Thursday, October 30, 2008

What Body Part Are You - and Why?

Are you part of the Body of Christ? Think about your place in the Body. What is your role? What are you inclined to focus on with regard to fulfilling the purposes of God?

We each have a function. The metaphor of the Church as a human body isn't particularly designed to encompass one-for-one all the possible, or even just the necessary, functions within the Church, or even within a church, to be matched with specific body parts. Nevertheless, this might be a good thought experiment.

Know also that if you're not part of the Body of Christ, you can't answer this question.

For myself, I have to look at the places I minister.

I'm intelligent. Does that make me a part of the brain? Not necessarily.
I'm a family man who husbands his wife and feeds his kids on the Word of God. Does that make me a mammary gland? In some ways, perhaps.
As a musician, videographer, and other various technical assistant who desires to help others commune with God in worshiping Him, could I be a mouth or voice, ear or arms to reach with? I don't know.
I pray. Does that make me a nerve to connect the Body with the mind of God?

In my office at work I have two computers, each with screensavers that have a significant number of missions photos that rotate through. One computer has photos of our most recent trip to Venezuela. The other has photos of our most recent trip to London. I enjoy seeing photos and hearing accounts of missions activities around the world. I have a list of missionaries I pray for that include Steve in Trinidad/Tobago, Paulas in Nepal, Mari Daniel in India, the McLellands mission in Uganda, Darrin in Russia, G&M, BJ&K (in sensitive places), and Sam's trips to teach discipleship in various places, just to name a few. I also keep in prayer the people who minister to the sex slaves in Southeast Asia and the Chinese evangelists who are crossing into the -stans, although I don't who they are.

I like to open up Google Earth just to find places around where people live. I love being able to see some of the photos in panoramio to see what these places look like. I wish I could be everywhere at once. It's entirely an unrealistic dream, but my heart is with the people of God wherever they may be. There's a song I know that I rarely can get through without choking up. It's called Here I Am. The refrain is this:

Here I Am, Lord,
It is I, Lord,
I have heard you calling in the night,
I will go, Lord,
If you lead me,
I will hold your people in my heart.

So, barring that I can't be everywhere at once, I'll go wherever the Lord provides and dream of the people I can't go to keeping them in my prayers. And when i go, I go to offer them hope, life and whatever they need to help add new people to the Body.

So all things considered, within the Body of Christ, I'm blood.

What Body part are you?

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fear Not

Many American Christians, when asked why they are hesitant to be involved in missions will say that they are afraid that God will send them to Africa. What about African Christians? When they are asked where they are afraid God will send them, many say Tanzania. There usually seems to be somewhere worse than where we are.

What are we afraid of?

Perhaps it's the discomfort of living within means that seem woefully impoverished although the people missionaries minister to are typically moreso. Would it be the infestations of various insects and vermin? There are cockroaches in South America that chirp you to sleep at night from the wall next to your head. There are the tiny ants that you share your food with in places in Africa. You may just get several with each bite for some additional protein.

Perhaps its the security factor where you shouldn't go out at night exposing yourself to attack by various types of mauraders. Sometimes theft or attack happens in broad daylight.

Perhaps its the exposure to diseases and parasites in the water, the people you minister to, or the animals you come in contact with such as stray dogs, flies or mosquitos.

There's the trepidation we all have towards various governments and their hatred for Christians. We fear imprisonment. We fear separation from loved ones. We fear torture and even death.

Face it, many people around the world don't like us. We could get caught with an extra Bible in China or the Middle East. We could be burned to death in a car in India with our children. We could become deathly ill in the Himalayas with no physician, medical care, or even roads for quick travel for many miles. We could be taken prisoner in the Indies and required to live in solitary confinement. We could be taken hostage by a rogue militia in the Phillipines and watch them kill our spouse. We could watch our spouse go out to make first contact with a tribe in Ecuador never to return. We could be beheaded in the Middle East or tortured to death in Turkey with multiple surgical stab wounds designed for the maximum amount of pain. We could spend hours in gruelling interrogation for our activities. We could discover that the government has an extensive dossier on us and has been tracking our movements for years for the purpose of destroying the local underground church and all who attend it and minister therein. We could sit by and watch as our villiage faces attack by a neigboring villiage - right in your front yard.

All these things have happened and it's only a small sample.

Is this what we are afraid of?

I got into a conversation recently where the fate of the United States was questioned. It was noted that once we were a moral people and now we are decidely not. We have gone through periods of relative morality and periods of relative immorality. At no time have we been completely immoral or completely moral.

As an aside, part of the most recent slide into immorality comes from the fact that our last spate of morality in about the 1940's was merely moral and not explicitly Christian. It's one thing to do the right thing becuase doing the right thing is in your best interest and another to do the right thing because you want to glorify God.

The larger picture is that history is like the vibrating of a guitar string. There is a cyclical arch to it. However, the string does not merely vibrate between its end points. It also vibrates in subdivisions. That is, it vibrates from the center point to the ends or in halves. It also vibrates in thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths, on up to the point where the segments are too small for it to physically vibrate. Each of these vibrations, being fractionally smaller than the length of the string have different pitches that comprise the harmonic overtones that characterize the timbre, or tonal quality, of the string.

History is like this vibrating string in that historical patterns happen at large intervals as well as smaller intervals such that history resonates with harmonic regularity: the flow of thought through history, the conduct of wars and international policy, the fidelity of the people of the living God, the settlement of the land, the technological advances, etc. Have we the capacity to build structures that rival the pyramids of Egypt or the Colossus of Rhodes? Sure we do. But for a long time after the pyramids were built, we didn't. Read the book of Judges and see how the Hebrews would become unfaithful, God would punish them, they would become faithful for a time, only to slip back into infidelity as a nation.

Inasmuch as men have been barbaric, and have become civilized, the civilizations of men will fall once again into barbarism.

As the conversation the other night progressed, one fellow conceded that he feared that our way of life would be over and our children would have a difficult world in which to live. I assured him that God was still sovereign and told him that he therefore had nothing to fear. This is why we need to prepare our children now.

Do you fear the future? In whom is your trust? If you trust God then no matter what happens, fear not.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008


Why is Obama campaigning against Bush? Perhaps it's because the media has been setting him up for the past eight years. Whether you agree with Obama or not, you have to admit that the bulk of the media is pretty explicit about their support for him and have been campaigning for him in their news coverage. Long gone is the pretense that the media is "unbiased". We all know that they're not.

I haven't always agreed with Bush, but he's done a pretty good job of stimulating the economy and keeping violent foreign attacks off American soil since 9-11. He's also appointed good judges. Plus, he's done this with a media that's particularly hostile toward him and slandered by politicians who have been corrupted by special interest groups and the likes of Fanny MAE and Freddy MAC. What more could you ask?

It's no secret that socialists want to change the United States from a representative republic to a socialist state. It's no secret that Muslim groups want to eventually enact sharia law in the United States. Both are threats against the Constitution of the United States.

When obama says change, he intends for people to think about George W. Bush and all the bad things they've heard about him in the media. But what has he done that's so bad? A few thousand troops have lost their lives in Iraq. That's horrible. The charge is that there never were weapons of mass destruction. We've seen the abundant evidence of them and a denial by any in the know that Saddam Housein ever had them is a patent lie. He used them and we have the graves to prove it. From people I know who have gone over there, the Iraqis are grateful for what we have done for them. It's not a perfect society over there and arguably neither Afghanistan nor Iraq have self-governed people who have chosen a government for themselves that promises true freedom. However, they have a hope that they didn't have before. We caused change over there - good change.

So what's so bad that Bush has done that needs change? An argument I hear is that the world hates us. The "world" that "hates us" is, in part, the socialist nations who want us to be a socialist state too. No wonder they hate us. They can keep on hating us. They hate us becuase they have lesser economies. Other nations that hate us are many of the Islamic states. They see hollywood and hate us for being a Christian nation. It doesn't matter that we're not a Christian nation. They percieve us to be a Christian nation and for them Hollywood is evidence of Christian depravity. What they hate is Hollywood. The fact that they hate us is their problem, not ours.

People point to the economy as a Bush problem. Our economic issues are a combination of energy issues that liberals have drug our feet over and the whole Fanny MAE / Freddy MAC fiasco, which the liberal politicians who have been corrupted by the incestuous money loop have prevented adequate oversight and common-sense policies. Bush had nothing to do with it.

People make reference to Bush's ignorance and stupidity. Just because the liberal media portrays him as such doesn't mean that he actually is ignorant. He made great grades at an Ivy League school. He has a good cabinet of advisors. He's not ignorant or uninformed. He is privvy to top secret information. We are not. There is much we argue against that he deserves the benefot of the doubt about and there are people in place to hold him accountable for the information he has at his disposal. The slander from the media and liberal politicians is unfair and blatantly sinful.

We do need change, but not from Bush per se. We need common sense regulation over our financial dealings to prevent theives from thwarting a healthy free market. We need a hard nose against the nations that supposedly hate us. You don't make friends by pandering to people. You make friends be being firm in defining your boundaries. The same holds true in foreign affairs. Most importantly, we need to change the fact that we are killing babies by the millions. Some things are just plain wrong whether other people agree. Abortion is part of an attempt, along with the likes of same-sex marriage and nihilistic divorce (as though there were another kind), to secularize the one institution given by God to depict His relationship with His people to His glory. If we need change, that's what we need to change

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Mismanagement of Our Values

Since we all speak from ignorance and I'm no different, I might as well add my vioce to the cacophony. Actually, everyone seems to be buzzing about the election right now and only talking about the economy inasmuch as it affects the outcome of the election. To be sure, I'm not a McCain fan, but he's a far cry better than Obama. I just can't figure out if Obama is more socialist or more Muslim. I could be mistaken, but the last I heard, he wants to take the oath of office on a Koran. I've always considered that one day we may see a showdown between the socialists and the Muslims in their quest for world domination. I'd just like to know which side Obama is really on.

Anyway, since everyone is bothered by the election and talk about the economy has waned slightly, I figured I would add my words of great ignorance to everyone else's. Considering that I supposedly don't even have good common sense, this should be interesting.

What is economic value? It's the value we all agree that an object has. This "object" could be a tangible item or a service that someone provides. For manufactured items, value is assessed in three categories: Material, Labor and Overhead. The value of materials is assessed from the labor required to render (produce, mine, refine, whatever) the materials themselves and the value assigned by any market on those values. Real market values are adjustments to the labor required to render the materials. False market values are artificially manipulated adjustments due to undue control over inventory and other such regulations. Overhead is a combination of real costs added such as physical plant costs (building, energy, machinery, depreciation), taxes and various support services (administrative personnel, benefits, shipping, sales commissions, advertising, etc.).

So, all value can be traced back to labor and tangible assets and both are subject to adjustment according to market forces. Labor is subject to market forces based on the demand for the labor caried out. For example, someone can work very hard digging a hole that no one wants. Who's going to pay him for it? It's a worthless hole an he has labored in vain. Someone else, without breaking a sweat, can have an idea for organizing other people to work that will produce vast amounts of wealth. The nearly 500 people wher I work result in millions of dollars a year in sales. What do we do with all that money? Well, I keep only a small fraction of it and everybody else here gets a small amount of it. None of us would be able to do anything except that someone took an initial risk on the venture and put up the millions of dollars to get us all started. Those investors deserve some of the profits commensurate with the size of their investment. We are competing with other companies making similar products and have to keep streamlined in order to win the sales. I don't have the knowledge, experience or business acumen to be very effective at guiding our efforts, but someone does. I may or may not agree with our corporate leadership's direction, but they are effective in keeping us in business. Otherwise, I have to think of some other way to provide for my family. Therefore, they deserve a healthy portion of the company's profits.

But, certain value is placed on things aside from any labor that went into them. Gold is one. There is some initial labor to mine and refine the stuff. However, there is some market for it. people want to buy it as an investment. They believe they can sell it or trade it later for something they really need for more than the initial investment. There seems to be a trend of people buying gold tomorrow for more than they bought it yesterday that is consistent enough to expect that to continue. This seems rather arbitrary to me. There is no intrinsic value in gold. There is only the value we all decide that it should have. You can't eat it and it's not practical as a building or clothing material. The only thing it's good for is mere adornment or keeping vaults from blowing away.

There's also real estate. This seems to have a more intrinsic value to it. We need a portion of earth on which to stand and on which to build shelter in which to reside. If you come to an undeveloped piece of land, certain labor must be applied to make it suitable to live on. It must be cleared to some extent and a house built on it. Once the house it built and the labor done, you may expect that no labor value can be added since it's already paid for. (I'm not getting into collateral value for the purposes of usury at this point.) However, the value is yet subject to the market. If two pieces of land are being considered by a buyer for a house where one piece of land has a house on it and the other doesn't, the buyer will consider it worthy to buy the land with the house if it's not much more thatn the land without the house since he would have to consider the additional value of developing the land and building a house there. So, land with a house on it has greater value than land without a house even though the labor has long been done and paid for to build the house.

Furthermore, houses come into disrepair if they are not maintained. Mainting a house can help maintian the value of the house or even increase its value despite the fact that the house ages. Older houses may depreciate, but many also gain character. This is a value that is a bit more arbitrary, but enough people seek the character of older homes to make it a more well-established increase in value. There is also the value of location. Houses in or near town tend to be higher in value because of their convenient proximity to various services.

Since real estate has this kind of value and because it is a necessity, it is a good investment. Home owners use their homes as investments. Money lenders use real estate as investemts by lending money to home owners against the value of the home. This is a mortgage. The return on the investment in the loan was the interest (kind of like paying rent on money) due. If something happened and the home owner couldn't pay back the loan, then the money lender would forclose and the property would belong to the money lender to recoup the money they loaned, thus guaranteeing the investment.

Investors began to see the value of buying and selling mortgages. Money lenders would set up the initial mortgage and earn the fees. Then they would sell the mortgage to an investor, who would expect to benefit from collecting the interest. This investor could also decide to resell the mortgage under the pretense that the value of the property would increase. If the home owner could be expected to repay the mortgage in a timely fashion, this doesn't mean much. However, if the homeowner was expected to default on the loan, then the property at the increased value would belong to the investor holding the mortgage ostensibly for more than they paid for the mortgage. That is, unless, the mortage was like a hot-potato where the value of the actual property was less than the mortgage was being exchanged for. In other words, whover has the mortagage last gets stuck with a loss.

A sub-prime mortgage is one where the value of the property is expected to decrease rather than increase. The home may be in poor repair and renovation is not reasonably cost-effective. Or the land may exist in a area where the neighborhood is delapidated in general, the land is decreasing in value and the only hope is for commercial development of the area. If the sub-prime loan is made to someone who cannot be expected to repay the mortgage, then you have an investment nightmare in the making. When such mortgages are mixed in with good mortgages and traded en masse, then you have an inequitable exchange. Good value is being exchanged for low value. So, an investor may end up with a pile of notes he thinks is worth something. He has invested in future value that will never happen. When the true value is revealed he thinks he has suffered a loss. He suffered the loss when he traded something of high value for something of low value. The revelation of the truth, what we might call a correction in the market, didn't cause him to lose money because no one can lose something they don't have.

We still have the same value in the system. People still work and homes still have value, but some investors who managed to sell bad mortgages for a profit wak away with free money.

It's these investors that lost money that the government has decided to "bail out". In other words, as a nation, we have decided to cover the false value of the mortgages. The government can do this a number of ways. Officials can raise taxes which means that our real work will be applied to the problem. They can print more money which means that the real value of each dollar that we have will decrease. So, while we make the same number of dollars, we are actually getting paid less in value. The government can sell bonds, which are an investment in the growth of government. Yikes! In any event, the extra money ultimately goes into the pockets of the theif investors that originally sold the bad mortgages to begin with.

Here's where it gets strange. Many of the investors doing this did so with funds wherein we have our retirement CDs and 401Ks or our companies where we may still have a pension have placed our pension money there. Oops. It seems most of those investors are us by proxy.

Folks, we've trusted others to invest our money wisely for us and we have been mismanaged; and it was legal. We have our corrupt representatives to thank. Remember this at the polls if you haven't yet voted.

By the way, this is intricately linked with the mismanagement of our moral values in this way: We often look to politics or Hollywood for culpability. However, we have only ourselves to blame. They all pander to our self-satiating desires, and have mismanaged our trust in them.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Well-Informed People

Yes, the title is sarcastic.

I don't listen to Howard Stern as a rule. I found this YouTube radio clip on Voddie Baucham's blog. When you hear the way the interviews go, think about all the interviews you see on the news or hear on the radio, or even hear at work or the public square. The people being interviewed here are clearly ignorant and they are likely not even aware of their own motives. Do the people you most respect have it all together? Do you? Feel free to even take what the "experts" say with a grain chunk block of salt.



The thing I observe is that these people all sound rather earnest and confident in what they think they know. The fact is, we are all woefully ignorant and fall far short of having the noodles to accurately make the decisions we need to make with the certainty we often make them.

My pastor, Skip Cartin, made the point in yesterday's sermon that we shouldn't trust smart people; after all, smart people created this economic mess we're in. A few breaths later he criticized anti-intellectualism in the church. Unless I misunderstood him, his point is not that intellect is unimportant or useless altogether, but that it requires true wisdom, or trust in God, to be truly fruitful in Christ.

I would argue that a certain lack of cognitive function is helpful because if any of us had a melon full of seeds, we would get the idea that we didn't need to trust God. Our cofidence would be in ourselves rather than God. Furthermore, while self-confidence in our cogitations is elusive if we have too much doubt, then we will be immobilized from using what we do know. Therefore, don't judge the people in the radio clip too harshly.

I dare say that the great leaders among us are some of the best-informed and most confident yet are only moderately intelligent and often unaware that the world is much larger than their perception of it. There are typically multiple solutions to any given temporal problem and good leaders are generally oblivious to the fact that their solution is not the only one.

As it is, be aware that the people you trust, including yourself, are rowing along with only one oar in the water, and that's okay as long they trust Christ.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Incongruities in Star Wars - Just For Fun

Star Wars is playing on Spike TV as I type. I'm sure others have asked these types of questions, but I can't help notice incongruities in the whole series

  • How is it that Vader noticed the presence of Obi Wan in A New Hope and missed the presence of Luke when he knows Luke is his son and felt his presence in The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi? He even sensed that "the force is strong in this one" in the death star battle in A New Hope.
  • Obi Wan gave Luke a light saber in A New Hope that he claimed his father wanted him to have when he got old enough. There's nothing in The Revenge of the Sith or any of the prequel episodes to give an indication that Anakin even knew about his children much less provided for their tutelage in the Jedi arts. In fact, he and Obi Wan didn't exactly part on best terms. It's kind of hard when Obi Wan dismembers Anakin and leaves him to die smoldering just next to the lava flow. Anakin's last words to him: "Hey, Obi Wan, take this light saber and give it to my son when he's old enough - Senator Paladin has forseen it. Oh, I'm sorry, I can't seem to find it, much less hand it to you right now..." I don't think so. Perhaps Vader looked Obi Wan up later after he got his new prosthetic limbs. "Hey, old master, give this to my son..." Then, the next time they meet, he tries to kill Obi Wan without so much as a, "Hey, did you ever give that old light saber to Luke like I asked you?"
  • If Vader did indeed know about Luke, why didn't he know where to look when they were searching Tattoine for the droids in A New Hope? He should have told the storm troopers, "I know where the droids are going. I feel his presence here as well as my son's. Find Obi Wan Kenobi in the desert outside of Mos Eisley and you'll find them."
  • If Vader could sense that Luke was his son in The Empire Strikes Back, why didn't he sense that Leia was his daughter in A New Hope? Why don't we hear Vader say something like, "Leia, you must learn the ways of the force. The Emporer has forseen it."
  • Why didn't C3PO remember Obi Wan or Tattoine in A New Hope? "Oh my, R2, this is where I was built!" and later, "Obi Wan, sir, it's been a long time! What are you doing here at Tattooine?" You don't hear anything like this.
  • Why didn't R2D2 remember Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back, especially when Yoda didn't tell Luke who he was? *R2 tweets excitedly when Yoda comes by.* "Familiar you look, my friend," Yoda says. Luke whines, "R2! What's gotten into you?" ...It never happens.

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Festival of Tables 2008 - Index

The following links Chronicle the 10 posts detailing the tables for Festival of Tables 2008:

Festival of Tables 2008 - Part 1: Introductory post featuring my patriotic table.
Festival of Tables 2008 - Part 2: Chocolate tables.
Festival of Tables 2008 - Part 3: Flower-only tables.
Festival of Tables 2008 - Part 4: Tables with unique themes.
Festival of Tables 2008 - Part 5: Tropical themes.
Festival of Tables 2008 - Part 6: Katie's amazing First Christmas table.
Festival of Tables 2008 - Part 7: Seasonal tables.
Festival of Tables 2008 - Part 8: Animal tables.
Festival of Tables 2008 - Part 9: Figurine tables.
Festival of Tables 2008 - Part 10: Nostalgia tables.

And a bonus photo: Some of the men who served the women waiting patiently in the hallway between the Serving Room and the Fellowship Hall to clean dishes off the tables.


Festival of Tables 2008 - Part 10

These last tables had a bit of nostalgia to them. It shows what you can do with even a few items you've been keeping around.

This table looks like your average flower table until you get closer and see some of the elements.

An old photograph, a string of pearls, an old-fashioned iron and baby booties can be seen in this detail shot of the eclectic collection that give this table a subtle charm that grows on you as memories of a life long ago come are reinvigorated.

I took this detail shot before this table was finished. You can see the weathered elements as well as the stated theme of the table: "We are created new in Christ". Look, another butterfly:

The two little flowers hinted at what was to come. Later at the event, I found the table finished and lighted. The flowers had multiplied into a tight bed and more flowers had been added to the decorative watering can. I love the final effect, elegant in all its simplicity.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Festival of Tables 2008 - Part 9

Figurines are often used in conjunction with other elements. These are two tables that use flowers, candles and figurines for a nice theme.

The figurines here are cute, but after the butterfly table I like the little butterfly added here. It's like one flew over from the other table and landed on this one.

There's an interesting contrast in the figurines on this table. It's hard to see until you get up close...

...but notice the "high society" figurines juxtaposed with the middle America figurines. I suspect that most people can see in themselves a range of character. For women, who doesn't like dressing up for a night out on the town and yet can approach others on a more down-to-earth level? I can remember my own mom dressing up for teaching school, going out with Dad or going to church. I can also remember her in old clothes working in the garden or doing construction on the house. I've seen her tear holes in walls and finish doorways and lay insulation in the attic. She would paint and teach us how to paint. She would play the piano with me sitting on her lap. She would build furniture. When she died, she was in the process of learning how to cane chairs and play the violin. She was amazing. That's what this table reminds me of.


Festival of Tables 2008 - Part 8

Tables I find rather fanciful are the ones that feature animals. This year we had three.

I love this butterfly table. The defoliated twigs loaded with butterflys were very creative.

I have no idea what the green round things were in the vase, but they only added to the ability of this table to stimulate one's imagination. It makes me want to be a Bugaloo. I also love the origami.

It looks very nice with the candles lighted:

This next table looked rather Christmassy to me, but minus any explicit Christmas elements, I decided that it must be a bird table.

Each place setting featured a different bird.

This penguin table had, in my mind, one of the most creative elements of all the tables this year:

I think they've used the fiberoptic pengin before, but I don't remember the glowy blocks. These were made from those glass blocks you can cement together into fancy walls. A hole was cut in the back of each of them and a string of white Christmas lights inserted. Note the use of the blue glasses turned upside down to serve as pedestal supports for the upper block.


Festival of Tables 2008 - Part 7

Seaonal tables always seem to have a big showing. We had at one explicitly Christmas table and two Autumn tables.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Festival of Tables 2008 - Part 6

This table deserves a post all its own. The level of detail is just exceptional. Note the location of the table next to the wall. A supplemental table was brought in and decorated with a painted background and a few items as well as gifts for the guests of the table. The theme is "The first Christmas". Figurines and models of early Jerusalem and Bethlehem set the stage for an unnoticed little birth. A small table round table was used as a second tier.

A detail of the Roman palace next to a Jewish market.

The little figurines look like they could walk right off the miniature set and dine with you. Note the oil lamp candles.

Up top is the blessed birth, completely unnoticed by the wedding party at the synagogue.

Detail of the wedding:

Detail of the birth:


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Festival of Tables 2008 - Part 5

Tropical themes are always a colorful and lush favorite.

This table is a fairly simple one, but features a unique and colorful tablecloth. Anything unique like this is always a bonus.

This exotic table had a creation theme.

That's a working water fountain under that bird.

This table got no small amount of comments. Every year one or two people do a beach or ocean theme. This was the only one this year, but this is the first time Ive seen anyone put live fish in a bowl on the table:

I love the white coral and other real biological ocean artifacts under the fish bowl:

...and it was particularly set off well by the low candles:

Very gutsy and effective.


Festival of Tables 2008 - Part 4

All tables have a theme. These were some themed tables that just didn't have any other category:

Kim, this table was one of the only two that didn't have any lights or candles, so I thought of you when I saw this note:

This was done by the daughter of a family who loves the Mets:

I don't remember seeing any lights on this table, but I loved that someone chose to honor our volunteer fire fighters:


Festival of Tables 2008 - Part 3

Flowers are a common element on many tables. Sometimes, aside from the elements that are needed for dining, an arrangement of flowers that match the design of those elements are all that is used. The following tables did just that:

This table used several pots at different levels for a nice effect:

You can get creative with what you use to hold the flowers. I have no idea where they found this jewel; a combination flower holder and candelabra:

The notable thing on this last one is that the chair coverings were hand-knitted shawls and were the gift from the hostess to the ladies at the table.