Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bubbly, Bouncy Joy

I had been told that I wasn't going to be working on the second volume of CCA's Scaer book because I had my hands full of other projects. After a little moping last month over missing out on the fun, I resigned myself to reading the book when it's all finished and done and published. But because of pressing deadlines, on Thursday I got told that I get to look part of it over. Yeehaw! This weekend I had plans that pretty much got overridden for editing reasons, but oh, the articles are so great!!

Just in what I've looked at so far, there's one article on the ascension that's presented in a way that I hadn't previously thought of. There's an article on the problem with women's ordination, but without simply resorting to "the law says it's wrong, so we can't do it." There's an article on using masculine names for God. There's an article on the differences between the Protestants and the Lutherans, and how it's not "just about the Sacraments" but how the differences reveal what we think about God and who He is and what He has done. One article delves into what confirmation is and why we have it. I noticed one article is entitled "Preaching Sanctification" and that should prove intriguing, to be sure!

Now I should get off the computer, and grab my red pen and my dictionary again, and get back to my playtime. Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy!

Lay-Led Bible Class

If the pastor is the "man" and the congregation is the "bride," then IF there were to be a lay-led Bible class, would it matter whether the teacher was a man or a woman? Because laymen (both men and women) are to be receiving from the pastor, not usurping his place as teacher. Maybe the appearance of it makes a difference, though??

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Today's Stuff

Instead of John 13 this morning, we heard about Pastor's trip to Sweden. So we talked about the Church in a way far different from what we usually do in Thursday morning Bible class.

Doctor diagnosed my arm pain as bursitis and a rotator-cuff problem. Part of the treatment is to not reach or stretch with my left arm. Easier said than done. And how much sitting still with an ice pack can be squeezed into busy days?

Maggie had to skip her beloved swimming class today because of coming down with a cold.

At church last night, the second verse of the epistle struck me. "To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called saints...." Paul says the folks at Corinth are sanctified. Not "in the process of." Not "will be." But "are." The folks at CORINTH, the place which Pastor says always comforts him because, if the Corinthians are called saints, then surely his church can be called saints too. If this sentence in the very start of 1 Corinthians is for real, then maybe we LCMSers don't exactly use the word "sanctification" in accord with how the Bible uses it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Gary's desktop computer died. He's feeling stuck.

As we discussed this, we began to realize the problem is the change in routine.

I spent the whole month of September scolding myself for being distraught over the water and fuel problems. I kept trying to get a grip on myself, tell myself how good I have it, quit doing the pity-party routine, and just DO what needed to be done (like boiling water next door in stockpots and carrying it over here).

But I just couldn't seem to do it.

When we finally had both fuel and water, then I finally was capable of cleaning the house. Now, WHY couldn't I vacuum the floor or dust the horizontal surfaces just because there was no water or propane? That's just stupid. But I couldn't. WHY did I have such a hard time doing algebra or physics with kids? Those things certainly aren't dependent on fuel and water. And then there were all the self-scoldings over how I have electricity and so many more conveniences than did women on the prairie 150 years ago. How wussy am I, anyhow?

But it's the brain-strain in doing things in a way that is not routine. So much of our life is on auto-pilot. For example, normally we don't put hardly any thought into brushing our teeth. But if we have to think of taking a walk next-door to the place where there's plumbing, or going outdoors to spit on the lawn and taking a cup of water out there with you, it just takes thinking about it. Auto-pilot isn't good enough. Another example is doing laundry. If you can't just turn a knob and push a button, you have to think about it. You have to figure out if you can wash this load in cold, or you have to boil water for it. And then you have to figure out if you're going to carry that heavy load of water, or find a kid to do it for you, or get out the wagon to bear the weight. None of that is hard stuff. But you have to figure it out. Dozens (or hundreds or thousands) of those tiny little decisions each day just wear out your brain.

I'm even wondering at the moment how much this change of routine complicates other life changes. Having a baby, or sending children off to school for the first time (be they kindergarteners or 18-yr-olds who were homeschooled all along previously), or having hubby retire and come home, or starting a job. Some of those things are joyous life changes, some have grief and loss mixed in. But they all entail a change of routine. Even widowhood, which has copious amounts of grief in one's loss, as well as not having your sweetheart there to see you through it (like he'd seen you through all your previous heartaches), is further complicated by all the little decisions about the change in daily routine.

Right now, I'm ready for some living life on auto-pilot. And if Gary decides to get another computer, that will put one small section of his life back on auto-pilot too.


Been a little stressed. (Ha! What an understatement!) Our health insurance is due to be terminated, retroactive to May 31, if the past-due premiums are not received by this Sunday. This would've left us not only with the past bills, but also with a lapse in coverage which would've meant pre-existing conditions (such as heart defects, among others) would not have health coverage for a significant period of time. Thanks to generous gifts by saints throughout the Church, money was donated to cover the bill. Our congregational treasurer finally got a check written last Saturday. Given the state of our snail-mail sometimes, we were leery of the payment arriving on time. So we next-day-aired it. And I just received confirmation that the check arrived at Concordia Plan's mailbox. It is not yet in their possession, but it's waiting to be picked-up. WHEW!!! This is a HUGE weight off my mind!

Big Boys, Big Toys

They're building a huge new subdivision in the village near us. It is adjacent to Andrew's paper route, and we've been watching the piles of rock, the new roads, the machinery, etc. But this morning when we went to town for paper routes, they were right there, where I drive and where I have to walk for my route and where Andrew has to walk.

Oh, the coolness of it all! The huge graders and the huge backhoes and all these other dirt-movers that I don't know the names of! They're massive! And they're moving huge piles of dirt and rocks! (And this is probably bad because they're turning perfectly decent farmland into houses with yards that are going to be overly spacious.) It is fascinating to watch!

Because of the road being entirely ripped to pieces, I had to park and walk quite a ways to the apartment building to deliver papers. I passed so many men out there ogling! LOL! It was so cute! Men all over the neighborhood, standing outside, some with cameras, all of them watching the life-sized Tonka trucks in the massive sandbox!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

New Words in the Hymnal

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

As I've continued to struggle with the changes to the hymns I've memorized, Pastor has continued to remind me that the truth of the absolution is always the same. He has continued to remind me that it's okay if the words presenting that truth change, much like the sermon changes from week to week.

There is a need for keeping the words the same so that we can hang onto them and learn them by heart. Every time I hear pastors and church musicians extol Christians of past generations for the vast number of hymns they sang by heart, I can't help but think that we can't do that today because the powers-that-be keep changing the words on us! But I am trying to focus on what Pastor says about having a balance between keeping the words the same (learning them by heart) and having the fresh explanations that fit the times (just as Pastor's words in Bible class change each week, even though the message stays the same).

Gary and I are reading Christopher Boyd Brown's Singing the Gospel. On page 11 is an interesting statement. Though the CONTENTS of 16th-century hymnals were related to the public use of the hymns in worship, the BOOKS themselves were for the most part not intended for such use, either by professional musicians and clergy or by the laity. So what is that all about? In context, it sounds to me like people learned their hymns at home, sang them in family worship, and then those hymns were also used during the Divine Service. But maybe that's just what I imagine, as I keep stumbling over the hymns during church, and can no longer sing my way through the dishes-washing and the laundry-folding and veggie-chopping.

Antidote to Parfume d'Skunk

I tried really hard not to TOUCH ANYTHING as I disposed of his poor little lawn-wreckin' body. But it didn't work. When I came in from the cornfield, Paul's nose wrinkled. I was pretty sure it was only on my hands, and I'd been careful to open doors with my wrists or elbows instead of hands. I tried the peroxide cure, and it worked fabulously. I didn't need a whole batch just for hand-washing, so I used

half a cereal-bowl of hydrogen peroxide
about a Tablespoon of baking soda
a tiny squirt of Dawn dish soap.

Boy, it stings the eczema, but it definitely gets rid of skunk smell!

With a nice strong breeze today, and with the carcass downwind, I thought the smell was gone. Apparently we're desensitized. The UPS man just showed up with a package ... and asked about skunk in the yard. Oh well......

Skunk Death

Everybody kept asking us, "So if you do catch a skunk, what are you gonna do with him?" Uhhhhh.... Kill him? How? Dunno.

We had a plan. Some of the websites said you could gas a skunk to death in about 10 minutes. So we did what many websites suggested: I held a big blanket in front of me, blocking the skunk's sight of me, walked up to the cage, and draped the blanket gently over the trap. Worked great. Didn't alarm the skunk at all.

We had tubes attached to the cage. We covered the trap with plastic, and put the hoses into the end of the tailpipe of the car. Some websites assured us that you could gas a skunk to death in about 10 minutes. HA! We gassed him for over an hour, and he wasn't dying.

Well, what else could we try? Poison? The only thing we had was antifreeze. We tried pouring that into the cage, but he didn't bother with it. Or didn't get enough to hurt him.

How do you kill things? We considered possibilities we'd seen on murder-mystery tv shows. Carbon monoxide didn't work. So suffocation wouldn't work either. We didn't really want to get close enough to give him a plate of poison hidden in hamburger. We didn't want to get close enough to give him a mallet to the head. We had nothing big enough and deep enough to drown him in. We thought about dragging the trap way out back and letting him starve to death. Besides not being very humane, it probably wouldn't have worked since skunks semi-hibernate, and he probably could've gone a long long time before starving to death. Didn't want to shoot him because we didn't want to wake the neighbors in the wee hours of the morning, and didn't particularly want to get close enough to have good aim through the bars of the cage. But seeing no other options, the gun became the best-looking option.

He'd ripped holes in the blanket that covered the trap. He'd pulled the plastic through the blanket-holes. So Gary stuck the point of the air-rifle through the blanket-hole where we could see some black fur, and shot blindly. Then we got odor and ran for the house. Five or ten minutes later, we went out to see what had happened. No rustling in the cage. When the cage was shaken, no wiggling. So he was dead. And the smell wasn't too bad because most of it was contained in the cage. (The holey blanket will go in the dumpster or get burned.)

Turned out that he was one smart skunk about the carbon monoxide. Not only did he manage to get rid of the plastic cover, but he pulled it inside the cage and used it to make a barrier between him and the hoses carrying the deadly gas. AND the little booger kept sticking his nose out the holes he'd chewed in the heavy blanket.

So now, when the neighbors ask "What do you DO with a skunk if you catch him?" we have a plethora of possibilities. Most of which do not work! Next time we'll go straight for an old mattress pad or blanket, and the gun.

Premiere Skunk Bait

For a week of being tempted with tantalizing tuna, and a delicious side dish of wormy apples, the skunk had refused to bite.

Last night we changed bait. Suckered him right into the trap on the very first try! Purina Cat Chow NATURALS Plus Vitamins and Minerals.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Don't Be Hasty

When a pastor rushes through the liturgy, speaking rapidly and maybe even deleting parts of the Service, what message is given to the people? That this is something to "get through." Something that takes second place to whatever comes next. If the words we hear in church actually are the most important thing in the universe -- the way we know God -- why are we in such a hurry to get done with it? Would it be too time-consuming if we had a little time to meditate on the words we pray as we say them or hear them?

Post Office CLosed

ARRRRGH! The most important thing I had to do today (actually, the most important thing I had to do for the whole week, maybe for the month) was to next-day-air a critical piece of mail. When I got to the post office this morning, I found they were closed for Columbus Day. Getting there tomorrow will be okay, but I really wanted that job done, taken care of, finished, completed, concluded. And it's not now.


While jogging this morning (and listening to a tape of an old sermon) I heard such a good definition of impenitence. "The refusal to believe what God's law says about you, a sinner."

According to that, impenitence would include those who poo-poo God's law, saying that it's old-fashioned or out-dated.

According to that, impenitence would include those who know that something is wrong, but do it anyway because "everybody does it."

According to that, impenitence would include those who know their sin and even "regret" their sin, but callously excuse it with a sing-songy, "Oh, well, God forgives me, so it doesn't really matter."

Impenitence: refusing to believe the condemnation that is due you for your sin.


This is some funky weather we're having. I know lots of people are wishing for the crisp cool days of autumn. But I kinda like summer. I'm not minding these days in the 80s and even topping 90. (I'm not so fond of the hyper-abundance of beetles that accompanies the warmth, but hey, they'd be bad with the harvesting going on anyway.)

But the super-weirdness is that one of my lilacs has bloomed. It's October. Lilacs bloom in May. Didn't the shrub read the instruction manual?? They're little blooms, about the size of carnations. I hope this doesn't do in next May's blossoms.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

News Flash (Funny!)

Today's paper had a story about sex-segregated classrooms in the local middle school. The story was well done, enjoyable to read, and brought up some good points regarding education.

But one paragraph made us all bust a gut laughing:
"Teachers are working on a theory that boys are different from girls at this age, different in their interests, maturity, and in what teaching techniques will help them learn."

It's a THEORY, eh?

Survival of the Fittest

After listening to some of the presentations yesterday on medical care for the handicapped, something became apparent. A huge irony.

There is one group of people in our society who promotes evolution. As much as possible, they ensure that "intelligent design" is not allowed in schools. They ridicule those who believe in creation. They talk about things that happened millions (or billions) of years ago. And yet, these are often the same people who suggest that the government [that is, the taxpayers] fund massively expensive programs to fund health care and social programs for those who are not the "fittest."

Now, I am not saying I'm against expensive surgery and cures. My mom, my aunt, and my daughter all benefited from medical technology that was not cheap nor simple. But it seems odd that those who believe in "the survival of the fittest" would also be the ones who want to fund programs to keep alive those who would've otherwise died. To be intellectually consistent, shouldn't they be wishing for the needy and the handicapped to be denied medical treatment, so as to "cleanse the gene pool"?

Ah, but I guess in some other countries, the liberals have already gotten to that point.


There's the stark bald theory of evolution as it impacts the origin of the universe and where Man came from. But there are many corollaries to the theory of evolution. Whenever we read about the "invention" of writing, or the "invention" of farming, or the "invention" of metal tools, those ideas about ancient civilization have grown out of the idea that man evolves, that society evolves, that civilization improves and grows and advances.

Granted, there was a serious setback to technology when the Flood destroyed everything but those eight people and the animals on the ark. But as the people began to rebuild their civilization and their technology, they were not dummies "discovering" things, but smart people who were starting from scratch in a mess of a world.

Psalm 34: 18

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
and saves such as have a contrite spirit.

David wrote this before he was king, when he was on the lam, pretending to be insane. Later, after the incident with Uriah and Bathsheba, he wrote, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and contrite heart, o God, Thou wilt not despise."

So even David the Psalmist had his words and his hymnody shaped by the hymns he had previously learned by heart.