Saturday, November 15, 2008

Today's Laugh

Sean told me once-upon-a-long-time-ago that his favorite part of my blog was the jokes, and he said I needed more jokes. With yet another grey day "dawning" upon us ("Dawn? Really? Out there? I guess there must be sun behind those clouds somewhere, because the darkness is lighter than it was at 4am.") I'm thinking that maybe I need some jokes. For the last 15 months, it's been hard to laugh or find joy in things. Once upon a time, when Paul McCain was assistant to Al Barry, he would regularly and frequently send out jokes to a huge group of pastors. I figure he probably did a lot to save money for the health plans, with all the laughing over the jokes he emailed. Maybe I need some jokes now.

So here's what Kathy posted to our homeschool email list yesterday:

I LOVE MY JOB . . . . .

The letter-writer is a commercial saturation diver for Global Divers in Louisiana. He performs underwater repairs on offshore drilling rigs. Below is an E-mail he sent to his sister. She then sent it to radio station 103.2 on FM dial in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, who was sponsoring a worst-job-experience contest. Needless to say, she won.

Hi Sue,
Just another note from your bottom-dwelling brother. Last week I had a bad day at the office. I know you've been feeling down lately at work, so I thought I would share my dilemma with you to make you realize it's not so bad after all. Before I can tell you what happened to me, I first must bore you with a few technicalities of my job. As you know, my office lies at the bottom of the sea. I wear a suit to the office. It's a wet suit. This time of year the water is quite cool. So what we do to keep warm is this: We have a diesel powered industrial water heater. This $20,000 piece of equipment sucks the water out of the sea. It heats it to a delightful temperature. It then pumps it down to the diver through a garden hose, which is taped to the air hose. Now this sounds like a darn good plan, and I've used it several times with no complaints. What I do, when I get to the bottom and start working, is take the hose and stuff it down the back of my wet suit. This floods my whole suit with warm water. It's like working in a Jacuzzi. Everything was going well until all of a sudden, my butt started to itch. So, of course, I scratched it. This only made things worse. Within a few seconds my butt started to burn. I pulled the hose out from my back, but the damage was done. In agony I realized what had happened. The hot water machine had sucked up a jellyfish and pumped it into my suit. Now, since I don't have any hair on my back, the jellyfish couldn't stick to it. However, the crack of my butt was not as fortunate. When I scratched what I thought was an itch, I was actually grinding the jellyfish into the crack of my butt. I informed the dive supervisor of my dilemma over the communicator. His instructions were unclear due to the fact that he, along with five other divers, were all laughing hysterically. Needless to say I aborted the dive. I was instructed to make three agonizing in-water decompression stops totaling thirty-five minutes before I could reach the surface to begin my chamber dry decompression. When I arrived at the surface, I was wearing nothing but my brass helmet. As I climbed out of the water, the medic, with tears of laughter running down his face, handed me a tube of cream and told me to rub it on my butt as soon as I got in the chamber. The cream put the fire out, but I couldn't poop for two days because my butt was swollen shut. So, next time you're having a bad day at work, think about how much worse it would be if you had a jellyfish shoved up your butt. Now repeat to yourself, "I love my job, I love my job, I love my job." Now whenever you have a bad day, ask yourself, is this a jellyfish bad day?

Miss Potter

Rachel and Katie and I watched a chick-flick together last weekend. It told the story of Beatrix Potter, and how her books were published, and how she finally fell in love when her mother had long since given up hope of marrying off the daughter. This movie was jam-packed with places to giggle, and full of adorable drawings of Peter and Benjamin and Jemima. The movie showed Beatrix's vivid imagination, and how she was willing to live her life without succumbing to being a conformist. There was romance.

But I think the part I liked best was the scenery in England. The views of the lake district and the surrounding countryside were breath-taking. In one particular scene, I could almost SEE Nancy and Peggy and the Swallows and their sailboats. Oh, it gave me the shivers. The people who produced Miss Potter should considering producing a few Swallows and Amazons movies too.

By the way, when we started collecting Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons stories, they were hard to find. They weren't published in the USA. You could buy them used. Or you could get a traveler to buy one for you in Canada or England. Finding the books through inter-library loan was plenty difficult too. And now, they've grown in popularity so much that you could buy the whole set used for about $20-25 online.

HIGH Heels

Gary's socks were full of holes, so we went shopping Friday night to get a couple of exciting items. While in Penneys, we noticed that some jeans were on sale. Now, it just so happens that my hand-me-downs from my sister (which fit well when I'd lost so much weight from stress last year) are getting a little too snug again. That leaves me with two pairs of jeans that fit, one of which is beginning to get worn-out spots. No holes yet, but they aren't far off. I didn't figure there'd be ultra-talls in the store -- those are usually available just in the catalog.

But now, with all those girls out there wearing unbelievably high heels, ...
hee hee hee ...
the clothing manufacturers are making the jeans LONGER.
Yee haw! I found a pair of jeans, mega on-sale. Now I can wash two of my jeans at a time, instead of washing one pair while I'm wearing the other. This is cool!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Samson Story

This week we're on Bible stories about Samson. As we reviewed the whole story today, I noticed a couple of things.

Samson's first wife was threatened by her people to find out the answer to the riddle. If she didn't, her countrymen were going to burn up her and her father and her father's house. After acquiescing and betraying her husband, later in the story (when her countrymen found out that Samson had burned up their fields because his wife had been given in marriage to his best man after the groom left) his wife and her father were burned up by their countrymen anyway.

When Delilah was pressing Samson for the secret of his strength, one of the fibs he told her was that he would be weakened if they bound him with new ropes. Thing is, many years earlier, when his own countrymen were tracking him down to turn him over to the Philistines, the men of Judah bound Samson with new ropes. But somehow, when they turned their judge/leader over to the enemy, those new ropes didn't hold him so well, did they?

As pastor talked about these stories all week, the thing I found most comforting was that God did what He wanted to do, accomplished His goals, and worked for His people's salvation, no matter how totally screwed up and sinful was the man He had set in place as the judge. Even though it was not right for Samson to eat the unclean food, or be enticed by women, or desire vengeance for the sake of his own anger, nevertheless, God worked His purposes out, even using the sin of people.

People Will Talk

Cary Grant played a doctor in the movie People Will Talk. It's a movie with a hint of mystery and a little romance and quite a few laughs. Old enough to be very decent and wholesome, but not goody-two-shoes.

I can't remember who recommended this (probably Barbara or Erin) but I'm glad she did. Gary watched it while I was visiting in Indiana. When he watched it with me, he enjoyed it as much the second time through even though he knew the spoilers. That's the sign of a well-made movie!

Oh, Mr Sun

We had a moment (less than a minute) of sunshine yesterday morning. I was so excited to see a SHADOW on the table during Bible class! Today there have been several moments where the cloud-cover thinned out enough that you could see something reminiscent of a SUNBEAM. The last two days may be almost-no-sun, but it's a big improvement over the previous days. I remember seeing SUN a week ago, Thursday, in Fort Wayne.

The germies are making the rounds at Gary's work. He's not sick yet, and thus hasn't spread it to us, but we can feel the tiredness from fighting off the little boogers.

I am trying to catch up on the housecleaning, laundry, and bread-baking after being gone.

Throw those things together with lack of sun and the many hours of driving last weekend, and I feel like one of those old folks who is wanting to turn in for the night in the early evening. "No, no," she screams in panic, "but I don't wanna stay awake until 9:00."

Right now, I'm skeptical of whether I can stay awake until 5:00....
We'll wait until next week to get back into the routine of math lessons.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Lord's Army

We were in Joel 2 for Bible class today. In verse 11, the enemy of Israel is referred to as "His army." So often, when we hear the title "Lord of hosts" we think of the Sanctus and the angels or even the multitude of saints. We seldom think of the "Lord's army" as being the crowd of unbelievers who are raised up against the Church so that the Lord might bring people to repentance.

When asked about that, Pastor reminded us of the story of Joshua meeting the Commander of the Lord's Army. When Joshua asked whether the Angel was on Israel's side or the Canaanites' side, He said, "No." (And as Pastor is wont to say, Joshua's thoughts probably ran along the lines of, "Huh? 'No' wasn't one of the options....")

Then the next question came. In verse 2 it says that this army that comes against God's people will be a huge army, and strong, the likes of which had never been seen before and never would be seen again. So how can this be? Which army was Joel talking about that was the biggest, strongest, unbeatable-est army EVER? Really? Forever and ever?

Pastor replied that it was the Lord's army. A couple of hundred years after Joel's preaching, the Babylonian army destroyed Judah. That was the Lord's army that He raised up for His purposes. In AD 70, the Roman army came and destroyed Jerusalem and the second temple. That too was the Lord's army, raised up for His purposes. In Luther's day, the Turks were advancing upon Europe. They too were the Lord's army.

And yet, the angel hosts are also the Lord's army.

And so was Joshua's army that defeated the Canaanites, and David's armies that defeated the Philistines.

God has His plans and His purposes, and they are all for the good of the ones He calls to Himself. Even if those plans don't make any sense to us. Even if those plans cause us some real discomfort.


It gets to the point that a person's efforts to keep the thermostat low can interfere with any ability to accomplish anything in the house. When all you want to do is hunker down under the blankies and hug a heating pad, maybe it's time to splurge and give yourself a few more degrees of warmth. If I can drag myself out from under the blankies, maybe I could sweep a floor or whip up some supper.

C'mon, should I really be comfortable in the house with a long-sleeved shirt, a heavy sweater, AND a long wool coat?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pumpkin Pancakes

Yesterday I nabbed a recipe off Pinch My Salt that will probably become a favorite. It's one of those whole foods, that's easy to make, from ingredients I almost always have on hand, is rather inexpensive, and tastes good.

And not only that, I can use sour milk, which I occasionally am trying desperately to find ways to use up.

We used to have a recipe for pumpkin pancakes that was delicious. But it required beaten egg whites. I hate beating egg whites. It takes too long. My Kitchenaid is too large (broad-bottomed bowl) to whip just a little cream, or to beat just one or two egg whites. I did buy a hand-held egg-beater, but still... I'd rather just crack the egg and throw it in the recipe as is.

And lunch again today will be:

Whole-Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

Whisk together in large bowl:
1 cup ww flour
1/2 cup white flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Whisk together in separate bowl:
1.25 cups sour milk or buttermilk
1 cup pureed pumpkin (half a 16-oz can)
2 eggs
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Combine wet and dry ingredients. Don't beat; stir just till moistened. A little more milk may be necessary to get the pancakes thinner. Fry on greased griddle. This made 34 pancakes for us (about 4" in diameter each). Warning for those with fussy children: these are darker pancakes than they may be used to. The sugar, the spices, the whole wheat, and the pumpkin all add darkness to the batter, which in turn makes darker pancakes, which causes children to suspect that the pancakes are "burned." Tough, kid -- eat it anyway....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


For those of you loved ones who enjoy Twilight and Buffy, would you pleeeease at least do me the kindness of clicking on the link to what Pr Petersen has to say about Leviticus and vampires and crucifixes? (Rest assured: if you know Pr Petersen, he is NOT going to say anything to discourage you from reading the books.) It'll just make this middle-aged woman feel better to know that Anthea and Rachel and others will spend the two minutes absorbing what Pastor says, alongside their enjoyment of the brain-fluff about vampires.

Monday, November 10, 2008

For Veterans Day

My friend Susan sent me a clip from the newspaper back where we used to live. I am so grateful to her for sending it, and to Rueben (the soldier in the article) for his service to his country and to the people of Afghanistan. We used to play at Rueben's house frequently, and his family were some of our dearest homeschooling friends.

By the way, as long as I'm mentioning Rueben, I'd also like to recommend his mom's basket-weaving patterns. For those of you who like to weave, these are beautiful!! And she's a great teacher!

Baptism Pictures

The family with Pastor Horn:

The sponsors:

Two grandparents:

In the sermon, Pastor talked about baptism being a dying. This Sunday we heard about Christ's second coming (the parable of the five wise virgins and the five foolish virgins). Pastor said that the death & resurrection that takes place at baptism --hidden so that all the mortal eye beholds is water as we pour it-- reverberates through time until at Christ's coming we are taken as Christ's own bride in the resurrection of the body.

I loved the picture in my mind of that reverberation. Like ripples on a pond when the rock is thrown in. Or like a sonic boom, traveling and traveling and traveling through all time and eternity, marking each Christian as God's own child.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Baptism Gown

And the most amazing thing is that the gown was still clean in the afternoon. My kids were prone to ... ummmm... shall we say "explosions" ... in the bottom end of their baptism outfits. They certainly didn't make it through the day in the special clothes, and one even spent the Service wrapped in a towel from the church kitchen. (That'll teach me not to take a change of clothes in the diaper bag!!) Throw some Fischer genes into the mix, though, and things went much better for the dress.