Pet peeves about grammar seem trite and ridiculous to most people. Yet, I always seem to find a few who share my propensity for noticing poor grammar usage. This doesn’t mean my grammar is perfect, by the way. This means I am striving to make my grammar better, and I would appreciate it if more people did the same.
A few nights ago, I posted a status update on Facebook about my grammar pet peeve regarding the incorrect use of “less” when the word “fewer” should be used. I received 13 comments–grammar nerds unite! The simple rule for the correct use of less or fewer is this: if you can count the items in question, use fewer.
Fewer people came to the party than the host was expecting.
There was less macaroni salad than potato salad.
There are fewer marbles in the box than game pieces.
You get the idea.
Now, onto good versus well.
Good is an adjective. Well is an adverb.
The answer to the question, “How are you doing?” is well, not good.
When complimenting someone on his performance at a sporting event, one would say, “Wow, you really hit that ball well!” Not, “You did good!” (Add hick accent in your mind to make this more authentic.)
School, overall, is going well for the children. The middlers (Nevin and Evangeline) are hitting a few bumps as they adjust to their new school, but I believe they are not insurmountable. Charis and second grade get along well. Yes. I said, “well,” not “good.” (That’s a topic for another post.) Calvin is still happy with homeschooling, and it is working out for us, too. So no complaints on the school front! Phew!
Our church lost an important part of the congregation last week when one of our members was killed in a house fire. It was a shock to our system, and we will miss all this talented man added to our worship through his music and all he offered in terms of service as a deacon and beyond. This came only a month or so after we lost one of our elderly members to cancer–another man who had served Christ and His church faithfully for 80+ years.
Also, Mark’s grandfather passed away in July, and several folks at the church where I work have been seriously ill, and some have passed away in the last couple months. I am feeling a bit weighed down by all the sorrow around me–even when I am not one who is/was particularly close to those who have died or are sick. I am praying for the families touched by these sorrows, and I know God is changing me through that. One thing I am learning is to be more purposeful in what I do and to be thankful for each day as a gift from God.
We had a great visit with Mark’s parents in the first half of August. It was wonderful to have 2 weeks with them being a part of our routine–however mundane that may be.
I have lamented not being able to get away to see my mom and brother since last July when my sister Katherine passed away. The new job, kids’ schedules, Mark’s work schedule, finances–none of it seemed to work together to make a trip possible. So, we are planning to have Mom and Dave out to visit at the end of October. Mom had eye surgery this past Monday, and she needs to wait a month before making the trip. I am looking forward to seeing them!
So time marches on in my life . . . nothing big to share. God continues to give me and our family gifts of grace and mercy. I pray that I will not squander them, and I pray for forgiveness for the times that I have and will inevitably do it.
1 Thessalonians 4:9 -12 (esv)
Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
Psalm 16:5-11 (esv)
The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have(N) set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Despite my absence from blogdom and my presence on Facebook, I am a blogger at heart. So as I have been posting back-to-school entries since my kids started school 9 years ago, I feel compelled to continue the tradition.
Last Monday, Nevin and Evangeline had their first day at Grand Center Arts Academy, a new charter school in St Louis. Here’s are their pre-commute photos before heading out the door:
Goofing around! I think middle school is the beginning of the “need to be goofy” stage.
Charis, a week later, heading to day one of second grade.
Calvin is our homeschooled high school boy–yes, I said HIGH SCHOOL!!! So far, I have no photo of him at his computer doing school work or on his way anywhere, so this shot of him at the Missouri Botanical Gardens last week will have to serve as his first day picture.
The senior pastor at the church where I work has been focusing on the 10 commandments these last few weeks. He is launching something of a campaign for everyone in his church to learn them.
I told him that I could sing the 10 commandments. Now, mind you, I never said I couldn’t say them. I just said that learning a song had helped me to learn them. We disagree on the benefits of using a song as a tool to learning important truths, but I digress . . .
The real point of my bringing this up is that all of this 10 commandment talk has made me appreciate the simplicity and complexity of the law as it was given to the Hebrews via Moses. The law is simple in that the decrees are clear and concise–easy to understand. Yet they also present the complexity of our relationships with one another and with God and that there are serious consequences that touch everyone in community when these laws are broken.
I know it is more important to have the inside cleaned up (attitude, character, faith, etc.), but sometimes, cleaning the outside helps with keeping the inside stuff in sync. Lately, balancing the work-family life schedule has been challenging, so the housework has fallen by the wayside. At last, yesterday, I had a free Saturday–no items on the agenda. So I cleaned a good portion of the house. Ah . . . I feel so much better waking up to a clean house. I hope to keep up with the tidying enough this week that I can keep feeling better about life.
Now that I am feeling a little better about the basic maintenance cleaning items, I making a list of small projects to tackle in the coming month. Here it is:
1. Change out the chandelier in living room with a ceiling fan. Here’s one I like:
2. Change out the light in the den from a very dim pendulum-style chandalier that my 14-year-old bumps into all the time to a brighter light fixture that is flush with the ceiling. I’m thinking of something like this:
3. Come up with a plan for repairing the water-damaged plaster in the den and, at long-last, remove all the “Laura Ashley” wall paper and replace it with something else. (Yes. Paint is my preference. But plaster walls are particularly challenging to paint after removing wall paper. A friend suggested a white bead board or paneling. New wall paper might also work. We’ll see.)
4. Find the time to tackle these relatively minor projects.
I am wondering about something.Why does God put us on the path He chooses for us?
Here’s some context to my wondering.There are certain beliefs that I share with many Christian friends, certain lifestyle choices I would make, have made in the past, actually. These lifestyle choices are seen by many to be almost non-negotiable for Christian families.Yet, the only reason Christian families who make them are capable of doing so is because God has put them in a situation that will allow them to comfortably do so.
Some might say that the circumstances of these families’ lives are definitely in place because of God’s sovereignty over all, but they would argue that they also have a solid commitment to their lifestyle choice and that all their decisions over time have been made within the framework of that commitment.I believe this is true, but I also know that God doesn’t always do things so neatly.He doesn’t always allow people to remain so firmly “committed” to a lifestyle choice or ideology that they are able to do all that they want to or choose to.
But somehow, when others we know don’t act within the framework we have deemed as the only way Christian families should, the judgments start to roll out.Thoughts like . . . they aren’t committed enough; they are giving up their ideals;Is that any way to raise a Christian family begin to sneak in to minds of other Christians who are standing by. . . watching, waiting.
In this age of internet communication, we learn so much, perhaps too much, about what our friends and acquaintances are doing . . . and are thinking.But so much of what we learn is polished, all nice and shiny for Christian friends, family, and the world to see.Is all of what people are sharing so neat and easy?People who read about our lives on the internet begin to think they know us, and, therefore, they think they can judge our decisions.Sometimes, these judgments have repercussions in the real world, too.But the reality is, we really don’t know all the facts.We know the edited, shiny version of people’s lives.We are living in a digital age of keeping up with the Joneses . . . or the Christians in another part of the country.
Another problem is that when we look at what everyone else in our “circle” is doing, we start to feel that we don’t measure up.We start to feel inadequate.Again, the shinyness of our digital selves plays a part in this.We don’t measure up because we are only seeing a small portion of what is really going on . . . only the “presentable” or “for company” part.We are not seeing the struggles, the heartache, the loneliness, the pain that isn’t appropriate for internet sharing.So we only have a portion of the information, and we can’t make proper comparisons without all the facts.Really.
This wondering of mine is a bit disorganized, but I am trying to make a point.Blogs and Facebook and other social media are great—a fun way to keep track of friends and family, to “stay connected.”But they don’t tell the whole story.We cannot make judgments about what others are saying or doing solely based on posts we read on the internet.We also cannot make judgments about our own inadequacies based solely on the posts we read.In real life—with other human beings who have flesh and blood and with whom we converse—we worry about how we come across, we have hurt feelings, we struggle to treat each other as we know we should. How much more difficult it is to accurately understand or “read” others when we only interact with them via the internet!
Ultimately, we need to be more gracious and charitable toward one another.And, it is SO hard.I hate that I am often the hardest on myself and the ones closest to me.So I have to come back to the Scripture and ask God to help me extend grace to the people I come in real flesh and blood contact with as well as in the internet world.I have to remind myself over and over again about God’s desire for me to treat others as I want to be treated.Oh how I fail!Here’s the reminder I am thinking about right now:
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d]says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 9:12-21
It’s VBS week at the church where I work. They are using the Group Publishing’s curriculum, “High Seas Expedition.” Charis and I have been listening to the songs for the program for the past few weeks, and this song has stuck in my head:
Ancient Words :
Holy words long preserved
for our walk in this world,
They resound with God’s own heart
Oh, let the Ancient words impart.
Words of Life, words of Hope
Give us strength, help us cope
In this world, where e’er we roam
Ancient words will guide us Home.
Ancient words ever true
Changing me, and changing you.
We have come with open hearts
Oh let the ancient words impart.
Holy words of our Faith
Handed down to this age.
Came to us through sacrifice
Oh heed the faithful words of Christ.
Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world.
They resound with God’s own heart
Oh let the ancient words impart.
We have come with open hearts
Oh let the ancient words impart
Learning to recognize that every day truly is a gift.
A friend was treated at the hospital over the weekend for a heart condition, and it reminded me how precious life is. Another acquaintance just marked a week since his adult son had a successful liver transplant. This post from someone else I know reminded me that really, every moment is a gift.
Hebrews 12–all of Hebrews–for that matter has much to say to us as we strive to live lives that please God. I was thinking about Hebrews 12 today, so I looked it up, and this portion spoke to me specifically:
12Thereforelift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of jointbut rather be healed. 14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for theholiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no onefails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16that no one issexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
I love they way the passage starts . . . “lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees.” Man, can I relate! But I am also struck by how interrelated our attitudes and actions are and ultimately how our pity parties can lead to damaging the church and hindering the gospel.
Just thinking out loud about things that are hard to accept but, oh so, necessary.
This is going to be stream of consciousness, so be prepared.
Word of the week — myopic:
Myopic — lacking foresight or scope; “a short view of the problem”;
Why myopic? I have just been struck by how we all live in our own little bubbles, and we seem to think that what happens in our bubble is the most important thing in the world. Dwelling on life in the bubble keeps us from thinking about the big picture, keeps us from reaching out, keeps us from being kind and charitable to people outside our bubble.
No. I am not going on one and telling you all my weight-loss goals again. But a friend told me about a diet her sister is on, and she said it is working. Here’s a link. My friend is thinking of trying it. It is interesting to consider.
I haven’t read this yet, but the same friend with the dieting sister recommended it, and it is now on my list of books I would like to read this summer. Him Her Him Again The End of Him is a clever title, and I love the cover. So why wouldn’t I read it?
Easter was good this year in many ways. We attended a lovely Maundy Thursday meal/service at the church where I work. I spent the day Friday hanging out with the kids, and we attended the Good Friday service at our church in the evening. Saturday was busy with Breakfast with Bunny at the church where I work and then a few hours of relaxing and egg dying before going to a bonfire for the evening with church friends. For Easter Sunday, after worship we had just our family at home for a traditional Easter meal. It was much less stressful than cooking for company or even going to someone else’s house (though I want to do one of these most years). We then went to a park for a bit in the afternoon, and just hung out at home in the evening. I am so thankful for the Hope of Resurrection in my life, and I am reminded that I really didn’t understand how significant this hope is until I was an adult. Sure, I knew about Christ rising from the dead, but I didn’t really get how important His resurrection is to my life, to my salvation, to my eternity. Christ is risen, indeed!
Some pictures to close . . .
Musings and contemplations about trying to live a full and meaningful life