Wednesday, March 30, 2005

'Cuz I can't get her outta my mind ...

Thanks to those comments below, which make me think harder about why I believe what I believe. Iron sharpens iron.

Here are two more articles, which I believe are insightful, on Terri’s plight:

“In Love With Death”

“Starved for Justice”

Peggy Noonan and Ann Coulter are two of my favorite columnists, despite the fact that they each have very distinctive writing styles and personalities!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Yellow Flower

What I Have Learned

To be honest, it’s been difficult for me to keep the sufferings of poor, innocent Terri Schiavo out of my mind since we’ve returned to town … and reality. How far have we come as a society that we cannot save this unfortunate, vulnerable, disabled woman from her terrifying death sentence via dehydration and starvation? I’ve learned several things through this whole incident:

1) Be careful to not marry a loser.
2) There are many people in this world who think that, when you are no longer beneficial to society, you should be exterminated.
3) When you are disabled to the point where you are unable to speak for yourself, your guardian (despite glaring conflicts of interests and the fact that there is no concrete proof of your actual wishes concerning end-of-life care) can have you killed.
4) Many people cannot see the difference between “life support” and “food and water.” If the latter is synonymous with a respirator, then we’re ALL on life support.
5) Oh, and did I mention … ? Be careful to not marry a loser.

Hawaiian Hiatus

In the course of our short marriage, one thing that’s become apparent is our tendency to take big vacations at the most inopportune of times. Our first vacation together (post-honeymoon) was to England after we’d just taken the bar exam. At the time, we were both unemployed. Very unemployed, I might add.

So, now that we’re having our first child and should probably be thinking about buying baby furniture, it was only natural for us to decide to go to Hawaii for six days. Personally, my motivation to take “impractical vacations” stems from my philosophy that most of life’s brightest and best moments simply would never happen if we didn’t make them happen. Instead of saying “I can’t do this,” it’s better to say “how can I do this?” It often takes creativity and a lot of will-power, but magical things can happen when those two ingredients are combined.

And that’s exactly how I’d describe our trip to Kauai, Hawaii. Magical. From the moment we landed, it was like a fairy tale. And although I’m prone to egregious exaggeration at times, this time I’m definitely not exaggerating. I’ve been to some other beautiful places in this world … like Switzerland, for instance. But I can honestly say that, in my personal opinion, Kauai is the most beautiful, engaging, mysterious, rejuvenating, and friendly place I’ve ever been.

We knew we’d have a great trip when our plane flew into the Lihu’e airport and we spotted a whale spouting in the clear blue water below us. Probably the best thing about Kauai is how remote it is. There were no freeways or skyscrapers. The “main road” was two lanes, with several one-lane bridges. It was definitely a kick-back-and-forget-about-your-busy-life kind of place. Most of the island is not only uninhabited but also uninhabitable because of the steep mountains. There were waterfalls everywhere. (Including the Manawaiopuna Falls, made famous by Jurassic Park.) We also immensely enjoyed the clean beaches, the craggy mountains, the lush green vegetation and the countless tropical flowers. One of the best things we did was rent a convertible to get better views of the “Garden Island” while driving out on the roads.

We went snorkeling every day at a different beach. The fish were amazing! We saw so many different varieties, sizes and colors, including two eels. We also saw a bunch of brightly colored coral. Kevin took a surfing lesson on Thursday and it was fun to watch him from the beach. I was very impressed – he got up, and stayed up (which is the key, right?), on his third try. I would have liked to have tried it but, you know, pregnant women don’t fit very comfortably with their bellies smashed against a surf board. (Note to our first born child, when someday s/he is old enough to read: Please remember these difficult sacrifices your mother has made for you, namely no surfing, no snow skiing, and less ingestion of junk food. Thank you.)

Probably one of my favorite things was the luau. Kevin thought it was completely touristy but, as I reminded him, there are just some things, no matter how “touristy,” that you absolutely HAVE to do. I thought the “Imu” pig roast was interesting and, personally, I think the hula is one of the most beautiful dances I’ve ever seen. I could watch it for hours and hours without growing sick of it. In fact, I think I video-taped almost all of the hula dances at this luau. It was my first time to really use a video camera and, being a novice (or maybe my roots are blonde?), I forgot that, unlike the snapshot camera, you’re not supposed to turn it sideways to get a vertical picture. So, needless to say, we have quite a bit of footage of these girls dancing the hula sideways. Kevin had a good laugh about this after he saw what I’d done.

The only disappointment of the trip came on the last day there when we were scheduled to go for a helicopter ride to see the Na Pali coast but a rainstorm prevented it. We should have taken this trip at the beginning of the week when the weather was gorgeous and sunny. But hindsight is twenty-twenty, I suppose. And now we have a good excuse to go back. Unlike most of the other vacations I’ve taken – where I had a lot of fun but was ready to come home, I was very distraught and saddened when I had to leave that wonderful place. I think, having experienced Kauai, I have a better understanding of what Paradise truly is.

Together

Hike Above Ke'e Beach

Surfer Dude

Small Canyon

Lighthouse

Land of Fruit

Yummy Coconut

Big Belly

Na Pali Coast

Wailua Falls

Exaggerated Pregnancy

Looking into the sunset.

Red Flower

Open Road

Monday, March 21, 2005

Respite

I will be away from my computer for a few days on a much needed break from the world of technology. Before I go, I thought I’d just mention that, although it was incredibly fun and I’m glad I tried it once, being a fashion model just isn’t my exact cup of tea. But it was a great learning experience. At the end of the show, this little girl with long, stringy hair, and big eyes, who was holding the curtain to the runway for each model to walk through, came up to me and whispered, “I think you were the best one,” and then she smiled sweetly. That alone made it worth it. (Sigh.) Kevin took some video footage and someone else promised they’d mail me some digital pictures. If she comes through on her promise, then I’ll try to post them. Interestingly, I was chosen to be one of two ladies to go on the local news station and be interviewed about the fashion show. Several friends, and strangers, said, “Oh, I saw you on T.V.” It was nice to be on the news for something uncontroversial, for a change.

Here are several other observations: The clothes available for pregnant women nowadays are, actually, very cute. (And it seems like the more money you’re willing to pay, the cuter they get!) I’m very relieved that the “muu muu” look is out for pregnant women. It’s currently vogue to showcase the belly with fitted clothing, rather than try to hide it. And, because of this, most of us pregnant women out there are breathing a collective sigh of relief. Think about it … it’s really hard to feel attractive when you look like a tent.

It was also interesting to hang with a bunch of other pregnant ladies for a few days. They were all very nice … except for one lady who told me “oh my goodness, you’re huge” when I told her I was five months pregnant. When she said this to me, my sinful nature wanted to slap her and retort: “Do you actually enjoy being rude or is it that your mother never taught you how to be nice?” But, instead, I bit my tongue and smiled.

Boxing and Bull-Riding

Last night Kevin made me watch Rocky IV. It’s the one with Rocky going up against the Russian and both of them beating each other up to a bloody pulp. And if that weren’t bad enough, he then made me watch a T.V. special with a bunch of bull-riding disasters where, essentially, the cowboy falls off the bull and gets stomped, kicked, bucked, thrown into the air, or a combination of all of the above. “I just don’t get it,” I told him. “What is it that these guys think they have to prove by riding these reckless animals?” Is it the thrill of flirting with danger? Do they think it’ll attract the ladies? Is this how they prove they’re a ‘man’? How can getting kicked in the face, or having a bull’s horn stuck up your rear end, make anyone feel like a man? And, after someone starts doing it, do they get addicted to the adrenaline rush? Is that why they feel compelled to go back for more? Hmmm … I personally think anyone who would do such a stupid thing has something seriously missing upstairs.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Lessons from the disabled …

Lately I've been reading dozens of articles every week on physician assisted suicide because it’s a battle we’re facing in California right now. This one, however, was especially touching and especially well written.

“In Oregon, studies show that the biggest reason that people use the assisted-suicide law were loss of autonomy, decreased ability to enjoy life and loss of dignity, while inadequate pain control ranked low on the list. People with disabilities, who face daily a loss of autonomy, would argue that dignity has little to with the care one needs and more to do with societal attitudes and a lack of access to enjoy life. They are daily proof that these are invalid reasons to seek suicide. They deal with it. They find strength in those who support them. They live, they love, and they work and play because they must. There's no easy way out.

The flaw in the tale of ‘Million Dollar Baby’ was in the contrast between the character's ability to fight the odds when she was in top physical shape but her inability to fight the odds to redefine herself when her life was changed by disability. Instead, she let society define her and submitted to that definition.”

To read the entire article, go here to the S.F. Chronicle.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Holidays are good excuses ...

I’m embarrassed to say but I forgot it’s St. Patrick’s Day today until I was half-way to work. (Hope I don’t get pinched for not wearing green.) I hate not being “festive” when it’s a holiday. Holidays are so much fun because they provide excuses to celebrate both important and random things. And St. Patrick’s Day is a good excuse to do two things I don’t normally do – wear green and eat corned beef.

Today there were tons of people milling around downtown covered in green accents. I even saw some chic woman wearing a green pair of pants (not many women could carry this off, but she did so gracefully). It was fun to see so much green around me. It made the world seem smaller. And it made the people seem much more personable, as I could imagine them squinting their eyes at their wardrobes this morning to find the perfect green thing to wear.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The latest “situation” Amy’s gotten herself into …

Seeking to take a break from the hectic world of public policy, I’ve decided to try the world of modeling and fashion. Well, actually, “fashion” is a relative term when your abdomen and other strategic places are ever-expanding!

But back to what I was saying … There’s a maternity fashion show this weekend at the California Exposition (where they have the state fair) and the coordinator just asked me to be a model for it!! I had heard an advertisement for this on the radio several months back and thought it would be fun. So, I arbitrarily submitted my information. They called me back the next day only to say that it was too late because they were already full. After this phone call, I completely put the fashion show out of my mind.

Apparently, however, one of their models has cancelled and now I’m going to take her place! My “fitting” is scheduled for today at noon. (Here’s the link for the clothing company.) The part I’m looking forward to the most is getting pampered with free makeup and hair-dos. I also think it will be a blast to try something totally, completely different from anything I’ve ever done before! And it’ll definitely be something fun to laugh about years down the road …

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Creative Policy

Kudos to the creativity of this lawmaker:

“A lawmaker in Maine has introduced a bill to prohibit abortions based on the sexual orientation of the unborn baby … He said the bill looks into the future in case scientists find what he described as a ‘homosexual gene.’”

For more info, go here.

Moving Onward

This pregnancy thing is starting to get old. It’s definitely made me realize I’m not invincible. On Monday morning, for instance, I had no idea how I’d make it through the day because of weekend exhaustion and all the things on my plate for the day (at work and home). If I were my normal, energetic self, I think I could handle all of it … or at least handle it better. But, anyway, now it’s Tuesday afternoon and, somehow, I made it. Praise God.

Yesterday I did an interview with the local radio news station (the one that airs Paul Harvey, and that’s my claim to fame). The topic of the interview was the gay marriage ruling yesterday in S.F. On my way home from work, late in the afternoon, I heard a few of my soundbites on the air. Although I’ve done lots of media interviews, they’re usually either aired live or in other places in the state (or interviews with print-media). It was bizarre to hear my own voice on the airwaves. It was much lower-sounding than I would have expected.

Last weekend my fun, adorable sisters were in town, along with my aunt and my mom. We had such a great time. My aunt had scoured the internet and found this place called “Daffodil Hill” in an old gold-mining town just south of where we live. The whole group of us went down there on Saturday and it was an absolutely gorgeous drive. The hills are very green right now and lots of flowers are in bloom. When we finally arrived at Daffodil Hill, it was very peaceful and serene. I’d never seen anything like it – daffodils everywhere (and a few tulips and irises sprinkled in for fun)! We also had good times, the rest of the weekend … eating fresh strawberry pie and listening to my aunt tell us tales about my mom’s childhood. She told these hilarious stories about my mom’s old boyfriends … beginning with her fifth grade flame. Fortunately my mom was laughing about it, too!

Friday, March 11, 2005

THE Question

On the way to bible study last night we were running late and we almost decided not to go. We also had a discussion in the car about how we haven’t really been learning anything new at this study, lately. Kevin wondered if we should even keep going at all. My response was that, even if we’re not getting anything from it, maybe God would have us go so that we can give something to others. It turns out that we’re very glad we were there …
______________

She wrinkled her brow and shook her head, “I don’t understand how Christ can reconcile us to God?” The young lady who asked this heartfelt question last night had been coming to bible study since September and we knew that neither she nor her husband had professed faith in Christ . . . yet. Now, at last, THE question had been asked. I held my breath – and time seemed to freeze – as I wondered who would answer this question. (It’s kind of weird because there’s not really a definite “leader” at this bible study.) After a moment of silence, Kevin stepped up to the plate.

It was amazing … simple … beautiful. It was the gospel.

Kevin started out, using scriptures along the way, telling this woman that sinful-man cannot meet God’s standard of perfection. And it’s not just that we all have sinned, it’s that none of us can ever hope to meet the high standard God has set for us. Because we cannot meet God’s high standard (whether by our commissions or our omissions), we are doomed to the punishment of eternal death. But God, because of His great love for us, provided a solution. He sent His son, fully human and fully God, to live a perfect life and pay the penalty of death in our stead. Not only was Christ sinless, but every thought that ever entered His mind and every word He ever spoke was out of pure love. (Incredible, isn’t it?!) When we place our trust in Christ, we are justified before God because we take on Christ and our sins become nonexistent in God’s eyes. (Actually, in addition to using several scriptures, Kevin also threw in a Charles Dicken’s analogy from A Tale of Two Cities about substitution and payment for another’s transgressions!)

Although I’ve been hearing the gospel message all my life, last night felt like the first time all over again. It was new. And it was powerful. I was reminded that the “message of the cross is foolishness to them that are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Last night I (again) realized my need for Christ. And so did the querying young lady who sat across the room from Kevin. It was so amazing to see understanding (light) finally surface in her eyes. Praise God that He seeks and saves those who are lost. Last night it was evident that God was seeking out this woman.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Baby Einstein

Okay, first, a disclaimer. I am not hereby trying to knock Baby Einstein. Got it? In fact, maybe I’ll buy something from them sometime . . . who knows?

Having said that, I think it’s interesting to hear of parents who feel that their babies will have an intellectual advantage in life because of using Baby Einstein’s toys and videos.

I can only imagine what Einstein himself, born in 1879, had to “play with” growing up. Probably nothing too colorful or exciting. And then I think of all those kids in the 18th century who knew Latin, and five other languages, by the time they were 12. Their moms probably put them out to “play” on a plain, brown blanket with nothing to look at but drab gray curtains and an ugly dog. But here is an example of a Baby Einstein toy: The Discovering Water Activity Gym. It comes complete with a musical aquarium with swimming ocean animals, dancing lights, accessory toys, animal peek-a-boo flaps, plastic discovery cards, etc. Could it be that our kids today are too over-stimulated? Could it be that they have so many noise-making, light-shining, colorful toys in their lives (not to mention the T.V.) that they have less room for creativity than in past centuries?

Honestly, I have NO idea about this. I’m just “thinking out loud” right now. (That’s what blogs are for, right?)

After perusing the Baby Einstein website a bit further, though, there do seem to be some interesting books and videos on teaching the humanities to your kids at young ages. I’ll have to see if I can check some of this stuff out at the library. Anyone have any opinions? Any “normal” parents out there who think their child has been greatly helped, educated, enlightened, turned-into-a-better-citizen because of Baby Einstein?

Auntie Melissa

My mom called me this morning. I hadn’t talked to her in a while. She asked me if I had a minute to talk to my sister Melissa (age 8) because she had a “pressing question” for me. Her question: “What room are you going to put the baby in?” Apparently she had been thinking about this and was anxious to know. She had also been wondering how we’ll decorate and she had definite opinions on the cribs and other nursery d├ęcor she’d seen at Babies R Us recently. (In fact, I think Melissa has probably thought more about cribs than we have!) Later in the conversation I asked her if she wants us to have a boy or girl. She replied: “I want you to have a boy but I don’t know why.” This really surprised me since I figured that my sister fit the stereotype – a little girl who is usually annoyed at boys (at least 90% of the time) and wants the world to be populated with more little girls. But apparently this isn’t the case.

One thing that’s easy for me to forget is how little-Melissa is excited about being an aunt. And how her life will be impacted (not drastically, but impacted nonetheless). Today I made a mental note to try to call her more often and include her in some things.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

How Kevin Folds Shirts

Okay, if any of you think this is a joke, it has actually revolutionized our lives (or at least our laundry!). The other day I noticed Kevin folding his undershirts, using this same method! I think it’s absolutely hysterical. I still can’t figure out exactly how to do it myself – but it’s greatly entertaining to watch!

Grocery Shopping is “Showtime”

Some folks go to the supermarket for food. How quaint. How boring. How 2004.” The more I read of this article, the more interesting and fascinating it became! WOW.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Drinking a Sin?

"Hello Ociffer. I'm not as think as you drunk I am." -This is a random line Kevin quotes to me on occasion. But, that's besides the point ...

My dad and I disagree on precious little in life. I respect my dad a lot and would go to him for advice on any subject. One thing we do disagree on, however, is whether or not drinking alcohol is biblically sinful.

Here’s an interesting article I found yesterday by following a link on a local (conservative, but not necessarily “Christian”) news blog on this very topic:

“I like beer. No wait, that's not true. I love beer. I love lagers and pilsners and ales and stouts. As a Christian this begs the question: Is drinking a sin? In the words of Rev. Lovejoy, ‘Short answer No with an If, long answer Yes with a But.’” To read more, go here to The Wrong Blogger’s website.

I pretty much agree with the author of the above article, with two exceptions:

The one thing that really bothered me is that the author treats the issue of drunkenness entirely too lightly. (As a Christian, he admits: “As I get older I find myself actually getting drunk to be a rare occurrence,” but doesn’t make any apologies for this.) Although it’s not sinful to drink alcohol in moderation, the bible is very clear that it’s a sin to become drunk. In other words, while it may be okay to drink, it’s never okay to drink too much.

Another thing I disagree with the author about is the tastefulness of beer. (But this is obviously a matter of personal preference.) He likes it, while I personally think it’s the most vile-tasting concoction ever invented. I’d much rather drink something sweet, like Pepsi, for instance.

Probably because of my Baptist upbringing, once I accepted that drinking alcohol is not sinful by itself, I still clung to notions that it’s probably “better” to not drink at all or that it’s a “higher standard” to refrain from all drinking (vs. drinking in moderation). But then this guy I knew in my college and career group challenged me with this question: “If the bible doesn’t condemn drinking, aside from getting drunk or making a brother stumble, how can you possibly say it’s ‘better’ to not drink? Either a thing is sinful or it’s not. You can’t judge someone for something the bible doesn’t judge them for.” (i.e., You can’t say that a person who completely abstains from all alcohol is “better” than someone who drinks a glass of wine after dinner every night because neither of them is “sinning,” nor is anyone necessarily doing a “good work.”)

I found myself stupefied and didn’t have any good answer for him. This made me crazy since, at that age, I thought I knew everything.

So, I’ve had some history dealing with this issue. Maybe that’s why the above article caught my attention.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Playing God

It’s been interesting, to me, to read message boards with entries written by people who are very concerned about their unborn baby being a particular sex. Here is a very typical example of statements made on these message boards:

“Now that we're planning for #2, I'm getting so scared that if it's another boy I'll be really disappointed and won't really love him as much. Yeah, it'll be cool to have two brothers--for them. But I want a daughter! 3 kids isn't an option so this is the last chance.”

One well-meaning person offered a solution to parents desiring a certain gender: Try Microsort, to sort the father’s sperm, before it’s placed in mommy’s uterus. It’s the most accurate way to ensure (it’s 73-88% successful) you’ll get the sex you want and it’s only $3-4K per attempt.

While I can understand a person wanting (even strongly wanting) their baby to be a certain sex, it just seems so funny to me that such a big deal is made over it. I think it’s human nature to want to control every area of our lives. And this is just one of those areas in life that we know we ultimately can’t control. (Even if a couple uses Microsort, it’s not completely guaranteed they’ll get what they want.)

I think God probably sits in heaven and laughs at all of our attempts to control everything. After all, there’s nothing that we can absolutely control. We can make all the “right” decisions, but that doesn’t guarantee we’ll get the results we expect. We can eat only healthy food – at every blasted meal – and we still might die of a heart attack at age forty. We can plan our retirement accounts to perfection and we still might lose it all in a bad investment. And then there’s planning the gender of your child . . . you might wish, and wish, and wish for a girl – and use Microsort to your heart’s content – but you still might get a boy. And, ultimately, God knows what’s best. So, right now – at this very moment, I am exhaling a BIG sigh of relief that He is in control of all things . . . and I am not. And, if you’re like me, there are many times in life when you didn’t get what you wished for and, later, in retrospect, you said, “Thank you Lord, for not giving me what I thought I wanted.”

___________________

Speaking of gender, today we had our 20 week ultrasound (only I didn’t schedule it in time so we’re actually at 22 weeks!) and we had the option of finding out the gender. I must confess that it was extremely difficult for me to keep my mouth shut and not ask the technician to tell me. In fact, I was such a “big girl,” because the first thing I told the technician was that we do not want to know the gender (so she wouldn’t accidentally say something to reveal it). Because we told her this at the outset, she whizzed past the child’s butt every time she saw it and never fully brought it into focus. Kevin surmised, from what we briefly saw of it, that we’re having a little girl because he didn’t “see” anything to indicate otherwise. But that’s just amateur speculation, of course.

It was incredible to see the ultrasound images. I know some women don’t like the idea of having ultrasounds because they think it’s “invasive.” (At least I think that’s their argument.) I personally think women who choose not to have ultrasounds are missing out on a very memorable and completely amazing experience. And from what I’ve read, babies can’t hear ultrasounds because the pitch is higher than the human ear can detect. Although, the baby did move around a lot today. But that was probably due to the fact that I drank two shots of espresso right before I went in so the baby would be more active on the monitor. I told Kevin that, hopefully, this is not an indication of a trend in parent-centered childrearing (i.e., it’s all about us, “Move baby, move! We want to see you move!”).

Friday, March 04, 2005

On Evolution: “The Shell of Death”

Thanks to Kevin’s mom for forwarding this incredible personal account, written by a man who attends their church in Indianapolis.

Scientific Heresy
written by Dr. Rick Gamble

Recently on an international flight, the well dressed middle aged man seated beside me was, like me, working away on his computer. While we both had laptops, mine was clearly a Chevrolet to his Cadillac. I could see that he was doing some very advanced mapping type of work. Since we had plenty of time, I eventually asked him about what he was working on.

With the reluctance of an important man not having time to share with someone his on Tolkienesque “precious”, he said that he was watching an archeological dig in Africa. I replied with a knowledgeable “uh-huh”. But inside I knew that nobody up in a plane could watch someone in Africa. Yet, it was clearly not a movie playing on his screen.

Finally, I jammed up my courage and asked him a few more questions about what he was doing. The man was, in fact, “watching” a dig and showed me how he called it to his screen. From a large world map, he highlighted a place in Africa, where, within a few nano-seconds, an area appeared on the screen. This was no ordinary, get your driving directions, map-quest type of map. It was topographical and geological-with mountains and elevations presented clear as a bell. He then refocused, and it was plain that the lens had captured about a square mile of mother earth.

My palms began to sweat. I had never seen such a thing. The laptop was obviously accessing highly powerful satellite images. I was slowly becoming intimidated by that machine sitting next to me, and noticing my reaction with hidden delight, the owner asked if I wanted to “see” too. As I stammered a “sure”, he pushed the next button.

There they were. Human beings, detected and tracked by their heat, were working-actually digging, in the dirt. I responded to the “mission impossible” type graphics with as much sophistication as possible, and breathed out a knowledgeable “cool”. Not impressed, he went back to his work and I buried my confused brain in mine.

As sufficient time had elapsed, enough that I thought it possible that he could forget the sophomoric reaction of someone who wrote his dissertation on a typewriter (and it happened that he closed the mouth of the lion seated beside me), I finally asked him what he did for a living. He must have been bored, so he opened up and mentioned that he was in charge of the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of Natural History. Yeah right, I thought. But in response to my questions, he grocery listed a number of Ph. D’s employed in each of the various departments. That information, combined with the stealth satellite technology, nearly put my doubts to rest.

As we talked some more, I asked about his family and he showed me a picture of his wife. She was attractive, but obviously decked out for a grand party. However, as I looked more closely, I couldn’t help but notice her beautiful necklace-one that would regal any wearer.

Before continuing the story, I need to mention that on our honeymoon, my bride and I went to the Smithsonian museum. While there, we saw the famous Hope Diamond. In the picture of the man’s wife, I saw it again. It was on her neck.

He obviously enjoyed that I noticed. As director of Smithsonian, he has personal access to all of its treasures. His wife is permitted to wear the diamond in public. There were no more doubts in my mind about what this man did for a job.

So here was my apologetic chance. Strapped beside me for a few hours more was a Harvard trained scientist who happened to run the Smithsonian. With a quick prayer and mental download of files on creation, the age of the earth, and the antiquity of humanity- we went at it. To each of my questions he gave the orthodox responses of the religion of the Big Bang, the cult of the primordial slime, and the ethics of the world without absolutes.

Those responses did not surprise me. What I found fascinating was his reaction to pointed challenges that revealed his underlying assumptions. He was clearly unable to handle probing questions concerning his world and life view. His reaction actually reminded me of a few times that Jehovah’s Witnesses knocked on our door. When confronted with their theological heresy concerning Christ, based on the Greek text of the New Testament, the Witness’ eyes inevitably glazed over and they repeated whatever mantras they had been trained to regurgitate. Dr. Smithsonian was no different. Nothing that I could say cracked his kriptonian shell. It is a shell of death.

Such stubbornness of heart in the scientific community was underlined recently when an RP teaching elder related his experiences to the Presbytery as a Ph.D. at a major state university. No matter where the scientific evidence led, the brother confessed, one place it could not go for his colleagues was to the scientific heresy of a God who created in an intelligent fashion.

With that background, Stephen Meyer’s story shouldn’t surprise anyone, but how can it not? The Cambridge Ph.D. published an article entitled “The origin of Biological information and the higher taxonomic Categories” in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. As has been reported in the secular newsprint as well as by Christian media, The Proceedings editor (not Dr. Meyer but a Dr. Rick Sternberg) was fired for permitting the publication of such blasphemous article. Meyer’s unpardonable sin was simply the supposition that the development of new cells and species, from nothing, required biological information that indicated some type of conscious activity. This supposedly erroneous position knocks over all the burning candles at the altar of Darwin and his random biological origins, and must be snuffed out.

The Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington is directly affiliated with the Smithsonian Institute. The former editor, Dr. Sternberg, has a spacious office in the sprawling complex. Not only was he dismissed, but the Smithsonian administration will no longer even allow him to access their collections-thus effectively ending his scientific career. Meanwhile, the director’s wife can still dance with the hope diamond dangling around her neck. It is a treasure that he will keep for her no matter what the cost. It looks like Tolkien’s character Gollum never died.

I Need A Blog Fix

Okay, I need a quick blog fix from my job. Lately I’ve hardly been taking a lunch break because legislation is starting to pile up rapidly on my desk, screaming for me to do something about it! It’s a good thing I really enjoy what I do for a living. Otherwise, it would be complete insanity.

Tonight should be interesting . . . I’m having an uncertain amount of women and girls (should be a lot) over to my house for a slumber party. It’s been a while since I’ve been an active participant in a bona fide slumber party. I think we’re going to do the whole nail-painting, giggling, talking about boys, ice-cube dropping routine. (Well, maybe not the ice-cube dropping part.) The lady organizing this party (I’m simply the hostess), is getting married in two weeks! I told her she’s absolutely crazy for planning a non-wedding-related slumber party approximately fourteen days before her marriage. But she has a great heart and wants to do it as a ministry to younger girls. Plus, she says that she doesn’t really want do an over-nighter any time soon after she’s married. So, maybe it’s technically “logical” . . . but I still think she’s mad.

Okay, now I’ve gotta get back to work. Thanks for sharing in my fleeting Blog Break.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Kev's Radio Interview for Choral Society

Ok, here's the link to the radio interview, which I'm told aired this morning on Sacramento public radio. You can listen to it here.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Am I really bad?

Okay, I have a confession to make. I saw on Tulip Girl's blog that Yahoo members get free ice cream at Baskin-Robbins today only. So I signed up both Kevin and I to get yahoo accounts so we could each get free ice cream tonight. Is that really bad of me?

Opera and Chocolate in the Rain

Last night was our final opera of the season. We saw Madame Butterfly. I thought it was really good, but also very dark. At the end, there was a whole row of teenage girls sitting behind us who were bawling their eyes out. I had already known, from reading the back of the program, that the heroine was going to commit suicide at the end of the show. So, even though the events were indeed tragic, I wasn't exactly ready to cry over it. But I did think it was sweet that the girls were so moved. The music from Madame Butterfly was absolutely beautiful. Both of us enjoyed it very much.

As we exited the theater, there was a steady drizzle of cold rain falling from the sky. We shivered as the doors to the theater flung open and we prepared to walk the eight blocks to our car. (There was a rock concert going on last night, too, resulting in parking spaces being scarce.) Luckily for us, there was a big tent outside the theater where some Starbucks promotional people were handing out free Chantico drinks. (Do you remember how I was telling you recently that I wanted to try this sometime?) The sight of those Chantico drinks, all lined up in a row, was very delightful to me. I took it as one of those little gifts in life, sent directly from God just for me.

You see, I’m a very simple person when it comes right down to it. I don’t need much to make me happy. To me, two ounces of warm (free!) Chantico on a cold, rainy night is enough to put me in a good mood for a week. [So, hint-hint, you can expect many euphoric posts written by me in the next seven days, or so!]

Choral News

Recently the conductor of Kevin’s chorale asked him to be one of two people (out of a 180-voice choir), to be interviewed by the local classical music radio station about his participation in the chorale and about their upcoming concert. While Kevin was wondering why the heck he was chosen to do this, I reminded him that his conductor really likes him. For example, he was asked to sing in the Kenny Rogers concert last year. (See this post and this post. Hee, hee.) And every time I run into the conductor, he recognizes me and tells me how much he loves Kevin because Kevin is the only bass who actually makes eye contact with him during a concert. (Which I think is funny because the conductor tells me this nearly every time I see him, like he’s forgotten he already told me!) Anyway, Kevin still thought it was weird that he was asked to do the media interview. After the interview was over, he said that, apparently, the reporter really liked one line Kevin gave him about his favorite part of Haydn’s Creation but it was too long to include in the clip so Kevin had to repeat it five or six times. And you know how, when you repeat a line, it’s never as good – or as convincing – as when you say it off the cuff. But, overall, it sounds like the interview went well and it was a fun experience for Kev.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

What's the Point?

"If we would talk less and pray more about them, things would be better than they are in the world; at least, we should be better enabled to bear them." - John Owen

Lately we’ve had discussions on the purpose of prayer. If God is sovereign, and in control of all things, why pray? The consensus is that the purpose of prayer is not to change events (i.e., change God’s mind) but to change us. Prayer aligns us with God’s heart and makes us desire His will above our own fancies. After all, the results, even when painful, will always be what is best for us, God’s children.