Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Video 002: Map View of April 2009 Travel

I occasionally create a short video to share prayer requests or updates with the people who have joined the Facebook GROUP that I've titled "Praying for Ruth Hubbard's Ministry with Wycliffe Bible Translators." This is one of those videos. It simply shows where I'll be going starting tomorrow.

If you are on Facebook and either already do pray for me or would like to start, this GROUP is one place to get timely prayer requests on your own terms. You can join the group with a single click of the mouse. Consider yourself invited.

Sweet Dreams

Dickens' Dream - Robert W. Buss (1804-1875)

Robert William Buss was hired by Dickens' publishers, Chapman and Hall, to provide two illustrations for Pickwick after the original illustrator, Robert Seymour, committed suicide. The publishers were disappointed with the illustrations provided by Buss and the job went to Hablot Browne. Buss, however, remained a lifelong admirer of Dickens and produced several painting celebrating the author's work. The watercolor, Dickens' Dream, showing the author surrounded by the characters he created, was done after Dickens death in 1870. Buss himself did not live to complete the painting.

I've been enjoying the works of Dickens' creativity as they have been presented on Masterpiece Theater on public television (Sunday nights).

I have also been having vivid dreams lately. "Real" and yet not real -- as dreams are. Last night, for example, I was traveling somewhere and went to the market where they were holding an election of some sort. I asked to see a booklet that would help me understand the issues in question and then purchased $10 US worth of "vote" to cast. This was merely a sliver of all that was going on inside my head as I slept -- most of it has faded like fog with the sun (or, in the case of my reality, with the lights turned on since the sun is not yet up).

And on Saturday I started reading (silly me) Ted Dekker's BLACK when it arrived from Amazon.com. SciFi-Fantasy-Action-Drama-Fiction -- with a dream motif woven into the story. (I was, by the way, having the vivid dreams before I started reading this book.) I say "silly" because I am leaving in the morning and may not have time to finish the book before I go and it is a trilogy in one volume (hardback) and rather heavy. I may not want to carry it to the other side of the globe. 

Then again, in the book the two main characters travel from Atlanta to Bangkok and I'll be spending a few hours in Bangkok (passing through). Maybe I should. 

Monday, March 23, 2009

When Things FEEL Out of Control...

"I charge you in the sight of God who gives us life, and Jesus Christ who fearlessly witnessed to the truth before Pontius Pilate, to keep your commission clean and above reproach until the final coming of Christ. This will be, in His own time, the final dénouement of God, who is the blessed controller of all things, the king over all kings and the master of all masters, the only source of immortality, the one who lives in unapproachable light, the one whom no mortal eye has ever seen or ever can see. To him be acknowledged all honor and power for ever, amen!"

I Timothy 6:13-16 (JB Phillips)

Thanks to Steve who shared this passage in our prayer time on Friday morning and then took the time to type it out and email it. It has been a good source of ponderation this morning. (Yes, I made up that word. Feel free to use it if you like.)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I'm a Turtle

I am a turtle in the middle of the road -- headed away from the pond.

You are a person in a car driving down the very same road and I am not only in your way, I am slow about it and not where I belong and obviously demonstrating my tendency to wander off from the place that is safe and home. 

You have a choice to make.

Justice.  You will continue on course where you belong and I will suffer the consequences of being where I don't. You may get turtle soup for supper.

Forgiveness. You will slow nearly to a stop and, forgiving my foolishness, you will carefully drive around me and head on your way. 

Grace. You will park your car and get out of that place of comfort. You will get close enough to me to see my eyes blinking in confusion before I duck my head into my shell. You will pick me up and risk getting scratched from my claws as my feet flail around, powered by insecurity and fear. You will carry me to the side of the road, up over the curb, and down to the pond where you'll set me down (facing the water) and bid me a good day.

I need grace.

If you confess your sin, Jesus is faithful and has the full power and authority to justly forgive you of your sin. He will not only do that, he will clean you of all unrighteousness.   

Jesus puts turtles back in the water. 

(Thanks to Joel Hunter who used this illustration today at Northland as he was teaching about GRACE. Amazing grace.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Who Is God?

"Who is God?" from Northland Video on Vimeo.

From February 15th, 2009.

I have a playlist on my ipod that is titled TO REMEMBER. It is a collection of songs that help me remember who God is and who I am (and am not). I use it to refocus my heart and mind rather consistently. I liken myself to a lump of clay on a wheel that needs pretty consistent pressure applied with accuracy and a measure of grace to keep me centered. This set of songs is part of that.

I shared that playlist a while back...you can see what the list was then if you want.

Anyhow, this song (which I heard first a Northland a few years ago and pulled from a CD of one of the worshp services) is the opening song on that playlist. I'm happy to be able to share it with you.

By the way, the two solo voices in this recording are husband and wife regulars on our worship team. I love their voices. Michelle, I just discovered, is a Pepperdine graduate. Hmmmm.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

C. W. McCall...and chickens

I owned this album. Not a cassette or a CD, but vinyl. At one time I probably knew every word to every song on it. For whatever reason the lyrics to Wolf Creek Pass came to mind this morning and so I Googled it. Handy, this Google stuff. 

Here are the lyrics from Wolf Creek Pass by Bill Fries and Chip Davis. Anyone else feel all warm and fuzzy with memories when you read these?

Me an' Earl was haulin' chickens
On a flatbed outa Wiggins
And we had spent all night on the uphill side
Of thirty seven miles of hell called Wolf Crick Pass
Which was up on the great divide

And we was sittin' there suckin' toothpicks
And drinkin' Nehis an' onion soup mix
And I says "Earl, let's mail a card to mother
And then send them chickens on down t'other side"
Yeah, lets give them hens a ride

Wolf Crick Pass way up on the great divide
Truckin' on down, the other side

Well Earl put down his bottle
Mashed his foot down on the throttle
And then a couple of boobs, with a thousand cubes
In a 1948 Peterbuilt screamed to life
We woke up the chickens

We roared up off'n that shoulder
Sprayin' pine cones rocks 'n boulders
And put four hundred head of them Road Island Reds
And a couple of burnt out roosters on the line
Look out below...cause here we go

Wolf Crick Pass way up on the great divide
Truckin' on down, the other side

Well we commenced a truckin'
And them hens commenced a cluckin'
Then Earl took out a match, and scratched his pants
And lit up the unused half of a dollar cigar
And took a puff
Says "My ain't this pretty up here"

And I says "Earl this hill can spill us
You better slow down or you gonna kill us
Just make one mistake and it's the pearly gates
For them eighty five crates
Of USDA approved cluckers
You wanna hit second?"

Wolf Crick Pass way up on the great divide
Truckin' on down, the other side

Well Earl grabbed on the shifter
And he stabbed her into fifth gear
And then the chromium plated, fully illuminated
Genuine ac-cessory shift knob
Come right off in his hand
I says "you wana screw that thing back on Earl ?"

He was tryin' to thread it on there
When the fire fell off a his cigar
And dropped on down sorta rolled around
And lit the cuff of Earls pants
And burnt a whole in his sock
Yeah it sorta set him right on fire

I looked on outa the window
An' I started in a countin' phone poles
Goin' by at the rate of four to the seventh power
I put two an' two together
Added twelve, an' carried five
Come up with twenty two thousand telephone poles an hour

I looked at Earl an' his eyes was wide
His lip was curled and his leg was fried
And his hands was froze to the wheel
Like a tongue to a sled in the middle of a blizzard
And I said Earl I'm not the type to complain
But the time has come for me to explain
That if you don't apply some brake real soon
They're gonna have to pick us up with a stick an' a spoon

Well Earl rared back
Cocked his leg
Stepped down as hard as he could on the brake
And the pedal went clear to the floor
And stayed - right there on the floor
Says it's sorta like steppin' on a plum
Well from there on down it just wasn't real pretty
It was hairpin county and switchback city
One of 'em looked like a can full of worms
Another one looked like malaria germs
Right in the middle of the whole damn show
Was a real nice tunnel now wouldn't you know
Sign says clearance to the twelve foot line
But them chickens was stacked to thirteen nine
Well we shot that tunnel at a hundred an' ten
Like gas through a funnel an' eggs through a hen
An' we took that top row of chickens off
Slicker 'n the scum off a Louisiana swamp
Went down an' around an' around an' down
An' we run outta ground at the edge of town
An' bashed on into the side of a feed store
In downtown Pagosa Springs

Wolf Crick Pass way up on the great divide
Truckin' on down, the other side

Wolf Crick Pass way up on the great divide
Truckin' on down, the other side

Monday, March 16, 2009

Shuttle Launch - Viewed from Orlando

Rather than watching from the front step at the house, we went over to Wycliffe's property and watched the launch last evening just after sunset. This was not a good evening to head over to the coast for the up-close and personal experience. I'm glad we wandered over and chose a place on the "other" side of Lake Tyndale so we could see it rise above the office building. As always, it was a very cool thing.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Shack Chat

Two professors from Bethel University were in Orlando yesterday (part of Bethel's Spring Break extravaganza of events for alumni-parents-prospectives-donors that includes baseball and home meetings and things like that) to discuss The Shack. Their specialties: theology and marriage & family counseling. They each presented some observations about the book from their own area of expertise and then there was time for Q&A with the audience. 

I could blather on about the morning for far more words that most of you will endure in a blog (and sometimes I don't let that stop me, I know) -- it was a thought provoking and enjoyable exchange.  I was reminded of how good it is to "reason together" about things like this book even if only to see the world and God from another's perspective. I was also reminded of why I loved my four years at Bethel and why I continue to support that institution. 

(Now that my introduction is longer than my content...)

Here is what I want to say at the moment about William Paul Young's The Shack:  this work of fiction reminds me in a profound way that God is far more than I can comprehend and yet reduces himself so I can enter into a relationship with him that is more real than anything else I encounter or experience. NO metaphorical portrait of God can be complete and in that none can be fully correct -- but the images of God in The Shack (in my opinion) do far more good than harm in simultaneously inviting me to run into his arms and to fall on my face. 

They presented this conversation on Bethel's campus earlier this year where 900 people gathered (compared to the 50 or so who were there yesterday morning) and they recorded that event. If you want to listen it, you can find a link to the podcast here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Tonight? The symphony!

And not just ANY symphony, mind you: The Dallas Symphony Orchestra ...with Pinchas Zukerman conducting.

Here are some comments from the promotional material about Zukerman and the other soloist, Forsyth (who, if I read Wikipedia correctly, is married to Zukerman):

Violinist Pinchas Zukerman has been recognized as a phenomenon for nearly four decades. His musical genius and prodigious technique have long been a marvel to critics and audiences, and his exceptional artistic standards continue to earn him the highest acclaim. Equally respected as a violinist, violist, conductor, pedagogue and chamber musician, Pinchas Zukerman is indeed a master of our time.

Juno Award-winning Amanda Forsyth will also be performing, who is considered one of North America’s most dynamic cellists. The intense richness of her tone, her remarkable technique and her exceptional musicality combine to enthrall her audiences and critics alike.

What can I expect in the program?
  • Stravinsky: Concerto for Strings in D major 
  • Schumann: Symphony No. 2 in D minor, Op. 120 
  • Brahms: Concerto for violin/cello in A minor, Op. 102

It has been too long since I've enjoyed a full program of live classical music! This will be quite a treat. The concert is at Northland.

I've been considering purchasing tickets for weeks, but struggling to give myself permission to spend the money. The issue was not whether money should be spent on the arts -- I am an enthusiastic supporter of the arts -- but whether I wanted to use this money for this purpose or for other things. Choices. 

Last Sunday the church newspaper quietly announced that the bookstore had a limited number of tickets available ("only today, only from the bookstore") for $10 each. I saw this as God's generous provision! Besides the fact that any seat in our auditorium is quite good for this type of concert, the seats we got are ones we often choose on a Sunday morning because we like them. They were the first ones that the person at the bookstore offered us. 

Yeah, God is paying attention to the little stuff. What a great reminder in such a gracious way.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

25 Random Things About Me (from Facebook)

NOTE: This was a Facebook game a few weeks ago and I played. It also involved "tagging." I realized after I did this and posted it that I was not so RANDOM as the title of the posting might suggest. I resisted the urge to do it over just to be more RANDOM. I'm not getting graded on this. I fully admit that I packed more than one bit of information into many of the items. 

That means this could rightfully be re-named 


and be more accurate.  


01. I was born in North Dakota and lived the first almost-three years of my life in the same small town (Kulm) where Angie Dickinson grew up. She was born 30 years before I was.

02. Cultural diversity in Kulm was expressed ethnically and denominationally -- Swedish Baptists and German Lutherans. My dad was the pastor at the Swedish Baptist Church and, with my blonde hair serving as proof, I thought I was Swedish. I'm not.

03. When we moved to 316 South Moore Street in Lakewood, Colorado (just before my 3rd birthday), we lived in a home attached to the church. I was just there in December 2008 and found that the building and yard and neighborhood have all gotten much smaller somehow.

04. I collect rocks. I started when we lived in Colorado (great place for it) and still do it even living in Florida where there really are no rocks.

05. One of my childhood heros was Smokie the Bear. I worked with him to prevent forest fires.

06. We moved to the Chicago area while I was in 3rd grade and lived temporarily in the Hippie House in Burbank. It was a rental that had previously been occupied by a local stripper and her drummer boyfriend and, according to neighbors, the parties on weekends were rather out of control.

07. On my first day of school in Burbank, my mom was 30 minutes late picking me up for lunch and I sat on the curb waiting because, QUOTE, I did not know which way to start walking, END QUOTE.

08. The neighbors across the street taught me how to play 16 inch softball and to jump double dutch -- both important skills for a kid to know in Chicagoland.

09. My parents called me Toad from the time I was an infant.

10. My grandpa taught me to drive the tractor when I was 12 and the pick-up when I was 13 or 14 -- the tractor out in the cow pasture and the pick-up on highway N in the Ozark mountains where they lived.

11. One of my favorite things to play as a kid was Secret Agent. Mission Impossible became a favorite TV show once I was old enough to watch it.

12. Sandy Jensen told her boyfriend (Bobby) to kiss me the summer before I turned 16 because she didn't want me to have to be Sweet 16 and "never been...." He did.

13. My classmates at Zionsville Community High School voted me the person in our class most likely to replace Gilda Radner on SNL. I liked that WAY BETTER than "most likely to succeed."

13. I learned in high school that if you walked with purposefulness and carried a 35mm camera, you could go just about anywhere without a hall pass.

14. Joel Hodgson (Mystery Science Theater) was a Resident Assistant in a neighboring dorm when I was a freshman at Bethel. His floor's roommate roulette events were a blast!

15. One of my recurring nightmares involves realizing that I have forgotten to attend a class in which I'm enrolled and it's the end of the semester and I have no idea what is on the final. (That never actually happened to me.)

16. I prefer Levi 501 with the red tag. (I have not actually worn a pair of these for over a decade...but that doesn't change the fact that I like them best.)

17. My first overseas trip (no counting quick border crossings into Mexico one time and Canada a couple of times) was with the Bethel Women's Choir to Sweden, Norway and Denmark in June of 1983.

18. I taught English in Zhengzhou, (Henan Province, The People's Republic of China) with ELIC in 1987.

19. I traveled to Schroon Lake, New York on a bus with the Heritage Christian School senior classes of 1987 through 1997. Some of those trips were admittedly more memorable than others.

20. I went with Wendy, Jennifer and Shelly to TP Watt's car in the parking lot of his apartment one cold winter night. We'd already gotten his car in the school lot during the basketball game early that same evening. I'm sure he was amused. I was.

21. I really did read every entry in every journal that my juniors wrote and turned in for all the years I gave that assignment.

22. I was 37 before I ever went to Florida. On that trip I also had crab legs for the first time... and experienced a tropical named storm first hand... and taste-tested key lime pie almost every day for a week.

23. I like to write sonnets. Iambic pentameter amuses me.

24. I've been to Manila but not Manhattan. I've eaten goulash in Hungary, french fries in Paris and Peking Duck in Beijing, but I've never eaten lobster in Maine. I've ridden an elephant in Thailand but I've never ridden a camel in Egypt (or anywhere else for that matter). I've been to the Panama Canal and I've directed a HS production of Arsenic and Old Lace, but I've never had a root canal (think about it...it makes sense).

25. This was way too amusing for me.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spa Lady Duck's Ducky Friends?

There is an odd phenomenon on Facebook right now. People post an image like this one that is a list representing different "types" of people or personalities. Then they use a feature called "tagging" to indicate which of their friends they think fit each fo the types. This tagging process notifies those tagged friends who are then supposed to post the image themselves and tag their own friends OR they can simply untag and retag themself as well as tag others. 

I've not played this particular "game" -- though I did do the "25 Random Things" deal. Strange how this on-line world has fads that last about a week (strong) and are nearly gone in a month. 

Yeah, if you're not familiar with Facebook or tagging, this is way to complicated to care about. Sorry.

Of the dozen or so of these I've seen recently, this one made me actually giggle. It's the ducks. They remind me of my dear friend, Spa Lady Duck. I posted this here mostly because I think she'll enjoy seeing it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

On a Path to Whole

I've spent a good bit of time this past year "with" Moses -- studying Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers (so far) in BSF has given me a new appreciation for this man of incredible faith and humility. 

One of the things that I'm seeing is what faith + humility looks like in a leader. Often that is contrasted with what fear + pride looks like in others who are wanting to be leaders.  

Coupled, these are both powerful pairs.  

Faith + humility brings great honor to God -- it reflects His character and seeks his glory above all else. 

Fear + pride brings disaster, ultimately.  In the meantime, fear masquerades as humility and pride masquerades as the confidence that comes from faith -- but in time the mask falls to the ground. While it remains, we can hover in a limbo of deception -- blinding others and ourselves to the truth.

I long to be a woman -- a leader -- of faith and humility. But, my tendency is to wander from the God I love and to believe other than truth -- to be driven by fear and pride. It is the Word of God and the Spirit of Christ (often times speaking directly to my spirit and other times speaking through His servants) who keep me moving toward wholeness and holiness. 

Monday, March 09, 2009

I am a Brownies Drop-Out

When I was the right age for such things, my parents let me join the Brownie troop in our neighborhood in Lakewood, Colorado. I went long enough to make some observations that led me to resigning my commission before even getting the uniform or earning any badges.

What did I observe that soured me to this fine institution?

Well, to be blunt, I wasn't fond of dues. They wanted 10 cents a week (that's what I remember, anyhow), but for what? The activities (sing a song, say a pledge, hear a lecture, do a craft, play a game) were not as good as what we did every week at church and at church those things were free. If I forgot my dime, someone kept record of it and I had to pay up double the next week. At church I often brought an offering, but no one kept track of how much I gave or how often. Well, no one except God, who knows everything and actually saw my pennies and nickels and dimes as a fine offering when they reflected a cheerful heart of gratitude.

I'm sorry that we never got to the stuff that I would have liked a lot -- but in Brownies in the 1960's there would have been far too much stuff I felt awkward about to make it worth while. I would have loved fire-building and cooking. I could have tolerated baking since there is a fairly immediate reward to that skill. I could have faked the sewing stuff, but would not have enjoyed doing it all that much.

Besides all of that, it was after school in someone's basement and that space was dark compared to my back yard which was always (in my memory) flooded with light and fresh air.

I lasted a few weeks. I'm a little surprised that my parents "let" me quit -- they must not have been worried about this becoming a recurring pattern of quitting. I don't even remember the conversation, come to think of it.

My name is Ruth Hubbard and I am a Brownies drop-out.

Visit Speed Bump online for more amusing and insightful cartoons.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Filbert Visits the Klotz Home

A couple of weeks ago Filbert traveled with me to Indianapolis for the weekend. A few photos with him in them appeared on Facebook in the days that followed.

Today he asked me if I would post these. He has such fond memories of the evening we spent at the Klotz home.  I think that there are two things he really liked: very cool kids and yummy food.

He is crazy about chocolate chip cookies. And ice cream. And spaghetti. And spicy pork chops -- he's never had those before, but he thought they were grand.

But he told me later that he would have had a fantastic time even if the only food offered was dry toast and tap water -- and for a mouse who likes to each as much as Filbert does, that's saying something.

He liked it when Libby shared her mint chocolate chip ice cream -- and how she giggled at his antics.

He liked it when Drew came down with those hilarious glasses on and cracked up all the grow-ups. 

Emily helped him try the glasses out himself while Drew got the camera out. (Filbert loves photo ops -- as if you couldn't tell.)

Filbert is a little upset with me because I didn't get a photo of Drew in the glasses -- he loved that so much -- and hopes that maybe Drew will let his mom post a photo of him in the glasses on her Facebook page so Filbert can laugh again.

He also loved singing Angels From the Realms of Glory with the whole family (good song choice, Libby) and then praying before we headed home and the kids headed to bed. 

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Looking around to see if Hitchcock might be lurking nearby...

Yesterday I was working at my computer when I heard a rather loud thunk followed by more thumping. I went over to the other window in my office and found this fine feathered friend on my sill, looking in at me. Well, more likely it was looking at itself reflected in the class of the window.

Always a little creepy when the turkey vultures hover too close. Still, in the years I've lived down here in Florida I have grown to have a great appreciation for these creatures. (Okay, this is about to get graphic. You've been warned.) 

Yes, it is gross that they eat things that have previously died -- and seem to prefer when those creatures have had time to ripen before digging it. I've seen them stand around a dead critter for hours waiting for just the right...I'm not sure what. However, they do a really fine job of cleaning up things like road kill. I've seen a medium dear disappear within 24 hours of the beginning of the feasting.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Life's for Sharing

Purely from the perspective of effective advertising for the time -- that is, something that gets people's attention, makes them feel better about begin alive, makes them want to share the story, and actually does somehow connect with the product being offered -- this is good stuff. Someone is getting a big financial bonus for this, I imagine. T-Mobile used 10 hidden cameras and 300 dancers when they recorded this live in the Liverpool station in January. The employees at the station were "in" on the deal, but to everyone else, it was quite a surprise. 

Beyond that, the IDEA of it is wonderful. I've seen something like this somewhere before (can't remember specifics now and that will bug me all day, no doubt) and I love it.

I find myself asking what it is about this that I respond to so deeply. I think what I see when I watch this is an outward expression of a greater reality that we rarely "see" in our lives. A connectedness (yes, I see connections everywhere) and a...a sort of dance that those who hear the music are doing (or should be) everywhere we go. And in one sense, there is a connection that humanity shares which makes this "true" for anyone. 

But I found myself saying "that is what the church should look like in the public square." 

I'm still unpacking what I meant when I said that, but that is what I said.