Thursday, June 12, 2008


Last time I bought shoes, I discovered that Birkenstock makes a high-arch variety. There's not much choice in type of sandal: just the Arizona and the Florida styles. The store where I shopped had the shoes available in only one color. The high-arch sandals are a little more expensive than regular Birkenstocks. The salesman told me that most people don't need (and shouldn't get) the ultra-high arches. I did anyway.

And now I have happy feet. Due to a very wet incident in the backyard with a hose recently, I ended up wearing a pair of old Birkenstocks for a day while my current pair dried. The old ones seem so very flat in comparison. And although my feet were not pained to be wearing them, I could definitely tell the difference in comfort level.

So for those of you who are Birkie-lovers in an attempt to avoid buying orthotic devices -- as opposed to y'all who love your Birkenstocks just because they're so darn comfortable -- you might want to investigate the "high arch footbed" which the company says is their "highest, most aggressive arch support."


I was looking at the 150th-anniversary book of my home congregation. My brother, my sister, my uncle, and I were ALL smack-dab in the center of the back row in our confirmation pictures. My grandpa was the tall one in the pictures of the building committee for the congregation. My grandma was one of the tallest ones in the pictures of the ladies' groups. I guess there's no denying that there's some genes at work there! (Of course, Dad's side of the family ain't exactly short either!)

On top of that, my husband noticed something today. We're doing some time-consuming eagle-watching. (Eaglets are ready to make their first flights in the next day or so.) My uncle and I were both squatting in the exact same position -- the same position, incidentally, in which Philip squats (not sits!) on his chair when he uses the computer. Genes at work there too?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Left toTheir Own Devices

Family reunion. The grown-up cousins enjoying each other's company. The little cousins and second-cousins off playing and having a blast. Lots of games. Lots of talking. LOTS of laughing. Not as much "parenting" going on as normal.

So after lunch, the question is, "Mom, can I go swimming now?"

"Sooooo, when was the last time you brushed your teeth?" (Mothers will understand that that was a HINT and not a genuine question.)

"After breakfast."

For some reason, although I don't know what, I felt the needed to check on the veracity of this statement. So with a little bit of facetiousness, I asked, "After breakfast which day?"



After my eyes about popped out, I suggested that maybe, just maybe, she miiiight want to brush her teeth BEFORE going swimming.

And then my sister-in-law tells me that a cousin was reeeeeal helpful in this regard. Out in the lake, playing around the "Maypole," Tim tells the group of girls that they need to remember to brush their teeth (even if the parents aren't micro-managing them) because, if they don't, their teeth will get this fuzzy, soft feeling from all that plaque and nastiness. Girls, being girls, decided that maybe, just maybe, FUZZY teeth would feel kinda cool. Maybe they shouldn't brush so they can get that velvety feel on their teeth.

And then parents come along and interfere with their experiment. Harrrumph!

Psalm 78:34

When He slew them,
then they sought Him.
And they returned and sought earnestly for God.
Then they remembered that God was their Rock,
and the Most High God their Redeemer.

Psalm 78 is long. Seventy-two verses long. More than two whole pages in my Bible. Usually when we get to Psalm 78 in daily prayers, I end up reading a portion, or skimming through it pretty quickly. I'm bad. My attention is too short. It's easier for me to pray those 8-verse psalms or even those 16-verse psalms. But two whole long pages? My mind wanders.

This past Sunday, though, we were unable to attend church. I had no laundry to do. No dishes to do. I had time to say my prayers without rushing through a very long psalm. The psalm goes through the things God did for Israel, and how they rejected them. But He was faithful and worked wonders for them. And they rejected Him. So He became angry, but still He was merciful and rescued them. And after a while they spit in His face yet again. This is basically the way life worked through all the history of the children of Israel. And individual Christians can identify with that altogether too well.

But then we get halfway through this recitation of the cycling between unbelief and dependence upon Him and then unbelief again, and Asaph points out very very bluntly, "When He slew them, then they sought Him." It's almost like we cannot seek Him when things are going well. We should! But we tend not to. Thus the need for the curse of the fall, that we struggle with hard work and difficulty in raising kids and coping with earthquakes and floods. Thus God had to give over the Israelites to their sinful desires (for just one little example, to be like the other nations surrounding them) so that they would learn experientially exactly what their desires would garner them.

Pastor talks about the theology of the cross. Luther writes about the theology of the cross. The theology of the cross is obvious through much of Paul's writings. But this one verse really seems to express it in a nutshell: we have no use for Him until He slays us, and then we remember our Rock and our Redeemer.

I've got the quote in at least three different books, but I have access to none of them this week -- the quote from Luther about God's killing to make alive, God's bringing through hell to give heaven, God's bringing us low to raise us up. Yup, that quote is the extended version of these two verses in Psalm 78. I wish I could include the quote; I should probably memorize it. Somewhere in between laundry loads....

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


My finger hurts. (Waaah waaaah waaaah.)
For a few years I was struggling with a rash on my right hand that hurt and would get so bad that it would bleed. In the last few months I got it under control. I wasn't sure whether it was the Burt's Bees lotion or the Melaleuca Renew lotion or the Palmolive dish soap or the escape from fungus-house. But doing dishes twice (TWICE... only twice!) away on vacation, with soap that's not Palmolive (and what we have here isn't even Dawn!) and the pain is back, the itch is back, the welts are back.

I think the guys are doing the dishes for the rest of this week.
I think I'm going to be freely using my bottle of Renew.
And I think Palmolive just gained one very loyal customer.

Psalm 73

Asaph is having a hard time with the way it seems life plays out. The unbelievers prosper. They have wealth. They have comfort. They oppress the Christians. They sass God. It is just plain useless to be a Christian.

Then Asaph admits that if he were to say such things, it would be untrue and it would scandalize God's children. But he just doesn't get it! He doesn't see how it can NOT be true. Then he goes into the sanctuary of God and figures it out; he sees what will be the end of the wicked.

And that is how Asaph's heart was grieved and how his mind was vexed -- his seeing with his eyeballs (and his senses and his logic) what was going on with the unbelievers and the righteous.

I was foolish and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.
NEVERTHELESS I am continually with You,
You hold me by my right hand;
You will guide me with Your counsel;
and afterward receive me to glory.

Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none on earth I desire but You.
My heart and my flesh fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever

Sometimes it can be comforting to see that those great saints of the past were as lousy sinners as I. If they can be as unbelieving as Asaph (in other words, if I am as unbelieving and chafing as Asaph was being), we still see that God is faithful to us, turns us around, hangs onto us, and gives us Himself who/which is our only real desire.

God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!