Florida is great! It's hot, but you get used to it. Every day without fail there is a thunderstorm. Spectacular thunderstorms with massive bolts of lightening and pitch black skies. It's pretty dramatic. Classes are well under way and I'm a quarter of the way through the first 2 classes. Pretty crazy. It's a fast pace and I'm already working on my second assignment which is due tomorrow. Well, right NOW I'm not working on the assignment because I'm writing this blog. But the profs are great and even though the classes are from 8-12:30 every morning (and often my eyelids are extremely heavy!) I'm really enjoying what I'm learning and especially as we go deep into Ephesians in my Bible Study Methods class. It's going to be a great 4 weeks!
You know when you hear, see or (often) smell something that reminds you of another time in your life? Lately I've been having that (mostly with things I smell) but just know I heard this wailing/singing voice and it made me think that it was the 5pm Call to Worship that I so often heard in Tanzania but the nearby mosque. Oh wait - it's just someone's really loud music from their car. And it's 7pm. Oh Tanzania.
Well, my attempt at getting to sleep at a reasonable time is not going so well. Just as I was getting "sorta" sleepy while lying in bed, Stanley (my idiot cat) starts these lonely little "meow"s. *shaking my head in disgust* (Be a normal cat, already!) You'd have thought he'd be thrilled and completely catlike in his contentness with Jamie (his main "sugar daddy" - and by that I mean, the only one who really gives him affection) being home, but nope. He decides now is the perfect time to bemoan his sad, sorry existence. And then out of nowhere I hear a wretched cat yell - like two cats in a fight or something. I figure there was a cat outside and Stanley went nuts at the window screen. *sigh* So here I am in the living room, fully disgusted with Stanley and completely wide awake. And Jamie sleeps like a baby. I guess that's jet lag for ya. Unlike Stanley, I am thrilled the Jamie is back - what a fantastic husband. Meanwhile, this week begins our mad summer craziness...travelling around and whatnot. On Wednesday I take Stanley to his "summer camp" as I like to call it. He'll be staying with my cousin who also has a cat. It's going to be interesting to see how the two "only child" cats get along with each other. Stanley will be thrilled to have a playmate, but I'm not so sure how Harley will react. Friday Jamie leaves for Florida and I'm busy with wedding stuff for my friend; Saturday is the wedding and Sunday I fly to Florida for 4 weeks. I'm really looking forward to Florida (I'll be taking 4 seminary courses there) and so thankful for the opportunity I have to go places and do the awesome things that I get to do! Anyway, so that's my late-night-I-can't-sleep post.
Cat litter that is. I have a problem. Here's the situation: I have a cat. He has a little box. But even though we have one of those mat thingies that's supposed to collect the litter from his paws, the litter is still all over the place! The trail of litter extends to about 1 foot after his mat! It drives me crazy and I don't want to haul out the vacuum every 5 hours to vacuum up the little gray bits that give me the heebie jeebies when I walk on them! Any suggestions?
On a side note, I have just tried out a new enviro-cat litter. It's brownish (so already that makes me feel like it's more naturey) instead of gray and it weighs a lot less!
Anyway, I need help since I don't have some crappy room in a basement to stick the litter in - just a small apartment and a couple rooms (currently it's in the spare room/office) so I'm trying to make it as inconspicuous as possible.
I came across these thoughts on "devotions" by a man named Bill Goode as I was browsing some articles online.
"For many, "devotions" is a mixture of legalism, Keswick experience, a reading of any portion of scripture (like going to the scriptural drugstore of God's Word and trying on any remedy on the shelf), and just plain hope that something will spring off the pages to make them spiritual. For some, having "devotions" is more sacred than other parts of life; somehow worship and thoughts about God can only occur at this time. For many, it cannot be a time with study aids - commentaries, language helps, Bible dictionaries or concern for right hermeneutics. And for some strange reason, it can never include a passage you are studying for your Bible or theology classes or for a message you are going to preach. Instead many believe there must be a time in prayer and an open Bible where, without any stab of accurate interpretation of the Word of truth, the participant does an end run around all study aids. (There cannot be any work involved - after all this is "devotional".) ... The common idea of "devotions" also rests upon a type of legalism and a meritorious benefit. Because of it I am now worthy and capable of serving God and winning all of my battles today. ... The fact is, merit only comes by grace, and my ability to serve only comes as I apply and obey accurately interpreted Scripture. Worship of Christ can take place during any Bible study I am doing or during any service for Him where I am consciously applying His Word. Let me close with these important truths. I am in such desparate need of God's truth that every time I go to the Bible I must always hear, ready, study, memorize or meditate looking to know Him, praise and thank Him, or honour and obey Him. All times are sacred. I must be careful to accurately interpret the Scriptures at all times. Therefore, there can be no reading without study nor intake without thought of how to apply. God's Word is the only means of knowledge and awareness of Him and How I can please Him. There are no end runs around thoughtful, purposeful, careful study of His Word. His Spirit who gave us His sword always uses the mind (1 Cor. 14:15)and invites our regular careful search that we may learn of His ways in order to know Him, praise Him, change and grow in His likeness. If this English word "devotions" has taken on wrong connotations for you, it would probably be helpful to return to Biblical terms such as hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, worshipping, honouring, and obeying God's Word. God grant us a hunger and thirst for His likeness so that we prayerfully and thoughtfully approach His Word to know Him, praise, honour, thank and obey Him.
So that was a large portion of the article but something that I've often thought about and sometimes struggled with. The whole idea of what Goode talked about, the legalistic idea of devotions, like they are some magical spiritual act that we think will give us merit in the eyes of God. Obviously we don't think that outright, but that is the underlying purpose with which we approach the Word of God. How callous and foolish that is of us....of me. I really like his idea of approaching the Word of God to hear, study, read, memorize, honour, obey and apply what we read and interpret from God's Word - as opposed to simply doing my "7 minute devotion".
Oh God, let me not take your Word so lightly and callously that I would think to approach it without the intent to study and correctly understand it and then to apply it. What a gift you have given to me - your very own Word. Help me to, as Goode prayed, hunger and thirst for Your likeness so that I approach Your Word with the right intents and motivations.
Chivalry does still exist! Today as my husband and I were in Tim Horton's eating lunch I noticed a group of men sitting by the entrance. Most of them were older, a few gray hairs and one younger looking guy. Anyway, all of a sudden I noticed the young guy jump out of his seat and run to the front door to open it. I looked to see who was coming in - it was a young mom with a toddler in one hand and a baby carriage in another. It's so nice to see guys - especially YOUNG guys going out of their way to help out us women. I wonder what the older guys said.
And on another entirely different note, as we stopped off in Zellers to pick up a few things we split up to get different items and when we came back together at the check out, Jamie told me of how he was passing by an elderly woman in an aisle who was using a walker. As he went past her she said she was looking for a comb. Jamie thought for a second and said, "So you're combing the aisles for a comb?" Apparently she let out a huge laugh and when I heard I laughed just as hard (actually, he said we both had the same reaction). Oh my dear, dear husband and his love of cheesy puns. He really cracks me up.
Well, my husband leaves tomorrow for a week and a half to Tanzania. I can't remember, but I think this may be the longest we've been apart from each other...hmm...let me think. Well, since we've been married. When we dated we were apart from each other quite a bit. But it's different when you're married. I'm gonna miss him. It's so great to still be so in love with him after almost 2 years. What a blessing he is to me!
So much to read, so little time. Is the comma supposed to be a period? "So much to read. So little time." 2 sentences or 1? Anyway, in preparation for the 4 seminary courses I will be taking starting June 26th I've been trying to read and take (good) notes. In doing this, I have rediscovered my ability to be a horrible student. Oh the slacker in me is being unleashed...("Down boy! Sit. Lie down. Stay.") *rolling eyes* One of the books I'm reading (ok, so I'm only reading 1 book from the list of books to read for seminary right NOW...but I'm trying to give it my all) is called The Artful Dodger and it's about one man's journey from non-believer to follower of Christ. Each chapter addresses different questions that a lot of people have (both Christian and non-Christian). But what I found intriguing is that he becomes a Christian in...like the 3 chapter or something (there's a lot of chapters). Ie. What he found out about sin and Christ and mankind was evidence enough to cause him to put his faith in Jesus Christ - even though he still had questions! The rest of the book goes on to address things like the Bible (is it trustworthy?), Evolution (is it really a scientific theory?) and some other really interesting topics. Needless to say, we don't need to have all the answers to see who we really are, our need for a Saviour and the possibility of relationship with the Creator of the universe. It's exciting to know that our journey of knowledge and intimacy with Jesus Christ is never ending. At least I think it's exciting. Maybe I am a keener after all.