Giving Thanks

Casey Shayne: 9 pounds, 21 1/2 inches long, November 26, 10:12 PM

Mom Jessie: Rock star. Phenomenal. Amazing. My little sister thanks to God who brought us together a couple of years ago.

Dad Chris: Unbelievable. Could teach classes on how to be a dad-in-waiting. You found a good one Jess!

Thank you for letting me be a part of the miracle.

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Maybe Baby

It’s very possible that a little guy named Casey Shane Fulks will enter the world today. Please keep him and his mom Jessie (who will be doing all the hard work) in your prayers.

I’m acting as coach/support person/labor friend so I’ll let you know something as soon as I can.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Time and Choices

This week is Thanksgiving Break at Harding University, which means it is also Thanksgiving Break for me. At some point on Friday I realized that this would be my first real break in five years. No work, no books or articles to read for class, no papers to write or search engines to evaluate. Just . . . unstructured time to spend the way I choose.

This is unreal to me. In addition to my five years of back-to-schooling, my entire adult life has been consumed by lists of things to do for other people. Nurse the baby, rock the baby, walk the baby, read to the toddler, wash the dishes, change the diapers, potty train the two-year-old, teach the five-year-old to read, listen to the seven-year-old read, make the easter dresses, scrapbook the family photos, teach algebra to the 8th grader, keep the little ones from hitting each other . . . the list goes on and on and on.

Now I have a break. My children are in school, Keith will be at work, and I have time. Time to spend the way I choose.

I choose to knit. I’ve already finished two projects and started a third. Check my knitting blog if you’d like to see them. They’ll be up soon.

I choose to read. I’m making my way through Eclipse (UGH!) so I can hopefully have intelligent conversations with younger readers about all the ways the Edward-Bella relationship is NOT one to pine for. After that I’m going to read Life of Pi. It’s been on my list for a long time and now it’s sitting on my desk, waiting for me.

I choose to listen to good music. Josh Groban’s Christmas cd has already graced our home once. Tomorrow I may break out Handel’s Messiah or the Nutcracker. I’m very ready for Christmas.

I may — just may — choose to start a couch-to-5k walking/running program. Like Life of Pi, it has been on my list for a long time. I fear if I do not do it soon, it will never be done. I don’t want to live my life thinking, “I should have . . . ” or “I wanted to, but . . .”

I choose to start Beth Moore’s Jesus the One and Only study for the third time. Yep — third time on the same study. Some co-workers and I are going to do it one day a week during lunch. I am very eagerly looking forward to walking through the life of Christ again. I need this type of structure. I need the accountability. I need to deepen my relationship with Him.

So this Thanksgiving season, I am thankful for time and choices. I hope that I make good use of both of them.

Have I Mentioned . . .

  • that I love Christmas and Christmas music?
  • that the early appearance of these things does not upset me, but makes me very happy?
  • that I love my job?
  • that today I spent time editing a webpage, writing a press release, playing with Instant Message tools (message me from here if you’d like!) and reading about blogs, wikis, and IM?
  • that yesterday, I got to talk about Facebook?
  • and that I get paid for this?
  • that I love my family?
  • that my dad is amazing?
  • that pictures of these last two things will be posted soon?
  • that I get excited about really geeky things?
  • that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday?
  • that I really admire this group of women?
  • that God is good? Really, really good. Life is hard, but God is good.
  • that I love you? Yeah — you.

Armistice Day

My friend Josh Pettigrew compiled these quotes and posted them to Facebook. Thank you Josh for having the courage to speak for peace.

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”
-Romans 12:18

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others]? do not even the publicans so?”
-Matthew 5:43-47

“The enemy? His sense of duty was no less than yours, I deem. You wonder what his name is, where he comes from, and if he really was evil at heart. What lies or threats led him on this long march from home, and would he not rather have stayed there… in peace? War will make corpses of us all.”
-Faramir, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Suicide in the Trenches
by Siegfried Sassoon

I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.

In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.

Dulce et Decorum Est
Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And floundering like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; *Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

*Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori: “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country”.

“War is the health of the state.”
—Randolph Bourne, The State

“Never has there been a good war or a bad peace.”
—Benjamin Franklin

“Where is it written in the Constitution, in what article or section is it contained, that you may take children from their parents and parents from their children, and compel them to fight the battles of any war in which the folly and wickedness of the government may engage itself?

“Under what concealment has this power lain hidden, which now for the first time comes forth, with a tremendous and baleful aspect, to trample down and destroy the dearest right of personal liberty? Who will show me any Constitutional injunction which makes it the duty of the American people to surrender everything valuable in life, and even life, itself, whenever the purposes of an ambitious and mischievous government may require it? . . .

“A free government with an uncontrolled power of military conscription is the most ridiculous and abominable contradiction and nonsense that ever entered into the heads of men.”
—Daniel Webster, Speech in the House of Representatives, January 14, 1814

“Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.”
-Thomas Jefferson

One day Confucius and his students were walking through the forest and came upon a woman weeping bitterly by an open grave. One student asked why she was crying, and she said, “First, my husband’s father was killed here by a tiger. Then the tigers ate my husband. Now they have eaten my son.” Confucius then asked the woman why she did not leave the forest, and she said, “Because there is no oppressive government here.” Confucius then turned to his students and said, “Remember this: Oppressive government is more terrible than tigers.”

Some Things are Worth Repeating

Once again, stolen from Stephanie. Her prolific blogging puts me to shame.

Do you ever reread your books?

Definitely yes! I have a lifelong pattern of rereading books that are important to me. One of the things that grieves me about the Accelerated Reader program is that children are not encouraged to reread books. It’s all about reading something else, taking tests, and scoring points. Reading should be enjoyable. Good books can become old friends you long to see again.

If so, which ones? If not, why not?

Growing up, I read the Chronicles of Narnia over and over. Madeleine L’Engle’s books also took up much of my time. I recently revisited Poisonwood Bible for the third time and found it just as engaging as the first two read-throughs. If a book touches the deep core of my being and changes something about me — either the way I view myself, the world, or a concept — then I will reread it. I rarely revisit the books I classify simply as “page turners.” It has to be a book that really speaks to me.

Do you read the books the whole way through or pick through for favorite scenes?

I tend to be an all-or-nothing person. I’ll go through the whole thing.

What qualifies a book for the reread pile?

I don’t keep a list or pile of books to reread, but at times something will happen that reminds me of that deep core-shifting experience and causes me to think, “Wow! I want to read _____________ again.” I connect very deeply with well-written fiction and when non-fiction is profound it also qualifies for a re-read. How can you not benefit from picking up The Screwtape Letters again? When would it ever be a bad idea to work your way through Celebration of Discipline or Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger?

A Timely Remark from a Friend

Christians’ first political responsibility is to be the church. By being the church, we should understand that our first political loyalty is to the God we worship as Christians, and that we are not first and foremost about making democracy work, but about the truthful worship of the true God. (paraphrased from Stanley Hauerwas, Professor of Theological Ethics, Duke University Divinity School)

And a bit more:

This prayer was written by Scot McKnight, and posted on his Jesus Creed blog earlier today.

*******
A Prayer for Obama

Our prayer today, Our Father, is for President-Elect Barack Obama.

Our prayers include:

That You, the infinite font of wisdom, might grant him wisdom daily.

That You, the loving God of all, might grant him love for you and for others, including our enemies.

That You, the holy and righteous God of justice, might empower him to do what is right in all that he does.

That You, the Lord, might grant him the charisma of insight to lead in this turbulent world and time.

That You, the Healer, might grant him the grace of reconciling damaged relations in this country and in the world about us.

That You, the God of Life, might grant him a commitment to act for all — the unborn and born, the young and old, the civilian and the soldier — to preserve life and honor that each of us is fashioned in the image of God.

That You, the Father, might grant him the time and wisdom to father his two young daughters and love Michelle, his wife.

And that You, the God of all comfort, might grace him and his family as they mourn the loss of his grandmother.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Through Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Discovered in my inbox from my wise pastoral friend.

Too Tired to Think . . .

Yep. I’m too tired to be original so I’m lifting this from my friend Stacey. You’re supposed to only give one-word answers. It’s rather challenging. I think you should try it.

1. Where is your cell phone? Charging
2. Where is your significant other? Work
3. Your hair color? Natural
4. Your mother? Confusing
5. Your father? Dependable
6. Your favorite thing? Laughing
7. Your dream last night? Non-existent
8. Your dream/goal? Contentment
9. The room you’re in? Office
10. Your hobby? Several
11. Your fear? Failure
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Safe
13. Where were you last night? Work
14. What you’re not? Organized
15. One of your wish-list items? Happiness
16. Where you grew up? Searcy
17. The last thing you did? Teach
18. What are you wearing? Denim
19. Your TV? LOST
20. Your pet? Cat
21. Your computer? S-L-O-W
22. Your mood? Curious
23. Missing someone? Definitely
24. Your car? Dirty
25. Something you’re not wearing? Perfume
26. Favorite store? Bookstores
27. Your summer? Crazy
28. Love someone? Many
29. Your favorite color? Purple
30. When is the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Saturday