Whoa, looking at my list of posts there on the right, I see I have overloaded January with talk of the Orthodox Church! I appreciate those who have attempted to read and offer feedback. I've found quite a bit of it fascinating and new, but I know not everyone appreciates history and more specifically Christian church history. So...thanks for putting up with those. Unbelievably I'm not even finished the book so I will likely have many more posts if I keep up my current trend of discussing each chapter. But since I've gotten vibes that I'm going too fast - and I know the posts are so long, but they just have too much stuff in those chapters! - I will try to space them out a bit more. I heard those sighs of relief! :-)
Today I wanted to just record a few random things.
Like the fact that every time I go to the library, I see more and more books I want to read! All this history I've been reading has made me more curious about life back then so yesterday I found a section on European history, the rise of Christianity there and life in a medieval city...such things that made me jot down their titles and shelf numbers. I even started keeping a list in a notebook (I'll call it The List) so I can easily find books that for one reason or another caught my eye. I have books concerning North Korea, American politics, the 9/11 terrorists, the Appalachian culture, India's part in this global age, Islam, Christianity, the Bible, on and on. Some are books others recommended on their blogs that I found in my county's libraries. (Thank you, online catalog!)
Another thing: I watched a movie last Saturday! Church friends, Mike and Cindy (the one who owns 90% of the fiction books I read last year), had us over for supper (soup, sandwiches and salad...and chocolate pie) and then we watched The Bucket List. I loved the funny parts, but the movie was a bit sad because I knew the whole time the two friends were dying. Death lingering over the movie just...well, it was a touching movie. I was wiping tears off my face towards the end.
I've finished two books recently, but neither are the two I started on January 1. Both were on Africa. And not on The List so you see how The List is only going to continue growing in numbers of books to-be-read if I keep getting distracted by other random books that jump off library shelves. I really need to stay away from the library so I can read the books I got for Christmas! But - I tell myself - many of those are books I may want to blog about and I'm already blogging The Orthodox Church to death and don't want to have too many irons in the fire.
Speaking of that, I love idioms! Especially ones that I know. Occasionally I teach Samer new idioms like yesterday when we were talking of Tunisia and I said "He (meaning the President) saw the handwriting on the wall" and got to explain that one! Do you know I attempted to teach Samer idioms before he took the TOEFL a couple of years ago. Sadly there are many more than we could cover, but he did fantastically well on the test....not to my credit since he started learning English when he was 8 and met me when he was 22! He is trying to pick up my southern accent, but, ehhhh, southern talk on an Arabic speaker just doesn't quite fit! I tell him his accent is fine to me as it is and there is absolutely no need to say "tiiiin" for "ten" as I do!
I won a contest! OK, I was one of five winners actually. Organica had a giveaway. Initially people were supposed to offer a hadeeth that wasn't very common, but pertained to life today. I told her the idea was cute, but hadeeths aren't my thing and I have no clue what is well-known since I'm not Muslim. She opened it up to all faiths so I offered a saying of Jesus that I thought would be appropriate. I got the colorful bag in Monday's mail!
I was reading through a modern version of the New Testament that I bought just prior to our trip to Syria. It is small and I wanted to take it since it would more easily fit in my luggage. Anyway, I was reading through some chapters in Matthew, trying to meditate on things rather than breeze through it quickly as I am prone to do. Reading without thinking about stuff deeply isn't always good. 'Specially when it's Jesus' words and life being discussed! I got stuck on the first line of Matthew 12:12 which in that version reads: "Surely a human being is more important than a sheep." See how normally that would be breeze-worthy? Yet this time I stopped and thought of that simple sentence. What did sheep represent back then? Wealth. Property. Livelihood. Maybe food for the family. Or a sacrifice for sins. Possibly, but not as likely, a pet. Jesus recognized this and knew the Jews would rescue a sheep that "fell into a ditch" even if it were on their Sabbath. Yet the self righteous people faulted Jesus for healing on that holy day! Surely, you people do realize a human life is more important than your wealth, your property, your livelihood, your food, your sacrifice, your pet. Jesus' lesson to me: PEOPLE MATTER TO HIM. And they should, by extension, matter to those who follow him.
Another reminder for me from a publication: Is anything too hard for The Almighty? I love being reminded of this. It seems so simple written there, but very profound.
One last thing. Imagine your heart as a house with a few rooms. Now when difficulties and disappointments come into your life (and they inevitably do arrive at some point), complaint comes in and makes itself at home. He is a very tough guest to rid...probably because we often welcome him by joining along in his complaining. Which continues filling the house. Instead,the author reminds us to invite trust into the house. "Trust and complaint are incompatible roommates. One inevitably pushes the other out,depending on who is made to feel more at home."* I don't know about you, but I want to make trust in God more welcome in my heart. Join me and let's start praising God and remembering that nothing is too hard for Him! Let's have faith that our God is the God who can do that which seems impossible and find joy and peace as we rest in His love and care.
Have a wonderful weekend!
* quoted from "The Land Between" by Jeff Manion, InTouch, January 2011