52 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 2-28-17

  1. The Aquila Report linked to another essay on Lent/ Ash Wednesday (discussing why Protestants would “borrow” such a tradition): http://theaquilareport.com/ash-wednesday-picking-and-choosing-our-piety/

    And I don’t remember who it was on here who had questions some years back about Federal Vision, but Scott Clark has a good, clear piece on why it doesn’t fit with biblical theology: https://heidelblog.net/2017/02/forty-three-years-of-federal-vision-theology

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  2. Re the first photo: Last week when we had our eighth day in a row of 60-degree weather (in this case a record-whopping 71) and I was well enough to go out for a walk but my husband was not, I drove to our favorite state park to see what I could find. (When I was almost to the parking lot to return home, my husband called: his father was in the emergency room. So I stopped by the hospital on the way home. I had a nice break before this long saga began.)

    Well, I’ve always gone with my husband, and we usually go pretty quietly, but we do talk some, and one person can always go more quietly than two. So I figured I might get some good sightings in. I heard the hammering and the laughing of a pileated woodpecker, our largest (living) species of woodpecker (the ivory-billed looked very similar and was larger–this one is already the size of a crow), and I thought I was quite likely to see it before my walk was over.

    Sure enough, as I waited near a swampy area to see what might show up, this fellow flew across the path behind me (some distance behind me) and flew from tree to tree across the swampy area for maybe 20 minutes. I’m not even sure how long I stood and saw him–I didn’t see him constantly, but I’d see him fly and know about which tree he landed on, so I’d watch the area until he showed up on one of the trees, and then he’d run up that tree and fly to another. Since he was quite some distance away, with trees between us, and didn’t stay on any one very long, it was hard to get photos. But the trees don’t have their leaves yet, and it was as good a time as any to try, so I kept trying, and ended up with two or three decent shots–including this one, my first shot ever of this species with no branches between him and me. The top of his head is hidden behind another tree, but I’ll take it. You can tell this is a male, by the way, not because of his flaming red crest–females have that too–but because of the subtle red mustache. In females it is black. Like most woodpeckers, the red is present (and the sexes thus told apart) while the youngster is still in the nest. It’s hardly the world’s clearest photo of a pileated woodpecker, but it’s a species I’ve sought to photograph, mostly unsuccessfully, the five years I’ve lived here.

    While this fellow was flying around, a couple with a small dog came up to me on the path. They asked what I was photographing, and I told them, knowing as I said it that he would not show up while they were there talking to me. They asked me about the park, and they told me about the park they hike most frequently (it was their first time in the one we were in), and then they realized I didn’t work in the park. (She said she thought I did because of my hat, which was actually kind of funny since my hat is clearly marked as from Michigan, not Indiana.) After we parted, I walked on, figuring the woodpecker would be long gone. Within a couple minutes he showed up on the right side of the path, almost as if he was saying, “OK, you got rid of those people, and it’s just you and me again.” He continued to fly from tree to tree, with me never getting a good look at him (or any photos at all) but still being able to see a large, pretty, interesting bird. Eventually he flew toward the ground (occasionally they feed on the ground) well ahead of me, and I figured I’d lost sight of him. But five minutes later or so I was still walking when suddenly he flew low across the path and up–I doubt I’d gotten super close to him, but close enough to flush him. If I’d known where he had been, I would have been walking more carefully, but it likely wouldn’t have mattered since he probably was aware of me the whole time. At any rate, after I flushed him he moved farther away, though I saw him another couple of times off in the distance, and at one point I even saw two of them, probably him and his mate. They eat mostly carpenter ants, and they have huge territories and they’re fairly cautious birds, so seeing them is a treat.

    Yesterday we briefly had one land on our “bird feeder tree”–only the second time I have seen one on that tree–but alas we had no suet out. (My husband has been sick and I didn’t know where he put the suet, so when we ran out two or three days ago, we ran out.) But I told him about the pileated and he refilled us, so hopefully she will check in with us again. That tree is yards from our kitchen window, so birds tend to be shy of our presence when they first start coming. But it would be great to get one of those beauties coming in.

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  3. I was interested to see on yesterday’s thread that I’m not the only one who loves the smell of coffee but not the taste. I never drink it. Coincidentally, Hubby and I were both tea drinkers. I do, however, love coffee ice cream – Baskin Robbins Jamoca Almond Fudge is my favorite.

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  4. So? Yesterday’s picture was Tess, not Cowboy. I kept saying “He” looks guilty.

    Re:” the coffee habit. I got it in the AF, Sometimes drinking a cup of coffee gives you something to do while you’re waiting. And it keeps your hands warm.

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  5. Good Morning! It is snowing and I am enjoying my first cup of coffee before getting myself pulled together….it’s a work day for me.
    Chas the first photo was Cowboy….he was the one looking all guilty….in the last photo Tess was made to stay outside of the fence….you can see her laying down looking a bit forlorn 🙂

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  6. I drink too much coffee but I am often disappointed between the smell and the taste. It smells better than it tastes.
    Today I am off to do something I haven’t done in years. Mobile Mardi Gras Day. I have friends with a hotel room downtown and another of our friends has MS. She is feeling good today and asked if I would “crash Mardi Gras” with her. Her husband has to work and my husband has Mardi Gras’ed out for the year. Today will be quite the display of plumage. Women will be dressed in “afternoon dresses” with hats, men will be dressed in their best suits, and the riff raff such as me will be dressed casually taking it all in.
    I have to hand it to Mobile. It has become much more of a family affair. I was surprised the other day by the set ups in the park. Hot dogs, hamburgers, tables set up, and families playing together.
    At midnight it will all end. At midnight I will have been in my own bed for a couple of hours.

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  7. It was another late night at the office. Today I am off, but need to devote time to preparing for the church women’s meeting tomorrow. I have had no time to plan for that until today. Now I will be in prayer, study, and planning mode while trying to accomplish household chores.

    Art is frustrated with all the work he is taking in that he can not finish because people need to furnish additional documentation. My brother seems to be enjoying learning, but as he knows more, we feel each other getting into each other’s space. It is reminiscent of when we shared the backseat on long trips and put that invisible line down the center of the seat that we were not to cross.

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  8. I’ve only been drinking coffee in the last couple years and I need it doctored–a latte is more my style! Lately, I’ve been drinking it at home to the delight of my husband–with a dollop of chocolate and milk to make it a mocha. I’m about to go down and actually make coffee–and that will be the end of the mochas for 40 days. Not sure if that means I’ll drink coffee, therefore, or not.

    “For freedom Christ has set us free, stand no more under the yoke of slavery,” is one of the oldest passages of Scripture I’ve known. Galatians 1, probably from the Revised Bible.

    I believe God has given us a lot of latitude in our private worship of Him. Within that relationship God/Jesus/Holy Spirit and me, there is laughter, joy, admonishment (them to me), and honesty.

    I don’t have to give up anything for Lent. I, personally, want to. I appreciate your efforts to show me I don’t have to have anything to do with Lent within the context of Christianity.

    Certainly, I understand that the Church traditions are man-made–other than the inspiring events, of course.

    But, within the makeup of who I am, the liturgical “brand” of worshipping God is what feeds my soul.

    I spent seven years in three straight Calvary Chapels. Stripped of all but the bare essentials–The Lord’s Supper occasionally, no special recognition of Christmas, “praise music,” and devoid of physical beauty, I honored God, but my sense of worship withered.

    I’m sorry, I grew up in a family that barely made room for God. When my mom took us to the high mass at the Catholic Church, I blossomed with all that grandeur and saw God differently.

    I needed both ways to worship: with the Bible as the Word of God, with the church as an avenue of beauty in worshipping that God.

    I believe the Old Testament also used beauty to worship God.

    I’m a sinner. I need to be reminded of my sinful nature. Both times we went from non-denominational churches back to the Lutheran Church, I felt like I went from wizened and hungry for the beauty of God to fat and content–and rejoicing to confess sin with a group of people.

    The Lord’s Supper has always been important to me–possibly because it was the focal point of the Mass. To go for months without it–and than having it be a basket passed down a row of hard little pebbles as “the bread,” was hard to rev up the worship muscles.

    That may be me, but I needed more.

    So, yes, I’m giving up chocolate for Lent. It’s an almost trivial part of my worship, but it’s what I feel called to do.

    My annual tradition, if you will. But together, God and I laugh–even in the deep season of Lent.

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  9. As for coffee, neither of my parents drank it, though they had tea. I did not drink either tea or coffee for years. Pepsi was my go to drug of choice. But, while living in Europe, I decided to do something about daily headaches and tried coffee. Yuck. Smells good but not so good to drink. Husband likes coffee. I told him if we got a coffee grinder type, I would try. Now I drink about two and a half cups a day, saving the rest for the next day. I really like the types with flavors but don’t drink them as they seem to have a negative effect on me. Not just the additives like creamers and such but when they make special coffees like pecan or hazelnut or whatever. So, no pepsi anymore but coffee with nothing added. I don’t like or dislike the taste. It is just something to hold and put in my mouth, The only other thing I drink, besides some teas, would be water.

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  10. If I’m going to drink coffee, I prefer the “plain” kind also. I put a little milk in the cup and that’s all.

    The first time I tried coffee — from a machine on campus when I was in college — I made the mistake of punching both cream & sugar. I hated it. Only when I tried coffee without sugar did I realize, oh, this isn’t so bad after all.

    Michelle, though, has reminded me that I bought a Hersey’s bar of dark chocolate the other day. OK, I bought 2. They were at the checkout counter at the store. Too easy to pick up and throw on top of the other things I was purchasing.

    But I forgot about them until now. They’re waiting for me, in the cupboard. 🙂

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  11. We have video training today. For the past several years, we’ve been put through numerous paces to learn:

    * how to make and post videos (but they get very little viewership, or “clicks”);

    * how to use ALL the social media sites (sigh; who has the time to do much beyond Twitter or FB? Snapchat, Reddit? I don’t think so);

    * how to write headlines (yes, we have to do our own now) to get the most Google traffic (that’s been worthwhile I think).

    The point being, there’s this frantic effort to implement “the next, big thing” in technology but most of us are not sure it’s making all that much difference in the big picture.

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  12. For what it is worth, I finished my read through the Bible plan 2017, yesterday.

    How? God walked me through it but I resolved to not read another book until I was done. Though I don’t have much time to just sit and read, I was able to pick it up at odd hours throughout the day.

    Was there a benefit? I believe so. The reading was much more fluid and the stories made much more sense. It was much more connected than when I would read just five chapters a day or whatever and would lose parts of the story. When I found myself skimming I would try to go back and reread. I also looked some at the Macarthur notes. It was neat for example, to be reading in Revelation 2 and still remember the story of Balaam and Balak and what went on there.

    Other benefits? Out of the blue, it seemed to organize me so I was able to put in time for situps and pushups, and less likely to browse in the kitchen. I have not had headaches like I have had for the past fifteen years. My children saw me reading the Word yet still having time for them. And, most important, God filled my days and nights.

    Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

    Will I do it again? I certainly hope so but for now, I will go back and study in more depth some areas that particularly caught my attention.

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  13. Michelle, I wasn’t trying to convince anybody of anything. I never thought much about it either way–it’s something other people do. I have a serious problem with Ash Wednesday–it seems quite contrary to Christ’s instruction not to show oneself to be fasting and so forth–but I understand people do Lent for different motivations and certainly it wouldn’t seem sinful to do so.

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  14. Today’s bizarre discussion with fifteen year old. This may actually be normal in your house, it is in mine:
    D(aughter):Mom, may I have more shampoo?
    M(e): Sure. (Gets some out preparing to give it to her) What happened to yours? (Knowing that last I knew, she had about three full bottles.)
    D: I don’t know.
    M: You don’t know?
    D: It is hard to explain.
    M: What happened to them?
    D: It is too hard to explain.
    M: Did you throw them out? Use them up?
    D: It expired.
    M: I don’t think shampoo expires. Did you throw it out?
    D: Yes. (Daughter is standing in front of my holding a bottle of conditioner trying to convince me it had expired)
    M: All of them? The baby shampoos?
    D: No. That is for my eyes.
    M: Where are the other bottles? (She is very organized and knows where all of her stuff is including everything she has received while living here)
    D: I don’t know.
    M: Use it for your hair.
    D: I can’t, it is for my eyes.
    M: You need to use it so it does not expire so you are not putting expired shampoo in your eyes.
    D: I won’t take a shower then.
    M: Ok.
    D: Wait? You said I can’t take a shower?
    M: No. You can take a shower or not, but you need to use your shampoo.
    D: I don’t understand. I am going to take a shower.
    M: Ok.

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  15. For myself, the food things that I do during lent, are to help the health of my body/temple. It also inspires me to spend more time in prayer and study.

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  16. Cheryl, the ashes are not intended to “show oneself fasting.”
    From the LCMS website: “This ancient act is a gesture of repentance and a powerful reminder about the meaning of the day.
    Ashes can symbolize dust-to-dustness and remind worshipers of the need for cleansing, scrubbing and purifying. If they are applied during an act of kneeling, the very posture of defeat and submission expresses humility before God.”

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  17. Coffee: I enjoy walking down the coffee aisle at the grocery store, smelling the lovely aromas on my way to putting the box of tea into my cart. 😉

    I had a benign breast lump in my twenties, and was told that caffeine could aggravate that. I don’t like coffee, anyway — had it once in high school, and it ranked high among the most yucky things I’ve ever tasted. 🙂 (Although this was McDonald’s decaf in the ’70’s, so that may not have been the most shining example of delectability.) 😀

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  18. Mumsee, you have me beat – I have read through the Bible in three months once or twice, but you got it down to two. You are right, the stories do flow together in ways that are unexpected, and patterns and themes emerge when the Bible is read more like prose, and less like a reference manual.

    Thankful today – I got the mark for the midterm exam and I did better than I thought I had.

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  19. 6, my mother also had a benign lump which she was told caffeine would aggravate. My second sibling and I both have had the same problem – second sibling was told to stay away from caffeine for a while, I wasn’t told anything. I don’t drink or eat a lot of caffeine anyway. An occasional cup of tea every few days, a rare cappuccino, and occasional gifts of dark chocolate from my mother or other family member – those are my sources of the stuff.

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  20. A pastor friend once told me it could be done in forty hours with average reading skills. I did not start out with any idea but the one Peter L gave of just starting at the beginning and reading through so it was not designed to set a record. I was pleasantly surprised.

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  21. I enjoy coffee daily. I like dark roast, plain. Typically I have about two cups worth. I do enjoy a double size mug of tea in the afternoon, but don’t have that every day. English Breakfast or Irish Breakfast tea works well for my afternoon tea. Sometimes I have Chamomile tea in the evenings.

    I had a mocha mint coffee at Hilton Head at Starbucks and thought it tasted great but my tummy did not tolerate the lactose so I will stick with plain black.

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  22. I have not stuck with my plan to read through my study Bible, but hope to get back to it in May after tax season. I have managed to keep up with my Discovery devotional booklet and related daily Bible reading. Right now I am in Joshua with that. One day I hope to use the Victory plan that Chaos uses.

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  23. Roscuro, I think I was told the same as your second sibling — to just avoid caffeine for a while. It’s been so many years, though, I don’t quite remember.

    I have consumed some caffeine over the years, but, like you, in minimal amounts. I’ll occasionally drink green tea, but most of the time the tea I drink is without caffeine. I have eaten some dark chocolate now and then, too, but hardly at all recently, for a different reason I’ll explain in a bit.

    I’ve never had a recurrence of the breast lump, but there have been two occasions on which I took in too much caffeine and had bad chest tightness that made me wonder if a heart attack was coming. The first time happened after I’d bought a huge lemonade somewhere and drunk it all. It was in the afternoon or evening, and not long after, a tight feeling in my chest started to grow. It was uncomfortable, but not particularly worrying.

    I went to bed some hours later, still with that tight-chest feeling, and when I woke up the next morning and the tightness was not only not gone, but worse, and feeling more like pain, I decided I should go get that checked out. (I was in the first trimester of pregnancy, also.)

    ER results showed I didn’t have any heart problem, but they attributed it to the large dose of caffeine I’d unknowingly gotten in the lemonade, along with some digestive issues they said would steadily get worse as my pregnancy progressed, and would resolve after delivery. Which was exactly how things proceeded.

    The other time I got too much caffeine was recently — last year sometime, I think — when I bought two large dark chocolate bars that were on sale. I’d intended to nibble away at those over the course of many days (yeah, I know, go ahead and laugh, gentle blog readers) 😉 …

    Anyway, that didn’t happen, and a few hours later, when about 3/4 of the first bar was gone, the chest pains started. I thought, payback time for overindulging. But it got kind of scary, because, in addition to the chest pain, there was pain going down one arm, I started sweating (something that doesn’t happen while I’m playing piano at home, which I was doing at the time), and I started to feel dizzy, just while sitting at the piano. I think I had a stiff neck, too.

    From my reading about heart attacks, I knew that sometimes there were symptoms like those present.

    Well, I didn’t go in to get checked, but stopped what I was doing to pay close attention to what I was feeling, telling myself it was probably just the chocolate and nothing more. And I prayed for a while, and, IIRC, came on here and requested prayer, as well.

    The feeling did pass — pretty rapidly, actually, and much faster than with the lemonade incident — but it was a good reminder that I’ve got to be careful with dark chocolate. I have to eat surprisingly huge quantities of food to keep from losing weight, but dark chocolate is one of those things that I can only handle in tiny amounts.

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  24. The birds flying in formation are sandhill cranes. They were at a great enough distance I wasn’t 100% sure they were cranes, but I figured they probably were, and so I zoomed in and took some shots. Every time I zoomed in and was about to take a shot, they moved behind trees. 🙂 Eventually I did get several shots.

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  25. FTR, my comment about the Ash Wednesday was more about walking around all day with ashes present than whether or not people receive them in the first place. I’m not interested in either, but keeping them on the forehead the rest of the day would seem directly contrary to Christ’s words . . . but saying that, I’ll bow out of the discussion.

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  26. I finished reading Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, by Erik Larson, this week. I’d started it as a read-aloud book, but changed my mind about a third of the way through, and decided to finish it on my own instead, in case the subject matter got too intense for some of the children. (Though I did invite the older two of the four who were listening to the story to continue reading on their own, too, if they wanted. They chose not to.)

    Gripping story, and superbly told. It only took me two or three days to read the remaining two-thirds of the story, plus the 65 pages of sources and acknowledgments, notes, and bibliography.

    This book was World Magazine’s Book of the Year in the History/Biography category in 2015. There is an excerpt at this World link, from the beginning of the book:

    https://world.wng.org/2015/06/the_best_in_fiction_and_history

    I’m hoping that link gets you there. I’m a member, but am not sure I posted the link correctly so that any non-member who wants to read the article about it can do so. Scroll about halfway down the page to find the Dead Wake excerpt, if you get access.

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  27. As of 20 minutes ago 3 studentS are still in the hospital and 2 are critical. I am very familiar with where the accident happened.
    I was in Mobile today. Home now eating pizza. Tomorrow I give up my bad eating habits
    Michelle thank you for your thoughts on lent. The Great Thanksgiving feeds my need for the beauty of the church.

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  28. And interesting note about Ash Wednesday is that the ashes are made from the palm fronds frome the precious year’s Palm Sunday. I think it lends continuity to the liturgical calendar. The ashes are mixed will an oil before they are applied to the forehead.
    As I have told you before in another life I WAS Mrs Episcopal Churchwoman and served on the alter guild.

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  29. 6, yes, I was not feeling well at all that day I wrote the exam. I stood at the bus stop that morning desperately hoping I wouldn’t faint before the bus came, and I felt brain fogged throughout the exam (Did I mention we had to have scientific calculators to answer some of the questions?). I still have fatigue, but today seemed a bit better than yesterday.

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  30. On the subject of caffeine and having racing heart, etc., my youngest sibling found when she was working that drinking caffeine triggered episodes of extreme anxiety. She has also found that when she consumes caffeine while breastfeeding, her babies won’t sleep properly the following night. I don’t respond to the stimulant effect of coffee, but when I drank the concentrated green tea they served in West Africa, I would be awake most of the next night.

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  31. Mumsee – Your comment about how the stories flowed better reminded me of why I like chronological Bibles.

    But there are different ways of doing them, I’ve found. One that I didn’t like too much would have a chapter or two of Kings, then a chapter or two of Chronicles (& the same with the gospels), so that those stories were kind of bouncing back & forth, & were a bit confusing. A better chronological Bible I used to have (which seems to have disappeared) kept all the accounts together, & flowed better.

    As for that Bible that seems to have disappeared, Nightingale had it when she moved in with Mr X. She has no idea what happened to it, & I suspect that he may have thrown it out at some point.

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  32. Glad you’re feeling better today, Roscuro. That’s been a long haul.

    Kizzie, I wouldn’t have ever thought there would be caffeine in lemonade, either. I googled caffeine in lemonade just now and see most of the time there is none, but sometimes bottled beverages containing additional ingredients besides lemonade (like lemonade iced tea) might have it. Mine was a fountain drink, and now that I think about it, it may actually have been lemonade tea, which would explain the caffeine presence.

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  33. Caffeine does not bother me one way or the other. I can drink coffee or tea all day, and still sleep as well as I ever do. I like something hot in the morning,but it can be herbal tea. I must confess that I do occasionally drink energy drinks to make the commute home. I think the B vitamins do jut as much as the caffeine.

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