Saturday, December 23, 2006

one saturday morning....

One frosty Saturday morning outside, Courtney turned to Ed and said,

"Do you suppose we look silly, walking down the street in our matching hooded sweatshirts, carrying our houseshoes, with no coats on?"

I thought that maybe, since no one answers my serious posts even when I ask a direct question, then perhaps someone would feel moved to reply to a silly one.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

look at me, i *am* white and nerdy ;o)

Which Star Trek Character are you?

Captain Jean-Luc Picard.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Monday, December 11, 2006

as of right now, all comments answered

And, as usual, if I missed any and you happen to notice, please notify me posthaste. :o)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

another late-night random thought

Yes, I'm up late again. But this time, it's for a semi-legit reason: I have to let my stomach settle from Indian food before I can go to sleep. If I lie down now, I'll be up again in three hours anyway. So there ya have it.

In the meantime, a random thought inspired by late-night blog-reading:

I am increasingly shocked and disturbed at how a lot of Christians speak. Specifically, I'm increasingly shocked and disturbed at the words a lot of Christians use in their online communications. I am generalizing, but..... It almost seems as though many of today's Christians shut off all linguistic filters when posting things online (blogs or comments, or in chatrooms, or whatever).

In so many "Christian" blogs or websites or whatever, it's d--- this and f---that and s--- yeah and so on. I'm sure I don't have to spell it out. Forgive me for my "old-fashioned," "antiquated," "intolerant," "judgmental" sense of propriety--but this simply shocks me.

Do they really use this kind of language in everyday life? Or do they just think moral governors don't apply to online communications because those are so much more "anonymous"?

Am I so naive that I don't realize that there are so many Christians who speak this way? Has this become normal?

What about Colossians 3:8-9? Or Ephesians 4:29? Or the numerous other scriptures that deal with the words that should or shouldn't come from a Christian's mouth?

Does Matthew 12:36-37 have no bearing here?

I do not intend for these to be rhetorical questions. What do you think?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

the end approacheth

A brief update: On Tuesday, Ed and I will be leaving with the Eberhardts, a Sullivan, and a Möhler to go on this year's Bulgaria trip. You hear that?!? This year, I get to go, too!!!!!! I am so excited!!!!!!!!!!

But more on that later. In the meantime, I'm gleefully anticipating the end of this year's NaNoWriMo! Of course, my glee is quite tempered by the knowledge that I'm going to be traveling and in Bulgaria for the last three days of the writing month. Meaning: After Monday night, I'm not gonna have much time to write. I'm already wondering how I'm going to get to an Internet cafe on Thursday so I can get my word count validated and get my email certificate.

So, things being what they are, I've been writing furiously anytime I could write the last few days. Current statistics:

Cups of coffee: 10
Frustrated pacings through apartment: 12
Possible Titles: 9.5
Definite titles: 2
Characters Behaving In Unexpected Ways: 11 (meaning: all of them)
Times Brain Has Been Close To Fried: 13
Write-Ins: 1
Words: 44418

Words to go: 5582!!!!! You see that bright, sparkly thing??? That's The Light At The End Of The Tunnel!!!!!!! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!

Monday, November 20, 2006

why, oh why, do i do this?

Why do I stay up late at night, meandering around the Internet and reading blogs? And I hardly even comment anymore. Because if I comment on one, I feel as though I must comment on all. And that's just WAY too overwhelming. So I say nothing.

I have become a Lurker.


I wish Ed would post something on his blog. At least I could comment on his without feeling guilty for not commenting on others'. ;o)

I give. I have a Greek lesson in the morning (yes, Ed and I are taking Greek!), so I'm going to bed!!!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

update on NaNo efforts

This year's NaNo Adventure continues, at this point with my reaching a story impasse I'm not sure yet how to get through. My alcoholic heroine is having a fight with the man who won't admit that he loves her, and I'm not sure how it's going to end. Naturally, it all has to come out all right in the end, but I don't know yet how that's going to happen, either.

Oh well, why worry about it? In the meantime, here's a wonderful and extremely humorous distraction:

;oD I love it!

Also, Van and I got together for a little "write-in" today (and please note that we are well-armed with coffee!):

I think we wrote about 2.5 hours, and it was great! We decided we're going to do it again, though we're not sure when. We also want Joel to get in on the community writing action, so we're going to do the time zone coordination thing when he gets back to where he has Internet access.

In the meantime, I remain happily NaNoing away and trying to remember that there is actually a world outside of NaNo during November. (Who'd've thunk?)

Cups of coffee: 5
Frustrated pacings through apartment: 3
Possible Titles: 8
Characters Behaving In Unexpected Ways: 9 (meaning: all of them)
Times Brain Has Been Close To Fried: 7
Write-Ins: 1
Words: 31093

Saturday, November 18, 2006

random thoughts on growing up and on rape laws in pakistan

Well, I haven't gotten back into reading people's blogs yet since I got home (to be honest, it's all a little overwhelming right now), but a few minutes ago I read a little bit of my cousin Luke's blog over Ed's shoulder. He mentioned that his brother Andrew turned 19.

Man, do I feel old. This means that Nathan is the only cousin still in high school. All of my "siblings" are growing up. On one hand, I'm glad, because it means we're all continuing on this adventure called life.....and there's so much more adventure to be had after we finally get out of those teen years!

However, it also makes me sad, because I remember the times when *all* of us gathered at Grandma & Grandpa Weger's in the summertime...and as we get older, the times that all of us are together are becoming fewer and fewer. And as we all move away from home, get married, start having kids, it's only natural that we turn more toward our own developing nuclear families, instead of putting as much emphasis on reaching toward the extended part of the family.

I know this is natural...I'm doing it, too...but that doesn't mean that it doesn't make me sad, and that doesn't mean I always have to like it.

In other news......

In Pakistan, they're trying to reform the Islamic laws on rape. In case you didn't know, the current law states that if a woman wants to prove she was raped, she has to provide four male witnesses to the crime. If she can't provide the four male witnesses, the raped woman has to face charges of adultery.

Don't even get me started on what I think about THAT.

The new Pakistani law would relieve women of the obligation of producing the four male witnesses. However, the law still has to pass the upper house. If it passes, it won't look good for President Musharraf, who has lots of supporters who want the current laws to stay in place.

People say that Westerners, with Western ideas and Western morality, have no business interfering the politics of Middle Eastern countries.

Well, how about this:

"Rape is already a common tool of revenge and settling tribal scores in Pakistan. The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan estimated in 2002 that a woman is raped every two hours and gang-raped every eight hours."

Think about it.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

life is complete: i have found my theme song

Okay. So, no, I don't really know JavaScript or pi to a thousand places...but still, there are plenty of things in this song that apply to me, as most of you already well know. The song to which I'm referring is Weird Al Yankovic's "White and Nerdy," a parody on a rap song. I'm posting the lyrics below. People, I am serious. This has made me laugh harder than I have in ages, mainly because it's so descriptive of so many things I enjoy (NOT the bubble wrap, though). ;o)

If you're a real nerd, you can watch the video on Weird Al's myspace page (just scroll down and click "play").

Yes, indeed. I, too, am white and nerdy. Life is fun. ;o)

White and Nerdy
by Weird Al Yankovic

They see me mowin'
My front lawn
I know they're all thinking I'm so white and nerdy
Think I'm just too white and nerdy
Think I'm just too white and nerdy
Can't you see I'm white and nerdy?
Look at me, I'm white and nerdy
I wanna roll with
The gangstas
But so far they all think I'm too white and nerdy
Think I'm just too white and nerdy
Think I'm just too white and nerdy
I'm just too white and nerdy.
Really really white and nerdy.

First in my class here at MIT
Got skills, I'm a champion at D&D
MC Escher - that's my favorite MC
Keep your 40, I'll just have an Earl Grey tea
My rims never spin, to the contrary
You'll find that they're quite stationary
All of my action figures are cherry
Steven Hawking's in my library
My MySpace page is all totally pimped out
Got people beggin' for my top eight spaces
Yo, I know pi to a thousand places
Ain't got no grills but I still wear braces
I order all of my sandwiches with mayonnaise
I'm a whiz at Minesweeper - I could play for days
Once you see my sweet moves you're gonna stay amazed
My fingers' movin' so fast I'll set the place ablaze
There's no killer app I haven't run
At Pascal, well I'm number one
Do vector calculus just for fun
I ain't got a gat but I got a soldering gun
Happy Days is my favorite theme song
I could sure kick your butt in a game of ping pong
I'll ace any trivia quiz you bring on
I'm fluent in JavaScript as well as Klingon

They see me roll on
My Segway
I know in my heart they think I'm white and nerdy
Think I'm just too white and nerdy
Think I'm just too white and nerdy
Can't you see I'm white and nerdy
Look at me, I'm white and nerdy
I'd like to roll with
The gangstas
Although it's apparent I'm too white and nerdy
Think I'm just too white and nerdy
Think I'm just too white and nerdy
I'm just too white and nerdy
How'd I get so white and nerdy

I've been browsin', inspectin'
X-Men comics, you know I collect 'em
The pens in my pocket, I must protect 'em
My ergonomic keyboard never leaves me bored
Shopping online for deals on some writable media
I edit Wikipedia
I memorized Holy Grail really well
I can recite it right now and have you ROTFLOL
I got a business doing websites
When my friends need some code, who do they call?
I do HTML for 'em all
Even made a homepage for my dog
Yo, I got myself a fanny pack
They were havin' a sale down at The Gap
Spend my nights with a roll of bubble wrap
Pop, pop, hope no one sees me
Gettin' freaky
I'm nerdy in the extreme
And whiter than sour cream
I was in AV Club and Glee Club and even the Chess Team
Only question I
Ever thought was hard
Was do I like Kirk
Or do I like Picard
Spend every weekend at the Renaissance Fair
Got my name on my underwear

They see me strollin'
They laughin'
And rollin' their eyes 'cause I'm so white and nerdy
Just because I'm white and nerdy
Just because I'm white and nerdy
All because I'm white and nerdy
Holy cow, I'm white and nerdy
I wanna bowl with
The gangstas
But, oh well, it's obvious I'm white and nerdy
Think I'm just too white and nerdy
Think I'm just too white and nerdy
I'm just too white and nerdy
Look at me, I'm white and nerdy

I LOVE IT!!! ;oD

Thursday, September 21, 2006

thanks to leenda

A shout out of thanks to Leenda for letting me borrow her Jars of Clay CDs! I'm highly enjoying them. Right now I'm listening to their "who we are instead" album and loving it. It's got this old-timey feel that reminds me of soft classic rock, and it's just sweet to hear that style with lyrics designed to make me think about something deeper than my own troubles.

Just the encouragement I need right now. :o) Thanks, Leenda!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

NaNo 2006 is just around the corner!

Greetings, Person-Currently-Reading-This,

I just wanted to say that I'm starting to get excited about this year's NaNoWriMo! Click here if you have no clue what I'm talking about. Although how someone can go through life not knowing what NaNoWriMo's beyond me. Just kidding. ;o)

No. Really.

Kidding again!

(But come on.....)

Gotcha! ;o)

Okay, anyway.....I'm excited for November 1st, 12:00:01 a.m., because that's the official starting second of NaNo. (Or should that be 00:00:01?) For my NaNo 2006, I've decided not to work on my current novel, but start a brand new one instead. Something funny, I think. I do believe I could use some funny. I already have some ideas and have jotted down some opening paragraphs--which I won't include in my final NaNo word count, of course. Naturally, I can't share the entirety of my idea here....but I'll go so far as to say my NaNo will be about a writer participating in NaNoWriMo 2006. In other words, I'll be NaNo-ing about NaNo-ing, and hopefully I'll manage to avoid writing myself into a corner.

As far as my current novel ("Triad," which I've been working on nearly three years) is concerned...I'm still not finished, but I'm still working on it. I'm still not noveling as much as I'd like to be, but now I'm at least up to writing once a week instead of only once every six months. ;o) My heroine has been successfully re-kidnapped by the marauders Joel insisted I add.....So Joel, I'm still indebted to you for that suggestion. ;o)

Said heroine needs to get a move on and get to the capital city, though. She's still gotta have a showdown with her evil, power-hungry grandfather, her psychotic brother, and the nomad who thinks she's supposed to marry him in order to fulfill a prophecy. Not to mention saving the country from an invasion, rescuing her little sister, and figuring out that she's really in love with the best-friend-guy, then getting best-friend-guy out of her rival's clutches.

*sigh* A heroine's work is never done.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


All comments answered, as far as I can tell. Haven't gotten caught up on emails the way I wanted, but at least I put a dent in it.

I just hope nobody tells me to put a sock in it. ;o)

thanks everybody

I must send my thanks to whomever sent me the forward about rat crap in the glue on envelopes, because I now have to use a wet towel with every envelope that needs sealing.

And I have to scrub the top of every can I open because of rat crap, too.

I no longer have any savings, because I gave it to a sick girl (Penny Brown) who is about to die in the hospital for the 1,387,258th time.

I no longer have any money at all, but that will change once I receive the $15,000 that Bill Gates/Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special email program.

I no longer worry about my soul, because I have 363,214 angels looking out for me, and St. Theresa's novena has granted my every wish (even though I have no clue who St. Theresa is, what a novena is, or what she does with hers to grant wishes).

I no longer eat KFC, because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers.

I can't enjoy a good latte from Starbucks anymore, because they WOULD NOT send any coffee to that poor Army Sgt. who requested it.

I no longer use cancer-causing deodorants, even though I smell like a water buffalo on a hot day.

Thanks to you, I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I forward an email to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.

Because of your concern, I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains.

I no longer can buy gasoline without taking a man along to watch the car so a serial killer won't crawl in my back seat when I'm pumping gas.

I no longer drink Pepsi or Dr. Pepper, since the people who make these products are atheists who refuse to put "Under God" on their cans.

I no longer use Saran wrap in the microwave, because it causes cancer.

And thanks for letting me know I can't boil a cup water in the microwave anymore because it will blow up in my face, disfiguring me for life.

I no longer go to shopping malls, because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and rob me.

I no longer shop at Target, since they are French and don't support our American troops or the Salvation Army.

I no longer answer the phone, because someone will ask me to dial a number for which I will get a phone bill with calls to Jamaica, Uganda, Singapore, and Uzbekistan.

I no longer worry about sudden cardiac arrest, since I can now cough myself back to life instead of wasting time calling 911.

I no longer have any sneakers -- but that will change once I receive my free replacement pair from Nike.

I no longer buy expensive cookies from Neiman Marcus, since I now have their recipe.

Thanks to you, I can't use anyone's toilet but mine, because a big brown African spider is lurking under the seat to cause me instant death when it bites my butt.

Thank you too for all the endless advice Andy Rooney has given us. I can live a better life now because he's told us how to fix everything.

And thanks to your great advice, I can't ever pick up $5.00 I dropped in the parking lot, because it probably was placed there by a sex molester waiting underneath my car to grab my leg.

If you don't send this e-mail to at least 144,000 people in the next 70 minutes, a large dove with diarrhea will land on your head at 5:00 PM this afternoon and the fleas from 12 camels will infest your back, causing you to grow a hairy hump. I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of my next door neighbor's ex-mother-in-law's second husband's cousin's beautician, who is a lawyer.

--Author Unknown

i've changed my mind

I no longer think it's a spider bite. I think we're all in the Matrix, and the Agents stuck one of those multi-legged tracking bug thingies in my bellybutton.

It hurts, anyway. :o/

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

the weirdest things happen to me

I think a spider bit me in the bellybutton last night as I slept.


Monday, September 11, 2006

new art on elfwood

Hi friends. My newest painting is posted on Elfwood! For you Saxons out there, this one might interest you because it's of Burg Rabenstein. Please check it out here and let me know what you think!

i'm trying to answer emails today

If you think I owe you an email, and you don't get one today, tell me. My brain is Swiss cheese, and it's entirely possible your email got lost in one of the holes.


Saturday, September 09, 2006

to whom it may concern....

Take this survey!

Eye ColorLight brown.....though some people tell me it's hazel.
Hair ColorDark blonde with reddish highlights.
Height165cm or 5'5''....5'6'' on a good day. ;o)
Right Handed or Left HandedRight-handed, but I eat ambidextrously (knife in right hand, fork in left).
Your HeritageFrench, Irish, German, and a tiny drop of Cherokee.
Your weaknessOn the flippant side: chocolate. On the serious side: I'm too obsessed with my inspirations.
Your fearThe Creator of the universe holds me in the palm of his hand. What is there for me to fear?
Perfect PizzaTomato sauce, cheese, onions, olives, red and yellow bell peppers, pepperoni, some pineapple, and the occasional jalapeno.
Goal You Would Like To Achieve This YearI would like to finish writing my latest novel, which I've been working on for nearly three years.
Your Most Overused Phrase On an instant messengerI'm very unmodern and am never on IM.
Thoughts First Waking UpWhat time is it? Is the sun out? What day is it?
Your Best Physical FeatureHmm....eyes? lips? hands? kneecaps? I have no clue...
Your Most Missed MemoryIf I'm missing it, then how am I supposed to remember it?
Do you smokeNope. I tried smoking one cigarette once. Held the smoke in my mouth (it tasted like raisins), then blew it out. Didn't inhale. I think smoking is a disgusting habit.
Do you singI love to sing!!!
Have you been in loveOh yes. :o)
Do you believe in yourselfYes.
Do you get along with your parentsExtremely well!
In the past month have you gone on a dateYes! Ed and I had a pseudo-picnic in the park a few days ago.
In the past month have you been dumpedNope! Happily married. :o)
In the past month have you gone skinny you know how *COLD* it is over here?!?
Ever been drunkUnfortunately, yes. Once.
Ever been called a teaseYes.
Ever been beaten upYes.
How do you want to dieHonorably.
What do you want to be when you grow upA more mature Christian.
Favorite eye color on opposite sexBlue, hazel, gray, dark's not the color, it's the soul behind it.
Favorite hair colorAnything that's natural!
Short or long hairWhatever looks good on someone--depends on the person, and depends on the hair!

Friday, September 08, 2006

ha ha

So, a priest, a rabbi, and a minister walk into a bar. The bartender looks up and says,

"What is this, a joke?"


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

stupid sheep

Hi, Not-So-Anonymous as well as Totally-Anonymous Readers,

Here's a cute something I wanted to share with you. Lots of German shops sell these adorable little "sheepworld" products, which are basically various items with pictures of these little sheep and cute sayings on them. The funniest and cutest pictures, as far as I'm concerned (and I'm sure Van will agree with me), are the ones that say:

Ohne dich ist alles doof.

Which means: "Without you, everything is stupid."

You can see one of these cute pictures here. Just click it to enlarge!

The rest of the writing in the picture says things like this:

tree: stupid
sun: stupid
grass: stupid
crawling bug: stupid

And so forth.

And so, to my wonderful Readers out there, whoever you might be: Ohne euch ist alles doof. ;o)

population decline in germany

Hi all,

Clint pointed me in the direction of this article a few weeks back, and I'm finally getting around to mentioning it here. The article covers one of the particular challenges Germany is facing today as a result of Reunification in 1989. Specifically, the subject is the rapidly increasing population decline in Germany; and the article gives a brief profile of Chemnitz as an example.

It's very interesting, and it gives a few possible hints as to why introducing people over here to Jesus is such a particularly challenging and slow process.

Here's the link: article on Germany's population decline.

Monday, August 28, 2006

the precious commodity of information

Here's something really cool I found today, something that will be of immense value to my Faithful Readers who are German....and, probably, to some of my Faithful Readers who are native English speakers, too. ;o) I'm finding uses for it myself.

It is........(drumroll, please) English verb conjugation engine!!! You type in the infinitive form of a verb (i.e. eat, sleep, go, forbear [which is the one I typed in]), click "GO," and it gives you the conjugations of that verb in various tenses (i.e. simple present, simple past, future perfect, etc.; though it doesn't provide progressive tenses, which I find a bit negligent). An excellent tool for anyone wanting to be sure of correct verb conjugation. Enjoy! (I did.) ;o)

A further thought on information as a valuable commodity..... The exchange of information is so very, very important. For instance, Ed has been studying the Bible with one of our new contacts from this summer's Let's Start Talking campaign. She has been studying with someone from the church since the beginning of May. Today, through conversation (READ: information exchange!), Ed found out that she has been thinking that everyone in the Chemnitz church lives together. Meaning, she thought we were a commune!!! That made me laugh--not because I'm making fun of her, but because it's such a funny concept, all of us living together. We love each other, but I don't think we'd survive! ;o)

Anyway....I thought it was good that Ed could give her the correct information to correct her mistaken impressions. :o)

the meaning of me

This was one of those bloggable quiz things, where you enter your name and the quiz tells you something about yourself. I couldn't get the html code to work here, so here's the bare-bones text for your reading pleasure:


C is for Calm
O is for Overwhelming
U is for Useful
R is for Radiant
T is for Twisted
N is for Nice
E is for Elitist
Y is for Yummy

A is for Arty
N is for Neat
N is for Nice
E is for Enchanting

Yay for being radiant, yummy, and enchanting, but I'm not sure I like being elitist. Oh well. ;o)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

i have a space

Just as an FYI, I now have my own space at No, I don't plan to get heavily involved there; this right here is my blog and my *real* space, and I'm stickin' with it. I just got a myspace account so I could see the pictures James posted on his. But I'm coming to realize that pretty much everybody I've ever known is on myspace (okay, maybe not everybody, but quite a few people and their dogs) (okay, so maybe not their dogs...but still a lot of people anyway), and nobody till James ever bothered to tell me about it, so in case there's a friend of mine out there who might get a myspace account someday and wonder why I never said anything, I'm saying something now.

There. I said it. ;o)

But let me re-emphasize that what you're reading here is the blog to which I've pledged undying loyalty. Just so we're clear on that.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

today is the day of current Cantrell pics

Today, Ed and I spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to take a good picture of ourselves, something we can use on our letterhead. (Fundraising and such, you see.) Here are the best ones of the whole caboodle--these first three are the sample of our getting sidetracked and just goofing off a little. ;o)

"Crooked Glasses--Part I"

"Crooked Glasses--The Sequel"

first letterhead possibility

I think we voted against this one because we both thought my head is at a funny angle.

In the picture, not in real life.


another option

I'm not sure why we didn't pick this one. Maybe because he's in 3/4 profile, and I'm facing the camera? No clue.  I'm no photographer.  Quit looking at me like that!  This isn't an exact science with me, okay?  Aaaauuuuuuuuggghhhhh, the pressure!  ;o)

final choice

And this is the one we finally decided on. Ta-dah! ;o)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

inquiring minds want to know...

Ed McMahon is 83 years old.

Just FYI.

Gillian: Are you sure you won't change your mind?
Spock: Is there something wrong with the one I have?

--from "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home"

grüße: german greetings

I just wanted to say that I miss all of my family stateside! Wish I could see them more often. I love y'all tons and bunches!

(See, I haven't lost the Okie touch yet.) ;oD

Saturday, August 19, 2006

as promised, more pictures

Another picture from Karen's birthday! Larry gave us a lovely rendition of "Crocodile Rock," with Karen and Ed providing musically superb backup on the "laaaaaaa-la-la-la-la-laaaaaaa"s. ;oD

Pippin and me working at the computer. The poor kitty's having a rough day (today, not in the picture). A bee stung her in the pad of her front left foot, so now she's limping around the apartment. Not only that, but she had to suffer the indignity of having Ed and me hold her down and pull out the stinger. Talk about adding insult to injury! She's been giving us very reproachful looks ever since.

Ed hard at work in the kitchen. I'm glad that I've been learning to cook a bit over the last few years....but I'm equally pleased that I have a sweet husband who doesn't mind spending time in the kitchen. ;o)

Daddy and me in Dresden a few weeks ago. I'm glad I got to see my parents before they left on the stateside leg of their summer travels! I miss them--don't get to see them often enough.
P.S. I think this picture illustrates very well where I got most of my nose! ;oD

Friday, August 18, 2006

latest art update and some sobering thoughts

G'day, mates. I have new art on my Elfwood page. This includes one new painting (which could use some comments!) and eight other works that I am bringing back to my gallery.

These eight older pieces have been a sore spot in my mind for quite awhile. Without giving too many specifics of who was involved, here's the backstory:

Almost two years ago, one of the Christians in Chemnitz left the church. Her true motivations are another story entirely....but for a few weeks, she named me and my art as the reason for her departure.

This individual believed that my interest in fantasy (i.e. elves, dragons, magic, Lord of the Rings, etc.) was wrong; more to the point, she believed that my fantasy interest was evil. When she finally expressed her opinions to me, it turned out that she had held these opinions about me for several years without telling me. In the last conversation I had with her (during which four other Christians were present), she told me that she believed my fantasy artwork came from demons and that she feared for my soul.

Shocked to the core, I asked her which pieces specifically were offensive to her, because I couldn't imagine what it was I'd painted that might be construed as having demonic influence. She couldn't name any specific pictures that bothered her. (This eventually led to the revelation that my fantasy art was just an "easy target"; her real reasons for leaving the church were related to something else entirely.) I was speechless; my mind just couldn't wrap itself around the concept that someone could consider me to be under the control of demons. (I still can't fathom it, even today.)

In an effort to show good faith, flexibility, willingness to change, and decidedly non-demonic thinking, I went home and immediately removed from our walls any artwork that might remotely be considered offensive to anyone. I sifted through my Elfwood gallery and removed pictures from there, too. This was not an easy task; since she hadn't given me any specifics, I didn't know what I was looking for. I was shocked, hurt, and very angry, but I tried to keep the concepts of Romans 14 and 1. Corinthians 8 in the forefront of my thoughts.

(To be honest, I was almost overwhelmingly furious, so controlling my thoughts in the spirit of those scriptures was monumentally difficult.)

Since then, the sister in question has resisted all efforts of the church to reach out to her; I haven't even had opportunity to speak to her since that final, awful conversation. Considering the passage of time and her seeming attitude toward us....I no longer feel obligated to limit myself or my art or my online gallery based on her opinions. Though there is surely more I could have done, at this point I believe that I did everything I could to heal the breach between her and me. In vain. Now, if she stumbles, I no longer feel any sense of responsibility for it.

There comes a point, I believe, at which a Christian's efforts to keep a brother from stumbling approach the point of ridiculous. There comes a point, I believe, at which that "weaker" brother--and how do I phrase this well?--needs to acquiesce to the workings of the Holy Spirit and submit to the process of growth which God requires of all of us. Please understand, I am not judging or condemning this erstwhile sister who rejected me....but I am saying that she no longer has the right to request that I limit myself, while she herself obeys no limits.

Why am I telling the world of all this? I don't know...perhaps it's therapy, just part of my own need to cleanse my soul. Perhaps it's merely to share with you the thought that no matter how much we as Christians strive to do the right thing--and even when we succeed in doing that right thing--there are still some things that will remain broken. No matter how hard we try, no matter that our hearts are in the right place and we succeed in doing God's will, there are still some relationships that can't be healed.

How very difficult it is to accept that.....and yet, I'm still thankful to God that he is with us in these unhealable relationships. He remains master over it all, offering us shelter in the midst of our pain.

Even if we always do right, we can't banish sin and pain and loss. But he can. And he does. That's where the cleansing of my soul really takes place. And I belong to him eternally because of it.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

how do we talk?

I think part of this little blurb was a comment I left on someone else's blog, and I saved it at some point, intending to post it here. I guess this is as good a time as any. So here's another serious thought for no one to comment on. *grin* Just teasin'. ;o)

The thought:

My Grandpa always told my Dad, and my Dad passed it on to me, that in every bit of sarcasm and in every joke, there is a grain of truth. Meaning that if I'm making a tacky comment about someone, I can't just blow it off as a joke....because deep inside, part of me means exactly what I said.

This makes me think about how we (meaning we as Christians) generally don't pay enough attention to the words we speak. Too often, we acclimate too well to our surroundings, especially adjusting our speech patterns to those of our friends, neighbors, whoevers. We make jokes at others' expense; we allow ourselves to criticize and belittle others, and get away with it by calling it "just teasing"; we start using crude or vulgar language; we soften up truths to make them more palatable (even to ourselves). We start to blend in with all of the influences around us--sometimes the good ones, but mostly the bad ones. And we justify it to ourselves by telling ourselves, "Hey, I still believe in God. I'm still a good person. God isn't going to judge me just for being human." And we go ahead and sprinkle some more sin onto what we're imparting to others.

Too often, we're worldly sugar instead of Christ-like salt.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

late night thoughts when i should be sleeping

do you want this as much as i do?

stability veracity the sense that i can
turn to a someone and know what to expect

ability complexity the depth of thought to
perceive existence with the seriousness it deserves

audacity intensity the guts and gumption to
fight adulteration at every step at every moment
in decay's every harmless-seeming guise

(i pray to god in heaven
because i fear for you)

nobility simplicity the courage to
make yourself vulnerable to the only one who matters
(please be vulnerable)

identity (divinity?) infinity
are you really hungry for it?

tell me do you want this?
darling, you have left me doubting.

i fear that we shall weep together once again.

© 2006 by Courtney Weger Cantrell. All rights reserved.

pictures and comments

Okay, as promised, here are a bunch of pictures. Very much in random order, so don't cry to me Argentina if you get confused. ;o) It has occurred to me that I ought to post pictures more often, so I'm going to endeavor to turn that thought-occurrence into reality. If I don't do it frequently enough, somebody remind me, please! ;o)

Also, thanks to all who've commented recently. It's really encouraging to find out that people are still reading my blog; I'd been thinking I was the only who checked it anymore. To all the lurkers: Stop lurking! At least tell me that you've been here! If I had all the windows of my house open and invited you to look in, you wouldn't just look in without saying hello, would you? And if the answer to that question is "yes"...well, then, there's just something wrong with you. ;o) Tell me hi already! ;o)

But the point of this wasn't to rant about people whose tongues are imprisoned by felines. The point was to say THANK YOU!!! to everyone who has been commenting. You guys have really been "making my days" lately...and I'm really in need of those pick-me-ups. So keep those comments coming, and I will answer them and try to give you something fun to read and look at, too. :o)

picture of randomness

Several oddities here:

One, “Satisfaction of this product is guaranteed.” Why should the product be satisfied? I thought that I, as the consumer (of the coffee; this was on a package of coffee), am the one who should be satisfied? And besides, even if the product (i.e. the coffee) were the one who should be satisfied, how would the product even know if it were satisfied or not, seeing as how it lacks the consciousness which would be required for a determination of satisfaction or lack thereof?

Second, “Return to Harry and David if not satisfied.” There are SO many things wrong about this request. I don’t even know Harry and David. I’ve never been to Harry and David’s, so how could I even return to them even if I were dissatisfied with the coffee? (Which I wasn't, by the way; the coffee was caramel-flavored and delicious.)

Not to mention that there’s another way entirely in which that statement could be interpreted. But this is a public blog, so I won’t go there. ;o) I’ll just say it again: There are SO many things wrong about this request.


The English language continues to be mangled on labels and public advertising everywhere.


picture of exhaustion

I don't think this one needs explaining, do you? ;o)

pictures of snails

Sometime in June, the Chemnitz church took this summer's OC Campaign Group on an outing to Kriebstein to view one of Saxony's many castles (pictures available on request). We walked through forest to get there, and on the way back to the cars, Vanessa and I picked up the following friends:

These are helix pomatia, aka Burgundy snails. They're extremely common here in Germany, and I had one as a pet when I was a kid (along with a plethora of smaller type snails). So Van and I decided we needed to reintroduce these snails as pets in my household. One belongs to Van and one belongs to me, but I'm official custodian of both.

Almost as soon as I got them situated in their new home, the snails mated. I took pictures of that, too, but didn't want to put anything X-rated on my blog. (But if there's demand for these raunchy pictures, I will supply, of course!)  ;o) A week or so later, one of them (snails are hermaphrodites, so I can't exactly say "the female...") dug a hole in the dirt and laid eggs; a few weeks after that, the eggs hatched and we had tiny baby snails; and now, finally, after about 5 weeks since the egg-laying, the baby snails are digging their way out of the dirt. Here are a few that have already emerged:

For a size comparison: The babies are creeping across a slice of cucumber; they are about 20 times as small as the adults! Look closely, and you can see the veins and tiny organs through their still-transparent shells.

I know I'm gonna be called "weird" for this... Ah well, so be it. ;o) I think they're adorable (especially the babies!), and they are fascinating to watch. For those of you with kids: I can attest to the fact that these snails make great pets for teaching kids about some of the smaller wonders that God has designed into this amazingly complex planet we live on. There are even mathematical formulas that govern the helical shape of snail shells. Yet another tiny bit of evidence speaking for the design in everything natural.  

picture of our singing group

From left: Courtney, April, Karen, Amanda, Alex, Steffen, Larry, Ed (director).

Last year, eight of us formed a singing group to be available to sing at weddings, funerals, gospel meetings, and parties.  So far, we've done a wedding, a funeral, two gospel meetings (multiple nights each), and two parties.  We sing spirituals (English) and traditional and non-traditional hymns (English and German).

Being part of this group has been a lot of fun for me, even though we've sung together mostly in the summers, and hardly at all during the rest of the year. Considering that only three people in the group (April, Ed, and Larry) have had formal training in music, our group sounds really good.  (If I dare say so mayself.)  ;o)  Even professional musicians have commented that we've achieved a very nice blend. Too bad we don't get to practice together more! :o(

pictures of Poland trip (and the ever-elusive Robteer!)

A few weeks ago (while Jerry and Cindy were here), we ex-pats of the Chemnitz American Corner (aka Christian Ghetto) took a one-day, one-night trip to Poland. Compared to Germany prices, Poland is pretty affordable, so we were able to stay overnight at a castle-turned-hotel. Here we are in the dining room:

The next day, we went Polish pottery shopping (I'll have to post some pics of my purchases--somebody remind me to do that, okay?) and lunched at a lovely establishment that Larry, Clint and April had discovered on a previous trip. It was a linguistically educating dining experience, as evinced in the picture of the menu below:

Much to our dismay, Robteer Floats apparently weren't in season the day we were there. For those of you who might be puzzled at the possible nature of a Robteer, please be advised that a Robteer, apparently, is nothing more alarming that a good ol' American rootbeer.  Go figure.
We didn't attempt the Frail-Mix.

I hope this one gives everybody a good laugh!  ;oD

pictures of Pippin...

...because she's adorable...

...because she apparently enjoys dancing...

...and because, as I've said before, she doesn't seem to possess a spine.


picture of Augustusburg outing

When my parents were here a few weeks ago, we took Jan on an outing to Augustusburg, about half an hour from Chemnitz. We had a picnic at a playground, then played on the "Sommerrodelbahn." Summer-sledding-track??? Don't quite know how to translate that.....but it sure was fun!!! ;o)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

pictures from the Sächsische Schweiz

I'll be posting pictures for the next few days, depending on how much time I have. Might do the rest tomorrow, who knows? Here's the first batch, though:

Last month, our friends Jerry and Cindy came for a 2-week visit, and we had a blast! One day, we went to the "Sächsische Schweiz" ("Saxon Switzerland") and hiked around on a mountain. Here are a few pics from that day. I recommend clicking them to see the larger versions!

A view of the bridge we crossed in order to get to the main hiking trails.

Ed, Cindy, and I after hiking down the mountain and back up. Ed wanted us to act like we were out of breath (which we were!), but Cindy and I opted for gracious smiles, instead. Sorry, Ed! ;o)

A view of the Elbe River and the valley from the top of the mountain (close to where the bridge is).

I could post sooooooooo many gorgeous pictures of that day, it would take me hours to upload them all! This area of Saxony is one of the most beautiful and naturally mysterious places I've ever been. If you ever come visit Ed and me here, tell us to take you to Saxon Switzerland! :o) 

a self-quiz

(I wrote this on August 5th but hadn't posted it yet because I couldn't get the picture to upload.  *sigh*  Sometimes, computers are a true bane of my existence.)

In honor of all the quizzes that are popular in this, the Information Age, I bring you this quiz that I just made up on my own, because I wanted to.


1. Mel Gibson. This whole DUI/Antisemite thing of his: What is the man thinking? First of all, he is WAY old enough to know better. About the DUI *and* about the Antisemitism. There's just no excuse for such childishness. Second and frankly, he's making God and Christianity look bad. And lest anyone accuse me of being judgmental: Yes, I sin. Yes, I make stupid mistakes. I'm no paragon of virtue, I'll readily admit. BUT, by touting his film "The Passion" as a tool for teaching others about Jesus, Gibson has set himself up as a teacher of God's truth. It seems to me that he has forgotten what James 3:1 has to say about that.
Mr. Gibson, shame on you.

2. splash! Long story short: splash! is the biggest hip-hop festival in Europe or something like that, and it's held in Chemnitz every summer. I don't care for the hip-hop genre in the least...however, if people want to listen to it, that's their business. BUT! This 4-day, so-called "music" festival takes place at a lake about two miles from my apartment building. Which means: Our street and local grocery store are daily filled with individuals of a rather unsavory persuasion who not only act as though they own everything, but also leave their trash *everywhere*. Our street is starting to look like a dump. Plus, after the festivel is over, it takes the city over a week to clean up the lake and its surroundings, because the partyers leave their trash (garbage, lawn chairs, tents, everything) all over the whole area.
Also, there's the noise level: I'm currently sitting in my bedroom with the windows closed, and I can hear the thumpa-thumpa-boom as though it's right in the room with me. Did I mention it's two miles away?
Gah. :-P

3. PMS.  And I don't think anyone wants any more details than that! I'm certainly not gonna provide any.


1. Karen's birthday! Today was Frau's birthday, and a great time was had by all! Today's theme words were coffee, cake, and karaoke...a stupendous combination, I daresay! ;o)

Thanks for letting us spend the day with you, Karen! Happy Birthday!

2. Poetry.  I have written 15 poems this year already, which is twice the number that I wrote last year. Yeah, yeah, I know, I need to be working on my novel, not writing poetry. Well, I can't help it. The words are there, they've gotta come out! ;o) Since I've been so prolific lately, and since I think my poetry is maturing somewhat, I'm thinking seriously about looking into publishing. I have no idea how to go about it; the only publishing I've researched has been in regard to novels. Poetry is a whole new area for me. So I might be re-visiting this topic sometime soon, after I have more info.

3. Michelle. Last but not least, Michelle is a free online game I found out about from the game's programmer, who also plays chess at Chessworld (see link at right somewhere). It's a strategy game, the object of which is to eliminate all the yellow dots from the playing grid. It took me a couple of rounds on the "Easy Peasy" level to get the hang of it, but now I'm up to "Pretty Tricky." This is the kind of game that *is* pretty tricky for me, because my brain doesn't automatically work that way! So it's a good challenge.
I highly recommend this game--it's a lot of fun!--but be forewarned: Michelle is addictive!

Well, I guess that's all for now. That's "all"--it's good and plenty, as far as I'm concerned! ;o)

Monday, August 07, 2006

literary frustrations

I just finished reading Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer, which Pam gave me for my birthday this year. (Which disproves the theory that fantasy and sci-fi are all I ever read. Take that, you doubters!) I'm not gonna give a book review or anything, other than to say this is a great novel, I highly enjoyed it, it made me laugh, it made me cry, it was interesting, and I recommend it.

What I really wanted to say is that I'm frustrated that Kingsolver ends the story where she ends it, because I wanna know more! I won't give anything away, but...I want to know what happens with Deanna, I want to know if Lusa gets remarried, and I want to read more of the Garnett-Nannie banter. I'd even like to see how Little Rickie is in his 20s. And whether or not Crystal ever gets over her issues. (Although I'm by no means advocating that she be forced to wear a dress.)

There. That's all. I just have all these questions, and unless Kingsolver writes a sequel (which I DO advocate her doing!), I'm not going to get any answers.

Frustrating. *sigh*

Thursday, August 03, 2006

toilet habits

Okay, so here’s something my stateside readers might not be aware of: In Germany (and in many other European countries) it’s customary (and expected) for one to pay 30-50 Eurocents when using a public toilet. Why? I don’t know. I guess the cleaning people don’t get paid enough.

Anyway, today I paid 50 Eurocents to use the toilet at the Dresden Hauptbahnhof ( => "main train station"; approximate pronunciation: HOWPT-baahhhn-hoaf; not “hop-bon-hoff,” please). Now sometimes, there will be an unmanned “donation plate” situated outside the public restroom so that customers can give their 30 or 50 Eurocents; honor system, you see. But the restrooms at the Dresden HOWPT-baahhhn-hoaf are barred by this walk-through thingy that won’t let you in until you’ve deposited your 50 Eurocents. That’s fine with me. I’ve been paying to pee over here my whole life; I’m used to it; no big deal.

However, here’s the kicker: When I pay to use the toilet, I kind of expect it to be clean. I don’t think that’s an unrealistic expectation; it’s one of those unwritten-rule-contract things. What I do *not* expect is to have to wipe urine off the toilet seat before I do my business. Personally, I think that’s kind of ridiculous.

Actually, though, the point of my complaint is not to gripe about the uncleanliness of the toilets. That was just a lead-in to the main thing that perplexes me, namely:

How in the world does urine end up on the toilet seat in a women’s restroom?

I mean, really, girls. Does it make sense? We don’t stand up to pee; we sit. Or at least squat. With a hole as big as a toilet bowl, there’s no need for aiming when you’re in that position, so no one can claim to have aimed and missed. There’s nowhere else for it to go except down. So how do some of you manage to make it go up and all over the toilet seat? And not only on the sides, but also on the back?

This is a mystery to me. I can think of only two possible explanations:

(a) You don’t want to sit on the toilet seat because you’ve observed, as have I, that some women manage to miss the approximately 2-foot-square opening of the toilet bowl and have done their business all over the seat; hence, you solve your problem by refusing to touch flesh to the seat; and you squat over it instead. And somehow manage to miss the aforementioned 2-foot-square opening, thereby making your own addition to the general mess.

BUT! SOLUTION: Quit trying to squat. Wipe off the seat, line it with multiple layers of toilet paper, and get on about your business. For crying out loud.

(b) (We’re still on possible explanations, in case you’ve forgotten.) Some of you are rebels with a bizarre sense of humor and the antisocial desire to create more unnecessary work for other people. So you do actually stand up to pee: on the toilet lid, aiming in the general direction of that ever-popular 2-foot-square opening, missing said opening in grand fashion, and making your own addition to the general mess.

BUT! SOLUTION: Stop doing that. Get therapy.

Final thoughts:

If, by some defiant paradox of natural laws, you have ACCIDENTALLY achieved the backward and upward flow of urine instead of the outward and down, can you not look at the toilet as you’re reassembling your clothing ensemble, see that you’ve made a mess, and clean up after yourself???

Come on, ladies.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

why do i even bother?

This is gonna be a complainer of a post. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Why do I keep trying to share my faith with others? Why do I spend oodles of time and effort listening to people, talking to people, introducing people to Jesus....and all they want to think about is this New-Agey-existential-feel-good-i'm-okay-you're-okay CRAP???

I'm particularly irritated with a certain Eastern religion right now. I won’t name it, as I’m totally disinterested in getting into a debate over it. But I have to wonder: Why in the world is this religion so attractive? The founder of this religion never offered to sacrifice his life for his followers; he never offered to give them something that any other human might not give them. So why is anybody interested in following him?

If I named the religion I’m thinking of and said everything I’m thinking about it, I’d draw a firestorm of criticism and debate. Yep, narrow-minded and despicably conservative, that’s me.

But if I got on here and deplored Christianity, people would cheer. I am so tired of it being politically correct to embrace all religions and schools of thought except the Christian one. It’s politically correct and popular to bash Christianity, and it makes me sick.

So why do I bother to continue teaching? The moment I open my mouth in favor of Jesus, people flick a switch to “OFF” in their brains. Or maybe it’s a switch labeled “Naïve, dogmatic, arrogant Christian—stop listening NOW”. Why do I keep at this thankless task?

I guess I just can’t help myself. God might call me a good and faithful servant; I’m sure a worldly therapist would say I'm delusional and compulsion-driven. Sometimes, I do wonder which of them would be right.

Gah. I'd really like to be less frustrated right now.

But I keep at it because I believe him. I keep at it because I love him.

I keep at it because he loves me back.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

all comments answered

Just FYI.

Still need more comments on artwork, though. ;oD

Thursday, July 20, 2006

a global enterprise

I’m with a global enterprise. We have branches in every country in the world. We have representatives in nearly every parliament and boardroom on earth.

We’re into motivation and behavior alteration. We run hospitals, feeding stations, crisis-pregnancy centers, universities, publishing houses, and nursing homes. We care for our clients from birth to death. We are into life insurance and fire insurance. We perform spiritual heart transplants.

Our original Organizer owns all the real estate on earth plus an assortment of galaxies and constellations. He knows everything and lives everywhere. Our product is free for the asking. (There’s not enough money to buy it.) Our CEO was born in a hick town, worked as a carpenter, didn’t own a home, was misunderstood by his family and hated by his enemies, walked on water, was condemned to death without a trial, and arose from the dead. I talk with him every day.

--Russ Blowers
quoted in Max Lucado’s “Traveling Light”

Ich gehöre einem globalen Unternehmen an. Wir haben Branchen in jedem Land der Welt. Unsere Repräsentanten befinden sich in fast jedem Parliament und Sitzungssaal auf dieser Erde.

Wir interessieren uns für Motivation und Verhaltensveränderung. Wir verwalten Krankenhäuser, "Feeding-Stations", Schwangerschaftszentren, Universitäten, Bücherverläge und Altersheime. Wir sorgen uns um unsere Klienten von Geburt an bis zu ihrem Tode. Wir bieten Lebensversicherung und Feuerversicherung an. Wir führen geistliche Herztransplantate durch.

Unser Urheber besitzt alle Immobilien auf der Erde und ein Sortiment an Galaxien und Konstellationen. Er weiß alles und wohnt überall. Unser Produkt ist kostenlos, man muß nur nachfragen. (Es gibt nicht genug Geld, um es zu kaufen.) Unser Geschäftsführer wurde in einem kleinen Kaff geboren, arbeitete als Tischler, hatte keinen Wohnsitz, wurde von seiner Familie mißverstanden und von seinen Feinden gehaßt, ist auf Wasser gelaufen, wurde ohne Gerichtsprozeß zum Tode verurteilt und ist vom Tode auferstanden. Ich rede jeden Tag mit ihm.

--Russ Blowers
zitiert in Max Lucados „Traveling Light“

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

art, and a few thoughts

Wow. Haven't been here in a long time.

Some of you, my Faithful (?) Readers, already know why I haven't felt like blogging much lately. Ed and I have been dealing with some pretty serious trials over the last seven weeks. For me, it has felt like being in a dark, cramped hole, into which light penetrates only on the rarest of occasions. And I'm afraid of coming out. Every day, God infuses me with a bit more strength...but still, healing is a long and slow process.

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about.... You're welcome to ask, and I might respond to you privately. Or I might not. It depends on whether or not I feel comfortable sharing personal things with you.

In the meantime, I got new art posted on my Elfwood gallery this week! Here are the links to the new pictures:

'Aberrant Bird, Buoyant Bird, and Crestfallen Bird'
'According To The Dove On Far-Off Terebinths" and a details pic.
'Black Leaf Castle (Or: Someone Left The Lights On)'
'First Faery Tower Infesting My Desk'
'Maske der Kälte' and a details pic.
'Second Faery Tower Infesting My Desk'

Please leave some comments on my pics so they don't get lonely! (No, I'm not above begging.) ;o)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Happy Birthday, Blog!

Yay for my blog!!! IT'S TWO YEARS OLD TODAY!!!!

(Backdated from July 18th. Yeah, I cheated.) ;o)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

dream #92

Mwungu, The Rabid Goat

recorded June 21, 2006

One night several weeks ago, I dreamed that I was back in school (imagine that!), and I was sitting down in a math or physics class. There were lots of numbers involved, so I didn’t really know which kind of class it was.

The teacher was a really disturbing-looking individual, with beady little eyes, a long face, and puffy cheeks. As I studied him, I started thinking that he looked quite a bit like a goat; I almost expected to see horns coming from the top of his head. He talked in a rapid, excited way that made him seem a bit demented. I thought it wouldn’t be safe to turn my back on him.

As the class period progressed, it became clear that this teacher didn’t like students who didn’t understand everything right off the bat. Based on the appearance or hobbies of those students, he picked nicknames for them and used those nicknames to make fun of them. I didn’t answer one of his questions correctly, and he asked me what I liked to do in my spare time. When I told him that I enjoyed painting, he laughed at me and started calling me “Picasso”; but it wasn’t a compliment, of course.

After this had gone on for awhile, I started getting really angry. Finally, I just stood up and yelled at him to stop making fun of all of us and to start helping us learn, instead. I said, “Until you stop calling me Picasso and start calling me Courtney, I’m going to call you Mwungu, the Rabid Goat!”

Then the dream ended.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

christianity and homosexuality

I just read this article, which discusses (yet again) the difficulties that denominations are having in deciding what they should teach about homosexuality. Here's an excerpt from the article:
Every Sunday there's an intense struggle in the souls of some believers as one religious denomination after another battles over the rights and roles of homosexuals.

Gay or not, progressive or traditional, those who disagree with their denomination's stance wonder:

Should they leave their church?

Has their church left them?

Is this any place to find God at all?

The questions are as fresh as the headlines, as old as Christianity itself. Early fathers of the church ruled on which teachings were heresy and which were "true."

"Denominations have fractured since Day One. The very word 'denominated' means divided," says Boston University sociologist Nancy Ammerman.

This week the national governing bodies of two mainline Protestant denominations, the Episcopal Church USA and the Presbyterian Church (USA), each meet to debate their views on gay clergy and same-sex unions, and whether the denominational rulings or local churches should have the final say.

But while leaders argue, ordinary people soldier on.

Many, gay or straight, seek a community of souls that welcomes them and shares their sense of the Scriptures and the sacred.

Guess what? I'm not going to express an opinion about this. Shocking, isn't it! ;o) I am, however, going to quote a few scriptures that come to mind regarding this issue.

Draw your own conclusions.

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
--Jesus, Matthew 5:43-48

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
--Jesus, John 13:34-35

"I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him....Whoever has seen me has seen the Father...."
--Jesus, John 14:6-7, 9

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments....Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him....If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. "
--Jesus, John 14:15, 21, 23

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
--2. Peter 3:9

So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
--Romans 1:20-28

"...But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."
--God, Revelation 21:8

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
--Philippians 2:3-13

Sunday, June 11, 2006

updated the wish list (see link at right)

And now I'm going to bed.

Ahhh.....nothin' like a hard day's work.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Just FYI, as far as I can determine, I've discovered all previously unanswered comments and now answered them. Not to worry, friends--I haven't been ignoring you. It's just that life has been happening an awful lot lately.

improving my vocabulary

A few days ago, I watched the movie "Billy Elliott" for the first time. What a terrific story! Quintessential coming-of-age kind of thing, about a boy who wants to become a ballet dancer against his father's wishes. Sweet, heartwarming, funny, inspiring.

I hesitate to recommend it, though, because the language was awful. However, the film is set in England in 1984, and all of the characters have extremely strong accents. So an American watching the movie without subtitles wouldn't be able to understand it well enough to hear the bad words, anyway. ;o)

The real reason I'm posting about this is: In the movie, Billy Elliott tells his ballet teacher not to lose her temper. His phrase is, "Don't lose your blob." Now, lest you think I'm posting bad language without knowing it, I looked up the phrase and found out that they made it up for the movie, improvising it on the spot during that particular scene. So to those of you with your minds in the gutter, it's nothing vulgar!

Anyway, I'm announcing that in an effort to expand my vocabulary, I'm going to start using this phrase. So, if you think I'm being silly or pretentious or needlessly eccentric.....don't lose your blob over it, okay?

Friday, May 26, 2006

God is good

"It's these moments, I think, that reveal the true man; the instinctive reaction before manufactured and trained good behavior can take over. You have a glimpse of what lies underneath the conventional responses, and in my case I saw a monumental selfishness."

--Iain Pears
in "The Portrait"

I have to admit to seeing such a monumental selfishness in myself...and frequently. But I try to keep before my eyes the hope I have in my Lord Jesus Christ: I have the opportunity, as a child of God, for a lifetime of growth and maturation through the influence of his Holy Spirit inside me; I am allowed to choose an increasing vulnerability to the love and the will of God, a choice which always leads to transformation and salvation, over and over again.

Praise the LORD!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

the hugest update this year....for me, anyway

Hi Friends and Neighbors and Assorted Lurkers,

So, here’s the major-mondo update I’ve been promising for months and months. I’m going to keep it “short”—not because I don’t want you to know details, and not because I don’t think you’re interested (because I know you’re waiting with bated breath to hear about everything going on in *my* life)—but for my own sanity. Why? Because if I don’t keep this update relatively “short,” I’ll never write it. And if I never write it, I think I’ll inner-pressure myself out of blogging anymore. And if I inner-pressure myself out of blogging, I might go a little nuts.

If that makes sense to no one but me, then the going-nuts part has probably already happened.

So, with neither further ado nor further adon’t, here’s the nuts-and-bolts version of what’s been going on the last few months:

1. My sermon at the German Ladies' Retreat in February.
Aye, it went well. I wasn’t as nervous about this one as I was about the one last September. God infused me with more calm than I’ve ever had while speaking in front of people…and this time, I actually had fun with it. Slowly, I’m starting to believe those gifts-assessment tests that claim I would be good at teaching in a public role. Hmmm…..

2. My "epiphanies" resulting from the English-Speaking Ladies' Retreat in March.
In the shell of a nut, these epiphanies were specific to my relationship with Ed, and they’re not something I would want to tell the world about. Not in this forum, anyway. Suffice it to say, I realized this: The way I’ve treated Ed in the past has given him the feeling that I don’t trust him. Many things I’ve said and done have hindered him from leading our family the way he should. I talked with him about these realizations and asked his forgiveness.
And since I’ve started concentrating on trusting him, he has started making some good changes, and I don’t feel this inner pressure on myself to be in control of everything.
Huh. It’s pretty neat how God knows what he’s talking about in regard to men and women.

3. The counseling class I took.
This was another advanced course with Jim and Elsa Springer from the church in Bremen. The class covered the basics in counseling, and it was a great challenge. The most important things I learned were things about myself:
--I’m not yet emotionally mature enough or educated enough to be a counselor. Even though I often need to take a counseling role in my work, I put too much pressure on myself to be “better” at it than I’m capable of being at this point.
--I can’t communicate my boundaries to others until I have established them firmly in my own mind.
--I now feel better equipped to let others deal with their own problems instead of becoming emotionally overwhelmed myself because I feel like I have to take responsibility for what other people are doing. I’ve learned and now understand that what others do is not my fault, and it’s certainly not my responsibility. I’m not going to drag others’ emotional baggage around with me anymore.

4. My brief trip to Oklahoma.
As some of you already know, I was in Oklahoma for a week at the end of April. My Grandma Boxley, who is 91, is in very bad health. My mom called me and asked me to fly over there and spend time with Grandma for a week, and of course I agreed. It was a rough, rough trip—physically and emotionally. I’m glad it was possible for me to go….I’m glad I got to say goodbye.
Since I’ve been back, I think I’ve been avoiding thinking about Grandma a lot…which is terrible of me. But this is not an easy pain to deal with.

5. Current events:
--Let’s Start Talking team arrived from Cascade two weeks ago. Nichol, Spencer, and Tasha hit the ground running by hosting the LST Info Meeting the very day they arrived. Since then, they’ve been reading with people, visiting schools, and being an encouragement to the church here.
--The Harding Choir arrives for a concert this weekend. Fifty students; 3 or 4 will be staying with Ed and me. We’re renting a big room downtown for this Sunday’s worship service, and we’re inviting the Lutherans from down the street to join us if they wish. (The Lutherans will be keeping half the Harding students for two nights; the church will be keeping the other half.)
--FriendsCamp will be the weekend of June 9th.
--The “Singing Campaign” from OC will arrive mid-June.
--I still need to go to the “Ausländerbehörde” (“Foreigners’ Department”) to find out about the paperwork I submitted for my visa extension. I think that technically, I’m in the country illegally.
--I should’ve gone to the doctor a week ago to find out some blood test results (thyroid again), but I haven’t gotten a round 2 it.
--We need to take Pippin to the vet soon to have her “fixed.” Poor thing.
--I've been reading a lot of good books lately, including:

  • "The Importance of Being Foolish," by Brennan Manning
  • "QBQ! The Question Behind the Question," by John G. Miller
  • "The Portrait," by Iain Pears
  • "Life Expectancy," by Dean Koontz
  • "Walking Through the Wardrobe," by Sarah Arthur

I've been toying with the idea of blogging some book reviews. But how would I make the time?

I’ve been feeling tired a lot.
And I guess that’s it. You want any more details, yer gonna hafta ask. ;o)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Chessboard Parleys, Episode II

mgam: I suppose you can say whatever you like. you're a big girl. hey who you calling unique?!
angeltwist: i'll even shout it from the rooftops if i want, so there. ;oP and i'm calling you unique! you've never given me the impression that it's your lifelong goal to be like everyone else.....
mgam: Hey I'm not oppossed to that nor to the ide of being unique...
angeltwist: better than the ide of march, i suppose.
mgam: if you've seen one ide you've seen em all...
angeltwist: it would take me a few minutes to figure out how many ides of seen.....but i'm sure i haven't seen all of them. i'm not as old as you, y'know.
mgam: thanks for rubbing it in. the ide of texas are upon you...
angeltwist: well, ide éclair!
mgam: that was the greatest pun i've ever heard. you win.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

great news for virginal men

I just read the following article in the Yahoo! news section:

It's hard out there for a virgin...
Fri May 5, 8:49 AM ET

A brothel has become the first in Berlin to offer special deals for virgins with prostitutes trained in the delicate art of catering for customers who have never had sex, a German newspaper reported Friday.

The brothel in the red light area of the Kreuzberg district of the city charges 60 euros for a half an hour of sex and works within the laws of Germany where prostitution is legal.

"These are men who either never had sex before or have never been in a brothel before," the brothel's operator was quoted as saying in Berlin's B.Z. tabloid.

"It's the first house of love in Berlin that specializes in taking care of beginners," wrote the daily on its front page.

Prostitutes are given "sensitivity training" for first-time clients, who the brothel operator said are not necessarily young but often 40 or older: "They need to be aware of how much courage it takes to go to a brothel the first time."


Let me repeat that final quote: "They need to be aware of how much courage it takes to go to a brothel the first time."

Excuse me? Courage? I can think of a few words that would make for a better description. Perversion, for one. Immorality, for another. Or how about total lack of respect for self. Total lack of respect for women.

Actually, come to think of it, even cowardice would be a better word than courage. Yes, cowardice, because paying someone to have sex displays an unwillingness to deal with reality. Maybe the reality of an unhealthy marriage. Maybe the reality of one's own deep psychological problems. For virgins, maybe the reality of not being able to develop healthy, committed relationships.

This article shocks me. Not because prostitution is legal in Germany. I already knew that. And not even because this brothel is catering specifically to virgin men.

(Guys, would you really want to have to tell your future wife that your first sexual experience was with a woman you had to pay? A woman you didn't even love? A woman you didn't even know?)

No, what shocks me is the attitude in this article. The mindset. The view that prostitution is perfectly normal. Perfectly acceptable. Perfectly okay. And, underlying all of that, the view that if you think this is wrong, there must be something wrong with you.

The article emphasized the "sensitivity" of the trained prostitutes. Well, I think the whole thing is fundamentally sick and wrong. I guess that makes me insensitive.

So be it.

People, I refuse to sugar-coat this. On this subject, I will gladly stand up under accusations of being politically incorrect, intolerant, and judgmental.

Prostitution is a sin. Under any circumstances.
Visiting a prostitute is a sin. Under any circumstances.
Sex outside of marriage is a sin. Under any circumstances.

This is the kind of thing that caused the fall of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the Roman Empire. (Greatest nation of the world, brought down by immorality. Does that ring a bell?)

This is why the world needs us Christians to be light. This is why the world needs us Christians to be salt. (Matthew 5)

Without light, people stumble around in darkness and fall.

Without salt as a preservative, things rot.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

i hate manipulative "christian" forwards

I've said it before (though maybe not here, I don't remember), and I'll say it again:


I really believe that most Christians aren't thinking when they send fellow Christians emails that contain statements such as:

"Isn't it funny how you can send a thousand jokes through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing?"


"Isn't it funny how when you go to forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it to them."


"Isn't it funny how I can be more worried about what other people think of me than what God thinks of me?"


"Jesus said, 'If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of you before my Father.' Not ashamed? Pass this on ONLY IF YOU MEAN IT!!"

No, it's not funny. And I don't appreciate the sarcasm.

No, I don't send messages about God to friends or family who are decided unbelievers. Why? Because it insults them and puts a roadblock in the path of my relationship with them. This means that they become even less open to the Lord than before, because they come to see me, their only Christian example, as inflexible, insensitive, and dogmatic.

No, I am not worried about what other people think of me. But I am concerned with what they think of Jesus. And I represent him to them, so what do they think of him if I show them arrogance instead of loving understanding?

No, I'm not ashamed of Jesus. But I don't have to forward an email to prove it.

Friends, I find such messages insulting. They are not messages of God's power or the love of Jesus Christ. These messages are arrogant and counter-productive to the spread of God's Word. They play on the emotions and inspire guilt, not the fire of evangelism.

Here's another quote:

"This is the simplest test.
"If You Love God... And, are not ashamed of all the marvelous things HE has done for you...
"Send this to ten people and the person who sent it to you!
"I don't think I know 10 people who would admit they love Jesus. Do You love Him?"

Excuse me?
I think you just said that if I don't forward your email, it means that I don't love Jesus.
Excuse me, fellow Christian? Surely I didn't hear you right.

Besides, I do know more than ten people who would--and do!--admit to loving Jesus. Plenty more than ten.

These emails are blatant emotional manipulation.

If we have a fire--a conviction, not a guilt-ridden burden!--to share the message of Jesus Christ, we need to get out there and LIVE it. Just clicking "forward" isn't going to cut it, especially if the forward tells people that they're ashamed and obviously don't have time for God if they click "delete" instead.

Think about whom you're sending such a message to before you send it. Please, think before you click!

More about forwards.