Saturday, June 23, 2007

"Singing the Devil Away" (13)

Back to the Gerhardt hymn translated by Kleinig...

I am God's and He is mine;
Who can ever part us?
Even if the cross slips in
painfully between us,
let it be because it comes
from my God who loves me,
making, in His time, a door
open up before us.

I started noticing that "I am yours, and you are mine" was often used in connection to wedding rites. It's used between lovers. It's in Shakespeare and in Luther. It's in modern love songs. It's also used in some monastic vows.

The phrase comes up in hymns. "Lord, my Shepherd, take me to Thee. Thou art mine; I was Thine, even ere I knew Thee" (from Why Should Cross and Trial Grieve Me). "Thou art my heart's most beautous Flower, and Thy blest gospel's saving power my raptured soul engages. Thou mine, I Thine. Sing hosanna" (from How Lovely Shines the Morning Star).

The previous stanza of Gerhardt's hymn reflects on Satan's utter inability to override what God has established. This stanza goes on to be explicit about what God has established: that we are joined to Him. And even if trouble should come [if? ha! when is more like it...] it will work for our good.

Acts of Mercy

A question came up in Bible class recently. It was about acts of mercy, philanthropy, charitable deeds. The following comment does not in any way suggest kindness be withheld from one group of people or another. But it is nevertheless an interesting observation.

About a year or two ago, Pastor did some really intense study on the book of Acts. He says that nowhere in the book of Acts were "acts of mercy" done for anyone except the fellow-Christians.


The dates for next year's catechetical symposium are June 18-20. Put it on your calendar now. It really doesn't matter what the topic is, because you need to come regardless of the topic, as my dear friend makes clear. But for those whose curiosity overwhelms, the topic will be catechesis under the fifth commandment, particularly on "life issues."

Friday, June 22, 2007

Wasted Tax Dollars

We were at a very nice hotel for the last couple of days for a symposium. It's one of those hotels that draws a lot of business by renting out ballrooms, meeting rooms, conference rooms, etc.

I noticed that one of the large meeting rooms was being used by a government agency. They were together for "grant reading" to decide which grants to choose to fund.


There's a very nice building in Madison. It's called the state capitol. It has lots of rooms. There's also the office building in Madison set aside for this agency. But no, they had to get people together elsewhere and pay for the rooms.

Why do I suspect that somebody wanted to make a vacation out of their duty to sort through grant proposals?

I Am the Vine

The Gospel reading for last night's Divine Service was from John 15. I don't know why I never noticed this until last night. Maybe it's because of going to vineyard country near St Catharines. Maybe it's because I've been trying to figure out what to do about pruning my grape vines.

Jesus is the vine.

Vines are held up by wood posts. Or trees. Hmmm.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


For the sake of Katie's grandmas, aunts, mother-in-law, etc, I'm giving a report.

Gary, Paul, Andrew, Maggie, and I arrived Thursday morning to help carry boxes and furniture. Rachel had arrived a little earlier. Nathan and Katie hadn't wanted to impose by asking for help loading the rental truck. But when he saw how long it was taking him to move the pile of boxes outdoors, and how fast that pile zipped outdoors after The Help arrived, they were glad for the family who'd invited themselves over to assist.

Nathan learned that when they say you should use small boxes for books, they really mean small.

Gary and I were very impressed with the packing job the kids had done. They had nearly everything loaded into boxes and organized before we got there. For a first move, they sure had their act together!

Most of the family went home late Thursday afternoon. I shampooed the carpet and Katie thoroughly cleaned the place; she wants the whole security deposit back! We left about 8:00 and stopped in northeastern IN at a hotel. We drove the rest of the way to Fort Wayne on Friday morning.

I learned that stopping for food is more important than diligently loading a truck. And I learned that stopping at the grocery store to grab some fruit and lunchmeat should take priority over unloading a truck, even if you have to get it back to the rental facility.

We took an interesting little detour through Ft Wayne in the moving van. I did not realize that Katie and Nathan had rented the place, site unseen. I thought he was headed in an odd direction through town, but assumed he knew where he was going. Turned out that he was waiting for me to tell him which roads to take. Well,... we managed to get wherre we belonged by blundering our way through town without a map, just by the "feel" of the roads and going on intuition and a little bit of what I remembered from driving around the Fort when I've been there for symposium.

I can't even count the number of times Nathan exclaimed, "This is so great. It'll probably be the nicest place we'll ever live!" The complex is nice. The apartment is nice. Both bedrooms are about the size of our bedrooms here. The living room is about the size of ours. The kitchen is much smaller, but has as much counter space and cupboard space as my kitchen (maybe more). Katie is excited to see a full-size fridge and a full-size stove. The bathroom has two sinks and a washer-dryer. One bedroom has a walk-in closet. There's a nice little patio for sitting and/or grilling. It's just a very nice place. What blows my mind is that the apartment complex probably has more homes and a higher population than any of the villages near us.

The kids had heard that the apt complex is nice, but that sometimes it can be very rowdy, with loud neighbors. I think they aren't going to have a problem with that. It looks like there are groups of college kids in other nearby buildings. But their row of buildings seems to be populated with senior citizens and young married couples. About 15 minutes after we arrived, a fellow of about 70 meandered out of his apartment, took up residence on his patio, and kept an eye on our unloading. Some of his buddies showed up and watched the entertainment too. All I can hope is that these guys continue to prove themselves to be like my dad; if so, Katie and Nathan will have good grandpa-neighbors around!

The biggest problem of my weekend was figuring out whether I wanted to be at the kids' apartment or at Jane's house for the homeschool-mom party. I much too thoroughly enjoyed whichever group I was with at the moment!

When it was time to go on Sunday morning, I said farewell to the kids and started to choke up. Gosh, it's harder to leave them when they're 225 miles away than it is when they're 50. But Melody and Wendi (with whom I was riding back to Illinois) were with me, and there was plenty of chattiness going on in the car, and I managed not to cry over leaving them.

Kitty Wars

Rosie's been here ten days now. It is now possible for Athena and Rosie to coexist in the same room for a short period of time, often without any hissing on Athena's part. Of course, this is only if wee-kitten remembers that old-cat's tail is not a toy for her pouncing amusement.

Wee-kitten has been bopped by an angry paw a time or two, and is thus beginning to learn that it is not always wise to treat old-cat the way wee-kitten had been tumbling around her mother.

Athena (old-cat) has been pretty irritable and cranky with us too, for having had the audacity to allow the interloper to remain. When it stormed the other night, she preferred to stay outside in the rain, hunched in a corner of the porch where she wasn't quite managing to stay dry, rather than to consent to come indoors where the Wild Thing was.

Today while I was jogging, I saw the first glimmer of Athena being her old self. She saw me outdoors, ran up to me, smooched my legs, wanted to be petted, and enjoyed (for the first time in ten days) getting scratched in her favorite spot. Of course, we were 200 feet from the house, hidden away at the far end of church, where we could pretend like Rosie never existed.... but, hey, it's a step in the right direction. Athena actually wanted to be petted again, and I was beginning to wonder if that'd ever happen.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Quick Update

I was gone for four days, helping kids move and playing with friends. (Jane and Polly have pictures.) Back here for two days, then out of town for three more, back home for one, and out of town for another day. Lots to do next week, but no trips more than 90 minutes away. Phew!

In the two days between trips, I
did laundry,
changed the bedding,
cleaned the house,
caught up on some undone dishes from the weekend,
answered the phone for church a lot,
did the weekly errands and shopping,
chatted with grown-up kids,
caught up on mail,
made gumbo (which makes for happy dinner companions, who thus are not sapping my energy by pretending -unsucessfully- not to be dissatisfied with their food),
played Apples to Apples,
made bread,
did some schoolwork with the kids (but only a couple of hours),
repaired some damage to the garden,
did the banking and took care of the bills and budget.

Almost everybody had places to be this afternoon, and I was going to be home alone for several hours. I had hoped to spend a lovely afternoon luxuriating by editing out in the sunshine and fresh cool air. Andrew told me that I always have too much on the to-do list and never finish it when I have a few hours to myself. He's right. I looked at that list and tried to tell myself that it was going to be okay (yes, really, it would be okay!) when I got to the end of the day and had accomplished less than a third of the items. But -- amazingly enough! -- the list is nearly done. And I'm thrilled. So now I'm ready for symposium and also for an ordination this weekend.