Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Quote of the Day

"A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading."
C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Art Journal

I started an art journal a couple of days ago. I like the idea. It gives me an opportunity to be creative in a format that's not too formal and not too large. I haven't been drawing and creating artwork for a long time, so we'll see how it goes. I don't expect to do something every day, just whenever I feel like it.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

So young

I found this through I was just thinking. I act even younger than her *sigh*:

You Are 21 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Science At What Price?

A reminder of of the temptation to put technological advancement above ethical issues of justice and honesty:
Allthings2all: Project Paperclip: Science At What Price?.
I hadn't heard about all these details of the Nazi involvement of some scientists that had been hired for US projects before.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thank you for the music

In connexions: Thank you for the music Richard Hall expresses the importance of music. I couldn't have explained better why I named my blog Joyful Song. Sometimes music makes me happy, and helps me to celebrate. At other times it helps me in the grieving process. Music can make me feel closer to God and is a way to express my faith.

What are you especially thankful for?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

One Bag

I'm still learning to travel light. Today I found a site: (all about packing, luggage, and travelling light) that looks like a great resource.

On a long journey, even a straw weighs heavy.

Spanish proverb

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Quote of the Day

Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.
- GK Chesterton

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Review: The Bible or the Axe

Disclaimer: The Bible or the Axe by William O. Levi as told by A.F. Chai was given to me through Mind & Media as a gift for the purpose of review.

I'm so glad I got this book to review.
This is a wonderful book. I love the style of story telling, the way the author describes his personal experiences. The book reads like a novel, but is an autobiography packed with information. After each chapter, I wanted to read more. Only put it down because I had to go to work and to sleep, but kept reading whenever I got a break.

This book is about much more than the persecution of Christians in Sudan. I liked the background of Sudan's history from William's point of view. He really brings to life the value of an education, and his passionate desire to get one. William wanted and needed to get an education to be able to help his people in the Sudan. He shows compassion instead of anger to people who may be his enemies. At one time, he is even tortured, but he continues on his path. Reading about the many ways God teaches William to rely solely on Him can teach and motivate us to do the same.

Here's a quote from the book which is William's father's advice to his son: "You will always be with your family, because your family is the Body of Christ. Wherever you go, find your family first."

I would definitely recommend this book.

Other Reviews

The Bible or the Axe

Friday, November 11, 2005

Office Hours: As Though There Were No God

A powerful and thought-provoking story: Office Hours: As Though There Were No God by J. Budziszewski, published in Boundless Webzine. Go read it!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Aren't we all Christians?

In the article Spero News | Vatican on confessional identity of Klaus Berger, we read that "the Vatican sought to clarify whether or not Pope Benedict XVI had precise knowledge of Berger's Protestant status, when granting him communion while still a cardinal".

Every Christian should be granted communion in every church, no matter what Christian denomination. If something as simple as this is still an issue, how can ecumenical talks get anywhere?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Parable of the Spoons

A holy man was having a conversation with the Lord one day and said, “Lord, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like. “The Lord led the holy man to two doors. He opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in. In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew which smelled delicious and made the holy man’s mouth water.

The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful, but because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths. The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering. The Lord said, “You have seen Hell.”

They went to the next room and opened the door.. It was exactly the same as the first one. There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man’s mouth water. The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking.
The holy man said, “I don’t understand.”

It is simple” said the Lord, “it requires but one skill. You see,
they have learned to feed each other. While the greedy think only of themselves.

(Found here.)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Sense of Right and Wrong

Even though I'm usually not posting much about politics, I found this quiz kind of fun (Found through Connexions)

"You exhibit a very well-developed sense of Right and Wrong and believe in economic fairness.
You are a

Social Liberal
(63% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(13% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Saturday, October 29, 2005

How magnificent is God?

Spero News - Wichita Episcopalian in evolution controversy
Carol Rupe said those who say Christians can't believe in evolution are being too narrow. "I think that makes God very small, if you say he created all of this in six literal days," she said. "I just think he's much more magnificent, much larger, than that."

It's so good to hear this from a Christian here in the US. In other parts of the world, this wouldn't be seen as a problem, but here it's always a big deal.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Rosa Parks dies

Rosa Parks, 92, died Monday, marking the end of an era. Parks became famous nearly 50 years ago when she refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama city bus. Read more

Monday, October 24, 2005

When is it due???

Last month when I went to Germany someone was asking me "When is it due?" I pretended not to know what the heck they were talking about, even though I pretty soon figured that they were thinking I was pregnant. I'm just somewhat overweight, though. And they didn't notice my braces! I almost told them the date my braces are due to come off. Some people just pay attention to the wrong things :-)

And that was not the only person who asked. My mom told me that someone inquired about the same thing after I had left. I hope they're all embarrassed when they find out what's really going on.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Swan's Braces

I finally put my braces blog up. I have updated it with pictures and descriptions for my first half year of braces. Go and have a look at Swan's Braces.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


He's waving good-bye. We've had newts for several years - we got our first pair in 1996 - but now it's time for them to go to another home. We just don't have the time or the energy any more to take care of them, so we are sending them to other people who do. A few of the newts already have arrived at their new home; for others, we are still negotiating who's going to get them.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


I took the picture of this swan during my trip to Germany last month. I love it that my name is associated with this great looking bird.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Sail away!

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

--Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Quote of the day

People who are unable to trust will never experience love.
- TrueFaced, p. 90

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Free Book!

I haven't read this book, but it sounds really interesting and you can even get it for free:

Somebodies and Nobodies is a book about rankism that dares to imagine a "dignitarian" world: one in which we treat each other with dignity regardless of our rank. When we treat people of different ranks with equal dignity, we overcome "rankism," just as we overcome racism by treating people of different races with equal dignity. Overcoming rankism is the next, natural, evolutionary step for democracy.

Supplies are very limited, so order today! Simply Join BookCrossing (also free of cost), and check the option to receive your free copy of this book. It couldn't be easier!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Back from Germany

I'm back from my trip to Germany. The outcome of the election was certainly very unusual for Germany. I'll post a picture or two from the trip soon.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


'You Raise Me Up' (Josh Groban)

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

There is no life - no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Quote of the day

The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.

Ecclesiastes 7:4

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Relief

From our church website:

Lake Avenue Church took donations for the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund in partnership with World Relief during last weekend's services. Together our church family raised over $100,000! Thank you so much for your generosity!

Where does the money actually go? If you have been watching or reading any of the news coverage of this horrible disaster, it has become clear that those hit the hardest by this disaster are those in the lower socio-economic portion of our society. It is the elderly, the orphans and it is also those people who were without the economic resources to leave their homes that are in the greatest need right now.

We're partnering with World Relief because it is an organization that works through network of local churches in the area of greatest need. So, in essence, our money goes to the rest of the Body of Christ, the church, so that together we can make a bigger impact for those in need. We're assisting churches who are in strategic locations to help those in desperate need. World Relief has already set up grants to churches in Houston, Memphis, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. These churches will house those displaced by Hurricane Katrina and will send relief supplies to the most affected regions. World Relief is also going to purchase and distribute much-needed generators and providing a plan for housing and resettlement services. Visit their website at to make additional donations and see their plan of action.

So that's were my first donation for this cause went. I've also logged it at "the truth laid bear" for the Hurricane Katrina: Blog for Relief Weekend

Friday, September 02, 2005

Body of Christ Teams Up to Respond to Hurricane Devastation

How have Christians around the world reacted to the suffering and devastation unleashed by Hurricane Katrina? With prayer and financial giving, according to a CrossWalk report that describes major disaster relief efforts.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hurricane Katrina: What can I do?

Blogonational and others have come together in a huge blog effort to provide relief for the area where the Hurricane Katrina hit and where the flooding is. Thursday September 1, 2005 has been designated as Hurricane Katrina: Blog For Relief Day. I found out about this over at Robin Lee Hatcher's blog: dig deep & give generously. Update: It has been extended into a Blog For Relief Weekend, September 1 to 5.

There is World Relief article put up at our church website, including news headlines, what you can do and a suggestion where to donate: Hurricane Katrina Devastated the Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama Gulf Coast. Special offerings for Katrina relief will be taken at our Sept. 3/4 weekend services, so that's when I'll donate.

If you don't want to wait until the weekend or your church doesn't take a special offering, here's a link to Donate at World Relief.

More news at - Katrina's Aftermath: 'Big Easy' in Big Trouble

So go ahead: Blog, pray, and donate!

Monday, August 22, 2005

How do you spell "love"?

Here's some good advice that I read today:
Before you get up in the morning and rush into your day, pause and pray: "Lord, don't let me waste this day. Whether or not I get anything else done, help me to spend today loving You and loving others - because that's what your Word says life is all about."

The best way to spell "love" is T-I-M-E! Spend quality time with those you love, give them your focused attention!

Sunday, August 21, 2005


I haven't posted for a while. One reason is that my laptop is broken, so I can't sit in my undisturbed creative space that much. Another one is that I have had things to do that were even more important than the blog, so I didn't have time for this.
I have another post in the works now, though, and I'll also be reviewing another book soon: The Thinking Toolbox.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Bono: Grace over Karma

An interesting excerpt from the new book Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas. In the book, , the rocker shares his thoughts on numerous topics with a French music journalist and friend who has been with the band virtually since the beginning: Bono: Grace over Karma

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Quote of the Day

One can give without loving, but one cannot love without giving. - Amy Carmichael

via Ian's Messy Desk

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Quote: God helps those who help themselves?!?

"Three quarters of Americans believe the Bible teaches that 'God helps those who help themselves.' That is, three out of four Americans believe that this uber-American idea, a notion at the core of our current individualist politics and culture, which was in fact uttered by Ben Franklin, actually appears in Holy Scripture. The thing is, not only is Franklin's wisdom not biblical; it's counter-biblical. Few ideas could be further from the gospel message, with its radical summons to love of neighbor."

- Author Bill McKibben, in his Harper's magazine essay, "The Christian Paradox"

Saturday, July 30, 2005


This weekend, we have a visitor at our church who might become our new pastor of worship. He gave the choir three psalms and a chapter from Ephesians to read as "homework" for preparation. In the light of what's happening at LAC (see post below) which he couldn't have known about when he selected these readings, the following excerpts stood out to me the most:

Psalm 9:10 Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Psalm 24
3 Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.

Ephesians 4:25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.

Psalm 133:1 How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!

Through everything, let's trust God. Let's find out and admit what our problems are and solve them together. Let's not put an idol before us that may distract us.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Sad news

Lake Avenue Church pastor resigns - Gordon Kirk, senior pastor of Lake Avenue Church, shocked members of his huge congregation when he resigned last weekend, citing "personal character attacks" and disrespect for his leadership from a vocal minority in the church.

We, the congregation got a little glimps of it during the congregational meeting just a couple of months ago. But I didn't think that the problem was that big. It seemed that things could be worked out or at least that everyone in some kind of leadership position, such as the members of the ministry council, were just as reasonable as he was in working things out when disagreements arose. I guess I must have been wrong. It must have been just the tip of the iceberg.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Review: Unlock the Prison Doors

Disclaimer: "Unlock the Prison Doors" by Terry C. Barber was given to me through Mind & Media as a gift from the Publisher who donated the books for reviewers.

The book is based on the theme of "the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven" mentioned in Matthew 6:13-19. The author explores several of these keys.

I like the informal, casual style of this book. In his Bible citations, the author uses mostly the NKJV, though, which doesn't fit with his otherwise casual writing style.
In addition, there are tons of spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes that distract from the content. They could have easily been avoided by giving the manuscript to someone for basic editing. It appears like he submitted a late draft of the book instead of the final version.

What intrigued me most about the book before reading it was the subtitle "Keys to Breaking the Chains of Habitual Sin". Even though the keys he explores are important elements, unfortunately, the author doesn't go into enough detail. I had hoped that some of the fictional examples that are introduced early in the book would be expanded on later, but unfortunately, that doesn't happen. The way they are, they illustrate some of the common habitual sins, but don't really help breaking the chain of these habitual sins. For example, the only advice on overeating is "Not until Uncle Ebee submits himself to some simple dietary laws, like don't over-eat and eat a balanced diet with regular exercise, will he begin to lose weight." Everybody knows that that's basically the solution in a nutshell, but figuring out how to do this and how to stick with the plan is where most people fail. This is not addressed by the author at all, though.

Perhaps a second printing of a revised and condensed version as a booklet that's a basic overview including relevant Bible passages would be more useful.

Other reviews

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Harry Potter

I've never had a problem with the Harry Potter books. In fact, I've loved reading them all.

John Granger says he knows why people love J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books:
Finding Christianity -- in Harry Potter.

Here's another article that makes a good point, many people who are critical of the books haven't even read them, so they don't really know what they are talking about!

A quote from Christianity Today - The Return of Harry Potter:
The Bible clearly condemns witchcraft and tells Christians to "avoid every kind of evil" (1 Thess. 5:22). But for the most part, Christian experts agree that the world of wizards and spells created by Rowling is not the same as the occult-type practices Scripture condemns. "The magic in these books is purely mechanical," says Charles Colson, Christianity Today magazine columnist and head of Breakpoint ministries. "Harry and his friends don't make contact with the supernatural world." The magic serves as a framework for the story, a technique used by writers as far back as Shakespeare, Tolkien and de Troyes (the creator of the King Arthur tales).

According to Italian theologian Massimo Intovigne, "Magic is the main metaphor for life in fairy tales. If one should ban Harry Potter, one should also ban Peter Pan, Cinderella and Pinocchio. Harry Potter, unlike a number of cartoon superheroes, doesn't win because he's more proficient at magic than the bad guys. He wins because he's intelligent and brave, and more human than his opponents. What the bad guys utterly lack is human feelings and basic human values."

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Dad's Empty Chair

A friend forwarded this story to me today. It reminds me of my own experience of not knowing how to pray and then realizing what it's about:

A man's daughter had asked the local minister to come and pray with her father.

When the minister arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows. An empty chair sat beside his bed. The minister assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit.

"I guess you were expecting me," he said.

"No, who are you?" said the father.

The minister told him his name and then remarked, "I saw the empty chair and I figured you knew I was going to show up."

"Oh yeah, the chair," said the bedridden man. "Would you mind closing the door?"

Puzzled, the minister shut the door.

"I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter," said the man. "But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right over my head.

I abandoned any attempt at prayer," the old man continued, "until one day four years ago. My best friend said to me, "Johnny, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here is what I suggest."

"Sit down in a chair; place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It's not spooky because he promised, 'I will be with you always.' Then just speak to him in the same way you're doing with me right now."

"So, I tried it and I've liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I'm careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she'd either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm."

The minister was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old man to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, anointed him with oil, and returned to the church.

Two nights later the daughter called to tell the minister that her daddy had died that afternoon. "Did he die in peace?" he asked.

"Yes, when I left the house about two o'clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me he loved me and kissed me on the cheek."

"When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But there was something strange about his death. Apparently, just before Daddy died he leaned over and rested his head on the chair beside the bed. What do you make of that?"

The minister wiped a tear from his eye and said, "I wish we could all go like that."

Author Unknown

Sunday, July 10, 2005

A conference blog

Sven Koenig at ASAMAS
Sven Koenig at ASAMAS,
originally uploaded by aaai05blog.
That's the first time I've seen that a conference has its own blog. My husband told me about it, because he's at the conference. The screen they have there is huge as you can see from the picture. Go to AAAI blog if you want to learn a bit more about what's going on at the conference.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

No end to God's Love

This post at Robin Lee Hatcher's blog "words, words, words" reminds me of something we sang at church a couple of months ago.

She cites from a psalm:
Oh, the joys of those who trust the LORD,
who have no confidence in the proud,
or in those who worship idols.
O LORD my God, you have done many miracles for us.
Your plans for us are too numerous to list.
If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds,
I would never come to the end of them.

(Psalm 40:4-5, NLT)

Especially the third verse of the song expresses this as well:

Frederick M Lehman
The Love of God
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Jesus and Justice

Jesus and Justice - Christianity Today Magazine: I learned something new about Billy Graham today. This article describes how Billy Graham tactfully led evangelicals on race at his first New York City crusade.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Quote of the day

The hero's journey does begin by leaving the safety of the village.
- Sandra Tsing Loh

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Would you like to be a reviewer?

Mind and Media are still accepting reviewers for a variety of Christian books, sometimes also DVDs or videos. The books are free - you review them on your blog! Check it out.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Review: Escaping the Matrix

Disclaimer: "Escaping the Matrix" by Gregory A. Boyd and Al Larson was given to me through Mind & Media as a gift from the Publisher who donated the books for reviewers.

Summary: The premise of this book is that it is not enough to know or to be able to recite true information, because it doesn't result in transformation, only experiencing the truth will lead to transformation.

The authors call the total package of lies that infiltrate our minds "the Matrix" in reference to the "Matrix" movies. After explaining in detail the nature of this Matrix in part one of the book, the second part deals with ways of escaping the Matrix. They propose a number of exercises that change the representations of some key events of your life.

There are a some passages of the book that I really liked. One example is the illustration they use about the "tree of knowledge of good and evil" as acting as though you knew ultimate good and evil. Another is their description of God's perfect love.

But the fact that the authors are trying to translate everything they say into Matrix lingo often makes the text cumbersome to read. This language of "Matrix", "neurochips", etc is hard to follow even if one is familiar with the Matrix movies.

The authors suggest exercises to fix things on your own instead of real experience in community with others. I'm not a psychologist, but to me it seems dangerous to try the suggested exercises on your own. Either you don't have a severe traumatic experience to work through. Then good information presented with conviction and the experience of a loving Christian community, worship, and real stories have a deeper and more wholesome effect. These can provide the experiences that lead to true transformation. Or you have a severe phobia, history of abuse, or other traumatic experience. Then you need an experienced counselor, not exercises to do on your own (Even the authors' own examples come from counseling sessions they did).

Read other people's reviews.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Want to read a couple of books each month?

Recently, a friend mentioned that she doesn't get a lot of reading done. She did mention that she did some reading a couple of times before bed, though. When she checked her bookmark, she was surprised that she'd already read a couple of chapters.

If you'd like to read more, but are not sure how to fit it into your schedule, commit to reading just a few pages before bed. Or if you regularly take the bus, like me, read on your commute.

Each night before bed, curl up with a good book and commit to reading one chapter each night, if the book chapters are fairly short. If the chapters are long, simply commit to reading 10 pages each night.

In doing this, you can read anywhere from two to three books each month!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Lukewarm or on fire?

Robin writes:
A backslidden or lukewarm Christian who is not in prayer, who is not serving the Lord, who is not reading the Bible, who is not growing in faith is no problem to the devil. After all, he has already lost that soul. He can't drag a believer into hell, but he can hope to keep them ineffective. When he sees a Christian beginning to get fired up for Christ (as was happening in me though I didn't recognize it yet), Satan doesn't like it because when said Christian gets fired up and begins to pray and live for God, he or she will make a difference for the kingdom. Guaranteed. You cannot love God and not have it spill over onto other people.

This paragraph reminds me of my own life.

I used to be a lukewarm Christian. Then I was basically dragged away from church entirely for a few years. But God intervened via the move of significant other and via a friend so I began to get fired up and pray and live for God. From then on, no amount of mocking could drag me away from Him anymore.

It's Meme Time!

Northern 'burbs blog has tagged anyone who hasn't been tagged with this meme yet. I'm biting.

Total Number Of Books Owned Ever:
Too many to count. Currently a few hundred. But I've given away and sold a lot of books when moving and just inbetween after reading them.

Last Book Bought:
The last one I remember buying was Catching Katie by Robin Lee Hatcher. But I might have bought something at the thrift store after that.

Last Book I Read:
The last book I finished reading was Escaping the Matrix by Gregory A. Boyd and Al Larson (my review is in preparation).

Five Books That Mean A Lot To Me:

The Bible - Obviously :-)
The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis - A senior demon, Screwtape, coaches his diabolical nephew Wormwood in the finer points of tempting his "patient" away from God.
Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch in Marriage by Lee and Leslie Strobel - It contains lots of useful advice if you are in this situation. You know you're not alone.
Quo Vadis by by Henryk Sienkiewicz - I read the German translation when I was about fourteen years old after watching the movie which had a big impact on me.
Information Storage and Retrieval by Robert Korfhage - Written by my advisor in the PhD program.

Tag someone else?
Please consider yourself tagged if you haven't done this meme yet. I think all my favorite blogs have already been tagged. Please leave a note in the comments if you are answering these questions following my invitation.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Rachel's Challenge

- posted by Peggie Bohanon
June 15, 2005 -- ViaMedia, a Midland, Texas, Christian video
production company, has produced "Rachel's Challenge," a short film now
in a finalist position for the Amazon/Tribeca Film Festival Short-Film
Competition. The film is a Christian testimonial to the life of the
late Rachel Scott, killed in the Columbine High School shooting when
she refused to deny her faith. Jon Lindgren, ViaMedia owner, comments,
"ViaMedia...specializes in positive moral programming. And I'm a
producer who specializes in spiritual and inspirational productions.
The story satisfied both those areas by incorporating positive moral
programming into its story line, while revealing a Christian message at
the same time." Christians can view and vote for this film at Amazon's
screening room, with voting closed at 6 p.m., Pacific Standard Time,
on Saturday, June 18.

From: INTERNET FOR CHRISTIANS Digest from June 10, 2005 to June 17, 2005 (Copyright 2003 Gospel Communications International)

Sunday, June 05, 2005

A Conversation with Philip Yancey

This is a great interview that is a must-read, it starts like this:

Mars Hill: Philip, you grew up in a fundamentalist family in the Bible belt, an environment which you described as having "vaccinated you against spiritual truth." What does this mean?

PY: Well, a vaccination is when you get a small dose of something that is very similar to a real disease organism. The smallpox vaccination started out with cowpox, but it was close enough to smallpox so that if you got a cowpox vaccination you wouldn't get smallpox. When smallpox came around, then your body automatically rejected it because it recognized cowpox as an enemy and found ways to cope with it. I think that's what happened to me growing up. The words of the Bible were used but they were misused.

To read the whole thing, go to: A Conversation with Philip Yancey. Michael Cusick probes the heart of one of Christendom's best thinkers. Copyright © 1994 Mars Hill Review 1 Founded in 1994 · Premier Issue: pgs 89-102.

(Via Christian Book Classics)

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Have you ever contributed to a wiki?

Here's a definition of what a wiki is: Wiki on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia which is itself a wiki, too.

Have you ever contributed to a wiki? What are your experiences?

Monday, May 30, 2005

Proverb of the day

A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.
- Spanish proverb

Sunday, May 29, 2005

FREE to sing, laugh, dance…create

I was taking a walk and window shopping, when I saw these figurines in a store window. I'd never seen those before. I think they are awesome, expressing a concept, quality, or feeling in a simple, but expressive way.
The one shown above is called Happiness - "FREE to sing, laugh, dance…create", created by Susan Lordi.

Update on Reading and Reviewing

I'm now over half way through reading "Escaping the Matrix". I also received another book to review: "Unlock the Prison Doors". And I am expecting one or two others, one soon, one in a few months.

For some reason, I find "Escaping the Matrix" tough to read. Therefore, it is taking me a long time. But I'll have a review eventually. I'm taking notes while reading so I don't forget what I want to say.

Mind & Media is needing more great reviewers. So if you like reading and blogging, head on over and let Stacy know that you'd like to review.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Creative Think

Creative Think is a site by Roger von Oech. The page changes to a new tip for creative thinking each time you reload.

One of my favorites: Be Wacky. More ideas are generated in a whacky and fun mood. What can you take less seriously?

(Via 43 Folders)

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Harry Potter facts

On July 16, the new Harry Potter book will be out. Here are some fun facts to hold you over until then:
MuggleNet - Half-Blood Prince - Facts
Those in my family who read the book in German will have to wait until October, though, when the translated version is ready.

And in November, there'll be another Harry Potter movie.

Are you going to read the book and watch the movie like I will?
I've started seeing count-downs to the release of the sixth Harry Potter book: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince so here is mine:

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

What is your worldview?

My result:

You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.
Cultural Creative

What is Your World View?
created with

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Quote of the day

One who claims to be a sceptic of one set of beliefs is actually a true believer in another set of beliefs.
- Phillip E. Johnson

Monday, May 16, 2005

Catching Katie

A while ago, I started following Robin Lee Hatcher's blog I Was Just Thinking. I hadn't read any of her books. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I got a sample of her novel Catching Katie through an email book club. I'm usually read many novels, but this time, the description seemed interesting and the start of the first chapter that was delivered on the first day of the book club week made me want to read more. I kept reading for the whole week and then bought the book to read the rest of the story. I wasn't disappointed. I can highly recommend this novel. Especially if you are a woman or you'd like some romance or you're interested in women's issues or any combination of the above.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Xx Xxxxxx Alone

He's caring, he is gentle.
His parents must have been fighting for a long time, eventually they divorced when he was about finished with highschool. He was intelligent and always got the best grades at school. He poured all of his engergies into his studies. And now he thinks that he doesn't need God. In fact, he says that God doesn't even exist.

I'm sad when I think about what he's missing. He doesn't have to do it all on his own. God's always there for him. But he doesn't understand. He keeps pretending that God doesn't exist.

This post was prompted by
From The Morning: She Was Too Strong For Training Wheels.

In Christ Alone

This is one of my favorite worship songs. We are going to sing it again with the Celebration choir next weekend.

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
'Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost it's grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Brought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
'Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand


My mind needed some rest for the last week or two. I started reading Escaping the Matrix and so far it has been great and it is densly packed with information. After that, though, I had one of those times, when I just couldn't concentrate on that much information. So I put this book aside and read a novel instead. I couldn't even get myself to post on the blog. I'm finished with the novel now and have had enough rest, so I'll post more about both books and other news soon.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Favorite albums

World of Sven has A musical idea, asking his readers to list our two or three favorite albums of all time and why we like them so much.

My three albums are
  • The Mamas and the Papas - 16 Greatest Hits - My husband and I play this one on the car stereo a lot. When we were students, not yet living in California, but in Pennsylvania, we often went to a diner where we heard "California Dreaming" (the Beach Boys version, but the version by the Mamas and the Papas is definitely better). My husband always wanted to live in California and now this dream has come true. In addition, this is a style of music that we both love to listen to, and he doesn't mind when I sing along to some of the songs.
  • WOW Worship Blue - The first album of contemporary Christian music I ever bought, and the only one I owned for quite a while. It as a lot of the songs that we sang at church at the time, so it's connected to some good memories.
  • Chris Tomlin - Arriving - I don't even own this album (yet), but we are singing many of these songs with our choir at church. We get samples to practice the songs, so I've listened to most of the tracks. I love to listen to them and to sing the songs myself with the choir.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Escaping the Matrix

I've just received Gregory A Boyd and Al Larson's new book "Escaping the Matrix. I will be reviewing it for Mind & Media. Stay tuned for the review.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

What kind of American English does Swan speak?

Your Linguistic Profile:

70% General American English
15% Dixie
15% Yankee
0% Midwestern
0% Upper Midwestern

What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

Benedict XVI

A new pope has been elected today. Joseph Ratzinger, the German cardinal is now Pope Benedict XVI.

The news commentator here on ABC set up a false contrast between John Paul II reaching out to other faiths and Ratzinger saying that religions other than Christianity don't have the road to salvation (I'm citing this from memory). The way he put it, there was no contradiction there, but most viewers probably didn't realize that...

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Wikipedia - Languages

Another interesting featured article today at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - Aramaic language.
I also recommend checking out the List of languages by total speakers, find your native language (or maybe a language you've learned as a second language) and see where it's spoken.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Today's featured article

At Wikipedia, today's featured article is about the names of God in Judaism. The various names of God in Judaism represent God as he is known, as well as the divine aspects which are attributed to him. Interesting stuff.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Funny thing about braces

A funny thing happened today. One of my co-workers, who I usually talk with a couple of times a day, noticed my braces for the first time. It's been 20 days that I've had them! It took her almost three weeks to discover them. The metal in the mouth must fit me well.

It may help that I try to be as natural as possible with them, not hiding my smile or anything. The only time I get self-conscious about my braces is if I've just eaten something and I suspect that some food may be stuck in there.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Sunday, April 03, 2005

How to Get Your Husband to Talk to You

My husband and I communicate pretty well, but when I saw this book on the shelf at the library I thought, why not, it's always good to improve communication.

So how do you get your husband to talk to you? Not by reading the book with the above title written by Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby.

Many of the authors' suggestions, especially in part 1, just don't apply to my husband. They seem to assume that all husbands or men are like theirs, but mine is different.
Unfortunately, since they cover a large amount of topics, they have to stay on the surface with every topic they cover. Even though they spend three chapters on forgiveness, for example, that only amounts to seven pages which isn't enough to go into any detail.

If you need a checklist and then want do further reading on the issues you need to work on most, the book may be useful, but for that purpose I would have expected a nice reference section, with books and articles for further reading on every topic, much more than is included in the Notes section.

So I'm not renewing the book, but returning it to the library after having read about half of it.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Blog for Books

I think blogging reviews is a wonderful idea. I love to read anyway and it it makes sense to let people know what I think about a book. So I'm becoming a reviewer at Mind & Media. Reviews will be posted here, so stay tuned. Just watch for the Exclusive Reviewer banner at the top of a post.

Thursday, March 31, 2005


I finally got my braces on Friday. My twelve front teeth are all wired up now. The very next day, a thousand people got to see them..., well, if they had telescope eyes. We were singing with the choir at the Easter services on Saturday and Sunday. I've gotten many positive comments, others don't care, and only one or two people made some kind of disapproving remark. I think my attitude helps. As long as I have them, let's have fun, not trying to hide anything. What better first impression than a big smile?

The toughest thing was singing all those words at a fast pace on the weekend, because it involves a lot of movement of the lips. More than I had realized before.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Happy Easter

Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we've been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven - and the future starts now!
[1 Peter 1:3-4 (The Message)]

Friday, March 25, 2005


by Mary Sullivan

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her.  She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up.  She was tired of fighting and struggling.  It seemed as if as soon as one problem was solved a new one arose.  Her mother took her to the kitchen.

The mother filled three pots with water.
In the first, she placed carrots.
In the second she placed eggs.
And in the last she placed ground coffee beans.

She let them sit and boil without saying a word.  About twenty minutes later, she turned off the burners.
She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she said, "Tell me what you see."
"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied. (You known the tone of voice.)

She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did, and noted that they felt soft.

She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg inside.

Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee.  The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.

The daughter then asked, "So, what's the point, mother?" (Remember the tone of voice.)

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity - boiling water - but each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile.  Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid center. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its insides had become hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however.  After they were in the boiling water...they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her daughter.  "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond?  Are you a carrot , an egg, or a coffee bean?"

Think of this: Which am I?

Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat?
Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship, or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff?  Does my outer shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean?  The bean actually changes the hot water - the very circumstances that bring the pain.  When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor of the bean.  If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you instead of letting it change you.

When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level?

How do you handle Adversity?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Water for Life

Today is World Water Day. Here are some water-related facts:
  • 1.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water.
  • 2.2 billion people lack access to improved sanitation (latrines, hand washing, etc.).
  • Safe drinking-water and basic sanitation help prevent water-related disease, including diarrhoeal diseases, and others.
  • The reliability of drinking-water supplies and improved water management in human settlement areas reduce transmission risks of malaria and dengue fever.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Quote of the Day

" What a tiring way to live, when your self-worth is constantly relying on the affirmation and approval of others."

Darlene Zschech

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Back to the basics

Telling The Truth:
Why don't you start with something simple? Start by admitting the truth about yourself. Let no creed, tradition, reputation, or religion hold you back. If it is true about you, own up to it and let the chips fall where they may.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Book Stops Here

Wired 13.03: The Book Stops Here

A fascinating article about the history of Wikipedia and the people behind it.

Friday, March 11, 2005


Lighter of lights – illumine us
Fire of fires – thaw us
Power of powers – strengthen us
Lover of lovers – warm us

Teller of tales – encourage us
Destroyer of darkness – save us
Touchstone of truth – examine us
Summoner of stars – amaze us

Wellspring of wisdom – weather us
Water of life – refresh us
Dancer of days – delight in us
Breath of the universe – bless us

Ruth Burgess

Cited from Grace's Lent Blog

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Would you pay 5 cents for a song?

A McGill academic has a plan to end file swapping and save the music industry. Here's an excerpt from the article:

Pearlman proposes putting all recorded music on a robust search engine -- Google would be an ideal choice, but even iTunes might work -- and charging an insignificant fee of, say, five cents a song. In addition, a 1 per cent sales tax would be placed on Internet services and new computers -- two industries that many argue have profited enormously from rampant file-sharing, but haven't had to compensate artists.

The assumption is that if songs cost only 5 cents, people would download exponentially more music.


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Gender Equality Beyond 2005

I just found out that today is International Women's Day.

International Women’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women. (For more see History.)

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Everybody's weird

When we enter relationships with the illusion that people are
normal, we resist the truth that they are not. We enter an endless
attempt to fix them, control them, or pretend that they are what
they're not. One of the great marks of maturity is to accept the
fact that everybody comes "as is."

-John Ortberg in his new book "Everybody's Normal Till You Get To Know Them"

Monday, February 28, 2005

New food groups

The spacers have changed the way I'm thinking about food. All of a sudden the food groups are not fruit, vegetables, meat, grains, etc., but very soft or liquid (no teeth required), soft (can be processed using the pressure of the tongue or light chewing), not so soft (may be uncomfortable but probably safe), and hard or sticky.

On Friday, the spacers were taken out and now I have metal bands cemented around my molars. Eating is easier now, actually, because the teeth fit together again. So anything but hard or sticky food which could cause some damage is usually not a problem. I just have to rinse my mouth and brush my teeth after every meal.

Population 1. Plus 5,000 Volumes.

MONOWI, Neb. — Weeds twine around the disintegrating remnants of the water tower and sprout in a tangle through the floorboards of the grandest house in town. The Methodist church, gray with rot, slumps toward the frozen ground. An empty mailbox flaps open on a gravel rut that was once a road.

The people of Monowi have died or moved — all but one: Elsie Eiler. Brisk and unsentimental at 71, she lives in the one home still fit for living in, a snug trailer with worn white siding. She runs the one business left in Monowi, a dark, wood-paneled tavern, thick with smoke.

She also runs the library.

The Centered Librarian.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Magic Castle

Finally we went to the Magic Castle again after a few months of not going -- busy lives. We had a guest from out of town. I'm amazed that I'm still fascinated and impressed by all the magic, even though I know how a lot of things work, because I've seen a lot of explanations. Paul Wilson does great close-up magic. (R. Paul Wilson, is second unit director of "Shade", a movie I recommend if you haven't seen it already. Some of it was shot in the Magic Castle.) I also liked the ambience of the dove magic in the Palace.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Spacers and Banding

Welcome to my new blog.

Finally they are starting my orthodontic treatment, i.e. I'm getting braces. After all the preliminaries like cleaning and getting your cavities filled, the first thing they put into your mouth are "spacers". Unless you've had braces yourself you may go "What's that"? I was asking the same thing and found a great website to answer this and other questions: Braces 101.