Thursday, September 30, 2004
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
What is Blog Safari?
Start by reading this. I started Blog Safari to help in displaying blogs that I run across from time to time. There are alot of really good ones out there, and it is fun to share them with others. Blog Safari also serves in expanding readership of all of the blogs that are involved.
Where did you get the idea for Blog Safari?
Awhile ago Darren from Living Room ran something called Blogger Idol. I thought that it was alot of fun and I always wanted to do something like it. I have to give him the credit for the idea. I had also been bumping the idea around for awhile because of the blogger "next blog" button. I thought that was a great idea.
How do I go on a Blog Safari?
One possibility is to click on the Blogger "next blog" button. The problem with that one is that it will only take you to blogger blogs.
Another possibility is to check out some blog listings. Here are a few:
, , and
But my preferred method is to go to a blog that I enjoy reading and click on a link that they have listed. Most blogs have a section of blogs they enjoy reading. If you do that and then look at the links that those blogs have, you could go on indefinitely.
If you have any other Blog Safari tips that you would like to share, feel free to do so.
Thanks for stopping by.
Now, I have been on a few blog hunts myself from time to time, and have found some interesting blogs, blogs that I would like to share with other people. Blogs that I feel are a unique find. But I never had a way to share those blogs with other bloggers... Until Now!
If you would like to join in on the Blog Safari, Here is what you need to do:
- Go on a blog hunt.
- Write a post on your blog telling us about your exceptional blog find! (You might want to explain to your readers what you are doing and include a link to this page.)
- Include a link to your blog in the blogger input section of this post, by clicking blogger input at the bottom of this post. Even if you are not a "blogger" member, you can still leave a comment there. Make sure you leave (1)your name, (2)the link to your page, and (3)a short description of your blog find.
- Feel free to browse through the entries for each week and pick a top three to post on your blog.
- Please, only one entry per week. (I will try to do this every week and in the next few weeks will possibly include some theme hunts or something like that.)
If this works, I think that it will be a great way to network with other bloggers and to also get your own blog discovered.
If you have any suggestions on how to improve the Blog Safari, e-mail me at email@example.com
Last, but not least, I need to acknowledge Darren of living room. His Blogger Idol series is what inspired me to try this.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
But yesterday, as I was waiting for my microwave meal to be nuked in the teacher's lounge, I picked up one of those teacher magazines. I don't remember which one it was, but there was the title of an article that really jumped off the page and grabbed my attention. It was, Why do Christian School students resent Christian Education?
It is an excellent question. It is a question that I have thought of myself. I went to a Christian School myself, and now, as many of my classmates have reached the age where their children are going to school, a majority of them speak so resentfully of their own Education. And refuse to send their kids to a Christian School.
It baffles me, it really does. In most of the cases, it wasn't because the school was all that bad, it was because they were bad! I know because so was I!
We were rebellion incarnate. It wouldn't have mattered what kind of school we were at, we were bent on doing evil. Unfortunately many of my old friends want to blame the school and blame their church and blame their parents, but they don't want to look deep to see what the real problem was. them.
When I decided to go into education, I chose Christian Education mostly because I knew that if I worked at a Public School, I would get fired. Plain and Simple. There is not a day that goes by that I don't refer to the relevance of God in everyday life. I wouldn't be able to keep my mouth shut in a Public School.
- Why is a line straight? God made it that way.
- Why do we have to do geometry? God tells us to be submissive to our authority, and your authority says to take geometry.
- Where did the number pi come from? God came up with it. Decided that would be the best number for the job. And even though it is a never ending and never repeating decimal, God knows the whole thing... He wrote it.
- Why does 2+2=4? God decided that.
- Why do we have to do our homework? To get good grades, so we can get into a good college? No! It is because God says to do all things to glorify Him.
- When are we ever going to use this? You might never use this particular thing again, but your whole life you will have to do things that you don't want to do or don't understand why you have to do them, so doing geometry to the best of your ability because God says that is the way we should do all things, is practice for real life.
- Why? Why? Why? God.
It all comes back to Him.
Why do Christian School kids sometimes resent Christian Education? They don't see it's value. Maybe they had teachers that weren't doing the job well, I don't know. But I want to restore that value. NO. I don't have delusions of grandeur. I don't think that I can change a whole system, but I do think... Hope... and pray that God might
Even if it is only one.
I loved kids, and usually chose to play with them at family outings and such. I also had two younger sisters, and for the most part I enjoyed playing with them. I was almost 15 when my youngest sister was born, so I was very familiar with the whole thing... or so I thought.
I had a sobering moment a couple of days ago. I looked at my children and thought, "all of the bad things they do, they learned from me." It was depressing, but oh-so-true!
Now, sometimes, I look at my kids and I wonder if I am any good at this daddy thing at all. If they survive this earth it won't be because of me, that is for sure. It will be because of the grace of God.
Monday, September 27, 2004
I think that if you have read this blog at any time in the past, you will notice that I have not at anytime tried to express my own political opinions. I have chosen to keep silent about it, but with the upcoming election, I think that I am going to take a poke at it.
First of all, I am not a political person. I just isn't my cup-o-tea. I can't help it, I just don't find politics to be an overly interesting topic.
Secondly, it doesn't matter that much to me. I enjoy my freedoms in this country and appreciate them, but that has no bearing on how I am going to live my life or make my decisions. If tomorrow I lost all of my freedoms, I would still be free in Christ, because "... if the Son has set you free, then you will be free indeed!"
Thirdly, my citizenship is in heaven. And even though some would consider this to be figurative, I take it to be a reality. I am just passing through this country.
So politics just aren't a regular topic of my conversation.
But one of my favorite blogs, that I read on a daily basis, inadvertently motivated me to consider my own political stand with this post. If you go there you can read my comments and the comments of some others who were also motivated to speak on the subject.
Since I talked about it there, I thought that I would throw out my comments here and see what everybody thinks.
I almost hesitate saying this, because people on the web seem to be the most critical people, but here goes...
I simply can't vote for someone who is pro-choice. I know that most people think that is such a minor issue, but to me it is the most important of the issues. There aren't many things on this earth that are worse than abortion.
What I really find amazing is the number of people who would claim the Christian Faith as their own, yet still say that it is OK to kill an unborn child. Amazing.
Like I said, I know that most people will say that this is not the main issue, but I consider this a defining issue. Most of us are fools if we think that we know as much as Bush or Kerry when it comes to running the govt. I have never tried to run a govt., so on some of the issues, I have opinions, but I do know that it is wrong to kill innocent children. I know that there are thousands of women across this nation that have listened to the lie that it was OK, and now they are trying to survive the aftermath of such a decision. AND if I have to chose which man is going to be responsible for the govt. that I am under, that I have to Biblically submit to, I hope to get a man that will stand firm on an issue, no ...on a moral principle.
I am sure that I am going to get comments about how wrong I am to say such a thing, and quite frankly, that's OK. (this isn't my blog anyway...Just thought that I would put in my two cents)
The first response back said:
Thanks for standing by your convictions, always an admirable attribute. I to cannot fathom the act of abortion and could never support such thing. However, politically speaking, it's a moot point. Here is why. . . just as many abortions can and do occur during a "pro-life" administration as that of a "pro-choice" administration.
It has always baffled me and angered me (this is not directed to you Matt) that "Christians" stand on the abortion issue alone when exercising political rights. We are called to be our brothers' keeper; to care for those that are in need. Is this limited to unborn children, absolutely not. Many "pro-life" Christians could care less about the well being of pregnant woman, just that her fetus lives. They don't offer her any solutions, compassion, or help. They could care less about the homeless guy they rush past and ignore his pleas for help, or the black kid that is actually more depressed than violent, or the homosexual that really does not "deserve" to die. In a nutshell, Republicans oppose abortion and social support for those in need. Democrats support abortion and social support for those in need. Pick a side. It's not fair, but it is what it is. Since this issue is a moot point politically speaking, wouldn't it would make more since to focus on actual modern day Biblical issues and needs ?
Let me leave on this note. This is how I judge our current president and the gentleman wanting replace him:
15"Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don't be impressed with charisma; look for character:
21"Knowing the correct password saying 'Master, Master,' for instance isn't going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience, doing what my Father wills. 22I can see it now at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, 'Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.' 23And do you know what I am going to say? 'You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don't impress me one bit. You're out of here.'
And since I wasn't for sure if he had actually understood my point, I responded again by saying:
Actually the point that I was trying to make is that I can't trust that a politician can make good decisions in other "issues" if he can't see (and state openly) that abortion is wrong.
As far as offering help and solutions, that is the responsibility of the church not the duty of the government. In fact, if you want my opinion (which you probably don't), I don't want a government of godless men offering solutions to mothers.
And I can't speak for the "Christians" that you know, (I know that this world is full of hypocritical people) but most of the Christians that I am around on a weekly basis work very hard at offering as much help, support, and Biblical counsel as they can. And it doesn't come in the form of an organization or committee, it comes in the form of people helping and loving other people.
But like I said before, my only point is that, if a man doesn't say that it is wrong to kill, then I don't want him making decisions about war or economics or anything else for that matter. And NO, I am not foolish enough to think that America will ever get to the point where abortions aren't taking place, and NO I don't think that they will even get any less just because of a president, that wasn't what I was saying. My point is just that the issue of abortion, for me, is a sign of some level of morality.
If all of the other levels of morality are gone, at least he knows that it is wrong to kill.
Now, the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Everybody and their brother has something to say about what the president should do or be like, but I am not foolish enough to think that I could know all of the ins and outs of public office. So this isn't about whether or not abortion will be banned or not, because let's face it, abortions will continue to take place in this country no matter what law is passed.
So I am not saying vote for Bush because I think that abortion laws are going to get changed (though I hope that they do). I am saying vote for a man who is going to say that it is wrong to kill. And will continue to say that even if it is unpopular. I am saying don't vote for Kerry because he says that even though life begins at conception, abortion should still be allowed.
I guess that the really hard thing to believe is that any Christian would place this issue second to any of the others. Not out of a desire to change the law, but out of a desire to support morality.
Friday, September 24, 2004
Ever since I was a kid I have enjoyed the Saturday morning cartoons, the sitting around, and the eating of unhealthy breakfast foods. And since my wife just bought some Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch, I think that tomorrow moring I will be all set!
I usually get up a little earlier than Sam, make myself some Coffee and relax. Once Sam is awake we get some breakfast and plop down at the coffee table to watch some cartoons.
I think that my current favorite is called Teen Titans. It is a little weird because it has Robin, from the Batman and Robin Duo.
Well, I need to get to bed so I can be well rested for my saturday morning kid time.
The 27 conspiracy (with some cool links)
Properties of the number 27
The number 27 on the Bible Wheel
On the number 27
Meditations on 27 (a poem)
27 rationales for war in Iraq
27 articles of T. E. Lawrence
Title 27 - Intoxicating Liquors (even though I don't drink)
27 fundamental beliefs of the 7th day Adventist
27 lines on a cubic surface
27 star flag
27 countries had nuclear bombs deployed during the cold war
La Generacion del 27 (a famous group of poets and artists called the generation of 27)
27 people involved in the abuse of prisoners
27 in numerology (it shows up and means something
27 in numerology (again)
27 in astrospeak (who knows...)
and many more from Google
Mathematicians who were born or died on the 27th of...
I was born 8/27/72, my wife was born 2/27/74, I have 2 sisters and we are each 7 years apart, my social security number contains the number 27, but since this is the internet, I won't mention how it does, on 2/27/27 I will turn 54 1/2 (54 times 1/2 is 27), I started teaching when I turned 27 and at that first school the school's phone number was 447-2727 and I was extension #127.
I realized today that I have 27 desks in my room, and 27 posters on the walls, I have used 27% of my hotmail capacity, and 27% of my flickr picture uploads for the month.
The number 27 shows up all of the time, I probably see the number 27 at least 3 to 4 times a day. It is really weird, but since I am not superstitious then I don't really care... although, yesterday I was at the gas station getting my morning coffee and I noticed that on the counter there were numbered boxes of lottery tickets. Now for several days that box was empty, but today there was a roll of tickets in it. And I looked, and the next ticket up was #217! I tell you, if I would have had the money to buy it, I would have!
More 27's later!
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
I love being able to check items off of my Palm Pilot "to-do" list, but is that all devotions are? Some heavenly "to-do" item, that we are able to check off for the day? Is a simple reading of the Word of God adequate, or is there more that is expected? Or maybe that is the wrong question entirely. Maybe it isn't that we are doing the wrong thing, maybe we are just doing it the wrong way. Could it be that Godly devotion just isn't complete without a heart-felt delight. Consider this Psalm:
How blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.
As I type out this Psalm, I know that my own time that I spend reading the Bible and praying has been feeling a little incomplete lately. I had decided to read through the Psalms again, and after I read that first chapter, I was reminded again of how important it is to delight in God's Law.
That word delight means to take pleasure in. Not just set aside some time, but to truly value the very words of God. Maybe my pitiable little devotions are useless if I have not set my heart upon the truth.
And notice that a man's delight is going to be somewhere. Either in the way of the world, or in the truth. It is going to be one or the other.
Ahhh... but the results of delighting in the Way of God will be stable, nourishing and fruitful. There is value in that. It is only, and I repeat ONLY, when your value is placed in Him that you will have a prosperous life.
If you have set your heart on finding delight in anything else, turn away! They are useless, and you will also be useless. You will be like the Chaff that the wind drives away. Flee from those delights!
Monday, September 20, 2004
What kind of pose is this anyway? When would a math teacher ever need to display the board like this? It's ridiculous, I know.
I just wish that they would have added all of the pictures of me "helping" students with some questions, or looking intently at the ceiling whilst I thoughtfully stroke my goatee. One of those pictures would have been great, but instead I look like some alternate universe Vanna White displaying correct answers for the math class contestants.
In reality I am posting this picture because of the recent requests for a current picture of my hair. I know that most people who see this picture will think, "man, that isn't long!" But c'mon! It is long for me, so cut me some slack!
Take special note of the long sideburns... never had those before! My wife thinks I am going for the Elvis look. Uh-huh!
Thursday, September 16, 2004
James McDonald is one of my favorite authors. He writes in a very understandable fashion, and seems very down to earth.
Summary: The Bible is God's word. Really. This book gives a brief, but very educated view of the Bible. It is written in such a way that a person who is totally "unchurched" could read it. In fact, I think that it is written specifically for that audience. It covers topics including, evidence for the Bible, a short history of the Bible, and the message/purpose of the Bible.
My Thoughts: I loved this book. I read it in one afternoon. I would absolutley recommend this book to anyone who is interested in solidifying their belief that the Bible is the Living Word of God.
But I would also recommend this book to anyone who is doubting the validity of the Bible itself. If anyone is thinking, why not the Koran, or some other book... Here is an excellent explaination.
It is written in such a way that any non-believer could pick it up, and at least... at the very least, see that believing the Bible is a valid conclusion.
Consider picking this book up. It would make a great addition to any Bible Scholar's library. And if you are here by accident, and you have wondered whether or not the Bible has anything to say to you, I would like to encourage you to read this book.
I want to give this book a high rating, but I haven't devised a rating system yet! So how about 4 stars! (out of 4, of course...)
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
It is always such a relief when I get that done. I think that most teachers would agree that if they could eliminate one thing from teaching, it would be the paperwork. Even if those other teachers don't agree... I would eliminate it!
I am just happy that I am done. Next thing is to deal with all of those parents that don't think that their little Johnny Boy deserves the grade that he received.
Oooh! It just hit me... I wonder if I am going to get a progress report from Sam's teacher? Oh great! Now I am on the other side of it. I wonder what kind of parent I am going to be???
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Now I know that to most people this may seem quite insignificant and a little silly, but for me that is different. I haven't gone more than 4 weeks without a haircut in probably 20 years. (holy cow, that looks like a long time now that I have typed it!) But now I haven't had a haircut in almost three months!
Yesterday one of my students actually said, "Mr. Harmless... You have cool hair." Wow, for an old guy, that is pretty amazing!
I don't know when I am going to cut it. Maybe another month or so, maybe not at all...
Friday, September 10, 2004
I know that I have no room to gripe, especially considering how others have suffered... But that last hurricane flooded our laundry room. And for two days we didn't have anything to cook with because all of the pots and pans were being used to catch the water leaking in through the roof.
I am so happy that I am not a homeowner, at least not yet. The thought of repairing a roof could depress me.
But I did enjoy the cascading waterfall in the laundry room. It's tinkling drips lulled me to sleep two nights in a row.
Tuesday, September 7, 2004
In the last week I have crossed paths with this word more than once. Most recently, I played a game called Compatibility. It is a game that was made for couples, and in this game you get to find out whether or not you are "compatible" with your partner.
Each player is given a deck of cards that is composed of various pictures and words. During each round of the game you are given a word and the players have to pick out 2 to 5 cards (depending upon the place in the game) that they feel best suit that word. They initially place their cards face down and then each couple will reveal their cards in order to see how "compatible" they are. It can be fun to play, mostly because it is always entertaining to hear why people picked out certain cards for certain words.
I also ran across the word, compatibility, in a book that I am reading. It is called Christian Living in the Home by Jay E. Adams, and in the book there is a subtitle that says:
The Myth of Compatibility.
He then follows with this paragraph:
"Compatibility is a dangerous word. It does not occur in Scripture, and the concept - as normally set forth in contemporary writing and as used in popular parlance - is quite misleading and unscriptural. The common concept of compatibility, when followed by Christians and non-Christians alike, can lead to disastrous consequences."
We usually see this concept coming up when single people are looking for a potential spouse. They are questioning whether or not they are compatible with this person or that person. Then they will meet somebody that they are "more compatible" with. And suddenly, before they know it, they are waiting for this perfect person, the ideal mate; the one that they have been waiting for their whole lives. It is their "perfect match" or their "soul-mate" that will magically complete them because they were "meant-to-be."
"The Biblical fact is that no two persons are compatible... We are all born sinners, and that means that we are by nature incompatible people. For any two people to be compatible in any true sense of the terms means that they first must become Christians and then work (by God's grace) hard at the task of becoming compatible. People are not born compatible, they only become compatible by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in their lives."
I would agree with Jay Adams on this one, but there is one thing that I am not quite sure about... I am never one to place personal experience up on a pedestal, but I know that my wife is the perfect complement to me, and that I am the perfect complement to her. I absolutely cannot imagine life without her, it just wouldn't be a whole life.
To be honest with you, I am not really sure how all of this ties together, but let me share with you some basic Biblical truths that I believe could apply, regardless of the situation:
Know that God is in control.
- "The LORD will work out his plans for my life..." Psalm 138:8a
- "We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps." Proverbs 16:9
Know that God is good.
- "You are good and do only good..." Psalm 119:68
- "O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask your aid. " Psalm 86:5
Know that God doesn't hide his best from us.
- "The LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, says: I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is good and leads you along the paths you should follow. Oh, that you had listened to my commands! Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river and righteousness rolling like waves." Isaiah 48:17,18
To the singles: May you grow in your faith today, and trust that God is in control and He will guide your steps.
To the married: May you thank God today for what He has given you. May you repent if you have not been keeping up your end of the bargain. And may you seek forgiveness today for any harm that you have caused to the one with whom you are the most compatible
Friday, September 3, 2004
I know that I haven't posted about this book in awhile. I obviously wasn't trying to fulfill the challenge at the beginning of the book (to read through the book in 40 days). It was one among several books that I was trying to read at the same time, and this one made it to the back burner while I finished up some of the others.
So I picked it up again today, and since my students are taking a test right now, I thought that I would make a quick post about it. (previous posts can be found here and here.) I read it early this morning and this one paragraph just jumped out at me:
Nothing shapes your life more than the commitments you make. Your commitments can develop you or they can destroy you, but either way,they will define you. Tell me what you are committed to, and I'll tell you what you will be in twenty years. We become whatever we are committed to.
I don't know about you, but when I read something that impacts me, it usually impacts me in two ways. I hate to admit it publicly, but I usually think about how this affects other people first. I wish that I was the type of person that would always begin by evaluating myself first, but I just don't.
Just consider all of the things that people can be committed to. There are the big things like money, fame, fortune, and so on, but there are also the more subtle things like a commitment to feel good, or a commitment to have fun. These types of commitments could remain hidden for years, but don't be mistaken, they are just as destructive.
But just when I think that I have figured out what is wrong with everyone else in the world, the eyes start to turn inward, and inevitably the question is asked, "what are you committed to?"
Rick Warrens words are sobering when you really consider them: "We become whatever we are committed to." We could all go down the list of things that others have committed themselves to. We could line up the tombstones of people who have wasted their lives being committed to these worthless things. But can you ask yourself the question, "what are you committed to?"
Thursday, September 2, 2004
It isn't that my wife has decided to disown him or anything like that. It is just that there are certain Josiah-like characteristics that are also Matt-like characteristics.
For example, from birth, Josiah has been a very laid-back kid. Doesn't take much to entertain him. A couple of hotwheels, a marble, and a little dirt and he is set. I totally understand. My mom used to say the same thing about me. My third grade teacher even put in my report card that I could make an entire circus out of a couple of paperclips. Even now, give me some new little present, and I am lost for days.
Now I would also like to think that it is because we share such an excellent sense of humor. Those that know me best know that I love to have fun and be funny. But there aren't many things that I enjoy more than listening to (and watching) a good Josiah belly-laugh. I could be having the absolute worst day in the world and a couple of those gut-chuckles will cure it every time.
I have noticed though that he can be quite mischevious. When you step out of the room, and he doesn't know that he is being watched, you can catch him "swiping" toys from Sam. And I know that he doesn't actually want the toys; he just wants to watch Sam get mad. You can see it in his face as he does his wobbly-bouncy sprint with the toy, it is almost like he enjoys it when other people can't get a grip. Now I personally haven't ever done anything just to make someone mad... Well... OK, that's not entirely accurate.
One thing that I know annoys my wife is our attention span, or lack of it! To concentrate on anything for more that 3 seconds is nearly impossible. Especially at the end of the day: ADD in our house means Attention Depletion Disorder. Our attentions are no longer a defecit, they just don't exist!
Because of this, in many of our "little meetings" I end up sounding more like an auctioneer than a parent.
"now look at me Jo, look me in the eyes... why did... Jo, Jo, look at daddy, Jo, why did... Jo, eyes, now look at... Jo, why did you... Jo, eyes, Jo, eyes... SOLD!"
I love that Jodely-Bodely. I can't wait to get home to see him.