Saturday, November 24, 2007

Hallucinations -- Part 1

Pastor told us the story of when he was visiting a shut-in shortly before he died. The man asked "if he needed a beer." As it was mid-morning, and as he was there for a communion visit, Pastor politely turned down the offer. But it turned out that the shut-in was asking Pastor whether "that other guy" needed a beer. Pastor didn't argue about the non-existence of "the other guy" but just said that he was fine and that that other guy didn't want a beer right now.

Gary was once visiting Lu shortly before he died. Lu was happy to be "going home" soon. Now, what is a pastor normally going to think about a man in hospice who's talking about "going home"? Nope, it wasn't that. Lu thought he was back in the service in Europe, and that the war was over and that he was being shipped back home soon. Rather than arguing about the location and the occasion of the visit, Gary just ministered to the man where he was, telling him about Jesus and about the relief of "going home" and getting there safely because of God's grace.

Pastor also had mentioned in the past that it is possible that those on medications and those nearing death might be seeing things in the spiritual realm that the rest of us cannot see. Both Gary and Pastor had mentioned previously how useless it is to argue with people in this situation, and that the important thing is doing what needs to be done for them.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Will of God

Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust.
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You.
Psalm 143:8

So often I want to what God wants me to do, to "know the way in which I should walk." I want to know whether to take this job or that job or stay at home full-time with the kids. We want to know which college to choose to attend. We want to know which car to buy.

A few weeks ago, as my husband and I talked with a pastor about some big decisions that need to be made, Pastor said something about "walking by faith." And he said something I kinda sorta had heard in fuzzy ways before, but never as bluntly as he put it.

It's not about figuring out what The Right Thing To Do might be. Buying the Buick instead of the Honda isn't right or wrong. Going to the state university instead of the private college isn't right or wrong. We make the best decisions we can. And then the "walk by faith" is knowing that God will do good to us, and work for our salvation, in whatever choice we make.

Last night I noticed the parallelism in that verse of Psalm 143. To know the way in which I should walk IS to hear His lovingkindness. Taking the job or not isn't about "what God wants for me." Rather, taking the job -- or not taking it -- puts me in a position where I will be shown my sin annnd resultingly will have God's grace in Christ showered upon me annnd will serve my neighbor through whichever choice I make.

My Computer

My computer isn't exactly the speediest thing. It helped a lot when DSL became available in our area, so now we're not confined to a dial-up modem. But still, a 5-year-old computer that wasn't anywhere near state-of-the-art when we bought it,... well, it's not the speediest thing.

Today my son-in-law Nathan and my son Philip sped me up. My Norton anti-virus was about to expire. So Nathan deleted all my memory-hogging Norton programs and downloaded AVG and Zone-Alarm. Philip snagged some extra RAM from his old computer that's destined for the dumpster, and he installed that to quintuple my memory. (Oh, if only they could increase the memory in my brain that easily!) Nathan also said that my start-up menu has got gazillions of programs loading up and running in the background. Gary took care of a lot of those for me a few years ago, but Nathan knows of more that can be terminated! So he's going to email me a list of programs to disable when he gets home from the holidays.

I can't believe the difference it has made! Eighteen months ago, I would change a load of laundry while I was waiting for a new window to open on the computer. A week ago, I would set the plates on the table while waiting for a window to open, or some other activity that would use time but take less than a minute. Now ... oh my goodness! ... I can click on buttons on the computer, and the computer responds almost instantaneously. It's mega-cool!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Church last night here. Church this morning in Rockford. Besides our family, ten people at each place. "Even so, Lord, quickly come to Thy final harvest-home. Gather Thou Thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin."

Before church this morning, as we were putting the turkey in to roast, we managed TWICE to spill turkey blood and juices all over different parts of the kitchen counters, walls, and floor. That left us with some mopping to take care of when we got home.

All the kids were here, so that made 10 of us for dinner. Nothing surprising, just the delicious regular feast. (Is "delicious regular feast" an oxymoron?? I don't think so. We're spoiled.) Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, herb bread, corn, sweet potatoes, gelled cranberries, wine (from a bottle! not a box), and pie. We had a couple of bushels of awesome Hubbard squash given to us this year, so the pie was not technically pumpkin. One poor child was freaked out yesterday by the idea of squash pie. But she got told a thing or two, and by the time it was served up today, I think she forgot, and it was as delicious as any pumpkin pie she ever ate.

Katie and Nathan brought their kitten, unwilling to leave him alone at home for so many days. Our two cats have been shockingly agreeable about this interloper. Our kitten and their kitten even seem to be getting to enjoy each other a bit. The middle-aged cat is probably being pacified by the odors and occasional tastes of turkey. Another dirty plate with turkey bits and gravy? "Here, kitty kitty kitty!"

Lots of talking and joking around. Lots of watching kitty interactions. Lots of computer talk among those who understand such things (not me). Lots of theological talk. Some sorting through books and shelves for what girls might want to take with them for their bookshelves and my future grandkids. Lots of catching up and telling stories. Lots of digesting and not giving our tummies enough time to rest before we began refilling them again. Turned out to be a much better day than the 6:30 a.m. harbingers indicated.

I like my family.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Three Trips to Town

I deliver Shoppers, the bi-weekly local ad-papers. Today is the day before Thanksgiving. I expected the papers to be huge today. But, c'mon... when it takes three trips to town because they're that big and they wouldn't fit in the van in one or two loads? Wow.

In delivering those sale-ads, I have hereby done my duty to the economy, and I fully intend to hide in my house on Friday! Y'all have "fun" with the crowds out in the malls and the big-box stores in a couple of days.

Decorating Scheme

Kristi has a quote on her blog about books. Even if nobody else clicks on that link, my eldest daughter had better check it out!!! And her husband will laugh at the quote, I'm sure. And her father will nod in commiseration.

On Changing the Words

Father Hollywood posted on Weedon's blog about ESV. I thought it was a good point, whether one is talking about improvements to a Bible translation, the catechism, or the hymnal.

He writes:
It has really hurt the cause of biblical literacy when the KJV ceased being a nearly-universal standard in the English-speaking world. As much as I personally like the ESV, I think it's just one more version in the smorgasbord that adds, rather than helps, the problem of a multiplicity of versions.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Baseball Games and Handicapped Kids

An article by Dan Shaughnessy appeared a month ago (10-26-07) about Clint Hurdle, the manager of the Rockies, and their huge loss in the first game of the World Series. The Hurdles have a daughter with a genetic disorder. The article contrasted the weightiness of losing the game big-time to the challenges of life with a special-needs child. Following is an excerpt:

He knows this is only baseball. He knows that on a daily basis, his wife is the one with the stressful, high-pressure job. The caretaker of a child with Madison's symptoms doesn't get a lot of free time to read the newspaper or go out for lunch with the other moms. It's nonstop vigilance and exhaustion. But the rewards can be great.

"It's like many things in life," said Hurdle. "You look for good, you're going to find good; you look for bad, you're going to find bad. There's a period where you need to get through the grieving, the challenges, that big picture of the unknown, and then, you know, it's kind of like, 'How do you eat an elephant?' One bite at a time. With Maddie, it's one day at a time."

One day at a time. With no promise or guarantee that it will ever get better. Just great joy in the smallest of triumphs.

Monday, November 19, 2007

John 11:44

And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Loose him, and let him go."

Jesus made Lazarus come alive again. But when he was raised, he was still bound in the graveclothes. Jesus said Lazarus needed to be loosed and set free.

Is this not also a picture of baptism and absolution? Jesus raises us up from the death of sin. He makes us alive. But we are still wrapped up in the sinful flesh from which we need to be set free. So Jesus tells His apostles and pastors,

"What ye shall bind, that bound shall be.
What ye shall loose, that shall be free.
Unto My Church the keys are given
to ope and close the gates of heaven.
When ministers lay on their hands
absolved by Christ the sinner stands." (TLH 331)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Did You Cover Everything???

My friend Cheryl has an article on natural learning. She gives an example like unto matters which all homeschool moms have experienced (but is so good to reminded of by someone who doesn't live in my house!).

In one paragraph she commented on the oft-heard query by non-homeschoolers: "How do you know you've covered everything they need to be taught?" Assuming that the conventional schools actually are the arbiter of "everything that needs to be covered" (which is certainly a debatable point!), then my question is:

"How do you know the students have retained even half of what you've taught them? And what good does it do to cover the material if the students didn't absorb it?"

ADHD Kid Goes to College

Learning Outside the Lines is excellent reading for kids with learning disabilities who are headed off to college. The subtitle is "Two Ivy League Students with Learning Disabilities and ADHD Give You the Tools for Academic Success and Education Revolution." The authors' experience and advice is full of helpful advice that left-brain students might find anathema. But for those who are bright and learn well -- but not in the "school way" -- this book will help them cope with the institutional environment and make the most of their college experience. It has practical, nitty-gritty advice on how to decide which assignments can receive the short-shrift, different methods of cramming before tests, and how to highlight passages in a text.

Frugal on the Soap

The people who make shower liners seem to put the built-in shelf for the soap in a place where the water is pounding on the bar of soap during a person's shower. Now, why would they do that? Are they in cahoots with the soap manufacturers? (I smell a conspiracy!!)

Using a "soap holster" sure does slow down how fast the soap melts! And they cost something like a whoppin' three bucks at K-Mart.


Here, we're on the 26th Sunday after Trinity. We skipped a couple of Sundays at Michaelmas, just like we always used to. But I've noticed most of the congregations on the one-year pericope series from LSB just plowed right through and are still on the 24th Sunday.

I'm used to thinking that the last Sunday in the church year is the parable of the ten virgins and that we sing Wake, Awake. I'm used to the next-to-last Sunday being the judgment at the end of the world (end of Mt 25) and that we sing The Day Is Surely Drawing Near. But I get the impression that not a lot of y'all did the "next-to-last Sunday" today. So then what happens to the clear and obvious teaching that hell really does exist? Do we just skip that now? I mean, really, how often will we be using ALL the Sundays after Trinity?

Manners and Caller-ID

It catches me off-guard when I call someone and they know who I am before I introduce myself. But that's okay.

What's not okay is the people who don't bother to introduce themselves. "Hi, it's me" is not enough. It's not enough to just launch into your message. Not everyone has caller-ID. Take the three seconds to tell your name to the person you're calling or to his answering machine.

And when it's not your habit to say your name at the start of every single phone call you make, then for heaven's sake, don't get huffy when the person doesn't call you back. Maybe the callee has no idea who the caller was.

Class Wish-List

Jane tagged me a while ago, and I've been tardy about responding. Now there's probably nobody left to tag because the meme has been making its rounds. So here's the plan, if you want to play, consider yourself tagged. (Boy, I just take the lazy gal's way out way too often, don't I?)

According to the original poster, the rules for this meme are: "Devise a list of 5-10 courses you would take to fix your life. It’s more fun to be in classes with friends, so include one class from the person who tagged you that you’d also like to take. Tag five." Like Barbara said, I'm not sure about these classes being "fix-its." But they are things I'd like to study.

1. Piano and organ. I learned some piano when I was younger, but I want to spend time on being good at it. And I'd like to be able to transfer that over to organ too.

2. Business management. Not about running the business and providing a good service and keeping accounts. But hoop-jumping. All the stuff a person would need to know to comply with the burdensome government regulations: employing minors, abiding by safety regulations, paying complicated taxes, properly labeling food items, liability insurance, kitchen inspections, etc.

3. Alternative health measures. Particularly herbology. But also massage and acupressure.

4. Knitting. Last winter I realized that every chilly breeze across my neck caused painful knots in my back. Finally I wised up and knitted myself a pretty scarf. When Nathan saw me knitting, he was shocked. "What are YOU doing knitting??" Oh, I loved it! The clack of those wooden needles. The restfulness. I would like to knit more. But all I can do are potholders and scarves and other straight stitches.

5. Language. German would be my first choice. But I'd like to be fluent in Greek and ideally learn some Latin too. Spanish would be nice, as far as communicating with the people around me. But German is most important: I want to read Gerhardt and Heermann and Luther hymns and know what they actually say!

6. Photography. I like pictures. And I'm so bad at taking them. With digital cameras, there's not the huge cost-factor of learning. This is the one I'd like to take with Jane (who tagged me) because she takes a lot of very nice pictures, so she could give me pointers!

7. Decorating and fashion. I don't do pretty. I have no sense of how to decorate a house, how to put flowers in a yard, how to put on make-up or dress stylishly. I can recognize what's pretty when I see it. But I have no clue whatsoever of how to make anything pretty. I'm beginning to wish I could do that.

Looking at that list, I guess I could actually make a case (convoluted though it might be) that the first five would in some small way "fix my life." But the last two would definitely be for pleasure only.