Saturday, April 29, 2006

Compassion Sunday

It's that time of year again. Time to step way outside my comfort zone at church and speak on behalf of impoverished children around the world. Here is the presentation that I am making tonight and twice tomorrow. Please pray for me (that I won't faint or cry too much), and, most of all, please pray that hearts will be moved and sponsors will be found for these precious children living in constant need. Peace to you all.


I want to thank the pastoral staff for this opportunity to share something that is on my heart everyday – the plight of children, born and unborn, across the world.

The most amazing thing to me about our amazing Creator is that He sees each and every one of us as an individual – known by Him, loved by Him, accountable to Him. He is not blinded with partiality for the wealthy, for the strong, for the powerful. That is only our all too human failing. In fact, our amazing God has a heart that is big enough for every man, woman and child to have a safe haven therein. I think often of this quote from Philip Yancey’s book, The Jesus I Never Knew:

In a nutshell, the Bible from Genesis 3 to Revelation 22 tells the story of a God reckless with desire to get His family back.

And, when we realize that, around the world, we have members of His family – our family – in desperation, in degradation, in dire straits, how can we not be moved with compassion? And, it is for the sake of compassion that I address you today.

In unison with churches across America this weekend, we are observing Compassion Sunday. Let’s take a moment to consider the state of children in the world today. Millions of children live in extreme poverty – unable to attend school, constantly exposed to hunger and disease, and too often neglected or abused. The most heart-rending lack in their lives is, perhaps, the most important need of all: Hope.

When we look at the stark, bare numbers, well, they can be overwhelming. We wonder: How can I ever make a dent in this suffering? How can I change this crazy, messed-up, fallen world? And so, we, in our frailty and weakness, so often sink into ineffectualness and impotency. And yet, what we can really change – the difference we can really make – is in the life of the most important person in the world – an individual child! Poor, obscure, often oppressed – this child, this little boy or girl, to whom we can reach out in love, has every single hair on his or her head counted by the Lord.

Jesus held children so close to His heart that He said that to welcome a little child in His name is the same as welcoming Him. When we reach out to a child living in poverty, we reach out to the Lord Himself.

For over 50 years, Compassion International has been ministering to impoverished children around the world. Compassion partners with evangelical churches in over 20 countries to provide the basic needs of more than 600,000 children. When you sponsor a child, Compassion links you to an individual child who needs you help. You receive his or her photo and personal story, and you can build a relationship with that child through letters and prayers. Sponsorship costs $32 a month – that’s an investment of little over a dollar a day. Sponsorship helps meet your child’s health, educational, and social needs. Most important, though, is that each child has a chance to hear and respond to the gospel of hope and salvation through Jesus Christ. How amazing is that?

I have been a sponsor with Compassion International for the past eight years. The current child that I know and love through Compassion is Tigist Zenebe in Ethiopia, whom I have been sponsoring for six years. I have seen her grow from a child of nine years old into a beautiful young lady of fifteen. It’s fun to get her letters – about four per year – and read about her life, her family, and her country. But, by far, the most exciting thing is hearing about her favorite Bible verses, her love of the Lord, her growing faith. The most humbling thing is knowing that she prays for me and my family. Only our amazing God could connect people across miles, cultures, and language to form bonds that are eternal.

Today, I want to invite you to experience the joy of changing the life of a child in need. I truly believe that sponsoring a child through Compassion International is one of those works we can do in our vapor of time on this earth that will translate into gold and precious stones in God’s kingdom. The support, love and hope you share with a child today will not burn away. It is eternal, because God has built us for eternity. And that is why taking the time and making the effort to change the world for one, individual child is so very important.

There is a table in the hallway where, after this service, I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about my sponsorship experience with Compassion International and assist you in signing up a child to help today.

I thank you for your time and attention.

Friday, April 28, 2006

"United 93"

Well, will you be going to see it?

I know that I won't be able to see it in the theaters. I will see it when it comes to video. It just seems like the kind of movie that will leave me feeling so raw and emotional and devastated, that I prefer to be at home when I see it.

Jason will probably go see it with a friend.

When I simply hear the commercials on the radio, or see the trailer on TV, or read a review in the newspaper, I start to weep.

I will never, never forget the way I felt on September 11, 2001. The story of "United 93" must be told, and this movie sounds as though it is respectful of those who so bravely fought back against a sudden, unsought encounter with unfathomable evil. I hope everybody sees this movie, eventually. Whether you courageously go to the theater, or you wimp out and see it in solitude at home, please never forget the valor of those who lost their lives resisting terror on that doomed flight.

"Calves are easily bound and slaughtered, never knowing the reason why. But whoever treasures freedom, like the swallow, must learn to fly."

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Who Needs Jenny Craig?

It was so funny -- one of those coincidences that works out more like a sign or green light. I was thinking, while I was in St. Louis, Obesity Capital of America, about how I'm getting a bit fattie-boomba-lattie. I was looking at weight-loss helpers like Jenny Craig and NutriSystem, but they are really rather expensive for what you get. Belonging to a gym has never worked for me in the past (it turns out that the membership alone is not enough -- you actually need to show up and work out!) What I know I really need is support and accountability. And, what better place to get that from than the wonderful world o' blogging?

Then, I peeked onto Crazy Jo's, and, lo and behold, she was writing about the same thing. So, here is my proposal: A group blog to offer support, advice, recipes, tips, and, most of all, accountability to me and Jo and whomever else would like to participate. What say you folks?

I'm thinking of
(I had wanted or, but both of those were taken -- with only two posts each -- what nerve!)

Does anyone have an alternate suggestion for the URL?

Here is my goal: Lose 20 pounds by July 1, 2006.

Who wants in?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Meet Me In St. Louis (I Dare You)

My father, in fits of civic pride, loves to send me articles about the various stellar accomplishments of his current hometown, St. Louis, MO. One week, I'll receive an article declaring St. Louis to be "The Most Dangerous City in America." The next will find me reading a forwarded study proving that St. Louis has the highest rates of obesity in our nation. Yet another week brings the ringing declaration that St. Louis leads the U.S.A. in gonorrhea infection. Needless to say, my dad is too overwhelmed with self-esteem brought by actually living in the city herself to add much more by way of comment to these reports. They speak for themselves.

So, off Sadie and I fly tomorrow for a week in the Gateway City.

Please pray for us.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Still Empty!

The Tomb is Still Empty!
Christ is Risen Indeed.
Oh my friend won't you join the chorus --
Singing praise to the Son?
From the day that He laid His life down for us,
The battle was already won!
Raise your banners high! Praises fill the sky!
Mountains tremble and fall!
Hallelujah, sing glory to the King --
Lord Creator of all!
Well, the battle is already won,
And the race has already been run,
It's all been done, you just gotta claim the victory.
And the future is already made,
The foundation was totally laid,
When He paid the ugly, bloody price for you and me.
Oh my friend, have you heard the story,
What my Jesus has done?
He'll return in triumphant glory,
For the battle is already won!
-- Keith Green and Wendell Burton, "The Battle is Already Won"
Peace and joy in the glorious Resurrection to all who visit here!

Monday, April 10, 2006

The New Face of the NRA

With Charlton Heston's tragic decline into the long goodbye of Alzheimer's Disease, the National Rifle Association needs a new celebrity spokesman. I propose Tinky Winky, the infamous purple Teletubby.

First a disclaimer: I have never actually watched the Teletubbies on PBS, nor would I ever think of allowing my daughter to view same. They are super creepy and generally heinous. However, I am familiar with the controversies surrounding these freaks, since I have a perverse sense of humor, and the Teletubbies appeal to that darker side of my nature.

So, here is why Tinky Winky should be courted by the NRA as their new public face:

1) Tinky Winky packs heat. Oh yes, he does. A Massachusetts mother recently made news because her two-year-old's Teletubby toy says, "Uh-oh! I got a gun." when his tummy is pushed. You really cannot blame ol' Tinks for this, since I would want a method of self-defense myself, should my stomach constantly be punched by rugrats. Let that be a warning to them!

What I love most about this recent tid-bit is the reaction of the company that makes the Teletubby toys. They stated (I paraphrase), "We were made aware of this problem six years ago and issued a recall. This toy obviously either fell through the cracks or is a re-sold toy." I am tickled by their blasé attitude. "(Yawn) Yeah, yeah, lady. Tell us something we didn't already know. The purple one packs heat. Why did you think he carries a purse?" Speaking of which ...

2) Tinky Winky was outed as the gay Teletubby by the ever-prescient Jerry Falwell. This would be a major image helper to the NRA, which is generally seen as a hotbed of boiling heterosexual testosterone. Tinks would bring out the softer side of the NRA. I am envisioning a whole new retail arena for the NRA -- the Tinky Winky line of color-coordinated purses with a special compartment for concealed carry.

3) We cannot, as responsible commentators on the public scene, dismiss the PBS angle here. The Teletubbies are darlings of public broadcasting. Public broadcasting is the darling of social liberals who detest so often private -- well, private anything, really -- but especially private gun-ownership. What an ambassador for responsible gun usage would His Purpleness make! Every broadcasted episode could include a gun safety segment at the end. And then, of course, the announcer: "This episode of 'The Teletubbies' was made possible by a generous grant from the National Rifle Association."

4) I could be wrong here, having never seen an episode of "The Teletubbies," but I do believe that, other than warning folks that he's armed and a few other phrases, Tinky Winky is more of the silent, occasionally giggling, type. This could be a boon to the NRA, since the celebrity heir apparent to Charlton Heston is Tom Selleck, who too often comes across as a babbling airhead when asserting Second Amendment rights. I'm picturing Tinks on a talk show, being interviewed by a hostile host (à la Rosie O'Donnell with Selleck a few years back):

Host: How can you support private citizens' carrying guns when our rate of gun violence is so high in America?
Tinky Winky: Uh-oh! I got a gun.
Host: Mr. Winky, don't you think that we really do need more gun laws, if only to protect our children?
Tinky Winky: (giggles eerily and stares with vacant eyes)
Host (backing off with a look of alarm): Thank you for taking the time to appear on our show. Tinky Winky, ladies and gentlemen!
Tinky Winky: Uh-oh! I got a gun. Tubby toast! Tubby toast!

There's stalwart determination for you. Good for you, Tinks, not letting yourself be side-tracked!

So, I think that settles it. Tinky Winky should definitely be the new public face of the NRA. And, if you disagree with me, I can only say, "Uh-oh! I got a gun."

Friday, April 07, 2006

Long Live the King!

This is shameless and a wee bit silly, but, obviously, I do not care. My favorite sit-com is in trouble; CBS is hesitating to sign it for next season. Yes, I am talking about "The King of Queens," starring Kevin James and Leah Remini. There is so much sameness and me-too-ism and banality on network television. "The King of Queens" is a unique offering of pure comedy -- non-political, clean, quirky fun!

Away with the endless dramas about lawyers, cops, crime-scene investigators, and doctors! Away with copycat reality shows that, with few exceptions, only serve to showcase the more debased side of human nature! We need to save good, old-fashioned comedy.

So, I am asking all who visit here, whether by design or by accident, to sign this online petition, please:

Save The King of Queens!

If you like me, but do not care about the show, please sign. If you do not like me, but care about the show, please sign. If you're rather lukewarm on either me or the show, please sign. It's free, and it takes but a moment.

I really appreciate your help!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Come Fly With Me!

My husband works for a distinguished Pacific Northwest airline, whose name I will not divulge, but whose identity any discerning Googler should be able to unearth. Last Friday, they took delivery of a brand, spanking new Boeing 737-800, and my husband was one of the employees chosen to experience the maiden flight. Here are some pictures he took from on-board the airplane:

I can only imagine the snaps he would have gotten, had the day been clear and sunny. I love the top one of Mt. Rainier so much, maybe I'll use it in my blog template next winter.

As Pure as the Driven Slush

I took a libertarian purity test and got a score of 104 (out of 160).

Jason took it and got a score of 84. Ha! Ha!

I teased him about being a mushy, middle-roader when it comes to liberty -- placing him cruelly in the more conservative corner of the Republican Party.

He rejoined that I was the one who got all the "Republican mail" in the household. But that, of course, is only because I worked for the G.W. Bush 2004 campaign phone banks. What can I say? I was fueled by worry about the Supreme Court. I will be doing mea culpas for many years, especially if the Court does not overturn the egregious Roe v. Wade decision and continues to issue anti-liberty rulings, like Kelo v. New London.

But still, 104 -- not bad, eh? Especially when you consider that some of the latter ideas on the test were a little whacked and would require a vast overhaul of the Constitution. I'm comfortable with my score. I'm about as libertarian as you can be without be weird and unrealistic.