Squirrel!

I was up early yesterday morning, and I decided I wanted some coffee. As I was in the kitchen making some delicious brew, I heard some weird noises through the open window. I looked out, and there was a squirrel on my porch! It was posing on a rock. I think it must like me because of the birdseed I put out all the time.

Awww... He's kind of cute.

Awww… He’s kind of cute.

It’s funny, because I used to not like the squirrels that came to my bird feeder because they would make a mess. But since I’ve had cats coming to my yard and killing birds, the squirrels don’t seem so bad now.

I was up early and drinking coffee because I did the message in church yesterday. HERE it is for the archive.

Posted in Gardening | 3 Comments

3 Responses to Squirrel!

  1. Lauren says:

    Wow. You tackled a tough topic in your message and you did it well. I appreciate that you said predestination is tough to understand, because it is. Great job!

    Also, your post title is spot-on. :)

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Mind Blown

I am doing the message in church today. I was working on it yesterday, and learned something new.

One of the readings for today contains two familiar parables: The Hidden Treasure, and The Pearl of Great Value.

[Jesus said]: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:44-46

I have always understood this to mean our salvation or faith is the treasure, and we must not let something else be more important. We must even be prepared to give away everything for the sake of God. It’s the cost of discipleship.

But I was reading some writings about this, and they pointed out that the one doing the action in all the other parables in Matthew 13 is God. He is the sower and the planter and the net-caster. Shouldn’t God be the one who is doing the action in these two parables as well?

It completely changes the meaning. If God is the one who finds the hidden treasure and the pearl of great value, then what is the treasure and the pearl? Us! Jesus loved us so much, he gave up everything for us. We are more important to God than anything else in the universe.

Now these parables aren’t about how worthy I am to be called a Christian, or if I have the guts to give up everything for God. Instead, they are about God’s incredible, un-sensible, immeasurable love. God loves me!

I will never think about these parables in the same way again. Mind blown.

Posted in Journal | 2 Comments

Two Roads Diverged On My Way Home

Of course there are a bunch of different ways to get to and from work, but at one particular point on my way home, I’ve had a hard time deciding which way to go. The one route seems shorter (distance-wise), but has lots of turns and narrow streets. The other route seems longer (distance-wise), but I can drive faster.

I’ve been meaning to time both routes to see which takes the least amount of time, because that’s what it’s really all about. A few days ago, I recorded the longer faster route. Last night, I finally remembered to record the shorter slower route.

Longer RouteShorter Route

The results? The faster time is the shorter route, but the time difference is negligible. I’m thinking it will depend on the stoplight at the point where these routes begin. If it’s red, I’ll turn, and if it’s green, I’ll go straight. Or maybe I’ll just always take the longer route where I can drive faster. I like driving fast.

Posted in Journal | 4 Comments

Retirement Ceremony

Sandra’s brother’s retirement ceremony was yesterday. It was at The National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, VA. Since Brent and Sandra were heading to New Orleans after the ceremony, I followed them down in my truck. I was constantly reminded why Anna called their rental car “Tim”.

Tim

Tim

The museum was really big and very beautiful. I think it is a stylized mast and sail.

The weather was beautiful.

The weather was beautiful.

The ceremony was held right in the middle of the main area in the museum. There were many military people there.

It was fun just to stand and watch everyone.

It was fun just to stand and watch everyone.

The ceremony itself was really cool. Everyone said really nice things about Craig. The last part of it was where he was relieved from duty. It was very moving.

This was somewhere in the middle of the ceremony.

This was somewhere in the middle of the ceremony.

Afterward, everyone went upstairs for refreshments. I looked over the balcony for a while. I suddenly heard my name from a distance. It was Anna and her cousins. Can you see them?

It was really cool to see Sandra’s family. Not all of them were there, but some were there that I haven’t seen in years and years. I’m sort of related to them, so it was fun to catch up a little.

I think the Romans would have had a name for the sister of your brothers wife.

I think the Romans would have had a name for the sister of your brothers wife.

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To Philadelphia!

We were going to do some stuff around Baltimore yesterday, but Sandra had heard of the country’s oldest penitentiary being in Philadelphia, and it sounded really interesting, so off we went.

It’s called Eastern State Penitentiary. It was built in the early 1800′s as a way to help people who had done bad things to reflect on their lives and reform their ways. Originally, the idea was to keep them in total isolation and silence for the period of their sentence. It sounded like good intentions, but solitary confinement for a period of years? I don’t know how anyone survived the place! The philosophy of the penitentiary changed in later years.

There is an audio tour by Steve Buscemi which is really interesting and informative. There are also people who give mini-tours. I really enjoyed visiting and walking around.

A semi-restored hallway.

A semi-restored hallway.

The place was opened in 1829 and closed in 1971. I couldn’t believe how long they used it! The rooms were tiny, and there is a lot of history there.

This room was cleaned up a little because it is the site of an attempted escape.  See the hole in the wall to the left?

This room was cleaned up a little because it is the site of an attempted escape. See the hole in the wall to the left?

Everything is very crumbly. One of those tour guides said they wanted to make the penitentiary a “stabilized ruin”. There are parts of it that are completely collapsed. I don’t know how they will prevent it from turning into rubble unless they re-build parts of it.

This was a dining hall.

This was a dining hall.

After the penitentiary, we had lunch at a restaurant called Zorbas. Mmm… the gyros were delicious!

The Philadelphia Museum of Art was in walking distance, so we went there. We didn’t have the time to go inside, but we did go up the famous steps in front. It’s where Rocky Balboa ran up the stairs in the movie. We ran up them, thinking it would be a fun and original idea. Once we got to the top, we saw lots of people doing the same thing. Oh well.

The art museum is a gigantic building.  It was seriously huge.

The art museum is a gigantic building. It was seriously huge.

These footprints were at the top of the steps.

These footprints were at the top of the steps.

One more stop in Philadelphia – the George Washington monument in front of the art gallery. It was a big statue, full of interesting imagery and weird animals. I didn’t get a single good picture. I did, however, notice that the Illuminati had been there. They left a marking on a nearby electrical meter.

Shame?

Shame?

It had been a long day, but we still had time and energy to stop at IKEA on the way home. After all, no visit to Baltimore is complete without a stop at IKEA.

Posted in Journal | 4 Comments