On Being God’s Woman

Ann's Corner

http://utmost.org/submitting-to-god’s-purpose/

This reading from Oswald Chambers brought tears to my eyes, because I am aware that I fall so short in so many ways, but I now see and understand clearly that it is the UNDERLYING thoughts that are completely erroneous. It is true that I fall short. However, any shame at my shortcomings means essentially that I am still thinking that it is ME that is doing or not doing something or that it is up to ME to do something, when it is not. It is ALL GOD doing something THROUGH this highly imperfect vessel. I KNOW this intellectually, But do I live in that REALITY?

It’s also true that in this faulty thinking, I am in all practicality doubting God’s capacity to use me perfectly. Who am I to make that judgement? “Shall not the judge of all the earth do RIGHT?” His choice. His foreknowledge. His…

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Parent-child bonding

Smiles here & Smiles there

When a child is born, everybody loves her. The mother loves her the most.

I am considering, she’s a girl. You can think of her as a boy too. But, there’s a reason why I chose the child to be a girl. The parents carry her in their arms. Shows her the world. Gives her candies and all the love. They think she is learning by seeing the world and will remember what all she sees in her childhood.

But, she seldom remembers because she was a kid after all. The parents were doing all this so that when she grows up and leaves them alone in search of a job or pursue studies or get married, the parents will remember that they did such and such things for her. They will have tears in their eyes and unending love for their child. She will be unaware of all this. She didn’t remember things when she…

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States Take Larger Role in Passenger Rail

A federal law enacted in the late days of the Bush administration is starting to force states to take a closer look at local Amtrak routes that they subsidize.

Illinois, which sits at the center of the country’s railroad network, has long promoted passenger rail. It’s rebuilt track so trains could travel faster between Chicago and St. Louis, added service along preexisting routes and even began planning for expansions to new cities. Ridership on Illinois routes grew by 85 percent in the last decade. But now the talk in Springfield is about cuts to Amtrak, not expansions.

That’s no surprise considering Illinois’ precarious finances. Nearly every service provided by the state is under scrutiny as Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic leaders in the legislature try to come to an agreement on the budget.

But the uncertainty over Illinois’ passenger rail isn’t all the doing of lawmakers in Springfield. Illinois, like many other states, recently had to start paying higher subsidies in order to continue providing local Amtrak service to its residents. The increased state costs come as a result of a 2008 federal law, called the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, that required many states to pick up a bigger part of the tab for 28 Amtrak routes that are shorter than 750 miles. Those routes cross 19 states and carry almost half of Amtrak’s passengers.

As more states pay higher subsidies to Amtrak, their scrutiny of the rail company has also increased. Lawmakers in Oregon have explored reducing its payments. Indiana officials are bringing in an outside contractor to try to improve Amtrak service there. And other state officials around the country are trying to clarify what they can expect from Amtrak going forward. “If you’re making an investment in something, you have an obligation to make sure it’s a certain quality,” said Patricia Quinn, chair of the States for Passenger Rail Coalition. “This is a new relationship with all of the states and Amtrak.”

The same 2008 law that increased the cost of subsidies also gave states more flexibility to use vendors other than Amtrak to provide rail service. Indiana officials are using that to try to improve service on the Hoosier State line, which runs from Chicago to Indianapolis.

It is working on an arrangement where a separate contractor, Iowa Pacific Holdings, would take over key functions. It would provide the train equipment, marketing and on-board services, such as food sales and Wi-Fi. But Amtrak would remain the primary operator, providing the train crews and ticketing services.