monday miscellany

Links from ’round the webs:

~ You’re not meant to do what you love. You’re meant to do what you’re good at:

If everybody did what they thought they loved, the important things wouldn’t get done. To function as a society, there are labors that are necessary. Someone has to do them. Is that person robbed of a life of passion, because they had to choose a life of skill and purpose? No, of course not.

You can choose what you love to do, simply by how you think of it and what you focus on. Everything is work. Everything is work. Everything is work. There are few jobs that are fundamentally “easier” than others, whether by virtue of manual labor or brain-power. There is only finding a job that suits you enough that the work doesn’t feel excruciating. There is only finding what you are skilled at, and then learning to be thankful.

Read the whole thing.

~ What you read matters more than you might think.

~ Sounds like the Navy finally wised up about those ridiculous blue cammies. To modify a meme I’ve seen floating around Facebook, if you’re afraid to speak up at a meeting, just remember someone once piped up, “Let’s put sailors in blue camouflage.”

~ I’m currently reading John Bunyan’s Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, so I found this post on his arrest and post-pluralism persecution in America interesting.

~ 7 Ways to deal with doubt. I especially love #6.

~ An open letter to someone having an affair.

~ The immaturity of addiction:

This rule of thumb makes sense under closer observation. When someone begins to abuse substances repeatedly, they are often exchanging responsibility for pleasure. Many addicts enter this lifestyle to escape hard circumstances, trials, or truths about themselves they do not want to face. Consequently, the lessons they would have learned in meeting these situations, dealing with them constructively, and growing in maturity through them are lost opportunities. If you ever wonder why a thirty year old drug user makes a really dumb choice even when he is not high, it is not just the effect of the drugs on his reasoning abilities. He simply has never learned any better.

I remember

[a repost from 2013]

A co-worker asked me yesterday where I was on September 11th. I told her I was living in Montgomery, Alabama and in my second year of homeschooling Will and Caroline. He was a fourth grader, and she was in second. On that very mundane early fall morning, we were sitting at our dining room table with our books when my mom called and told me to turn on the television. And then I was on the phone with my sister as I watched the towers fall.

My little second grader drew her feelings that day:

9-11-2001

A horrible day, wasn’t it? So much fear — was this just the beginning? Those people in New York City, Washington, DC, that field in Pennsylvania! Their families! All of those firemen! As a military family, what did it mean for our future? Who would do such a thing to our country? So many questions. Glued to the television.

Since that awful day, I’ve often heard it referred to as a tragedy. That makes me a little nuts. It is not simply a tragedy — something that just happened to happen to people. It was an act of war — acts of pre-meditated terror and evil inflicted on people like you and me. And then it was rejoiced over by other humans, twisted and dark and evil. Nope, not “just” a tragedy. It was evil.

Where were you?

Remembering,

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life is funny*

waffleTwo years ago, on a rare sunny and warm summer day in Brussels, my best friend (who had flown across two oceans to be with me in my valley) and I sat on my back deck and marveled at how weird life can be. She was there because my husband had moved out after asking for a divorce. This was after painful months of learning of his infidelities and trying to save our marriage. I wasn’t eating or sleeping and was trapped in Belgium as I waited for the military to move me back to the US. She brought blue skies and laughter with her, and sitting out in the sunshine was balm to my body, soul, and mind. And even more strange, we were using her iPad to watch her husband appear in episodes of a French reality show.

Life is funny, y’all.

We could have never dreamed up that scenario. As we reflected on it, we wondered where we’d be the next summer.

Well, the next summer found me with a full life in Georgia, and meeting up with her in Portland, Oregon, as I joined up with CAbi.

And this summer, we caught up again, meeting in Denver for CAbi, and then in Georgia where she was seeing her son graduate from boot camp at Ft. Benning. We marveled that our annual check-in this time found us praying that her son could successfully toss a grenade and celebrating my upcoming marriage!

I can’t begin to guess what will be going on by next summer!

Surprised,

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*sometimes it’s haha funny and sometimes it’s strange funny. and sometimes it’s a combination of the two.

where were you?

A co-worker asked me yesterday where I was on September 11th. I told her I was living in Montgomery, Alabama and in my second year of homeschooling Will and Caroline. He was a fourth grader, and she was in second. On that very mundane early fall morning, we were sitting at our dining room table with our books when my mom called and told me to turn on the television. And then I was on the phone with my sister as I watched the towers fall.

My little second grader drew her feelings that day:

9-11-2001

A horrible day, wasn’t it? So much fear — was this just the beginning? Those people in New York City, Washington, DC, that field in Pennsylvania! Their families! All of those firemen! As a military family, what did it mean for our future? Who would do such a thing to our country? So many questions. Glued to the television.

Since that awful day, I’ve often heard it referred to as a tragedy. That makes me a little nuts. It is not simply a tragedy — something that just happened to happen to people. It was an act of war — acts of pre-meditated terror and evil inflicted on people like you and me. And then it was rejoiced over by other humans, twisted and dark and evil. Nope, not “just” a tragedy. It was evil.

Where were you?

Remembering,

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memorial day miscellany

On this Memorial Day, I’m grateful for those who have made a day of rest, recreation, and BBQ possible. We take so many freedoms for granted in this country, and people died for those freedoms. So today as we get in our cars and go wherever we want without checkpoints or worry about IEDs, when we stop into the grocery store and purchase what we want, when we gather together freely, when we are safe in our own homes, let’s remember why that is so.

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I’ve lived abroad and visited many countries, and that has made me even more grateful for this one. We have something special here that is worth preserving, and so many have given their lives to do just that.

Now, on to a rather random collection of links around the internet:

~ A thoughtful post from CDR Salamander

~ I’m a big Dennis Prager fan, and I really liked his piece on The Bible vs. Heart. Here’s a peek, but read the whole thing:

For well over a generation, we have been living on “cut-flower ethics.” We have removed ethics from the Bible-based soil that gave them life and think they can survive removed from that soil. Fools and those possessing an arrogance bordering on self-deification think we will long survive as a decent society without teaching the Bible and without consulting it for moral guidance and wisdom.

If not from the Bible, from where should people get their values and morals? The university? The New York Times editorial page? They have been wrong on virtually every great issue of good and evil in our generation.

They mocked Ronald Reagan for calling the Soviet Union an “evil empire.” More than any other group in the world, Western intellectuals supported Stalin, Mao and other Communist monsters. They are utterly morally confused concerning one of the most morally clear conflicts of our time — the Israeli-Palestinian/Arab conflict. The universities and their media supporters have taught a generation of Americans the idiocy that men and women are basically the same. And they are the institutions that teach that America’s founders were essentially moral reprobates — sexist and racist rich white men.

When the current executive editor of the New York Times, Jill Abramson, was appointed to that position she announced that “In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion.” The quote spoke volumes about the substitution of elite media for religion and the Bible in shaping contemporary America.

The other modern substitute for the Bible is the heart. We live in the Age of Feelings, and an entire generation of Americans has been raised to consult their heart to determine right and wrong.

~ How Tim Keller made peace with the wrath of God. I love this.

~ Victor Davis Hanson asks  Why Read Old Books?

~ Thankful people are happy people.This is so true. The converse is true, as well. The people I know who are bitter and angry are ungrateful people who think they deserve more than they’ve been given. Gratitude is attractive, and there are few things less attractive than ingratitude. Fortunately, we have a choice in the matter.

~ Here’s a good reminder on holding the things of this life loosely:

If there is one thing this life has taught me, it’s that I must hold loosely to everything. Everything. I can’t put down roots anywhere; I will never find stability. I will never grow old in one house. I may someday have to evacuate with the clothes on my back. Or, I may just get robbed blind.

But it’s okay. Because it reminds me that I shouldn’t love this life too tightly anyway. This life is not all there is, and it’s definitely not worth fretting over.

Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither. C. S. Lewis

~ God’s Mercy in Messed Up Families:

Why is the Bible loud on sinfully dysfunctional families and quiet on harmonious families?

Well, for one thing, most families aren’t harmonious. Humanity is not harmonious. We are alienated — alienated from God and each other. So put alienated, selfish sinners together in a home, sharing possessions and the most intimate aspects of life, having different personalities and interests, and a disparate distribution of power, abilities, and opportunities, and you have a recipe for a sin-mess.

But there’s a deeper purpose at work in this mess. The Bible’s main theme is God’s gracious plan to redeem needy sinners. It teaches us that what God wants most for us is that we 1) become aware of our sinfulness and 2) our powerlessness to save ourselves, as we 3) believe and love his Son and the gospel he preached, and 4) graciously love one another. And it turns out that the family is an ideal place for all of these to occur.

But what we often fail to remember is that the mess is usually required for these things to occur.

~ Doug Wilson on Gedunk Government:

Our tendency is to evaluate based on what the government does or doesn’t do, instead of evaluating on the basis of what the government — with the powers assigned to it — is capable of doing. We want our choices to reduce to a left wing party that can throw billions away on green energy and does, and a right wing party that can throw billions away on green energy and virtuously decides not to. How about a government is not allowed to even think about it?

In the Navy, we used to call vending machines gedunk machines. You put your money in, pulled on the knob, and gedunk, there was your candy bar. We are living in the age of gedunk government. Everybody stands in front of the vending machine, with the attention span of a hummingbird with ADHD, and waits impatiently for their product. There are right wing products and left wing products, but everybody wants their product now. Nobody thinks anymore about who is building the machines. Nobody thinks about what might happen if the supplier of the machine sells to another distributor. What might happen then?

I’m off now to enjoy a day off of work & a day with my family. My son and his fiancée surprised me this weekend with a visit, and that has been a very nice surprise indeed. We’re all getting together with my parents and sister’s family to feast this afternoon.

Happy Memorial Day to you and yours,
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“…luxuriously pavilioned far from the place of slaughter…”

whitehorsekingFrom The White Horse King: The Life of Alfred the Great by Benjamin Merkle:

Though the king was not present for each and every military engagement fought by the Wessex troops, Alfred, until his death, regularly took his sword, shield, and spear into battle, standing shoulder to shoulder in the shieldwall with his countrymen. In the Anglo-Saxon world, combat was the duty of the ruling class; and the king, his thegns, the noblemen, and other rulers of the English people always filled the ranks of the Wessex shieldwall.

Thus, it was the landed class, not the peasants or slaves, who responded to the summons of the fyrd [the “National Guard”] and were expected to die on the battlefield. Though this system may have had its faults, when compared to modern societies where liberty has made great advances against this class system, there remains something about the Anglo-Saxon mentality that was nobler than the governing practices of modern nations. In Alfred’s day, no man could order another into combat to face a gory death in battle if he wasn’t prepared to stand next to him in that same perilous fight. The image of a king ordering his troops to battle while he sat luxuriously pavilioned far from the place of slaughter was the innovation of a much later age and inconceivable to the Anglo-Saxon mind.