Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
What is the deal with the black and white cookie?
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
“Hope in the face of difficulty, hope in the face of uncertainty, the audacity of hope: In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation, a belief in things not seen, a belief that there are better days ahead.”
Barack Obama, DNC Keynote Address '04
Friday, January 16, 2009
If there was ever a non-religious site, it's probably Gawker. Distasteful, gossipy, mean-spirited - usually. But in their surprisingly tasteful post on the US Airways crash in the Hudson, I found a very lovely life analogy, aided by the tag, 'Airline as a Metaphor.' (You can skim the story to the last paragraph, italics mine.):
News of the emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 began as another grim disaster. But with those aboard quickly delivered from the freezing Hudson waters, this was, improbably, the crash with a happy ending.
Office workers in lower Manhattan watched in horror as the Airbus A320 plane, in a seeming reprise of the horrors of 9/11, flew too low, too near. A water landing in an icy river spurred memories of Air Florida Flight 90's fatal dive into the Potomac River 27 years ago. And as MSNBC carried live coverage of the plane sinking lower and lower, viewers couldn't help but fear the worst.
The Internet, on the other hand, brought instant reassurance — photos posted online showing the flight's 153 passengers and crew assembled on the wing and in lifeboats. A New York ferry happened to be cruising nearby, and four more came to the rescue. Everyone was safe.
In a time when it feels like the nation is sinking, the tale of Flight 1549 is exactly the dash of optimism we need. The promise that a rescuer is around the bend.
Hope. The promise that a rescuer is around the bend.
"He is the living God, world without end. His kingdom never falls. His rule continues eternally. He is a savior and rescuer. He performs astonishing miracles in heaven and on earth."
- Daniel 6:25
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
OK. I confess - actually, I don't even need to 'confess,' because I have no shame - that I am already HOOKED on this season of The Bachelor. I didn't watch last season with DeAnna, but my coworkers still introduced me to Jason, the adorable little muffin that is now headlining this season. And two episodes in, I LOVE HIM. Probably the best bachelor ever.
Red 'X's - Girls who are already gone
Light blue 'X's - Girls who we are confident will get the boot soon (Naomi, Erica, Megan and Shannon)
Yellow circles - TBD on opinion. (We don't know Kari yet, but she's pretty. Lauren seemed cool and normal but was too high-maintenance last night. Natalie seems too young and too ditzy.)
Green circles - Serious potential.
For the record, Melissa is a yellow circle to me but is green to Lauren, while Molly is green to me but yellow to Lauren. Also, we like Nikki, but she must stop talking about the other girls, and we LOVE Stephanie but are afraid that she and Jason will lack chemistry.
Don't worry, I'm not starting a Bachelor recap. Mostly because I could NEVER write anything as hysterical as Lincee. But I will keep you updated on how our predictions are progressing.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Friday, January 09, 2009
Life of Reilly
Gainesville State players douse head coach Mark Williams in celebration.
They played the oddest game in high school football history last month down in Grapevine, Texas.
It was Grapevine Faith vs. Gainesville State School and everything about it was upside down. For instance, when Gainesville came out to take the field, the Faith fans made a 40-yard spirit line for them to run through.
Did you hear that? The other team's fans?
They even made a banner for players to crash through at the end. It said, "Go Tornadoes!" Which is also weird, because Faith is the Lions.
It was rivers running uphill and cats petting dogs. More than 200 Faith fans sat on the Gainesville side and kept cheering the Gainesville players on—by name.
"I never in my life thought I'd hear people cheering for us to hit their kids," recalls Gainesville's QB and middle linebacker, Isaiah. "I wouldn't expect another parent to tell somebody to hit their kids. But they wanted us to!"
And even though Faith walloped them 33-14, the Gainesville kids were so happy that after the game they gave head coach Mark Williams a sideline squirt-bottle shower like he'd just won state. Gotta be the first Gatorade bath in history for an 0-9 coach.
But then you saw the 12 uniformed officers escorting the 14 Gainesville players off the field and two and two started to make four. They lined the players up in groups of five—handcuffs ready in their back pockets—and marched them to the team bus. That's because Gainesville is a maximum-security correctional facility 75 miles north of Dallas. Every game it plays is on the road.
This all started when Faith's head coach, Kris Hogan, wanted to do something kind for the Gainesville team. Faith had never played Gainesville, but he already knew the score. After all, Faith was 7-2 going into the game, Gainesville 0-8 with 2 TDs all year. Faith has 70 kids, 11 coaches, the latest equipment and involved parents. Gainesville has a lot of kids with convictions for drugs, assault and robbery—many of whose families had disowned them—wearing seven-year-old shoulder pads and ancient helmets.
So Hogan had this idea. What if half of our fans—for one night only—cheered for the other team? He sent out an email asking the Faithful to do just that. "Here's the message I want you to send:" Hogan wrote. "You are just as valuable as any other person on planet Earth."
Some people were naturally confused. One Faith player walked into Hogan's office and asked, "Coach, why are we doing this?"
And Hogan said, "Imagine if you didn't have a home life. Imagine if everybody had pretty much given up on you. Now imagine what it would mean for hundreds of people to suddenly believe in you."
Next thing you know, the Gainesville Tornadoes were turning around on their bench to see something they never had before. Hundreds of fans. And actual cheerleaders!
"I thought maybe they were confused," said Alex, a Gainesville lineman (only first names are released by the prison). "They started yelling 'DEE-fense!' when their team had the ball. I said, 'What? Why they cheerin' for us?'"
It was a strange experience for boys who most people cross the street to avoid. "We can tell people are a little afraid of us when we come to the games," says Gerald, a lineman who will wind up doing more than three years. "You can see it in their eyes. They're lookin' at us like we're criminals. But these people, they were yellin' for us! By our names!"
Maybe it figures that Gainesville played better than it had all season, scoring the game's last two touchdowns. Of course, this might be because Hogan put his third-string nose guard at safety and his third-string cornerback at defensive end. Still.
After the game, both teams gathered in the middle of the field to pray and that's when Isaiah surprised everybody by asking to lead. "We had no idea what the kid was going to say," remembers Coach Hogan. But Isaiah said this: "Lord, I don't know how this happened, so I don't know how to say thank You, but I never would've known there was so many people in the world that cared about us."
And it was a good thing everybody's heads were bowed because they might've seen Hogan wiping away tears.
As the Tornadoes walked back to their bus under guard, they each were handed a bag for the ride home—a burger, some fries, a soda, some candy, a Bible and an encouraging letter from a Faith player.
The Gainesville coach saw Hogan, grabbed him hard by the shoulders and said, "You'll never know what your people did for these kids tonight. You'll never, ever know."
And as the bus pulled away, all the Gainesville players crammed to one side and pressed their hands to the window, staring at these people they'd never met before, watching their waves and smiles disappearing into the night.
Anyway, with the economy six feet under and Christmas running on about three and a half reindeer, it's nice to know that one of the best presents you can give is still absolutely free.
Monday, January 05, 2009
It's morning now
There couldn’t be more beauty in any other town
Your dancing lights and endless nights
Everybody know you never sleep
But you’re still beautiful to me
They say that if you make here
You’ll make it anywhere
It’s gotta to be the truth
‘Cause I’m not going anywhere
So leave me in New York"
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Sally: "Well, maybe it just means that we should remember that we forgot them or something. Anyway, it’s about old friends."
Happy New Year!
Lauren and I
Friday, January 02, 2009
What is it? The Oxford American Dictionary defines it as "a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen" or "grounds for believing that something good may happen." As I read the above definitions, two words stand out to me - desire and may. According to the definitions, hope is not a guarantee that a certain thing will happen. Instead, it is simply something that you desire to happen, something that may (just maybe!) happen. It's hoping you'll get a promotion. Hoping he'll ask you out. Hoping the cancer will go away.
The English word, “hope,” is translated from the Greek word, "elpis," meaning a confident expectation. The Christian is to confidently expect (i.e., to have full assurance without doubt) that the Lord will not only fulfill every single promise that He has made, but will also appear at the end of the age to gather His own unto Himself before the Day of the Lord.Hmm. "Full assurance without doubt." This makes sense to me and is certainly more definite that the Oxford definition, but I have one small question still. Forgive me if I'm mistaken, but isn't "full assurance without doubt" how you would describe faith? Indeed, even the dictionary defines faith as, "complete trust or confidence in someone or something."
Beautiful.The question occurs to us, What difference is there between faith and hope? We find it difficult to see any difference. Faith and hope are so closely linked that they cannot be separated. Still there is a difference between them.
First, hope and faith differ in regard to their sources. Faith originates in the understanding, while hope rises in the will.
Secondly, they differ in regard to their functions. Faith says what is to be done. Faith teaches, describes, directs. Hope exhorts the mind to be strong and courageous.
Thirdly, they differ in regard to their objectives. Faith concentrates on the truth. Hope looks to the goodness of God.
Fourthly, they differ in sequence. Faith is the beginning of life before tribulation. (Hebrews 11.) Hope comes later and is born of tribulation. (Romans 5.)
Fifthly, they differ in regard to their effects. Faith is a judge. It judges errors. Hope is a soldier. It fights against tribulations, the cross, despondency, despair, and waits for better things to come in the midst of evil.
Without hope faith cannot endure. On the other hand, hope without faith is blind rashness and arrogance because it lacks knowledge. Before anything else a Christian must have the insight of faith, so that the intellect may know its directions in the day of trouble and the heart may hope for better things. By faith we begin, by hope we continue.