Friday, February 26, 2010

Adventures in Mother-land.

Such a morning has been had! Not only have I spent money, but also been to two different Starbucks I'd never been to before. Marvelous.
This morning found me with Kari, Sarah, and lots of women with children. If I hadn't been pushing a stroller, I would've felt quite out of place. As it was, though, I was able to overcome this to get to one of the main businesses of the day-- Buying things for Abigail and Gabriel! Offhand, I have no idea what the name of the place we went to was-- all I know was that it was a mass consignment sale of some sort, with hundreds of baby toys and clothes. An auntie or new mother's paradise! Thankfully, we were fortified with coffee, ready to take on anything... including any mothers who would dare to get in our way. Some of the conversations I overheard were exceedingly awkward, and not ones I would care to repeat... welcome to the world of pregnant women. Or women with babies. Or women with children.
One thing I learned-- if I'm going to be shopping at a baby place, or be around lots of pregnant women, wearing a babydoll style shirt is a bad idea. The advantage is that I blended in, I suppose. :/
Quite an interesting place, overall. I found it entertaining (and occasionally disturbing) to observe the "public" parenting of many people there. There's the mother that yells at her kid to be quiet, as well as the mother who doesn't care what her kid is up to. Or there are the mothers who smile and give their screaming kid whatever they want.
 It doesn't take long to get acclimated to random baby-ish shrieks coming from various directions. However, there was one thing that I couldn't quite feel comfortable with-- A woman asked me if I'd be interested in buying some body-re-shaping clothing. "We have some for post-partum, as well!" (she adds helpfully) I informed her that I was quite happy with my current body shape, so no, thank you. "Well, then, would you care to enter the drawing to possibly get some free?" Once again, I offered my polite (if slightly acidic) "No, thank you." (After that comes the false smile, of course. As well as me frantically wondering if I look pregnant.)
Another fun thing about being around that many people is all the conversations you overhear while standing in line, or while unobtrusively going through racks of 6-9 months baby clothes. I almost felt as if I was listening in on people's lives. One woman was giving quite the narrative to her friend... "So I was like, Fine, I've had it. If he doesn't want me, he's just not good enough for me! So, I'm like, totally gone."
I resisted the urge to turn around and ask if she was talking about her boss, her dog, or her boyfriend.
The other fascinating, if odd, one I heard was an indian man with an accent talking into his bluetooth. He'd been standing in line for quite some time, looking bored. Here and there I caught a snippet... "And, man, you would love it. Dude, I was going down this waterfall and..... Pretty awesome stuff man, ya know! Just wild." After listening to a few more tales of heroics and adventures, I decided that he was (at the very least) embellishing his story. He was one of three guys that I noticed there. Despite his butchering of the english language, I had to admire his tenacity for braving a sale like that.
One of the positive ends of all this: Abigail will soon be the proud (if unaware) owner of a pink poodle stuffed animal. Her name is Collette. Gabriel will have a sweet, if slightly funny-looking horse (or donkey-- it's hard to tell which he is) as a new cuddle bud. What can I say, I have a fetish for buying obscure stuffed animals. But they were so cute!
Anyway, I have lots of things that I should be doing, and blogging is not one of the necessities... therefore, adieu.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A note from Ryle.

Considering the fact that all of my recent posts have been largely narrative, or suggestions on various things, it's definitely time for a good, solid, quote. Or lengthy excerpt, in this case. I HIGHLY recommend reading it.

Thus, here are several thoughts from J.C. Ryle's "Expository Thoughts on the Gospels," Vol. I.
The passage of scripture he based this section on is Matthew II  1-12.

I'm not putting all his thoughts on this here-- instead, I'm picking and choosing.

....These verses teach us, that there may be knowledge of scripture in the head, while there is no grace in the heart. Mark how king Herod sends to inquire of the priests and elders "where Christ should be born." Mark what a ready answer they return him, and what an acquaintance with the letter of Scripture they show. But they never went to Bethlehem to seek for the coming Saviour. They would not believe in Him, when He ministered among them. Their heads were better than their hearts. --Let us beware of resting satisfied with head-knowledge. It is an excellent thing, when rightly used. But a man may have much of it, and yet perish everlastingly. What is the state of our hearts? This is the great question. A little grace is better than many gifts. Gifts alone save no one. But grace leads on to glory.
The conduct of the wise men described in this chapter is a splendid example of spiritual diligence. What trouble is must have cost them to travel from their homes to the house where Jesus was born! How many weary miles they must have journeyed! The fatigues of an Eastern traveller are far greater than we in England can at all understand. The time that such a journey would occupy must necessarily have been very great. The dangers to be encountered were neither few nor small. But none of these things moved them. They had set their hearts on seeing Him "that was born King of the Jews;" and they never rested till they saw Him. They prove to us the truth of the old saying, "Where there is a will there is a way."

It would be well for all professing Christians if they were more ready to follow the wise men's example. Where is our self-denial? What pains do we take about our souls? What diligence do we show about following Christ? What does our religion cost us? These are serious questions. They deserve serious consideration.
Last, but not least, the conduct of the wise men is a striking example of faith. They believed in Christ when they had never seen Him; but that was not all. They believed in Him when the Scribes and Pharisees were unbelieving; but that again was not all. They believed in Him when they saw Him a little infant on Mary's knee, and worshipped Him as a king. This was the crowning point of their faith. They saw no miracle to convince them. They heard no teaching to persuade them. They beheld no signs of divinity and greatness to overawe them. They saw nothing but a newborn infant, helpless and weak, and needing a mother's care like any one of ourselves. And yet when they saw that infant, they believed that they saw the divine Saviour of the world. "They fell down and worshipped Him."
We read of no greater faith than this in the whole volume of the Bible. It is a faith that deserves to be placed side by side with that of the penitent thief. The thief saw one dying the death of a malefactor, and yet prayed to Him, and "called Him Lord." The wise men saw a newborn babe on the lap of a poor woman, and yet worshipped Him and confessed that He was Christ. Blessed indeed are those that can believe in this fashion!
This is the kind of faith, let us remember, that God delights to honor. We see the proof of that at this very day. Wherever the Bible is read the conduct of these wise men is known, and told as a memorial of them. Let us walk in the steps of their faith. Let us not be ashamed to believe in Jesus and confess Him, though all around us remain careless and unbelieving. Have we not a thousand-fold more evidence than the wise men had, to make us believe that Jesus is the Christ? Beyond doubt we have. Yet where is our faith?

-- J. C. Ryle. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Before I continue, (or rather, start) let me point out that the cheery ideas of hiking (in my last post) were indeed fulfilled... Later that day, I went up into federation forest with Julie Love. Absolutely stunning scenery. I love how close it is to home! But of course, as soon as I pulled out my camera, the three words flashing at me nearly made me cry... "No Memory Card."  Yeah. Of all the "disgustipating" things. Next time, I will not be found so ill-prepared.

Anyway, yesterday found mom, papa, and I in Leavenworth. (the bavarian-esque village, not the barbarian-esque prison) I have to admit that the scenery on the way there was the highlight. While the actual town was cute and nice, it didn't do much for me. But that's not to say that I wouldn't LOVE to go back. :-)  One of my favorite shops was obviously Chocolat.... But of course, since it was in the back of another store, we had to get through a salesman (whose wares were ridiculously overpriced, by the way) who kept telling us the translations to german words that we didn't really need to know. Gesthaus means hotel? What? NO WAY! Epiphany! Oh wait. Already knew that. Wunderbar means marvellous? Wow. This is just the highlight of my education. But it was worth it to get to the chocolate shop. The man behind the counter was perfect for the role. Snow white hair, sweater vest, tie, and... English accent. Yes. I felt like I was back in the Chelsea tea shop in Oxford. And of course I'm a fan of any man who tries to sell chocolate by giving whole truffles to people. "Oh, I see by your starbucks that you like coffee. Perhaps you would like to try this mocha java truffle?"  Why, yes, I'd love to!

But, chocolate and leavenworth aside, I have finally got a plan for tonight. After finishing all the things I have to do, I'm going to sit down and watch El Dorado. I've been wanting to for about a week. Now there's a classic John Wayne. Any movie that has John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, and James Caan has GOT to be amazing. At least I think so. But I'm slightly biased-- we've been watching that movie for years. My first memories of it include my dad covering my eyes when Alan Traherne (a.k.a. Mississippi)  makes his entrance by knifing a man, as well as getting my eyes covered when Thornton kisses Maudie. Yes indeed.  Although personally, I've always been of the persuasion that Charlene Holt (Maudie) only got a part in it because she was in some way related to The Duke. A niece, perhaps? Her acting is definitely the low-point of the movie.  However, she DID make it into an episode of Perry Mason, so there must be some ability there.
Actually, there are some fantastic quotes in that movie as well. The one I hear most often (and heard just the other day from papa) is "Can I ask you something?  Why do you wear your hair like a wild mustang that needs a curry comb and a brush?"  (Can I help it that my hair is a bit out of control after I take it down?)
As it turns out, the movie is based on a poem by Poe, which James Caan quotes in the movie. Yes, several members of our family have it memorized. That's what happens when you watch a movie a million times.

Gaily bedight,
A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.
And, as his strength 
Failed him at length, 
He met a pilgrim shadow;
"Shadow," said he,
"Where can it be,
This land of Eldorado?"
"Over the mountains
 Of the moon,
 Down the valley of the shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,"
The shade replied,--
"In search of Eldorado!"

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Happy Fun Sun Days.

I stand amazed. All these days, and still I have come up with no brilliance for my blog. Sad day, my friends, sad day!
Nonetheless, despite my insufficient inspiration (not to say that some of you don't inspire me...) I plan to "give it a go" anyhow.
The fun sunny days are here again! at least, they appear to be. Yesterday morning (or was it the day before that?) found me up on the deck, bible in hand, tea in other hand, gazing at the mountain. Absolutely gorgeous.
However, lest I wander on that track for an inordinate amount of time, let me move on to other, even more random things.
First off, let me point out to the general public and world beyond that Ella Fitzgerald music makes for a lovely mood setter. I recently rented the "Ella Fitzgerald sings Cole Porter" cds from the king county library. (The only library left where I don't have outstanding fines. At least they don't charge a dollar per day late fee for movies, like some *coughenumclawcoughcough* libraries I know of...) Anyway, Ella's smooth tones, together with Porter's brilliance, are wonderful background music. Of course, I usually crank it up to unbelievable decibels, (much to the chagrin of my family, not to mention the surrounding neighbors) and sing loudly and dissonantly along with it. (provided I'm home alone)
And for those of you who saw my facebook status the other day, about country music, let me reassure you-- My folly has passed. (mostly) I have returned to my happy smooth music. No more twangy guitar tunes for this chick. Besides, most country music revolves around beer, illicit relationships, diesel trucks, and dogs. Oh, and losing your woman/girlfriend/wife. Yea. Good stuff, right? OOOOh wait. Not. At. All. (don't get me wrong, though... I do love trucks. For years, I thought I would buy one someday. However, outrageous gas mileage has convinced me otherwise.) That reminds me of a song.... "I hate that stupid old pickup truck you never let me drive... your big red-neck heartbreak has really been a lie." lol. (does Taylor Swift really count as country?) ;-)
Today is filled with happy things. Mostly girly things, including my jewelry addiction, but some more generic things. Like hiking (hopefully) and sun (at least for now) and music (obviously!) and iced coffee (at some point today) and sunglasses (after all, who needs the excuse of the sun to wear sunglasses? I've found that they are the solution to many problems... including bad hair days (which today is) ) and books. (always.)
Since I have now broken my previous record for bad grammar and run-on sentences, I should stop now.