Hardly To Be Discerned

“Good and evil grow up together in the field of this world almost inseparably, and the knowledge of good is so involved and interwoven with the knowledge of evil, and in so many cunning resemblances hardly to be discerned, that those confused seeds which were imposed upon Psyche as an incessant labor to cull out and sort asunder were not more intermixed.” – John Milton, Areopagitica, 1644

Spoon self-analysis November 26, 2008

Filed under: At home,Elizabeth's escapades!,Friends,Prayer — Elizabeth @ 23:03

  My friend Jen wrote a most interesting post the other day. While using a special demitasse teaspoon that morning, it struck her that among some other things, spoons are especially analogous to individual Christians.

Here is the small but relatively comprehensive list that Jen came up  with: 

  • “Each one is suited to its purpose. You wouldn’t use a serving spoon to stir your tea or a demitasse spoon to serve mashed potatoes. While some spoons can be used for multiple things, none of them are suitable for every spoon’s task.
     
  • Some are fancier than others, but even the simplest ones get the job done. Sometimes it’s preferable to use fancier spoons (for formal dinners and what-not), but sometimes it’s actually preferable to use the simpler ones (large, casual get-togethers, picnics, etc.). There will always be other people more gifted at something than you are. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use the abilities you’ve been given, though.
     
  • Spoons must be clean to be useful. You don’t use dirty spoons (at least I HOPE you don’t!). Similarly, our lives must be kept “clean” so that we are ready for service.
     
  • You sometimes need more than one spoon to get a job done. Just as you would use different spoons to measure ingredients, stir a recipe, and serve a dish, there are often many different people needed to accomplish a task. All are equally important even though the “guests” may only see the serving spoon.
     
  • Spoons don’t stir by themselves; their owner has to USE them. Similarly, we are all instruments in our Maker’s hands, accomplishing His purposes with our gifts.
     
  • Spoons can only dish out what they’ve been immersed into. You don’t dip a spoon into chicken broth and expect to pull out banana pudding. Likewise, we must immerse ourselves in the Word if we want to be able to “dish it out” when it is needed for the nourishment of others.”

  Ever the creative and interactive type, Jen could not resist asking her readers to think about what kind of spoon we might be. My answer was not exactly well thought out, but this was it:

“Not having lived very long, I am not entirely sure if I can yet know what kind of spoon I am. You could say God still has me in the mold, or on the anvil, so to speak. But I will at least tell you what first popped into my head. 

A spork.

The plastic spork appears to be multifunctional, but ultimately fails in both endeavors and, as might be expected, it breaks easily.

As I look at my life and all the myriad of things I have been interested in and dabbled in, it is clear I have made efforts to learn and do too many different things without spending enough time on any particular one. I have become like the man who got on his horse and rode off madly in every direction.
Like the spork, I have tried to be good at two things at once and ended up no good at either.”

  Perhaps I overstated it a bit; no doubt from the clouded magnifying glass of self-examination, my perspective has made too much of some things and missed others altogether. Still, that was my immediate reaction to the question and I suspect I would do well to think about it.  

  Not that it hasn’t crossed my mind before; the minute I get any free time, it’s “Which instrument should I practice? Should I draw or do some calligraphy? Should I finish that book or work on the cross-stitch for mom?”   Et cetera, et cetera, ad infinitum ad nauseam. At that point I am often so overwhelmed with options that just thinking about them is tiring; too often, nothing is chosen and time is wasted. What good is it to be in the middle of all these little projects when none are completed?  And all this without a husband, children, or even my own home to care for. I really must have no idea what it is like to be truly busy.

  Another lesson for Elizabeth Howell. Use time available amid your hectic life to DO something. To make something. Be productive and don’t let creativity go to waste.

  Lastly, a quote (of which I don’t know the source) that helped me get through college: “Do a little bit more each day than you think you possibly can.”

 

Good clean mud November 24, 2008

Filed under: Elizabeth's escapades! — Elizabeth @ 23:25

  I’ve just covered my face in Dead Sea mud and it feels wonderful. It burns, but it’s a good burn…a burn that reminds me of walking gingerly into that deathly water, in the middle of the sweltering Israeli/Jordanian July desert, with feet that had just been mildly sliced up by coral at Ceasarea and then used to climb Masada. Poor little feet.
 On the upside, all those little cuts sure healed fast after their Dead Sea dunking. Perhaps pain is gain after all.  Especially in Israel…

.02050019

 

view of Tel Aviv from Jaffa

Tel Aviv from Jaffa

 

Darby is recovering… November 23, 2008

Filed under: Friends,Prayer — Elizabeth @ 16:45

 

…and I thought my non-Master’s friends might like an update.  Here is the latest information on little Darby from the prayer letter:

“The bleeding in Darby’s brain is believed to have been stopped as of several days ago. His seizures (caused by the blood in his brain) are also subsiding gradually and doctors are weening him off the anti-seizure medication (which means he will be awake again soon). He is recovering well and everyone is optimistic. It will take a while, however, and we may be at the hospital for several months as he recovers.”

 · Doctors believe that he may have suffered a hemorrhage of an Arteriovenous malformation (AVMs): http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/avms/avms.htm
 · They have completed an MRI and believe that no further surgery is necessary.
 · Another MRI will be necessary to discern any further issues; this will also be a few months down the road.

  Many thanks to those who have prayed for them!

Hendrickson family

 

Darby Hendrickson–for those of you who don’t know them November 20, 2008

Filed under: Friends,Prayer — Elizabeth @ 09:46

  Hey there folks,

For any of you who do not know Jason and Dana Hendrickson, my dear friends from college in California…

Jason and Dana, a week before Darby was born.

Jason and Dana, a week before Darby was born.

They have been married for two and a half years, and their first child was born about two weeks ago; a healthy 8+lbs. chunk of boy with a lot of hair!

Darby went into the hospital with a fever on Sunday night, and they found bleeding around his brain. Next he was having seizures and trouble breathing, so they did a quick surgery to insert something to drain the blood, intubated him, and started trying seizure medications.

The last few days have of course been extremely tough for Jason and Dana, but God is sustaining them. They are at Cedar-Sinai in the Pediatric ICU, and there is a small room with a chair and a cot where they have been able to spend the nights close to Darby. Dana’s parents are staying nearby as well, so they have another place to rest when needed.

Little Darby is doing a bit better now…

tough little fighter

tough little fighter

in addition to the breathing tubes he is plugged into an EEG, IV for medications, a feeding tube for breastmilk, and he is in a drug-induced coma which has given his brain a much-needed rest from the seizures.

Their doctor believes the problem was a malformed blood vessel that burst. The CT scans show that so far, thankfully, large areas of the brain are undamaged. It is possible that small areas on the right side may end up with some damage, but they cannot yet know the full extent, and thankfully Darby is young enough that the left sight of his brain may completely adapt and make up for any losses on the right side as it develops.  Still, at this time it looks like there is no damage!  His eye exam was good as well.

As they wait for the blood to continue to drain, and they try to control the seizures, please pray that God would give Jason and Dana strength and comfort. They have been inundated with letters, cards, emails and calls, and they can hardly express their gratitude for the love and prayers of so many.  

Please keep this couple and their precious son in your prayers. It means so much to them, and to me, that you who do not  know them are praying.

 

Choir goes bananas while retreating November 15, 2008

Filed under: Elizabeth's escapades!,Friends — Elizabeth @ 19:57

   Today our church choir had a “retreat”; we bravely stood, sat and sang through 6 hours of rehearsal for the Christmas concert. The rehearsal was very effective and much needed, and peppered throughout the day were hilarious stories told by music pastor Todd and various singers, testimonies of new choir members, lunch, and the weirdest game I have every played.

  Seriously, it was weird. “Push the Banana.” Four teams (soprano, alto, tenor, bass), each person ties a sash around their waist; hanging on a string from the sash to the ground is a banana, and the goal is to use the suspended banana to get a ping-pong ball on the floor across a certain line and the end of the room (no hands are allowed to guide the string/banana).  Mercifully, at that point the thoroughly humiliated competitor can pick up the ball and run back to the line.  Casualties amounted to a few bananas and one ping-pong ball which did not survive the proceedings due to wayward players stomping on them.

 

Just maybe, bit by bit… November 12, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 23:15

  Today I gave Rick the Bible as well as a copy of the booklet “Ultimate Questions”. He actually seemed glad to receive them, and even came back later and said the he read some of the booklet on that way to put them in his car– and “it was pretty interesting.”  He even said he would certainly take time to at least read the verses and chapters I had marked in the Bible.  Pray that he does!
(During our conversation on Monday, Rick said he grew up with nothing but constant hellfire-and-brimstone teaching, which left a bad taste in his mouth for church.)

 

Rick the Painter November 10, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 22:09

  Rick is one of the regular home painters working at the same new-construction house where I have been working the last two weeks.  He often wants to chat at random times while I sand/plaster/paint or eat lunch; he is oldish, loudish, gruffish, and everything is a joke to him. At first he was bit of a bother, but then God reminded me to look for opportunities for the gospel in conversation.

 This evening, while I plastered my last wall before leaving, we got into a talk about spiritual beliefs and Rick heard the whole gospel. The conversation was broken up now and then by people needing him to answer questions or go look at something, but he always came back and listened to more.  He is aware of his sinfulness, but took it lightly and laughed it off at first, saying things like “Oh I believe in God, and in Heaven and Hell; I figure it’s a coin-toss whether I get into Heaven.”  So, a little more effort to communicate the gravity of his situation before the Holy God who requires justice…Matthew 7 helped a great deal.  

  I asked him whether He would read some passages in a Bible if I brought him one with certain parts marked–he said he would.  So tonight I am preparing an extra paperback NKJV with some sticky-notes and a lot of prayer.

It’s a cheap little Bible with tiny type and stiff pages, but it is still the mind and word of God. Please pray that Rick will not be put off by the book’s appearance, and that his heart will be pricked by the truth. If the situation allows, I will have him read a few of the verses aloud.

Thanks for your prayers! Other names on my heart are a co-worker named Brian and his wife Amaryllis, a middle-aged nominally Catholic gentleman named Ward who I witnessed to on a plane, and Summer, a college-age girl on a different plane.  
That’s one reason travel is so great…a captive audience for truth 🙂

 

Understatement of the millenium November 3, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 21:50

From a quote about Genesis in my Apologetic Methodology notes:   “Adam went through a unique experience.”