Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Indulge me for a moment

If you came to see Renaissance Festival posts with the label "cleavage", scroll down...

I am taking a class through my church on preaching a sermon. Those in the class were given a homework assignment- to preach from the lectionary of the Presbyterian Church USA for last Sunday in May. For those of you not familiar with this church stuff, the lectionary is a series of readings on a regular cycle from the various parts of the Bible. For Sunday, May 25, the lectionary includes
Isaiah 49:8-16a
Psalm 131
1 Corinthians 4:1-15
Matthew 6:24-34

For those of you playing along at home, you can read the passages at the links above.

The common themes of these readings, I think, are the providence and faithfulness of the Lord. Isaiah prophesies that the Lord will provide Israel with freedom from Babylon. To counter ideas that the Lord has forgotten and forsaken the Nation, the prophecy ends with a comparison to the compassion of a mother for her child, and promises that while even a mother may forget her child, God will never forget Israel.

The Psalm is brief but carries the same message, saying that for the humble, still and quiet soul, the Lord provides hope, forevermore.

Moving to the New Testament, Matthew begins with the familiar passage about not being able to serve two masters- God and Money- implying that we have to make choices in life. From there, though, it quickly transitions into another familiar passage, that which illustrates the providence of God through the examples of feeding the birds and clothing the lilies of the field. If God provides for these, so says Matthew, of course He will provide for the needs of people, whom He loves. So we come back to the concept of providence.

We get few glimpses of an afterlife in the Bible. We are told by Christ, however, that he prepares a place for us. What will it be like? I try not to count my chickens, so to speak, because who knows if my faith will lead to a heavenly reward? But will heaven be worth it? If you look at all that God does to provide for us in this world, I think the answer is plainly "yes." What we have in this life, is more than most of us would dare ask for. Yet God provides it for us. But what do we do with all that He provides?

The fourth passage answers this question. In Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians, he whips himself up into quite a lather! Say what you want, Paul calls them as he sees them. Paul often walks a curious, fine line in his letters, trying to guide various churches through the issues they are trying to deal with. In this passage, he tries, as he often does, to be humble when bringing the bad news. He starts by saying that he is trying not to be judgmental, for only God can judge.

Then he lays a judgment upon the Corinthians: He points out that they are living high on the hog, setting themselves up as kings. He states everything that the people have, they have received through the providence of God. And since it comes from God, they should not boast as if they earned and deserve these things. Wow. Sounds like us. We all strive for more, but look at what we have compared to the least of God's children.

Anyway, back to the passage. Paul contrasts the fine things the Corinthians have with the necessities he and his traveling companion, Apollos, do without. He lauds the virtues of the simple life they lead. Although he flatly states "I am not writing this to shame you," that's exactly what he is doing. He is shaming the Corinthians. But not just to make them look bad; he is trying to catch their attention. Just like the mother who scolds her child when he strays into the street, Paul scolds the Corinthians, he warns them against their luxurious ways when there are others who want.

Sound familiar? Next time you come across someone that needs help, help them. Why? Because you can. Don't worry about yourself, God will take care of you.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Entering the asylum

So... the last few posts have been about our trip to Scarborough Renaissance Festival. I mentioned that it's interesting looking at the different period costumes people wear. Mrs. Doohickie has always admired period dress, and we decided it's time to splurge. So just like Cinderella, she got ready for the ball. First, we went to a dress shop where she picked out a pretty blue form-fitting gown. Here she is trying it on:

I decided to try an artsy picture in the mirror, but one of the girls in the store noticed what I was up to:

So I asked
Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who's of the fairest one of all?

She's obviously quite fit for sales, because this was her answer:

So now she had her pretty period dress. But the white sneakers she wore just didn't go with it. So we went to the moccasin shop where one of the clerks helped her try some on:

Oops! They don't call this place Boobfest for nothing! Anyway, where was I? One of the clerks yadda yadda yadda...

But now her escort was dressed entirely inappropriately. So I had to get some period clothes too. Here's a picture of the two of us after I got a new smock, some new britches and some new shoes.

So I guess that means the two of us are getting sucked into the asylum.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

More fun at the Renaissance Festival

They had all the things you would expect at Scarborough Faire. They have a pretty good recreation of a joust with knights on horses and everything.

They have other animals as well. There's an elephant that you can ride (if you have enough money). Where they keep the elephant happens to be next to the line outside the Ladies room. I guess there's a joke there somewhere...

They also have camels.

You can ride the camels too.

And then,



Noobler the Tinkergnome is probably the strangest guy I saw all day. Noobler (the guy on the right) is this strange little elfin guy that either huffs helium all day or has had his vocal cords surgically shortened. Maybe he's a eunuch. Who knows?

He greets small children, introducing himself and offering to shake hands. When a kid extends his or her hand, he grabs it and sings a silly little song,
N-double-O-B-L-E-R, Noobler!
N-double-O-B-L-E-R, Noobler!
All you need is a curly hat,
Curly toes and a butt that's fat
N-double-O-B-L-E-R, Noobler!

That's me! What's your song?

Note: These are not my videos, but this is Noobler!

It pretty much freaks out most of the little ones.

Speaking of little ones.... I noticed a trend. When mom and dad are in period dress, and they have a stroller, dad gets stuck pushing the stroller. Look at this guy coming to see Noobler:

Here's another example:

Finally! Someone found a period-accurate stroller!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Renaissance Faire

So my younger son wanted to go to Scarborough Renaissance Festival with some of his friends and asked if we could drive. Once we got there, my son and his friends ran off and it was just Mrs. Doohickie and I, and a chance to enjoy the faire.

I like going to the faire. You see a different slice of life there. For instance I kind of like the costumes the people wear...

Hello up there!

Some lovely ladies

A very distinguished couple

Queen Elizabeth herself!

Also, you get to see how people did things back then...

The glassblower:

The blacksmith:

The harp player:

You get to see where the fairies bought their chili peppers:

Wait a minute... Fairies? Chili peppers? Okay, so they're not historically accurate all the time.

It's a great place to people-watch though.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mrs. Dove picked a good spot

Last night's storm dumped a lot of water (7.5 inches!) on us. During the rain I took a picture of our dove... if you can't see her at first, I zoomed in a bit:

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Same storm, different week

Just like last week, here comes the storm. This one seems to be extra concentrated just to the west of me and is moving east.

And just so you don't think I'm just this guy who sits and watches the weather.... I got a text message from a telemarketer today. It was from "" (except there were real names of real companies). I've used the dealership for service, so I know how they got my number.

Since I pay for text messages, I don't like getting them. I usually just erase them without reading them, but I hit the wrong button on my phone. So I made it this afternoon's diversion.

First, I called the dealership and asked to be removed from the text message list. They had no idea what I was talking about.

Then I sent an email to the address that the text message came from, asking them not to send me any more text messages.

Then, I went to "" but couldn't get anywhere without a pre-existing logon and password, as far as I could tell. There was another company name there, though, and their website was the parent for MarketingCompany. I went there and found some contact information- an online form and a telephone number. I re-sent the message from the earlier email through the form, then called the number and gave them the same lecture. The person who answered said they couldn't take my number off the list; it had to be done by the car dealership, but then she transferred me to customer service. The rep assured me that I would be taken off the list.

I doubt it. But we'll see.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Spring renewal

I haven't been posting much. Last Thursday we had a pretty good thunderstorm; I live near the top of the S in FWS:

We got some hail, but not the BASEBALL sized stuff that hit just west of here.

Here is the shelf from my gas grill- mostly pea-sized to nickel-sized:

The weather got nice over the weekend though, and I got to plant some annuals in my flower bed.

If you look at the upper right corner of the trellis, you might be able to see the eyes that were watching me while I did this:

If your eyes aren't that good, a closeup may help:

There's a dove on a nest. I suspect she was there through the storm.