There is an old story that one day, Satan gathered his assistants to discuss the most effective method of destroying meaning in people's lives.
One assistant suggested, "Tell them there is no God."
Another said, "Tell them there are no consequences to their actions."
A third proposed, "Tell them they have strayed so far from the right path, they will never be able to change."
Satan considered these proposals carefully...and then a smile slid slowly across his lips. "No," he said calmly. "Such things will not matter to them.
"I think we should simply tell them, 'There is plenty of time.'"
Monday, August 29, 2005
There is an old story that one day, Satan gathered his assistants to discuss the most effective method of destroying meaning in people's lives.
Saturday, August 27, 2005
Here are some pics to illustrate this evening's activities, followed by a bit of randomness thrown in for good measure!
Exhibit A: Greek Birthday Follies
Okay, so Karen's birthday was several weeks ago. However, we losers had left her to her own devices (we'd all temporarily departed the country, if not the whole continent), so we "nachgefeiert" this evening. That means we made up for it by celebrating late, but the single German word is just so much clearer than the long English explanation! ;o) Anyway, that's Pam, Karen, and April up there. As is our Chem-merican tradition, we went to Palas Athen, our favorite Greek restaurant, to celebrate. Ed is good pals with the owner, who served us himself! And he gave Karen a free gift, but I won't tell what it was. ;o)
Secondly: The Furry Houseguest:
This is Felix. While Guido and Silke are on vacation with their family, Ed and I are cat-sitting at our house for two weeks. So far, Felix has been a lot of fun. He engages in random, mad dashes through the house and insists on being petted at least every five minutes. He greets with a happy "Mrow?" every human he sees. Though he has already tried to ingest several of my houseplants, I can't really blame him for it--I think he thinks they're grass.
On a slightly less jovial note.....I have to say that having him here isn't necessarily easy. Since he's a cat, everything he does reminds me of Ripley, and I've found myself with tears in my eyes several times since Felix arrived. I know it's good for me, his being here.....but it's hard. I don't blame Felix at all--he's one of the sweetest cats I've ever met, and he and I like each other very much. I just still miss my kitty.
Finally, I bring thee tidings of great joy: Courtney In The Kitchen!
Here, I offer you documentation to show that in spite of my recent mishap with kitchen instruments, I still have the courage to face the dreaded culinary domain and attempt to produce something edible therein. Tomorrow is "gemeinsames Essen," i.e. "communal eating," i.e. potluck after worship, so I decided to bring something. Since I need to get rid of all the sugar and chocolate chips in the pantry, thereby eliminating these items from my realm of temptation, I chose to bake some cookies this evening, so as to foist this sweet, delicious poison off on unsuspecting church members. I figure they're all adults, they can decide if they need to be eating said cookies or not. ;o)
And, last but not least:
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Well, Faithful Readers, if you've been reading faithfully, you will recall this post, in which I regaled you with the first two tales of our whirlwind trip to Oklahoma. Now, without further ado, I present you with:
PART III--Clint and April: The Wedding
A sample of how our bridesmaids' dresses were all wonderfully unique!
The Happy Couple
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
I have always loved these "hampsters". And I guess I always will. They just make me really happy! ;o) (You might have to wait a moment for the music to load properly.)
Also, I just wanted to post a link here to one of the funniest things I've ever seen. I know, I know, this is an oldie, too, but I just laugh hysterically every time I see/hear this. You oughta get a look at me "dancing" along with this guy at my computer! But don't expect me to make a video of it. ;o)
For those who don't know, the song is "Dragostea Din Tei" by O-zone, and the guy performing is not, as commonly believed, Dutch. He's a guy named Gary from New Jersey, and rumor has it he's not too happy with the publicity his little video has gotten.
Gary, if you're out there, be happy: You've brightened up the days of many, many people. :o)
This is a scary little article. People like Pat Robertson really make Christians and Christianity--and God, to be more precise--look bad, making us out to be radicals howling for the blood of those who don't do what we believe is right.
Jesus never called for the assassination of a politician. And he, more than anyone else, would have had the right to do so. This substantiates my belief that Christians have no business getting involved in politics. That's not why God put us on this earth. We're supposed to be light for the world...we're not supposed to be adding to its darkness.
Monday, August 22, 2005
So. On Saturday, April and I spent an evening with the Dresden girls, i.e. Allison, Amy, Bri, Kristi, Hannah, and Olivia. Chris was there, too, since he doesn't quite qualify as a man yet. ;o) After debating whether we should watch a chick flick or do our nails, we decided on the practical and pleasant option of both at the same time. So we popped "Legally Blonde" into the DVD player and got down to proper manicuring business.
Step One: Remove old, chipped nail polish from nails.
This is where things started to go wrong. Apparently, it's not wise to mix polish removers, as April and I quickly found out. Both of us were using whatever bottle of polish remover was nearest at hand. First, it was an American brand of remover. As we were all using whatever bottle was most convenient, somebody else grabbed the American polish remover. Next time I looked up, a German brand of polish remover was sitting on the table, so I started using that. April apparently made the same mistake.
Step Two: Paint nails.
This, fortunately, we achieved without any major mishaps--at least, none beyond those which elicited the cry of, "Oh no, I just messed up that nail!"
Step Three: Discover that mixing polish removers is a bad idea.
While the movie was still playing, and after I'd finished my polishing (French manicure with sparkle-shiny pink topcoat, if you must know), I began noticing that something was not quite right with my fingers. The thumbs, index, and middle fingers of each hand, to be precise; the fingers with which I'd been holding cotton drenched in polish remover. The skin on all six of those fingers seemed to be getting very, very dry and hard to the touch.
Step Four: Lotion, anyone?
I started massaging lotion into my fingers, but to no avail. Wash, rinse, repeat had no effect. I started to wonder if I'd burned off the top layer of skin or something. Shortly thereafter, April mentioned having the same problem with her fingers. No one else seemed to know what we were talking about.
Step Five: Long story short.
Since Saturday, I have soaked my fingers in hot water, rubbed what seems like liters of lotion into them, massaged them with essential oils, and scrubbed them again and again. But the skin of those six fingertips started developing hairline cracks anyway. Only two things seem to have helped so far: I rub Vaseline on my hands every night before bed, which seems to have kept my fingertips somewhat soft. And this morning in the shower, I actually exfoliated my fingertips. Which felt really weird. I have a pedicure tool with a metal file, an emery board, and a pumice stone on it. So this morning, I filed, emeried, and pumiced my fingers. Not one of my more graceful moments, but it had to be done.
The end result is that my skin is still ultra-dry, and it's still developing those hairline cracks. April's is peeling off. I shredded mine, so I don't know which one of us has it worse.
Moral of the story: Don't mix nail polish removers, thereby shellacking your fingers. It's just not a smart thing to do.
What in the world???
Sunday, August 21, 2005
I've always been quite perturbed at the fact that criminals seem to have all the amenities of home, which some of us law-abiding citizens don't even have. (I.e. cable access, hello???) I have always maintained, and will continue to maintain, that a person who breaks the law automatically gives up any rights attached to the law of his country... I don't know if this is still the case, but in many countries in the past, criminals lost a hand when authorities caught up with them.
I'm all for rehabilitation...but the chop-off-the-hand method seemed to have worked fairly well. Make the punishment uncomfortable enough, and the criminal won't repeat his crime. Simple matter of logic.
Friday, August 19, 2005
Tonight at English Bible Study, Larry shared with us some thoughts about what's really important in life:
And [Jesus] said to them, "Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
And he told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, 'What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?'
And he said, 'I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.'
But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?'
So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God."
(Luke 12: 15-21)
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
(I. Timothy 6: 17-19)
Money can buy you medicine...but it can't buy health.
Money can buy you a house...but it can't make a home.
Money can buy companionship...but it can't buy true friends.
Money can buy entertainment...but it can't create happiness.
Money can buy you a bed...but it can't buy restful sleep.
Money can buy a cross to wear around your neck...but it can't buy a Savior to die on it.
Money can buy you the good life...but it cannot purchase your salvation for eternal life.
Funeral homes provide nice suits for the deceased...suits that don't have any pockets. Dead people don't need them.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
July 24, 2005
In the rubble that is too often our office, Ed unearthed the November/December 2004 issue of 21st Century Christian, and I found the following in it which struck me as noteworthy and thought-provoking:
“Mr. C.S. Lewis…said, ‘There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.’ We look at each other and see—what?—nothing special, just a guy, just a waitress, just a cop, just a Sunday School teacher. But Lewis rightly points out, ‘Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors,’ (The Weight of Glory).
“As we walk sleepily and distractedly through this vale of tears, we would do well to recall that these seemingly-ordinary folks all about us are in fact pretty extraordinary (and need to be treated thusly). That woman was made in the image of Almighty God. And this fellow is my brother for whom the Lord Jesus Christ died (Romans 14:15). ‘Next to [communion] itself,’ Lewis wrote, ‘your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.’
“Things are not always what they seem.”
--from Things Are Not Always As They Seem
by Ken Durham
I say that I agree with Durham and Lewis. I say that I believe they’re right, that I believe each of my fellow humans is an immortal with either heavenly or damned potential. I say that I believe that each of my fellow humans is either an immortal horror or an eternal splendor…
…But do I live as though I truly believe this?
If I truly believed this, if I truly believed that my fellow humans are nearly the holiest objects in existence here on earth, how would this belief change my relationships? How would this belief in the holiness of humans change how I see everyone else besides myself?
Would I still mutter irritably under my breath at the guy who rides his bike on the sidewalk where he shouldn’t?
Would I still rant and rave and bluster about how that woman annoyed me and “spoiled my mood” this morning?
Would I still complain or giggle about someone when that person isn’t present?
Would I still point out a fellow human being to my friends so we can laugh amongst ourselves at how that person walks/talks/dresses?
Would I still just say whatever pops into my head when speaking with others, instead of giving a little more consideration to the effect my words are going to have?
Would I ever dare make the statement that another person deserves to die?
Would I ever dare make the statement that another person got what he/she deserved?
I’m a sinner. I deserve to die. But I’m also a child of God. So I will never get what I deserve for eternity.
If I truly comprehended all the implications of these facts, I would treat other humans, these holy, immortal beings—for better or for worse—with an attitude of sacred care. Not with irritation, anger, contempt, or belittling. But with respect. And sincere, honest, devoted, self-sacrificial love.
Can you imagine what the world would look like if only we Christians—not even anyone else, just the Christians—treated other people in this way?
Talk about changing the world.
Monday, August 15, 2005
Since Matt (see links at right) gets so many comments on his blog, I'm going to try getting more comments vicariously through him. I know I'm artificially enhancing the quality of my blog, but I guess I'll just have to admit that I'm comments-greedy. Besides, Matt and I have such fascinating and highly intellectual conversations at Chessworld, the rest of you can't help but benefit. ;o)
So, without further ado, here's one of our best discussions to date:
mgam: Yodeling is fun!!
angeltwist: your mom's fun.
mgam: Especially when she's yodeling...
angeltwist: could she be persuaded to demonstrate?
mgam: Perhaps if you treat her with kindness and respect.
angeltwist: hey, i *always* treat your mother that way. i admire her for her patience.
mgam: I see. Hey it was good to see you while you were in the states!!
angeltwist: hey, right back at ya! oh wait.......no.......i guess that wasn't you, was it. oh yeah, you decided to go *somewhere else* while i was there. for shame, matthew! ;o)
mgam: Hey now, I waited and waited but once Eduardo told me you were banning me for a short while then I had to succumb to the pressure of others and depart qucikly....
angeltwist: what? banning you? io no comprendo, senior. has eduardo been spreading rumors about me again?
mgam: I hate to break it to you, but he has. He told me you were married!!!
angeltwist: oh dear. that's really going to cramp my dating style if word gets out.
mgam: I think George*** will be crushed!
angeltwist: oh no, don't worry. i've been saving him for you.
mgam: He does think I'm rather charming!
angeltwist: he really missed you this summer, you know.
mgam: I know. He writes me all the time and reminds me...
angeltwist: does he call you 'scrumptious'***? that's what he called april.
mgam: Did he really? That's so awesome. I wish he'd call me that!!
angeltwist: i dunno, you might not like it. april wasn't too thrilled about it.
mgam: Did he know what he was saying?
angeltwist: well, he said it in german, so i would hope so!
mgam: That sly devil...... How did Clint feel about that? I'm sure he was very jealous....
angeltwist: well, i think there ended up being a duel, but te pistols were loaded with blanks, so it all turned out okay.
mgam: Aren't 'te pistols' usually filled with blanks?
angeltwist: no, those are 'ta pistols.' the 'te' ones are meant to be loaded, but that's rare knowledge that you can only learn in the german education system.
mgam: See I knew I was missing out. on something by being educated in america.
angeltwist: hey, would you mind if i copy and paste some of our conversations into my blog? i think others need to benefit from the gems of philosophical wisdom we've been sharing.
mgam: No problem at all. The world needs some enlightnment...
angeltwist: then i shall proceed to do it the favor.
*** Changed to protect a certain individual’s privacy.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
In my sojourn here on earth, there are only a few things in my personal experience that really make me see red. Arrogance, rudeness, and obstinate stupidity are three of the culprits. UNWANTED ADVERTISING happens to exemplify all three of these distasteful characteristics. They got April, too! On April's blog, under the username cboo6jqlt48peir, they posted the same rude, stupid ad! Batten down the hatches, my blogging friends--apparently, we're all under attack from these arrogant spammers!
This morning, a Blogger registered under the username glok41kcab arrogantly and rudely spammed my blog with a stupid healthcare ad! When I checked my email, I found that this person had left two comments on my blog, both of them a page-long ad for some health care product or somesuch. This really irritates me. This person just blatantly uses MY blogspot to try pandering their silly product! Good grief, if I WANTED their silly product, I would've gone out searching for it!
Hey glok41kcab , if you want to advertise on a blog, THEN GET YOUR OWN!!! Stay off of mine!
I managed to find one of this intruder's comments and delete it, but I haven't been able to track down the second one. I will send a package of neat German paraphernalia and goodies to any of you, my friends out there, who care to hunt down this elusive piece of sludge for me so I can eradicate it.
I hate uninvited advertising! And that goes for all ads on TV and radio, too!
Whew. Okay, thanks for listening. I feel better now. ;o)
********** 4:57 p.m. **********
They got April, too! On April's blog, under the username cboo6jqlt48peir, they posted the same rude, stupid ad! Batten down the hatches, my blogging friends--apparently, we're all under attack from these arrogant spammers!Never give up, never surrender!!!
Friday, August 12, 2005
FYI, I've answered all comments you few dear, wonderful people have made on my blog. For those of you who just lurk, read, and don't say anything...let me hear from you!!! ;o)
In other news, I'm still reading Lee Strobel's The Case for a Creator. It's not exactly "light" reading, so, to my shame, I've been reading it sporadically. But, my fickleness aside, here's something I read yesterday that got me all excited to share some more of this great material with you:
"In arguing for the existence of God, thirteenth century Christian philosopher Thomas Aquinas always presupposed Aristotle's view that the universe is eternal. On the basis of that difficult assumption, he then sought to prove that God exists. Why did he take this approach? Because, Aquinas said, if he were to start with the premise that the universe had a beginning, then his task would be too easy! Obviously, if there was a beginning, something had to bring the universe into existence.
"But now, modern astrophysics and astronomy have dropped into the lap of Christians precisely the premise that, according to Aquinas, makes God's existence virtually undeniable.
"Craig [William Lane Craig, PHD, PHD] offered that story to punch his next point. 'Given that whatever begins to exist has a cause and that the universe began to exist, there must be some sort of transcendent cause for the origin of the universe,' Craig told me.
"'Even atheist Kai Nielsen said, "Suppose you suddenly hear a loud bang...and you ask me, 'What made that bang?' and I reply, 'Nothing, it just happened.' You would not accept that." He's right, of course. And if a cause is needed for a small bang like that, then it's needed for the Big Bang as well. This is an inescapable conclusion--and it's stunning confirmation of the millennia-old Judeo-Christian doctrine of creation out of nothing.'"
--from Lee Strobel's The Case for a Creator, p. 107-108
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
PART I—The Return
Greetings to all you wild and wonderful people out there! Yes, I am back in the land of the blogging, which means I’m also back in the land of the Germing. That is to say, I’m back in Germany. When we left Dallas at nearly 6 p.m. on Monday, we were experiencing comfortable (to me, anyway) temperatures of about 100 ºF (approx. 40-45 ºC, I believe). In the last 31 hours since we arrived in Germany, the local temp hasn’t gotten above 59 Fahrenheit. Right now, it’s raining.
I’m cold. Even Ed’s cold. He just went around turning on the heaters.
Our trip back, by the way, took 10 minutes less than 27 hours. First, American Airlines apparently forgot that our flight was taking place, because they didn’t bring a plane from the hangar to our gate until about 20 minutes before scheduled take-off. Hence, we didn’t head for the runway until nearly an hour after said take-off was supposed to have taken off. Then, the weather decided to play a few tricks on us, sending what the pilot called a “pattern” shifting from east to west across the northern runway of the Ft. Worth airport. Finally, someone decided it might be a good idea for us to take off to the south instead of the north. When we finally got in the air after sitting on the runway for three hours, there was a line of at least 25 other planes waiting for their turn behind us. Sometimes, it’s really nice to be leader of the pack. ;o) Ed and I were just thankful that we didn’t miss our train to Dresden. Somehow, I doubt we could’ve talked American Airlines into the acknowledgement that our missing the train would have been their fault.
So that, in a comfortable walnut shell, is the Brief Story of Our Return. I’m sure most of you are more interested in hearing about the two events that took us on our whirlwind journey to the US of A. The second event, I won’t write about until the key players are cognito again (meaning, until they are no longer INcognito, ha ha, get it?). Translation: I’d feel weird writing about Clint and April’s wedding before *they* have a chance to write about it and share pictures themselves. So, I plan to wait until they’re back in country before I tell you all about this most beautiful and wonderful wedding I’ve ever been to and about how I sniveled and cried through the whole thing. ;o)
In the meantime…I’ll regale you with a heart-warming tale about the first marvelous event of which we partook, namely:
PART II—The Anniversary: Sixty-Five Years of Marriage
On August 3, 2005, my paternal grandparents, W.F. “Bill” and Frances Weger, celebrated their 65th Wedding Anniversary. I can’t even express how profoundly these two people and their marriage have affected my life. For one thing, without them, I wouldn’t exist. I know that seems like an obvious “duh”-statement, but I have to mention it. Several times during the weekend we were all together, Grandma and Grandpa told us how pleased and grateful they were that we all turned out to celebrate with them. My response is, how could we not? Their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren owe their existence first to God, and second to the solid foundation of the relationship between these two wonderful people. Not only are these two a great example to all of us in their walk with God, they have a marriage 65 years strong. In these days of drive-thru weddings and ‘round-the-corner divorce lawyers, a 65-year-strong marriage is unusual, if not unheard of. Aside from divine, God-given pattern, I can’t think of a better example to look up to.
Oh, not that my grandparents haven’t had their ups and downs. I’ve seen them fuss and fume and argue and disagree plenty of times. I’ve heard them gripe about each other (as close to griping as either of them get, anyway). From other family members, I’ve received hints of more serious difficulties in the past, trials that my generation was too young to remember. Trials that might even have taken place before my generation came along, I don’t know. But there are shades of tough times in the past.
But still, through it all, past and present, Grandma and Grandpa presented a united front to the world. I’m not talking about a false store front. I’m talking about a front in a war, with my grandparents as two soldiers fighting for their marriage and for the will of God against the evil of Satan, who wants to destroy them. A solid, God-centered marriage is one of Satan’s most deadly enemies. I know that in their 65 years together, my grandparents have dealt Satan some severe and crippling blows. Especially since their relationship has lasted this long, and since with God’s help, they raised all four of their children to be Christians. And since those four children raised all of their own children to be Christians as well.
God has fashioned a great tool out of Bill and Frances Weger. I look up to them. I respect them. And I feel honored that I was able to be present to celebrate their 65th anniversary with them. God has blessed me richly by crossing my path with theirs.
So here are some pictures from the anniversary celebration (held on July 30th) and the rest of the weekend our family spent together:
This is the Weger Family Tree that I made as a gift for my grandparents. I asked everyone in the family to send me pictures, so it’s something of a collaboration. Aside from hand-drawing the vines, leaves, and roses, I did the rest of it on the computer. I also got it framed and matted, and it now hangs in my grandparents’ den. Sorry you can’t see any details—the image size is huge, and this is the largest I could post here.
Grandma and Grandpa with daughter Anita and sons Bill (my dad, left) and David. (Their second son, Mark, passed away in 2002.)
The "Young" Wegers
A family tradition is for all us cousins to line up by age for group photos when we’re all together. I don’t know if other families do this—with us, it’s an Absolute Necessity bordering on a Central Truth of the Universe. I love it! ;o) For this and two other pictures, we were in a Chinese restaurant that was, for some reason, amusingly patriotic. For your viewing pleasure, I cropped out the remains of Kung Pao Chicken and various fried things.
From left to right: Sara, Courtney, Amanda, Luke, Jonathan, Micah, Aubrey, Paul, Josh, Andrew, Nathan.
The "Baby" Wegers
The Married "Young" Wegers
Somebody let us run wild and get out of age order for this one. Dear me, what is this family coming to.
Left to right: Courtney and Ed; Luke and Lauren; Micah and Marilyn; Jonathan and Sarah; Amanda and Aaron; and Sara, whose husband Jeff unfortunately wasn’t able to be there.
If any of you assorted Wegers out there want any of these pics (or others that you think I might have), let me know, and I’ll email you better copies. And let me know if there are other pics you want to see in my blog. I plan on posting more later, but for now, this particular post has worn me out. ;o)
Hugs to all,