Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy Half-Birthday!

Lily (my god-daughter) is now FOUR and a HALF!

And I'm tickled because she sent me a "happy happy happy Epiphany" picture yesterday. Oh boy!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Today's Laugh

It can be interesting to live with a person who has central auditory processing disorder. The standard definition of dyslexia is that the letters on the page seem to jumble around in whatever order. Well, CAP disorder is when the sounds jumble around in the brain. Sometimes things come out of Maggie's mouth that are confusing, sometimes funny, but usually something that we can puzzle out as to what she means. And if we don't get it, on the second or third try, the correct word will often pop out of her mouth, and then we're all good to go.

So today I'm dishing up bean soup for lunch. And Maggie says, "I only want a funeral."

A funeral?
She wants a funeral?
Who died???

I question her. Again, she only wants a funeral. As soon as I said the word back to her, the right word came to mind: she only wants a spoonful.

She and I both laughed.

But when you think about it, over half the sounds in those words are the same, so I can see why it happened. But of course one of the brothers had to toss out, "Funeral? What? I know you don't like bean soup very much, but it's not like Mom put poison in it!"


In the first 24 hours after church on New Years Eve, Gary and I watched four movies. Is this a harbinger of laziness and increased tv-addition in the new year?

This was the third time I watched Return to Me, and I like it better every time. The first time I watched it, I was just following the plot. The second time I was still a little weirded out by how the animals reacted to the heroine in the story. But this time I just thoroughly enjoyed the jokes and the relationships -- especially all the old guys. I also noticed that this story is a good example of a nice balance between dating and courtship, and how a person is marrying into a whole family and not just the one person.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


In today's collect we pray that God would grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit that our hearts may be made pure from all sins. In some of the hymnody for today, we sing, "Lord, circumcise our heart, we pray, and take what is not Thine away."

Have you ever been around when a baby boy was circumcised? They scream. It hurts.

And there we go, praying that the Lord would "circumcise our hearts." When He grants us our petition, we probably ought not be surprised when it hurts and we holler in pain.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Trusting Christ

We trust in God.
We trust Him for guidance in how to live our lives.
We trust Him for the power to do those good works.
We trust Him for forgiveness when we screw up.
We trust Him for daily bread.

Those are all things we ought to trust God for.
They are good things that He promises to give.

Interestingly, though,
these are also things the Pharisees trusted God for.

The thing that sets Christians apart from the Pharisees is that they trust in Christ and His blood-bought redemption as their rescue because they don't live their lives right, because they don't have the power to do the good works God has laid out for them, because there is often nothing but screw-ups, because we are ungrateful for our daily bread.

Christians trust in a merciful God.
Christians trust in forgiveness from a Savior.
When we talk about "walking in faith," that's what it's really about.

Snow Tally

Snow tally for the month:
8" on December 1
3" worth of shoveling drifts on December 2
6" on December 3
3" on December 6
4" on December 9
2" worth of shoveling drifts on December 10
4" on December 16
12" on December 19
2" on December 20
6" worth of shoveling drifts on December 21
6" worth of shoveling drifts on December 22

5" on December 23
4" on December 24
rain to shrink the piles on December 27
2" on December 28
½" on December 30

Newspaper reported 41" before the Official First Day of Winter.
They said it was the snowiest fall on record here.
(Can you see me rolling my eyes and sighing???)
Thankfully, we've only had a foot since then.

Grateful Hearts?

My friend Karl was telling us last week about his trip to Ghana last summer. He said that, after he returned to the States, it really strikes him how much we have here, and how ungrateful we are for our blessings, and how piddly and inconsequential are the things we worry about.

Yesterday I was chatting with a neighbor, and she mentioned that she got a phone call from the doctor on the morning of the 24th about a lump. She worried all through Christmas that this was her last one. The surgery and biopsy on the 29th showed it was benign, but she was telling me how those five days made her realize that her worries about a clean house or the number of presents under the tree are nothing, and that what matters is that she's alive and has her health and her family around her. She also acknowledged that she had a scare like this about a year ago, and appreciated the "attitude adjustment," but that her improved perspective wore off faster than it should've, and she went back to being consumed by all the regular American concerns.

But how does a person get a better perspective? What if you can recognize that you have much to be thankful for, but nevertheless worry about all the failings? What is it that changes hearts -- other than being smacked upside the head with a huge loss (or seeing another culture's poverty)?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Giving Up

Halloween is October 31.
People carve jack-o-lanterns in October.
They light them for decorations for Halloween.

My pumpkin didn't get carved for Halloween.
Okay, we could put a turkey on it instead.
It didn't get carved for Thanksgiving.
Okay, we could put a Christmas decoration on it instead.
It didn't get carved for Christmas.
I was thinking we could put a New Years carving into the pumpkin.

But instead

I just threw it out a few minutes ago.

I feel wasteful.

But how dumb would I feel with a Valentine carved into a pumpkin???

Bekah and Gabe

I should've been taking pictures after the wedding when the families were gathered at the front of church. But no, there were cookies to eat in the fellowship hall, and I was socializing instead of snapping photos. So this was the best I could do of the new couple:

Hey, it's Wisconsin. What can I say? Is anybody in Wisconsin REALLY married until they do the chicken dance at the reception?

Laura has been saying all along what it's like to see Katie all grown up and married to Nathan and being a mommy, when she remembers Katie as a little little girl. And now I see what she means. Bekah's wedding was very different from my own daughters' who lived with me, or Naomi's or Bean's. I knew Bekah when she was little. And I watched her grow, not from the perspective of her mom, and not from a couple of states away. Nevertheless, I was going to be tough and strong and not cry. And then Philip walked down the aisle. Oh, yeah, the mom was maintaining control. The sisters/bridesmaids were smiling. But the brother.... oh, the love in his eyes and the emotion he was trying to hold in check. That did me in. And then the last pair to come down the aisle: Rebekah full of smiles, and Dad trying to keep the tears at bay. Y'know, I may have made it through the service without tears if it hadn't been for those two men brimming over with love for that lovely bride.

And for fun, here are some of the ones we had fun with at the reception: Wietings, Mays, Vrudneys, Burgesses, and the Fabrizii. I think we need to marry off more kids so that we have more excuses to get together and have parties and laugh and catch up on each other's lives and laugh!

Today's Laugh

An editing oops from The Scroll, the college newspaper at BLC:

The article is about an on-campus group that promotes "awareness, motivation, and action." This group covers topics such as alcohol, body image, stress management, and pro-life issues. The November event was an attempt to raise awareness of domestic abuse. But the editor supplied an antecedent (in the brackets) for a pronoun ... and it just didn't quite work:

"I was searching the internet for ideas on how to promote [domestic violence] because I wanted to do more than just have a speaker..."

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holy Innocents

Today we recalled the story of the little boys at Bethlehem who were slaughtered by Herod in his attempt to kill the Christ-child (Matthew 2). Matthew recalls the prophecy from Jeremiah about Rachel weeping for her children because they are no more.

Pastor talked today about that inability to be comforted. Of course there was deep grief over the heinous death of the children. But there was more.

The rumor mill had been going for two years or more by this time. That old priest came out of evening prayers at the temple, unable to speak. His old wife became pregnant. At the child's circumcision party, the priest is prophesying about the Messiah's arrival. Everybody was talking about it. Then there were those shepherds telling everybody about that business of angels in the sky, and the baby in the barn, and a savior. Tongues were wagging -- Simeon knew what day to show up at the temple so that he could meet Mary and Joseph and see God in their arms. And then there was that retinue of the magi who showed up and set everybody a-tremblin' because Herod got news of a rival king. (And they all knew that a ticked-off Herod would result in no happy thing.)

The faithful had been waiting for the Messiah.

The Jews had been waiting for their version of a messiah, one who would kick out the Romans and restore their nation.

Luke tells us over and over that these events "were made widely known."

So when Herod wiped out all the babies around Bethlehem, it wasn't "just" an atrocity (not unlike legalized abortion). But it also looked like he had thwarted God's plans to send His Messiah. No wonder the women were despairing. They had lost not only their babies, but it appeared they had lost also their Savior and all their hopes.

It reminds me of Abraham, being asked to kill the one who was his son, but who was also the one through whom the Savior would come.

And yet, both times, God knew what He was doing. It sure didn't look like it. It looked like He had reneged on His promises, letting His people down, and doing it in a most painful way.

And yet,
things are not what they appear.

(So why do I always tend to believe appearances instead of the Promise?)