Your Whole Heart

Tear doubt from your heart, and do not allow it to hinder you from praying. You ask, "How can I beg anything from God, I who have sinned so much?" Never think like this. Instead, turn to God with your whole heart. Pray without wavering, and you will come to know his great mercy. He will never desert you, but will fulfill your heart's request, for he is not like men, who harbor grudges. No, he does not remember evil. He has compassion on all whom he has made.


New Link

A little link promotion is in order ...

To the left you'll find a new link for the Almere Mennonite Church. If you click on the "interviews met leden" (interviews with members) link at the top of the page, you should be able to find my photo/interview -- plus the photos/interviews of lots of other folks at the church.

I also encourage you to check out the link for Shok's Photos -- he's got a new and improved site going for 2004, with some really great stuff, including his own artwork! Very impressive!

There's also something new in Jackie's Photos, FYI.
60 hours without TV

So, it's been about 60 hours since I unplugged my tube and shoved it in the corner.

I must say, I'm feeling fine. I rather like my new ritual of reading myself to sleep. It's much more restful than (nearly) falling asleep in front of the TV.

2 1/2 days down, 51 1/2 days to go.

I wonder if I'll celebrate Easter by watching television all day? I hope not! But who knows how I'll feel by then ...
Differences of Opinion

Da-da-da! Da-da-da-da-da-daaaaa!

Sound the Trumpets!
This is a call for reader participation!!

Da-da-da! Da-da-da-da-da-daaaaa!

I recently had a conversation with some of my Dutch friends about conflict, differences of opinion, and the like. The question on the table was: How do Americans respond to conflict and express differences of opinion? And how is this different from the way Dutch folks respond to conflict and express differences of opinion?

Please, comment on how YOU think Americans respond to conflict.
Later in the weekend, I'll post on the Dutch side of things.

(I really need your help here. I've been living in the Netherlands so long, I don't really remember how Americans 'do' conflict! Please, re-educate me!)


Jackie Unplugged

One more week until Ash Wednesday. One more week until Lent begins.

I have decided to do something brash this year. I am going to really, actually, whole-heartedly give something up for Lent. In years past, I have half-heartedly given something up for Lent, in full awareness that I probably wouldn't make it for the entire 40 days. And when I gave in, I didn't feel in the least guilty. (I have not yet decided if this is a good thing or a bad thing.) But this time, I am so excited about what I am giving up for Lent that I am starting today -- a week early.

I am giving up television.

Not films, mind you -- a good film during the weekend is one of my favorite unwinding activities. But I'm giving up TV. No more eating dinner while watching Dharma and Greg, no more late-night TV after one of my evening meetings comes to a close. I'm simply not going to turn that machine on. (This morning I unplugged it, removed it from its shelf, shoved it in a corner, and covered it with a pretty piece of fabric. Maybe I'll buy it a plant so it won't get lonely.)

I am doing this not because I believe that television is evil. My intention is not to cause the rest of you TV-watchers to feel guilty about your practice of TV-watching; nor is my intention to give my TV away for good. Rather, I am doing this for a limited time in order to consciously change my life rhythms. Television is a diversion, a form of entertainment, a way to relax. Watching television is fun, but I do not believe that it improves my quality of life. Whether or not watching television detracts from my quality of life is a question to which I do not yet have an answer ... but maybe I will by Easter.

P.S. Oh yeah -- I'm back! It's been a while! Sorry for the six weeks of silence.