Friday, January 21, 2011

Our 7th Field trip of the year - Knoxville Zoo

This will be a blog in construction.  Here's the story.  We drive 1 1/2 hours to Knoxville Zoo yesterday morning.  The first exhibit is the black bear.  I decide to take a picture with the girls standing in front of one of the black behemoths.  Push the camera "on" button.  This is taking longer to turn on!  What's the problem?!  Hmmm, this camera feels lighter than usual.  Wait - - oh NO!! The battery is in the charger at home!    Look around for a store to buy a disposable - we CAN'T go through the day without some record of it!

Got the cheapest disposable.  27 photos available to take.  I don't even know if they're 35mm or digital.  But anyway, we now have some kind of record and now I have to take the whole camera into some place to have the pictures developed.  This is new to me!

The zebra (turns out this is 35mm film...kind of grainy, but, oh well)

 "Don't ya agree this weather is a mite freezin', mate? ". " Aye, I KNOW, and I keep fergettin' my earmuffs and socks!" "Ach, it was NEVER this cold in Botswana! Shiverrs, I think we shood moove back therrr, what dya think?"

Among friends

Ah, come on, you can look fiercer than that!

Last time we were here I don't think C reached the top.

This was the cutest gibbon monkey!  He did a big show for us - which is woefully represented here.

The most adorable little red panda bears!

I'm afraid all the reptiles, unless artificially heated, were in hibernation!

The petting zoo provides brushes....hey, I say, why not?  Great idea!

As we were leaving.  This is the entrance. (yes, that is snow by the tree)

Sad story about the Knoxville Zoo. (Side note - we were supposed to have this field trip last Thursday but due to snow and inclement weather, we postponed it a week.) Well, last Friday, an elephant handler was killed (accidently) by an elephant.  Apparently the elephant backed up against her and she was squeezed against a metal post.  No aggression, just an accident.  Very sad!  We're sorry this happened and send our condolences, Knoxville Zoo!

It's always bittersweet for me to visit zoos.  Having seen a lot of these animals in the wild, it pains me to see them pacing back and forth, sleeping endlessly, staring into space, moving mindlessly, or swaying and swinging their trunks back and forth, like the elephants. I KNOW zoos do all they can to approximate the natural habitat, but captivity is captivity still, and I ache for them. I do think winter is worse, when so many of the tropical animals have to be kept indoors!  Imagine their non-comprehending spring fever!

The good side is that many, many thousands of people get to see animals they wouldn't normally see.  A, for one got to see elephants, giraffe,
The giraffe and other tropical animals were kept inside unless the temp. reached 40'F.  I think we just made it!
tigers, lion, cheetah, zebra, gorilla and many other animals for the first time yesterday.  Exciting!!

There is also a lot of opportunity for education regarding animals and their need for habitat preservation. After all, man was given "dominion" over the animals and the earth - we have a great and awesome responsibility.  How can we squander that!?
The beavers are large animals.  They were thrown some branches later and had a wonderful time first finding them under water and then gnawing on the bark.

Anyway, photos will follow one day soon.  The camera is still in my sure to drop by later.

Later: So here they are.  Hope you enjoyed them.

Shadows - a FEW analogies.

What is a shadow and what function does it perform?  Many things have been compared to a shadow and I'm sure there are many analogies and applications of particular "shadows".  What I'm referring to here might be more specific to certain things only.  We can only carry analogies so far!

If you see a shadow, you usually assume there is an object casting the shadow.

We hardly ever assume that the reality, the physical object casting the shadow, doesn't exist, even if we cannot see it, it being just out of sight.  Thus, we do often see shadows and not the object casting the shadow.   But we usually know from experience that the object is there casting the shadow, and we can usually tell by the shape and nature of the shadow, a fair amount of what the properties of the object are, although obviously, we cannot understand and know everything, or even, very much, from the shadow only.  We might even be frightened of and intimidated by the shadow.

In hindsight - looking back at the shadow - we go, "A-ha - so that's what it was trying to tell us!  Now I understand more clearly!"

When you finally look at and see/find the actual object, you see more detail, and so in fact, understand the shadow much better.  When you do look at the physical object, does the shadow then disappear?  No, if the shadow disappears, then probably the object itself has also been moved away.  They exist together, but the reality reveals MORE to the beholder than the shadow.  There is no more reason to look at and study only the shadow in order to understand the object, because the object reveals so much more about itself, and thus the shadow becomes less necessary.  However, an important point is that the shadow is STILL there and can STILL describe, however weakly, the reality. Of course, it is much better to study the reality - but the reality won't have a different nature to the shadow, or be totally different in character, ie: this aloe shadow won't be coming from a horse, or a house.

So, if an EVENT is "fore-shadowed", the event itself explains the shadow but that doesn't change the shadow, nor "does away with" it. In fact, the event itself would not be fundamentally different to the shadow since it caused the shadow to begin with.

If something is "fore-shadowed", then the reality cannot presume to change the shadow, or that shadow would not have truly been a "fore"-shadow of that event. When the reality came, it did not take away the existence of the shadow either, or make it change, but explained it more fully and became a more complete and perfect revelation of itself.  Looking at and studying the shadow is a way to understand history from the perspective of the past, and certainly is a good way to  gain MORE understanding of the reality now.  The shadow gains meaning by the coming of the reality.

We must also be careful not to call certain things shadows, when they are, in fact, not shadows, but symbols.  We'll have to get into symbols/signs in another blog.

I think we can learn a lot by recognizing and understanding shadows. 

Happy Sabbath (I learned how to "sign" that in ASL this week!)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More snow fun pictures

This is a spiral slide

The little snowman wanted to join in the singing.

A Carolina wren.  We almost never see them on the feeders.

Part way down the slide

Tucked in for the night.

"Snowboarding" on the sled.

It actually worked really well.

We had some help with the igloo.

This one on campus put us to shame.  I hear some people actually slept in it one night. It was really roomy inside (and light).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Are you feeling overwhelmed?

Here is a verse of encouragement for you:

                                            Psalm 61:1-4
         Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.
From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For thou has been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.
                  I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in
                                   the covert of thy wings.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why is it important?

What, you ask?

Why is important that we keep a specific day holy - the seventh day?  Other than the fact that God made ONLY THIS day holy, what difference does it make? It seems arbitrary - and perhaps it IS.  That might be one key to understanding why it's important, actually.

By whose authority was the Sabbath made holy?  Answer: God's. (Genesis 2:3)

When did He make the Sabbath holy? At the end of the creation week - the beginning of us and our world. (Gen. 2:1-3).  Many people mistakenly believe it was first given in the 10 commandments at Sinai to the Jews - no - that is why God had to say "remember", and referred them BACK to creation in the very 4th commandment ("for in 6 days God created...")

If the Sabbath, as a memorial of creation, had been kept SINCE then until now, I doubt we'd be having the same issues with evolution....but that's a side note.

Contrary to what a lot of people believe, keeping the seventh day holy because God set aside that time FOR us - to rest, to worship, to fellowship, to enjoy His creation, to visit the poor, sick and needy, to be free from the cares of work and gainful labour, to bask in His special blessing and redemption - is NOT legalistic.  We choose to keep the 7th day (Sabbath) holy because that's the day HE chose.  We accept God's authority to do that!

The Sabbath, which means "rest", also has a fuller meaning of rest in Christ's work FOR us - another reason to cease from our own work and accept His re-creative work in our lives.

So we have, so far,  2 meanings.

1) it is kept as a sign/remembrance of God's creation of our world and us - our origins - which gives us purpose and meaning in life.  God had a direct part in creating us. So the weekly Sabbath brings our minds back to God's active involvement in our lives.

2) It is kept as a sign of God's re-creation in our hearts - His redemptive power to re-create something "supernatural" - a snow-white pureness from something scarlet. "Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them as white as snow...." Isaiah 1:18

Going back to one of the original questions - by whose authority should we worship on the 7th day, the next question could be, Well, who chose the first day and what authority did that person/being have, to change the day from the day (written in stone with the very finger of God) that God Himself chose, and decide that the new day should be Sunday, the first day?

Well, that answer is a very long one....I'll have to address it in a following blog.  But let me just say briefly, that God did not change it!  It was "someone"  who usurped that authority and took it upon himself to "change times and laws".  By this act, he thus claimed to have authority OVER God Himself.

Should we give this usurper authority over us, or is God our supreme and sovereign Ruler? 

I'll leave you with that ponderous thought until next time!                         

Another Snow day (s)

We had another 7 - 8 inches (about 18 or more cm) of powdery white cold stuff starting on Sunday night.  Yay, we get some more snow days!  I thank the Lord our electricity is holding, but if not, we have plenty of water and wood for the fire!
The wind must have been blowing as the porches are covered too.

I just LOVE this stuff!

These are inches.  After this it snowed some more.

A drift in the trampoline

Magnolia and Pine patterns

I see someone's been on the swing already!

Building an igloo

Getting higher - today (2nd day) the snow is packing like glue!

and higher......

2nd day the sled goes easier


What's wrong with the Husky!?