are purer than new snow. We all want that.

Some others:

Gold - Heaven
Green -- creation, new life
Yellow-- God's light
Blue --  faith
Purple -- Christ as King

These colors can aide our personal devotions as we work or even be a tool of evangelism, helping us to tell the gospel story.

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:25-27

What do colors remind you of?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Song for Sunday: I Sing the Almighty Power of God

I seem to be on a hymn kick for "Songs for Sunday. " It'll be something different next week.

Today was Creative Arts Sunday at our church, during which we celebrate the gifts of handwork and artistry that God has given us. We also honor God as Creator.

I also have had a wonderful reminder this weekend of how God creates humans, knitting them together in the womb, so that they arrive as beautiful babies (and all babies are beautiful, though I saw pictures of an extra-beautiful one yesterday.)

So, today, Isaac Watts wonderful hymn about the creative power of God:

 I sing the almighty power of God, 
 that made the mountains rise, 
 that spread the flowing seas abroad, 
 and built the lofty skies.  
 I sing the wisdom that ordained 
 the sun to rule the day; 
 the moon shines full at God's command, 
 and all the stars obey.  

 I sing the goodness of the Lord, 
 who filled the earth with food, 
 who formed the creatures thru the Word, 
 and then pronounced them good.  
 Lord, how thy wonders are displayed, 
 where'er I turn my eye, 
 if I survey the ground I tread, 
 or gaze upon the sky.

 There's not a plant or flower below, 
 but makes thy glories known, 
 and clouds arise, and tempests blow, 
 by order from thy throne; 
 while all that borrows life from thee 
 is ever in thy care; 
 and everywhere that we can be, 
 thou, God, art present there.

How have you seen God's creativity this week?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Leibster Award

I was nomintated for a "Liebster Award." This is for blogs with 200 or fewer followers.

Thank you Cheri from Idle Chatter for the nomination! I am glad you see something on my blog that you like.

This award has a "get-acquainted" aspect and a "pay it forward" aspect.

It all seems to based on elevens. Why elevens? I don't know, but it's great for me, because I can nominate all the other women in my comment circle. They all have great blogs, and I wouldn't want to have to choose.

So first the rules. Nothing works without rules. There are only six, not eleven, but who wants too many, anyway?

{1} Each blogger should answer the questions the tagger has set for you.
{2} Choose 11 new bloggers to pass the award on to and link them in your post.
{3} Create 11 new questions for the chosen bloggers.
{4} Tell them about the award.
{5} Each blogger should post 11 random facts about themselves.
{6} No tag-backs!!

Now the questions Cheri asked. with my answers:
  1. Do you like amusement park rides? Yes I do! Roller coasters, especially.
  2. What’s your pet peeve? Telemarketers who hang up on you when you ask to be taken off the calling list.
  3. If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you? I really don't know. Suggestions, anyone?
  4. Last movie you saw at the theater? Oz the Great and Powerful
  5. Morning person or night owl? Absolutely a night owl
  6. What song makes you cry?  None, I think.
  7. Realist or dreamer?  Sort of both.
  8. Believe in love at first sight?  Yes.
  9. Do you play the lottery?  No.
  10. Beach or mountains?  Beach.
  11. If you could have one super power, what would it be? Super speed, so I can get more done.

And my nominations: *Drum Roll* Please:

Heather, Reluctant Survivor
Angela, Dear Aradia
Karen, K'Lee Banks Freelance Consultant Services
Dana, Soul Fit Women
Lynn, Lynn Spiro and Company
Elizabeth, My Life Beyond Labels
Mirakel, Practical Psych for the Everyday
Eyenie, Lucid Musing
Nikki, Wonderfully Women
Jodi, This and $2.50

Now eleven questions for them to answer:

1. What fictional book has changed your life?
2. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
3. What got you started blogging?
4. What's the number one thing on your "bucket list'?
5. If you could change places with anyone for a day, who would it be?
6. What's your favorite food?
7. What do you like best about being a grown-up?
8. What do you like least about being a grown-up?
9. What one thing would you do to change the world, if you had the power?
10. Where do you like to go on vacation?
11. Do you have a hobby?

And eleven random facts about me:

1. I was born on an army base.
2. I still go to summer camp at age 49.
3. I homeschool my son.
4. I am knitting a baby blanket.
5. I can't sing a note.
6. I am conversant in ASL.
7. I am a geek and proud of it.
8. I don't own a microwave,
9. I love to dance.
10. I eat chocolate before breakfast.
11. I have no pets.

Nominees, if you would prefer to not answer the questions, etc., please feel free to consider your nonimation honorary and ignore "the rules." Otherwise, have fun!

And thanks, again, Cheri!!