Archive for January, 2017

My mountain

We are getting ready to give some copies of Scott’s Pressing Toward the Mark discipleship course to some Bible school students, and we have finally gotten them edited and formatted to be printed and “comb-bound.” We looked into having all that done at a print shop, and it was pricey, but since it needed to be done relatively quickly and since it was more printing than our home machine could handle with a good attitude, we figured the ministry would just have to foot a rather hefty bill for the printing and binding.

But then Scott met with the associate pastor of a local church to share with him what Take the Challenge was doing, and that pastor was excited and wanted to help, and he offered to have his church staff buy all the supplies and print the whole lot of PTM’s, at NO COST TO US(!!!) and let us borrow their comb-binding machine to put them together ourselves. What a huge blessing!

So we now have 300 pages’ worth of PTM workbooks (50 pages each), 300 front cover stock pages, 300 back cover stock pages, 600 plastic covers, and 300 3/8″ combs in various levels of disarray in our dining room, along with a manual comb-binding machine.

We’re under a time deadline; we have about a week to prepare the first 200 copies, so tonight I faced off against the comb-binding machine. Initially we did not play well together. It took me 36 minutes to produce four bound workbooks. Sigh. But I now have 11 completed, and I am getting faster. I eventually figured out how to speak the binder’s language (without four-letter words!), and I am now able to do a workbook in four minutes. This still means an incredible amount of time will be spent on this task, so if I don’t answer the phone or reply to emails or texts, you will know what I’m doing. I’ll be scaling my PTM mountain!

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There are several YWAM bases in Hong Kong

Jessica serves at one of them. One of the other Hong Kong YWAM bases has a food pantry and is the sometimes recipient of miscellaneous food donations, which it both distributes to homeless people in the surrounding community and shares with its staff. I was talking to Jessica this evening, and she showed me a box of lychee fruit sitting on her table. I had never heard of lychees (also spelled litchi), and on the off chance that you’ve never heard of them either, here is a picture I pulled off wikipedia (with instructions that I cite the author of the photo, which I will gladly do: By I, Luc Viatour, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3567423). 1024px-litchi_chinensis_luc_viatourJessica told me that that other YWAM base in Hong Kong was given. . . are you ready? 1.5 metric TONS of lychees! That’s 3306.93 pounds of fruit!!! And even if you have a food pantry, I guess 1.5 metric tons of anything is a heckuva lot of it to use before it spoils. So that base has shared some of its lychees with the Harbour City base where Jessica works, and I guess all the staff members got their share lychees.

I also learned that, like me, Jessica can’t beat her husband at the game of Splendor, and the process of opening a bank account in Hong Kong is unbelievably convoluted and frustrating.

Jessica was eating lychees for breakfast, while Andrew and I were eating pizza (homemade by Andrew!) for supper. Such is family life on two sides of the world.

Road raise

I walked partway down the creek road this afternoon, and I was really surprised. It seems that Unit #60 has really been hard at work. It’s actually been several MONTHS since I was down there (very sad, my bad), and the work Taney County Road and Bridge has done is truly impressive. “The dip” behind Bill and LaShell’s is a dip no more! They have raised the road some five feet, so that it it is just flat all the way. I was shocked and slightly embarrassed. I also saw a really big bird perched on an upsticking branch, and I want to figure out what it was.

Happy New (fiscal) Year

We think Taney County Road and Bridge’s fiscal year must coincide with the calendar year. In 2016, they spent many weeks hauling in, dumping, and smoothing untold numbers of truckloads of dirt onto Blansit Road along Bull Creek in order to, as one employee told me, “raise the road so it won’t wash out again.”

Now having lived here for twenty years, and having watched approximately 7.6 zillion tons of trucked-in gravel wash out each time the creek floods the road, I could have told them that (A) whatever you put on that road – gravel, dirt, chat, miscellaneous litter – is ALL going to wash out because (B) unless you dam the creek to create a means of flood control, it is going to rain, and from time to time the creek is going to rise out of its banks.

But the county didn’t ask for my wise and considered input.

Instead, they spent portions of several months “improving” the creek road, starting from the far end. Each night, they parked “Unit #60,” the small front end loader, at the near end of the road, where I walked past it eight times every morning. This move-in-the-morning and return-to-the-parking-place pattern was repeated for many weeks, and then at some point, faithful Unit #60 was simply abandoned. She was parked there for quite a long time – for something like four months! The weeds grew up around her, and I feared that eventually a few saplings might grow right through her and they’d never be able to move her. Something akin to Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel, you know.

Then eventually, (maybe sometime in November?), with no warning or even so much as a cheerful goodbye, Unit #60 was removed. I don’t know how she went or where she went, but she was gone.

And then last week, she suddenly reappeared, parked in her customary spot. And for the past week or so, a very friendly Taney County Road and Bridge gentleman has shown up at about 7:15 each morning in a white TCR&B pick-up (Unit #243) and tenderly ministered to Unit #60. One day he filled her tank from a pumping system in the back of his pick-up. Every morning, he starts Unit #60 and then sits in his truck for a while. I suppose he’s waiting for her to warm up. This can take a while for most females. Sometimes he comes alone, but on some mornings he brings a colleague, whom – and after getting Unit #60 running – he then drives down Blansit. I don’t know where they go or what they do, because neither of them reappears before I finish my walk. Last Thursday morning, when it was something like 7 bitterly cold degrees and we had both a dusting of snow on the ground and real live snow flurries coming down, the TCR&B gentleman was hard at it as usual, and when I asked if they were planning to move dirt in that weather, he smiled and said, “We sure are!”

If I were going to put 400 dump truck loads of dirt on a road that will wash out if not this season, then surely next, I wouldn’t leave my equipment sitting on site unused for four months and then haul it away, only to bring it back and resume the project in the coldest and most challenging weather conditions of the entire year! But when I mentioned this line of reasoning and my attendant consternation to Scott, he said that it made perfect sense: They must have run out of money to complete the project last year, but their fiscal year probably started January 1, and now they have money to keep going. Hmm. . . He’s so smart! I guess that’s just one more reason Scott’s My Hero. = )

 

Shocking

On Scott’s side of the bed, he has a little “touch” lamp with a three-way bulb. You just tap its base to turn it on the dimmest setting and then each additional tap brightens up the light a bit.

Our bed comforter is rather lightweight and happens to be made of polyester. It’s great in the summer, but in the winter we add a heavy cotton quilt underneath it. I’ve noticed over the years that when I change the sheets in the winter, if I yank the comforter off too violently, I can actually create blue sparks with the static electricity. Since I know from experience that any exposed appendage (finger, nose, etc.) can get shocked, I am now fairly careful when I pull the comforter off. I don’t like being a human lightning rod!

This morning I decided to strip the bed and get the sheets washing while we were at church, but I must say that what happened in our bedroom had never happened before. Standing at the foot of the bed, I pulled the comforter off, and it crackled a little bit, but get this: When the comforter crackled at end of low end of the bed, the touch lamp turned on at the head of the bed! I thought it was just some weird coincidence (or as my dad used to say, “co-inky-dink”), so I turned the lamp off and tried it again – with exactly the same result!

Moral of the story: A static electrical charge can travel at least six feet through the air inside a very dry 105-year-old frame house.

Feel free to indulge your curiosity and try this at home. I actually think someone should figure out a way to harness the power of sheet-changing (or some other means of rubbing polyester against cotton) to charge a cell phone or something.