Saturday, May 02, 2009

Unwobbly Table

Nanna and Gramp had a table that was passed on to Aunt Mary's family, and then on to my parents, and then on to me and Gary. I remember as a kid being told not to bump the table: don't want to spill the milk, or jolt the table while Mom was writing checks to pay bills. Mom said she got crabbed at for the same thing when she was young too.

We're not using that table any more for eating; when our chairs died, the style of the new chairs wouldn't fit under the old table. But we do have the table that was the coffee table in Nanna & Gramp's family room. We kids would sit on the floor and play at the table while the adults talked. There were magazines on the table. The ashtray for Gramp's cigars was there. I remember gathering around that table while Gramp read the Bible to us. So the table has some good memories. We put longer legs on it when we moved, and we've been using that table in our kitchen for most of our meals and much of our schoolwork. But boy, oh boy, it is WAY wobblier than the rectangular table we used for so many years.

Today Gary took some of the scrap wood left over from deck-spiffing last summer and made a sturdier stand for the table. We put a full glass of milk on the table and purposely bumped the table ... and the milk stayed in the glass! This is awesome!

Good Radio

Andrew introduced something to me today. Pandora Radio is an online set of music. You put in the genre you want, and it makes a "radio station" of that type of music as well as other songs that would be a similar style. We've been listening to the Frank Sinatra station today, and it has been great. I might have to learn how to work this myself!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Welcome Teaching

I have noticed in the past how often my pastor says "yes" when he's teaching. When he asks a question and hears a wrong answer, he will almost always find a way to "go with it." He will accept the answer and ask for more answers, or he will build on the answer offered up and go further with it. It is rare to hear him give an emphatic "no." You really know something was wrong if Pastor says NO. No matter what answer is given, he can usually use that answer as a stepping stone to bring about understanding in the hearers, or to temporarily go on a tangent that was brought up by the person's answer.

That kind of attitude in a pastor results in safety for the catechumens. Same for teachers and students. Is is safe for me to answer? What if I'm wrong? Will he make me feel stupid? Will he ridicule? Will other people think less of me? If we don't know where we're going on a topic, are we free to try to blunder our way through, with a loving shepherd/teacher guiding us to where we need to go? Or will we discover that pat answers are more important than the discussion & grappling & learning?

"No" is such a little thing. It shouldn't be a big deal. Sometimes, students' answers are right, but might garner a "no" if it's not the particular answer the teacher was looking for as she desires to take the class in a certain direction at the moment. And besides that, some answers are wrong, and we don't want to fall into the trap of protecting delicate little self-esteems while we make all answers (even wrong ones) okay.

And yet, if the atmosphere of "yes" (on the teacher's part) makes it possible for us who are learning to converse freely, to ask questions without fear, to tread out there into matters where we might make fools of ourselves, then it is a good good thing for a teacher to major in "yes" while still guiding his or her charges to what is true.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Three Times

Three times Peter denied Jesus (John 18). A couple of weeks after His resurrection, Jesus asked Peter three times, "Do you love Me?" (John 21). Peter responded three times, aware of his own weaknesses. Three times Jesus, forgiving him, restored Peter to the work of being an apostle to which He had called him.

Interestingly, Paul, struggling with his own weaknesses, pleaded with the Lord three times to remove the thorn in his flesh (2 Corinthians 12). I had wondered before: "Three times? Paul only begged about this THREE times? What's up with that?" But today I'm seeing how similar are Paul's and Peter's cases. Christ's grace made them sufficient; nothing in themselves could.

The Bridesmaid

For those who asked to see how the dress turned out --

Guess who caught the bride's bouquet?

Some of the official photographer's pictures can be seen here. (At least, I think they can be seen by people who aren't Facebook-friends with my sister.)

High School

The kids who are Maggie's age are finishing up 8th grade this spring. That means she would be the age for high school next year.

At workshops for parents of VCFS kids we have been advised to keep the kids in school until age 21. The advice to parents of LD kids is, "Do not allow the school to graduate them after four years of attendance. Make the school do their duty according to state law, and keep providing training and assistance until age 21."

I don't know where that leaves us. For reasons of staying on Daddy's health insurance, the longer Maggie is a full-time student, the better. (She certainly won't be insurable apart from govt programs.) But do we want to enroll her in school when she turns 18? Can we homeschool her past the normal four years of high school and still have The Big World acknowledge that she's still in high school? It's a lot easier for The Big World to accept the fact that a 20-yr-old is still in high school if that kid is getting on the bus every day, going to the building that looks like a prison, receiving a quarterly report card, etc.

The reason I'm wondering all this now is because I'm not sure whether to bump her up from grade school to high school this summer. Whichever way I decide could have long-term ramifications for good or for ill. And how will we know which option would be best for her?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Breakfast at the Hotel

Rehearsal & Dinner

(Sorry, folks, these aren't the best. But if I were Karen, I'd wanna see 'em anyway!)

Bride and groom at the rehearsal dinner at the Ribeye.

Pictures taken at church during rehearsal.

Matt and Joshua:

Bride's nieces and nephews:

That child really wants the straw!
Eric with the kids,
and Nathan & Alia:

Wrights, Milases, and groomsmen:
Brunners and Langhoffs:
Jacob, David, Mom, Dad, Karen, Robert:

Scot, Dan, Robert, Pastor, David:
Maggie, Karen, Jenna, Eric:

And now, off to make some bread and hang some towels on the line before I try to find some time to post pictures of the party that Karen and Robert missed (breakfast at the hotel on Saturday morning).

Monday, April 27, 2009


Pastor has been talking recently about how we find no true joy and peace and happiness when we're looking for it, but only when we sacrifice of ourselves for others. He says this is because we are made in God's image, and what God does is love. He gives. He loves. He sacrifices. He puts our good ahead of His own comfort, as seen most clearly in the cross. This is what humanity was meant to be.

Having spent the weekend with people that I dearly love, and feeling a little sad about the weekend coming to an end, and wondering how Dad's medical tests are going to turn out this week, and wishing I could be there to help with the lawn and the house and stuff like that, ...

it crosses my mind that depression and other mental illnesses have increased in this country as we have become more mobile and people have moved away from home, away from the family ties that most people have known through most of history, away from the people to whom we should be joined and for whom we might be "doing" and giving.


Great-grandma watches Alia being enchanted by her necklace --

Gilly with his first great-grandchild --

Gary's mom smilin' big (and having it captured in a photo!) --

Now, the question is whether I'm going to do laundry and kids' schoolwork today, or spend a fun fun time getting wedding pictures uploaded onto the computer.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Infant Faith

In the notes on the baptismal rite, our hymnal tells us that
When the candidate is unable to speak,
sponsors may be appointed
to speak in his or her stead.

The pastor addresses the questions ("Do you renounce the devil?" ... "Do you believe in Jesus Christ?" ...) to the baptismal candidate. Not to the sponsors. The sponsors are not answering the questions, although they are voicing the answers. It is the child who is answering the questions, through the voice of the sponsors.

This is not something new. This is the catholic position. This is what I've been taught all my life as a Lutheran. When I was taught in Sunday School about my baptism, the teachers told me that what happened in baptism was mine. It wasn't something done in view of a faith I would have someday. It wasn't something that belonged to my parents and thus would be my heritage too. It was my own.

Because of this, I am always astounded when I hear pastors say of children they themselves have baptized in recent months, "We don't know what this baby believes. He hasn't told us; he can't tell us."

This came up again last week in a conversation on a friend's blog. On the one hand, we say that of course infants can have faith. We say that God brings babies to faith, makes them alive in Him, and joins them to Himself, all through His grace and not through any merit of their own. Just as He does for me and for you. But the same pastors will turn around and say that we don't know what the child believes.

We say that the confession of sin and the confession of faith made in Baptism is the child's very own confession. And then we say two or three months later that we haven't heard this child's confession to be able to ascertain what he believes. Well? Which is it? It is the child's confession or is it not?

I think we don't take seriously what's going on in Baptism.