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Connecting


Two years ago,  I lost my blog and couldn’t remember my way back into it. For the thousands ( yes!) of readers who visited over the years, I apologize for dropping the blog for no apparent reason.

I felt embarrassed to admit the truth, that my mind was so confused  I couldn’t remember how to recover passwords and I decided I wouldn’t try any longer. But, in the years of my blog, as I struggled to find my place, I felt that I had written some good material and I mourned its loss, even as a record of my journey.

Today, while driving out-of-town I realized why my mind has been in such disarray.

In the past six years my husband and I have moved ourselves, our dogs and our possessions into and out of seven homes.

We have had a sabbatical on the ocean, in the mountains, driven cross-country, back again, moved from North to South, settled and resettled and traveled overseas between celebrating marriages and births. It’s all been a bit much for my aging brain.

As I sit by my window, settled into our log home, I look out at restful green fields surrounding me. I am beginning to love this new place, though I held back my affection for a while.

Today was the day I found my blog and my heart let down its guard.

PS. Can I ask your patience as I find my way around WordPress blogging again? Thanks.

Sacrificing Everything: Victoria Soto and Jesus


A true #hero. News worth sharing... #VictoriaSoto

A true #hero. News worth sharing… #VictoriaSoto (Photo credit: ArtJonakT

This week many solutions have been presented for our problem of national violence.

Voices in the past have led America far away from the path of nurturing our little children, raising them to become kind, caring, competent adults.

We’ve allowed them to sear their consciences with violent cartoons, video games and movies during the years when they form their core values. Stress in the home and emotional distance have increased loneliness and isolation.

I am a Christian and this is the time of year we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, called “The Messiah”,  who came to earth as a humble baby in Bethlehem over two thousand years ago.

His coming and his life presented a shocking change in world history, but it was nothing compared to his leaving! That’s what makes all the difference to Christians like me, and where we differ from other people of faith.

And here is where my faith and this tragedy at Newtown converge.

I think about the remarkable bravery of Victoria Soto, who gave her own life for her children.

We praise her for her great act of sacrifice as we should. Some of us may wonder if we could do the same thing, we hope we would.

So, here’s the thing, Jesus Christ did just that for you and me.

The sticking point for many people is that He came to our world to save “sinners”. I’m not about to argue about the word “sinner” and what it means. I think each person must be convinced in his/her own heart whether this word applies to them.

I know someone who believes they never did anything wrong “enough” to warrant Christ’s death on the cross.

The point is that Jesus did just what Victoria Soto did, but, unlike, Victoria, who left her home not intending to give her life, Jesus left a perfectly wonderful home to do this wonderful thing for us, willingly!

Did Jesus know that He would die and then rise again, according to the Bible?

We don’t know, but we do know that he suffered, a lot! His death wasn’t instantaneous, like being shot.

His being alive makes a big difference to those who follow Him. Why?

He promised to send His life and the Spirit, (called the Holy Spirit) to the people who put their trust in Him. I can’t explain it scientifically, but I am a personal witness that this does happen.

He can transform an unforgiving, vindictive person into a compassionate and forgiving human being; A Person who previously cared little about the poor can learn to reach out in kindness to serve their needs.

These are just two ways I’ve changed since I began to follow Jesus in 1968, calling myself by His name (Christian).  It has taken a lifetime of falling down and getting up again emotionally and spiritually and I’m still in need of more love.

But, there is evidence all around us pointing to the fact that many so-called followers of Christ, make different choices at some point in their lives. Again, the word “sin” might be appropriate here, but not my argument to make.

I seldom read Ravi Zacharia, but I agree with what he says in the article below:

“All the laws in the world will never change the heart. Only God is big enough for that.”

via Tragedy at Newtown | RZIM.

Do You Know a Child With Autism?


English: this is my own version of what bullyi...

English: this is my own version of what bullying looks like (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Don’t assume this child will be a future killer.

The child may be socially awkward, but his/her parents need encouragement, and kindness may communicate more than we know.

There is something each of us can do.

We can teach our own children personal responsibility to be inclusive and thoughtful to children who are different from themselves. Teach them to speak up against bullying.

Exclusion and bullying are two elements common to many of the young men who have committed these atrocities.

Think a moment about those families on the fringe of your community. We can’t know their burdens.

Try reaching out to them, including them in your holiday dinners. Expect it to be awkward at first. You’ll be surprised how quickly this evolves into friendship.

It’s possible that they will resent the intrusion, but, then again, this may be just the refreshment they need.

The only thing you have to lose is a bit of your comfort level.

Another important thing we all can do is learn more about Autism. Here’s one website: http://www.autismspeaks.org/

The following article was the inspiration for this blog post.

Don’t Blame Autism for Newtown – NYTimes.com.

 

IN GOD WE TRUST القرآن الكريم


Seal of Culpeper County, Virginia

Seal of Culpeper County, Virginia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I saw this on a bumper sticker in Culpeper, VA today.

 

 

 

“In God We Trust

 

 

 

Qur’an 67:29”

 

 

 

What reaction would you expect me to have?

 

 

 

I wonder what many people in predominately Baptist, Culpeper County, VA will have?

 

 

 

Curious isn’t it?

 

 

 

A prominent writer was recently chairing a conference in Europe and says the participants became outraged when he brought God into the conversation. However, afterwards, people came up to him thanking him for the very relevant discussion.

 

 

 

They were Muslims.

 

 

 

Christians and Muslims have more in common than we think.  Members of both faiths love God, though our views of Him are different. We feel no compunction about discussing theology and our beliefs in public. The challenge is to stop competing and arguing with one other and begin dialogue.

 

 

 

What do we have to lose, anyway? We might even gain some friends and influence world history.

 

 

 

Surat Al-Mulk [67:29] – The Noble Qur’an – القرآن الكريم.

 

 

 

Honoring God’s Choice for Our Nation 2012


Official photographic portrait of US President...

Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We received the following email in our box this morning and I wanted to share it with you. I don’t know what Tim’s politics are, but I appreciate the sentiment.

“As The President, Barack Obama, is being honored, I want to affirm that as followers of Jesus Christ, we affirm that God, the Sovereign ruler of the universe, has affirmed that Barack Obama is to be the leader of our country for the next four years.

You may agree with this, or not, but, that is true, according to scripture.  I would have said the same thing had Mitt Romney been elected.

Our job, as followers of Jesus Christ, is to obey scripture, and continue to pray for our leaders, that they make decisions that allow us, as followers of Jesus Christ, to live in peace and quite.

My prayer for all of you is that you will submit to the authority of scripture and pray for and uphold, before the Throne of Grace, our duly elected President, and remember that our job is to intercede for him and those around him, that they make decisions consistent with the will of God, that we live in peace and quiet.

Please remember, that we, as followers of Jesus Christ, are commanded to speak ill of no man, for Christ’s sake.”

Tim Arensmeier

Why Mako Fujimura Left New York City for the Coun…


How appropriate! We are moving to the State of Virginia tomorrow! My husband, Jon, will be pursuing his passion as an artist! Hmmmm!

 

Why Mako Fujimura Left New York City for the Coun… | This Is Our City | Christianity Today.

Five Days and Counting


English: Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, Ith...

Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport

I apologize for neglecting this blog. We have five days before several big events occur in our lives.

The interior of our house is being painted so we can put it up for sale in early March. Every room is in turmoil, with furniture moved away from the walls, pictures and books (thousands of books) being packed. We’re swamped with decisions, decisions, decisions.

Of course, we’ve been on this course for the past six months. We’d hoped it wouldn’t come down to the very last-minute, but due to unforeseen circumstances, the weather outside is frightful and we can’t shut the doors yet because our doorknobs are off due to wet paint. Well, maybe tonight!

Jon had a root canal after days of intense tooth ache, and our friend whom we’d sponsored seven years ago had a severe heart attack and several days recovering in ICU. He’s okay now, but it was a close call reminding us of what could have been.

We had planned everything so well, too, because the day we put our house on the market is the day we hit the airport for a trip half way around the world.  At this point, if we can remember our passports and our converter plugs, we’ll be feeling successful!

I think we can manage pretty well with a minimum of other non-essentials.

Soooo, all that to let you know why I’ve not been writing. I’d like to try to post from our location in the other country. I think if I can journal/blog it might be interesting. We’ll see how that works. I’ll be pretty busy with various things, but we’ll try to remember the computer. The key will be finding Wi-Fi and a safe place to hook it up!

More later.