Saturday, September 05, 2009

Found Objects: Family

Well, this bead is not my family. Actually we were only recently acquainted. This navy blue and plastic bead was found on the shelf one night at Trader Joe's. Nestled snugly between the iced tea and the pomegranate green tea I spotted it and rooted it out. When I looked closely, I saw it was a bead to a necklace or a big bracelet. Whatever it originally belonged it, it was now another found object to post on the blog. Since it immediately reminded me of my jewelry making wife, I thought the timing was perfect with her birthday right around the corner to post something a bit more profound than a found piece of a necklace.

I don't often wear jewelry that that has beads on it like this. No, my jewelery is typically confined to an occasional necklace, my glasses, and my wedding ring. But speaking of my wedding ring, I already mentioned that this plastic trinket reminded me of my crafty wife. She is a diligent artist always working on sketches, jewelry, illustrations or invitations. So, on the occasion of her birthday, I thought I might use this specific Found Object as a tribute to my lovely wife, Heather.

We met at the Bible study I was leading at church. When people ask what we first thought when we saw each other I laugh and say "I can't marry her-she's taller than me!" Why did I think this? I don't really know. It wasn't a habitual pattern I had of rating women as to their marriageability on first sight. But there it is...

Anyway, as soon as we started dating I knew something about this lady was different and I had to scoop this little treasure right up - before she realized what a kook I was!

She inspires me to be imaginative and creative- two things I struggle with.

Speaking of creativity-I love her surprise notes! She always tries so hard to make me feel special. For which I'm grateful.

I love being able to call her any nickname I can think of (even if it is odd) and she thinks it's cute.

She has such a great memory and I really admire that characteristic.

She makes me laugh so much. We have lots of fun together. She even laughs at the same jokes that I tell over and over and over...

I love our deep conversations. Because I value her opinion, I always feel more comfortable getting her opinion on things (big or small) because I know she thinks of things I forget about.

She keeps growing. She inspires me to keep growing. In loving God and loving people. Her strength is seen in other areas of growth...ethically, emotionally, financially, faithfulness (to me, to her jobs, to her friends), trusting, in her desire to serve others, organizationally, spiritually, creatively, blog-a-tive-ly...

I love traveling with her and exploring new locations and look forward to many years of exploring the wonderful creation God made. (With a stop at every beach along the way!)

Because I think she is such a wonderful lady, she makes me want to be a better man-in all areas of life-big and small.


I think she will make a terrific mother someday and I hope I can keep up with her mothering skills.

She is more humble than me and that makes me jealous.

Her ability to teach "creativity" is superior to any art teacher I experienced while growing up.

I love her courage and her desire to take risks.

I love being with her and miss her when I go to work. We look forward to sharing stories from our nights before we say goodnight.

I'm so thankful for her and her desire to do marriage the right way. I appreciate all her hard work towards making us a stronger family (and I am eager to add some little ones to this family).

Proverbs 18:22 says it this way, "A man who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD." I am very blessed to have married this woman.

She is my favorite friend and my best friend.

Happy Birthday, Heather!

I love YOU!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Found Objects: Advertising Postcard

Heather recently decided we had too many unsent postcards. So we decided to send out some postcards once and a while to share the love with the friends and family we left behind in Connecticut. Well, this found object came from the parking lot of Trader Joe's. This parking lot is a great place to find some intriguing objects-as you may already see from my other found objects.
I decided this postcard was too funny to keep tucked away so I sent it to my brother, Derek. He got a kick out of it-even if he wasn't quite sure whether I was serious or joking about us taking belly dancing lessons together. I assured him I wasn't too interested in lessons, but if he ever did want to take belly dancing lessons-now we know where to go!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Found Objects: Cat Magnet

I found this little kitty while doing a 'cart run' at Trader Joe's. A'cart run' is just what it sounds like-running around the parking lotcollecting all the shopping carts you can find. Someone must havepurchased this furry guy in a nearby shop because when I found him hewas still in his package.

Though the colors are off, it reminded me of my childhood pet, Teddy Bear. He was our family cat for a little over 16 years when he died.When we had to put him to sleep, he was actually older than my younger brother. That is such a bizarre fact to remember,I know.

Anyway, he was a fun little pet. Not only was he fun to play with,but when I would wink at him with one eye, he would wink back with one eye. He was my little pal. Sometimes, when he thought I had slept enough, he would wake me with a paw between the eyes. In his younger days, he would run outside even though he was an inside cat. I would eventually find where he went, wait, and grab him to bring him back safely.

Since he has been gone, my cat allergies have come back tenfold. My wife has strong allergies to little kittens as well. So, I doubt any kittens are in our future. Still, during a cold evening 'cart run,' I had fun thoughts to keep me warm as I remembered my cat, Teddy Bear.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Found Objects: Wooden Block

Well, there isn't much to this little toy block. After a night of shopping, we found it outside of Trader Joe's last winter. Someone had placed it up on top of the trash can lid. At that time, with finals approaching, work being stressful, and time for school projects dwindling, being a kid again was very appealing.*

This block became a reminder to not become too stressed out with these little details. It also became a great addition to my selection of found objects!

*Speaking of wanting to be a kid again, around that same time, Heather surprised me for my birthday with a childhood-themed Birthday Adventure! Our activities included Chuck-E-Cheese for a morning of video games and the Boston Science Museum!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Found Objects: A (more personal) Biblical Perspective of Death

A month ago, the doctor's discovered that my grandfather, Dominic A. Baio, would face his fourth battle with cancer. However, unlike the first three battles, there was nothing they could do to remove it or delay its advance.

This was the closest death that I've had to face, and it certainly was a new experience. At many points, I wanted to stop everything and shout "This isn't right!" or even more dramatically, "Life isn't supposed to be like this!" Something inside of me was angered by this experience. There is an aroma to death that was extremely unpleasant. The weeping, the sobs, the whole process took me some time to figure out. But I think I have captured a large portion of my agitation about this situation.

I wasn't angry at God or at Papa or at anyone else. I was angry at death itself. Let me see if I can explain myself. The Bible tells us that God created everything and it was good. He created everything, plants, animals, planets, stars, and lastly, humans. God says he made human beings in "His Image." What this means is that we aren't God, but we are made in such a way that we reflect him. We are God's creation and we bear the fingerprints of our creator, much like clay to a potter. Whether that specifically means morally, relationally, physically, creatively, etc., in many ways we bear the resemblance of our Father, God. With humans though, there was a special caveat. God said to them, "...You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." (Genesis 2:16-17 NIV) Needless to say, they ate from the tree God said not to, and the penalty for their sin was a new element of life. An unknown phenomenon entered the world after those actions and it was called death. All creation (mankind to follow and all nature)was then subject to the curse of sin and death.

I was upset that cancer had afflicted him four times. I was upset that doctors could not stop it from killing him. But most of all, I was upset that he had to die, and to some extent that we all will have to die. Death was not part of the original intention for the world and we can see that in the Garden of Eden. It now comes to all people because of that first act of rebellion against God. It comes as an expected event to all life because of the curse of sin through the experience at the Garden of Eden. Also, death comes as a consequence to all because all sin (Romans 3:23)and all people express defiance against a righteous God. As the common Christian phrase goes, "Our enemies are Sin, Death, and the Devil." I don't deny the existence of any of them. I can attest to my own sinful rebellion towards God. History is littered with examples of sinful actions and evil. I have seen the effects of death. Now, in my family and in the lives of close friends. And I know the Devil is real because the Bible says so. In multiple places, the Devil or other evil spirits speak to Jesus or to his disciples.

But in this, I don't declare that death is evil. Just an unnatural door thrown in front of every life path. As the Bible says, the last enemy to be defeated is Death (1 Corinthians 15:26). God has a wonderful plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11) and whatever comes after death is surely in his control as well. My hope in life and in death comes from faith in Christ, the Messiah. He restores from the curse of sin and death. Because he is the only one who has conquered death, he alone offers hope for life after death. Only through the blood of Christ can we rejoice with Paul in saying:

"For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:17 NIV)

Friday, April 03, 2009

Found Objects: A Widget

I saw this little bearing contraption on campus and I knew I had to scoop it up and post about another treasured 'Found Object!' What is a widget anyway?

When I was a young lad, I would take things apart and try to get them back together. My tools were limited to a screwdriver (the flat one and the plus sign one) and pliers. When I was in fourth grade, I made a machine family out of coffee cans, lots of electrical tape, wires from things I took apart (and probably couldn't get back together) and as many screws as I could find. Inevitably, I would stab my leg or arm with the screwdriver or pinch my finger leading to frustration. But despite those painful moments, I loved to discover and figure things out.

Suffice it to say, it didn't surprise my family when I decided to go to college for Physics. Many classes were devoted to calculating velocity, work, energy, wave-functions, positions, etc. The young Modernist in me was devoted to defining and developing our understanding of the world.
My days are currently devoted to more academic pursuits where I am confined to a classroom. I don't get as much time to do hands-on work. But I still enjoy tinkering once and a while.

I think I hear our toaster making noise. Maybe it needs fixing. Where are my pliers?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Found Objects: Blessing Card

Well, with my second reading week of the semester passing, I turn the corner with finals in view. Seminary is quite a unique time in our live. Working, studying, reading and translating are just some of the many activities that are training us for the future.

With these realities as my foundation, I think about this little found Scripture card. This card (Front and back are pictured above) turned up in a book we grabbed from the Give and Take. Click on the cards and take a moment to reflect on these verses. It's good to slow down sometimes and appreciate the truths of the Bible. They are good reminders from the book of Ecclesiastes.

My preliminary conclusion:
There is a time for everything in our lives, and our current time is one that requires hard work!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Found Objects: Red Couch

This sanguine sofa somehow made its way to the dumpster last summer. It was a weekend that Heather was in Connecticut for the weekend for some commitments. Since we had found a perfectly colored red shelf for our studio earlier in the month, I thought this could be another diamond. Time is of the essence in these moments. (Even if I have to throw on some clothes, I wanted to get down there and take a closer look!)

I've become quite a collector of used treasures since Heather has opened my eyes to their character. Since arriving on campus, my eyes have been open for useful little objects or discarded objects that could prove perfect for the right couple. Well, I have a great view of the dumpster from our living room window. Since I need to take reading breaks by starring off into space (lest I slip into a coma while reading) I tend to scan this section of the parking lot carefully. The campus security has taken action against people leaving too many things here because that could blow around and cause trouble in our frequent wind storms. You will even see a printed sign taped onto the No Parking sign that says something to the effect of "No Dumping Here."

My cell phone quickly recorded this image and I sent it off to Heather in CT. Where I hoped for hidden treasures, Heather sobered me with the realizations: A) We don't need a couch, B) If we did need a couch we would get one with style, and C) 1973 called and they want their couch back!

OK, she was right. I was blinded by the free-ness of the couch and I didn't see the down sides. Besides all the bad attributes of the aforementioned couch, I didn't know many people in the building and I wouldn't have had help getting it upstairs. All these minor details aside, we didn't take advantage of this couch. Walking up to class the next morning, I passed this red velvet sofa with alternating wavy lines. I used the rest of my walk up to class to thank God for a wise wife.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Meatless March

With Spring right around the corner, Heather and I thought we would challenge ourselves to be more healthy. When she was younger Heather and her sister, Mandi, ate vegetarian for a whole year. They both enjoyed it and found it a wonderful experience. So in brainstorming ways we could challenge ourselves to be healthy we thought about going without animal meat for the month of March! Now that my birthday is past and we wont be eating out as much, we thought it a good time to focus on cooking new meals and seeing how we can eliminate animals from our diets. We don't eat meat too often anyway, so I agreed to this new lifestyle thinking it would be an easy switch. Since I work at Trader Joe's, I will be on the look out for all sorts of good food with this little leafy logo on it. I'm excited to see how it goes!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Found Objects: Evidence...

This is a follow-up on a "Found Objects" post a few months ago.

Apparently, my mom had a piece of evidence (as I will call it) that I was quite a troublemaker when it came to passing the time anywhere near a copy machine. I'm not sure why the mechanics and production of this machine would intrigue me so.
"How could this machine make an exact image of my hands?" is the thought that must have passed through my analytical mind.

It's fun to see these two posts link up. It brings a happy moment from the past and the present together. I know it says something about me. Somehow these two occurrences describe something about me, though I'm not sure what.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Found Objects: Animal Toys

Heather and I found these along a beach in Rockport one Sunday afternoon. We made the trip there one Sunday to visit a church in Gloucester and passed through Rockport because we were either lost or we stopped for lunch. I can't remember. But one thing I am sure of is that the beach we found had the largest supply of sea glass we have ever found! There was so much of it we had a hard time holding onto all of it. That was such a windy day too. The waves were pounding the beach, the wind was messing up our hair and spraying us with a mixture of sea water and sand. Boy, did we have fun!

The glass we picked up was smaller per piece than at any other beach we have visited. The treasures we found varied so much, they weren't limited to just glass pieces. We also found a guitar pick, some army men, a dolphin, a walrus and a pig.

Can you imagine these animals living together?
They are such a positive example of a cross cultural community.
We have much to learn from these little friends.

As a side thought: the piggy is one that fits into a Croc,
so if anyone is interested in taking it and add it as a Croc accessory, please let me know!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Found Objects: House for President!

I don't quite remember where Heather found this website, but I had to post this picture on a blog with a recent obsession with found objects. For a recent gallery, check out:

It is a bit of presidential fun with a spoof on the Obama stickers. They take your pictures and create the image and words in a similar color scheme.

And Heather, being the thoughtful wife that she is, emailed me this hilarious photo. She is well aware of my ongoing obsession with House.

Gregory House, M.D., is a diagnostician faced with a mysterious medical dilemma every week. His philosophy "Everybody lies" and his dry, witty comments are very funny. Every week (or so it seems) on the list of medical problems is Lupus. But every week House says his one liner that has become a bit of comic relief..."It's not Lupus!"

So with all this in mind, my write-in vote for the last presidential election was Gregory House.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Found Objects: Thank You Card

This was in a book I picked up at the Give and Take. The Give and Take is a free version of the Goodwill Store. You can bring things in for others to use and you can browse and find treasures you can give new life to. I have a few thoughts about this card, youth culture, and gift giving, but I will hold them back. Here, I choose to let this sweet and innocent Found Object speak for itself.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Found Objects: Fortune

I rescued this little fortune one day while working at Trader Joe's. It was resting on the window sill and just waiting for me as I swept up the area around the registers. It didn't surprise me that there was a fortune lying around seeing that Trader Joe's is two doors down from a Chinese food restaurant. I just had to smile when I thought that this fortune was left in a grocery store and it taught the verb 'To Eat.'

"A day is a span of time no one is wealthy enough to waste" is an appropriate fortune for me. When I'm not a busy bee, I have to force myself to relax. But when I don't force myself to relax, and there is nothing on the agenda, I often have this purposeless feeling. That feeling that seeps into my thoughts often tells me I'm productive only when I'm doing something. When i'm working, reading, blogging, etc. I do just fine, but when I slow down and don't make the choice to relax I tend to get stressed out or sad because I feel like I am wasting time.

But I know that isn't true. I'm not purposeless. (As an added note, I believe we are here, where we are and when we are for a reason.) This struggle has helped me to grow. Dealing with this issue has forced me to see what the purpose of my life is. Living with a purpose, one in which I am confident, helps me to spend down time without feeling listless. Only in living with a purpose in my off-peak seasons have I found productivity in my busier times. When I focus outside of myself, and "look up" so to speak, am I able to find lasting contentment in my 24 hours.

Wealthy or poor, we all get 24 hours in a day. It is a great equalizer. All those thoughts from a divine appointment with a fortune cookie!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Books of 2008

I love learning and I love reading. So last year, Heather and I were throwing around some ideas of New Year's Resolutions. I thought a resolution centered around reading more was right up my alley. Then I settled on pushing myself to read a book per month in 2008. It seemed like great timing, with us going off to Seminary mid-year. It was hard to balance Bible reading with other reading but overall I am glad I challenged myself. I even included all the books I had to read (in their entirety) for classes. Here are the books of 2008!

Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance, Donald Miller
Mission in the Old Testament, Walter C. Kaiser Jr.
The Neurotics Guide to God & Love, Dr. Lance Moore
A Contrarian's Guide to Knowing God: Spirituality for the Rest of Us, Larry Osborne
Revolution in World Missions, K.P. Yohannan
Man In White, Johnny Cash
No More Christian Nice Guy, Paul Coughlin
The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown
The Da Vinci Code: A Quest for Answers, Josh McDowell
The Psychiatric Study of Jesus, Albert Schweitzer
A Grief Observed, C. S. Lewis
Evangelical Truth, Revised Edition, John Stott
Explaining Inerrancy, R.C. Sproul
Evangelical Theology, Karl Barth
Foundational Issues in Christian Education, Robert W. Pazmino
Is It A Lost Cause?, Marva J. Dawn
Journey To Jesus, Robert E. Webber
A Many Colored Kingdom, Elizabeth Conde-Frazier, S. Steve Kang, Gary A. Parrett