Sunday, August 31, 2008

Use The Time Well

A few weeks ago, a Christian friend sent me an email expressing her distaste for my blog. As she sees it, blogs aren't to be used as pulpits. Okay, she has a right not to read my blog, and to disagree with its content. I'm not forcing anyone to read it.

But I thought of her comments during Adult Sunday School today. We watched a DVD about a group of missionaries who suffered through the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. In his preface before playing the DVD, the teacher said that most of the world doesn't have the freedom to talk about Christ. And, although the specific situation in Rwanda was about ethnic cleansing rather than the persecuton of Christians, my involvement on our church's Mission's Committee gives me an awareness of such persecution in places like Belarus, Chad, Turkey and China.

Right now, I'm free to share my faith in Christ, just as I'm free to share my digital art and accounts of my adventures with John into Boston. Who knows how long that freedom will last? Hoefully, I vary my blog entries enough that I'm not cramming Jesus down people's throats.

But the ending of the DVD said it well. Two people who had escaped the slaughter at the Missions Compound met five years later. The closing lines were: "We've been given more time. Let's use it well."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sixth Anniversary Celebration

John and I, as of tomorrow, have enjoyed six years as man and wife! I know...hard to believe. But since our actual anniversary falls on a Sunday this year and we don't want to miss church, we celebrated yesterday. So we got all dressed up, and we headed for Boston (but not before our Personal Care Attendant could take a picture of us outside our apartment building).

Our primary destination was The Museum of Fine Arts in the Fenway region of Boston. We decided to focus our attention on European painting this time. Regretfully, I was too timid to have John take many photos, particularly of the Italian Renaissance art that I studied at Dominican University of California back in the '70s. (I'm kicking myself for not photographing the bas relief by Donatello that we saw.) We also made the mistake of not writing down information on the pieces of art that we did have the courage to photograph.

I recognized this Mary Cassatt painting.


We'd seen it two years ago when the Museum of Fine Arts had the Americans In Paris exhibit. In fact, I remember seeing the actual tea service that Cassatt depicted in this painting as a part of that exhibit.

Moving through the galleries, I spotted a painting that drew my attention. When John read the title, I understood the draw!



It was Dante and Beatrice. I had spent two summers at Dominican studying Dante's Divine Comedy, and loved the story of unattainable love guiding Dante to God. Thankfully, my own love story with John is much happier than Dante's story!

Although I remember neither the title of this painting nor the name of its artist, I'm glad John photographed it.



Romantic, isn't it? But then, she's an 18th Century French girl, and as such, of course it's a romantic painting!

Time passed all too quickly, of course, and we needed to leave Boston for a romantic dinner at Caffe Bella in Randolph. We split our order of rigatoni with chicken, sweet sausage, Swiss chard (yes, chard is high oxalate, but I ate it anyway) and plum tomatoes.

We couldn't finish, and were preparing to leave when the waitress offered us complementary cheesecake in celebration of our anniversary.


What a beautiful celebration of a wonderful marriage!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kidnapped!

Monday and Tuesday, I felt a little down. So yesterday, John "kidnapped" me by taking me into Boston. We had a burrito near South Station, and did some shopping errands at Downtown Crossing. From there, we went to Boston Common, bought a lemonade, and listened to Sam Rucker play everything from classical music to the Beatles' "Lady Madonna." He gave us permission to use his name and photo.

Our main objective yesterday, however, was to take the James Otis Experience Freedom Trail Walking Tour. Regretfully, the company's website (www.bostontowncrier.com) is currently under construction, but keep checking back.

Our tour guide was none other than James Otis, that great pre-Revolutionary War patriot who protested the Stamp Act by proclaiming: "Taxation without representation is tyranny!"

Okay, so it's really just a man portraying James Otis. He still knows his stuff, and taught us quite a bit of Boston's history. We'd met him on previous excursions into Boston, but had no idea that his would be the best historical tour we'd take.

I don't have time to write about each site Otis led us to, but I want to point out a few. John took a tremendous photo of the State House from the Freedom Trail (the red line leading to it).

Although you can't see them in this photo, there's a set of white doors towards the right of the building's front. These doors are only used when the President or a visiting Head of State enters the State House, or when a governor leaves at the end of his or her term. I pray Deval Patrick has the honor of using them in January of 2011!

Park Street Church is still an operational church. Now it is an Evangelical church, but it was established in 1808 as a Puritan church.During the War of 1812, it stored ammunition for the American troops. It housed the first Sunday School. Abolitionists spoke from its pulpit against slavery. And the first missionary to Hawaii came from that church.

We visited the Old Granary Burial Ground, first stopping by the grave of Samuel Adams. Adams set the signal for the Boston Tea Party.Of course, we visited the grave of James Otis, a lawyer who argued long and hard against forms of British oppression such as the Stamp Act and the Tea Tax. Sadly, he was struck on the head when a Loyalist attacked him, and he consequently developed dementia. I'm guessing he had a Traumatic Brain Injury. Since our tour guide assumed Otis' persona, I used the marble pattern that I recently created with Paint Shop Pro to frame John's photo of his grave marker.

Next we visited the monument to John Hancock, who, as the wealthiest man in Boston, loved velvet clothes and feathered hats. Hancock, as the first signer of the Declaration of Independence, signed his name large, and with a flourish, to be sure that King George could read it without his spectacles!

We visited Paul Revere's grave, Mother Goose's grave, King's Chapel, the site of the Old Latin School, the Corner Bookstore, and Old South Meeting House before arriving at the Old State House. During Bicentennial celebrations in 1976, President Ford presented Queen Elizabeth II with a check covering the cost of the Tea destroyed in the Boston Tea Party. No tax. No interest. Her Majesty has yet to cash the check.

The tour concluded at Fanueil Hall. From there, John and I made our way back to South Station via Atlantic Avenue, where we watched kids play in the jumping fountains. Hopefully, you can see that different spouts operate at different times. I hope John will kidnap me again! It was a glorious day!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Addition

2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. ~~2 Peter 1:2-11 NKJV

During my Bible reading yesterday, verses 5-7 of this passage captured my attention, convicting me that the qualities Peter listed need to be added to my faith. Yet I realize my total inability to add them through my own efforts.

Peter must have known how helpless humans are without the Holy Spirit! When Jesus first called him, he confessed that he was a sinful man. And, a few short hours after he had boasted that he would go with Jesus to death, he gave into cowardice by denying his association with Him! So Peter, more than most Christians I think, had a working knowledge of human frailty. So why would he, of all people, instruct us to "give all diligence" to add the qualities he cataloged to our faith?

Mightn't verses 2-4 provide the answer. I can't depend on my own resources, but I can draw on what the Lord has given me. And He has given me "all things that pertain to life and godliness."

Guess it's time for me to make some additions to my faith, huh?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Marriage Testimony

During a longer conversation with a non-Christian family member, I had a short, but encouraging, exchange:

Family Member: I tell people that you and John have the strongest marriage I've ever seen.

Me: You know why it's strong?

Family Member: Uhm...

Me: Jesus!

Family Member: Oh, well I know that!

Maybe it wasn't the full-scale evangelistic conversation I'd like to have with this person, but it's encouraging to know she's watching...and paying attention!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Boston, We're Back!

Now that both of us have operational wheelchairs again, Boston is our playground. Yesterday we met our online friend Mike (from Faith Community Network) at Leventhal Park, and he kindly shot this short video of John driving my wheelchair:

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