Archive for November, 2008

Good Parenting Advice

November 26, 2008

Here’s a good rule of thumb with kids (who grow up faster than you’d think).

Say “yes” as often as you can.


Saying thank you

November 25, 2008

I had a rather long piece written about saying thank you, but instead I’m going to come right to the point.

In a conversation I had not long ago a guy (a practical agnostic) said he was glad that he didn’t have a god he had to thank.

I thought it was rather odd at the time, and still do. But I also have been under the impression that because we’re made in the image of God, thanksgiving is imprinted on our being.

Life with no one to thank seems to me to be an impoverished life.

What do you think?

Moleskine Version of a Jonathan Edwards Blank Bible… Sort of

November 14, 2008

Mention “crafts” to me, and flashbacks of VBS, macaroni, Elmer’s and popsicle sticks begin to flood my brain. However, here’s a craft-y project I actually use.

The Genesis

I’ve been studying/preparing for a class on Matthew. My study skills are somewhat haphazard, and I really wanted to focus on the text itself without distraction. Cross-references, study notes, heck, even other books of the Bible can and do serve as exit ramps for me to leave the text and indulge my tangential way of thinking. What I need is a simple, single column (I like single column) text only, Gospel of Matthew, with ample room to take notes that I can take with me wherever I go. I’ve got an ESV Journaling Bible, but I’m 45 and can’t read or write in micro print, so I started looking around for something else online.

Found lots of DIY stuff out there, but nothing that suited me. But I did find a lot of folks copying Jonathan Edwards and his “Blank Bible”, and that was really interesting to me. (The blank bible is a dis-bound KJV bible with each page attached to a large, blank journal page for his notes Here’s an interesting vlog that explains it a little better. The first three minutes or so, if you’re interested.)  

The next part of my arts and crafts idea involves a certain brand of journal. For those of you who don’t know about Moleskine notebooks, there’s a whole cult-like world out there that revolves around these old school, quality, journals. Google “moleskine hacks” and see what I mean.

I learned about Moleskines a few years ago (thanks, iMonk!), and even though I don’t often use a journal I really like the simple, quality, feel of them. Plus they’re hip and cool, and I’m… well, I’m 45, and not.

Why not marry the two? A Moleskine version of a Blank Bible, only just the Gospel of Matthew? Surely someone has done this before and has a how-to online to help me, right? Well if they do, I couldn’t wade through the zillions of google hits to find it, so I decided to try it on my own. 

This is my contribution to the world of moleskine hacks.

Here’s what I did.

  1. Decided that a Moleskine Large Ruled Notebook was my best option. Big enough to hold all of Matthew, and leave three pages for notes between each text page. Also small enough to carry around with me.
  2. Looked online for a ready to use text. 
  3. Decided that I’d have to cut and paste my own text. Turns out this was best anyway, as I needed to get rid of section headings and such, and re-size to fit the notebook.
  4. Bought color matching paper (Moleskine uses a cream colored paper in their notebooks) at a Staples. Opted for 20#, the lightest weight I could find, to cut down on the thickness of the end product.
  5. Used my wife’s scrapbooking roll-on adhesive to glue down the text pages. I remember from my VBS days, that Elmer’s has a tendency to wrinkle paper. I also used her scrapbook paper cutting tool, but next time I’ll use one of those pivoting-machete paper cutters down at the church office to cut many pages at once. 

What I Learned

  1. It’s always safest to ask your wife before you use her scrapbooking stuff. Lesson learned. (Just a joke, she was a big help with this, answering all my questions, knowing what to use, getting extra supplies)
  2. It ain’t cheap. The notebook is around $12 on Amazon. I had to buy the paper at about $7.29/500 sheets. And I used a lot more of the adhesive than I thought I was going to. 2 1/2 rolls @ 2.99/roll. Plus printer ink, time and effort.
  3. Speaking of time… it takes a while. It took me the better part of a day to format the text, buy the supplies, and put it all together.
  4. Matthew is as big a book as I’d put in this sized notebook. Moleskine has a larger sized notebook if you wanted to use it, but I think I’d just make a longer book into 2 volumes. I like the size (5.25″x8.25″) of this one. I ended up with about 15 journal pages left at the end.
  5. When choosing your font and text size make sure you’re comfortable with them on paper. Screen and paper are very different animals, and what’s easy on the eyes on one isn’t necessarily so on the other. I used MS Reference Serif, 9. I like it, but you may not. 
  6. I will probably do this again for other studies. I like the results. And while I’m not a big note taker, I really like having three blank pages to one of text. I don’t feel like I have to ration out the space and only write what’s “important”. I can write pretty much whatever I want and still have some room left over. I know some of you could write three pages on one verse, but I’m not one of you.
  7. I do feel a little hip-er when I pull this out. And this has already lasted longer than the macaroni art in VBS.

The Results

  1. The good. It’s small, readable, plenty of note space, simple, and a useful tool. 
  2. The bad. Sometimes the adhesive causes to pages to stick together, but just a little. The notebook’s not designed to fit a extra 46 or 47 pages in its binding, but it’s a sewn binding, so it’ll last a good long while. 
  3. Overall I’m really pleased with the way it turned out, and I’ll probably do it again (as I have lots of paper left over) with various books I’m studying. 

The Pictures




I don’t feel so good…

November 10, 2008

I have a pretty bad upper respiratory infection (it’s really just a bad head cold, but “upper respiratory infection” sounds more empathy inducing). Just a couple of disconnected thoughts as a result of being sick.

  • My kids miss being close. So do I. Better that they don’t get sick, but it stinks. For example, my youngest was almost in tears because things “seem like they’re changing”. What he’s talking about is our night time talk and tickle session. I lay down next to him and we talk, pray and play ’til it’s time to go to sleep. The last few nights have been different. I’ll pray, but from a distance. And the talk and play time is gone. I can’t wait to get better.
  • I’m  reminded how much I long for things to be “normal”. Or at a deeper level, how I long for things to be the way they were meant to be. It reminds me of this post about my oldest. 
  • My voice is doing some pretty funky stuff. Talking with a friend this morning we decided that it was kinda of a mix of Barry White and Darth Vader with a southern accent. “Use the force y’all”, or “Luke, I am your Daddy!”
  • Missed church, a prayer retreat, and playing guitar at a gathering of house churches because of this crud. The world goes right on spinning without me.
  • Noticed I’m too whiny. Hopefully it’s illness related, not an indication of my normal personality.
  • I’ve got a great family. The boys would each come back periodically to check on me, and my wife is asking how I’m doing, and do I need anything.
  • On a much more earthy plane, I am absolutely amazed by the productive capacity of the mucous membranes in one human head.

With that thought, I go to take a nap.

Compassion International Bloggers Trip to the Dominican Republic

November 6, 2008

I’ve got a Compassion button on my sidebar from the last bloggers trip to Uganda. Another group is in the Dominican Republic right now with great posts from all the folks. But there is one in particular that stands out above all the rest, Nick Challies’,  Challies Jr. blog. It’s well written, thoughtful and informative, but there’s lots of posts coming from this trip that are those things. What sets Nick’s blog apart is the fact that he’s only eight. That’s right, you heard me, only eight!

Go read both he, and his Dad’s trip posts. Really good stuff.

Don’t let these folks do your taxes!

November 4, 2008

I saw these ads at the bottom of an page. I usually don’t pay attention to ads at all, but this one caught my eye. Look at the last one about the IQ of Cincy’s Chad “Don’t Call Me Johnson!” Ocho Cinco.  


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I’m not a rocket scientist, but I always thought ocho cinco is # 85

Some Interesting Numbers

November 4, 2008

I’m preparing some notes for a class on Matthew and its emphasis on the Kingdom of God.

Here are some interesting numbers on particular words (not just in Matt., but all of Scripture). The results are from, using their keyword search of the ESV.

For the first part I looked up words specifically linked with the ideas of kingdom and authority. 

  1. Kingdom- 353
  2. King- 2,525
  3. Prince- 195
  4. Reign- 269
  5. Ruler- 115
  6. Lord- 6,709
  7. Authority- 97
  8. Master- 171
  9. Rule-  115

Total- 10,630

The second part, I just looked up words connected with what I might expect to be important subjects based on what I hear in sermons, popular explanations of the Gospel, etc….

  1. God- 4,156
  2. Jesus- 1,058
  3. Messiah- 2
  4. Savior- 42
  5. Saved- 108
  6. Salvation- 175
  7. Spirit- 588
  8. Money- 129
  9. Tithe- 35
  10. Father- 1,621
  11. Heaven- 692
  12. Hell- 17
  13. Praise- 238
  14. Pray- 316
  15. Prayer- 154
  16. Sin- 1,199

Total- 10,530

I know it’s not exactly scientific, but does it point out a deficiency in our teaching?

Two Thoughts

November 2, 2008

I’ve been think about the Psalms the last couple of days. 

A couple things in particular. Themes really, or recurring subjects. 

David uses two events over and over in his writings. One is God’s proclamation of His name to Moses in Exodus;

“The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” Exodus 34 (ESV)

The second is the exodus itself.

Over and over again, the psalmist refers to these two stories of God’s dealing with man. God’s revelation of his character to Moses (“The steadfast love of the Lord endures forever “is the single most repeated line in the whole book.), and his proving of that character for forty years, day after day, to a people who grumbled and complained every step of the way. Slow to anger indeed.

David obviously spent a good deal of time meditating on these. I think I’ll do the same.