The Coriolis Fountain Blew My Mind

Physics. I did well in that class in high school. I've long loved centripetal force, spinning buckets of water around without spilling a drop. Even today I discover things about the world that just make me stop and stare. The most recent example: The Coriolis Fountain at the San Francisco Exploratorium.

Here's a video:

I know, right!? I stood their and spun the thing over and over again. I read the description detailing why it does that. I gave the nob another turn and then read the placard again. I simply could not get over how crazy this thing was. The video is cool, but it was far more mind blowing to be there and make the water spin the "wrong" way. I rotated the nozzles once more before reading the description yet another time.

It seems like it'd be fairly easy to make one of these things using bendy straws.

I love this about learning, about discovering the world, about seeing the unbelievable as reality. It's so simple. All you need in a little hands-on science and it happens! There's so much to learn, to discover, to have your perspective shifted just enough to let another "impossibility" become real.

May we never lose that, and may we continue to give our children a chance to wonder at creation.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Pseudo-Dad

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See what you started? ...

Shirley_IanThanksgiving is just a week away ... and once again our conversations turn to trying to mesh a variety of schedules to create time for the expected family get-togethers. Six different jobs ... two different college schedules ... an infant grandson and aging parents and extended family ... all pieces to the giant puzzle we call the holidays.

I thoroughly enjoyed Jonelle's piece on family the other day. It reminded me that when I was homeschooling, and totally immersed in the dailiness of children and laundry and math lessons and handwriting, it was easy to believe that it would always be that way. But then my children grew up, starting having children of their own, and as Jonelle noted, ... our new, separate family units start our own patterns. We each establish things with our children that are different from how our parents did it, and different from each other.

I'm a firm believer in establishing family traditions. I think they are part of the fabric of family life that holds us together when the rest of the world works so hard to tear us apart. But, as I'm learning, those traditions need to be created while keeping in mind the needs of all the individual families involved.

So this year we are going to enjoy a small, quiet Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday evening ... with just some of our extended family. Two weeks ago we enjoyed a wonderful meal with most of our family (minus one college student). And next month we are making plans to hopefully have all of our family together the Saturday after Christmas.

Growing up is hard. I suspect it was difficult for my parents when my brother and I left home, got married, began raising our own families and setting our own traditions. But they made room in their planning for our schedules and needs, yet worked hard to keep some of our family traditions alive. We've now added another layer/generation to our family story, and are working together to establish some new traditions to share.

We were blessed to have my 90 year old aunt with us for our family meal two weeks ago. As she sat quietly watching all the activity around the dinner table (she watches a lot these days as she is unable to hear much of what is going on around her), she leaned over to my dad (her brother), and said "See what you started?" Her perspective was precious to me ... a room full of the noise of children and adults sharing a meal together, and in her mind, she was remembering where it all began.

May you enjoy your own family traditions this season ... revel in the fact that your holiday plans are unique to you ... and give thanks for what you've started!

Still on the journey ...
~Judy Wnuk

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More Sonlight Blog for You to Love

Yesterday, sometime around 2:30 office time, you may have noticed a deluge of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and/or email notifications coming from the blog. If you were wondering, yes, that was me.

I was running a test and failed to turn off publishing which resulted in the massive influx of unwanted posts. I'm sorry. The last thing you need in your life is more clutter spamming its way across your screens. As one of my coworkers quoted, "To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer." I'm so sorry for the mess.

Oops
Oops

Thankfully, the end result of my ill-performed testing was a success. I found over 100 blog posts that had disappeared and was able to restore them. Thank you, Ken, for alerting me to this issue! I had long had a nagging sense that some of my posts had gone missing, but I couldn't tell for sure; I distrust my memory far more readily than my machines.

As I manually copied the posts over, I found some of my favorites and a couple I had forgotten.

So, yeah. There's a lot of stuff to read here. I welcome you to poke around bit. Be encouraged!

And, again, thanks for bearing with me and my computer <smile>.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Pseudo-Dad

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Family

We just got back from our annual family get together, dubbed "Family Fun Week." It is a special time we take, and one I traditionally look forward to.

Except, this year I approached it with some trepidation. Last year we had some tough conversations, a bit of a rough start, and then the week ended with tears. Not at all the way you want a family visit to go.

And yet, I'm guessing we've all been there.

As we grow up, out from under our parent's wings, our new, separate family units start our own patterns. We each establish things with our children that are different from how our parents did it, and different from each other. Those without kids suddenly find themselves somewhat assaulted by the noise and chaos of 7 happy cousins running around, and maybe a baby screaming in the background. That was my baby. Poor guy hates the car seat. We are different people and, getting together, those differences can be magnified. We look forward to visiting together, but also have our friends cover it in prayer.

For us, this year was so good!

FFW14-Talking

We had a beautiful time celebrating my mom's birthday, and then many excellent conversations about walking with the Lord, as well as deep times of prayer. We made several puzzles and walked on the beach. I left feeling uplifted. Like I was glowing.

We had a similar situation a few weeks ago with another family member. Past visits had been strained and while, again, we looked forward to the visit, I wasn't sure how it would all go. It turned out to be a lovely time. Good, good conversation. Very uplifting. Times of prayer and mutual encouragement.

These visits have given me lots of hope for the future. It has encouraged me that, even when things have been strained, they don't have to stay there. That when you make time for others, it can lead to good things. There have been times with various family members where, emotionally, I want to just throw in the towel, but this reminds me why it's so good to keep going, to keep working at relationships and to push through the problems to get to something beautiful.

As we head into the holidays, I'll be praying for you as you spend extra time with family. With people who maybe make you a little bit crazy, but could add something wonderful if the Lord helps heal the things that are broken.

Hang in there friend! And may this season bring many good visits.

Until next time,
Jonelle

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Finding Happiness in Something Difficult

A self-proclaim grump and curmudgeon, I'm no expert on being happy. I resonate with the Muppet hecklers. My best friend gave me a "meh" t-shirt for Christmas last year. Like the stereotypical teenager, my response to queries about my current state is that I'm doing "fine." I shrug often.

Luke-meh
meh.

That the bleak backdrop of depressing fog, I read with interest Lori Alexander's post You're Just Not Happy Anymore in Your Marriage? Not that I'm unhappy; my wife is wonderful. Still, there is a wide continuum sprawling from actively unhappy to positively thrilled. I tend to float, like kelp dragged along the beach by waves, somewhere in the "meh" category.

Lori writes, "Being happy and joyful comes from doing what is right and what is best for others, not what feels good." The comments point out that marriage is hard work (and it can be absolutely devastating at times), but worth it.

The same is true of homeschooling.

We'd love every day to be full of "light bulb moments," of laughter, of sheer glee at all the wonderful learning going on. Alas, that's not perpetually the case. Many days can pass where you may just not feel happy; meh. Things aren't bad, but they're not unicorns and lasers either. It's hard work, this teaching thing. "Mundane" may be just right.

Lori is on to something. Do what is right. Find joy in the work you do in raising and teaching your children. Perhaps take a moment to reflect on how far they've come in these few short years. Make it a point to find joy in the little things, the daily tasks, the opportunities.

And if things go really badly today or tomorrow, just remember what Statler and Waldorf say when things go wrong, "It's either this show or indigestion." But you don't have to hope it's indigestion. Because mercies are new every morning.

How do you find happiness in the midst of difficult days?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Pseudo-Dad

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Match Ends Tonight. What Did You Learn?

One of the goals of this year's giving project was to help us catch God's heart for the Muslim world. I haven't had a chance to hear your stories, so I thought I'd share what I discovered.

1. This came at an excellent time. Not only did this project launch right when Islam became a major news story, but it is ending at a point where the majority of the country has moved on to other things. ISIS is old news.* I appreciate how this project kept bringing these people, dearly loved by our Lord, to mind.

2. The global perspective was enlightening. I know that people all over the world embrace Islam. But for whatever the reasons, I still found it surprising to travel from desert regions to snowy cities. These videos didn't exactly teach me new information, but they helped me experience reality in a way I hadn't before. The globetrotting gave me faces and places to pray for.

3. The Christians we met were so encouraging. The church leaders in Turkestan, Mika and her family, Karat, the soccer coach, and others just oozed grace. These episodes were certainly my favorites, giving a glimpse into what it's like to follow Christ in these parts of the world. I pray that your generosity will help many more people have stories to share about how their lives were transformed.

4. Everyone needs grace. I once read about how recent entertainment tends to portray characters as various shades of gray, no longer giving us an iconic good guy and a bad guy wearing a black hat. This is good because it allows us to discuss with our children how people who follow Christ can do bad things and people who reject Christ can still do good things. We can see common grace, fallen humanity, and our role as image bearers of God all wrapped up in us.

Good-vs-Bad
Good vs Bad

So, too, here. I got to meet really hospitable, loving, and kind Muslim people. But my connection to Christ, not how morally pleasant I appear, is what matters. These videos brought me back to the human condition and the beauty of grace for me as a Christ follower and those who have yet to experience it.

What lessons did your family learn? Which episodes were your favorites?

If you've already donated, thank you so much! If not, please consider giving $30 to send a missionary to connect with 150 not yet engaged Muslims. Your donation will be matched through tonight. Give here.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Pseudo-Dad

* I wrote this a week ago and will be unavailable to edit this post until Monday. Should a major issue linked to Islam have arisen since writing, please consider, again, how influential your giving is to helping bring redemption to these war-torn peoples.

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What the ORE Videos Can't Show You

There are at least two things the Off-Road Encounters videos haven't shown you. In fact, they couldn't have shown you these things, though they would have liked to. I'll mention both of these now, as I believe they are crucial to the message.

An American family on their off-road adventure to meet Muslims
Tomorrow is the last day to give and have your gift doubled to help reach Muslims with the Good News.

The first are the Frontiers-trained workers spread throughout the Muslim world. These workers have received extensive, stellar training and are dedicating their lives to sharing the love of Christ. These workers have uprooted their families and are sowing in some very hard places. Year-in and year-out they live among their neighbors and find creative, effective ways to share the real story of Jesus Christ. (But to feature these workers on videos could jeopardize both their safety and their work.)

With God's help, these workers start small fellowships of new believers and train them to take over leadership of the groups. Their goal from day one is to create self-sustaining, local fellowships that do not rely on foreign support.

The Richardsons gave us a wonderful introduction to Muslim life in Jordan, Malawi, Kazakhstan and Indonesia. We saw things through their own eyes – which, like ours, are not accustomed to life there.

But the Frontiers workers have spent years in these places, learning the language and culture in order to share Jesus well. The local believers they train already know their culture inside and out. They are truly effective ambassadors for Christ.

These are the people we support when we support Frontiers: trained foreign workers and trained local workers coming together to bring Christ's light to the nations.

It's hard to quantify the work these families do, but Frontiers estimates that each gift of $28 allows a missionary to share Jesus with 150 people. Once we double that gift through Sonlight's match, that number turns into 300 people who can finally hear the Good News!

The other thing the videos can't show you is a picture of heaven. The Apostle John paints an image for us in Revelation:

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. –Revelation 7:9

This is such good news, I can hardly bear it sometimes. God will bring some from every single people group into his family. Heaven will bustle with different languages, skin colors, and cultures ... yet we will all be perfectly united in harmony through Christ. Heaven will be the most ethnically diverse party you could ever imagine. We get to be part of that! We get to help that promise come true when we support the work to reach new people groups.

There is only one day left to join this work and have your gift matched, dollar for dollar. We are far from our goal, so every single penny you and your kids can give will count in a big way. Will you prayerfully join us?

Finally, as I asked two years ago with the Phoenix Phaxx project, who will you meet in heaven? My prayer is that we will meet some former Muslims who heard about Jesus through the work of Frontiers and the support we raised.

May it be so!

Sarita's Pic

Blessings,

Sarita Holzmann
Sarita Holzmann
President

P.S. If you want to join us, here is the link to give: https://offroadencounters.com/.

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