Saturday, September 29, 2007

Stuff About Bees

One of my students is studying about bees, and it made me recall our bee business back in the states. It was such a learning experience, and we enjoyed being able to sell (albeit for a VERY small profit) the fruits of our labor. Bees are such amazing creatures. Here are a few facts, then later I'll share a bee story.

-You buy your bees from a producer, and they ship them via US Mail.
-The average worker bee lives only about 30 days.
-The Queen lives 2-4 years, and eats only Royal Jelly, produced especially for her by her attendants.
-The job of the bee depends on the age of the bee. Only the oldest bees forage for honey.
-There are guard bees (they keep the unwanted out), undertaker bees (they carry out the dead bees), nurse bees, fan bees (they actually stand at the opening of the hive and fan their wings in order to circulate the air in the hive so that it's a constant temperature.
-Everything the bee makes is useful: propalis, wax, honey, royal jelly.
-Bees wax has a higher melting point that regular wax, and makes great smokeless, dripless and longlasting candles.
-A large portion of bee keepers are left handed. (including Big Dad)
-Honey, unlike processed sugar, contains the same element in it as ipecac syrup. If you eat too much honey, you will throw up.
-Honey had trace minerals in it.
-Eating local honey (raw, not processed) allows your body to build it's immune system against local pollens, therefore helping allergies.
-The African Bee variety is the result of breeding aggressive bees by beekeepers. Aggressive bees produce more honey.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. We thoroughly enjoyed working with everything bee related. It was a fun hobby. Big Dad still has his bee stuff somewhere. One day, I'm sure we'll have another hive. :)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Lean on Me

In chapel today, the kids sang this song with their arms draped around each other, swaying back and forth. It was appropriate:

Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there's always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you don't let show

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

If there is a load you have to bear
That you can't carry
I'm right up the road
I'll share your load
If you just call me

So just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you'd understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
Till I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

I just had to smile. :)


You know how you think you have things figured out, then God hits you with clarity like a ton of bricks?

Today's like that.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My Dream Place

I've heard about Andorra over the years, and the more I hear about it, the more I want to go. The principal of my school in Florida, Mr. Pritz, used to live there when he was younger. His parents were missionaries, and to hear him describe the place made you just want to see it: cobblestone streets, the city nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains, centuries old architecture, history at every curve....marvelous. It doesn't help that my friend, Sabrina, is enjoying Scotland with castles on every corner! It's given me the European travel bug. But I digress.

A few years ago, I found myself on a long bus ride with a young lady from Portugal. She was describing Portugal, (which by the way sounds wonderful as well) and talking about her job there (she works for the chinese cultural center...who knew???) when I asked her about Andorra. You should have seen her eyes light up. She talked about the river that runs through the city, about how you feel like you've stepped back in time, how isolated but quaint it was, cafes all around, and I was hooked. SO, take a good look. I'll be there some day, and I'll just walk the streets in a dream-like state.... OK. I'm sure there are down sides to being there, but don't burst my bubble. I'm sure they probably have dandelions, though. :)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Great Colleagues

I haven't written much lately, have I? It's been mostly because I'm busy in a crazy way, but in part it's been because I've been a bit discouraged. Mainly in what I see in fellow Christians. I get discouraged with masks in particular: Those who act one way to the rest of the world when the occasion calls for it, and then another way any other time. I KNOW in my head that people are human, they are walking their own path, and are learning in their own time, as am I, but it is just something that seems prevalent these days, and I just want more than that.

But, God is good. I don't know if He just opened my eyes to those around me or what, but I have lately been interacting with some colleagues who I have seen in a different light, and it's encouraging. I see them choosing the right words and actions during tense circumstances, agreeing to disagree, realizing that others' opinions are an extention of their persona and being respectful of that. In fact, they have made it part of their core values. I don't see it as words. I think it is a true reflection of their heart's desire to come together as a group of people for a common purpose.

Unfortunately, the climate of others with whom we work is not always so. There tends to be competition, the living of a scripted life instead of a genuine one, and it's sad. Hopefully there will be growth. And my personal intention is to keep my eyes on the road ahead and my place on it, rather than those on the sidelines. In the meantime, I have these great colleagues who are really living a genuine Christian existence, and it's such an encouragement. Never underestimate the testimony of a life well-lived!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hind's Feet on High Places

I'm tutoring a little girl at school, and we read this story at the end of our tutoring session. She adores this story by Hannah Hurnard, and jumps up and down when she knows it's time to read it. Here is an excerpt from today:

Much-Afraid looked at the Shepherd. "Sometimes I have wondered about the wild flowers," she said. "It seems strange that they should grow in places like this where the goats and cattle walk all over them. They have so much beauty and sweetness to give, and hardly anyone sees them."

The look the Shepherd turned on her was very beautiful. "Nothing My Father and I have made is ever wasted," He said quietly, "and the wild flowers have a wonderful lesson to teach. Many people live a quiet, ordinary life. Hardly anyone even knows about them, but inside their hearts it is like a delightful garden where the King Himself walks and rejoices. Some of My servants have won great respect from other people and are famous, but always their greatest victories are like the wild flowers, those which no one knows about. Learn this lesson now, down here in the Valley, Much-Afraid, and when you get to the steep places of the mountains it will comfort you."

What a wonderful thing to teach in a children's book.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Happy Birthday Mom!

Photo by Anna Carson
Today is Mom's birthday, and what can I possibly say in just a few lines?

I have such great memories of family, and the houses that mom made home. When I think of the home that mom made, it includes great cooking, "Back to the Bible" on the radio in the mornings, piano playing, and did I mention great cooking?

She made sacrifices for us, but we never knew it. She had it hard at times, I'm sure, but she made it all look simple. Even now I wonder how she was able to do as much as she did. She didn't have a PAYING job all of those years, but being a pastor's wife includes a lot in it's job description.

Mom, I wish I could be there for your birthday! This time next year maybe we can celebrate it WITH you for once in a LONG time! You're loved like a milkshake on the moon!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Josephine Hughes

I wrote about my grandmother and her passing awhile back, about the memorial afterward and her eulogy. Less than a week after her passing, we received word that T's grandmother passed away as well. It can be hard being on this side of the world and receive word of deaths in the family. The one place we want to be is there helping, seeing what needs to be done.

I remember when I first met Gramma Hughes. Timothy was a baby, and she came to visit, something she really didn't like to do. Not because she didn't want to see people, but mainly because she didn't want to be a guest. She was a hard worker and didn't like to be waited on. She was a tiny woman with a pleasant demeanor, and she loved the outdoors.

My daughter was able to go with Mom and Dad Hughes to visit up north when she was in 3rd grade, and she has such wonderful memories of the time she spent at her home. She especially remembers the garden, because Gramma H was always in it. Em helped her in the garden and it ended up being a lifetime memory for her. Something that simple.

I love that generation. They were a generation of hard workers with a sense of duty. The Great Generation. A generation that knows suffering, doing without, hard times and hard work. And they lived a long, healthy and happy life because of it. Gramma H was a machine operator for 40 years. She saved her money and didn't live a lavish life, though I'm sure she could have. That Polish frugality served her well. At the age of 92 she sewed over 70 pillow cases for troops overseas. She also helped care for her ailing 93 year old cousin. And in my closet, tucked safely away for now, are some doilies tatted by hand just a few months ago that she probably could have made with her eyes closed. Then there's the handmade Raggedy Anne doll that she gave my daughter when she was born.

It's not the stuff that we treasure. It's that part of Gramma H that's in it. Her attention to detail and her commitment to quality and a job well done. It's there in everything she made.

Today is her memorial. We would love to be there and hear the family talk of their memories of her. I wish I could have known her better. Distance does that to family these days. But we have a few tokens of her abilities around our house. We'll be thinking of her today.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Season 3

I'm on to Season 3 of the Gilmore Girls. Good stuff.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

One Hundred and Oneth

Picture thanks to the Starbuck's wall.

It's my 101st post here on Entertaining Angels. That's not a lot, I know (my family blog has over 350, but I've had it a lot longer), but still, it seems there should be some sort of fanfare! Soooo..... Yay for 101. It's a big number. In fact, the highest building in the world right now is 101 floors. Taipei 101. So it seems fitting.

On to other stuff.

I've been listening to Ravi Zacharias lately, (It's one of the things I do during my morning quiet times) and he and his itinerant minister Stewart McCalister were answering questions at Oxford University. I like them, because they don't shy away from the hard questions. There are some tough questions that we as Christians may be called upon to answer, and legitimately so, because sometimes we explain and claim a simplified version of Christianity that gives us a feeling of superiority and makes the world go, "Yeah, I don't think I want that." The world at times has the capability to be much more humble than the rest of us.

The situation that was discussed on this program was one of what Stewart McCalister called "Simplified Theology" and it goes something like this: "Things are going good for me, my ministry is being blessed, therefore I must have God's blessings." What makes this thinking dangerous is the opposite of that statement: "If things are going bad for you, you must not have God's blessings. You must have done something wrong." He said it's funny to see those same people claiming God's hand on them when going through trials, much like Job. They tend to twist their thinking to fit their circumstance. The thing is, any of those claims can be true, but they can be wrong as well. Mr. McCalister pointed out a time in his own ministry when this particular brand of theology slapped him right in the face, and humbled him. He preached a message, and people came to the alter in droves. However, he said he knew with everything in him that his own heart was terrible at the time, and knew this movement of God's Spirit had nothing to do with him or his words or ministry. He was being used by God, despite his heart.

We have to be careful how we interpret things that happen in our lives. We can't let our egos or our need to feel superior or even important guide how we interpret events that happen in our lives. If we insist upon that type of theology, then let's get real. There are those who are more faithful and more devoted but are less "blessed". In the end, God does bless. He shows that in scriptures over and over. But he also has the hearts of kings in his hands. And what about that donkey? It is not this theology that will bring the lost to Christ. The thing that brings others to Christ is truth, whether we like to face it or not.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Class final!

Well, this next week is a doozy folks! I have one more day of testing kiddos then I'll be done with that (whew! About 60 total!). Then I have one week left in class number one. Then I have about two weeks left of meetings with parents, plus parent/teacher night this Friday...Hence the lack of posting material. I'm just too busy to observe, and I hate that!

I am tutoring this adorable little girl. Really. She is just too cute. Has the best personality, laughs at the drop of a hat, and really enjoys learning. It's great fun.

Here's a little tidbit of info for you parents of young children. Did you know that the vocabulary in children's literature is much richer than spoken language, including radio and TV? Did you know that the difference between a child in the 20th percentile of their class and a child in the 80th percentile of their class is that the child in the 20th percentile reads only .7 minutes per night, and a child in the 80th percentile reads 14 minutes per night? And that the child who reads .7 minutes per night is exposed to about 22,000 words in one year, while the child who reads 14 minutes per night is exposed to 1,400,000 words per year? Yep. That's the stats.

I know you all will sleep better tonight. For me, exhaustion is a great sedative.