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Numbering My Days

picture of Daytime page

It's still close enough to the beginning of this new year to post something with a New Year's theme – especially something as good as this! This past weekend my wife Becka and I were on a retreat to the Wilds in North Carolina. At the end of the final session our pastor, Drew Conley, read something his sister-in-law Claudia Holmes Barba had written for her most recent Monday Morning Club. Then last evening he read it again at the end of the service.

It was such a nice piece that I decided to e-mail Claudia as soon as I got home and ask her permission to post it on my blog this week. She wrote back right away and said it would be fine and sent me a copy of it to post.

Numbering My Days
by Claudia Holmes Barba

The skeleton of the new year sits on the pages of my day planner. Its skinny bones are the standard reminders of birthdays, anniversaries, appointments, and deadlines that I've already jotted in. I'll fatten that skeleton with the minutiae of life as days go by.

I can be certain of one thing about all my plans for this year: none of them are certain. I may scribble them in today only to scribble them out tomorrow. I'll often have to alter my agenda and rearrange my precious schedule – sweetly, I hope – to accommodate others. Surprises both blissful and dreadful will arrive. I may be with the Lord in glory (Glory!) by spring or celebrate my autumn birthday (Happy!) with Him. I will not make any big noises about any tomorrows, since I can't even know what today will bring.

There's another certainty about this year: I am going to give account for every moment of it. Even a quick flip through last year's planner makes me miserably aware that too many of its days and labors did not count for eternity. I admit to my sorrow that I toted water past thirsty souls and hoarded bread from hungry hearts. Though I wore the label "full-time ministry" all year, I am dismayed at how little I accomplished that will endure, as I squandered the wealth of many hours I could have invested. This year, I intend to walk more circumspectly, redeeming the time, reminding myself every day of "how short my time is" (Psalm 89:47).

So I've decided on a January project: to record on each day of next year's calendar the number of days I've lived. Today, I've calculated, is about Day 20,894 of my life. (That's pretty old.) It would be more motivating to record how many days I have left, but only the Lord knows that number. This I do know: there is a God-determined limit to my days, and since I've already used up way more than half of them, I can't afford to fritter away even one more. By His grace, this year I will actively seek out the thirsty and hungry and ripen ordinary contacts into redeeming relationships. I will treat each trip as a mission trip. I will be more concerned with keeping divine appointments than with keeping to my schedule. I won't allow either the routine or the urgent to thwart the essential and eternal.

Maybe you'd like to join me by calculating and recording your days, too. Reading those big numbers on our calendars every day may be the sort of numbering of days that brings wisdom (Psalm 90:12). I hope so, because looking ahead at the new year, I can tell we're going to need it.


If you enjoyed this and would like to sign up to receive Claudia's e-mails, you can contact her through a link on the site she and her husband Dave have for their ministry - Press On! Ministries

Thank you, Claudia, for allowing me to share what was a blessing to me with my readers! I've noted in the picture at the beginning of this post that today is about Day 20,925 for me. That is a sobering thought!

This week we will be back in classes again for second semester! Exciting times ahead, and lots of work for all parties concerned (and not so much for all parties unconcerned - of which we hope there are not many!) :-)


"When we are in Christ, how we work and why we work changes." - Dr. Drew Conley

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When fabric softener was invented, did it make people ex-static?

Atlanta! Tut Tut!

It must be Christmas vacation because we took a day-trip to Atlanta! Last year it was to visit the Georgia Aquarium - here's a link to that post - http://blog.ivman.com/the-atlanta-aquarium This year it was to visit the King Tut exhibition.

picture of King Tut banner

The exhibition was quite interesting and held some amazing artifacts. I plan to do another blog post about it next week. Today I'm just going to post one of my favorite reads about the city of Atlanta.

Guide to ATLANTA, GEORGIA (pronunciation is: lan-uh, JAW-jah)

picture of Atlanta

This is for anyone who lives in Atlanta, who has ever lived in Atlanta, has ever visited Atlanta, ever plans to visit Atlanta, knows anyone who already lives in Atlanta or knows anyone who has ever heard of Atlanta, Georgia.

Atlanta is composed mostly of one way streets. The only way to get out of downtown Atlanta is to turn around and start over when you reach Greenville, South Carolina.

All directions start with, "Go down Peachtree ... " and include the phrase, "When you see the Waffle House...." except in Cobb County where all directions begin with, "Go to the Big Chicken."

Peachtree Street has no beginning and no end and is not to be confused with Peachtree Circle, Peachtree Place, Peachtree Lane, Peachtree Road, Peachtree Parkway, Peachtree Run, Peachtree Trace, Peachtree Avenue, Peachtree Commons, Peachtree Hills, Peachtree Battle, Peachtree Corners, Old Peachtree, West Peachtree, Peachtree-Dunwoody, Peachtree-Chamblee, or Peachtree Industrial Boulevard.

Atlantans know only their way to work and their way home. If you ask anyone for directions, they will always send you down Peachtree.

Atlantans do not believe in turn signals. You will never see a native signal at a stop light, to change lanes, or to merge. Never.

Atlanta is the home of Coca-Cola. That's all they drink there, so don't ask for any other soft drink ... unless it's made by Coca Cola. And even then, it's all still "Coke."

Gate One at the Airport is 32 miles away from the Main Concourse, so wear sneakers and pack a lunch. The doors on the trains in the airport do not reopen like an elevator if you stick your hand out. And they hurt.

It's impossible to go around a block and wind up on the street you started on.

The Chamber of Commerce calls it a "scenic drive" and has posted signs to that effect so that out-of-towners don't feel lost ... they're just on a "scenic drive."

The 8 a.m. rush hour is from 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. The 5:00 p.m. rush hour is from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday's rush hour starts Thursday morning and lasts through 2:00 a.m. Saturday.

Reversible lanes are not understood by anybody, especially those who live in Atlanta. Stay out of these lanes unless you are looking for a head-on collision.

Outside of the perimeter, "Sir" and "Ma'am" are used by the person speaking to you if there's a remote possibility that you're at least 30 minutes older than they are. In the suburbs, "Sugar" is a more common form of address than "Miss." So is "Sweetpea." "Honey" is always used by Waffle House waitresses.

Ponce de Leon Avenue can only be pronounced by a native, so do not attempt the Spanish pronunciation. People will simply tilt their heads to the right and stare at you. (The Atlanta pronunciation is "pahnss duh LEE-on.")

The falling of one rain drop causes all drivers immediately to forget all traffic rules; so will daylight savings time, a girl applying eye shadow in the next car, or a flat tire three lanes over.

If a single snowflake falls the city is paralyzed for three days and it's on all the channels as a news flash every 15 minutes for a week. If there is a remote chance of snow, all the grocery stores will be sold out of not only milk, bread, and eggs (like all other true Southerners, Atlantans must sit around the house eating French toast during threats of snow), but also bottled water and toilet paper. And if it does snow, people will be on the corner selling "I survived the blizzard of 2 - - -" T-shirts.

If you're standing on a corner and a MARTA bus stops, you're expected to get on and go somewhere.

It is always Smog Alert Day.

Construction on Peachtree Street is a way of life, and a permanent form of entertainment, especially when a water line is tapped and Atlanta's version of Old Faithful erupts.

Construction crews aren't doing their job properly unless they close down all lanes except one during rush hour.

Never buy a ladder or mattress in Atlanta. Just go to one of the interstates, and you will soon find one in the middle of the road.

Atlanta's traffic is the friendliest around. The commuters spend hours mingling with each other twice a day. In fact, Atlanta's traffic is rated number one in the country. You will often see people parked beside the road and engaged in lively discussions.

Atlantans are very proud of our race track, known as Road Atlanta. It winds throughout the city on the Interstates, hence its name. Actually, I-285, the loop that encircles Atlanta and has a posted speed limit of 55 mph (but you have to maintain 80 mph just to keep from getting run over), is known to truckers as "The Watermelon 500."

Don't believe the directional markers on highways. I-285 is marked "East" and "West" but you may be going "North" or "South". The locals identify the direction by referring to the "Inner Loop" and the "Outer Loop". If you travel on Hwy 92 North, you will actually be going southeast.

Georgia 400 is the southern equivalent of the German Autobahn. You will rarely see a semi-truck on GA-400, because even the truck drivers are intimidated by the oversized-SUV-wielding housewives racing home after a grueling day at the salon or the tennis match to meet their children at the school bus coming home from their college prep preschools.

The pollen count is off the national scale for unhealthy, which starts at 120. Atlanta is usually in the 2,000 to 4,000 range. All roads, vehicles, houses, etc. are yellow from March 28th to July 15th. If you have any allergies, you will die there.


Before ending this post, I want to share a picture I took in the souvenir shop at the end of our tour of the King Tut exhibit. The souvenirs ranged from cheesy little cheap trinkets to expensive items, all based on things we'd seen in the exhibit. One of the items that caught my eye was this:

picture of King Tut tissue box cover

It's a lovely tissue box cover!

Becka's blog is one week old, and my wife has already had almost 300 unique visitors. If you haven't stopped by to check it out yet, I hope you will soon.

Have a great weekend!


"You have to prize respectability less and rescue more because that's what the Lord Jesus is all about." - Dr. Drew Conley

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You can say what you want about the South, but you don't seem to hear of anyone retiring and moving to the North!

What Doctors Think of the Bailout Plan

picture of doctor withstethoscope

As I try to look ahead to some of the potentially interesting issues in this new year, the unfolding of the economic bailout promises to appear frequently in the news. For someone who is "economically challenged" like me (read: not terribly savvy when it comes to most things economics related), it's all a bit confusing. There are all kinds of so-called experts whose opinions are extremely divergent concerning the bailout plan.

I read something interesting recently that I thought would make a good blog post, with a bit of tweaking. It's how America's doctors view Washington D.C.'s Bailout Plan.

Doctors' Opinions of Financial Bailout Plan

The allergists voted to scratch it, and the dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves. The physiotherapists thought we're all being manipulated. The orthopedists issued a joint resolution.

The gastroenterologists had a gut feeling that it was not something they could stomach. The neurologists thought the administration had a lot of nerve, and the obstetricians felt they were all laboring under a misconception.

The ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted; the audiologists wouldn't hear of it; the pathologists said, "Over my dead body!" while the pediatricians advised, "Oh, grow up!"

The psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness; the radiologists could see right through it; and the surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing. The microsurgeons were thinking along the same vein.

The internists thought it was a bitter pill to swallow; and the plastic surgeons said, "This puts a whole new face on the matter." The podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the urologists felt the scheme wouldn't hold water.

The anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas; and the cardiologists didn't have the heart to say much of anything.

In the end, the proctologists, concerned that we're already in arrears, wanted a probing analysis.


Even though what you've just read is a tangle of puns, I'm sure that doctors and nurses may actually have some strong opinions about the most recent attempts of the government to take over various sectors of our nation's economy. Nationalized health care seems to be looming on a horizon that seems less distant than in previous years. Time will tell. What are your thoughts?


"The zenith of God's sovereignty is that man, acting in his own self-interest, still accomplishes God's plan." - Dr. Chris Barney

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An apple a day keeps the doctor from having to remind us that he has not made a house call since 1966.

Signs for the New Year

picture of New Years hat

The beginning of a new year is such a curious mix of hopes and expectations. You say, hear, or read "Happy New Year!" more often than anyone could count, and the hope is certainly there that the new year will bring happiness.

This new year is no exception. Some have high hopes, while others are guardedly optimistic, at best. There are a number of signs that things will look very different at the end of this year. Even the new president whose campaign mantra was "hope and change" has said often recently that the economic picture is very grave, and could be for a long time to come. Time will tell. May whatever unfolds during this new year draw us closer to the One who offers real hope and change.

Even though there are signs of difficult days ahead, I have another kind of sign to share as today's instant vacation. Here's a baker's dozen of them that have accumulated in that folder on my computer.

I think this one was meant to be about the environment....

picture of funny sign

I guess all you'd have left would be your appendages....

picture of funny sign

This looks rather ominous....

picture of funny sign

I've never seen a notebook explained in this way....

picture of funny sign

I wonder what this sign is meant to communicate....

picture of funny sign

I'm told that this is from an Italian filling station....

picture of funny sign

I wonder where one can find the pegulations mentioned below....

picture of funny sign

I'm not sure how quickly these "sale" items will clear....

picture of funny sign

This French teacher is wondering what "relooking" is exactly....

picture of funny sign

Hope your [sic] not looking for Candid Camera here....

picture of funny sign

I wonder what spelling bee champ Micheal (Michael?) thought of these congratuladons....

picture of funny sign

I've had some woefully tasteless coffee myself....

picture of funny sign

Maybe they're putting on the dog instead....

picture of funny sign

When our grandson Drew was here this week, we saw a number of signs that he enjoyed his baths - like tidal waves in our bathroom!

picture of our grandson

Becka's blog

Well, for those of you who have been hoping that my wife would start her own blog, it has happened! Her not-so-young geek worked on it quite a while yesterday to get everything in place. You can check it out at http://beckasblog.ivman.com I've put a link in my sidebar also. Her blog comes complete with an RSS feed and a posts-by-e-mail option. She's got lots of ideas and plenty of new fodder, as you will seen in today's post.


"We must beg God for humble hearts so that we may receive His wisdom." - Dr. Chris Barney

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Wishing you all a very Happy New Year 2009!

A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.

New Year’s Resolutions You Can Keep

picture of treadmill

I thought I'd post some ideas to help you to get a jump on those New Year's resolutions for 2009 or at least make you happier that you don't make any anyway.

Are you sick and tired of making resolutions year after year, resolutions that you never keep? Like this person's resolutions for the past 4 years....

2005: I will work out every day.
2006: I will work out 5 days a week.
2007: I will work out 3 days a week.
2008: I will try to drive past a gym at least once a week.

Why not promise to do something you can actually accomplish? Here are some resolutions that you might be able to keep.

New Year's resolutions you can keep

Gain weight. At least 30 pounds.

Don't exercise. Waste your time in some other way.

Read less. Reading makes you think.

Watch more TV. You don't want to miss the one good thing that comes along.

Procrastinate more. Starting tomorrow.

Spend more time at work, surfing with the T1.

Take a vacation to someplace important, like to see the world's largest ball of twine.

Don't jump off a cliff just because everyone else did.

Don't have octuplets.

Get in a whole NEW rut!

Don't buy an '83 Eldorado with a really loud stereo system, tinted windows, and fur on the dashboard.

Speak in a monotone voice and use only monosyllabic words.

Wear only jeans that are 2 sizes too small, and use a chain or rope for a belt.

Don't eat cloned meat.

Create loose ends.

Get more toys.

Get further in debt.

Don't believe politicians.

Don't drive a motorized vehicle across thin ice.

Don't swim with piranhas or sharks.

Associate with even worse business clients.

Spread out priorities beyond the ability to keep track of them.

Wait for opportunity to knock.

Focus on the faults of others.

Mope about your own faults.

Never make New Year's resolutions again.


You'll have to check out the "facelift" I've given the blog.


"If no one is able to govern himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?" - Ronald Reagan

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Just because I have a short attention span doesn't mean