Monday, May 30, 2016

Meme-ic Monday: Memorial Day

I don’t know much about my Grand-Uncle Russell. He died in WWII long before I was born.

I do know that he was adopted, meaning that he joined my great-grandparents’ family. There were no formal or legal proceedings, because that wasn’t the way things were done then. Not all the time, anyway.

I know what he looked like as I have a picture of his army unit, each head shot displayed separately and labeled with a name.

I know that after he died he was laid out in my great-grandparent’s living room. Decades later I would play and visit in that room. I know that his birth parents attended his wake and funeral.

I know that it was in his honor that the Gold Star hung in the house.

I don’t know much about my Grand-Uncle Russell, but I do know that he died in war and so we honor him on Memorial Day. I also know the truth of this meme:

and this one:

On Memorial Day and always, let us honor the Fallen.


On Mondays, I will be posting and responding to memes, one each week. They will be ones that grab my attention, perhaps either resonate with me or annoy me. If you see a meme you would like me to react to, let me know.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Song for Sunday: America the Beautiful

A classic hymn, imbedded with prayers for the US, this song is perfect for the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. In fact, we sang it in church today. 

Most schoolchildren in the US can sing the first verse, but it was the other verses that struck me today. I especially noted the first two lines of verse three: "Oh, beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife, Who more than self their country loved, And mercy more than life!" A fitting reminder of the servicemen and women who paid the supreme sacrifice. I also love that this song acknowledges that America isn't perfect, and reminds us we are under a higher power. 

  1. 1. Oh, beautiful for spacious skies,
    For amber waves of grain,
    For purple mountain majesties
    Above the fruited plain!
    America! America!
    God shed his grace on thee,
    And crown thy good with brotherhood
    From sea to shining sea.
  2. 2. Oh, beautiful for pilgrim feet,
    Whose stern, impassioned stress
    A thoroughfare of freedom beat
    Across the wilderness!
    America! America!
    God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
    Confirm thy soul in self-control,
    Thy liberty in law.
  3. 3. Oh, beautiful for heroes proved
    In liberating strife,
    Who more than self their country loved,
    And mercy more than life!
    America! America!
    May God thy gold refine,
    Till all success be nobleness,
    And ev'ry gain divine.
  4. 4. Oh, beautiful for patriot dream
    That sees beyond the years
    Thine alabaster cities gleam,
    Undimmed by human tears!
    America! America!
    God shed his grace on thee,
    And crown thy good with brotherhood
    From sea to shining sea.
  5. Text: Katherine Lee Bates, 1859-1929
    Music: Samuel A. Ward, 1848-1903
  6. Public Domain.
  7. Here's a link to a version by the Hillsdale College Choir.

  8. On this Memorial Day, however you celebrate it, honor the fallen.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Meme-ic Monday: Creator and Creation

My first response to the images here: they break my heart. Such beautiful animals, the victims of human thoughtlessness and slobbery.

My first response to the words: How dare they accuse me of not caring for the environment?

Hold it!  Deep breath. Let’s not be defensive. After all, while you can search my blog and find ways I care about the ecological issues, I don’t have a perfect record. And when it comes right down to it, I do care more about the One who made the earth than about the earth itself. A creator is greater than a creation. From my perspective, there wouldn’t be an earth without the Creator.

But then there is this – which is more important for the Christian, arguing about who created the earth or taking care of the gift the Creator has given? Or is that even the question to ask?

We are all commanded to witness to God – his existence, his love, his sovereignty.

We are all also reminded that the earth and everything in it is the Lord’s and we are to care for it.

So maybe there is a question of call. While we are called to witness, not all of us are called to be apologists, preachers, or evangelists.

We are all called to care for the earth God has gifted us with, but not all of us are called to be environmental activists or advocates.

Then again some of us are called to each of those things, and the priority will be based on call.

Be that as it may, no Christian should be forgetting that God is creator and no Christian should be trashing the earth.


On Monday's I react to memes. If you see one you want me to react to, send it to me. 

At CYC, we cultivate an active enjoyment and stewardship of God’s creation and a respect for the beauty of God’s world. Send your high schoolers to live and learn with us this August!  For more information, click here. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Meme-ic Monday: Lawn Pesticides

  I saw this meme and added it to my Facebook page. It speaks to something very important to me: environmental toxins.  (There are some good comments, too, where the image was originally posted. Ignore the disrespectful ones.)

So first off, I have no idea if the "80 million pounds" is correct. Memes don't cite sources and don't have a great reputation for accuracy. 

I do know that a lot of pesticides and artificial fertilizers are dumped on lawns every year. I see people do it. I see the little yellow signs that warn that pets and children should be kept off the grass. Even if it's "only" a million pounds instead of 80 million it's still far too much. 

The true part of this meme is that we are doing it to ourselves. No one forces a homeowner to spray herbicide to get rid of dandelions or add organophosphates to the soil. We make choices that have serious effects on those around us. 

Also, on the bees. The bees are endangered by all this spray. We need the bees and other pollinators to maintain our food supply. A choice between a perfect lawn and a sustainable supply of food? I know which way I'm going. 

I've written about this before in Pesticides, Lawns, and Pride. My thoughts on it haven't changed much.  

What are yours?


On Mondays, I will be posting and responding to memes, one each week. They will be ones that grab my attention, perhaps either resonate with me or annoy me. If you see a meme you would like me to react to, let me know.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Song for Sunday: Dancing in the Sky

I was at a wake yesterday. A young friend of mine -- who I actually hadn't seen in a few years -- had passed away. Over time, I have counted his father and aunt as my friends through our participation in the New England Baptist Youth Conference (now CYC) and we've kept in contact some by virtual means.

When "Pieces", as we new him at CYC, was dying he was on my prayer list, although at that point I didn't realize how serious things were. Years before, he had been in one of my classes at CYC and once I had driven him to a camp event and supervised him there. Apparently that made an impression on him. "He loved you," his father told me. I loved him, too, but we'd lost direct contact.

This song was played at his wake, during a brief service. I'd never heard it, but it expressed grief very well. I was taken by the lines: "What do you do in Heaven? Is there music? Is there art and invention?" for Pieces was an artist. His drawings were very lifelike and had great expression. I wish I'd known more about that when he was alive.

Pieces was also a caring and sensitive young man, and very bright. He was an organ donor and because of that six lives were saved and more people will be helped by his tissue. It was characteristic of him to think of others.

Pieces' soul is in God's hands.

I offer this Song for Sunday, written and sung by Canadian twins Dani and Lizzy, to all who are grieving. Here is the link.

What songs express grief for you?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Song for Sunday: Spring

Spring actuallty began weeks ago, but now it's beginning to feel like Spring. Maybe that's because I have been planting seeds and spreading compost. Spring is the time of beginnings in the natural world.

Today's Song for Sunday is  the Spring movement from Vivaldi's Four Seasons. A rare departure for me from songs with lyrics.

I used this once in a music and movement class. I had the students begin sitting cross-legged and curled over, then open up and grow, juggling scarves as they stood up. It represented those beginnings.

May this link be a blessing to you!