Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Dangers of 'Hot' Food

One day during a sermon at my old church, the pastor told a rather amusing story. When he first came to the United States as an exchange student and was learning English, one day there was an event at which tacos were being served.

Hard corn shell tacos with beef, lettuce, tomato, and shredded cheese

Naturally, he had to try these, and was putting lots of sauce on his tacos. The others kept warning him, "It's hot, it's hot," but he dismissed the warnings, thinking they meant high-temperature, not spice.
He didn't elaborate much on the outcome, but I can imagine he found out the truth quickly when he took a bite. I have a cartoonish mental image of him breathing fire, eyes bugging out.

Bottle of Tabasco pepper hot sauce

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Problem With Dystopian Fiction

I've read a few books or book series that involve a dystopian society. It occurred to me one day that of these books, I've pretty much been dissatisfied with every one. Sure, sometimes they can be really interesting, but at the end of the story, I'm not happy.
After thinking about this awhile, I finally came to the reasons why dystopian fiction stories so often fail to impress me. This blog post will be describing a few well-known stories, so beware of spoilers ahead.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Airport Falcons

My father was an airline mechanic for many years, and had a great many stories of things that happened at his workplace.
One such example was the bird problem at the airport. The city birds were a nuisance, and finally the workers at the airport decided to get some recorded calls of birds of prey and play it over the outside speakers, in order to scare them off.
However, what they didn't know was that some of the sounds on the recording were mating calls. Cue a lonely bird, single and looking for love. A peregrine falcon appeared at the airport, and was likely confused as to where its potential mate might be.

Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) in flight.

So now, in addition to the menacing sounds of predators, the airport had an actual raptor hanging out there. Eventually, a second one appeared at the airport, and now there was a breeding pair. And hunting pair, too. And in coastal California, it had plenty of seagulls, pigeons, and other such prey to feast on. The runways and parking lots were less safe now that two deadly creatures were patrolling the area, and helping themselves to the occasional wing or drumstick.
Unfortunately, someone later shot one of the falcons and killed it. The man who did it was fined for his action. I think Dad said the remaining falcon eventually disappeared, perhaps flying off in search of a new territory and mate.
But for a while, Dad and the others had the entertainment of watching the peregrines fly around and hunt the other birds populating the area. All because the airport inadvertently summoned some feathered pest control.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

It Is Well With My Soul

Not long ago, I wrote this.

In the song ‘It Is Well With My Soul’, there’s the verse “When sorrows like sea billows roll”. And that pretty much describes my feelings.
“Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, ‘It is well with my soul’”. But often I have trouble with that. Because I don’t feel like things are well. I feel like my soul is aching, hurting, has a big gaping wound in it that weeps and bleeds.

Then a few days later, I saw this post by Reagan Colbert.

It’s not about being well. We may be unwell in our minds, hearts, feelings, bodies, or situations. Everything around us & in us may not be well, but by God's grace we're able to say, amidst the turmoil, that it's still well with our souls.

It's like a reminder that no matter how heavy my heart may be, even when the pain, the sadness, and the grief seem overwhelming at times, not all is lost. At times I feel like I'm shattered into at least a thousand pieces, but here I am, still functioning.
Maybe my heart is wounded and bleeding. Maybe I'm going through a rough time where I don't know what I'm doing, who I am, where I'm going with my life. Maybe this is a transition period and it's hard. But I'm not utterly desolate.

And God is there, through all of it. He's there to pick up the pieces. He's there to bring me wisdom and comfort, to offer His hand when I'm at my lowest. Through Him, I can find rest and refuge and strength, if only I stop and look for it.
Family and friends are there. So many people are there. At times, I find the thing I want or need when I'm not even looking for it. Even when things are hard, there's that ray of light, that way out of the darkness. And God finds a way of pulling me out from the misery.

So as I write this tonight, I'd like to take a moment to thank God for all that He's done for me, the people and the things He's brought to me. And I pray that I don't forget it, don't get sidetracked from it. When things are hard, sometimes all you look at is that pain. But Psalm 121 says, "I lift my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of the heavens and the earth." I just pray I can remember that, and focus on that, and not be lost within the depths of my pain and sorrow.
It's a reminder to anyone, really. No matter how bad things get, no matter how hard it might seem, there's always hope, there's always someone there. Healing takes time. Change takes time. But even though it feels a million miles away, sometimes you just need to have faith, just cling to the promise of tomorrow and the grace of God. Because in the darkest hour, He will never leave or forsake you. Not now, not for all eternity. And that should be our source of comfort, to know that we don't walk alone, that God provides. All we need is faith the size of a mustard seed, and mountains will move.