Tractor Mendelssohn dream

David and I were at my parents’ house after some sort of get-together, and my parents randomly decided to tell us at that point what their retirement plans were, since it was starting to come together for them. They were apparently planning to move to the coast of northern california, own a house on a peninsula, basically almost right in the water, and start farming there. They even had a model of the John Deere farm tractor they were going to use to show us. They were going to grow corn, using a new technique in which you can grow it in very wet land, up to several inches deep in water (apparently salt water is fine). I started talking to them about the risks involved with this, especially the possibility of something going wrong during harvest, and them losing the entire year’s work, but they seemed ok with that, after all, it’s just a retirement job. My dad said that he’d give the local tractor repairman a call (somehow referring to our local one in ME which made total sense) and have him kinda ready to come over if the tractor started messing up. I said, wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to have the John Deere repairman “on call” than the guy at our old tractor repair shop who doesn’t even like John Deere? My dad conceded that yeah that made more sense.
At that point, I had to get ready to go to work, so I started getting dressed up to go outside, putting a long-sleeve shirt on. David was playing a song on the piano, I think one that he composed. My mom was telling him that he had to get going really soon too. I left, and drove over to Penners where I was apparently going to work. I started going into the entryway, though I still had my hand stuck in one of the sleeves in the shirt I had been trying to put on. Mrs. Penner was there and said Hi. Then I noticed that David was somehow there already, and about to start practicing with a small group of violin players. I was incredulous as to how he got there before me, and I asked Mrs. Penner how he got there so fast, and she said something about him leaving before me, but I knew he hadn’t, but then something occurred to me that could have made it possible. I then grabbed a peach so I could start to eat it as I went out to the back deck. I noticed that there was a rather large soft and brown spot on it, so I bit that chunk out and went outside to spit it into the woods. Unfortunately there was some random man out there that I didn’t know, so I felt bad just spitting in front of him, so I tried to let the bad part fall out of my mouth into my hand so I could throw it instead, but only part of it came out, and I had to swallow the rest. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I said hello to the man, and we had a little small talk.
Then my viewpoint changed, and I was watching this young boy coming into the house to meet with these other violinists (in the background I could hear the Mendelssohn violin concerto coming from the group in the music room). He apparently decided he was supposed to know French, so when he went into the room and they all stopped to say Hi, he randomly gave this little speech which seemed like a bunch of random phrases that he knew in French all stuck together. Indeed, after he had said it, I could see in my mind’s eye a translation, like I was rewinding a movie and putting captions in, and it was just a bunch of random phrases. Kinda funny. Anyway, no one really minded, they all kinda chuckled, but he was only about 12 so no worries. Then, since he hadn’t been able to bring his violin, they gave him one to borrow. My viewpoint gradually shifted to first-person of the boy’s view, but more like a movie narrative, because I knew more than he did. He was a little chagrined that he had to play on a full size, since his was only a half size, but he gamely decided to give it a try. They made space in the circle for him, and he sat right between the first and second violinists, though he was thinking he wasn’t very special and was probably sitting between some of the lesser violinists. Anyway, they started to play, and low and behold, he was playing the solo part to the Mendelssohn violin concerto! The funny thing was, he didn’t realize it was the solo part. After a few bars, he stopped and started asking why his part was so much more “out there” than everyone else’s. His mom told him that it was ok, and I think he sorta figured out that he had the solo. His mom hadn’t told him, because she didn’t want him to be too nervous to play with other people, but I was thinking it probably would have been better if he knew how good he was, and was prepared to solo. He was apparently thinking the same thing, because he said that he wished he knew that, cause he would have practiced more! We all kinda chuckled at that, because he sounded amazing on the Mendelssohn. My dream started fading out, but I knew that the boy would keep trying, and I figured he’d do really well as a soloist.

Guilty pleasure

January challenge - Day 24



January challenge - Day 21

Puddle in a parking lot

Largest Cave

I just stumbled upon this National Geographic article of a cave in Vietnam. I've never seen or heard of such an incredible cave before! Apparently it is the largest cavern in the world (not longest but biggest) at 2.5 miles long, a sustained 300' wide and 600' high. Don't miss the pictures - they're unbelievable! Many of them have people in them, but you don't always see them at first because they look like ants in the picture!

Update: National Geographic has posted a video in which the photographer narrates and gives a presentation about finding and exploring this cave.


Today, I noticed an interesting stat on my Blogger homepage. I've got 5555 pageviews on my blog! These include people from the US, Canada, Russia, South Korea, Germany, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Ukraine, Latvia, and Brazil! I also have 512 comments. I just want to thank all you readers for visiting my blog, taking the time to look at my pictures, and commenting! It really means a lot to me.
Here's a fun chart showing the pageviews by country (No, they don't actually add up to 5555, and I don't know why):

United States
South Korea
United Kingdom


Something you're reading

January challenge - Day 14

Am I Good Enough?

[This was the article we talked about in my Reading and Discussion club this morning]

“If you die tonight will you go to heaven? Why or why not?”
Those were the questions on the survey they passed out at my church recently.
The results of the anonymous survey revealed that most of the responses fell into one of two categories. Either people felt they would go to heaven because they were good people who were better than most of the other people around them, or they felt they would not go to heaven because they were terrible sinners. Some added that God was not done working on them yet, so they still had hope that they might make it.

The “overwhelming majority” of people, it seems, base their salvation on themselves. I call that a crying shame. For one thing, imagine the responsibility that puts on their shoulders. Can they be good enough to save themselves? Absolutely not! And how about the ones who feel that God isn’t finished with them yet? I can’t imagine the terror of going through life knowing on any given day that it could be my last and wondering whether or not God will be “finished” with me before my time is up, can you? Not, mind you, that I’m unfamiliar with these thoughts myself. I’ve spent time walking both the “Yes” road and the “No” road, but ignorance saved me from too much mental anguish over my plight. It doesn’t matter what your state of mind is, whether troubled or in ignorance like I was; if you find yourself on either road, there’s one thing you need to know before you take another step: The only way— the only way—to God is through Jesus.

Having been a Christian all my life, I don’t have a problem with that statement. It’s been part of my theology forever. But Elizabeth Gilbert, in her book Eat, Pray, Love says, “And while I do love that great Teacher of peace who was called Jesus, and while I do reserve the right to ask myself in certain trying situations what indeed He would do, I can’t swallow that one fixed rule of Christianity insisting that Christ is the only path to God.”

Getting in the boat

That statement is no surprise to God. He knew some people would find salvation through Christ and Christ alone a problem. Paul wrote, “Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength” (1 Corinthians 1:22–24). The thing is, Christians who think they are either “good enough” or “not good enough” are missing the boat just as surely as Gilbert is.

Being good enough or not good enough implies that we have some part in our salvation, as if we, with Christ, are rowing our salvation boat. In reality, Christ is the boat and He’s rowing the boat. By Himself. Our first decision is: do we want to get in the boat? If we do, we must ask ourselves, are we willing to sit there and let Christ take us wherever He sees fit? And if He asks us to do something, are we willing to do it?

We have to allow Jesus to set up shop in our life and change it. I always dreaded having to do that part. I thought it would be like trying to go on a diet. I thought God would ask me to give up all kinds of stuff I loved to do and through sheer willpower I’d have to muscle through and give it up. But what if I don’t want to?

In reality, God takes away the desire to do what doesn’t conform to His best intention for your life.

Imagine the ease with which smokers could kick the habit if they no longer desired another cigarette. Is it always easy? No, not always. Is it always possible? Absolutely. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Change of heart

For years—years—I was under the impression that salvation was some sort of formula: Belief + works + spending time with God + denying yourself and considering the needs of everyone else to be more important than your own = salvation. Yet if you had asked me, I would have told you that salvation was belief in Jesus. Belief, in my version, was limited to a head experience: Is the sky blue? Yes. Is the grass green? Yes. Is Jesus the Son of God? Yes. Does He save me from my sins? Yes.

But mere mental assent is not a heart experience. Belief was acknowledging that “yes, Jesus is God’s Son.” I had no problem with that. But neither do demons, who “believe, and tremble” (James 2:19 KJV), but they are not saved.

Belief has to change us in some way. And the only way for that change to happen is for us to be willing to let it happen. It won’t happen overnight. It’s a constant thing, nurtured in part by actions like reading the Bible, praying, having and maintaining a relationship with God, and worshiping with other believers. As we grow in this relationship, we will begin to change. We will become more like Christ.

So, if you die tonight will you go to heaven? That depends on whether you want to get in the boat or stay on the shore, not on whether you’re good enough to get in the boat.

Jesus died to save us all. Not just the “good” ones.

- CĂ©leste Perrino-Walker




January challenge - Day 10

Books, travel, games, teddy bears...