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I Have Such a Great Life

I do a lot of thinking, and this evening as I walked home from work this thought dawned on me: Life is great! I often ponder how I can improve myself and make life better, more efficient, and more effective, but this evening I’ve just been thinking about all the blessings God has sent my way. The Lord has been mindful of me! Here’s a few of the things I came up with:

  • I have parents who love me and take care of me even though I’m far, far away.
  • I have a great sister who is good at making bread, taking on responsibilities, and hiking mountains.
  • I have wonderful friends who encourage me, challenge me, and stir me up to love and good works.
  • I’m a part of a loving congregation of saints who encourage me and pray for my ministry.
  • I get to work with Christians every day.
  • My job is to help people learn God’s truth, and I even get paid for it!
  • God keeps giving me opportunities to teach the good message and preach His Word.
  • I live in a place where multiple languages are spoken, and I have lots of language-learning opportunities.
  • I have enough money for food, and even to splurge on ice cream.
  • I have running water, electricity, and Internet.
  • I have a dishwasher.
  • I have an apartment that I can afford, and I can use it to be hospitable.
  • I’m getting to host interns in my apartment this summer.
  • I get to terrorize squirrels, watch chipmunks, and wait for blackberries to ripen.
  • I have birds that visit my bird feeder all the time.
  • I can walk to work every day.
  • I get to travel a lot, and through my travels I’ve gained a sort of international perspective.
  • I’m a child of God.
  • I can sing for joy, because I’m redeemed!

What’s on your list?

How to Not Look Like an American Tourist in Europe

My sister on a Belgian parkbench

I don’t really like being a tourist. At least I try to avoid the term, even if I am travelling and taking pictures of commonly visited sights in foreign countries. I guess the main thing is that I want to experience the culture more, speak the language, and get deeper than the superficial experience enjoyed by most other tourists. So when I went to Europe, I naturally wanted to try to blend in as much as I could. I did some preparation before the trip, but much of what I now know I discovered in my travels. If you are planning to go to Europe and you too want to avoid looking like a tourist, this post is for you! Here are some things that I’ve learned: Read More

Bucket List

A while back, I made a list of things I would like to do or accomplish before I kick the bucket. I don’t know how long ago this list was made, but today I happened upon it again, and was pleased to find that I could cross some things off. Here are the things I have done:

  • Go to Europe
  • Make deviled eggs
  • Learn to cook other things besides dessert and breakfast

Evidently this list predates my time at university, since I did all three of these during that time. And what about the rest of the list, you ask? Here it is, with a few additions I just made:

  • Make peanut butter
  • Play a harpsichord
  • Buy land
  • Translate the Bible into Nahuatl
  • Have a pet firebelly newt
  • Spend more than a week in Mexico
  • Go back to Texas (apparently a more recent addition)
  • Publish one or more books of poetry
  • Record another album of music (you can hear the first one here)
  • Attend an international Esperanto congress
  • Visit the Kennedy Space Center
  • Ride in a blimp

So there you go! I accomplished the first three in my first twenty years of existence, so if I continue at that rate, I should be done by the time I hit 100. An exciting life, eh? What sort of things are on your bucket list? Leave a comment!

Talented Presents

I had never thought about Amazon’s products being talented, but a couple of days ago I got an e-mail that proudly proclaimed

Kindle Fire HD: The #1 most gifted product on Amazon

That sounds a bit presumptuous to me. Of course they’re proud of their own creation, this electronic device with a name that sounds like it might burn down your house, but #1 most gifted? That’s even redundant. Take for example, this Swiss army knife. You may not be able to check Facebook with it, but if this isn’t a gifted product, I don’t know what is. Look at that thing: it has a ruler, scissors, saw, magnifying glass, screwdriver–that is one gifted product.

OK, enough of that. I come out from under my rock often enough to know that the Anglosphere has verbed the noun “gift,” and while I’m not against language change in the least, this one seems a wee bit absurd. There’s not even a lexical gap there! On Christmas Day, I’ll have you know, I do not gift presents, I give them. And believe it or not, this handy verb comes with a past participle, so I could even say that the Kindle Fire is the most given product on Amazon.

So if you want a gifted gift to gift for Christmas, just ask Amazon.

When Pigs Fly

I found this in one of my memo pads today. No context, no explanation, just this enigmatic sentence:

And hearkening the call of Xukuchotíren, the swine of Xukúxelen mounted up on their great wings, and were borne aloft on the wind to the succour of Dízefen.

I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of flying pigs, and it seems I worked them into the mythology of one of my fictional nations. Maybe I’ll finish the story someday!