Sunday, May 22, 2011

Conversation on charity

Yesterday in Bible study, we came upon the topic of charity. A lively discussion ensued.

An example of a charitable cause was given; it was disputed that the cause was a charitable activity.

One person claimed that people who give nothing to charity miss the boat on an important moral obligation; another countered that we don't know everything people do with their money or what their reasons are and should not judge.

The tithe of 10% was brought up: this person believes that if we do not give 10% voluntarily, God will take it from us in unexpected ways. (And then the conversation drifted to how active God is in everyday life.)

There were some hard feelings generated during the conversation on charity; the sensitive nature of this topic took me by surprise. It's a topic I find very interesting and hope comes up again, with a caveat: that our group members can contribute to the conversation without generating any of the defensiveness I saw yesterday.

Diplomacy, please hang out with us all.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cow artwork & family memories

Fifteen years ago I had my fourteenth birthday. For my birthday, my grandmother sent me a ceramic cow. It was posed sitting on its back legs; from hind end to top of its head the cow was about 8" tall.

Included with the cow was another package. Unwrapping it, I found four wooden eggs. The eggs were painted black and white, and were sized to perfectly fit around the legs of the cow: cow eggs. I was delighted to no end. The cow and her eggs were prominently displayed in my room for many years.

A month ago, I was shopping at Pier One. I found a large mug painted in the white-with-black-spots cow pattern. It had feet, of a sort: painted pink to look like udders. I thought of my grandmother, and the happy exchange we'd had with the cow eggs. I bought the mug, and intended to talk to her about it.

The next week, my mother called. My grandmother had passed away.

I will miss her. I'm sad we won't share any new memories, cow-related or otherwise. I'm happy I have the memories I do. Farewell.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A red fox in my yard

For the past week, I have seen movement of a small-dog-sized animal. A tail, a quick movement as it ran behind the garage. Racoons are common in my neighborhood, and woodchuck (groundhog) sightings are common in my yard. The flashes of fur seemed a little too orange to be woodchuck or racoon. But what else, I thought, could it be? Surely not a fox.

Well, yes. It surely was. The fox is, right now, asleep about four feet from my living room window. Apparently that pile of leaves makes a nice fox-bed.

It was an exciting sight: I woke my husband up and made him come downstairs. The fox woke up when a bird flew by, looked around, and went right back to sleep.

And I'm not alone: the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has a bulletin from 2004 about foxes in cities. The bulletin says they eat mainly rabbits and mice (and can survive on insects and nuts if needed) and do not attack cats or dogs. Sounds like a useful animal.

Welcome to my yard, fox.