Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Rite of Passage

Earlier tonight, I gained true credibility as a mother of sons. One of those inevitable rites of childhood snuck up on us. Thankfully, neither Nate nor Jack broke a bone jumping from the top bunk in their room. They haven't tried that yet, so it's always a possibility. Nor has either successfully shot beans through a pipe into the other's eye. Or down a throat. Nate has tried, but he's not coordinated enough yet.

But somehow, right there at the dinner table as we were finishing our garlic/tomato basil chicken, cooked corn, and broccoli salad, Jack managed to shove two kernels of corn up his nose--one up each nostril. No "Look at me!" or "Hey, watch this!"-- we just happened to glance over and see one yellow blob at the entrance to one nostril. Got that one out easily. Scolded him for it. Then John says, "There's another one--other side."

Back when Jack had chronic ear infections, we'd bought a small lighted scope with the pointed end so we could see his eardrum. I dug that out of the bathroom cabinet, along with the baby nose suction bulb. Then we went to work.

Blow your nose! Suction. Blegh! Blow. Harder! Suction. Peer into the nostril. Nope, still there. Suction. Look. Suction. Blow! Again. Here, have some pepper. (I can't believe it didn't make him sneeze). Outside to look straight at the sun. No sneeze. Blow. Suction. Look up the nose. Still there. Hurts, Mommy! Give up for 15 minutes because he's crying so hard.

Poor John had to leave in the middle of all this to go to his class at UTD. After cleaning up the kitchen, I led Jack to the couch for another round with the suction bulb and scope. This time he got to "help" me squeeze the suction bulb each time I stuck it in his nose. Then he would blow through his nose. After about 10 minutes, Foomp! The kernel landed in the napkin I held.

He promised never to put corn up his nose again.

Rite.
Acts of the Translators

Lately I've been reading through the book of Acts in the New Testament. I'm a history buff, and I wanted to get a better handle on the life of Paul, God's great missionary to the Gentiles. I knew he had been on many adventures--including three missionary journeys, a shipwreck, some beatings, a few high-profile debates--but it had been so long since I studied Acts that I really didn't know who, what, when, where, or how he did all that.

It's been fun! Now that Nate and John are off to school by 6:45 (and therefore I am awake, having to move Nate along), I find myself at the computer with my coffee and oatmeal before 7 am each day. Boot 'er up, check the news and email, then click on my NET Bible icon. Scroll down to Acts, find my current chapter, sit back and travel through the Mediterranean with Paul and his companions.

While the story of the early church is interesting, and I recommend Acts to everyone, I share this mainly to highlight the medium I've been using. Notice I didn't curl up with my big fat Bible on my comfy couch. I'm the first to admit being a bibliophile (I love books!), but I also enjoy the fact that I can read the Bible on my computer. A shameless plug: go to the NET Bible at bible.org. You can download your own copy of this Bible version, for free! Or you can access it through the web site, your choice.

One benefit I've seen from reading from my screen instead of the printed page: I don't get as easily distracted. Each chapter is printed in fairly large print on my screen--nothing else. I've found that I focus better on what I'm actually reading, instead of flitting around to neighboring chapters or passages that might catch my eye.

And the notes. Oh, the notes! The NET Bible editors have compiled over 61,000 translator notes to help readers understand why they translated certain words in certain ways, to provide background information to the text, and to explain various issues pertaining to Bible translation. In Acts, the notes helped trace each journey in real miles. They give maps, too! For instance, often Luke (the author of Acts) describes a portion of the actual progress Paul makes on a journey:

21:1 After1 we2 tore ourselves away3 from them, we put out to sea,4 and sailing a straight course,5 we came to Cos,6 on the next day to Rhodes,7 and from there to Patara.8 21:2 We found9 a ship crossing over to Phoenicia,10 went aboard,11 and put out to sea.12 21:3 After we sighted Cyprus13 and left it behind on our port side,14 we sailed on to Syria and put in15 at Tyre,16 because the ship was to unload its cargo there.

The notes for these verses include (I skipped some for brevity's sake):

2sn This marks the beginning of another “we” section in Acts. These have been traditionally understood to mean that Luke was in the company of Paul for this part of the journey.

6sn Cos was an island in the Aegean Sea.

7sn Rhodes was an island off the southwestern coast of Asia Minor.

8sn Patara was a city in Lycia on the southwestern coast of Asia Minor. The entire journey was about 185 mi (295 km).

10sn Phoenicia was the name of an area along the Mediterranean coast north of Palestine.

13sn Cyprus is a large island in the Mediterranean off the south coast of Asia Minor.

16sn Tyre was a city and seaport on the coast of Phoenicia. From Patara to Tyre was about 400 mi (640 km). It required a large cargo ship over 100 ft (30 m) long, and was a four to five day voyage.

The mileage, geography, and grammatical insights add tremendously to my understanding of this book. They help me get a better sense of what lengths Paul and his companions went to in order to share the gospel with the known world. The NET Bible is a great tool for any reader.

So now it's on to First Corinthians. In my mind, Paul recently sailed away from Corinth, bound for Syria. Let's see what he had to say to the church he left behind!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Pride & Prejudice Fan Alert

If you are a fan of Jane Austen, books and movie adaptations alike, you may be interested in an online contest at www.visitbritain.com/pridedvd . It's your basic entry form for a chance to win a trip to England in which you will visit a number of sites significant to the recent movie release, Pride & Prejudice. For anyone like me, who has dreamed of taking a long vacation tromping through England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland (I know, it would take more than one trip to make it everywhere), this would be a fabulous start to such a journey.

Did you know that Derbyshire, where most of the action and filming in P&P takes place, borders Robin Hood's old haunt--Nottingham? They are smack in the middle of England. I only know this because I just received my "Visit Pride & Prejudice Country" movie map in the mail, a freebie after entering the contest online.

The flip side of the map and trip itinerary is a full-sized poster of Keira Knightley and Matthew McFadyen. Bonus!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Five Minutes

This morning Nate stumbled out the door for his first day of Kindergarten, driving with his daddy for 35 miles to school (where daddy is the HS asst. principal). He's done this routine before, so I wasn't all broken up by the milestone. No Hallmark moments at 6:30 a.m., sorry.

Since I was awake, with coffee in hand (and oatmeal!), I cozied up in my computer chair and updated myself on some friends' blogs. That led to others' blogs, which led to me finishing said coffee and oatmeal and basically whiling away an hour of early morning quiet. Then Maggie called from her new room down the hall (a fact that made my early morning hour at the computer even possible, since she just moved out of my office). So I scooped her up and brought her back to my chair for her first nursing of the day.

Usually she's fairly frantic for her milk, but as we sat down this time, she curled up with her face in my neck and rested. I marveled at her quietness, for it is highly irregular. After all, even Psalms affirms the restlessness of a nursing baby (in a backwards way), "But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me" (131:2). So, if a quiet soul is comparable to a weaned child, a restless soul is more like a nursing baby, right? Anyone who has breastfed knows that pulling a hungry baby into your lap means you'd better deliver the goods, or else!

But this time, for a space of maybe five minutes--which is a long time!--she sat with me, at peace, at rest. I marveled at her fine hair under my hand, the chubby fingers that gently scratched at my shoulder, the slobbery kisses she cheerfully rubbed on my cheek. I was able to thank God for this particular child, my daughter. With two older boys running around the house, I often forget to cherish the newest babe. So these moments were a gift from God, in which I was able to pray (quickly, for in some ways 5 minutes zips right by) for her, delight in her uniqueness, and concentrate on her alone.

After that, it was all about breakfast!

PS. Writing this post took over 90 minutes...I've fed two kids and changed three diapers (yes, already) since I started typing.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

NewDoors.Info

My coauthor, Sue Edwards, and I have a web site dedicated to women's ministry resources, primarily our two books. It has recently been given a woefully needed update and redesign, though I admit the template we currently have is very simple. I would love for you all to take a look at it here and give feedback in two areas:

1. Does anything not work correctly? Are the pictures showing up, links working, etc.?
2. Do you have suggestions for material not yet included? What would you like us to add to the site, if anything? Change or reword? We welcome all kindly-worded critiques and ideas :)