Saturday, June 09, 2007

"Singing the Devil Away" (6)

Dr Kleinig suggested that the response to Satan's accusations is to call the devil's bluff. Satan says there is no hope for a sorry sinner like me. He says there is forgiveness only for Christians, but surely I am no Christian. He says the troubles of my life are proof that God doesn't care about me. But it's all a lie. All a bluff. All a scam.

Paul Gerhardt's hymn "Schwing dich auf zu deinem Gott" was recently translated by Dr Kleinig. It is a "song of comfort in dpression and temptation." (By the way, it is sung to the tune of the same title, known among American Lutherans as TLH 204.)

Rise, my soul, up high to God
from the pit of sadness!
Why remain down there, depressed?
Why despise His goodness?
Can't you see the devil's tricks,
scheming to attack you?
He is set to fog and hush
all Christ's words of comfort.

Joy is indicative of our life in Christ. Depression is the result of the devil's attacks. When a soul is oppressed, the sinful nature will hang onto the depression and turn away from God's joy.

VCFS Article

There was a great article on VCFS in the Washington Post on Wednesday. Maggie has VCFS, and this article is a nice little introduction to the syndrome.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Precision in Language

I picked up a short video series at the library this week on The Story of English. Last night's episode discussed the many different languages were brought into Old English, resulting in subtle nuances to the different words. Words which are nearly synonymous aren't quite, but lend precision to the language.

I think that's one thing I like so much about English. You can get just the right word. When I try to communicate in sign language, there's so much I struggle to say. I might know the right sign for a word, but it's not exact enough, and that frustrates me.

Stress Relief

Barbara links to an online calculator to help determine whether a wife's job actually adds income or costs the family more than she earns.

One item I found interesting was the cost of items purchased to relieve job stress. Examples were liquor and double lattes. I can understand the treats for stress relief. I know I yearn for Culvers or Snickers more when things are rough. But maybe the amount of things I can manage to do without is in indicator that our boring little life in the boring little country is a LOVELY thing!

My version of stress relief is usually reading aloud to the kids or watching a romantic comedy. Much cheaper than Starbucks. (Oh no! Now all my Starbucks-loving friends are going to be pelting me with rotten tomatoes!)

Thursday, June 07, 2007


I love to laugh. And I love puns. I even love bad puns. I highly recommend that any of you who share my weakness take a peek at Barbara's blog where she has 29 puns, most of them really good, and a few groaners worthy of a smile.

My favorites were:

If you don't pay your exorcist, you can get repossessed.
A plateau is a high form of flattery.

"Singing the Devil Away" (5)

Satan will use anxiety, doubt, despair, depression, shame, self-pity, etc, to drive us from Jesus. The temptation to despair is to believe that there is no hope, no comfort, no forgiveness, for me. Sure, there is forgiveness for sinners, but surely not for me.

When depression and shame overwhelm us, we need to listen to Jesus. His voice will hush the voice of Satan. But when we do not listen to Jesus (either through neglect in prosperous days, or because of doubts and despair in painful days), then the voice of Satan will fill the void. His accusations will taunt if we are not hearing the comforting voice of the Savior.

During these times of spiritual warfare, we pray for the Holy Spirit to sustain us in the Word, and to keep us in contact with the Word.

We also rely on the angels to protect us from demonic attack. They pray for us. They guard us (especially in the dangers of the night). The angels too "sing the devil away from us" by preaching God's Word in the unseen realms.

I walk with angels all the way.
They shield me and befriend me.
All Satan's power is held at bay
When heavenly hosts attend me.
They are my sure defense;
All fear and sorrow hence!
Unharmed by foes, do what they may,
I walk with angels all the way.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

"Singing the Devil Away" (4)

Between our trip to the Gerhardt symposium and our daughter's wedding, I typed up some notes on Dr Kleinig's lecture Singing with Devotion, Dr Krispin's lecture Confession of Christ in Song and Sacrament, as well as starting to think through Dr Kleinig's lecture on Singing the Devil Away. Now that we've begun to recuperate from the hustle and bustle of the wedding, maybe I can work my way through the rest of my notes from the Canada trip.

In Genesis 3, we hear about the serpent. Dr Kleinig pointed out that serpents bite. Satan will harm us. He will bite. We will sin. Satan will accuse. He will tempt us not only to sin, but to believe that there is no forgiveness for us when we do sin.

We are also harmed when others inflict pain upon us through no fault of our own. These too are wounds (bites) from the serpent Satan.

But Satan's venom has been removed. When he bites and harms us now, there is no poison in his attacks. Christ took upon Himself all the poison that Satan had. He accepted the venom into His own flesh.

So, even though Satan bites and harms, it is not deadly. He may damage us, but the sting has been removed.

It was a strange and dreadful strife
When Life and Death contended.
The victory remained with Life;
The reign of Death was ended.
Holy Scripture plainly saith
That Death is swallowed up by Death,
His sting is lost forever. Alleluia!

Jam Recipes

Cherry (makes 6 cups)
2.5 # bag of frozen (and pitted) pie cherries
1/2 teaspoon butter
3 cups sugar
1 package Sure-Jell Light

Orange (makes 5 cups)
12-oz can frozen orange juice concentrate
2.6 cups water
3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon butter
1 package Sure-Jell Light
(Cook for longer than time given in Sure-Jell recipe; test doneness by cooling a bit rapidly by placing 1/2 tsp of jelly into a small cup that's been sitting in the freezer. Also, skim foam before pouring into jars!!)

Hawaiian Punch (makes 7 cups)
12-oz can frozen apple-passionfruit-mango juice concentrate
6-oz can frozen apple-kiwi-strawberry juice concentrate
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon butter
4 cups sugar
1 package Sure-Jell Light
(Make according to direction in pectin-box, except make the last boil 90 seconds instead of 60 seconds.)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Jelly-Mom Strikes Again

A few years ago, the jelly-making got out of control. Several batches of strawberry, a couple batches each of peach and plum, quite a few batches of blackberry, several batches of grape, and pretty soon there were more than 100 jars of jelly sitting in the basement. Now, c'mon, we may like jelly, but two jars per week? Nah....

So I have been trying valiantly to control my jelly-making urges.

Recently, the guys told me there wasn't much jelly left. It's early June. Surely we could hold out a few more weeks till the strawberries are ripe.

We couldn't. Today we finished the last jar. And the strawberry farms aren't open yet.

Okay. Okay. We'd make jelly. But it had to wait until after grocery-shopping. (After all, I don't think they wanted couch-cushion jelly, or pencil jelly, or jelly made of any of the other non-food items I had in hand. So a trip to the market was in order.)

Now, which kind of jelly to make to see us through till strawberry time? Hmmm. Just one flavor? We're used to switching off. (How spoiled are we???) I decided on cherry and a punch-ish flavor. But when I got home, Paddington here wanted orange marmalade. We agreed to make orange jelly without the little orange pieces in it that morph jelly into marmalade.

So tonight we made three batches. Eighteen jars of jelly. I guess that will see us through a few weeks till the strawberries are ripe.

Why can I not stop making jam once I start?


My mom is pretty.

When my husband first met my folks, Mom was 42 and Dad was 46. My husband thought my mom was so pretty and young-looking, and my dad was so handsome and young-looking, that he'd be safe snagging their daughter for a bride. He figured she'd age well.

I suppose part of this is just luck and genes. But I think part of it is that my mom hates make-up.

Actresses have to wears loads of make-up. When you see them out of make-up, they aren't so pretty. They look older than they are. Make-up may gussy up a face. It may give a woman a lovely painting on the front part of her head. It may make her look better today than she'd look without the make-up today. But sometimes it seems to wear out a person's beauty too quickly.

My mom will turn 70 this year. But she looks SO much younger. Keeping my fingers crossed that I age as nicely...

Monday, June 04, 2007

Soaked-Grain Bread

When I was making bread the other day, it crossed my mind that somebody might be interested in my quasi-soaking method. And then, lo and behold, Kristi asked about it today.

I tried making sourdough according to the instructions in Nourishing Traditions. But we didn't care for it. I suppose it's healthier for us. But we like our nice, fluffy, "regular" bread that I make.

So I've developed my own method to go halvsies. I take most of the liquid in my bread recipe and about half the flour, and stir them together and let them sit for about 6-8 hours. For my recipe, I use a little more than a pint of liquid (either 1/3 cup buttermilk and 2 cups water, or 2 cups water plus 1 Tbsp whey or raw apple cider vinegar). Then I stir in 3 cups of ww flour.

When it's time to make bread, I take another 1/4 or 1/2 cup of water for the yeast, salt, flax, sugar, oil, etc. I stir that combo into the wet goo of flour/water that's been sitting overnight. Then I continue adding the 3-4 cups of flour left for the recipe, and make the bread just like any other bread recipe.

This gives us the benefits of having half our flour soaked, which makes for easier digestibility and fewer allergy problems. It also gives us the benefit of having bread that is not so heavy and dense that it's hard to use for sandwiches or toast or French toast or hamburger buns.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Lost Mail

Anybody who emailed us since about 11 a.m. Saturday to 8 p.m. Sunday had their mail disappear in cyberspace. I'm curious curious curious. If you tried to email, please send it again. Apparently the mail is working again, but I don't appreciate what the ISP did to resolve the problem.

Some Links

Had a hard time at church today, and I'm finding my joy and comfort in vegging at the computer. Not good. But, hey, it's what I'm doing. (I HATE it when they change the words of the creed on me. Why, oh why, did we have to start using LSB on Trinity Sunday? The day we used the vastly changed Athanasian Creed? Couldn't we have started next week? Ah, but then it would've been during the short dark days of December when I would've had to face a muchly-changed creed for the first time.)

I bumped into Tina's article on being angry at God, struggling with an anxiety disorder, feeling abandoned by God, and finding some relief even though things are not yet peachy.

I also want to point out Pr Stuckwisch's article on dating and matchmaking and romance. I think he covered a lot, said it clearly, and gave wise counsel to both teens and parents.

I remember in fall of 2004 when Pastor was unhappy with me for calling the President a socialist. He thought maybe I was going to vote for the bigger socialist. That wasn't the point; I was just very very disappointed in the acceptance speech at the Republican Convention and the "chicken in every pot" attitude. Cheryl pointed out an article by Peggy Noonan called "Too Bad." Next time around, I want a conservative president committed to smaller government.

I Bind unto Myself Today

When I first learned St Patrick's hymn, I thought it was saying that I am binding God's wisdom and power and might to myself, so that I would be wise and powerful and mighty in His service.

But maybe that's not what it's about. "I bind unto myself today ... His ear to hearken to my need." That's being bound to my pastor. And his ear that hears me in the confessional. And likewise I am bound to his/His voice: "the wisdom of my God to teach." I'm not the wise one. I am not the one who teaches. But I am bound to God's wisdom that is taught to me.

"The Word of God to give me speech." It's not what I speak. But the speech that is given to me. That speech that is sent in my direction from the pastor.

I "bind these things to myself" by hangin' on tight to my pastor, not letting go of him, making sure I'm listening when he opens his mouth, and meditating on these things later.

And with it being June, and all the new guys being ordained, this reminded me of past discussions about whether ordination is a means of grace. When Lutherans first hear about the possibility of considering ordination a means of grace, we bristle. How could it be? After all, that would be saying that God is offering grace to somebody that I'm not allowed access to.

Well, first off, those shepherds who fight the wolf for us sheep should not be begrudged any extra measure of grace from God. IF that's where the "gift of grace" attached to the sacrament of ordination goes, then who's to complain??

But personally, I think the grace given in the sacrament of ordination is the grace given to me because I have a pastor. (For those of you who are trying to figure out my ADDness at the moment, hang on.) If my pastor has the Word of God, if my pastor has God's wisdom (a la St Patrick's hymn) then it is for MY benefit, so that God's grace is given to ME. Likewise, when ordination is considered a sacrament, the grace given therein is grace given to ME, even though I am not the one being ordained.

Well, I think it makes sense. Don't know about the rest of you....

Kombucha on Vacation

My kombucha "mushrooms"/colonies are happiest when they just keep working. We've noticed that, whenever we go on vacation and the mushrooms sit around, waiting until we return, the taste of the tea goes downhill for a while.

I've hunted online for information on what to do with mushrooms while they're not in use. Boy, what a lot of conflicting information! When we went away for a week last year, I kept them in a jar, with a lid, in the refrigerator. Two of my mushrooms died! Oh, sadness! For the ones that survived the week, it took until I got to the "great-grandchildren" (three batches after vacation) before the kombucha started tasting good again.

Usually I would store my mushroom in enough starter for the next batch. But if you let it sit for more than a few days, your kombucha will just keep eating and eating and eating, and gobble up your starter while your mushroom grows fat and sassy. Sometimes I anticipate that, and store my mushroom in 8 ounces of starter rather than 4 ounces. Sometimes I store the mushroom in kombucha tea, but then pour the 3-week-old vinegary tea down the drain and use yummy tea (from bottles) for the next starter. That has worked. The best luck I had taking a break from brewing was for our trip last month. I tried storing a couple of mushrooms in kombucha tea, and a couple of mushrooms in water. They were covered with a cloth so my little mushrooms would not suffocate for lack of air. The little guys were only neglected for a week. But both ways seemed to work pretty well when we came home and started brewing again. I think, though, that it would be better if mushrooms-in-water were stored (lidless) in the refrigerator, because they don't have the fermented tea as a mold-inhibitor.