Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Georgia on My Mind

I'm an Indiana Hoosier. My parents were both born in Indianapolis, IN, and Brother Dear and I continued the family tradition. I consider myself a Yankee, and my favorite place in th U.S. is Southern Indiana. . . during the late summer when there are ripened corn fields as far as the eye can see. *happy sigh*

So, the irony of my strong attachment to Indiana and the North is that I've only lived there for four months of my life :-D. In August of 1984 my family moved to Georgia, where we've been ever since. I spent most of my childhood and early adulthood wishing to be back in Indiana. . . or at least somewhere in the North. . . and certainly somewhere far away from Atlanta. But in the past year or two, I've really finally decided that I'm happy here. Georgia is home for me. Atlanta (ghastly city that it is) is home for me. I've even come to appreciate a lot about Southern culture, and although it took me 15 years in the South before I gave in, I now allow "y'all" to slip off my tongue like a pro ;-).

Lydia posted a fun conglomeration of Kansas facts over at Renewed Day by Day, and she asked me to do the same with Georgia facts. It's probably best she asked me to post for Georgia, not Indiana, because even though I've pined for Indiana all those years, I know far more about Georgia :-). So here we go:

10 Facts About Georgia

1. Georgia is known as the Peach State, due to the great quantity of peaches grown and sold in Georgia every harvest season. This symbol is used throughout the state, and during elections, our "I Voted" stickers feature our state symbol. Ironically, though, I found out a few years ago that Georgia doesn't win the award for most peaches sold per year; I think South Carolina has that distinction, though I can't currently confirm that. Since Hannah was born in Georgia, she is a "Georgia peach" - the only one in our family!

2. One U.S. President was a Georgian: Jimmy Carter. He was the 39th president, and was in office from 1977 - 1981.

3. Georgia proudly lays claim to Vidalia onions. Vidalia onions are named after the Georgia town of Vidalia. By the way, Vidalia is NOT pronounced "vuh-dale-yuh"; if you pronounce it like that, you'll instantly be identified as a carpetbagger. The authentic pronunciation is "vah-day-yuh" - the "l" is silent. Vidalia onions are sweet onions, making them preferable for eating. A very interesting fact about Vidalia onions is that legally, Vidalia onions can only be marketed under that label if they are grown in a limited number of Georgia counties. If the same onions are grown elsewhere, they are sold as "sweet onions." This is to protect the Vidalia trademark.

4. The Appalachian Trail begins in Northern Georgia. The famous 2174 mile mountain trail begins at Springer Mountain and ends in Maine.

5. Atlanta is home to Coca-Cola. Down here, "coke" is a generic term for any soda pop. It's not at all considered weird to ask someone what type of coke they would like to drink. . . And it's perfectly acceptable to reply "root beer" or "Mountain Dew." While not everyone considers Coca-Cola to be the sacred Georgian drink, you may want to be careful about uttering the "P" word (Pepsi) in certain places, for fear of being labeled a traitor :-D.

6. Georgia was one of the original 13 colonies and one of the confederate states during the Civil War.

7. Georgia boasts the world's busiest airport - Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. If all roads lead to Rome, all flights go through Atlanta's airport, or pretty much. While I try to avoid the airport at all costs, just because of its sheer enormity, it does come in handy at times, and it is nice that Atlanta offers so many direct flights, without layovers. Hartsfield-Jackson offers more nonstop flights than any other airport in the world.

9. Georgia is, I believe (correct me if I'm wrong!), the only U.S. state that shares a name with an independent nation.

9. Metro Atlanta is home to the "Mount Rushmore of the South," as Stone Mountain is affectionately called. Stone Mountain is the largest exposed piece of granite rock in the world, and on the mountain's face are carved three confederate heroes: Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis, and Robert E. Lee. Every year, Stone Mountain hosts laser shows that are displayed on the carving after dark during the summertime. Songs are played over large speakers set up on the lawn below the carving (Georgia on My Mind, Proud to Be an American, Devil Went Down to Georgia, Dixie, etc.) while light pictures are depicted on the carving.

10. Georgia's weather is weird. The summertime is ridiculously humid (think "sauna"), and if you step outside from late May - late August, you will feel like a dog is breathing on you. . . a "hot" dog. Bleh. The winter can become quite dry, though. Right now my 40 inches of hair cannot pass something without automatically sticking to it!!! Aah! And any fabric I handle crackles and sparks from static electricity. Ick. My favorite seasons in Georgia are spring and fall. March and April are absolutely gorgeous here, with azaleas, dogwoods, and Bradford pear trees in bloom. The North Georgia mountains are breathtaking in the fall, and there are few sights more beautiful. Back to a more negative note, Georgia is overrun with chiggers and mosquitoes in the summertime. One especially warm and humid summer evening, I obtained a record 240+ mosquito bites in 4 hours. That's more than one per minute. Yes, I counted my bites - over 100 per leg. And yes, my legs were puffy the next day.

I'm officially addicted to Wikipedia.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand

Ten thousand times ten thousand in sparkling raiment bright,
The armies of the ransomed saints throng up the steeps of light;
’Tis finished, all is finished, their fight with death and sin;
Fling open wide the golden gates, and let the victors in.

What rush of alleluias fills all the earth and sky!
What ringing of a thousand harps bespeaks the triumph nigh!
O day, for which creation and all its tribes were made;
O joy, for all its former woes a thousandfold repaid!

O then what raptured greetings on Canaan’s happy shore;
What knitting severed friendships up, where partings are no more!
Then eyes with joy shall sparkle, that brimmed with tears of late;
Orphans no longer fatherless, nor widows desolate.

Bring near Thy great salvation, Thou Lamb for sinners slain;
Fill up the roll of Thine elect, then take Thy power, and reign;
Appear, Desire of nations, Thine exiles long for home;
Show in the heaven Thy promised sign; Thou Prince and Savior, come.

Friday, January 26, 2007

I'm Going to Strangle Blogger

(but please don't tell anyone)

Grr. Blogger has been bugging me for weeks to switch to the new version, and since I don't like change, I've been ignoring the pleas. Plus, I did try once or twice, and Blogger said to try again because my blog couldn't be switched yet. But yesterday I logged onto Blogger and stupidly clicked yes when asked to switch (I didn't realize what I was doing until it started the switch, actually!), so it switched over, supposedly painlessly. They had touted that my old posts and comments would transfer over effortlessly. Blah. Now all the comments (except mine) read "Anonymous" on the recent comments tracker, and if you click the permalink for a post, the comments are all from "Anonymous." But if you click the comments link, it shows the author, except for Sherrin's comment on my most recent post. You're still "Anonymous," Sherrin, apparently. Anyway, this is why I hate change!

Okay, thank you for letting me rant. I'm fine now :-).

And for those who thought this was going to be a nice, pithy post, I have one thing to say to that: *laughs* There ;-). I know, I know, I've been a very inconsistent Blogger since. . . I started e-mailing a certain young man. Hehe. It got even worse after I met him :-). I admit that, but I've decided not to apologize. I'm still keeping track of blogs through Google Reader, and I'm commenting occasionally. And I'm occasionally posting to mine. But no promises on resuming regular and frequent blogging. I'm sort of distracted and busy right now ;-). I will post as I have time and as I feel motivated on a subject. I have never been able to write under pressure or within a limited time frame.

Tata for now!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Defiant Birth

Yay! Sherrin is back from South Africa and posting again :-). She just posted an excellent book review of Defiant Birth.

Here are two of my favorite excerpts from her post:

It is impossible to attempt to combat abortion for long without realising that our society presents to women a huge number of times when it is "wrong" to have a baby. You can be too young, too old, too busy, too ill, not educated enough, too poor, or have too many children already. If you have a baby at such times, many people deem you unwise or just plain stupid. Couldn't you have planning things better? With such thinking, the majority of time in a woman's reproductive life is defined as the "wrong time."

Read this book. It will make you aware of where our society is headed. It will challenge your eugenicist assumptions about who should reproduce and who should be born. It will inspire you to encourage and support pregnant women. It will empower you to believe that having babies is really OK. Giving birth is what women have been doing since Eve, and it is not a disability.

I encourage you to go read the entire post.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Two Great Posts on Courtship

Adrian has written two excellent posts on courtship, one from a grace perspective and one from a law perspective. Both very good. And yes I'm prejudiced :-D.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

That the Land May Not be Defiled

One thing I love about repeat readings is that there is always something new to glean from a truly good piece of literature. This is especially true of the Bible! There is so much beauty, truth, and goodness packed into that book, that one could not glean it all in a lifetime of diligent study!

Lew Wallace painted an especially poignant crucifixion scene at the end of Ben-Hur. I've read the Gospel accounts times untold, and I've seen many many visual dramatizations. Yet when I read Lew Wallace's account some weeks back, two previously-known details struck me with new force.

First, here the high-priest directs the centurion to make haste as Jesus and the two thieves are ready to be crucified:

"Bid the men make haste," said the high-priest to the centurion. "These" -- and he pointed to the Nazarene -- "must be dead by the going-down of the sun, and buried that the land may not be defiled. Such is the Law."

I've heard this notion before, so it was only reiterated to me when I read Ben-Hur. I know it is mentioned in the Gospels that Joseph of Arimathea makes haste to bury Jesus before the sun goes down, in preparation for the Sabbath, for example. But I would greatly appreciate any insight shed on the notion that the unburied dead would defile the land if left until sundown. I've heard that before, but I can't find it in the Gospels, or in a cursory glance at Leviticus. Help? Is "the Law" to which the high-priest refers the Mosaic law, or the Pharaseeical law, I wonder?

Regardless, I find it interesting to consider the irony of the high-priest's statement. He is essentially saying that a dead Jesus will defile the land (if not buried). Ponder that for a moment. In Genesis we learn that the creation was made good, but that with the fall came corruption and death. The curse of the fall extended to every facet of the creation, and our formerly-good earth is corrupt. . . and defiled. And man is responsible for this.

But God provided a cure for this corruption, and mercifully gave Adam and Eve a glimpse of this promise even as they had just fallen! To the serpent is threatened: I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. The earth was defiled by the first Adam, but it was promised that it would be renewed and purified by the second Adam: Jesus Christ! Not only was Christ's body not a cause for the earth to be defiled after His death, but in fact it was the only hope for the earth to be purified! I love irony :-). I think the high-priest, sadly, was concerned about the wrong kind of defilement!

A second point of interest I gleaned from Lew Wallace's retelling of the crucifixion: I never really grasped the beautiful imagery of the crucifixion, as the earth was cloaked in darkness the three hours before Christ's death. In my mind in the past, the darkness was during and after Christ's death, as if the whole earth was mourning Christ's death. But that's not the image at all! We have a dark earth in the three hours before Christ's death, as He is in agony on the cross. It is as if the earth is weeping with Christ, and sympathizing in His sufferings. But as soon as He dies, consider what happens! The scriptures tell us it was dark until the ninth hour, when Christ died. This implies that at Christ's death, the earth was made light again. Christ's death brought back a physical light to the earth, just as it brought spiritual light to His sheep. What a beautiful, literal fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy:

The people who walked in
darkness have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of
deep darkness,
on them has light shined.

Family Christmas Picture 2006

Finally! For weeks I've been intending to post my family's Christmas photo. Here we are :).

Believe it or not, this is in our suburban backyard. I love the way the picture looks all woodsy and country-ish. From left-to-right: Ben (24), Me, (22), Hannah (20), Mother Dear (32), Father Dear (33).

Or something like that ;-).

Friday, January 12, 2007

Population Problems

I know, I know, as a confessed conservative one would think I would not freely admit that our globe is facing population problems. I've always tried to admit problems on both sides of the aisle, though. Besides, we are facing population problems, so there's no use in denying it. However, the population problems that I am talking about are not what you may be thinking :).

Mother Dear and Ashley always keep me well-supplied with interesting news articles from online sources :). Not 2-3 days go by that I don't get an e-mailed link from one or both of them. And many of the articles they send me have motivated some of my favorite blog posts.

This morning's article was send to me by Mother Dear and can be found here. The article discusses China's growing gender gap. It is estimated that in 15 years, 30,000,000 Chinese men will be unable to find marriage partners, due to the use of gender selection in pregnancies. The truly ironic part of the article comes at the end:

China Daily said one way to solve the problem would be to create a proper social security system so rural couples would not feel they needed a son to depend on when they get old.

Hmm. I can think of better long-term solutions to this problem. More government control is not the solution!!! Aaaaah!!!!! (Breathe, Susan.) Less government control would actually work better. Sheesh. The Chinese government's one-child policy created this problem, so why would they think more control would also provide the solution?

Here are a few of my past posts on population growth/decline:

Interesting Article on Population Growth and Decline

Mixed Concerns of Population

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

John Piper's Letter to His Wife

First, thank you all so much for your wonderful comments while I was gone this weekend, and in the past few days. I'm not ignoring them, though I've responded to few or none of them. I'm just very busy, but I love reading them all the same :).

Second, if you want to be touched, read this beautiful letter that John Piper wrote for his wife on her birthday. You may want to pull out the tissues.

Hattip: YLCF

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A bit more, for those dying of curiosity. . .

EDIT: I finally tricked Blogger into loading pictures. Yay!

Adrian and I are having a great deal of fun reading all the responses to my post and his :-). You all are too funny, though I rather expected just such a response. I think Grace *ahem* and Jessie *ahem* created quite an atmosphere of mystery with their recent "cryptic" (or not so cryptic!) comments, resulting in a rather evident restlessness on our blogs :). The riddle I posted was shamelessly stolen from Emma, for anyone still in the dark on that score, and the answer is "courtship."

As many of you know, Adrian and I both started blogging in fall of 2005, and we began commenting to each other via Blogger after meeting through Crystal's blog (oh yes, she sure has a lot to answer for!) though solely thinking of each other as friends for several months, at least. Over the next year+, we communicated off and on as our schedules permitted, sometimes logging some rather extensive comments (my record for a single blog comment was 41 paragraphs).

The more Adrian and I "talked," the more I grew to admire him, and the more I became amazed at just how much we had in common, both in practice and belief. But, as I told Adrian later, I appreciated our disagreements almost as much as our agreements, for it was often through our times of disagreement that I really learned to respect him. A person's character comes out in times of difference more than in times of harmony, I've decided, and Adrian's shone :). My mom and sister interacted with him some online as well, as did I with his twin brother Lane.

In early November (2006), Adrian e-mailed about a possible visit to Atlanta to meet me and my family. In the next several weeks we exchanged many e-mails of impressive length. He spent December 8th-11th visiting us, and we had a wonderful time! I think my family likes him :-). Oh. . . and I do too ;-). After Adrian's visit, my dad gave him permission to court me. And just yesterday I returned from Minnesota, where I spent 4 days visiting with Adrian and his parents, who are absolutely delightful. Here's a picture I took over my visit last weekend:

We would now appreciate your prayers as we seek God's will in our relationship!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Riddle

My first displays the wealth and pomp of kings,
Lords of the earth! their luxury and ease.
Another view of man, my second brings,
Behold him there, the monarch of the seas!

But ah! united, what reverse we have!
Man's boasted power and freedom, all are flown;
Lord of the earth and sea, he bends a slave,
And woman, lovely woman, reigns alone.

Thy ready wit the word will soon supply,
May its approval beam in that soft eye!

For the answer, go here.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

*throws confetti*

So, in case anyone did not see or figure out the reference in my last post, my brother is engaged!!!! Engaged to be married, that is :-). We're all extremely happy over here! Stephanie relates the proposal story over on her Xanga, for those interested, and she posted a picture of them :-D. I get to have a sister-in-law! And a very sweet one at that :). Hannah and I helped Ben pick out the ring while he was visiting over Christmas break :).

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year! I can hardly believe that it is already 2007. Wow. I feel like just yesterday we were anticipating a new millenium (which technically started in 2001, by the way, not 2000). And now it's closer to 2010 then 2000!

This past year has been a real testing of my faith and one of the most life-changing years of my life. Most significant is spiritual change in my life; I have chronicled at-length God's mercy to me as He brought me from intense legalism to a grace-filled perspective. The end of this post contains links to many pertinent posts, or see my favorite post I've written on grace. As I summarized to a friend last night:

I entered 2006 resolved to forward my sanctification by my own strength, for my own glory. I leave 2006 praying for God to give me grace to grow more and more like Him that I might, even in my feebleness, proclaim His excellencies. Praise God for His mercies and grace! And praise Him that He gives sight to the blind, for my heart was so dark that I could not see my own legalism.

This past year has been eventful in many other ways as well. One of my closest friends since early childhood, Lydia True, was married in March, and I had the privilege of serving as her maid-of-honor. I even bought my first pair of high-heels for the occasion. I turned 22 in April. Yikes! In May I finished my first year teaching math at Heritage Classical Study Center and my first full year tutoring students from Mill Creek High School. June and July were a busy whirlwind of conferences (see posts here, here, here, here, here, and here), VBS, several out-of-state trips, and catering a wedding for my friend Ashley. Ashley, who I've known since 1st grade(!), married Paul in late July. This summer I had the privilege of clearing out my grandfather's library, and between June and July I brought home 17 boxes of books! In early August I was able to meet Jessie in person, after almost a year of e-mailing and blogging! Also in August, I started my second year teaching at Heritage. In addition I picked up two mornings of babysitting and co-coordination of my church's nursery, just to keep busy ;). In December I was named Time magazine's Person of the Year. Despite my instant launch into stardom, I remain living quietly with my family in Buford, GA, and I've tried not to let all that fame go to my head. My paternal grandfather turned 80 in December as well, meaning that I now have 4 living grandparents, all in their 80's. Wow! I'd love to see the percentile on that. My family made a short trip up to Indiana/Kentucky/Tennessee in late December, to celebrate Christmas with family and friends, and we enjoyed having Boy with us for almost 2 weeks! And. . . *drumroll please*. . . she said yes!!!!! *throws confetti*

I love cryptic messages :-D.

May God abundantly bless each of you as we enter a new year, and may we seek first His Kingdom! We do not know what tomorrow holds, but we know who holds tomorrow. Hmm, <<--that's pretty catchy; someone should turn it into a Southern Gospel song ;-).