Neuroplasticity, (and other foreign languages).

swedish-flag-2432445_1920I’m trying to learn Swedish.  My son-in-law, the family Swede, says that such a project is not terribly practical since only an impressive minority of people on the planet speak his native tongue. 

Since when is the grandmother of the most precious one-year-old in the universe expected to be practical??  So, Duolingo gives me updates on how I’m doing.  Currently, it says I’m around 34% fluent in Swedish.

Clearly, they define “fluency” differently than I do.  For example, if I wanted to say something like, “your dinosaur has a funny nose”, I would be woefully lost for words.

And Duolingo doesn’t teach you any expletives, which probably a good thing when you’re a 58-year-old trying to learn a new language…. Continue reading “Neuroplasticity, (and other foreign languages).”

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Just do it!

I can only imagine how many trips to the bank the folks who came up with that Nike slogan have made.  That, and their very recognizable “swoosh” mark, created by Carolyn Davidson, then a graphic design student at Portland State U.  Phil Knight, the company’s co-founder, wanted a design to convey speed and motion.  With this in mind, Mr. Knight chose this representation of Nike’s wing. And, of course, with Nike being the Greek goddess of victory, that must have seemed appropriate to the branding department. 

I also think their phrase “Just Do It” is brilliant.  I see plenty of young competitors in my school nurse’s office with minor bump and bruises due to their budding athletic experience.  I have to remind myself that at this stage, these kids are on the steep end of the learning curve when it comes to sore muscles and growling coaches.  For most of them, it’s a matter of ice, NSAIDs, maybe a little taping, no whining allowed, back to class. Continue reading “Just do it!”

Snack time!

popcorn-1085072_1920I love to eat.  In recent years, it has been showing a bit more than in the past. 

One of my challenges, when it comes to food, other than the fact that I live in a place of overabundance and a culture of overindulgence, is that I have a touch of hypoglycemia.  Low blood sugar, that is.  Hypoglycemia isn’t mere hunger pangs and gastro-growling.  Hypoglycemia manifests itself in things like blurring of vision, headache, jitteriness, and irritability.  When it hits, I’ll grab just about anything besides what I should since the craving for sugar is my body’s way to sustain life, even though it may be temporary. Continue reading “Snack time!”

FOMO

Here’s a new one on me: FOMO, which stands for Fear Of Missing Out.  In a social context, I think it means that staying home to read a book may lead to a missed opportunity at a good party.

Typically, I’m more of a bookworm myself…

Nevertheless, people-connection is important for several reasons, albeit in varying amounts for different people.  Here’s the story of a big event back in the Old Testament—the first real Passover in a L-O-N-G time.  King Hezekiah has chucked his family culture of worshiping idols and made the decision to follow after God “wholeheartedly”.  As the party is gearing up, he sends out invitations with an interesting response:

“The runners went from town to town throughout Ephraim and Manasseh and as far as the territory of Zebulun. But most of the people just laughed at the runners and made fun of them.  However, some people from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem.”

Hezekiah was offering them more than a good time, (which it was, BTW, and lasted two weeks minimum!)  He was summoning the people back to truth, to know and worship the one true God, and such invitations usually have mixed reactions.  Here’s what I see:

Truth is not compulsory.  These people were invited, not threatened.  Likewise, the Holy Spirit is a gentleman; He forces Himself on no one.  This is a tenant of God’s truth: coerced Christianity is an oxymoron, and historically, a tragic mistake.

Truth invites open derision.  Not a mere polite, “no, thank you”.  I should expect my fair share of it.  After all, Jesus Himself was crucified.

Truth will have a minority following.  I’m certainly not against large churches, as long as the people are taught truth.  But, related to point #1 above, since truth is offensive, it always leaves the door unlocked for those who choose to leave… 

…because following truth takes humility.  Humility is seeing myself as God see me, which is usually not how I see myself.  Humility brings me into a right relationship with my Creator.  As such, true humility is a gift.

Now here’s an interesting postscript:

“At the same time, God’s hand was on the people in the land of Judah, giving them all one heart to obey the orders of the king and his officials, who were following the word of the LORD.”

If that doesn’t demonstrate the importance of being a part of an active church fellowship, I don’t know what does!  Contrast the reaction of the people in Judah, the hub of God’s activity, the ground zero of His spiritual explosion, with the reaction of the people on the fringe who were far removed from this fellowship. 

So, here’s my last point:

Accepting truth is one thing, but stewarding that truth in my life is different matter.  We are created to need each other—encouragement, correction, support.  That whole “do not forsake the assembling of yourselves” takes on practical perspective.  In fact, the rest of the chapter is a fine example of healthy spiritual momentum, and the social part it plays in our lives.

card-1800383_1920Too bad the people who were left out of the party didn’t have a little more FOMO, because this was a gig they didn’t need to miss.

Thankfully, the invitation is still open for us.

2 Chronicles 30: 10-12  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Sticks and stones really do hurt

wood 2Believe it or not, they come in all colors, shapes and sizes, even genders and age groups.  They’re pretty universal.  And they’re getting quite a bit of well-deserved press these days.

Bullies, that is.  We even had to watch a mandated presentation at work about bullying and related topics of abuse that can happen in (and out of) the school environment.  After all, it is the responsibility of every adult to endeavor to make the school a safe place for the children. 

Of course, one would think that concept was also universal, but alas… Continue reading “Sticks and stones really do hurt”

“What we have here is a failure to communicate…”

Ever know someone with “a chip on their shoulder”?  One story has that phrase originating from the idea of two boys picking a fight with each other, the one putting a wood chip on his shoulder and daring the other to knock the chip off, thus initiating the knock-down-drag-out. 

The problem with chips on shoulders is that they tend to fall off on their own, starting fights when none were intended.  For example: Continue reading ““What we have here is a failure to communicate…””

You mean I can relax?

IMG_20150103_172451138Sitting on the deck in the cool morning air of a quiet Pacific Northwest morning, I hear a light tapping on the inside window and turn to see our youngest and her 6-month old peering out to say good morning.  That is to say, the 6-month old wanted to say good morning; mommy wanted a hand off and go back to bed for an hour or so.

Of course, for a first-time mother, it’s still kind of new, this hand off thing, even if it’s to her own mother who raised three children.  Immediately after the pass, mommy was still admonishing me to let her know right away if Sweet One starts crying because she might need to be fed, and oh, she might have pooped and need a diaper change, and….

Honey, go to bed.  Right now.  I’ve got this. 

 So while I was enjoying that grandmother thing, it occurs to me that this is exactly what my Father is telling me.  Continue reading “You mean I can relax?”

The clarity of a foggy morning

wood 2An early morning in June along the Pacific coast in Oregon is a little different than mid-summer in good ‘ole land locked Missouri.  By now, the heat is already stifling and the humidity is beading the on the brow back home, even if I’m in the shade.  Here up north on a family vacation, sitting out on the porch, I’m wearing sweats, sweat shirt, Bob’s hat, wrapped in blanket and drinking hot tea.

Does this place actually exist, or am I just dreaming?

They do have humidity, however.  It’s in the form of fog, and lots of it.  It hangs heavily over the mountains in the distance, and even the near pines are hiding on this particular morning. At least intermittently.  I mean, they kind of come and go.  Continue reading “The clarity of a foggy morning”

God’s “love language*”

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280In the part of the Christian pool that I tend to swim in, corporate and private worship takes on many different forms.  Personally, I not one to dance, but I don’t begrudge those who find that particular expression of worship fulfilling.  I do like singing, as well as “dinging, shaking, and otherwise banging” on various instruments.  And generally, those swimming around with me don’t begrudge me that, either.

I was very, very blessed to grow up in a deeply authentic denominational church with a L-O-N-G history of evangelical mission-oriented Continue reading “God’s “love language*””

Challenged accepted!

wood 2If Truth in Palmyra thinks he can throw down the gauntlet and get away with it, then I’m in!  (And I hope, if you’re reading this, you are also!)

Here’s the meme he posted:

another-world

To which my comment included:

“How would I live now if I really embrace fully this concept? What would be different about my responses and concerns?”

Followed by his invitation of:

“That’s a good question…what’s the answer? You first.”

Here’s some beginning thoughts, but perhaps you might add a few more?  I have referenced a several blogs specifically, but anyone can play, as long as we all play nice. (Actually, all Christians could use some insight on this one, so comments are welcomed and solicited.)

My two cents:

  1. If I’m made (created/designed) for another world, that must mean that I have certain otherwise “alien” (non-resident) capacities that are not considered “normal” for this place.  (I should not be put off by modern-day usage of Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 12-14, for example.)
  2. If I’m made (created/designed) for another world, I should not be taken aback when I am misunderstood, misrepresented, and/or mistreated.  
  3. If I’m made (created/designed) for another world, that may mean that I have certain pit-falls, spiritual “kryptonite” if you will, that must be avoided at all costs, but doesn’t seem to cause any discomfort to those who are of this world.

Okay I guess that three cents instead of two.  And perhaps I should stop, since I’m delving a bit deeper into the Superman analogy (that’s my husband’s blog…)  But when you think of it, that’s what we are called to be, in a sense, naturally not of our own superman-295328_1280power but by the supernatural power from an Other-Worldly Source.

Thoughts?  

Call-outs to all, including but not limited to:

Ancient Skies

A Time to Share

Beyond the Map

Cookie Crumbs to Live By

Elihu’s Corner

Full-time

Matthew Winters Ministries

Pneumythology

Patrick Hawthorne

AND LAST, BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST!!

Truth in Palmyra!

And blessings to all.  –dawnlizjones