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Logos Bible Software

The famous Greek word logos — “word, speech, a...

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OK. So this is my first post here in a LONG time. And what am I posting about? Bible software. And a gratuitous, self-serving post this is. Or could be. I might win something. But I doubt it. I live too far away. The currency I use bears The Queen’s portrait. Whether I ‘win’ or ‘lose’ is beside the point: it is just fun to share something newly discovered that others might also enjoy.

One of the things I enjoy most is study of the Bible: its theology, hermeneutics, history, culture, archaeology, etc. I have been using Bible software for a long time. When I got my iPhone this spring Bible apps were just about the first apps I had to have. Church-going just got a whole lot more exciting!

These new Bible iPhone apps got my curiosity up so I recently went to see about upgrading the PRADIS Bible software I have been using with my PC for a few (ahem!) years only to discover – shock-horror! – how long I have been languishing inside the Dark Ages of Bible Software since before my last blog post. Especially since PRADIS bit its own biblical dust last year. Nearly ALL the Bible software in today’s market has been changing and growing, adapting to the ever-shifting sands and demands of our age of technological wonders. I wanted to stay current yet flexible in my ‘academic’ pursuit. And when I switch over to a MAC from this PC I want something that is seamless.

Currently the costs for all the various options out there are also highly flexible. If you are a pastor for an American Mega-Church and are raking in a CEO’s salary there is Bible software to match the $$’s in your church’s weekly offertory plate. Except this is England. We don’t do Mega-Churches. Our average weekly church attendance might be 28, without even one child present. We scramble to meet our parish share. It is unusual for one to study all things biblical unless one is choosing a vocation as a member of the clergy. If any of our clergy are stipendiary the majority have to rake their churchyards for £12,000 per annum and get their tea and biscuits on Sunday.

Well, I took the plunge and decided that Logos Bible Software would be a great way to keep up with study. My main concern, as I do not live in the US, was that the tools it offered would be globally relevant and provide a spectrum of world views on Christianity and faith building. For example, hot-button terms like ‘evangelical’ are contextually different here in the UK compared to the United States. As I have not been able to find serious Bible software on the market here in the UK, I therefore did not want to be in a dilemma of using Bible software that was specifically concentric to the American perspective and evolvement of the Christian movement on that continent alone. I would  still have to translate from US English to British English, but that’s a daily task anyway.

So far I am in Week 2, and Logos Bible Software has not let me down, from my experience with Don Hammons, the very kind and patient salesman who had to deal with my mourning-shock when I found out I had missed the very last PRADIS upgrade and now needed a whole new kit, to the customer service. Also major props to The Tech Department at Logos Bible Software for their sensible and dummy-proof procedures for downloading this MASSIVELY AWESOME programme (sorry, had to get the Brit spelling in…would love to see more of my friends here use Logos!). They are also always there to give wonderful daily tips on how to utilise such a powerful programme. They. Build. Confidence.

In keeping with the Gospel of John being  my favourite Gospel, logos is at the top of my Word List. And did I mention Logos Bible Software is located in Bellingham, Washington? I almost moved there 30 years ago. Compared to West Texas, it seemed a gorgeously green and tempting oasis with an interesting terrain, lots of rain and close to an ocean. That I would eventually end up in England and use Logos Bible Software, well…who knew then what a winning combination that would be?

Logos Bible Software is giving away thousands of dollars of prizes to celebrate the launch of Logos Bible Software 4 Mac on October 1. Prizes include an iMac, a MacBook Pro, an iPad, an iPod Touch, and more than 100 other prizes!

They’re also having a special limited-time sale on their Mac and PC base packages and upgrades. Check it out!

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Parting is so sad…

So the other morning I woke up and when the mirror came into focus Wisdom told me about the day in front of me…

 I HAD OLD PEOPLE’S HAIR!!!

It was as if I had dreamt about Moses, having a very bad hair day himself. What did he care? He was already old. Somewhere in the wilderness of covert REM sleep I had loaned him my conductor’s baton and he was trying valiantly to part the Red Sea with it, yet with each flourishing stroke he became more irritable. Every wave that crashed and parted upon the sandy blonde sea shore froze, plastered in time. My time.

Absolutely rotten. Until a friend sent me this video. This, combined with the memory of a picture of Hector Berlioz that used to scare the living daylights out of me (scroll down to last portrait, 1868), brightened my perspective considerably!

 

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Make me a Christian

Well what can I say? Channel 4 has scheduled the following two programmes for Sunday’s God Slot tonight:

Tune in at 7PM for the newest reality show on faith and belief, Make me a Christian.

To be followed at 8PM by Celebrity wife swap.

 

Make me a Christian is showing as I type this. It was billed as a group of people from Leeds who volunteered to be in this three-part series for three weeks. It does not bode well, as several of these ‘volunteers’ appear quite hostile to the idea. It’s as if they have been dragged in by chains to participate, but hey! they get to be on TV! And it’s only the first segment. One must be reminded that TV producers — especially of Channel 4’s ilk — work to an agenda that only God can rearrange.

One of the volunteers billed as a ‘militant atheist’ describes his foray into this personal quest for spirituality as ‘Caligula meets the Christians’. 

Mysterious ways…

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For consideration…

Garden Bothy 

 

Garden Bothy

Well, I’ve been too busy to post something here for awhile. But it appears this may be my 60th posting since I started practising writing for this thing called a BLOG. My thoughts and attempts at prose are basically scattered, not earth shattering, and certainly for this post none too profound.

After a hotter than usual weekend (from our corner of the world at least) and as we walked back from church yesterday, I realised a few things. Perhaps realisation occurred because I was recently honoured by an extended good visit with a long-lost friend from the US, or because our usually sparse summer attendance at church had burgeoned due to a visit by a huge family from America who’s name bears the name of our village and they just know that at one time in history they used to own the place. As I’m the token American here, one of the church wardens excitedly introduced me to them as ‘our homely American’, not comprehending that in American English the meaning of ‘homely’ takes on a slightly different nuance in UK English.  (US = plain or unattractive; UK = warm and friendly) I tried to keep on smiling, but when we got home I snuck a quick peek in the mirror to see if aging is doing anything to alter the smiles within.

If you’re reading this and should like to share some additions, please do!

There comes a time when we…

  • appreciate who we are
  • need no premium placed upon what we do to feel valued
  • are content with where we live and what we have
  • live passions produced by intrinsic God-instilled gifts
  • enjoy time with family and friends
  • extend hospitality to travelers new on our path
  • give quietly
  • share generously before thinking of benefits in return
  • serve others graciously and humbly
  • value the sacred
  • worship God only

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Flying into December

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Whew … I haven’t looked on this blog site of mine in awhile. My ictus has been up for way too long, and it’s about time it came down. Seriously.

We went to Texas for Thanksgiving and an extended visit with my side of the family. What a fantastic time! Also got to reconnect with some precious friends. It is such an amazing confirmation of life to see how much certain members of the family can grow so much in half a year – how one’s vertical space increases while another’s horizon expands (mine) or decreases (my brother’s); and how the capacity for mental maturity spans a great scale (?). All are well and we are so blessed.

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that play out much better when experienced from within the contextual borders of where it originated. That being said, we were thrilled when snow fell in large, swirling, fluffy flakes the entire day! Absolutely glorious. At least NINE INCHES of it. In West Texas, of all places!! As if all those dearly-departed turkey birds were orchestrating a newly-composed gobbler symphony, forgiving us our culinary transgressions (that would be an event in itself, as one has yet to be composed – thankfully. One couldn’t quite call it a swan song, eh?)

Our flight took us out in November and brought us back in December, safe and sound. My musical commitments are great in December, so blog posting will not be a priority, but I’ll make an attempt as I can. Has anyone returned from a long journey and not tried to catch at least a month of tasks up into one week?

I’m just glad to be home. Shopping in M&S the other day, it was so exciting to see all the Christmas goodies out on the shelves –  chocolate Yule logs; Christmas cakes; the seasonal tins of biscuits; the copious varieties of luxury, butter-encrusted mince pies; Christmas puddings large and small; the party trays of trendy food bites.

Yes, FOOD!!

As I pass from one continent where we dined on Tex-Mex foods, buttermilk biscuits with sausage gravy, Texas chicken-fried steaks, Dairy Queen Buster burgers with cheese (and thick milk shakes), cornbread dressing, candied yams, pumpkin and pecan pies TO this island where taste buds are transformed and taken over by December’s delectable delights like all the above-mentioned sweets soon to be augmented by roasted parsnips, brussels sprouts, mulled wine…

An agonizing thought occurs to me:

A very fine line exists between savouring one’s cultural and seasonal food cravings and out-and-out sinful gluttony.

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This week’s rehearsal for the Village Children’s Choir just happened to land on Halloween.

I wasn’t quite sure what to do, as it is not as celebrated a custom here as where I grew up. All my years of teaching music in America, we music teachers were known to go over the top of the Halloween Theme Park, pulling out all kinds of spooky-fun sound effects and songs for the students to sing and move to, decorating our music rooms with black lights and cobwebs, and having cauldrons of sweets to lavish upon the students as they crossed through the portals of serious education into whatever atmospheric splendour of camp mystery we would create. From the moment the kids walked through the school doors, their senses would go on overload with all the Halloween sights, sounds, and smells of sweets or popcorn. Many of the primary-aged students bring their fancy Halloween dress to school for the parties their classes will have at the end of the school day.

One year from my piano studio at home I greeted all my private piano students coming for their lessons with the strains of Lizst’s Totentanz and Schubert’s Erlkönig, dressed as a Scottish Widow (but way uglier), serving cauldrons of cider spiked with dry ice, and baskets of home-made sweets. The neighbours came to party later. (OH! In America the cider served to kids isn’t full of alcohol…)

The Village Children’s Choir meets in the village’s primary school hall, so when I walked into the school this Wednesday with my meagre Halloween bounty (by American standards), I must admit it felt a little strange NOT to see ANY Halloween decorations. Doubts were beginning to fill my mind with the immediate thought being, ‘Not a good idea. Revert to Plan C’.

But my choir colleague and cohort-in-fun thought we should have some excitement, sooooo…

When the 33 little choir members came into rehearsal in their crisp school uniforms, we decided they needed to loosen up! We wore wacky hands for conducting and accompanying. We used a large black gauzy scarf to convey lightness of singing tone, and tried to get the kids to loosen up and ‘float’ – the British stiff upper lip almost won the day, but we prevailed! At rehearsal’s end, the kids were singing high G’s in the descant to O, come all ye faithful without screeching. As they politely chose candy out of the basket (in an orderly queue!) I was shocked when they each sincerely responded with ‘Thank you and Happy Halloween’.

In America, my students rarely thanked me, saved ‘Happy’ for birthday, and felt entitled to more than the one or two pieces of sweets I could afford to ladle out. Nor did they appreciate how I and other teachers came close to breaking our bank accounts so they could have a fun campy experience. (I had to have enough treats for close to 800 elementary students, as they all came to me for music.) One year I was so broke I decided I just could not afford the treats. As music teachers did not have ‘room mothers’ as classroom teachers did, and I had so many students I would have been baking cookies for weeks, I tried to get by with cutesy paper cut-outs and singing games. But the kids were already wired and crawling the ceiling from their PE classes prior to music, expecting more sweets, as the PE teacher had apparently only robbed her bank and not another. I wasn’t the most popular teacher on campus that year, and the principal’s smiles were increasingly lack-lustre (he never needed Halloween to resemble the Grim Reaper).

The American Halloween custom of Trick-or-Treat has just been starting to catch on here in the UK in the last couple of years. In 2002, there was not much to choose from for fancy dress costumes in the grocery stores, no bags of sweets packaged in bulk, and therefore nothing fancy or with a Halloween theme for Trick-or-Treaters to carry their loot about.

But now this American custom is being adopted and accepted more each year. In the last couple of years Sainsbury’s, Tesco, ASDA have all bought into the culture and even dedicated an aisle for children’s fancy dress, masks, freaky accessories, AND some sweets packaged in bulk.

Well, sort of … Brits don’t do bulk as comfortably or readily as Americans.

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 Deb’s Pumpkin Tartlets

Every year around Harvest Sunday I am asked by friends if it’s true that Americans make pumpkin pies. They want to know what they taste like, not quite sure if the pies are a savoury affair or sweet. Our first year in London I could not find Libby’s Solid Pack Pumpkin — I was still unfamiliar with some of the grocery stores, and my friends had never heard of Libby’s. Even worse, in November all the real pumpkins had disappeared from the grocery stores and markets because they were out of season!!

One kind green grocer in our little town square kept his eye out for some pumpkins after he witnessed my initial distress. The week before Thanksgiving he proudly presented me with two of the cutest little pumpkins I had ever seen. What a hero he was! After using just one of those to make my pumpkin pies — it yielded lots of meat — I soon realised why Libby’s Solid Pack Pumpkin-in-a-tin had become so popular back home: real pumpkins are dangerously difficult to work with!

A couple of Christmases ago, my sweet sister-in-law sent me two industrial sized tins of pumpkin. Thankfully I’ve learned Waitrose carries Libby’s, so now I stock up! And my pumpkin pies have been Anglicised into pumpkin tartlets, with a dollop of double cream.

Tonight is our Bring and Share ‘American-style’ supper and Harvest Auction at the Old School Hall. I had best be getting busy. It will be a sweet affair, thanks to Libby’s AND Waitrose!

(Will post a photo when they’re out of the oven.)

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This link will take you to an article by Patricia Mitchell found in ‘Texas Cooking’. It gives instructions for how to prepare and puree pumpkin for cooking and baking if you can’t get Libby’s. Best of all it gives the RECIPES for these five fabulous pumpkin delights:

  1. Pumpkin Bread
  2. Creamy Pumpkin Vegetable Soup
  3. Pumpkin Pecan Pie
  4. Pumpkin Marble Cheesecake
  5. Pumpkin Flan

(Check out ‘Grandma’s Cookbook’ on this website when you get a chance — yum!)

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