Saturday, November 17, 2007

My June Project

I decided that we would begin decluttering after Rachel moved out. Uhhhh, that was at the end of May. (Don't you EVEN think of telling me that this is November!!!)

now it's after Rachel moved out in May. I had boys haul many boxes of hand-me-down clothes upstairs today. We sorted. And sorted. And eliminated. Everybody except Maggie is done growing, so things that are too small or too short can take a hike, since there's nobody around to grow into boy-clothes.

I filled the back half of the van full to the bottom of the windows. That's a lot of clothes. But it will be easier to find what we need. And a lot of space has been freed up in the basement. As much as I hate letting go of things that I know I will absolutely desperately need in about 3 weeks, nevertheless I love the feeling of decluttering! It's so freeing! Right, Karin?

Dorm Choice

More and more colleges are building dorms with suites that consist of four or five tiny bedrooms and a private bathroom and possibly a kitchenette too. There's something very attractive about this arrangement.

One word of caution: if you live in a suite, you will be the one doing the cleaning.

I think that a kid would be really really lucky if he found himself in one of these suite arrangements and did half the cleaning while the other roommates (all put together) shared the other half of the bathroom cleaning.

It's no big deal to clean up after yourself. It's not even too bad to clean up after your siblings, since you know that they have their own chores where they're cleaning up after you. (Besides, there's this Mom-Ogre who doesn't let anybody give themselves over to utterly gross sloppiness.) But it's harder to clean up after roommates who fully believe in Bathroom Fairies and Kitchenette House-Elves who magically take care of all their messes.

Now, that doesn't mean that suites are a bad idea. There are certain huge benefits to that dorm-arrangement. But those who choose it should not anticipate that others will do their share of cleaning, or even participate in what would normally be considered simply picking up after themselves.

A Glimmer of Hope

When everything looks entirely hopeless (in a temporal sense) it gets wearying. Then God sends Christian friends with support in the forms of prayers and hugs and words of encouragement and cash. And it begins to look like maybe, somehow, possibly, there might be a chance that things could work out (temporally) even though it will involve a lot of struggle and a lot of trial and a lot of difficulty. And a little energy comes back, and the outlook on life brightens a bit, and there's something to work for, there's a direction to head.

And then the rug gets pulled out from under you again. And you wonder if the few days of rest from (temporal) despair was a blessing in that it was a little break from sadness. Or was it just something that gave false hope, something that makes the depths seem deeper than before?

And yet, I guess at least when that happens we know that energy can be revived. I suppose that's something to hang onto.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Nutrition Nazi Meets a Cookie

Yesterday I had tea and cookies.

"What's wrong with that?" you ask. Uhhhhh, all I had was tea and cookies.

I had a couple of mugs of green tea during Bible class. Not too bad. Think of all those nice little antioxidants happily running around my veins. But Judy brought those cookies to Bible class, the ones with the brownie crust and the gooey cheesecake top. (If this was television, you'd see me melting into my chair with drool running out of my mouth and a blissful glazed look in my eye.) And Carol brought oatmeal cookies, soft and luscious oatmeal cookies. The problem with Carol's cookies was that they were cut into 1" squares. And as we all know, cookies that little don't count. They have no calories. So if you eat 3, that's like eating nothing. And if you eat 72, well, hey, 72x0=0, right?

People often leave leftovers from the treats at church, but Carol tells me that Pastor doesn't want all those cookies. He says she's trying to fatten him up. So both Judy and Carol sent cookies with me instead. Oh, and they were good cookies! Gary had a meeting after Bible class, so I stayed at church and worked, and kept popping those too-little-to-have-calories cookies into my mouth. I did have half a bottle of kombucha in the midst of my cookie-munchfest.

Can you say "spoiled appetite"???

In the midst of my genius-child exuberance, one child suggested to another child that mom must've been doing drugs today. That's when I admitted to them (at 8:30 p.m.) that I had had NO food all day, except cookies. Ah. Mom was hopped up on cookies!

Maybe we need some real food today. REAL real-food. And maybe I ought to think about maybe developing a small bit of self-control when it comes to cookies?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Popsicle Plan

Narcotics and men in their seventies do not mix.

On the evening of Dad's surgery (a couple of weeks ago) I was sitting with him after everyone else went home. His mouth was dry and he wanted a drink! He was getting a morphine drip in an epidural as well as having morphine in a patient-controled pump.

Having spent months with eating difficulties, he had heard repeatedly from the doctor that popsicles would help keep him from dehydrating. The doctor had told him to eat popsicles. Yes, the doctor had told him that ... the previous week. But nobody would give him a drink, and the only reason given was simply because it was a mere 8 hours after a humongous surgery.

So, the nurses were out at the nurses' station. Mom was gone. My brother and sister were gone. And Dad had a plan. He told me where I could obtain the popsicles for the patients, out in the hallway, near the coffee machines. He told me where the paper towels were, and that he would need several of them to wrap around the stick of the popsicle so as to keep the sticky drips off his hands. He told me where the towels were stored in the room, and that I needed to lay a towel on his chest so that popsicle drips would go on the towel instead of on his hospital gown. Then we would hide the towel in the bottom of the dirty-linen hamper, so the nurse would never know what we'd been up to.

He had a really well-thought-out plan. A sneaky scheme! And this was a guy doped up on morphine? Somehow, he couldn't understand that he wasn't ready to eat yet. But the rest of the Popsicle Plan was flawless.

If only he had a daughter who would help him execute his schemes instead of hauling the nurse into the room!

Genius-Child Dance

Paul got back his ACT scores and they were good!
Maggie's swimming teacher stopped me after class and told me how rapidly she is improving and that her front crawl is getting really good!
And I read the reference letters that people wrote for one of Paul's college scholarship applications, and they make him sound every bit as wonderful as I know him to be!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

John 10:31

AGAIN they picked up stones to stone Jesus? AGAIN? Y'know, when you start looking at what was happening that year, no wonder the disciples weren't keen on Jesus' going to Jerusalem for Passover.

In September, at the Feast of Booths, somebody got excommunicated from the synagogue for daring to admit that Jesus healed his blindness. At the same festival, the Jews tried to kill Jesus by stoning.

A few months later, they tried to stone Him to death again at Hanukkah.

And then He went and raised Lazarus from the dead, as if they weren't ticked off at Him enough before.

He was really making a habit of going to church for the special, high, holy services of the church-year, and setting Himself up for assassination attempts. And then He went and did it again at Passover. Third time's a charm, they say. And the Jews accomplished their mission. Finally.

But so did the God of Compassion.


It's been about 19 years, I think, that our family has been eating dinner in the middle of the day instead of in the evening like normal Americans. I love it. It's better for your health. The food is digested during the day when your metabolism is higher and you're burning the calories. That means less weight gain and more nutrition absorption from the same food. Eating dinner mid-day and eating very light in the evening also seems to cut down on reflux problems and hot flashes overnight. There are other health benefits too, but I can't remember them off the top of my head right now (and my nutrition books are not with me while I'm away from home right now).

The problem is that most families cannot gather for dinner in the middle of the day. As we're looking at the need for Gary to obtain income from outside the congregation, dinner-time is probably something we'll lose. When the kids were little, those studies came out about the importance of the family eating together. With grade-schoolers and toddlers and a daddy who worked less than a block away from home, it was easy to have every meal together. As the kids grew and got jobs, it became nigh onto impossible to have a set meal-time that allowed everyone to gather daily. So we just had our dinner, and everybody who was available came to eat. But if Daddy is gone at dinner-time every day, I think we're going to have to adjust dinner-time to the evening time. It's just kind of sad to think of how that's going to mess with our days and our digestion, though. I don't want to have to make decisions about trade-offs between health and family togetherness. But I suppose it's something the whole rest of the world does, and we've just been spoiled the last couple of decades. Oh well.

Dying Congregations

We're always being told that "dying congregations" are a very bad thing. Congregations should be ALIVE, not dying, right?

But sometimes the demographics don't hardly allow for anything but a dying congregation. After all, people get old and ... die. In some rural areas, virtually every kid grows up and moves to the city where colleges and employment opportunities are available. In some rural areas, agricultural zoning laws really don't allow for newcomers to move in -- at least not in any numbers. And that's really not a bad thing either: some of the farmland has to be reserved for farming instead of for those new and massive subdivisions and outlying suburbs.

So what happens to congregations in those kinds of areas? The young people move away. New people don't arrive. Old people die. Of course, there are some folks who will drive 30 or 40 or 70 minutes to get to a church where there's liturgy and faithful preaching. But most people either can't or won't drive that far. Seems pretty clear to me that there are congregations that will die.

But those old folks who are living happily in the boonies still need a pastor. The hard thing, then, is what becomes of the pastor who ends up with no income. (Also, this is a compelling factor in why rural congregations in particular should be loathe to sell off their parsonages!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


All right, it's one thing when you hear a coyote or two howling at night. But now there's a pack of them. And they're getting closer to the house.

The cats are no longer begging to be out at night, hunting gophers and mice. They are content to be indoors during the dark. That's unusual.

When the boys and I were in Colorado a year ago for the Higher Things youth conference, we visited Pike's Peak. Andrew picked up a stick that was good and thick, with several sharp prongs at the end. He called it "Lionsbane" and intended to use it to beat off any wild and vicious animals we should encounter on our trip up the mountain. (I'm pretty sure this was all a big joke in his mind.) But then we did see a mountain lion, lazing on a rock in the sunshine, when we were walking around a little higher up the peak. Of course, at that point Lionsbane was in the car and wouldn't have been any help should the lion have bothered to saunter over our direction.

When I walked over to church in the dark the other day to set up the altar, I heard the coyote pack. They weren't as nearby as we've been hearing them recently. But it crossed my mind that Lionsbane may need to be stored near the front door. Maybe we need to change some habits, and begin to take care (and carry a club) when we go outdoors in the dark. Maybe we'll even have to learn to take out the trash during daylight hours.


I found this in an article by Dr Scaer, published in a 1980 Lutheran Synod Quarterly and reprinted in a 1983 Concordia Theological Quarterly.

Anfectungen are not to be regarded as simply problems or troubles disturbing human existence, capable of medical or psychiatric solution, but they are to be regarded as a direct and effectual Satanic working in a Christian's life meant to bring him to unbelief.

There's a lot more in the article I'd like to quote. But not now. I'm back at my folks visiting again, and really ought to get over to the hospital to see Dad. (Rachel and Katie, Grandpa had emergency surgery on Sunday night. I don't have your phone numbers here, and I don't know if Daddy called you.)


cash advance

Ah, success!

I saw that Pastor Esget's blog rated a "College Level." So I had to try it too. Being a homeschool mommy, my goal is to say whatever-I-have-to-say in a clear, down-home, easy-to-understand way. In other words, a Dummy's Book for whatever I'm discussing. I guess I'm on target so far with my blog. I hope I'm doing as well with the real-life stuff too.

Even though I know what big words mean, even though I like to use big words sometimes, I sure do appreciate being able to easily understand what's said to me. The more decrepit my mind gets, the more I need to try to follow the POINT instead of figuring out what's being said. It's such a brain-strain to try to converse with someone when the phone connection is bad and you're struggling to catch the words. (And this is how hard-of-hearing people spend their days, all day, every day!) So I appreciate a "Dummy's Level" explanation. Thus, that's how I talk. And write.

And the badge above declares me a success!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Suing God

I guess this post is going to reveal how out-of-the-loop I am on current events. The kids and I got behind on our current events newspaper and were reading the mid-October issue this evening. One of the stories was about a Nebraska state senator bringing a lawsuit against God, accusing Him of terrorist activity. The stupidity and ludicrousness of the lawsuit is almost funny -- except when you think about what's going to happen to this poor sinner when he dies. The thing I found most blasphemous in the reports is the plaintiff's statement that God "has manifested neither compassion nor remorse."

I merit not Thy favor, Lord,
Sin now upon me lieth.
Beneath my burden, self-abhorred,
To Thee my spirit crieth.
In all my grief this comforts me,
That Thou on sinners graciously,
Lord Jesus, hast compassion. (TLH 312)

Iron Giant

We watched an animated movie last night that came recommended through Backwoods Home Magazine. Because Claire Wolfe's review talked about the movie being a bit of a commentary on intrusive government, and because we were exhausted and looking for something "lite" last night, we were a little leery of the movie. We thought there might be too much depth, too much thinking, not enough laughing.

But we got the best of both worlds.

Iron Giant is a cute movie about a robot that lands here from outer space. It starts off a bit like Androcles and the Lion. One of the kids commented on the anti-gun theme through the movie (which is something that surprised us, given where we found the movie recommendation in the first place), but it wasn't altogether bad, with most of the anti-gun stuff being about offensive use of weapons. The fun part was that there were just a lot of laughs throughout the movie, and a lot of cute little spots that make you grin and say, "Awwwww!"

The review for my mom:
language: I think there was one bad word
sex: nope
violence: not really
setting: It is labeled sci-fi only because of the robot. Sci-fi is not generally anything I like, but this is not what I would call science fiction.
kid-friendliness: Andrew said it bored him when he saw it at Caseys' a few years ago, but he seemed to enjoy it last night. Maggie didn't care for it.

All in all, Iron Giant is one I could certainly watch again a time or two!

November 11

Thank God for the soldiers who defend us!