Thursday, December 17, 2009
Dear Family and Friends,
Merry Christmas 2009! This year we have been blessed so much by the Lord that we want to share what He has done with you.
In May, Scott graduated from SUNY Oswego with a BS in Computer Science. In July, we moved from Fulton, NY to Pittsburgh, PA so that Scott could attend the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary as a student in the Masters of Divinity program. We received donations from churches and individuals around the St. Lawrence Presbytery toward a seminary fund for Scott, making it possible for us to afford to live in Pittsburgh while Scott attends school. In September, Scott started classes at the seminary. He finished the fall quarter with a 4.0 GPA and is into his third week of the winter quarter. He has been working part time at Home Depot, as well as balancing his studies and family life. Please pray for him, as this balancing act can be difficult.
In August, we discovered after a year and half of praying for another child, that Andrea was pregnant. So far everything looks good and healthy. Andrea had a sonogram in November and it's a boy. This time we're pretty sure there's no mistake, we saw it pretty clearly for ourselves(We were told Abbey was going to be a boy). We are naming him Jonathan Charles, Jonathan meaning gift of God or God is gracious, and Charles meaning manly. Andrea is now 23 weeks pregnant. Jonathan is scheduled to make his debut on April 8, 2010. Please pray for the health of Jonathan and Andrea, and a safe delivery when the time comes. Andrea has been babysitting a 4 year old boy named Joshua, four days a week. Abbey and Joshua have become good friends. It's nice for her to have a playmate around. Andrea is auditing a class with Scott this quarter. In the Historical Writings class they will read and outline Joshua through 2 Chronicles.
In October, Abbey celebrated her third birthday with family and three of her new Pittsburgh friends. She is growing up so fast, both in height and knowledge. She is in the early stages of reading. She is good at sounding out each individual sound in the word, and is getting better at blending the sounds together. Just in this past week she read about 10 words. Abbey is continuing to learn the questions and answers from the First Catechism, and it's so great to hear her pick out the words she's learned during the sermon on Sunday morning. “Mommy, he said covenant like we learned in bible time!” Andrea's convinced that Abbey knows as much theology as she knew at 16. Abbey is so excited to be a big sister, and is constantly trying to touch Andrea's belly and talk to the baby. She's at an age where she can be a big help to Mommy by going to get things for her. She also loves to help mommy with cooking and cleaning.
There's so much more going on in our lives here that we could spend forever telling you about. We have found a wonderful church to attend at Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church, and we are getting to know more and more people there and in the seminary community. It's such a blessing to be surrounded by so many Christians. We miss everyone in Fulton, and we had a great time visiting with family and friends over Thanksgiving break. We will be driving out to Wyoming to visit Scott's family for Christmas. It's a 25 hour drive, so please pray for good weather and safety, and a pleasant trip there and home. May the Lord bless you this Christmas as we meditate on the miracle of the Word who became flesh, and may you have a Happy New Year filled with the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. (Psalm 34:8)
Scott, Andrea, and
Friday, November 13, 2009
"God is the most adequate and complete object of our love. All the excellencies that lie scattered in the creatures, are united in Him. He is wisdom, beauty, love, yea, the very essence of goodness. There is nothing in God can cause a loathing; the creature sooner surfeits than satisfies, but there are fresh beauties sparkling forth in God. The more we enjoy of Him, the more we are ravished with delight. There is nothing in God to deaden our affections or quench our love; no infirmity, no deformity, such as usually weaken and cool love. There is that excellence in God, which may not only invite, but command our love. If there were more angels in heaven than there are, and all those glorious seraphim had an immense flame of love burning in their breasts to eternity, yet could they not love God equivalently to that infinite perfection and transcendence of goodness which is in Him. Surely then here is enough to induce us to love God -- we cannot spend our love upon a better object."
Thomas Watson All Things For Good
Thursday, November 12, 2009
If you have labored to try to articulate the smell, perhaps this description could help it is "a combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness".
Thursday, November 5, 2009
He is still waiting for the return of his midterm exam for Spiritual Development. He didn't have a midterm for Pentateuch, but has received an A on all of his assignments for the class thus far.
Thank you to everyone who has been praying for Scott's studies at RPTS.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
Today Abbey and I went on the Monongahela Inline with some friends. It gives you a great view of the city of Pittsburgh. Here is some information from Wikipedia.
The Monongahela Incline, located near the Smithfield Street Bridge in Pittsburgh, is the oldest continuously operating funicular in the USA, and one of two surviving (the other is the nearby Duquesne Incline) from the original 17 passenger-carrying inclines built in Pittsburgh. Its lower station is across the street from the Station Square shopping complex, and is easily accessible from the light rail system at the Station Square station.
Pittsburgh's expanding industrial base in 1860 created a huge demand for labor, attracting mainly German immigrants to the region. This created a serious housing shortage as industry occupied most of the flat lands adjacent to the river, leaving only the steep, surrounding hillsides of Mt. Washington or "Coal Hill" for housing. However, travel between the "hill" and other areas was hindered by a lack of good roads or public transport.
The predominantly German immigrants who settled on Mt. Washington, remembering the Seilbahns (Cable cars) of their former country, proposed the construction of inclines along the face of Coal Hill. The result was the Monongahela Incline, which opened May 28, 1870.
It is operated by the Port Authority of Allegheny County, which operates the rest of Pittsburgh's transit system. Transfers can be made between the incline and the light rail and buses.
Abbey and I had a very enjoyable visit home the weekend of September 19th. We spent the night at Emily's house and went with Grandma and Emily to Greco's Orchard for some apple picking. They really enjoyed picking the apples and seeing the goats, horses, and cows. She also got to spend some time with her cousin Alyssa, at the park. We had dinner at Sweet Inspirations with Carol, Joan, Evie, and Emily, and spent Saturday night at Carol's house. On Sunday, it was so great to see everyone at church. Then after church we had lunch with Carol, Joan, and my mom, at Carol's house. Abbey was really sad to go. She said, "I don't want to go back to Picksburd. I want to stay here." Once we got home she adjusted fine, but she loves everyone back home so much. Looking forward to our next visit.
Monday, September 21, 2009
I read recently that every year 3,500 to 4,000 churches in this country close their doors forever.3 Let me say this as lovingly as I know how: There are many, many more that may as well close their doors because they have no light. Their lampstand has been removed.
That doesn’t mean that believers lose their salvation or that the church as an institution ceases to exist. It just means that the church or the individual no longer shines forth the light of the gospel. Their light stopped shining. They may keep on meeting, singing songs, taking offerings, preaching messages, having Bible studies. They may still be busy. They may have a lot of activity, a lot of programs for every age group. They may be flourishing as far as the world is concerned. They may be orthodox, but they no longer have the spiritual impact and influence on the community. Lives are not being transformed. Captives are not being set free. People are not being saved and experiencing the transforming presence and power of God.
Whether it’s you as an individual or as collectively as churches, if we will not repent, Jesus says, “I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Andrea for the Doherty family
Friday, September 4, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
In order to differentiate between P.I. and other ivies :
English Ivy is very prevalent, but it is not poisonous:
img found here
Virginia Creeper is also common:
img found here
But poison Ivy my friends, looks harmless but bites:
img found here
Here is a video.
Some day you'll be glad you read this!!!
One of our friends got a case of poison ivy while working at Paul Martin's house.
Here are pictures from when I went over Paul's today.
Get to know the look of poison ivy because it is everywhere !!!!!
There is even a huge bush of it in the parking lot of our church.
You'll notice how the ones in the first picture are more deeply lobed whereas the ones down below have shallower lobes and some have spotting on them.
The shape of the leaves of poison ivy can vary slightly.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
There are a lot of jobs in Pittsburgh.
Interestingly, craigslist out performs other respected sites like carreerbuilder and monster as far as responses to postings. Probably because it is easier and you don't have to fill in forms.
And since I'm writing I might as well advertise:
Part time or flexible telecommute software engineer, web designer, IT professional looking for work.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Concerning this latter, the inferior kind of beauty, the following things may be observed:
1. The cause why secondary beauty is grateful to men, is only a law of nature, which God has fixed, or an instinct he has given to mankind; and not their perception of the same thing which God is pleased to regard as the ground or rule by which he has established such a law of nature. This appears in two things.
(1.) That which God respects, as the ground of this law of nature, whereby things having a secondary beauty are made grateful to men, is their mutual agreement and proportion, in measure, form, &c. But, in many instances, persons that are gratified and affected with this beauty, do not reflect on that particular agreement and proportion, which, according to the law of nature, is the ground and rule of beauty in the case, yea, are ignorant of it. Thus, a man may be pleased with the harmony of the notes in a tune, and yet know nothing of that proportion or adjustment of the notes, which, by the law of nature, is the ground of the melody. He knows not, that the vibrations in one note regularly coincide with the vibrations in another; that the vibrations of a note coincide in time with two vibrations of its octave; and that two vibrations of a note coincide with three of its fifth, &c.—Yea, he may not know, that there are vibrations of the air in the case, or any corresponding motions in the organs of hearing, in the auditory nerve, or animal spirits.—So a man may be affected and pleased with a beautiful proportion of the features in a face, and yet not know what that proportion is, or in what measures, quantities, and distances it consists. In this, therefore, a sensation of secondary beauty, consisting in a spiritual union and agreement. What makes the latter grateful, is perceiving the union itself. It is the immediate view of that wherein the beauty fundamentally lies, that is pleasing to the virtuous mind.
(2.) God, in establishing such a law—that mutual natural agreement of different things, in form, quantity, &c. should appear beautiful or grateful to men—seems to have had regard to the resemblance there is in such a natural agreement, to that spiritual, cordial agreement, wherein original beauty consists. But it is not any reflection upon, or perception of, such a resemblance, that is the reason why such a form or state of objects appear beautiful to men: but their sensation of pleasure, on a view of this secondary beauty, is immediately owing to the law God has established, or the instinct he has given.
2. Another thing observable concerning this kind of beauty, is, that it affects the mind more (other things being equal) when taken notice of in objects which are of considerable importance, then in little trivial matters. Thus, the symmetry of the parts of a human body, or countenance, affects the mind more than the beauty of a flower. So the beauty of the solar system, more than as great and as manifold an order and uniformity in a tree. And the proportions of the parts of a church, or a palace, more than the same proportions in some little slight compositions, made to please children.
3. Not only uniformity and proportion, &c. of different things, is requisite, in order to this inferior beauty; but also some relation or connexion of the things thus agreeing one with another. As the uniformity or likeness of a number of pillars, scattered hither and thither, does not constitute beauty, or at least by no means in an equal degree, as uniformity in pillars connected in the same building, in parts that have relation one to another. So, if we see things unlike, and very disproportioned, in distant places, which have no relation to each other, this excites no such idea of deformity, as disagreement, inequality, or disproportion in things related and connected; and the nearer the relation, and the stricter the connexion, so much the greater and more disgustful is the deformity, consisting in their disagreement.
4. This secondary kind of beauty, consisting in uniformity and proportion, not only takes place in material and external things, but also in things immaterial; and is, in very many things, plain and sensible in the latter, as well as the former. And when it is so, there is no reason why it should not be grateful to them that behold it, in these as well as the other, by virtue of the same sense, or the same determination of mind, to be gratified with uniformity and proportion. If uniformity and proportion be the things that affect and appear agreeable to this sense of beauty, then why should not uniformity and proportion affect the same sense in immaterial things as well as material, if there be equal capacity of discerning it in both? and indeed more in spiritual things (cateris paribus) as these are more important than things merely external and material?
This is not only reasonable to be supposed, but is evident in fact, in numberless instances. There is a beauty of order in society, besides what consists in benevolence, or can be referred to it, which is of the secondary kind. As, when the different members of society have all their appointed office, place, and station, according to their several capacities and talents, and every one keeps his place, and continues in his proper business. In this there is a beauty, not of a different kind from the regularity of a beautiful building, or piece of skilful architecture, where the strong pillars are set in their proper place, the pilasters in a place fit for them, the square pieces of marble in the pavement, the pannels, partitions, and cornices, &c. in places proper for them. As the agreement of a variety of things in one common design,—as of the parts of a building, or complicated machine,—is one instance of that regularity which belongs to the secondary kind of beauty, so there is the same kind of beauty in what is called wisdom, consisting in the united tendency of thoughts, ideas, and particular volitions, to one general purpose: which is a distinct thing from the goodness of that general purpose, as being useful and benevolent.
There is a beauty in the virtue called justice, which consists in the agreement of different things, that have relation to one another, in nature, manner, and measure; and therefore is the very same sort of beauty with that uniformity and proportion, which is observable in those external and material things that are esteemed beautiful. There is a natural agreement and adaptedness of things that have relation one to another, and an harmonious corresponding of one thing with another. He who from his will does evil to others, should receive evil from the will of him or them whose business it is to take care of the injured, and to act in their behalf, in proportion to the evil of his doings. Things are in natural regularity and mutual agreement, in a literal sense, when he whose heart opposes the general system, should have the hearts of that system, or the heart of the ruler of the system, against him; and, in consequence, should receive evil, in proportion to the evil tendency of the opposition of his heart. So, there is an agreement in nature and measure, when he that loves has the proper returns of love; when he that from his heart promotes the good of another, has his good promoted by the other; for there is a kind of justice in becoming gratitude.
Indeed most of the duties incumbent on us, if well considered, will be found to partake of the nature of justice. There is some natural agreement of one thing to another; some adaptedness of the agent to the object; some answerableness of the act to the occasion; some equality and proportion in things of a similar nature, and of a direct relation one to another. So it is in relative duties; duties of children to parents, and of parents to children; duties of husbands and wives; duties of rulers and subjects; duties of friendship and good neighbourhood; and all duties that we owe to God, our creator, preserver, and benefactor; and all duties whatsoever, considered as required by God, and as what are to be performed with a regard to Christ.
It is this secondary kind of beauty, which Mr. Wollaston seems to have had in his eye, when he resolved all virtue into an agreement of inclinations, volitions, and actions with truth. He evidently has respect to the justice there is in virtues and duties; which consists in one being expressing such affections, and using such a conduct, towards another, as hath a natural agreement and proportion to what is in them, and what we receive from them: which is as much a natural conformity of affection and action with its ground, object, and occasion, as that which is between a true proposition and the thing spoken of in it.
But there is another and higher beauty in true virtue, and in all truly virtuous dispositions and exercises, than what consists in any uniformity or similarity of various things; viz. the union of heart to being in general, or to god, the Being of beings, which appears in those virtues; and of which those virtues, when true, are the various expressions or effects. Benevolence to being in general, or to being simply considered, is entirely a distinct thing from uniformity in the midst of variety, and is a superior kind of beauty.
It is true, that benevolence to being in general, will naturally incline to justice, or proportion in the exercises of it. He that loves being, simply considered, will naturally, other things being equal, love particular beings, in a proportion compounded of the degree of being, and the degree of virtue, or benevolence to being, which they have. And that is to love beings in proportion to their dignity. For the dignity of any being consists in those two things. Respect to being, in this proportion, is the first and most general kind of justice; which will produce all the subordinate kinds. So that, after benevolence to being in general exists, the proportion which is observed in objects may be the cause of the proportion of benevolence to those objects: but no proportion is the cause or ground of the existence of such a thing as benevolence to being. The tendency of objects to excite that degree of benevolence, which is proportionable to the degree of being, &c. is the consequence of the existence of benevolence, and not the ground of it. Even as a tendency of bodies one to another, by mutual attraction, in proportion to the quantity of matter, is the consequence of the being of such a thing as mutual attraction; and not attraction the effect of proportion.
By this it appears, that just affections and acts have a beauty in them, distinct from and superior to the uniformity and equality there is in them: for which, he that has a truly virtuous temper, relishes and delights in them. And that is the expression and manifestation there is in them of benevolence to being in general. And besides this, there is the agreement of justice to the will and command of God; and also something in the tendency and consequences of justice, agreeable to general benevolence, as the glory of God, and the general good. Which tendency also makes it beautiful to a truly virtuous mind. So that the tendency of general benevolence to produce justice, also the tendency of justice to produce effects agreeable to general benevolence, both render justice pleasing to a virtuous mind. And it is on these accounts chiefly, that justice is grateful to a virtuous taste, or a truly benevolent heart. But though it be true, that the uniformity and proportion there is in justice, is grateful to a benevolent heart, as this uniformity and proportion tends to the general good; yet that is no argument that there is no other beauty in it but its agreeing with benevolence. For so the external regularity and order of the natural world gratifies benevolence, as it is profitable, and tends to the general good; but that is no argument that there is no other sort of beauty in external uniformity and proportion, but only its suiting benevolence, by tending to the general good.
5. From all that has been observed concerning this secondary kind of beauty, it appears, that the disposition, which consists in a determination of mind to approve and be pleased with this beauty, considered simply and by itself, has nothing of the nature of true virtue, and is entirely a different thing from a truly virtuous taste. For it has been shown, that this kind of beauty is entirely diverse from the beauty of true virtue, whether it takes place in material or immaterial things; and therefore it will follow, that a taste of this kind of beauty is entirely a different thing from a taste of true virtue. Who will affirm, that a disposition to approve of the harmony of good music, or the beauty of a square, or equilateral triangle, is the same with true holiness, or a truly virtuous disposition of mind? It is a relish of uniformity and proportion that determines the mind to approve these things. And there is no need of any thing higher, or of any thing in any respect diverse, to determine the mind to approve and be pleased with equal uniformity and proportion among spiritual things which are equally discerned. It is virtuous to love true virtue, as that denotes an agreement of the heart with virtue. But it argues no virtue for the heart to be pleased with that which is entirely distinct from it.
Though it be true, that there is some analogy in it to spiritual and virtuous beauty—as far as material things can have analogy to things spiritual, of which they can have no more than a shadow—yet, as has been observed, men do not approve it because of any such analogy perceived. And not only reason but experience plainly shows, that men’s approbation of this sort of beauty does not spring from any virtuous temper, and has no connexion with virtue. For otherwise their delight in the beauty of squares, and cubes, and regular polygons, in the regularity of buildings, and the beautiful figures in a piece of embroidery, would increase in proportion to men’s virtue; and would be raised to a great height in some eminently virtuous or holy men; but would be almost wholly lost in some others that are very vicious and lewd. It is evident in fact, that a relish of these things does not depend on general benevolence, or any benevolence at all to any being whatsoever, any more than a man’s loving the taste of honey, or his being pleased with the smell of a rose. A taste of this inferior beauty in things immaterial, is one thing which has been mistaken by some moralists, for a true virtuous principle, supposed to be implanted naturally in the hearts of all mankind.
The Nature of True Virtue
Thursday, August 6, 2009
If you look at one of our earlier posts you can see the prayer request about the car inspection. We had some O2 sensor problem and other codes that came up on the computer diagnostics for our car. In PA, like in NY, you cannot pass inspection if your dash light is on, and ours never goes off.
The mechanic to whom we went reset the light and told me that when it went back on he would be able to tell which code triggered the light. Well, last time we had to get the O2 thing worked on, it was a few hundred dollars.
So he shut off the light on Friday and we drove it around until Monday. I made and appointment for the second part of the test on Tuesday and the light never went back on. We passed the inspection and do not have anything wrong with our car.
Praise the Lord, it is great to be spared that large expense.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Paul Martin, the groundskeeper, fell off a ladder and broke his pelvis and 2 ribs. He will be on worker's comp for a while. Please be in prayer for him for a quick recovery. He is moving next Monday to a new apartment, so Scott will be helping with that process. He was newly married in March, so this is quite a bit of stress on the couple. Please be in prayer for them.
Today we went to the DMV which here is called PennDOT(department of transportation) in downtown Pittsburgh. Parking is not easy in downtown Pittsburgh. The nearest parking garage wanted $11 per hour! We found a parking meter around the corner. We put in enough quarters for an hour, and then Scott had to go back and refill it while we waited to get our Pennsylvania licenses. Unfortunately, after over an hour and a half, Scott's number was called, and we discovered that we didn't have the proper documents we needed to get our licenses, so we will have to return tomorrow! Hopefully it will be a quicker process then.
Pittsburgh is a very diverse city. For example, on one side of Penn Avenue is a strip mall with an organic grocery store and a pet store that sells designer dogs. We went to Petland last week, and were asked if we wanted to hold a terridoodle( a mix between a terrier and a poodle). It was so cute, only 8 weeks old. Scott asked the clerk how much the dog was and he said $1500. We jtried not to look too alarmed!:) The price tag on the cage said $75. Then in fine print it read, per month! On the other side of Penn Avenue is a Giant Eagle grocery store with a security guard at the door, a Family Dollar store, and a liquor store where it is common to see drunk men begging for money. One block can be very different from the next. This is the case all over the city.
Today we saw a high speed chase of which we counted 13 police cars. Since we moved here, we've heard about numerous murders and gang activity, but this tends to be in the rougher neighborhoods.
Scott has applied for some part time computer science positions. Please be in prayer about his job search. The woman I am hoping to babysit for wasn't in church yesterday. She may be on vacation. Please continue to be in prayer about that. We would like for me to babysit for a Christian family that has the same views on spanking that we do.
We went to church at Providence RPC again yesterday. We are continuing to meet many nice people and are enjoying our fellowship with them. Abbey will be attending a 1 day VBS program on missions in Sudan for the children on Saturday morning. Then Carol and Joan will be arriving in the afternoon for a weekend stay.
We had a seminary student named Andrew Wallace come over for dinner on Friday evening. He's originally from Kansas and is Dr. Jerry O'Neill's second cousin. He's only been at the seminary for a quarter. Scott helped him with setting up networks in the new counseling center.
We hope to have many more people over eventually. The seminary no longer has a meal plan, so seminary bachelors are on their own for food. I think feeling sorry for them will help motivate us to invite them over!
Well, that's some of what's been going on here. Please keep us posted with everything in Fulton. Love you!
Scott, Andrea, and Abigail