A better door waiting to be opened

A better door waiting to be opened

May 23, 2014

A Better Door Waiting To Be Opened by Leanne Lippincott-Wuerthele     “When one door closes, another door opens.” I’m sure many people recognize that quote and think it comes from the Bible. Several origin theories abound, but the most common is that Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) penned those words. Bell was a Scottish-born American inventor and educator, best known for inventing the telephone. The complete quote is, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” One internet writer explained that quote this way: “Sometimes our disappointments in life can become God’s appointments, so don’t let closed doors bother you. The things we think of as failures and problems can often end up being blessings in disguise.” Another wrote, “For those who believe in God, the belief that for every door that closes we see another door open goes way beyond simple optimism. Optimism is great, but it provides no basis, other than hard work and chance, that the other door would ever open. “By faith, though, we know that God is ultimately in control and has a multitude of doors waiting for us. We look to Him for guidance and direction, and we know that all things work together for good for those that love God—things happen for a reason. So, if you’ve had a door close on you recently, be of good cheer, for God has a better door just waiting to be opened for you.” This issue of the Sabbath Recorder marks a closing of a door for me; one I close by choice. I can’t believe I’ve been penning Reflections for more than 13 years. That’s over 150 columns since March of 2001. Even after I retired as the SR’s Assistant Editor in 2008, I kept writing this page. I don’t like change. However, since Rev. Kev is stepping down as Editor Extraordinaire, I’ve decided this is my last Reflections. Kevin has always made me “look good” as a writer, and I simply don’t want to pass on that daunting challenge to anyone else. Also, God recently...

Winning at losing

Winning at losing

Apr 23, 2014

Winning at Losing by Leanne Lippincott-Wuerthele   In Psalm 139:14, King David wrote, “I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (NIV). Commenting on this verse, S. Michael Houdman [founder, president, and CEO of Got Questions Ministries] wrote, “The context of this verse is the incredible nature of our physical bodies. The human body is the most complex and unique organism in the world, and that complexity and uniqueness speaks volumes about the mind of its Creator.” The human head contains the human brain, which is the most important part of our physical bodies. Like many older people, I tend to misplace or totally lose things. I am, after all, an imperfect Child of God. However, I’ve been “accidentally abandoning” things, hither and yon, most of my life. One of my earliest memories is of my mother towering over me and saying—with more than a hint of frustration in her voice—“Leanne, it’s a good thing your head’s attached.” When you’re a kid, that statement can be very confusing, especially if you take your parents’ proclamations literally.     Isn’t everyone’s head attached? I thought. Are there thousands of headless people wandering around, bumping into other people? How do people lose their heads in the first place? And, if they’re truly headless, how in the world can they find anything, including their heads?         At the time, those puzzling questions were way over my head. Fortunately, I usually end up recovering mostof my lost items, either through my own efforts or those of others. When I play euchre with a circle of friends twice a month, I inevitably leave something at the host home. (In the winter, it’s usually a sweater or a pair of gloves.) Everyone, rightly so, assumes those wayward items belong to me, so I eventually get them back. But that doesn’t always happen. Several years ago, I wore a favorite suit jacket to a healthcare center in Edgerton, Wis., while singing with a group from the Milton SDB Church. Just before starting our musical program, I removed my jacket. When we headed back to the church, I inadvertently left that...

Not your regular milkman

Not your regular milkman

Mar 21, 2014

Not Your Regular Milkman by Leanne Lippincott-Wuerthele   Throughout human history, Good and Evil have been engaged in a battle for souls. In Romans 7:19, the Apostle Paul said, “For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” In verse 21 he laments, “So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.” Whether we like it or not, all of us are purveyors of darkness as well as light. Our personas are made up of vinegar as well as honey. Polluted sludge, as well as crystal-clear mountain water, flows figuratively through our veins. We’re schizophrenic creatures, with kind words and vicious gossip spewing from the same mouth. As Christians, we realize we’re imperfect beings. However, we also know Christ has taken our imperfections to the cross, and we become new creatures in Him. We have the gift of salvation and eternal life, in spite of ourselves. Several weeks ago, while researching an article about the milk breaks I had in kindergarten in the 1950s, the name of a notorious Chicago gangster popped up. Alphonse Gabriel “Al” Capone, a.k.a. “Scarface,” was born in Brooklyn in 1899 to hardworking Italian immigrants. As one of nine children, he started out as a relatively “good” kid, well behaved and sociable. After Al was expelled from a Catholic school at age 14, he worked at a variety of jobs for about six years before becoming involved with gang activity. Author Laurence Bergreen, in his book Capone: The Man and the Era wrote, “You didn’t hear stories about Al Capone practicing with guns; you heard that he went home each night to his mother. Al was something of a nonentity, affable, soft of speech and even mediocre in everything but dancing.” As his gangster career expanded, Capone headed a number of illegal activities in Chicago from the early 1920s to 1931. These activities included prostitution, gambling, and supplying bootleg liquor during Prohibition. (Ironically, his brother James later changed his name to Richard Hart and became a Prohibition agent in Homer, Neb.) Although Capone was...

A Seasonal Flare-Up

A Seasonal Flare-Up by Leanne Lippincott   I know God made the seasons, and man divided them into months. Still, I hate the month of March; at least, in Wisconsin. The word “March” comes from the Roman word, “Martius.” March was originally the first month of the Roman calendar and was named after Mars, the god of war. After changing to the Gregorian calendar in 1752, March became the third month. The Anglo-Saxons called March “Hlyd Monath,” or “Stormy Month.” They also called it “Hraed Monath,” which means “Rugged Month.” Apparently, I’m not the only one who views March in a negative light. Thalassa Cruso (1909-1997, known as “the Julia Child of Horticulture”) wrote, “March is a month of considerable frustration—it is so near spring, and yet across a great deal of the country, the weather is still so violent and changeable that outdoor activity in our yards seems light years away.” Right on, Thalassa! The late poet, Ogden Nash, observed, “Indoors or out, no one relaxes in March, that month of wind and taxes. The wind will presently disappear, the taxes last us all the year.” Charles Dickens wrote, “It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” From the above descriptions, I’ve concluded March is a “he,” not a “she.” Windiness, warring, ruggedness, roaring, and violence seem—at least to me—male characteristics. The late American animator Walt Kelly was best known for the comic strip “Pogo.” He once asked, “What’s good about March? Well, for one thing, it keeps February and April apart.” Some people are a little kinder when it comes to March. Hal Borland (1900-1978), an American author and journalist, wrote a rather sweet description of the month: “March is a tomboy with tousled hair, a mischievous smile, mud on her shoes and a laugh in her voice.” (Oops. Now March is a female?) American author and poet, Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885), also saw the positive side of March: “Ah, March! We know thou art kind-hearted, spite of ugly looks and threats, and, out of sight, art nursing April’s violets!” Susan...

“Gesundheit!” part 2

“Gesundheit!” part 2

Jan 22, 2014

“Gesundheit!” part 2 by Leanne Lippincott-Wuerthele        Last month, I wrote about how we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” by God. Even something as outwardly simple as a sneeze involves many complex actions and several parts of the human body. Although I stated that a sneeze can leave our body at 100 mph, I recently learned that a sneeze can actually travel 300 miles an hour or faster. The 40,000 infectious droplets from a sneeze can have “a spray radius” of about five feet.  Even though much of this spray comes out of our nose, we tend to sneeze with our mouth at least partially open. Thus, a considerable amount of these droplets are also emitted from our mouths. As mentioned earlier, the Greek word for sneeze is “pneuma,” which means “soul” or “spirit.” Many people automatically say, “Bless you” or “Gesundheit” when someone sneezes. However, no one says anything similar when people cough, blow their nose, or burp. Why do sneezes get special treatment, and what do those phrases actually mean? Here is some additional information not mentioned last month: Many historians believe the practice of blessing a sneeze dates back to 77 AD. However, Pope Gregory I—also known as “Saint Gregory the Great”—is often cited for transforming that custom into an actual blessing. Gregory, the first monk to become Pope, was born in Rome in 540 and became Pope in 590 after a year of floods and plague. [His predecessor, Pope Pelagius II, died of the plague.] As the bubonic plague closed in on Rome, people thought sneezing was an early symptom. Pope Gregory called for litanies, processions, and unceasing prayer, asking for God’s help and intercession against the disease. Columns of believers walked through the streets chanting, “Kyrie Eleison”—Greek for “Lord have mercy.” When a person sneezed, they were immediately blessed (“God bless you!”) in the hope the disease wouldn’t kill them. Some historians noted that “prayer apparently worked, judging by how quickly the plague of 590 AD diminished.” Other researchers point out that the Romans said, “Jupiter preserve you,” when someone sneezed. They also said, “Salve,” which meant, “Good health to you.” The Greeks would wish each other “Long life.”...

A Convulsive Explosion of Air

A Convulsive Explosion of Air by Leanne Lippincott-Wuerthele   A portion of Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For you [God] formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (ESV). I especially like The Living Bible paraphrase of these verses: “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it.” All of us have experienced “sternutation”—defined as “a sneeze, or the act of sneezing.” It seems like such a simple action, but it’s actually highly complex. In medical jargon, a sneeze is “a semi-autonomous, convulsive expulsion of air from the lungs through the nose and mouth, usually caused by foreign particles irritating the nasal mucosa.” It’s also “an explosive, spasmodic involuntary action.” The mechanics of a simple sneeze are fairly complicated. During a sneeze, the soft palate and uvula depress while the back of the tongue elevates, partially closing the passage to the mouth. This allows the air ejected from the lungs to be expelled through the nose. Because our mouths are only partially closed, a considerable amount of this air is usually also expelled from the mouth. A sneeze involves our face, throat, diaphragm, belly muscles, and chest muscles. A sneeze also involves our eyelids. Contrary to popular belief, some people can keep their eyes open when they sneeze. Also, the rhythm of our hearts may change during a sneeze, but our hearts don’t stop beating. A number of factors can prompt sneezing: Sudden exposure to bright light or cold air, nasal congestion, allergies, sudden falling temperatures, a viral infection, a full stomach, mint candy, exercise, eyebrow plucking, and sex. We’re unable to sneeze while sleeping, but we can if we’re partially awake. Sneezing is usually harmless, but it can spread disease through “infectious aerosol droplets.” One sneeze can spread 40,000 droplets. Also, traveling at 100 mph, a single sneeze can send 100,000 germs into the air. Growing up, I was taught to cover my mouth when I sneezed, using either...