Friday, October 29, 2010

October Adoption Update

I know it's kind of pointless to do an October update at the end of the month, but I've been so busy with school and visiting friends/family all month that I haven't had time to write anything. The only new development on the adoption front is that our new home study is completed and approved. So that is at least one fewer thing to have to worry about or wait on. So now we really are just waiting for a birthmother to find us. Everything else is in place and ready to go. We talked to our agency and we're being put back on the "Featured Families" page because it's been a few months since we were listed there. So, once again, all we can do is sit and wait.....

And may the peace of the Lord be always with you.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

For Eleanor

"Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father; There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not; As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be. Summer and winter and springtime and harvest, Sun, moon and stars in their courses above Join with all nature in manifold witness To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love. Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed Thy hand hath provided; Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!"

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the hills;
from where is my help to come?

My help comes from the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved
and he who watches over you will not fall asleep.

Behold, he who keeps watch over Israel
shall neither slumber nor sleep;

The Lord himself watches over you;
the Lord is your shade at your right hand,

So that the sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
it is he who shall keep you safe.

The Lord shall watch over your going out and your coming in,
from this time forth for evermore.

"Joyful, joyful we adore Thee; God of glory, Lord of love. Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above. Melt the clouds of sin and sadness, drive the dark of doubt away. Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day."

Mary Eleanor Ballentine 1913-2010

And may the peace of the Lord be always with you.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Shield from Vanity

"It is good for us to have trials and troubles at times, for they often remind us that we are on probation and ought not to hope in any worldly thing. It is good for us sometimes to suffer contradiction, to be misjudged by others even though we do well and mean well. These things help us to be humble and shield us from vanity. When to all outward appearances others give us no credit, when they do not think well of us, then we are more inclined to seek God, who sees our hearts. Therefore, we ought to root ourselves so firmly in God that we will not need human consolations."

-Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

And may the peace of the Lord be always with you.

Counting and Measuring

The following sermon was written by the Reverend Scott Walters of Christ Episcopal Church and is published here with his permission.

The poet Billy Collins once noted that “Of all the questions you might want to ask/ about angels, the only one you ever hear/ is how many can dance on the head of a pin.”

The interest in countable or measurable things isn’t limited to those curious medieval theologians who debated about the necessary dimensions of an angelic dance floor. The old question about angels is a question not unlike what the world record is for hot dog eating, which happens to be 59 1/2, buns included, by Joey Chestnut of San Jose, CA. And it’s even kind of similar to the challenge of reciting the number pi out to a further decimal place than anyone else. (Akira Haraguchi broke his old record of 83,431 places by passing 100,000 last year, in case you were wondering.)

In a way, if one happens to believe in angels, it makes sense to wonder how many of them might dance on the head of a pin, because we make sense of our world quite often by counting or weighing or measuring what we hope to comprehend.

Of course we make sense of ourselves by counting and measuring, too. I didn’t realize at the time that I was finding my place in the world when I envied Steve Ruble’s impressive Lego collection, but I was. Wishing I had half of the colorful plastic building blocks that spilled from container after container in Steve’s house just set me on my way to wishing that I had an iPhone 4, could stay in 5 star hotels, buy my wife a 6 karat diamond, and drive a 7 series BMW.

We’re counting all the time in this life. The weary, weary question is “Do we ever add or measure up?”

Prayer of Saint Francis

In honor of the Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi, which was celebrated over the weekend.

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

And may the peace of the Lord be always with you.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Someone asked me about this on Facebook, so I thought I would share it here. P90X is a fitness and nutritional program that is built around three 30-day phases. You do a combination of weight lifting, cardio, and yoga (the program comes with like.. 15 DVDs). There are three different levels of the program: Classic, Doubles, and Lean. Classic (what I'm doing now) is the original program. Doubles is designed for professional athletes and involves two workouts on some days (cardio on your own in the morning, P90X in the afternoon). Lean (what we tried to do last year) is really designed more for women who don't especially want to hulk up or for people who aren't quite fit enough to do Classic. Ideally you should be able to do 90 days of Lean, then 90 days of Classic, and then 90 days of Doubles.

The premise of the workout program is this idea of "muscle confusion." Basically, if you always do the same workout all the time you'll 1) get bored pretty quickly and 2) you may plateau as your muscles develop to do the work more efficiently. When your brain sends signals to your muscles to perform an action for the first time, you tend to be less coordinated because you haven't fully developed all the neuromuscular connections required. Over time, if you repeat the action enough, you can actually develop NEW neuromuscular junctions so that you have finer and finer control over the motor movement. For example, I can't do all the fancy footwork with a ball that professional soccer players can because I lack those extra connections. But someone who has been playing soccer since childhood and plays very regularly now literally has more motorneuron connections linking their feet and their brain. This allows them to perform the motor movements involved in soccer footwork with greater precision and less effort.