Tuesday, October 10, 2006

It doesn't take a licensed child psychiatrist. . .

This CNN article states the obvious:

What children really need for healthy development is more good, old-fashioned playtime. . . enrichment tools and organized activities can be beneficial but should not be viewed as a requirement for creating successful children. Above all, they must be balanced with plenty of free play time, the report says.

It's sad that it takes a statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics to highlight this issue. Of course children need good, old-fashioned playtime! I honestly feel sorry for the over-scheduled kids that are being raised in this day and age :(. Activities, good; plethora of activities, bad.

Jennifer Gervasio has a 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter involved in preschool three mornings weekly, plus T-ball and ballet for each one day a week. That's a light schedule compared with her kids' friends, and Gervasio said her son in particular has trouble finding buddies who are free to come over and just play.

"There's just such a huge variety of things you can do for your kids if you have the resources, you almost feel why not," said Gervasio, of Wilmette, Ill. "There is a part of me that would worry if I don't sign my son up for some of these things, will he not be on par with the other kids."

For now, she says, she resists the pressure, instead allowing her kids plenty of time for looking for bugs, romping at the beach and other play activities they love to do. "I truly believe that they're better off when they can just do their own thing," Gervasio said.

Most activities are good in and of themselves: sports develop teamwork and physical fitness, ballet and music lessons develop grace and an appreciation for the fine arts, etc. But too much of a good thing is a bad thing. If a child is involved in every possible "good" activity, than all those good things become a bad thing. This generation of children is the most scheduled, yet the most unfulfilled, that our nation has ever seen. And that certainly isn't only true for children.

Our entire society (especially my area!) is caught up in this great ratrace of activity-after-activity, in an attempt to "have it all." We'll find fulfillment if we can only participate in this one more activity, or if we can just master this one more skill. Our children won't have a "normal" (whatever that means) childhood if they aren't involved in 7 activities per week like their friends. We need the right social groups, the church with the best programs, the schools with the best sports teams. We're searching for meaning in all the wrong places, of course.

A fulfilled life isn't a matter of having the right social groups or being involved in the best activities. A fulfilled life is simply finding joy and meaning in God, rejoicing in the toil He has set before us. Echoes of Ecclesiastes, to be sure :). We can rejoice in good, wholesome activities and in the toil God has given us, but the meaning and joy comes from Him, and these pursuits only have lasting worth as much as they are seen in that light and used for His glory.

Make sure to read the whole article :).

HT: Ashley


Ashley said...

This isn't exactly related to not enough playtime...

I remember early on seeing the value of having too many things! I was the typical child who loved dolls the best, and drooled over my American girl catalogues! I was especially jealous of my friends who had beds for their dolls! When I was in high school (and my Molly doll was mostly left unplayed with), I babysat a little girl whose parents bought her everything. We were playing dolls, and it was time to put the dollies to bed! Unfortunately, there was only one doll bed. I said, "Oh look! All we have to do is take a pillow, pull the pillowcase down a little, and then you have a bed, complete with a blanket!" She shook her head and said, "That's not a bed." I told her we could pretend and use our imaginations, but she was insistant and so our dollies had to take turns using the doll bed. I remember thinking how not having a lot of toys growing up forced us to make do with what we had, and how much richer we were! I decided that no matter how much money I had, I want my kids to tap into their powerful imaginations.

In another story... My sister met with the whole "too-much-activities" thing when she was in high school. When we lived in Peru, my parents gave us opportunities but we certainly played a lot. My sister was big into sports, her favorite being soccer. During the summers my parents would enroll her in a sports progam, which included soccer (being in a Latin American country and all!). Amy also played soccer with friends at school. When she moved to the States and enrolled in high school, she tried to get on the soccer team. However, she was never able to make it past the junior varsity level because she had not been on formal soccer teams. Now if you know my sister, you know she excels at any sport she tries, and she's super competitive so there is no reason why she shouldn't have made the Varsity team! (It didn't help that the coach was biased against Americans... er, white Americans that is... welcome to Florida.) We just thought it was sad that because she wasn't playing on a team since age 3 that kept her out of opportunities at age 16. Anyways, soap box over.

Susan said...

Ashley, you completely hit one of my interests. I personally think fewer toys = happier children. I have babysat so many children who have literally hundreds of toys, yet get so bored very quickly! My highly unprofessional and nonexperienced-as-a-parent opinion is that few toys are good. And also more versatile toys! Give your girl a doll or two, for example, not 10 different dolls that all are specialized to do one thing, like roller skate or eat imaginary food, or grow hair, etc. And go with lasting things, like wooden objects, not those cheap made-in-China pieces of junk that are a dime-a-dozen. I also say, go for non-trademarked items. I am so sick of the whole Disney-marketing-scheme! They were brilliant when they brought back the "Princess collection," by the way; that was sheer marketing genius. Like I said, I'm speaking as a non-parent (obviously!), so not pretending to be an expert here :). Just airing my opinions. . .

And I completely see what you mean with the doll bed. You've told me that before, I think. Hannah and I used to love to create things like doll beds or forts, or entire library scanning systems, or fishing rods that hooked to paper fish, all from just basic materials. Imagination is a wonderful thing :).

Anyway, as you can see, I quite enjoyed your soapbox :-D.

Adrian C. Keister said...

Generally, I quite agree with Susan. Better to restrict the toys and let the kids use their imagination. One thing, though: boys absolutely must play with Legos. They are the greatest toy invented by mankind. And these days, they're quite sophisticated, with robotics and associated microprocessors and sensors and motors and stuff. You can do some pretty impressive things with Lego robotics.

In Christ.

Susan said...

Ashley, I forgot to reply to the part of your comment about drooling over American Girl catalogues. I didn't realize that until this morning, but I was going to tell you that I very much identify with that. Strange, but an AG catalogue came in the mail addressed to me a few weeks ago, and it's still a mystery why. I used to get it about 10 years ago, but they stopped sending it after we never bought anything. Anyway, I took the catalogue that we got recently and held it up to Mother Dear and said, "This! This was the cause of so much coveteousness for me as a child!"

I'm serious too. Hannah and I would spend hours pouring over those pages, even though we knew we would never have any of the items. I really don't want my (hypothetical) daughters to go through the same thing, so I really don't plan on letting them subscribe to that catalogue!

Well, Adrian, dolls were actually the greatest toy invented, but I will allow that Legos are a close second. Any household with children should have a nice selection of them. . . and Lincoln Logs, and a nice set of wooden blocks. We still have our old Legos, in fact, though we don't have many of our other toys left. I've never looked into Lego robotics, but it sounds like a neat idea.

Adrian C. Keister said...

Well, Susan, I can't quite agree with you. I do agree that dolls, at least baby dolls (Barbie dolls are an abomination), are a terrific toy... for girls. Dolls simply don't appeal to boys unless they are trying to steal one from their sister to annoy her. Whereas Legos appeal greatly to boys, and they also appeal to girls somewhat, though not as much as dolls. Ergo, Legos are better. Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

In Christ.

Susan said...

Barbie dolls are an abomination

That was well-said! Absolutely. . . though how do I always end up being subjected to them when I babysit, mewonders :)? They are horrid, though, are they not? Definitely not the type of dolls I was advocating. *shudder*

Okay, I will admit that Legos win in universality. I spent many happy hours in my childhood playing with Legos. I will allow your QED to stand :).

Ashley said...

I loved playing with Legos, but I always made fantastic stories using Lego people and building things was just a side aspect to my Lego-playing. My brother had some Technics but we prefered the old-fashioned kind. I'm not sure if we still have them. We got rid of so much stuff when we moved to the States...

I wasn't allowed to play with Barbies until I was 10 or 11, but I loved them after that. :-)

Adrian C. Keister said...

Barbies perpetuate the myth (quite untrue) that men like their women to be impossibly thin and, well, boyish. And of course Barbies have the cutest face - it's all a lie. The Barbie look is quite unhealthy. It wouldn't surprise me if Barbies were at least partially responsible for anorexia and bulimia (sp?).

Why, thank you for allowing my QED to stand. You had to, right? It was a logical argument. ;-)] It's certainly true, though, that baby dolls are the best toy for girls. I'll give you that.

In Christ.

Susan said...

I can imagine your Lego stories, Ashley :). Your childhood imagination makes mine (which was pretty developed!) rather drab. *sigh* Why try to compete?

Actually, it's funny, because I played with Barbies before I was 10 or so. Then I moved onto better things, and then realized what ghastly creations they are :-P.

It would actually surprise me if Barbies *weren't* partially responsible for anorexic problems in girls. Who wants to try to live up to Barbie-like standards in looks? Not me!

Adrian, how do Barbies perpetuate the myth that men like their women to be boyish???? Or dare I ask? I would say that they instead encourage not hiding gender differences, but in a seductive, not Biblical, way.

Adrian C. Keister said...

Reply to Susan.

I applaud your attempts not to compare yourself to Barbies. After all, the Barbies would come out at the short end of the stick every time, right? ;-)] No, really, comparing our looks to anyone is really not terribly healthy. I personally think that healthy means trusting God first, eating pretty much what you want to within reason, and exercising.

Well, the sort of straight figure that Barbies have is a boyish figure, not a womanly one. For example, a real woman's hips are usually wider than her shoulders, something that is reversed in men. And that's about all the detail I'm going to hazard right here. ;-)] But that is an issue that could easily lead to anorexia. However, I know very little about anorexia and bulimia, so I'm not going to say much definitively. My guess is, though, that many cases of it are mis-diagnosed, rather like ADHD. You see, I think much ADHD is actually TMTV (Too Much Television). Similarly, my guess is that a lot of anorexia is simply fathers and brothers not loving their daughters and sisters enough. (Telling them they are attractive just the way they are, for example.) When women don't get proper male attention, they will sometimes do just about anything to get it, especially making themselves attractive (at least, what they think will attract the guys). Guys do the same thing, really, so I'm not picking on girls in particular.

There's my two mites.

In Christ.

Susan said...

*groan* No! Now you're bringing exercise into the equation. *sigh* You're sounding like Father Dear. That's a combination complaint-compliment. I love walking, and Mom and I try to walk about 4 mornings a week, but I'm not much of a fan of exercise in general. And I know, I know, it's good for me. . .

They've done studies that show a very strong correlation between absent or abusive fathers and anorexic daughters, so I'd say you're right on there.

TMTV. I like that :). Have you heard NEBS before? - "normal eight-year-old boy syndrome." I think a lot of psychologists don't understand the growth pattern of little boys. Just because they don't sit perfectly still at the age of eight doesn't mean they have a syndrome!

Adrian C. Keister said...

Well, I should talk. I haven't exercised much at all recently. I'm not being a good steward of my body, which I know God made. And I've seen it do some pretty cool things (like in Tae Kwon Do and piano) that God has ennabled me to do.

I think I've vaguely run across that NEBS before. Mom tells me my brother Arne was just like that. He sang in the Chattanooga Boys' Choir for a while. He was known as being "ancy." Mom tells of one concert where two boys stood lock-kneed (very bad) and fainted. Arne, shall we say, stood (literally) in no danger whatsoever from that. And now, Arne's oldest, Jordan, is the positively spitting image of his father. Mom, of course, was tickled pink about that. "Now he'll know," or something like that, ran through her mind, of course. ;-)] I think many mothers desire that there children have children like them. It's good for the sanctification. *grr*

There's a book out called Taking Sex Differences Seriously, by Steven Rhoads. He talks a good bit about that, and argues that the current system is highly biased towards girls. Girls can sit quietly much easier than boys can. He goes through a long series of differences, and one conclusion is the advisability of having gender-segregated learning. He makes a good case, I have to say. Most interesting.

He has one passage where he witnessed a teacher at an all-boys' school teaching Lord of the Flies. Apparently, there is an island in that book on which all these boys are marooned. The author never explicitly describes the island, but he does make off-hand comments here and there. So the teacher would have the boys read a passage, and then he would say, "Ok, boys, pull out your maps." And the boys would pull out 3-D models of the island they were each working on. Turns out, in order to make inferences about the shape and features of the island, you have to compare certain passages carefully with others. So in training their logical side, and playing to boys' natural superiority in maps and geography (the National Geographic Geography Bee has a boy winner every single year without exception), I think the teacher was really on to something. Isn't that interesting?

In Christ.

Susan said...

So question. Why is exercising being a good steward of your body, but not eating well as well? Or perhaps I'm reading into your comment(s) :). I would say to be a good steward requires a balance between the two. I'm not talking about being a marathon runner (obviously, since I hate running!) or never eating sugar or processed foods. But I would submit that eating a semi-balanced diet, in moderation is just as important as moderate exercise, and just as much a matter of being a good steward :).

Well, actually "NEBS" came from a Mallard Fillmore comic. Are you familiar with that conservative political strip? It's extremely amusing and quite eerily true most of the time, but I must admit that the truth is not always spoken in love. I used to read it regularly, and the writer did a set of comics on the ADD myth (or at least gross exaggeration).

I think it is an excellent idea to educate elementary children segregated by sex. They learn so differently!

Ah, yes, the "just wait until you have kids," ploy. I've had that card played on me a number of times :). My worst faults will probably come back to haunt me in the form of many small, tow-headed daughters. Heh. *whimper*

Adrian C. Keister said...

Reply to Susan.

It's true I think exercise is more important to health than a completely balanced diet in every way. Without exercise, you're going to start feeling fatigued all the time (like I am right now; I'm going to get back into exercise, though.) Your muscles atrophy, and you are no longer capable of doing the things you used to be able to do.

Whereas with regard to eating, I can't help remember what Jesus said, "It is not what goes into a man that defiles him, but what comes out of a man, those things defile a man." Perhaps His point was somewhat different, but I would agree that moderation in everything (including moderation) is a good thing and will probably produce satisfactory results. There are times to celebrate and do good work at the table. *grins* But today's supposedly "health-conscious" folks feel guilty when they do that. Americans really haven't the foggiest idea how to really celebrate. See that wonderful book by Douglases Wilson and Jones, Angels in the Architecture, for some ideas in that regard.

I've seen some Mallard Fillmore strips. Maybe I was too young to appreciate them when I was reading them, but I always preferred Garfield and Peanuts.

Yep: tow-headed daughters should do the trick. They'll have the same absent-mindedness, the same blondness (obviously: by definition!), the same interest in too many things, etc. ;-)] I remember reading Wilson in one of his family books (ja, I know: Wilson again. What can I say? I like the guy.) that oftentimes faults the father has assiduously hidden from his children will sometimes develop in them. That's scary!

As for segregated schools, perhaps their time is not quite yet, but I think it will come soon. There is nothing new under the sun, including segregated schools. I wonder why we diverged from that healthy model? Nor do I think elementary school the only age where it could be helpful. In high school, my guess is that the presence of the opposite sex does more to distract than anything else.

In Christ.

Susan said...

Maybe I should clarify what I mean by "balanced diet." I don't mean stressing over getting the proper number of fruits and vegetables every day, eating exclusively whole wheat products and omitting sugar from my diet.

I'm addicted to chocolate. Really. And I like dessert. I have decadent delights not infrequently. The dessert section of my recipe binder is larger than my entree section, I'm pretty sure. As much as I like whole-wheat products (fresh homemade bread is the best!), I also like white flour products. It's hard to beat biscuits made with white flour, for example. Yum. I'll eat fried chicken if it's placed before me, though I haven't cooked it myself (ignorance in the preparation is bliss). I use honey for sweetener in some recipes, but if it doesn't work with the recipe, I use sugar and don't mind. Some months ago you even convinced me that cooking-solely-from-scratch-and-eating-organic-foods really isn't that important of an issue. Thank you for that, by the way. I still cook from scratch, but it's not an obsession anymore :).

What I mean by "eating well" is trying to get basic nutrients, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, eating complete meals semi-regularly (I had brownies and ice cream for supper a few nights ago. . . oops!), and not eating at Wendy's four days a week. And trying to work in some good fiber like oatmeal or whole wheat into my diet. White flour, yes, but balance it with whole wheat flour. It makes all the difference; trust me.

I agree that exercise (in moderation, once again) is important. I've had that told to me for years by another blond male who likes calculus ;). I feel much more energetic if I make an effort to do some basic exercising on a regular basis. And I mean just walking 3-4 times a week. The difference is amazing. . . and I have been doing that for the past 17 months or so (subtract back and you end up at my college graduation). Some sit-ups or push-ups are good too. *guilty look* I played a season each of t-ball, basketball, and cross-country some years ago, and I only liked the middle sport :). I still like basketball, in fact, though I'm sorely out of practice.

But it's just as easy to overstress about exercise as it is about perfect eating. Exercise in moderation and a semi-balance diet = good. Exercise and healthy food obsession = bad.

And I like to celebrate. Not turning it into gluttony is always a danger, but we shouldn't throw out the baby with the bathwater! I love Advent for this reason. It's one big celebration! That is where I differ from the Puritans :). They saw Christmas as occasion for gluttony and excess.

Haha, I mention a political strip that discusses weighty issues, and you counter with Peanuts and Garfield. *laughs* Those are two of my favorites as well, actually :). And Fox Trot. Gotta love Fox Trot.

Your obsession with Wilson amuses me :). I admire a lot of his beliefs/writings/analyses as well, mind you. I've read a number of his articles and a few of his books. He understands culture, that's for sure. I'm not in agreement with him on all points of theology, so much, but cultural aspects of theology, yes.

Gender segregation in high school. Now that is an excellent thought! I'd say middle school even more. We should just build compounds for boys and girls, keep them separate until they're about 20-25 and ready to marry, and then let them mingle with the opposite sex :).

Adrian C. Keister said...

You're addicted to chocolate, eh? Ha! And I thought you were unique. I've never really heard any woman say she liked chocolate. *andifyoubelievethatI'vegotabridge...*

Cooking from scratch tends to taste better oftentimes, done right. The organic thing is definitely a non-issue with me. I can quite easily put up with such people (I live with such people, actually), but I certainly will not get on their bandwagon.

Your diet sounds just fine to me, not that you really needed my approval!

I wonder who that other blond male is who likes calculus...

There are five areas of physical fitness: cardiovascular, heavy resistance-low repetitions (weight training), low-resistance high repetitions (circuit training), flexibility, and diet. I think the average person, the non-specialist, should try to get something in each area each week.

Yes, obsession about most things is bad.

Where does gluttony end and celebration begin? Perhaps one place is purpose. For eating, are you eating to celebrate God's gifts, or just for the food?

I remember one Fox Trot where his teacher assigns the problem of finding the area of a rectangle. So what does the kid do but find the equation of the line at the top, and integrate it from one side to the other. It's all perfectly correct (and serious overkill; he should be shot for showing off). Then the teacher hands him back his homework: it's a tome. I always liked that one.

Better yet, when they're 20-25 and ready to marry, arrange all their marriages. So they go from zero to sixty in a second and a half. I've actually always thought that an arranged marriage would be really neat. I find that courtship, while it's probably the best thing we have, is a serious drag. It's so incredibly painful! Having been through four unsuccessful ones myself, I can tell you it's no fun at all. It'd be so easy if the proper wife just got dumped unceremoniously into your lap.

Well, maybe not. Still, there are plenty good reasons for not allowing excessive mixing of boys and girls at too early an age.

In Christ.

Susan said...

Dark chocolate is undoubtedly the best. And orange chocolate is really good. Mmm. Semi-sweet chocolate chips. Brownies. Chocolate ice cream. Fudge cookies. *happy sigh*

What are low-resistance high repetitions? Are those push-ups/sit-ups/crunches/etc.? I understood all the other categories. I've tried to work on the other four at various times in my life, but I've never managed to get them all in during the same week, that's for sure.

I especially get discouraged with flexibility. I have none. *sigh* You should see me bend down and try to touch my toes (or not!). It's amusing because I barely get past my knees. It's partially genetic. . . inherited from the aformentioned "other blond male who likes calculus." He regularly works on flexibility and still doesn't have anything near an impressive stretch. Then there is Boy who, if he is in good shape, can palm the ground. Not fair!

I agree that a good bit (most, I would say) of the celebration/gluttony distinction is determined by purpose. (I would say not all, though.) Ecclesiastes has some excellent things to say about enjoying God's good gifts :).

Sister Dear is a great example of that, actually. That girl knows how to enjoy the good food of God in a non-gluttonous way like no one else I've ever known. It's hilarious, actually! I often get e-mails from Hannah on days she is at UGA, and she tells me about how delightful her lunch was - and often her lunch is just a homemade sandwich. And when she spent 6 weeks in Peru a few summers ago, she happily ate anything sat before her with joy. . . 15 pounds later she returned to the States ;). . . and promptly lost the weight, mind you (she finds the story funny, and doesn't mind me telling it). It's hard to explain her relationship to food, but suffice to say that she enjoys her food considerably more than most people I know, but void of the gluttony possessed by so many others.

Our family has a whole list of favorite math-related Fox Trot comics. A few weeks ago Jason created his own Sudoku (that Paige nicknamed "Sudorku") that had the usual starting numbers written in mathematical notation using logarithms, series notation, integrals, etc. . . Sort of like our clock that you think is horrid *glare*.

I'm not opposed to the notion of arranged marriages; it certainly worked nicely for some of our fathers in the faith! And I think it would work well, even in our society, for a great number of people. You have to have an incredible amount of trust in the people doing the arranging, though, don't you think? ;) Which is why family involvement is always good.

But really, I've always thought friendship-to-engagement (a la Pride and Prejudice) is a better alternative to courtship than arranged marriage. Then you go into marriage with eyes more open and have already developed mutual comradery and respect, pre-romantic-feelings. And that model skips the courtship altogether.

But as one inexperienced in such matters, I prefer the courtship method best. But you are right that it certainly isn't flawless, as you've discovered :(. Josh Harris would not consider your past courtships "unsuccessful," actually, but successful realizations that the other women were not for you.

And I think limited interaction with the opposite sex before marriagable age can be healthy. One of my closest friends in high school was a guy who was Hannah's age. We were like brother and sister. It never would have ocurred to us to think of each other romantically, for a number of reasons, and we greatly benefitted from many discussions on life, faith, and our future dreams. And these conversations were done in group settings, with our other friends. I would say that Danny partly shaped who I am today, and in a positive way. The key to guy-girl relationships all goes back to the heart, really. We can lock guys and girls away from each other all we want (and I know that is an exaggeration), but it doesn't solve anything, really. Was that Les Mis where the convent school girls went nuts over the sight of any man? To a certain extent, restraint only magnifies feelings. So I would say limited interaction = good; no interaction or unshackled interaction = bad. Back to that middle way again. . . :)

Adrian C. Keister said...

I see that no amount of teasing will persuade you to think lightly of chocolate. You will persist in singing its praises with, uh, most of your being. ;-)] It may shock you to learn that I'm just not a huge fan of chocolate. That does NOT mean I don't like chocolate; I just like lots of other things more. I have a salt tooth, not a sweet tooth. White chocolate is the best "chocolate" for me.

Low-resistance high repetitions is exactly what you thought it was. The reason it's a different fitness category from high-resistance low repetitions is that you use entirely different muscle groups to do the two different things. I really think that if you work out three times a week as follows, you can do pretty well: aerobic plus stretching, low resistance high repetitions plus stretching, high resistance low repetitions plus stretching. If you make it about an hour each of those three days, then I think no one would lose ground on any of the fitness categories, assuming diet was pretty decent.

Don't get discouraged with flexibility! A 90-year old can gain flexibility. It matters an enormous amount exactly how you stretch. There are many wrong ways of doing it. But with Tae Kwon Do, I learned how to do it properly, and I noticed significant gains. By the time I had to stop training, I wasn't that far away from a split. True, some people are more naturally flexible than others. But everyone can gain it, thus greatly reducing the chances of injury. That's really what flexibility is all about.

Hannah sounds quite well-balanced in her enjoyment of food. That's good.

Ah, yes, that horrid clock. ;-)] "Sodorku" is quite amusing.

The problem with arranged marriages in the US is that it presupposes one generally absent fact: that all the parents involved know each other well enough to make a good decision. In today's highly mobile society, where people move a lot, it simply isn't feasible to expect that. That's also why I think the betrothal method (put forward by such as Jonathan Lindvall) won't work; there is not that stability where you've known a family for two decades before you make such a decision. Otherwise, I think it's a great idea.

Ja, I know that Josh Harris would not view my courtships as failures, but I disagree with him. I see the end of courtship as marriage, and if it doesn't end in marriage, it's a failure. That isn't necessarily bad except for the broken hearts. Better a failed courtship than a failed marriage, or even a failed engagement! I don't know if Josh Harris is trying to ease the pain of a broken heart, but simply calling a courtship a success isn't going to do it, because the fact is the relationship didn't work out with that person. Having had my heart broken at least two times, I can tell you there are quite a number of things that are simply no help or comfort. Calling the courtship a success does not help. If the young lady broke off the courtship, it does not help for her to say, "Well, God must have someone in mind for you, that He will give you in His perfect timing." How does she know that? How does she know the young man will not be a bachelor all his life even if he wants to marry? In addition, the timing of the comment robs it of meaning. It comes across like this: "I'm so hopeful that God will send you the perfect wife for you, just not me. Boy am I glad I got out of that one!" Generally, what helps for a broken heart is not words but hugs and prayer. At least, that is what I have discovered.

One thing I definitely do not believe is that there is only one perfect person out there. I personally think any of the ladies I courted would have made a good wife; since God did not allow any of them to continue, He must have someone even better in mind. (There, I've satisfied my Calvinist tendencies. ;-)]) It helps if you distinguish between the merely human perspective and God's perspective. Does God have only one person in mind? Well, assuming there's no divorce or early death or whatever, the answer is yes. But we mere humans, to my mind, are simply walking in the dark, trying doors. If a door opens, we walk through it. If it doesn't, we go on to the next one. We honestly don't know which is the best door. This way of thinking about courtship could save young ladies a bit of grief in the following situation: suppose a young lady, Mary, likes Bob. But Bob prefers Cheryl. So he pursues Cheryl. Then let's suppose it doesn't work out with Cheryl. He realizes that Mary likes him, and also that he kinda likes her. So he decides to pursue her. Should Mary be offended that Bob didn't immediately go after her? Should she think she was his "last resort"? I think not; not, at least, if you believe in predestination and the sovereignty of God. Rather, Mary, maybe, can laugh at Bob's fumbling around. She can know that if God means for her to marry Bob, no number of intervening women will prevent it. And if she is not meant to marry him, she should not set her heart on it. Either way, her heart can be safe.

With guys, it's a bit different, because we're the ones who, guided by God, try to find the wife. I believe the gospel pattern is that the guy should generally give his heart before the girl does. In that way does he preach the gospel.

Your relationship with Danny sounds very fine indeed. That is just the sort of thing both sexes need: proper relationships with each other at a proper time. It was Les Mis where the girls in the convent school went nuts over the sight of a man. And notice that Cosette, probably because of the convent school, was not prepared to defend her heart against the first comer. According to Hugo, "God willed that Cosette's love should be one of those loves that saves." I really like the Marius/Cosette love story, but I do not think it ideal. Middle ground is good, as you say.

In Christ.

Susan said...

I like lots of other things besides chocolate. But there's just nothing quite like a good piece of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is actually prescribed in moderate amounts to some dietary patients. It's good for the heart. And don't call white chocolate "chocolate". . . yes, yes, I know I just did. It's a tasty treat, but it's not chocolate. My dad actually is the one who helped me develop an appreciation for the delightful stuff.

I'm not a huge salty fan. I like the "no-salt top" Saltines. And I'm not a fan of most chips and such. Now, Baked Lays, those are good. And pretzels are pretty good as well. But too much salt sets my heart racing.

I appreciate the personalized workout plan ;) - or do I? My problem is that I have places to be four mornings a week, and I hate working out in the afternoons (plus I often tutor then). I'm making slow strides in my exercise routine - I used to do nothing at all - so we'll just see. Maybe I'll be able to work on a more structured plan this summer.

Even in our society I think arranged marriages can work, but you're right that there isn't the same base there was in past centuries. I've read some pretty strange betrothal-type stories, actually. Dating, courtship, betrothal, and all that are really not very well-defined, so it's impossible, of course, to make a sweeping generalization.

For example, saying that the goal of courtship is marriage v. the goal of courtship being to discover if a specific person is "right" for you in marriage. It all depends on how you view courtship, since it isn't universally defined. I generally agree with you that the goal is marriage. Perhaps what Josh Harris meant was more of a contrast to dating. In dating, in general, you have rather uncordial partings. At least in courtship one hopes that the parties are mature and respectful of each other. I don't know; I'm just rambling. I've never been through all that myself, and I'm sorry you've had some tough experiences.

Ah, yes, the assurances of God's plan for you. I think Christians tell a whole lot of warped truths or flat-out lies, in the name of comforting. "God wouldn't give you those desires if He wasn't going to fulfill them." Yes, I've gotten that one from sweet, well-meaning ladies at my church. Of course, that would come across as a slap in the face if told in the presence of an older, unmarried lady. But it sounds comforting now, at least they think.

Certainly, men and women walk into marriage without their eyes wide open and with some sort of blindness. This is why I think arranged marriages are possible. Ultimately the foundation of marriage is Christ, not fluttery feelings or even similar convictions or interests. Next to reciprocal growth in the faith, a commitment to a marriage no matter what is more important than anything else, at least that comes to mind at the moment.

But, while there may not be only "one person" from a human perspective, as you said, there is one from God's perspective (barring death or divorce). And God doesn't just randomly pair up His children. He fashions them for each other. And that's pretty neat.

I found the Marius/Cosette story to be. . . interesting. I thought it was sweet and amusing at the same time. In today's society, I think they would have lasted a few years before erros love faded, and they discovered that agape love had never developed. But back in that society, there was a general understanding that marriage was for life, and they went into marriage with that realization.

Adrian C. Keister said...

Was I calling white chocolate chocolate? No, I called white chocolate "chocolate." The quotes make all the difference. I fully understand that white chocolate does not come from cocoa beans, and hence cannot really be called chocolate. However, its name is white chocolate; I know no other. Hence I will call it white chocolate, or "chocolate" if appropriate in comparing with real chocolate. You ok with that? Huh?

Your taste in salty snacks leaves much to be desired from my vantage point, I'm afraid. Doritos are the best. Hands down. I especially like the cool ranch and spicier nacho flavors. I despise the thin Lays potato chips: I don't know if that's what you were talking about, but potato chips need to have substance to them. Ruffles are good. Pringles are ok. On the subject of pretzels: the thin hard pretzels belong on egg salad sandwiches and nowhere else. They are great for texture, but I do not like them "raw." The big, soft pretzels, on the other hand, are wonderful, especially hot with spicy brown mustard like they do in Philly. Cheese and crackers is one of the most superior snacks in the world. (Good with wine, too. ;-)]) I like Chex mix, especially spicy. One of the best chips I have ever had was a sea salt and pepper potato chip, but I've had a hard time locating that anywhere, though I have found salt and pepper chips. I can take a good bit of salt without my heart racing; sugar on the other hand makes me bounce off walls, after which I promptly crash.

On exercise: I suppose Georgia would be a bit hot in the afternoon. I find afternoons absolutely to be the best time: 3pm is ideal. It's midway between meals, so you don't run the risk of your exercise colliding with a meal (always unpleasant). I also usually have a hard time focusing on anything academic or intellectual about that time, so I might as well work out then. But then, I'm in the mountains, so it's stil cool in the afternoon. You live in a sauna.

You're right on about courtship, etc., not being well-defined. That is one thing I learned from my first courtship: the suitor and the lady and the lady's father must all agree on certain details about how the courtship will proceed, and be on the same page as to timing, etc. They should agree on what they're doing. I think wisdom dictates different things in different circumstances, so no cookie-cutter routine for me. As Wilson (surprise, surprise) would say, the Bible is long on principles and short on methods. So I think it's good to major on principles, and work out details of method later.

I'm a bit puzzled as to what you mean by "uncordial partings." If you mean that someone's heart gets broken, that happens about as often in courtship as in dating, at least in my experience. I'm not sure that being mature and respectful would necessarily alter that: the emotions, at least at some stage, need to be involved. And what if you find out the person is not suitable after your emotions are involved? Naturally, you do what you can to avoid that, but it still happens.

I acknowledge your pity gratefully. Thank you.

I've gotten that one ("God wouldn't give you those desires if He wasn't going to fulfill them") as well. It's not terribly comforting, is it? Here's another one that's even worse: "You have to be content in your singleness before God will give you a wife." Really? Where is that written? And what exactly do you mean by "content"? Probably not the Burroughs definition! The problem is, it's works-oriented, and rather quid-pro-quo. I give God contentment (satisfaction or whatever) with being single, and then He will give me a wife. God cannot be bargained with like that! He's not a tame lion.

You wrote, "...men and women walk into marriage without their eyes open and with some sort of blindness." If understatement were a crime, you'd be history. ;-)] Ja, I sometimes wonder how anyone gets married! There must be an extra-heavy dose of grace in there somewhere. Because surely most people have seen a few faults in their mate before they take the vows! Or maybe that's not quite what you meant. I guess I'm sort of interpreting your comment as, "Men and woman, before marriage, tend to overlook faults in their future mate which become much more intrusive and obnoxious later on after the vows." Is that generally what you had in mind?

Yes, yes! The foundation of marriage is Christ. I honestly don't know how any marriage can survive minutes (or five seconds in Britney Spears's case) without Christ. How in tarnation are you going to deal with all the relationship problems without Him? You gotta have grace, and loads of it. I agree about the commitment part as well. It's not the feeling that is the foundation, like Hollywood would have us believe. It's the commitment, which should lead to the feelings (and I have universally found that to be so: when I make the commitment to love, the feelings have always followed quite naturally and without forcing. Nor do I think they are the less for being caused by something rather than being "out of the blue".)

I think there is agape love in the Marius/Cosette story. I'd have to re-read it to make sure. One incident that comes to mind is the scene where Marius asks his grandfather for money, and the grandfather agrees, saying, "Ninny. Make her your mistress." Perhaps you recall Marius's understandable fury at the insult thus proffered to Cosette. Another is the way he treats Jean Valjean after he finds out that Jean Valjean saved him in the sewers. Alas, he does not treat him so well before he finds out, and that treatment hastens his death.

In Christ.

Susan said...

Okay, fine, I admit I didn't see the little quotes around chocolate. That does make a difference. And don't get me wrong, I like white chocolate well enough, but preferring white chocolate over dark (or milk) chocolate) is like preferring a Thomas Kinkade painting over a Rembrandt. It just shouldn't be done. It doesn't mean you can't "like" Kinkade, but preferring Kinkade over Rembrandt is. . . well, in poor taste. Pun intended.

I've never been able to like Doritos. I'm not sure why. You must understand that I'm a pretty plain girl when it comes to some foods. No condiments. I eat my baked potatoes plain, usually. No salad dressing on my salad. Bread usually unbuttered. So flavored potato chips, especially odd flavors, don't attract me. Now give me spices in cooking and I like to experiment, and I do like a variety of foods, spicy included. Just not very exciting snack foods?

Baked Lays are very similar to Pringles. They are baked, not fried, so they aren't as greasy. The other ones I can only eat in small quantities without feeling bleh. The best regular potato chips are Mike Sells, but we can't get them down here! They sell them in Indiana, which is just one more reason that it's the best state in the union :). Mike Sells chips are sort of like Ruffles, but better. Pretzels on egg salad sandwiches? That's. . . interesting. Why try to improve a good egg salad sandwich?

My heart mainly races with really salty liquids, not chips and such. I usually make chicken pie, chicken and dumplings, chicken soup, etc. from homemade broth, which is infinitely superior to store bought :-P, I might add. We've been out of homemade broth a few times before, and Mother Dear bought store bought, and my heart just about had a heyday on that over-salted imitation.

Not fair that you live in the mountains! Yep, I live in a sauna, at least from April (or May) to September :-P. At the end of September the humidity dissipates and leaves my poor hair and skin to deal with such a dramatic shift in moisture level. Grr. But by then I'm full-up most weekday afternoons for tutoring slots, so exercising in the afternoons is really not an option. The year I ran cross-country I ran in the afternoons, even in the heat and humidity of the summer. I'm not cut out for running hard and long. Let's just say that.

My focus also dissipates in the afternoon, and I hated classes that extended past noon in college. I would purposely sign up for 8:00 a.m. classes, and happily get up at 5:30 to make the commute out to Athens, just so I could be done with classes by noon. But now I have to focus in the afternoons while I tutor. But forced focusing for money and to help others is quite a bit easier than sitting in an extremely boring and worthless education class and drawing pictures of what we think a mathematician looks like.

As Wilson (surprise, surprise) would say, the Bible is long on principles and short on methods.

I like that. Or as my pastor would say, "We get procedure for just about nothing in the New Testament. . . except church discipline" (this was in the inquirer's class, when he was discussing fencing the table et al).

I'm also a bit puzzled by what I meant by "uncordial partings." I think what I meant is that hopefully since courtship is generally entered into by more mature people, when a break-up happens, it is hopefully done in a less-than-middle-schoolish way? That's my guess as to what I meant. Of course that doesn't always happen, and people who court are also prone to immaturity. *shrugs* Like I said, I'm speaking from ignorance. By "cordial" I meant nothing related to broken hearts. Hearts get broken both ways, unfortunately. Leaving open your heart for love also leaves it open for hurt.

Ah, yes, the old "You have to be content in your singleness before God will give you a spouse." *nods head* I've seen that in a lot of courtship books and articles. I don't read many of those anymore. They were helpful for a season, I suppose. My guess is that it's a warped interpretation of "delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." People interpret that with health-wealth-and-prosperity fashion, unfortunately. I think all Christians are called to be content in their circumstances, obviously, but let's not tie such a close connection to singleness and contentedness! And, if we do, then really, isn't that contentedness going to just be a facade?

Regarding men and women walking into marriage with blinders, yes, that is approximately what I meant. One of the pastors at my church (well, he used to be a pastor, now he's the stated clerk of the PCA) thinks that pre-marital counselling is unfortunately pretty worthless. After years of officiating marriages, he thinks marital counselling should be required about 6 months after the vows, not just before. He recalled pre-marital sessions where he would be explaining typical issues through which new couples have to work, and he said these two moonstruck lovers would turn to each other and smile, thinking Silly him. We're not going to have problems in our marriage. We're in love! It was really funny the way he said it, but sadly true.

Good point about Marius and Cosette. What I meant, I suppose, is that their relationship was fueled by this amusing fascination with each other, but you are right that there was also commitment. I've only read it once, so I speak from less familiarity than you do :).

Adrian C. Keister said...

Interesting you bring up Kinkade. I've been debating in my mind over whether he's really a good painter or not. His paintings are cute, no doubt about it. They are visually pleasing to the eye. The real question in my mind is whether he's trying to represent the world as it is, or the world as it ought to be. If the first, he's failed spectacularly. The world is not cuteness and light the way he's portrayed it. If he's trying to do the second, fully realizing that this isn't the way the world is right now, then he rises in my estimation. I somehow doubt it, though. At the very least, I doubt he's making such a clear distinction between reality and oughtness. Certain it is that many artists think of Kinkade as "kitsch". Perhaps it's good for bric-a-brac in a folksy sort of home. One thing I think we should guard against is the "in crowd" mentality: thinking Kinkade is not as good as Rembrandt because that's what "good artists do." Somehow, I rather suspect you have much better reasons for preferring Rembrandt. :-)] What do you think about the above dissertation? (Got it on the mind. Sorry.)

You seem to imply by your second paragraph that Doritos are flavored potato chips. What a scandalous notion! No, Doritos are flavored tortilla chips, I believe. Get it right! As you can see, I'm serious about my favorite snack.

Hmm. So you have boring tastes in food, I see. ;-)]

Pringles are definitely thicker than Baked Lays. Besides, you can eat two Pringles simultaeously on account of the close-packing scheme (how's that for bringing math into food?), thus giving the illusion, at least, of a thicker chip. You cannot do that with Baked Lays because they are not all the same shape, and cannot be thus close-packed. Incidentally, did you know that the shape of a Pringle is a hyperbolic parabaloid? A Pringle has a saddle point in the very middle (local max one way, local min the other). Most interesting chip mathematically. Fritos are boring in comparison. ;-)]

Hmm. I think Virginia and Minnesota would both give Indiana a run for its money as to being the best state in the union. There's also something to be said for Texas and Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

Why improve a good egg salad sandwich? Because the typical egg salad sandwich has rather a blah texture. The pretzel gives it crunch which I find most agreeable (smooth peanut butter is an abomination except in fudge ;-)]). It doesn't alter the effect on the taste buds very much, but the texture is far superior, in my opinion.

Ah, now you clarify your comment about a racing heart: it makes all the difference whether it's salty liquids or solids. If your heart does not race over salty solids, then there's still hope for you. You're not the only one, I think, whose heart races over store-bought broth. I'm not a huge fan of it myself, though I have to say it is used in making Cracker Barrel chicken and dumplings. *grins broadly* To be fair, if the dumplings on the grill line get a bit thick, we'll thin them out using real broth from the boiled chicken.

I do like the mountains. But I also like the plains. I spent most of my years growing up in Texas, and when I went back there recently, I remembered the wide open feeling. It is nice to have that feeling again every now and again. Here in Blacksburg, you never have that. Some people might react with claustrophobia (I don't happen to suffer from that) to Blacksburg, because so often you really can't see much of any sky.

You wrote, "But forced focusing for money and to help others is quite a bit easier than sitting in an extremely boring and worthless education class and drawing pictures of what we think a mathematician looks like." I quite identify! I find it easier to focus on anything for which I'm getting paid. Indeed, I think I've pretty much always been able to focus and get my paid jobs done. What's much harder is pushing myself to do something for which I'm not getting paid... like my thesis. ;-)]

An interesting quote from Doug Bandow's book Beyond Good Intentions: "For the Bible is long on principles by which men are to live their lives, but very short on rules men are supposed to force other men to abide by."

I suppose middle-schoolish sorts of people could engage in courtship. I'd think it unlikely, though, given the more marriage-oriented nature of it. Dating tends to be more casual, just a sort of way to get to know someone of the opposite sex without raising all the red flags of marriage. And actually, in one way, this is an advantage of dating: if you go on a date with someone, all your friends don't necessarily start asking, "So, have you set a day for the wedding?" The stakes are higher in courtship right from day one. However, the very casualness of dating is also its weakness and, I find, its breaking point. For you are allowing an emotional relationship to develop without any immediate expectation of commitment. I think emotional (and physical) involvement should track with the level of commitment.

You're quite right that leaving your heart open for love leaves it open for hurt. It makes it harder, if you do happen to be hurt, to open the next time. But I've found God's love for me to be the perfect answer to that. I don't have to worry about being hurt, because God's love for me is all that really matters in the long run. What is a temporarily broken heart to me, if I'm going to spend eternity in paradise? Marriage is, I believe, boot camp for heaven. So it's not worthless! I only say that the ultimate desire can't be for marriage, it has to be for heaven.

I liked your paragraph starting with, "Ah, yes, the old..." Right on.

That's an interesting idea about post-marriage counseling. I'll have to think that one over. I think perhaps it's still wise to have pre-marital counseling, but perhaps not a whole lot of it. I should think many couples get very tired of such pontificating. And then they actually get married, start running into problems they don't know how to solve. Then they might be more open to suggestions! Perhaps they have to realize that love does not automatically solve all problems... at least not without work. Real agape love can give you the motivation to work out the problem.

Thanks for the thought about Marius and Cosette.

In Christ.

Susan said...

I think Kinkade is a fine painter, but not really excellent, by any means. All his paintings start to look the same. And, I might qualify, that I have no training in art appreciation, so I'm not setting my opinion up as anything more than that - opinion :). You are quite right about avoiding an "in crowd" mentality; good point. For me, though I haven't studied Rembrandt much, I have just been considerably more impressed by his paintings. His choice of lighting and his religious depictions are very well-done. I remember a Sunday School lesson in high school, where the teacher did a neat job of bringing Rembrandt's paintings to light.

So concerning your "above dissertation," yes, I thought it good. Liking something because other people do is rather lame, in my estimation.

I might add that I used to like Kinkade, but his paintings, quite frankly, grow blah, the more I see them. Some of the other great masters' (Rembrandt, Monet, etc.) paintings get more interesting with further viewing, but with Kinkade, I started to get a "you've seen one, you've seen 'em all" feel. That was my reasoning for my bad analogy :). White chocolate, is "fine," but it doesn't get better with each bite, at least in my experience. It's "just fine" for each bite. Whereas dark chocolate gets better with each bite, assuming a reasonable quantity :). Is my analogy more clear now?

Fine, fine, Doritos are flavored tortilla chips. My mom and sister love Doritos, by the way. I don't know why I don't like them, because I love cheese and I love tortilla chips (that's salt I like!), so about every 4 or 5 years, I read the description of them on the bag, think "surely I'll like them" and really do try them with an open mind. But there is some taste that never sets right with me.

My tastes in food aren't wholly boring. I have extremely boring tastes and quite exciting tastes. My favorite foods are Mexican and Italian, which are not boring by any means. But when it comes to snack foods I'm usually boring. My favorite snack is simultaneously eating raw carrots and chocolate chips. And there really isn't a whole lot I'm not willing to try. I don't get near pickles and olives, though :-P.

Your mathematical analysis of Pringles was quite amusing :). No, I had no idea they were so mathematical. I liked them before, but more so now. I remember hyperbolic parabaloids from multi-variable calculus :).

I rather suspected that Cracker Barrel used canned broth, so I'm not in great shock. Perhaps they use a lower-sodium version, though, because I've never had heart flutterings after eating there. Maybe it was just the certain brand Mother Dear bought.

I take it VA, MN, TX, PN, and TN are the states in which you have lived :). Oh yes, wasn't your dad a professor at Covenant (which is technically in GA, but right on the TN/GA border)? I've just lived in Indianapolis and Metro Atlanta. I suppose each state has its good points. Michigan is my favorite summer haunt.

I like rolling corn fields best. Now you can see why I like southern Indiana. Or do I like rolling corn fields because I like Indiana? :) I do love the wide-open feeling of the west. The Grand Canyon is my favorite natural wonder than I've visited. I want to go back there someday. That was the most breathtaking and open feeling I've ever experienced. The expanse is indescribable and pictures are a rude attempt to capture it. We went to the north rim, which is less touristy because of limited road access.

I like the Doug Bandow quote. Thank you for that. That is actually something I've pondered a good bit this year. We should err on the side of caution with ourselves, not doing anything that we cannot do with a clear conscience (anything that does not come from faith is sin, for a loose paraphrase of Paul), but we should err on the side "the benefit of the doubt" with others. I think that's hard to really grasp. It's really two different sets of standards, and we're so used to everything being "fair," though why we think that I'm not sure, since as Mother Dears love to say, "life isn't fair" :).

And actually, in one way, this is an advantage of dating: if you go on a date with someone, all your friends don't necessarily start asking, "So, have you set a day for the wedding?"

I laughed about that. Those sort of comments by well-meaning(?) friends make stealth courtships look like a good idea. Then you don't have to deal with the teasing so much. Or at least not widely-publicized courtships. *shrugs* I agree that emotional (and physical) involvement should line up with level of commitment. Especially physical.

You have a very good perspective on the salve for a broken heart. I quite liked your entire paragraph on the subject.

I might clarify that I personally think pre-marriage counselling is still a good idea, and I'm not sure but that Dr. Taylor was partially being tongue-in-cheek. I think he would advocate pre and post counselling. I think a bit of a "reality check" before the vows are said is good, even if it doesn't "sink in" until after the first fight. That way a couple was adequately warned that marriage is not a bed of roses. It is sad that post marriage counselling isn't really encouraged, and the assumption is that a couple is having problems if they are in post-counselling, when they could just be trying to prevent problems. Sort of like going to regular doctor check-ups (which I admit I've never done. . .).

Love does not automatially solve problems????


Adrian C. Keister said...

If Kinkade starts to look all the same, that's definitely a sign that perhaps Kinkade is not quite so good as others for whom that doesn't happen. I haven't performed the test on white chocolate, as to whether it wears well. Good art needs to stand up to repeat experiences. :-)]

Have you tried the other flavors of Doritos? There's lots of them out there.

Mexican is good. I like Italian as well, and Chinese and... American! I like Thai, but there was one dish I had that was awful. It tasted like cleaner fluid. I like pickles and olives both.

It's rather interesting, but you're one of very few people I know whose appreciation of Pringles would be increased by a mathematical explanation of their shape; for most people such an explanation would be sufficient to break their habit for life. But I kind of had a clue, see, that you like math and wouldn't be turned off by such a description. ;-)]

I think the Cracker Barrel broth base is spread out over such a large volume of stuff that the salt doesn't overpower the eater.

Actually, those are the states I've inhabited, but I didn't do that on purpose. Isn't that funny? If I had been listing my inhabited states, I'd have done so in chronological order: TN, TX, MN, PA, VA. Yes, Dad was the math department at Covenant College from 1970 to 1984.

I would like to see the Grand Canyon; I never have. I've heard it's not to be missed, and you're not the only one to tell me so.

I'm wondering about your paragraph starting "I like the Doug Bandow quote..." Do you remember where that Paul passage is? I'm trying to reconcile your statement, with which I agree, with the boldness Luther would propose. Where's this boundary between what we should do boldly, and what we should do with caution? I think our conscience is definitely important. We should seek to inform our consciences with the Bible, so that we're not too sensitive, nor too coarse. And you're right about the double standard: we should have one. Harder on ourselves by far than we are on others.

I thought you might enjoy that comment about when the wedding will be. That's not mine: it's you-know-who.

Stealth courtships, eh? All kinds of associations pop up in my mind with that one: ninja assassin courtship, hobbit courtship, SEAL courtship...

I'm glad you liked my ideas on broken hearts; I've had time to think on such topics.

In Christ.

Susan said...

I think I've only tried standard-issue Doritos, though I'm not sure. I haven't thought seriously about it all, really ;). I know. I should think on these weighty matters :). I'll try to keep an open mind, just for you.

I like a good bit of Asian also, though nothing really weird like raw egg or seafood :-P. Rices, soups, stir-frys, etc. Mmm. Good stuff.

That is funny that your state list wasn't purposeful :). I assumed it was purposeful. Something funnier, though, is that my parents weren't yet in Junior High when your dad started teaching at Covenant :). Also, I guess he was there when it was RPCES and then when it melded with the PCA?

You've never been to the Grand Canyon??????? You really must go. Pictures don't do it justice. I command you to visit the Grand Canyon, in fact! My family took a 4-week westward road trip in 1998. I always thought it would be fun to go back without a certain brother hanging over every available edge of the canyon and giving his family members heart attacks. Not to mention any names. . .

Romans 14:23 was the passage I had in mind. I think there is a fine balance between abstaining from something (food, in this passage) because of unsurety and turning your life into a large list of things you can't do because you haven't thoroughly reconciled them. We are under grace and have a beautiful freedom in Christ. But we are also to listen to our consciences. A hard balance to strike.