Ramblings of the Refusing-to-be-Ill

I've been fighting off whatever Kevin has had for 3 days now, and the battle is as of yet undecided. True, I have succumbed to nasal congestion and sinus pressure, but I have not yet conceded the sore throat, cough, or intermittent fever. Will I win? Check back in a couple days to see.

I noticed something I had not noticed before at the grocery store last week. I was sorely tempted by a small crate of small oranges that have proven wonderfully sweet in the past. They looked very ripe. I was facing temptation for the third time when I saw a crate with the top netting torn open. The oranges looked awful! I looked around. The oranges are encased in orange netting. The tomatoes in red. The potatoes are in a reddish-brown bag. All of the packaging effectively inhibits the consumer's judgment of the quality of the produce in question. Why have I never noticed this before???

In spite of its designation as a sick house for the past 8 days, my home doesn't look that messy. Somehow, we've continued to run the dishwasher, wash pots and pans, and even do laundry on a semi-regular basis. Hooray for me!

We bought a humidifier to help with breathing ease. I also bought a new thermometer. There were two of the same brand, both digital, both waterproof, identical to the eye except for color. One was $4.99. One was $9.99. I examined the packaging. One claimed to be equally effective for oral, underarm, or rectal use. (Aren't all digial thermometers?) One claimed to be excellent for daily use and accountability. (Do some stop working if you use them every day?) Both remember the last temperature taken. Both claimed "Professional Accuracy," whatever that means, but didn't specify to what nth of a degree they measured. I took them both up to the pharmacy counter and asked the technician if they were actually different. She looked at them. Read the packaging. Examined the claims. The she called over the pharmicist. He looked at them. Read the packaging. Examined the claims. Asked what I was going to use it for. (Does that matter?) Then he determined that it was most likely marketing. I commented on the $5 price differential. He seemed a little confused and examined them again, only to come to the same conclusion. I bought the $4.99 one.

Do you know what Oklahomans must do now to buy pseudophedrine? I had to turn over my driver's license, wait while they entered it into the compuer (presumable to see if I'm a meth manufacturer), and sign an acknowledgment that illegal use of the drug is. . .(drumroll, please) illegal. *gasp!* (Okay, it didn't actually say that verbatim. . .but really, who doesn't know that using drugs to make drugs to sell on the street is wrong?) *sigh* The pains we who do right must go through to prevent others from doing wrong.

I'll be going now. So long.

The Discipline of Work

I have been known, at times, to lose sight of the beauty of my life as it is now and to become consumed with boredom and wishing for something that I hope will be. These quotes, from Elisabeth Elliot's Discipline: The Glad Surrender speak to that attitude.
I once heard a formula guaranteed to prevent boredom: it is to have
1. Something to do
2. Someone to love
3. Something to look forward to
The Christian has all these in Christ: work, a Master, a hope. Yet how easily we forget this. One of the results of the Fall is that we lose sight of the meaning of things and begin to see the world as dull and opaque, instead of charged with glory. What other people are doing looks much more interesting and exciting than what we have to do. There is no "magic" in
my routine, we think--but hers looks enviable.
It is wrong to draw so many distinctions between what we can't "get out of" doing--that is, what is necessary for survival--and what we choose to do. The eight-hour-daily job for which we are being paid is a duty as well as a physical necessity. Many of the things we do "after work," unless we are demoniacally selfish people, are work, too, often for others. Are they so different in God's eyes? I doubt it.
. . ."We shall not make any wild claims," Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "but simply judge ourselves by that line of duty which God has marked out for us, and that line includes our work on your behalf. We do not exceed our duty when we embrace your interests, for it was our preaching of the gospel which brought us into contact with you. Our pride is not in matters beyond our proper sphere, nor in the labours of other men."
What is our "proper sphere"? We cannot dismiss the fact of modern life: there are indeed many choices when it comes to discerning that sphere. Let us rest assured that God knows how to show His will to one who is willing to do it. The place to begin discovering the larger sphere is in the smaller one--in the willingness to say yes to every demand that the need of a neighbor makes us face.
. . .If our work seems to be beneath us, if it becomes boring and meaningless, mere drudgery, it may be a living, but it is not living. It is not the life of freedom and fullness a disciple's life is designed to be.
Does God ask us to do what is beneath us? This question will never trouble us again if we consider the Lord of heaven taking a towel and washing feet.


Calla Lily

This is the flower I knitted for a friend last weekend. It only took about 6 hours total, and I was very pleased with the outcome. The stem has floral wire inside, so it is posable and will stand upright in a vase. Thanks to knitty.com for the pattern.


Recent Cakes

Dark Grace

The past couple weeks have been difficult ones for people I know. Two dear friends are in the process of making decisions that will impact this life and the one to come, and I fear that neither are proceeding with utmost wisdom. Another lost her father. A friend of a friend is in serious danger of losing her newborn and 16-week-early twins. There have been several other tough situations. . .surgeries, emergency room trips, and the like. It is hard to see people I care about struggling, and I know it is harder for those more closely involved. It has driven me, as many of them, to spend more time in prayer and in Scripture seeking, I think, not so much answers (although certainly I have prayed stringently for those as well) as the assurance that God is indeed there and still in control of our (seemingly) feeble attempts at life.

I have also been reading, since New Year's, in the collected works of Flannery O'Connor, whose short stories may best be described as sick and twisted. (I say this with a hint of "tongue in cheek," but it is no stretch of the imagination to consider it accurate.) An article in the reformed magazine Credenda discusses O'Connor's writings and her penchant for the unlovely forms God's grace may take. In short, grace is not always neat and pretty. God's grace in bringing Job to a better understanding of Him was anything but pleasant, as with many others in the Bible. We may argue that Samson's final act was, in effect, his salvation; we cannot argue that it was a beautiful moment. We may legitimately point to Abraham's near sacrifice of Isaac as an example of unfailing faith; we cannot presume it was a pleasant experience of God's grace for the grieving father.

Sin is ugly. And, sometimes, the means God chooses to bring us out of sin, further into His glaringly glorious light, are more akin to Gothic images than Renaissance. Your thoughts?


I've been hijacked by technology and forced into the world of New Blogger. Bah! It's proof positive: if you don't keep up, you get dragged along behind anyway.