Saturday, August 30, 2008

Why I Don't Want a Maid

My husband teases that I would have to clean before a maid came to clean. I wouldn't, though. At least not in the way that he means.

Today I have been cleaning. All day I've been working, and it looks like I've accomplished next to nothing. "Cleaning" involved getting the massive amount of produce on the kitchen counter turned into an all-veggie lunch. "Cleaning" involved filing insurance papers, paying bills, and making notes of various things. "Cleaning" involved lots of picking up things that don't have a proper place, and deciding to put them in the garbage or where their Proper Place was going to be. "Cleaning" involved checking with the kids about what projects they were in the midst of, and which could be taken down and put away.

Maids can't do any of that.
Maids dust and vacuum and mop and clean toilets.

Once I get the hard part of cleaning done --the deciding part-- wielding the vacuum or the broom or the swiffer cloths is no big deal. It doesn't take thought; it goes quickly; and I can set the minions children to torturous labor helping.

Maids have the easy part. I don't want to pay somebody else to do the easy part.

Our God Is Not a Contritionist

So often we hear that we forgive those who are sorry. We forgive those who repent. It seems a logical corollary to the idea that a pastor would "withhold forgiveness from the unrepentant, as long as they do not repent." But forgiveness is not parceled out based on the sinner's repentance.

Yesterday's Bible story was about the golden calf (Exodus 32). Pastor pointed out that, on the mountain, God threatened the punishment the Israelites deserved. Moses interceded for his people and reminded God of His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Lord reiterated that He would be faithful to His promise, that He would forgive His people. But what was happening at that moment? Were the people repenting? Were they saying how sorry they were that they'd made this idol? Were they putting the idol out of their midst and making sacrifices to the true God?

Nope. They were still reveling in their sin.

And yet, we see God's heart of love and mercy that yearns for them even while they are still despising Him. His love for us is because of what's in Him, not because of our sorrow over sin. And that's good to know.


If a person does something well (like make bread, or sew a dress, or play trumpet) and recognizes his/her own skill, and appreciates the results (such as beautiful taste/clothing/music/etc), does that indicate a lack of humility? Is it possible to be pleased with something you have done and even compliment your own work, with no more pride or self-congratulations than if you were complimenting your sister or your neighbor or your pal on something nice they had accomplished?

This musing came about when I realized I had just commented on the stupendous taste of something I'd made, ... and then realized that such a comment must sound pretty self-promoting and arrogant to other people.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Gary's got some pictures over on his blog.

Last night, we went out to eat at The Fox and the Hound. When somebody asked yesterday afternoon what time our reservations were, I realized how long it had been since we'd dined at such a nice restaurant: I don't think we made reservations since we moved away from Wautoma. It was a lovely evening --a date for just the two of us!-- that started with lumber-shopping at Menards (okay, okay, that was the practical part!) and ended with awesome food in a beautiful atmosphere.

Reminder to self:
Gotta try two of the drinks on the menu. (We seldom drink liquor when we go out to eat. Too expensive. Much cheaper to have those treats at home. And then you don't have to worry about driving either.) An ice-cream drink was orange juice with peach schnapps and vanilla ice cream. That sounds like something that definitely should be taste-tested. Likewise, a winter drink: hot apple cider with peach schnapps and Capt Morgan spiced rum.


What a perfect day to have been stuck in the car, doing errands, giving Andrew practice driving on the interstate. The radio was on all morning (incidentally driving Maggie nuts).

Palin sounds perfect in so many ways. When I heard Fred Thompson thought McCain made a great choice, that was thrilling. What I heard her say in this morning's speech was encouraging. What I heard from the talk-show callers was exciting.

But I still can't get over the fact that she has a little baby who should still be nursing and not even on solids yet, and the mommy is out there with a career. When I heard "mom of five" I figured this was a woman who had to be organized, who wouldn't put up with guff, and who would know that disagreements can't always be solved by just talking nice. But we're not talking "mom of five" where the youngest is age 10 or 15. We're talking about somebody who should be nursing and changing diapers. Annnnd we're talking about the mom of a little boy with Down Syndrome, a little boy who will need his mom's attention and help and love longer and more intensely than most kids.

No matter how perfect a choice Palin is for McCain and for the country, I can't help but wonder whether her son will be sacrificed "for the greater good." And all us conservatives are thrilled about it.

Talk about mixed feelings!


"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 16)

I don't know about you, but when I hear "blessed are you," my inclination is to think it's a pat on the back, a "good for you!" But let's pretend that we like to diagram sentences. What does that verse actually say?

Look at the main clause. We don't usually put the adjective first. We usually have the subject, then the linking verb, then the predicate-adjective. So let's flip the word-order of the first three words.

Now look at the subordinate clause: FOR flesh and blood.... "For" is like "because." What if we put the subordinate clause first in the sentence?

Isn't this what it says?
-- Because My Father has revealed to you that I am the Christ, you are blessed.

Now, I don't know about you, but for me, this makes it oodles easier to see that "blessed are you" isn't praise from God, but rather it's all about the wonnnder that we have received from God His good gifts (trust in Him, dependence on Him, knowing that Jesus is the one whom He has sent to save us) and these gifts HE gives is what has blessed me.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Paul's Move (3)

Teigen Hall, the boys' dorm

Looking out from Paul's room, across campus toward Old Main, and then the other direction

I don't know what they call this at Bethany, but at U of I, it would be called the Quad. It's the big pretty outdoor area in the center of campus.

The study area on the main floor of the library. The library is at the top of the ridge, overlooking the Deep Valley. It's a beautiful campus!

The communications building, where a LOT of Paul's classes will be held... until the new building is finished in summer of 2010. The current communications building is a short block from his dorm, about the same distance away as the cafeteria.

Paul's Move (2)

This is probably boring to most people who aren't closely related to me. But for their sakes....

Paul's room:

These are pictures of the lounge for their floor:

Paul's Move (1)

Last Friday we loaded up the van. Not too bad a load. It is amazing to me, after moving a whole houseful of stuff twice, to remember what it's like to move a single person who doesn't even need furniture. Look at this picture. That's it. That's all there is to it!

It's a six-hour drive to Mankato. We spent Friday evening with Glenda and her family, eating awesome food (!!!) including mouth-watering pie, chatting with friends and getting to know them better, and even discovering that her kids are Playmobile-fans every bit as much as my kids.

"100" -- More Neighbors' Gardens

72. I loved growing red and white IMPATIENS at the old house in what used to be the sandbox. Pink and purple impatiens is okay (just like pink petunias), but the red and white ones are lovely!

73. There weren't many HYDRANGEA bushes where we used to live. We had a couple of them next to the house in Wautoma, but they seemed scarce where we recently came from. But boy oh boy, they're all over the place here! When we moved to Wautoma, I didn't know what the bush was, but Gary told me that he knew the "snowball bush."

74. Why is it that wild roses bloom in mid- to late-June, but everybody around here has ROSES blooming now in late August? What happened with the domestication of roses that it so drastically changed the blooming season?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Rosie caught a mouse!

Athena's not sure what she thinks of this. She attacked Rosie's tail during her play with the prey. Athena went tearing around the yard like as if she were chasing something too. And when Rosie wouldn't eat all her mousie, Athena refused to finish it. The balance of the world is upset in the eyes of Miss Huntress-Supreme because...

Rosie caught a mouse!

List of Liturgical Congregations

I don't know if it's the time of year, or what, but there have been lots of questions recently about the temporary unavailability of the listing of liturgical Lutheran congregations.

It will be back. The webmaster has been short of time recently. He spent months working a full-time job (with a 2.5-hour daily commute) alongside being a pastor. Then there was a move, and major re-adjustments for his family. Following that, he has been spending a huge number of hours moving dirt with a hand-shovel, sanding boards, staining deck, and other tasks necessary to making our backyard usable into something that's not a dump. Furthermore, he spends 9 hours a day staring at a computer screen at work; it's not easy to come home and sit down to more screen-time.

Unfortunately, keeping up with changes to the list can be difficult, especially when pastors do not report changes, or report lots of minor changes. The plan is for the list to be back. But the poor fellow needs to finish dealing with his messy backyard before he can get to the intense computer tasks. Please have patience, and we'll try to remember to announce when the list is up and running again.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First Day of School

Some people have a tradition of taking a picture of the kids on their first day of school each year. Well, Paul, who will be voting in his first presidential election this fall, had his "First Day of School EVER" picture taken on move-in day last Saturday. In the red shirt is Andy, his RA. The Gullixsons, in the blue shirts, are the RDs (in essence, the house-mother and -father).

Good Intentions

Yesterday's story was Exodus 24. The Israelites had just gotten the Law from God, including the Ten Commandments. They responded with, "All that the Lord has spoken, we will do!"

Yeah. Right.

Pastor pointed out what happened after the people's well-intentioned vow, made sincerely, out of trust and faith in the one true God. In verse 4, Moses made an altar. In verse 7, Moses sprinkled blood upon the people.

Likewise, what's today's story, from the very next chapter? After God's people promise to do all that He has said, God gives them the tabernacle and the altar and the mercy seat.

He knew them better than they knew themselves.
He knew that sacrificial atonement was the only way.
Obedience wasn't going to happen.

We Give Thee But Thine Own

Today's story was Exodus 25, the instructions from the Lord for building the ark of the covenant in the tabernacle. Moses was to invite the people to bring their gold, silver, bronze, fine linens, and other items which were prescribed by God for usage in the tabernacle.

These people were slaves. These people had been in bondage. These people were not wealthy. BUT just before leaving Exodus, God had told them to go to their neighbors, ask for gold, and God would cause the Egyptians to just simply hand it over. So suddenly, after probably not having too much, the Israelites had riches!

They didn't hang onto it. When God said they could bring it for the building of the tabernacle, they DID. Eventually, Moses even had to tell them to knock it off and stop bringing so much because the artisans had enough materials.

We SAY we believe that we are giving God what He has first given to us. But do we really believe it? Don't we really believe it's ours, and we're pretty good Joes to be giving our offerings? When you look at those Israelites who gave their treasures for the tabernacle, it is SO obvious that they were only giving to God what He had given to them so that they could then give it back to Him. It should be that obvious about our wealth too. But it's not.

The Problem with Matins

When things started falling apart last September, and bedtimes got messed up, and the parents were talking and worrying, our schedule did not fare too well. When Gary got the secular job and was no longer home in the evenings, the schedule took another hit. Then we started house-hunting and packing and moving and unpacking, and all semblance of a schedule (even meal-time) was shot to pieces.

Now I'm unpacked. Now it's time for the start of a fresh new schoolyear. Now it's time to get back to a schedule ... at least a schedule of mealtime, prayers, and bedtime, but probably not a rigid schedule of math and spelling from 9:25 to 10:40 daily. If we usually go to Matins each day at church, and if we usually go to chapel each afternoon at church, that will definitely provide some outside force for a schedule.

But the thing I worry about is what happens when there's no school and thus no prayer services, like, say, during Christmas break or on Saturdays, or next summer for three months straight. Will we just skip prayers? Will we become lazy as to providing our own schedule and our own discipline, so that when the outside discipline isn't there, we ain't got none left? I wonder how we will handle that.

"100" -- Trees

69. A little OAK tree.

70. Here's a close-up picture of the leaves of a tree. This looks just like the one I found growing as a weed in my garden about 10 years ago. Rather than pulling it out or plowing it under, we chose to transplant it. This is how much it's grown: about 25' tall in a decade.

It took me a long long time to figure out whether it was a quaking aspen or a cottonwood, both of which are members of the poplar genus. But finally I figured out that it is a COTTONWOOD.

71. The SUMACs have large compound leaves and "drupes" of berries. Sumac is often noticeable along the interstates in autumn. The shrubs are short and spreading, often with bright red leaflets and bright red/orange bundles of berries. Sumac is in the same family as poison ivy. Some species of sumac have edible berries. I think it's interesting how these heavy berry-clusters can stand up instead of hang from the branch. This sumac appears to be a staghorn sumac, but I didn't take a good enough (i.e, close enough) look to be sure.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Kids and I accomplished:
Trip to town for Matins and mailing a package of left-behind items to Paul. Had Larry over to look at the electric lines for the stove's new vent. Washed almost all the bed linens and towels, as well as several loads of regular laundry, hanging it all on the line outside. Cleaned most of the floors in the house. Helped Andrew to dismantle the bunk bed and take it downstairs. Bought gas and then used it to mow most of the lawn. Dead-headed the snap-dragons with Maggie. Ate three sit-down meals together (quicky home-mades though they be). Phone calls to arrange for more beef for the freezer. Dug out some info on herbal remedies for a sick kid, and passed along what I knew. Biked to town (PE class!) for chapel and mailing another package, this one to the sick kid.

Started the bread to soaking, but didn't get around to making it yet. Cooked the eggs for deviled eggs which Gary is planning to take to the hors d'ouvres lunch at work tomorrow, but didn't get the eggs done yet either. Didn't make that second batch of soap. Didn't spend any time working on the next volume of Fabrizius's stuff (which I wanted to print out as my scribble-copy on Wednesday). Don't have the sheets back on the beds yet. Don't have Paul's bed put back together after the bed re-arranging. Didn't get around to making a to-do list for Maggie which she so desperately needs AND wants.

What I didn't get done today was SO much. But when I look at the items crossed off the to-do list on the refrigerator, it seems like we did a lot. No wonder we didn't have time for math or reading today. It was cool, though, to watch the honey bees opening the snapdragons to crawl inside and do their nectar/pollination thing!

Tractor Pun

Driving Paul to college last Friday, we happened to see a road sign for "WARNING: Deer Crossing."

Sitting between the road sign and the cornfield next to it, was an orange tractor (aka an Allis-Chalmers).  I laughed!

(For those of you who need an explanation, an Allis-Chalmers is NOT a Deere.)
And then I laughed at myself. Because, really, how many people would've been amused by this? Probably the kind of people (like me!) who enjoyed Beer for My Horses.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sauce for Cucumbers

Kathy asked for the recipe. Recipe? I'm supposed to have a recipe???

Well, for the sake of enzymes and the lacto-fermentation and all that jazz, I do start with homemade mayonnaise. Y'know, the kind with raw egg that the government warns us not to eat? The kind that will kill you? Well, that's what I make. Because this stuff will kill you, and we eat it, obviously we must be zombies or mummies or ghosts or something. But if you wish to remain alive and non-zombie-like, you can certainly use store-bought mayo or Miracle Whip. You know, the stuff that will just make you fat and clog up your arteries. But it won't kill you with the rawness of the eeeevil eggs.

1 raw egg (from a happy chicken)
1 raw egg yolk (from a happy chicken)
teaspoon of prepared mustard
fat pinch of salt
3/4 ounce whey (made from raw milk gone sour)
1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice
Put ingredients in blender and whip 'em up for a few seconds.
Measure 3/4 cup raw, extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil into measuring cup. Add another tablespoon or two of raw, cold-pressed flaxseed oil. With blender running on high, slowly (over the course of 80-100 seconds) dribble/pour oil into the egg mixture. Mayo will have a firmer consistency if you let it sit out at room temperature for 5-7 hours before refrigerating.

Now, on to the sauce I make for cucumbers.
Uh, well, uh,....
it depends on how many cucumbers I have to use up. Let's say 3-4 cukes about 6" each. You can throw in a very small, thinly sliced onion too. I'd probably start with about
1/4 or 1/3 cup mayo (or Miracle Whip if your husband insists...),
and stir in about 1 or 1.5 tablespoons of sugar,
1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
And then other spices. I like adding about
1/2 or 1 teaspoon of Emeril's Essence OR
1/8 teaspoon cayenne.
Also maybe some black pepper
and some garlic powder or real-live minced garlic.

After this sauce sits on the sliced cucumbers and flavors them, the leftover mayo sauce diluted with cucumber juice will make a fantastic (but thinner) sauce to drizzle over sliced tomatoes, or to dip your deli-meat sandwiches in, or to make a fake gyro.