Monthly Archives: January 2007

Satisfying my inner Christian punk

I’m in music heaven right now.

I’m 33 years old, and finding music that I really like — which tends to the guitar-driven punkish side — that also is compatible with my beliefs and my spiritual well-being was difficult for a really long time.  Things are greatly improved in that scene, these days. 

My Uncle Gerry forwarded a link to Pandora, which my internet friend Jessica tried to get me into a while back, too.  I should have listened to Jessica earlier.  Pandora rocks!!!!!!!  It takes bands or songs that you like and creates a “station” that plays music that you like.  You can give the thumbs-up or -down to individual songs that Pandora selects for you.  I didn’t have great success with Mute Math, because it’s trying to liken songs to their single “Peculiar People” which is probably my least-favorite of theirs.  However, I’m having *great* success after starting with Stellar Kart.  My inner Christian punk is very satisfied.  It’s playing Mxpx, Number One Gun, Barlow Girl, The Benjamin Gate, and a bunch of other bands I’ve either heard only a little of, or never heard of, but are surprisingly fitting.

YAY!!!!! 

ETA:  I don’t exclusively listen to Christian music… but it’s more exclusively so since I had kids.  Their tender, thoughtful faces in my rearview mirror made me think more than twice about what I had on the radio.  Especially when one’s taste is punkish, I think it’s important that the music doesn’t set my Slime-O-Meter blipping. 

If you have any interest in the movie “Jesus Camp”…

Erin has a really good review of it here.

(Know, of course, that I think it’s “really good” because I agree with virtually everything she says.  ;-)  Also, it’s very well-written and well-thought out, which I always appreciate.)

This template’s odd capitalization rules

I really like look of this template.  However, to my annoyance, I have noticed in the past that it semi-randomly puts things in lower-case that I had capitalized in the body of a post.  I just now noticed, too, that it capitalizes all the words in the title of a post, even when I don’t capitalize them myself, even articles and small prepositions.  Hm.

My sister’s homeschooling fears are put to rest

My sister, whom I hadn’t seen in 3 years, came to visit this past weekend.  We love each other dearly, but because of $$ issues and small kid issues, neither of us had been able to visit the other.  We all had a wonderful time, and I’ll blog more later about our adventures, but something she said on the trip to the airport has stuck with me:  “Well, whatever concerns I had about homeschooling have been put to rest.”  I didn’t know she had any, but that’s because she’s a “live and let live” kinda girl, who has publicly defended my decision to homeschool in spite of — apparently — not being too certain herself about its efficacy.  She told me, “Your boys are well-educated, well-balanced, they socialize well, they converse well, they have unusually large vocabularies, and they’re boys.”  I’m pretty certain that, by that last point, she meant that — and I’ve not thought much about this before — they’ve not been feminized by spending so much with The Mama.  Also, she was in wonder over my 9yo’s displayed cursive work.  In Tennessee, where she lives, they don’t even teach cursive any more!  I didn’t know that.  And she told me that my 5yo reads better than some junior highers that she knows!

So, score one for the homeschooling team.   

My 9yo sings the praises of homeschooling

I am getting such a kick out of my 9yo son’s journal entries.  (We are using From Heart to Page for inspiration.)  I am posting today’s entry verbatim* (as always);  he has no misspellings today!  He did use “gonna,” but he informed me that he knows that it is slang for “going to.”  I let that one slide.  He misuses the word “impressed” somewhat;  he is using it as synomymous with “liked,” but said that he didn’t want to use the word “like” again.  That impressed me!  ;-)

I like school a lot.  But most kids think school is supreme boredom.  I mainly like school for my long time breaks, but I am also impressed with some of my school work too.  I like to do “read alouds” with my Mom, and my brother Grant and of course, myself.  My math is pretty good too, but it’s also kind of hard.  I think my favorite subject in home-school is probably my English.  I’m struggling this year with what I’m doing right now, Journaling.  So long, I’m gonna do more school!

  *There’s probably a better word for me to use than “verbatim,” but I can’t think of it.  I just mean that I’m copying exactly what he wrote, misspellings, grammar & punctuation mistakes and all.

Jane Eyre, Old Boyfriends, & Significant Dreams

Last Sunday night, and this one just past, I caught about half of the four hours total of the PBS Masterpiece Theater’s presentation of Jane Eyre.  Having never read the book, I was startled at the introduction of a character named St.  John (“sinjin”).  In college, I had a relationship with a guy of that name, which, unless one follows professional volleyball, one doesn’t come across much this side of the Atlantic.  St. John was probably, out of my far-too-many boyfriends, the nearest my heart was ever towards.  Jane’s St. John and mine were/are quite dissimilar, but there are some parallels that I’ve been pondering today, somewhat.  What it comes down to is that if I had — as Jane might have — ‘settled’ for St. John, I would have missed out on my precious, strong, kind, loving Mr. Rochester.  (I say ‘settled’ because it’s theoretical.  My St. John never proposed marriage;  I doubt that would ever have happened, as he was somewhat opposed to the whole basic idea.)  But, both Jane & I ended up with the right man;  she, thanks to Charlotte Bronte, and me, thanks to the grace of God.

It used to trouble me greatly that St. John occasionally pops up in my dreams.  There, we are always most intimate of friends, absolutely comfortable in each other’s presence, inevitably having some deep, heart-felt conversation, and always sharing a very sweet –but nearly platonic — kiss on the lips.  IOW, the St. John of my dreams was a highly-idealized version of the real-life man, and our dream-relationship a highly-idealized version of what the apparently-the-most-valuable-to-me-part-of-our IRL relationship had been.  I came to realize (shown by God, perhaps) that every time Sinj shows up in my dreams that it is an indication that the friendship between my husband and myself is in need of tending, as it is leaving something(s) to be desired.  So, upon awakening, instead of pining for that previous friendship, and instead of being embarrassed for dreaming of old boyfriends, I now set myself to the enjoyable task of nuturing the friendship of my husband and myself, bringing into reality that which my dreaming self is longing for.

I hope my library gets the DVD of Jane Eyre quickly;  I’d like to see the whole thing. 

Good News/Bad News — New FDA Approved Gluten-Free Labelling Guidelines

Well, first, a hat tip to Revolution Health, which somehow found my blog and is linking to me as a Celiac blogger.  Thanks!

I had heard about the possibility of this happening, but now it’s official:  The FDA is considering much tighter guidelines on what constitutes a gluten-free product.  You can read the whole NINETY FIVE PAGE pdf document, just published yesteday, here.  (The FDA allows folks to submit comments on the proposal.  You can do so here.)

To me, this idea is good news/bad news.  See, right now, the whole issue about whether or not a product is g.f. is completely manufacturer-regulated — up until now, the FDA has not poked its nose into the matter.  There are a few semi-authoritative bodies that have published guidelines, but which ones, and to what extent a food manufacturer follows them, is completely unregulated from a law-based standard.

It’s sort of where the whole organic foods market was, ten years ago or so.  In the long run, the regulations on organic foods has proven useful for the consumer… but the FDA’s extensive regulations make it difficult for your regular, family-run farm to get in on the organic action.  The process just to get involved is really prohibitive.  (I know this, because my mom’s parents, who retired from farming only 3 years ago, ran their farm for DECADES by what would now be considered organic standards — they manually hooked the weeds from the soybean fields, and did not spray pesticides on them;  they *never* just across-the-board injected their cattle or hogs with antibiotics or growth hormones; they practiced crop rotation, etc.  However, the reams of paperwork required to become certified as an FDA-recognized organic producer just made my grandparents throw their hands up in the air and say, “Forget it.”)

So…  while I would LOVE LOVE LOVE the ability to trust a standardized “Gluten Free” label on a food item in the grocery store, I just know that — at least for a while — if the guidelines become implemented, it’s going to put a number of mom ‘n’ pop, labor-of-love gluten-free food producers out of business — they just won’t have the resources to ensure that they are legally abiding by the guidelines, or to go through the cost of having their products tested, or to go through the changes required to upgrade their production facilities, etc. 

So, from this Celiac, a cautious thumbs-up.

—–

Here is a copy of my comments, submitted to the FDA (partially derived from the above post:

I am a consumer who has celiac disease, as does one of my four children. 

The food allergan labeling act of 2004 was rather good news/bad news for us, as it helped in our efforts to buy safe, gluten-free products, but only somewhat.  Since it requires manufacturers to identify the presence of wheat, but not necessarily gluten itself, it continues to be only partially helpful.  The 2004 labeling act helped to raise awareness of food-related illnesses, for which I am very grateful.  Only a few years ago, I would frequently come up against a *complete* ignorance in major food manufacturers in regards to gluten and it being the source of serious illness in consumers.  Gradually, it’s getting easier, as awareness is increasing, and manufacturers are taking more seriously the presence of gluten in its products. 

I would LOVE LOVE LOVE the ability to trust a standardized “Gluten Free” label on a food item in the grocery store.  But, I just know that — at least for a while — if the guidelines become implemented, it’s going to put a number of mom ‘n’ pop, labor-of-love gluten-free food producers out of business — they just won’t have the resources to ensure that they are legally abiding by the guidelines, or to go through the cost of having their products tested, or to go through the changes required to upgrade their production facilities, etc.  Just the fact of the FDA’s involvement will scare off potential (or current) g.f. food producers, for fear of legal/regulatory woes.  Just the PROPOSAL is 95 pages.  I shudder to consider the length of actual, official guidelines.

But, a cautious thumbs-up from me.  Thanks to the FDA for its efforts in this area, to safeguard the health of those with celiac disease, and to heighten the awareness of both manufacturers and the general public of the need for gluten-free products. 

My 9yo’s journal entry: Broccoli Loathing

“I think my least liked food is brocilli.  I absilutely HATE brocilli!  It is so awful, so, so, TERRIBLE!!!!  I go smack, smack, gag, when I chew it up.  It also looks gross too.  It is greenish-yellowish and it is so watery!  When your mom finally forces you to chew your brocilli you will find out that it’s almost all the way mush.  that is why I do not like it at ALL!  When my mom serves brocilli at the table at dinner even though I hate brocilli I still eat it because my mom serverd it.”

After discussions — with me laughing hard — we determined that it’s all dad’s fault.  For some unknown reason, my dh prefers mushy vegetables.  Well, not quite “unknown”;  he can’t stand when veggies squeak against his teeth.  I try to compromise by steaming them until very tender, instead of the barely-cooked preparation that I’d prefer.  However, I will admit that I frequently miscalculate when everything will be ready, leading to the broccoli sitting on the stove over hot water.  This leads to it being overcooked.  Ethan did agree that when the broccoli is steamed until it is tender-but-not-mushy, he likes it much better. 

Little-known conversions

I got these from my dad.  I’ve seen ‘em before, but they always make me laugh:

 1 million microphones = 1 phone           
 1 million phones = 1 megaphone           
 2000 mockingbirds = two kilomockingbirds        
 10 cards = 1 decacards
 1 millionth of a fish = 1 microfiche        
 453.6 graham crackers = 1 pound cake 
 1 trillion pins = 1 terrapin          
 10 rations = 1 decoration          
 100 rations = 1 C-ration           
 10 millipedes = 1 centipede       
 3 1/3 tridents = 1 decadent       
 2 monograms = 1 diagram        
 8 nickels = 2 paradigms
 2 wharves = 1 paradox

A Hiatus — and notes on Chapter 2 of “The Knowledge of the Holy”

First, just a note to say that I will be taking a hiatus of at least a week and a half.  This is because:

  1. I am going out of town from Thursday (tomorrow) until Saturday evening.
  2. My sister is coming into town from Thursday-Sunday next week.
  3. I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the stuff of life.  Though it is all, by the grace of God, very good, it’s all too much right now.  There’s not one thing that I *want* to drop from my life, but something’s gotta give.  Since God has not seen fit to stop time and give to me alone my desired-for 3 extra hours daily, I’m going to have to prune some non-essentials from my life until I at least feel caught up.  Although I adore writing, and love hearing about the lives of my blogfriends, I must give it a rest.

Before I run, I thought I’d post my thoughts from chapter 2 of AW Tozer’s The Knowledge of the Holy

It seems to me that Tozer switches gears completely, causing me to wonder if I wholly misunderstood him in chapter 1.   In chapter 2, he puts forthe the ideas that

  • Watever we picture or imagine God to be would be faulty and incomplete — trying to ascertain what the Creator is like by beholding the created.
  • Whatever we know of God is going to have be revealed to us by God.

The second point there, Tozer says is a work of Jesus’ alone….. but in my experience, it is a work — at least as much, if not more — of the Holy Spirit.

Tozer notes that since God, in His wholeness, is beyond what we can comprehend, our minds will remain darkened, clouded… but our hearts, drawn by love may be enlightened (I wish there was a better word there, one not fraught with New Agey implications).  He quotes Michael de Molinos, writing of the Christian soul,

 “Let her suppose that all the whole world and the most refined conceptions of the wisest intellects can tell her nothing, and that the goodness and beauty of her Beloved infinitely surpass all their knowldge, being persuaded that all creatures are too rude to inform her and to conduct her to the true knowledge of God… She ought then to go forward with her love, leaving all her understanding behind.  Let her love God as He is in Himself, and not as her imagination says He is, and pictures Him.”

It has been comforting to me, in the last 5-10 years or so, to have the revelation that intimacy with God is not hinged upon intelligence.  I never quite recovered from the shock of entering college and finding out that I was not among the most intelligent — and not NEARLY so — people in the word.  That revelation caused me (and continues to cause me) to re-evaluate many of my goals and suppositions.  I came to the understanding that really, in the grand scheme of things, my brain did nothing to further my relationship with the Father, and that my relationship with the God of the universe was *way* more important to me than my intelligence.  Not that God requires me to toss out the mind He created in me, but that in spite of my mnd, I can know Him in love, and with/in my spirit. 

It’s good to know God, but it’s more excellent to love Him, and be loved by Him. 

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