Sunday, August 31, 2014

Truly the Son of God

When Jesus called the storm, rescuing the disciples whose boat was overwhelmed (Matt 14), they responded, "Truly You are the Son of God."

Not long afterward (Matt 16), when Jesus asked them about the rumors of who He was, Peter said, "You are the Son of the living God."  This wasn't something Peter said on His own.  It was something the Lord revealed to him, as well as something the others said in the boat on that stormy night.

And it was the same thing said by the centurion (Matt 27) on that stormy Friday afternoon.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

"Confession Is Made Unto Salvation"

God owes me, right?

I'm sure you've heard a take on Romans 10: 
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 
Here ya go; this is what you gotta do; fulfill the above requirements, and you will be saved.

[bangs head against the wall]

We can manage to twist anything into salvation-by-works, can't we? 

When Peter was sinking in the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 14) he called for help.  That is "confessing" the Lord Jesus:  "I can do nothing to save myself.  Help me!"  Even in Romans 10, just a few verses following the quote above, it says the Lord is rich to all who call upon Him.  

And when do we call on Him?  When we've got a way to please Him?  Or when we have no hope in ourselves and are empty-handed beggars?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Influential Books

Melody tagged me on Facebook to list ten books that have strongly influenced my life.  I'm also supposed to tag ten other people to play the game, but I'm being contrary.  (And tired.)  Thus, no tagging.  But you're welcome to play along (on Facebook or on blogs) if you wish. 

1.  The Bible
2.  The Lutheran Hymnal
3.  Narnia series -- by C. S. Lewis
4.  The Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel -- by Walther

5.  Special Delivery -- by Rahima Baldwin
Because although it was about birth, it led to a rethinking about the place of medical professionals.

6.  Little House series -- by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Not just for the stories, but also because of the model of self-reliance and perseverance, as well as the political viewpoint.

7. Homeschooling for Excellence -- by the Colfaxes
Better Than School -- by Nancy Wallace
Better Late Than Early -- by the Moores
Teach Your Own -- by John Holt
I'm calling this a set, just as I'm claiming that Narnia and Little House each count as one book.

8.  Day by Day We Magnify Thee -- by Luther
Best devotional book ever if you're on the 1-yr pericopes.  And still good even if you're on the 3-yr series.

9.  In Christ, volume 1 -- by David Scaer
Because this is the book that [ahem] entangled me with CCA. 

10.  Lutheran Service Book
Because in spite of all the wonderful things in it, the publication of this book is what brought about the end of my singing-all-day-every-day.  And that's definitely "an influence."

In a similar vein, not being able [repeatedly!] to finish "Emily of the New Moon" influenced my life, not because of the book itself (seeing as how I never got beyond 1/4 of the way in) because that was the watershed when I gave up on reading to myself.   And about 20 years later, on the other end of that spectrum, "Mitford" was when I finally began reading stories for my own enjoyment again.  So I see these books as having a big influence on me even though it was because of circumstances more than content of the books themselves.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Definition of "Plague"

During chapel this morning, the word "plague" came up in our Bible story.  Pastor checked with the kids, "What is a plague?  What does that word mean?" 

A fifth-grader answered first: "That's like taxes."

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Turning My Breech Baby

When one of my babies was head-up and bottom-down, the midwife suggested I try turning him.  She said that doctors can sometimes manipulate kiddoes to turn them, but by this time my munchkin was too big and too far along for that.  (Also, some doctors worry about the safety of that exterior manipulation.) 
The midwife told me to lie on my back three times a day, about 15 minutes at a time, elevating the pelvis, oh, about 12 inches.  The theory is that gravity will help Baby out of the settled-in position, and when Mommy stands up, gravity could bring the [heavier-than-tuschie] head back down to the lower spot. 

This doesn't work for everybody who has a breech baby.  It's also important to have enough knowledge of your body, your baby's body, and be able to know through palpation your baby's position.  You must know when Baby's head goes down so that you Stop Doing The Exercise.  (Also, this is the internet, and I'm not giving medical advice, and all that jazz.  I'm just saying, "This is what I did and what worked for me.")

Also, I think it's good to make your request to the Lord that He turn the baby.

Monday, August 25, 2014

1200 Steps

Zoroastrianism versus Buddhism?

I'm reading Horses of Heaven right now, a novel set in central Asia around 200 BC.  (I'm 3/4 of the way through, o daughters-of-mine who have been waiting who-knows-how-long for me to finish reading your book before you get a crack at it.)  Zoroastrians believe that there can be joy in the world, and that the material world was created good but was infected with evil.  The Buddhists, on the other hand, are more in line with the Gnostics, seeing the material world as something inferior, something to be suffered, something to be released from.

Anyway ...
the Zoroastrian dude in the story is plagued by his struggle with sin.  While visiting another city, he finds himself a Zoroastrian temple.  He goes to the priest who suggests a purifying rite.  The Mazdayist liturgy included the line:
May the bright heaven, the all-blissful paradise, come toward you twelve hundred steps for every step.
And I kept thinking, ... wow, that concept shows up frequently in Christianity* too.  "God goes the distance; He comes to you; but [but BUT but] you have to take steps toward Him." 

We just can't stand the thought that grace is ALL from the Lord and not at all earned or merited in any way, can we?  That would be just too too radical.

* Footnote: That is, this teaching too often
shows up in Christian churches, even though
it is contrary to Christian teaching.  

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Brain Recovery

There were weird things that happened in the wake of the stroke.  For one, my skin is more sensitive.  Last week I picked three pumpkins and two tomatoes and soon had another rash.  There is no poison ivy mixed in with my pumpkin vines and tomato plants.  There isn't!  I'm not good at recognizing poison ivy and all its other poison-forms, but I do know pumpkin and tomato vines for what they are.  Then in a separate incident, I got a rash from a Tegaderm covering.  When the itching forced me to remove that (about 1 whole minute after the time-limit of the doctor's orders) I used a regular Bandaid.  Guess what?  Another rash.

Recent tests showed that the aneurysm mostly healed, but not all-the-way as we had hoped.  If you can picture an aneurysm sort of like a balloon, the bubble of the balloon is filled and clotted and healed.  The neck of the balloon is not.  That means more monitoring than would've probably been necessary otherwise.  But overall, it appears rather safe, quite unlikely to go and bleed (just as a balloon's neck isn't likely to pop).

I've been back at work for five weeks, doing mini-shifts three days a week.  Now that the doctor's had a chance to take pictures of the inside of my brain, I intend to ask him to lengthen the number of hours I'm allowed to work.  After a few weeks of longer part-time days, maybe he'll let me step up to a full-day with my half-days.  On the one hand, I'm anxious to get back to being helpful at work and getting my income back to where it was.  On the other hand, I sure am liking my mornings at home with Maggie, doing schoolwork and chores ... and not overtiring myself.

Oh, and it is absolutely maaaahrvelous, darling, to have car keys and a drivers license again!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Way Back When I Was Really Young

The previous post included things from the Old Days which were when my first baby was little, or not long before. This one has stuff that I remember from my childhood. At least I don't expect my kids to recall these things because "they just happened." At least I have some awareness that these are from times long-enough-ago that they're in the history books as .... well, ... history.

The milk was delivered to the milk-box sitting by our front door. The milk wagon was pulled by a horse -- the only horse-drawn vehicle I saw in town. When I was learning to walk to kindergarten by myself, I had to watch out so that I didn't step in horse poop when I crossed the street. And I loved it that the milkman put reindeer-antlers on his horse for the week or so before Christmas.

When we dialed a phone number, the phone actually had a dial.

We didn't have to check our Halloween candy before eating it to see that it was safe.

Children walked to a neighborhood school. Buses were for the kids who lived in the country. We went home for lunch too. Only the bussed kids were stuck at school during the lunch break.

The new-fangled ratings system for movies included G, M, R, and X. That's it.

McDonalds ran commercials touting that you could buy a hamburger, fries, and beverage, and still get change back from your dollar.

We sang Christmas carols (and a dreidel song) for the Christmas program (not "holiday program") at the public school.

Getting "only one cavity" at each semi-annual dentist appointment was considered a rousing success for dental care.

Bouncy children were not given Ritalin.

We played cowboys and Indians. Nobody ever heard of "native Americans."

Arcades had pinball machines. There were no joysticks or video games of any sort.

People dressed up for church, and women did not wear pants to church.

Cameras had flashbulbs. Bulbs. Y'know, the round things. Each bulb had one flash and then was finished. And getting your film developed in an hour was unheard of. It was a week or more.

Whole houses then cost less than a car now. Less even than most used cars do now.

Cars then were washed up and old by the time they had 60,000 miles on them.

Kids could go biking all over town and the countryside, riding around for hours on end, and parents didn't have to worry about whether they'd be accosted by strangers.

The bank and the liquor store gave lollipops to the kids who came in with their moms to buy dad's weekly allotment of beer.

Television was in black and white. No color.

Very few people had dishwashers. There was no such thing as a microwave.

"Negro" was a recently outdated word. The new term was "black."

The old people remembered Russia being a country, but we youngsters were up-to-date enough to know that the proper name had become USSR.

Lutherans had one hymnal. For a bunch of different synods. And we used it. No "song books."

People didn't use credit cards. The few credit cards that existed were used for limited purposes, such as a card for gasoline only.

Diapers were made of cloth, and people used pins to hold them onto the baby's tuschie.

Kids pretended to smoke our candy cigarettes and candy cigars.

There were three television networks. It was free. No cable. Just rabbit ears or the big antenna on the roof.

Some cars had seat belts, but they were seldom used. There was no such thing as bike helmets.

In a similar vein, there was no such thing as fire-retardant clothing.

"Ms." hadn't been invented yet.

At the playground, swings had chains that were 10-12' long or more, and slides were so high that it was fun even for the grown-ups to slide down. And you had to wear long pants to the park in August so that you didn't burn your legs on the metal slide.

People thought formula was the right way to feed a baby.

Mom washed our clothes in a wringer-washer and hung them on the line to dry.

Almost all my friends had stay-at-home moms.

It wasn't considered abuse if kids were spanked and had their mouths washed out with soap.

Gas ran about 30-some cents a gallon. When there was a "gas war" in town, prices could even get as low as 19 cents.

Nobody was allowed to pump their own gas. When you drove in for a fill-up, the attendant checked your oil, checked your tire pressure, washed your windows, and who-knows-what-all else.

The word "their" was a plural pronoun and only a plural pronoun. Now --as in the previous comment-- it's also used as a singular pronoun when we don't want to be "sexist" by using "he" or "she."

Only the poor, impoverished, neglected children were sent to preschool.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Way Back When I Was Young

I was always fascinated with "how things used to be." It kinda sorta freaks me out that some things are now seen as the Old Days that were normal when I was already grown up.

There was no such things as music videos or MTV.

A whole floor of a building was dedicated to the computer. The idea of a computer that would sit on your desk was just coming in as a new-fangled idea. Certainly no iPads or Smartphones.

Food at the grocery store was not sealed. You could just unscrew a lid of a medicine bottle or a food jar and have access to the contents of the bottle. No child-proof lids either.

We didn't know yet that Darth Vader was Luke's father.

The new, high-tech video games that had just been invented were Pong, Pac-man, and Space Invaders.

Even if you had no health insurance, you could pay for the doctor and hospital when your child was born. Our bill for our first baby was $800.

Only the fussbudget worry-wart parents made their kids wear bike helmets.

We had fire drills and tornado drills at school, but never lock-down drills. There weren't murders in school.

What's the Moral of the Story?

So Jesus walks on the water out to the storm-tossed boat and the terrified disciples (Matt 14). With Jesus' consent and invitation, Peter gets out of the boat and begins to walk to Jesus.  For a bit.  Then he sank. 

Moral #1:  If you have faith, you can walk on water.  Be like Peter.  Be daring.  Be bold.  Do the impossible.

"Moral" #2:  We try to be bold, but in reality we sink.  Even though we only have itty-bitty teeny-tiny faith (vs 31), Jesus is faithful to His promise, and He rescues us and keeps us safe.

"Moral" #2 is so much more comforting than Moral #1.  And it fits what happened in the story so much better than Moral #1.  So why is Moral #1 touted more often?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Come to Me

Story about Jesus walking on the water (Matt 14).  The disciples think He's a ghost.  Jesus says, "I am.  Do not be afraid."  He's not just telling them to chill out because, oh, it's just Him, their friend and teacher.  He's using for Himself the name announced to Moses at the burning bush (Ex 3).  And Peter responds with that name: "If You are, tell me to come to You."  Jesus says, "Come." 

Interesting.  When Moses was wandering around Sinai/Horeb with his flock o' sheep, he saw the bush burning.  The Angel of the Lord (God) called to Moses.  But when Moses headed over that direction, the Lord said, "Do not draw near this place ... for it is holy ground."

Come, Peter.
Don't come, Moses.

Is it the incarnation which makes the difference?

Come unto Me, all you who are 
weary and heavy-laden, and I
will give you rest.  (Matt 11)

In Christ Jesus 
you who once were far off 
have been brought near 
by the blood of Christ.  (Eph 2)

Decidedly NOT Up-to-Date

Our house looks like a 50-yr-old house.  This does not disturb me.  It is a 50-yr-old house.  I could invest time and money to make my house really spiffy.  Or I could save that time, energy, and money, and continue to live in a "sufficient home" instead of a "marvelous home."

(Pssst -- sometimes it might be hard to tell the difference between lazy and content.)

Oodles of friends yesterday pointed out the momastery article Give Me Gratitude or Give Me Debt.  I see why: it's perfect.  Even when we hide from advertising, even when we eschew trendiness, we're still assaulted by the lusts and desires to have more. That's what salesmen are for.  That's what advertising executives are for.  And sometimes even our friends push us toward discontent and coveting.

The momastery author was offered pointers on how to update her kitchen.  After some self-doubts, after some consideration that she maybe should indeed unshabbify her kitchen, she realized something.  She has a refrigerator that works.  And is full.  While some parents worry about their children being malnourished.
Inside my refrigerator is FOOD.  Healthy food ...  When this food runs out, I'll just jump in my car to get more.  It's ludicrous, really.  It's like my family hits the lottery every freaking morning.

She goes on to talk about how we don't have to hike miles to bring back a bucket of decent water.  It's at our fingertips.  Not only that, but we use clean drinking water to wash our dirty feet.  And we have microwaves.  And coffee pots. The article is a fun-to-read piece on what's important and what's not.

I have a washer and dryer.  At gut-level I can't fathom how much work it would take to launder clothing without our machines.  My mind theoretically understands the process: make lye from ashes, make soap from lye and fat, chop wood, haul water, make fire, boil water, wash clothes by hand, rinse clothes by hand, line dry.  Oh.  That's all?  I wash clothes by turning a couple of knobs.

And plumbing.  I love hot-water heaters and indoor plumbing!

When our house goes on the market someday, it will be outdated.  The only people who'll be interested are those who want to flip it ... or those (like me) who feel comfy in an old house.  But hey, no sense updating a house now for the sake of selling it decades down the road.  By then, it will be outdated again. 

Maybe I'm content.
More likely, I'm lazy.
But either way, I don't have to deal with kitchen and bathroom renovations.
And that's worth a big hooray!

Inside my refrigerator is FOOD. Healthy food that so many parents would give anything to be able to feed their children. Almost 16,000 mama’s babies die every day from malnutrition. Not mine. When this food runs out, I’ll just jump in my car to get more. It’s ludicrous, really. It’s like my family hits the lottery every freaking morning. - See more at:
Inside my refrigerator is FOOD. Healthy food that so many parents would give anything to be able to feed their children. Almost 16,000 mama’s babies die every day from malnutrition. Not mine. When this food runs out, I’ll just jump in my car to get more. It’s ludicrous, really. It’s like my family hits the lottery every freaking morning. - See more at:
Inside my refrigerator is FOOD. Healthy food that so many parents would give anything to be able to feed their children. Almost 16,000 mama’s babies die every day from malnutrition. Not mine. When this food runs out, I’ll just jump in my car to get more. It’s ludicrous, really. It’s like my family hits the lottery every freaking morning. - See more at: