Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wicked =Good?

A brother and sister couple in Germany are fighting the current laws against incest. They have had four children together which have been removed from their custody. The article states that France, Belgium, and The Netherlands have already changed their laws to remove the punishment for incest.

Sometimes, I read the news and am reminded of Genesis 6:5 :

The LORD saw how great man's wickedness had become, and that every
inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.

and later in Genesis 6:12 :


God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had
corrupted their ways.


and to bring us more closely to our present time, Matthew 24:37 :

As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of
Man.


There seems to be no bounds to our behavior as humans. Perhaps, because sex is such a powerful and natural urge, it is most representative of our spiritual condition. One brother and sister want to effect changes in an entire nation's laws simply to fulfill their own desire for a sexual relationship. They want validation that their relationship is acceptable in society's eyes. I am sure that they will find a champion for their cause in a world declaring there should be no restrictions on "love."

Wicked is not a word that gets much use nowadays. People associate it with fire and brimstone preachers and a wrathful God; but, it is a most appropriate word for our times. It is sad that we continue to go further and further down a path that leads to supposed sexual "freedom," but which truthfully, only enslaves us more deeply to our sexual appetites.

We are meant to be more than our physical desires and lusts.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Chock Full of Goodness

OK. America has just discovered abundant natural resources that will revolutionize the medical field and the US economy.

Scientists at the University of Oslo, in Norway, have found a way to find adult stem cells in the discarded fat of liposuction patients. Dr Phillipe Collas states:

“It’s wonderful, we have litres and litres of material from cosmetic
surgery clinics and end up with bucketfuls of stem cells to work with,”


Bucketfuls, people! We are sitting on a gold mine, literally sitting on our most precious natural resource!

America is the land of opportunism and entrepreneurial spirit. We can take our current obesity crisis and turn it into a renewable source of bio-tech profits. Instead of cattle ranches teeming with cows, we can create large warehouses filled with couches, big screen TVs, and an endless supply of potato chips and Ho-Hos. Every plastic surgeon from here to Beverly Hills can found stem cell removal schools with all the unemployed cattle veterinarians as their students, supplementing the educational sector.

It's a win-win! We're fat, have lots of extraneous stem cells, and don't want to change our behavior. Why fight it?

Pizza lovers of the world...Unite! Ask not what your country-ham can do with you; ask what you can do with your country-ham....save civilization..that's what you can do.

Lent Update

I've done pretty well with my Lenten commitments.

Not reading and commenting on blogs has left me feeling a little more isolated, which is something with which I already struggle; but, it has also helped me to be more focused. Not watching quite so much TV hasn't been very difficult. There are always more things to do around the house and with the kids than I have time for anyway; so, I simply get more done.

Quieting the extraneous voices of the media has been helpful to me spiritually. I find it easier to be more mindful of the reality before me and the path which I traverse through life. Distractions are fewer. Intentions are greater. Interactions are more meaningful.

**********

We have "re-begun" reading through Genesis with the kids. We haven't been so great with consistent family devotional times. We pray before meals and before bed each evening; but, often, those prayers are canned, hurried prayers that are short in length and genuineness. We're trying to be more mindful about incorporating our faith in deeper ways.

We had read through the early parts of Genesis before-the story of creation and The Fall. Those are easy readings for the kids; they're fascinating, intriguing stories that lend themselves to visualization. Every child can comprehend the magical powers of creation and the suspense of Adam and Eve as they face the Serpent.

Now, we are reading about Abram which requires much more explanation. There are all sorts of subtleties that are difficult for young children to grasp. For instance, why did Abram lie about Sarai being his wife? Why did Abram and Lot have to separate? What does the word offspring mean? However, the next couple of days we'll be reading chapters 15 and 16 of Genesis which read more as relational stories and less as political and geographical updates.

So far, they have really enjoyed reading each night and always want to continue to the next chapter. I am wondering how long their enthusiasm will last. Who knows, maybe my kids are destined to be the only kids that crave family devotional time. That wouldn't be such a horrible thing.

Monday, February 26, 2007

My Energy Level

This is how I feel today.



Everyone here, except for me, has had a terrible cold. As a result, I haven't gotten any sleep. Between my coughing husband, my oldest son waking up several times a night and asking for water, tissues, etc., and my youngest waking me up at 5:00 am to help him find one of the thousands of stuffed animals he sleeps with that has someone gotten misplaced in the middle of the night, I haven't had a decent night's sleep in over a week.

Here's hoping everyone gets better soon!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Cost

When I first came to Christ I was a teenager. I was sixteen-almost seventeen. God had been working on me for several months, but I didn't recognize that until after my conversion.

My family life was tumultuous, crazy and unstable. My mom moved from relationship to relationship, making bad choices and dragging us along on the carnival ride with her. Being an "old" young person, I responded by being the adult in our family, calling the police when necessary and generally making sure that order was restored. I hated it. My childhood had disappeared and by age fifteen I was a mini-adult taking care of two younger brothers and trying to cope with a mother who wasn't really a mother.

In the midst of my misery, God began working in small ways. After my sophomore year, my mother announced that we would be moving to Florida. She was being transferred there and we and were going to live with her boyfriend, who was also the father of my youngest brother. I despised him. He was physically abusive to my mother, although she frequently took part in the insane arguments and physical altercations herself. Their relationship had weathered several break-ups and make-ups over the course of three years. We must have moved his furniture in and out of our house at least four or five times before this decision had been made to go to Florida. I knew it was going to be hell. But, my mother was convinced that this would be the time that things would work out between them.

I cried. I wallowed in my self-pity. How could I be expected to continue to wake up every night to yelling? How many times were we going to be last on my mother's messed-up list of priorities? Although, that would imply that she actually had a list of priorities.

The crux of my teenage melodrama was this: I had an out. While not being particularly close with my father, I thought that maybe I could convince him that letting me live with him during my last two years of high school wouldn't be so bad. It would have solved my problems-no more dealing with a jerk who pretty much despised me as much as I despised him. It was a great solution for me; it was no help to my younger brothers who were 2 and 9 at the time. What would life be like for them and my mom without someone to try and bring sanity to the home? Who would tell J to leave, or call the police when he was drunk and things were getting out of hand? He had never touched the kids; but, I had always felt that it was because I was there. He knew I wasn't afraid of him. Without my moderating influence things would quickly disintegrate

So, I faced my first gut-wrenching choice in life: to leave and try to obtain a "normal" life for myself, or go with my family, knowing the horrible reality that this living situation was going to be. I remember having fleeting thoughts about what God would want me to do. Even then, I realized that was strange; because, I hadn't been to church in many years and didn't really profess any sort of religious beliefs. Why would I care about what God wanted me to do?

After much hand-wringing, I decided to go with my family. I just couldn't live with myself if something happened and I wasn't there to stop it. It was my first act of self-sacrifice...one more thing that I didn't recognize until later.

I went to Florida. Things were just as chaotic as I knew they would be. Sometimes, it sucks to be right about things. After four months, my mom moved us out of the house we were sharing with J. They still continued their "on-again, off-again" relationship that always ended the same way: a screamfest at 1 am in the morning, on the front lawn.

So, where was God in all this? After those few fleeting moments of wondering about what He would want, I promptly forgot about Him. He didn't enter my mind until Christmas break. I went to visit my father and older brother in Illinois, only to discover that my brother had become very serious about his Christianity. He had always attended church here and there, but that had been the extent of his outward faith. Perhaps, as he entered college, he had begun to dwell more deeply on his life and the faith that he had professed so long ago, when he was baptized at age thirteen. Regardless, it had become his most defining feature. He was a Christian; his friends were Christians; he went to Bible studies-just for fun.

While visiting, I attended our childhood church with him. Our neighbor used to regularly take us each Sunday for several years. I stopped going when I was in sixth grade after deciding one day that I wasn't going to go anymore; and, I didn't. Shortly afterward, we moved and I didn't have any other neighbors interested in taking me anywhere.

During that Sunday morning I felt an overwhelming sense of loneliness and loss. I envied all of these happy people with intact families and a community that cared about them. I wanted what they had, but didn't really understand the source from which it came. Their absolute normalcy seemed astounding to me. Rather than filling me with hope, it made my little pocket of despair seem that much worse by comparison.

A few days later, my brother and I went out to eat with his pastor and my brother's best friend( whom I had a crush on for many years). Looking back, I know that this must have been a planned event. After the meal, the pastor-Scott was his name-began asking me about what I believed. I had always believed that there was some sort of God, even if I didn't really think about Him too much. I knew a lot about the Bible from all my Sunday school lessons. I had always been a voracious reader and had consumed large portions of Scripture when I did attend church, spending way too much time trying to figure out what Revelation was all about.

As he continued to talk, explaining Jesus's death on the cross as the price He paid for my personal salvation and forgiveness, he asked me one question:

Could I believe that God would sacrifice the thing most dear to Him out of his love for me?

In a single moment, that truth was a revelation to me. I instantly got it. I could understand the sacrifice that God had made at a severe cost to Himself. I had lived it out in my own life. I knew that sometimes you would go to great lengths to protect and watch over the ones you loved no matter how steep the price might be to yourself. My life was never the same.

I accepted Christ into my life and was born again in every sense of the word. My anger and hatred toward my mother and even J, her boyfriend, soon dissipated. They hadn't changed; but, I had. As I learned more about Jesus and read my Bible, I knew that He extended the same love and forgiveness towards them as He did toward me. He helped me to let go of the fury which burned in my heart toward them, and instead, see them as the very broken people that they were.

The love of God is a fierce thing. You can't escape it when its sights are set on you. His willingness to reach down and meet us in the muck and mire knows no bounds. He has counted the cost of bringing us to Himself and considered us worth the expense.

As we progress towards Easter, may you come to know this God who counts you worthy of his extravagant love.

Colossians 1:19-20
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things in earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on a cross.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Glad To Be American

A Pakistani female minister is assassinated because of her refusal to wear a veil; Egypt jails a blogger for four years for insulting its President and Islam; and each day suicide bombers blow themselves up in ever more deadly ways in an effort to wipe out as many people as possible.

Will there ever be any hope for true democracy in the Middle East when such outrageous things occur on a daily basis?

Islamic countries, that truly want to practice Islam in an organized, governmental way, will never operate in any sort of democratic form. The very belief system, which guides such governments, opposes the rights of individuals at its core level. There is only way, one rule of law and the expectation of submission to it.

In order to have democracy, there must be a willingness to hear the voice of the people and to question the motives of those in authority. In Islam, specifically the Shia sect, imams(the spritual leaders) are considered sinless, infallible messengers of Allah. To question them is to go against Allah Himself. To go against Allah is the worst possible sin and therefore relegates the questioner as a "disbeliever" or "loser" according to the Qur'an.

How can we hope for the victory of democracy in the Middle East when their dearest religious beliefs are so openly opposed to it?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

First Day With No Blogs...

Yesterday, I declared my intention to stop reading and commenting on other blogs for the forty days of Lent. Without even realizing, I almost messed up my first day at it. I sat at my computer, checking e-mail, bank accounts, and other miscellaneous things and almost unconsciously slipped into my favorites folder to browse some of the blogs I read. Luckily, I realized what I was doing and caught myself. It's funny how even little things can become such ingrained habits.

So, hello to all of you out there! I would come visit you if I could; but, I can't. See you after Lent.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Lent

Today is Fat Tuesday, mardi gras as the french call it. People, of mostly Catholic nations and regions, party hard on this last day before Lent. It is one last blow-out before Lent, which is usually marked by fasting, devotion, and penance before the celebration of Easter. Of course, most people participating in Mardi Gras and Carnival do it for the party and have no connection to the lenten season. It's just another excuse to stay up all night drinking, dancing and creating memories that they will probably regret the next morning.

I don't come from a liturgical tradition such as Catholicism, Lutheranism, Orhtodoxy, etc.; however, I usually participate in the tradition of fasting from something during Lent. So, without further ado and with as much fanfare as I can muster this morning, I hearby proclaim my intentions:

1. I will not read or comment on any other blogs, beginning tomorrow.

I waste a lot of time surfing blogs, commenting here and there and just generally being distracted by thoughts and controversies that have nothing to do with my actual life. Already being overly analytical, I don't need the loss of time and the distraction that keeps me from spending more focused time with God.

2. I will dedicate at least 2 blog postings per week on Scripture/Devotions.

This is merely an effort to focus my mind on more valuable things then recalled peanut butter; although, I am sure that I will still have plenty of inane things to say here and there.

3. I will limit my TV time to one and a half hours per day.

This will be the most difficult to stick with. I don't watch much during the day; but, at night, I tend to resort to mindless TV watching out of boredom and fatigue. That wouldn't be so bad if network programming wasn't so against everything that I believe in. I watch stuff that isn't great out of a lack of options; but, that shouldn't be an excuse. I will still watch Lost, Heroes(although that's kind of dark), and Stargate. Yes, I know that my TV habits sound like those of a fifteen-year-old boy. I will still watch Gilmore Girls too--just for my chick-flick side.

OK....maybe I am missing the point here. It still sounds like a lot of TV. I just have to think of it in terms of about one TV show per day. It may not sound like much of a sacrifice; but, I challenge any normal American to try it. You'll soon realize that you watch much more TV than you think.

Well, I think that those goals will be enough. I could say that I would do more; but, I don't want to overreach my abilities.

Let me know what you think. If you are going to give something up for Lent in an effort to focus more intently on Christ, leave a comment. I am curious to see what others are doing this season.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Peanut Butter, Salmonella, and Hypochondria

So, a couple of days ago, I felt completely awful. It was the day before Valentine's day and in the late afternoon, I began to feel extremely uncomfortable. My stomach, intestines, and basically every part of my abdomen felt bloated, uncomfortable, and achy. I retreated into the bedroom after my husband came home and just lay there for several hours. I didn't have a fever or any other manifestations of illness. By 9:30, I was feeling about 80% normal.

Imagine my surprise when I heard the news report on recalled Peter Pan peanut butter earlier today. I went to my pantry, where I happened to have some Peter Pan peanut butter. Actually, we had already finished one of two jars that I had bought during a "buy one get one free" sale. I checked the top of the lid; we had the winning code! The one time my code matches something and the prize is salmonella. We would have much preferred winning a new car or even a toaster.


There's nothing like harboring stomach-churning toxins in your cabinets. They go so well with bread and jelly.

Now, it could be mental hypochondria, but it made me go "hmmmm." Of course, my intestinal discomfort could have resulted from my very bizarre lunch of half a loaf of french sourdough bread with butter; but, I feel much more comfortable blaming the licking of the knife after I made my son his peanut butter and banana sandwich. It's nice to have someone to blame.

If I stop posting on my blog, it will be because I'm in the hospital. Be sure to send me some flowers.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day...Part 1

I stayed up 'til midnight icing these Valentine's Day cookies for my boys' respective classes. I found out that my son's pre-K doesn't allow homemade items to be shared with the children....a very dumb and overprotective rule in my opinion. After all, how many children have been injured or made ill from cookies and brownies? Sometimes good intentions suck the fun right out of life. So, I left the cookies for the teachers to eat. They must have decided they weren't poisoned because they were all gone by the time I returned.



And now, I am going to share my grandmother's super-fabulous, scrumptious, mouthwatering sugar cookie recipe! She would make and ice them for Christmas and Valentine's Day each year when I was a child. I have never tasted a sugar cookie that comes close to tasting this delicious. Most store-bought, and even professional bakery sugar cookies, can be doughy and unappealing.

So, take my word for it and try these out. If you don't think they are the best, you're just in denial about your tragic childhood lack of great sugar cookies! :-)

Recipe:

4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup milk- added gradually
2 sticks of butter(1/2 pound)

First, cream the butter. Second, cream the sugar into the butter, adding the eggs and vanilla once the sugar is completely mixed in. After combining the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, slowly begin mixing them into the wet mixture. Once evrything else is mixed completely through, gradually add the 1/4 cup of milk. Refrigerate the dough overnight or for at least several hours. This allows time for the dough to firm up and be able to withstand being rolled out without becoming too gooey.

Flour wax paper and roll out the dough to about to 1/8-1/4 inch thickness.(1/4 inch works best IMHO) Cut out in your desired shape and cook in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes.

When you first make them, watch them closely. If they become golden brown, then they are overdone and will become crispy and hard when they have cooled. You want them to just be changing from a pale ivory to just a hint of goldeness around the edges. This is very important to get the right texture. My oven runs hot and I usually cook them for about 9-10 minutes.

The icing recipe:

1 stick of butter, softened and creamed
4 cups of powdered sugar SIFTED
1 tsp vanilla extract
a dash of milk here and there..yes, I know that's vague.

OK. The first few times I made these cookies, I was severely disappointed. They just didn't taste as good as my grandmother's cookies. I have learned that is extremely important to actually sift the powdered sugar. I sometimes slack off about such things, but it really makes a huge difference in the icing and its creaminess. When adding the sugar to the butter, you will need to periodically add a tablespoon of milk to thin out the mixture. The icing should be smooth and creamy-like frosting for a cake.

Once you have the icing ready and the cookies have cooled, add food coloring to the icing to get the colors that you want for your cookies and frost away! Let the cookies sit out on wax paper for several hours or overnight. This allows the icing to lose some of its moisture. The icing will firm up, on the outside, but will still be creamy and moist underneath a thin veneer. They will be a lot easier to handle and pack in tins or for a surprise care package.

This recipe makes between 4-6 dozen cookies, depending on how large your cookie cutters are.

So, make them; eat them; let me know how great they are!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith and Vapidity

Well, everyone and their mother has done a post about Anna Nicole Smith. So, why not me? Her picture has been plastered on every TV, magazine, and newspaper cover. We sit fascinated by her train wreck of a life and discuss every detail of what might be true as if she were one of our high school buddies with whom we had lost touch.

The truth of the matter is that Anna Nicole Smith lived a very empty, confused life. She may have seemed glamorous to some, enviable for her looks, wealth and notoriety. However, it was all an enormous lie. Behind the makeup and mansions, she was simply a lost soul, trying to fill her life with all the wrong things.

The question is: Why has American culture become so superficial and vapid? Does our continued drift away from God and Faith lie in our inability to meditate beyond the thin exterior of popular culture?

While Anna Nicole Smith represents the extreme end of the vapid spectrum, it doesn't take much scratching at the surface of popular culture to see that there is very little beneath it.

There is a void of genuine contemplation in our society. We sometimes work ourselves up into political frenzies regarding a multitude of issues, but that seems more of an avoidance of individual and national introspection than it seems to be heartfelt concern for the good of the world. We bicker over the size of planes and search for any situation that can be twisted into ammunition against one another. We protest; we jibe; we make snide remarks; all the time avoiding an honest effort to look deeper at our own lives and responsibilities to God, others and ourselves. Even when we muster interest in something other than ourselves, it is at the behest of an uber-celebrity-such as Bono, Oprah, or Angelina. We simply support their causes as another way of admiring them as our icons.

There are millions of people whose lives resemble Anna Nicole's. They are not famous, have no money, and can't afford the plastic surgery to look like her, but their lives are cut of the same troubled cloth. They/we will never find satisfaction and purpose living at that superficial level. There is always a tugging of the spirit for more than what this world offers. When we ignore that pull-or answer it with sex, money, or fame-we set our lives on fire without realizing it. Flames consume all that is important to us while we stand idly by, wondering how this fire got started and unable to put it out.

We miss the unseen vastness of the eternal. We focus only on the things before us that have little to offer.

Romans 1:25
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creaor-who is forever praised. Amen

Friday, February 09, 2007

Fun At The Park

There was no school today. We packed lunch and went to one of the local parks. The boys instantly started a game of freeze-tag with anyone who was willing to play.

Here they are tossing oak leaves into the air. That's February in Florida. I don't know the name of the little boy playing with them. When he saw me taking pictures of them, he wanted in on the action too. Hopefully his parents won't find this photo online and sue me! :-)


This particular park is filled with enormous oak trees that are probably, at least, 100-200 years old. They reach majestically for the sky, their canopy covering the entire park with lacy shadows.



We spent over two hours there. The boys ran themselves into sweaty exhaustion. However, after the ten minute ride home, they caught their second wind and were ready to go all over again.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Motherhood and Meaning

I've been in a low-grade depression over the past few weeks. Apathy has kicked Motivation's behind and sent it packing.

This is nothing new to me. Every few months, I slowly slip into a grey funk. There is no fanfare or melodramatic crisis, normally. It's just a slow descent into dissatisfaction.

Usually, I do my best to ignore it. Emotionally, I feel as though I will never feel light, joyful, and fulfilled again; but, luckily, I have my cold, hard logic to try and keep me warm. Rationality whispers thing like:"It's just hormones and stress,;" "It'll pass and you'll be fine," "There are people who are worse off than you, " and "You've been through this before."
And so, Emotion and Logic do their rehearsed tango, each vying for the lead, and stepping all over each other in the process. Eventually, logic wins out, but not without a few cuts and bruises to show for its hard-won battle.

While ruminating over this irritating, consistent battle, I was trying to pinpoint the source of this latest bout of ennui. There must be some reason for my lethargy.(see...there's rationality...rearing its head again) So, I pondered.

Things have been going remarkably well at home. Financially, we had been wondering how we were going to make it with me still at home until this fall, when our youngest begins Kindergarten. Then, God blessed us with an unexpected, completely-out-of-the-blue, raise for my husband. It was the exact amount required for us to make it on his income alone. Previously, we were 80% there, but still were constantly trying to find that pesky 20% that was needed each month. God always provided it, but it was stressful. I was ecstatic, grateful, relieved and filled with hope at our new circumstances.

Then, the only remaining obstacle was our terminally ill car. We had no money to buy a new one, and could not afford a car payment. What were we going to do? Luckily, the U.S. government thinks we need credit for contributing to the population, so they are sending us a fortuitous tax refund-enough for advancing the search for a new car, in a big way.

I should be happy.

I should be satisfied.

And yet, I'm not.

And, I think that I have figured out why.

All of a sudden, I am not needed. If I sell things through my business, that's great, but not necessary. I have lost the sense of fighting for my family, of contributing to its well-being and advancing our cause when the odds were stacked against us and our vision.

This lack of fight has coincided at the same time that my children have become more self-sufficient. They don't need me in the same way that infants and toddlers need their mothers. They brush their own teeth, dress themselves, and have even made their own breakfast once or twice (cold cereal, of course). It shouldn't bother me. After all, I am the one who taught them how to do these things and have always wanted to teach my children to become independent and self-reliant.

I should be happy.

But, I'm not.

Crazy thoughts have been running through my head. Maybe, I should have one last child. Maybe, I should homeschool. Maybe, we should become foster parents.

What?!

I have looked forward to the maturing of my children. I have held it out as the beacon of hope that sustained me through all the madness of temper tantrums, potty training, and nap schedules. How could I even think such blasphemous thoughts? Here, my "freedom" is approaching and I'm thinking of ways to stay in lockdown.

I had never realized before how much I need to feel needed. I have to have a goal in order to survive. It used to be teaching them to talk, walk, and learn their shapes-colors-letters-manners was my goal. Then, it was helping us survive financially so I could be here to nurture them and protect their first five years of childhood. Then, it was growing my business in order to achieve all of the above. Now, for the first time, I'm not sure what my goal is.

Sure, they still need me, but it is in a much less tangible way. I have moved from being the sole source of education and guidance, to being the facilitator of such things. My importance has decreased as they have gotten older. That is as it should be, but I never realized how internally devastating it would be.

I wouldn't change anything, but I realize now that I am going through a mini empty-nest syndrome. For seven years, my life has been wrapped up in my family, and in fighting the good fight for them. Now that I am at the end of this phase, I feel very uncertain about what comes next. How will I define myself in the coming years? What will be my new goal and reason to fight? I haven't figured it out yet, but I am sure that I will.

Logic told me so, and you know that he has the obnoxiousness to always be right.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Hungry for Tenure

MIT professor, James Sherley, has begun a hunger strike as a way to protest his denial of tenure by the university. He claims that racism is motivating this decision by MIT. Considering that he is the only black colleague in his department, that may, or may not, be true.

What I found interesting was the mention of Sherley's position on stem cells. He has made great strides in his work with adult stem cells, and is against the use of embryonic stem cells, equating it with taking human life. I have to wonder if the decision to deny him tenure has less to do with his race and more to do with his unflinching resolve against embryonic stem cell research. Scientists have little regard for those who don't want to tow the party line.

MIT Chancellor Phillip Clay would not comment on the specific reasons Sherley was not advanced on the tenure track. But he said administrators, as part of
the tenure process, sought input from experts in Sherley's field outside
MIT.

"He didn't come up to the standard we expect based on those inputs
from the outside," Clay said.

Um... since when are hiring decisions made by people who are outside of an organization? Did the fact that most stem cell researchers want to use embryos, and might be irritated by his insistence on using adult stem cells, influence the input on Sherley's work?

I'm not sure that sitting outside your superior's office, losing an extra twenty pounds, is the way to go as far as getting tenure is concerned; but, it will make for some interesting news. If he gets tenure, do you think they'll throw him a dinner?

Captions....



I think you're full of it!

What would your caption be?

Moral Dilemma?

After retrieving my son from pre-K, we headed over to Wal-Mart to pick up miscellaneous household stuff: vacuum bags, AC filters, envelopes, etc. Just as I was helping him out of our car, a small black car with dark, tinted windows pulled up next to us. Even through the tinting, I could see a box of Bud Light in the back seat. That wouldn't have been so bad, but in the same instant, the woman driving the car reached back from her seat and put a bottle into the box. I'm pretty sure that it was open and she had been drinking it while driving the car. She quickly got out of the car and headed into the store.

As we left our car and began our own shopping, I wondered what I should do. Should I take her license plate number and call someone? Should I say something to her and hope the confrontation might temporarily keep her from drinking when she got back behind the wheel? Should I just mind my own business?

I must say that I am not the mind my own business type when it comes to these things. People minding their own business leads to children behaving badly, because no one will call them on it. People minding their own business ignore the screaming next door that is more than just a normal fight. People minding their own business value safe cocoons over the uncomfortable queasiness of speaking what they know is true. That isn't me.

I had decided that once we got back to our car I would try to reassess the situation and go from there. Maybe, it wasn't an open bottle that I thought I saw. Maybe, my mind filled in the gaps incorrectly. I would check out the car a little more closely and figure out what to do. I knew our chore would be done in a few minutes and thought that I would be back to our car before the alleged drunk driver.

As we made our way to the Express lane, this same woman got there just before us. She looked around, caught my eyes for a moment, and then ran off to another cashier. Was it because she had seen me glance over at her in the parking lot? Was it just because the line was shorter at the other cashier? I'm not sure. She was gone before we got back to the car. I wondered whether she would be picking up that beer bottle as she drove to her destination and whether she would get there at all.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Close Call

My in-laws live very close to the area that was hit by a deadly tornado this past week here in Florida. We had already been planning to drive over to their place for the weekend and spend some time with them before everything happened.

Friday morning, when the news was showing the splintered remains of homes in their community, the phone lines weren't working and it was a few hours before we knew that their home was untouched and they were perfectly fine. Saturday we loaded up the car and headed over to their house with the two kids and the dog in tow.

About less than half a mile from their house, huge oaks were snapped in half, roofs were torn off houses, and one home had a front wall standing, and little else. The front door swung open to reveal the backyard. It was amazing that no one from their community had perished. It could have easily been their house and their lives that were lost.

Remember those in Florida in your thoughts and prayers this week. Many people lost their families in the space of five minutes time. They went to bed, safe and secure in their homes, and woke up to a nightmare. May God bless and help them as they begin to piece their lives back together.