Saturday, June 20, 2009


It's so quiet here today. Andrew took a morning nap and now he's asleep again. Gary and Maggie both napped this afternoon. I don't know if Paul's asleep or not, but he's awfully quiet.

Church was very crowded on Wednesday night; it was lovely. The party afterward was fun; not enough time to visit with all the people I wanted to see.

The house was full. We had Katie and Alia here, as well as our friend Jonathan from Fort Wayne. Philip stayed here two nights to take a half-hour off the drive from his condo to the hotel where symposium was held. Matthew stayed with us on Thursday night. So the time-allotment for your turn in the shower was not luxuriously long.

With the deacon out on disability right now as he recuperates from knee surgery, I had the CCA booth to myself. I think I missed a lot of Pr Stuckwisch's lecture as I tried to catch up on the paperwork & record-keeping from the sales I made during the morning coffee-break. It was fun to meet new people who'd never been to CCA before, and I got to talk to them about what kind of materials we have, and which materials would be more suited to whatever-it-was that particular person was looking for. For somebody like me who is a tightwad and encourages other people to be tightwads and who is the most low-pressure salesman you could ever meet, I think I sold a lot of stuff!

Gary and I tried to amuse Alia as much as possible, ostensibly to "give Katie a break" but really because we just like kissing her little piggy-toes and playing peek-a-boo and giggling at her.

After church on Thursday, Karin and Sandy brought supper for a crowd. Four homeschooling families and four other adults and two spare teenage boys (who thought my house, with its plethora of teenagers, sounded more fun than the party where the symposium speakers were dining -- mmmwha ha ha) feasted on barbecue and pasta salad and salsa and other sides, with of course beer for the adults because it was a bunch of Lutherans. Since I'm a lousy excuse for a Lutheran, I tried out those cranberry-vodka cocktails that people were telling me about. Pretty tasty!

We fell into bed exhausted. Some of us were disturbed by a humongo storm, but some of us snoozed through it. They tell me the hotel was out of power for two hours during the night. When we got up in the morning, there was evidence of abundant rain. Streets had flooded. There was about 5" of rain in the wheelbarrow. I thought maybe that was a fluke, y'know, because of the uneven depth of the wheelbarrow, but all the local folks who had rain gauges were telling tales of 4-6" overnight. (Notice I'm on the computer and not gardening in the mud right now.)

Friday morning were more sessions for the symposium. Then the teens helped me pack up the van. I took a lot less stuff back to church than I hauled to the hotel, and that was even with Webers doing a run to church to refill my empty piles on Thursday afternoon. We had much better weather for the picnic than the forecast had indicated. We unpacked everything back at church, came home, and not long afterwards we got us another doozy of a storm. Nothin' like the one 15 hours earlier, though.

Maggie got herself involved in helping at the academy's fund-raising fish fry while we unpacked books in the storage room. She wanted to stay at church and keep helping. Today she asked if she could help every month. Okay by me!

But now, we are very tired.


Gary and I ate Glenda's salsa for our breakfast today. Andrew found the leftover salsa as I was hauling out the contents of the refrigerator for lunch. "Oh, hey, that's good salsa!" and he grabbed a snack as the food was warming. Excellent salsa. I may have to try my hand at it ... if it ever gets warm enough here for the tomatoes to start producing.

Party Dress

Sometimes other people know things about you that you don't know yourself.

I got dressed Wednesday night for church and the symposium reception afterward. Andrew says, "So, you're wearing your party dress." What? Party dress? I have a party dress? What makes him say such a thing?

And then he rattles off to me a few of the instances where I've worn the dress -- weddings, parties, receptions, etc. Sure enough! He's right! When I want to be dressed up and have fun, this is usually the dress that comes out of the closet. Funny how I'd never noticed.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Today's Laugh

Once upon a time we were reading a children's science book.

What do you call a group of birds?
A flock.

What do you call a group of wolves?
A pack.

What do you call a group of cows?
A herd.

And then we got to the page that made this pastor's wife bust a gut laughing. (Oh, this is so naughty of me!)

What do you call a group of alligators?
A congregation.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

At the Visitation

I think I heard "I'm so sorry for your loss" about a hundred times last week. Then there were the subtle variations: "I'm very sorry for your loss," or "My condolences to your family," or "You have my deepest sympathy." I was surprised by how comforting those short sentences could be. I always feel like I should say more to the bereaved, and that I want to say something to help. But hearing "I'm so sorry for your loss" really meant a lot.

There were two other expressions that left me with mixed emotions, though. Some people would say something to the effect of, "At least your dad is out of his pain now." And others would offer comfort in "You'll always have your memories."

Those things are both true. I am comforted that God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death nor sorrow nor crying. There will be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. And there definitely are good memories to keep with us.

But what is sad is when the memories or the alleviation of pain IS the comfort. As in, the only comfort. When Christians have confidence in Christ's atonement, they can also find joy in the memories of time spent with loved ones. They know too that the pain is no more for the dear one. But when non-Christians say the same basic thing, there's just an emptiness there that makes you really ache for their loss.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Philip's Place

Finally got over to see Philip's condo today. Here are Gary and Philip carrying in some spare counter-space that Paul built for his brother.

The living room --

The bedroom --

The kitchen --

The patio between the buildings. The entry to the locked garage is underneath this.


We worshiped in the nave on Easter. But then we spent all of Eastertide worshiping in Loehe Hall. (For some of you, that will be remembered as the room where Rachel and Matt's wedding reception was. For others of you, that's where the awesome hors d'oeuvres reception during symposium is held.) For two months we had what was irreverently referred to as "drive-by communion." In college we called it "walking communion." Whatever it is, it makes me very uncomfortable.

So eventually the renovations were close to being finished. Pastor announced that we wouldn't have the kneelers for the communion rail until mid-July, so we'd still be having the drive-by. Several of us asked if we couldn't pleeeeease commune in tables, even if we still had to stand. Okay. That was the new plan.

So last Sunday was the first Sunday back in church. I wasn't here, but my family told me what happened. Pastor announced that we wouldn't be kneeling, but we'd be back to communing in tables. First table goes forward. And people knelt. I don't know if it was habit or what. I'm glad they did, because I wanted to. I didn't care if I had to kneel on hard tile; it somehow seems disrespectful to me to stand while receiving the body of the King of the Universe. (Disclaimer: I am NOT saying anything negative about those whose bodies can't take the kneeling -- pads or no pads. It's part of what some of us must live with in this valley of sorrow.)

Pastor announces at every service that the kneeler-pads won't be arriving for another month, and so it's expected that we will stand but that we may kneel if we so choose. And yet most of us kneel.

I'm glad I'm allowed. I didn't want to be the one to be different, and possibly scandalize everybody else by kneeling when we were told to stand.