Saturday, July 25, 2009

Maggie's Recorder

Did I teach her how to play the recorder? Did one of her sisters?

A friend, Denise, mentioned recently how her daughter was busy teaching herself hymns from Lutheran Service Book. Maggie has been doing that too. She's also been spending time at the piano, plucking out tunes, teaching herself in part by quasi-reading the music, in part by ear, in part by asking questions, and in part by bits and pieces of piano-instruction books. Not your standard way to learn music, but it's working for her. (This is similar to how she learned to read books -- seeing/reading the written words to things she'd already half-memorized. The reading helped out her memory, and her memory helped out the decoding.)

Now, tonight, she uses the piano primer of hymns to start playing hymns on the recorder instead of on the piano. She wanted me to show her the scale again, and then began figuring things out. After a while, she asked about fingering for an F-sharp and a B-flat. And there she went!

Today's Laugh

An out-of-towner drove his car into a ditch in a desolated area. Luckily, a local farmer came to help with his big strong horse named Buddy. He hitched Buddy up to the car and yelled, "Pull, Nellie, pull!" Buddy didn’t move.

Then the farmer hollered, "Pull, Buster, pull!" Buddy didn’t respond.

Once more the farmer commanded, "Pull, Coco, pull!" Nothing.

Then the farmer nonchalantly said, "Pull, Buddy, pull!" And the horse easily dragged the car out of the ditch.

The motorist was most appreciative and very curious. He asked the farmer why he called his horse by the wrong name three times.

The farmer said, "Oh, Buddy is blind and if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn’t even try!"

Friday, July 24, 2009

Grapes Done

Those tiny little grape vines took off growing faster than I'd anticipated. I think I must still have poor impressions of garden-possibilities based on the clay soil of our previous home, and that blasted Bambi that nipped off my blueberry shrub so many years ago. A few weeks ago Gary put up the fenceposts for the grapes. Yesterday Andrew and I put up the horizontal bars. Paul contributed by mowing the whole lawn himself. Maggie contributed by helping me find 1x2s that were only $1.29 each. And Gary contributed by coming out with the camera while I was trimming off the ends of the bars.Two of the grape vines are above the bottom bar, and the middle vine has nearly reached the second bar. Now my big challenge is going to be to prune it hard enough.

Fire Hazard

Andrew brought out the extension cord yesterday for the power drill as we were putting up the supports for the grape vines. As we tried to unroll it out to the garden, it wouldn't cooperate. The insulation on the wires was sticky. As we continued to remove the stuck-together cord, some of it was in such bad shape that the insulation had melted away to almost nothing.

Well, we know now to make sure that we unroll the cord whenever it's used. The heat of the electricity zooming around in there, still coiled, was just more heat than the insulation could bear.

Makes me wonder about the safety of all those coiled audio wires and electric wires that I see so many places.

Today's Laugh

Why can't you write with a broken pencil?

It's pointless.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Thesis: The mother should have one or two fewer pairs of underwear than the rest of the family.

1. If she runs out, she will realize that it's time to do laundry today before the rest of the family starts nagging her.

2. If certain people in the house still have plenty of underwear left in their dresser drawers when Mom is out, then she knows it's time to start nagging someone about showering and changing his/her undies every day.

Matthew's Bookends

Scaer* pointed out that the Gospel according to St Matthew begins by mentioning that Jesus is the son of Abraham. What was the promise to Abraham? In you and in your Seed all the nations of the earth will be blessed. And how does Matthew end? Jesus tells His apostles to go and make disciples of .... whom? All nations. This gospel of the forgiveness of sins in Jesus blood is not just for the Jews, but is meant for the whole world!

As I was pondering the coolness of this, I came across the prayers in this morning's psalms. Psalm 132 speaks of the eternal covenant with David, the promise that his Son would be seated on the throne forever, that the Lord has chosen Zion forever, that He will make the horn of David grow.

So what are the words in Matthew 1:1 right before we hear about Jesus being the son of Abraham? He is the son of David too. And what are the very last words of Matthew's gospel, even after the next-to-last verse about "all nations"? That He would be with us forever. How 'bout that?

* David Scaer, Life -- New Life in Baptism, presentation to the Southern California District in 1967.

Today's Laugh

A young man for his first day of work at the supermarket. The manager greeted him with a warm handshake and a smile, gave him a broom and said, "Your first job will be to sweep out the store."

"But I’m a college graduate!!" the young man replied indignantly.

"Oh, I’m sorry about the misunderstanding," said the manager. "Here, give me the broom -- I’ll show you how."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Kenyan Hymnal Project

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya began in 1948 through the work of Swedish missionaries. Because the congregations were established largely by the laity, services consisted mostly of hymn-singing and preaching. Due to this, as well as the lack of worship resources, worship practice varies tremendously among the congregations. Some parishes use non-Lutheran hymnals because that is the only thing available to them.

Bishop Obare has identified the need for a hymnal as crucial to his church. A doctrinally sound hymnal would aid in catechesis as well as unify the church in her practice. Use of the lectionary would join their practice to that of the church at large.

Our Kenyan brothers and sisters cannot provide these books for themselves. They have few pastors, and many of the Christians struggle to provide food and clothing for their own families. Bishop Obare has requested the help of the Ft Wayne seminary in developing "a good Lutheran hymnal with a Kenyan (African) touch." My friend, Sandy Rhein, is working with men from the church in Kenya, with input from some seminary professors and kantors. The goal is to produce a hymnal by summer of 2012 which will contain:
  • one setting each of the Divine Service, Matins, and Vespers,
  • three-year lectionary
  • selected psalms
  • 300 hymns
  • in the Kiswahili language.

Donations may be sent to
Kenyan Hymnal Project
Concordia Theological Seminary
6600 N. Clinton
Fort Wayne IN 46825

Checks should be made out to the seminary, with "Kenyan Hymnal Project" in the memo line, as well as including a brief note clearly stating that the money is to be used for the Kenyan Hymnal Project.

If youth groups or Ladies' Aid Societies are looking for a way to help with the mission of the Church, this would be a great project to fund. This is one of those projects where a little money seems to go a long way. Maybe consider it as a use for a quarter's worth of Sunday School offerings. Or a memorial for a loved one.

Today's Laugh

What do you call a grizzly with no teeth?

A gummy bear.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Alia Walks

Mom, if you don't know how to work these you-tube videos, just click on the arrow-button in the middle of the screen. It's less than half a minute.

Lutheran Liturgical Congregations

For those who have been patiently (or impatiently) awaiting the return of the list,

and with much thanks to those who reworked the website and spent time inputting data and verifying that information was updated correctly,

Gary's website is up and running again.

In the past, some people put a lot more stock in than they should've. Being listed on the website is no guarantee of a good sermon or excellent hymn choices. And there are good congregations out there which aren't on the list. But this list is a good starting point for those looking for a congregation to attend when away from their home church. Congregations on the list use the hymnal and have no "contemporary" worship, and they report that they practice closed communion and have no women assisting in the chancel.

Today's Laugh

My boys told me some pick-up lines they heard. (These will work swell if your goal is to have the girl roll her eyes and/or slap you....)

The ones that make the younger guys laugh:

Did you just fart, because you certainly blew me away!

If you were a booger, I'd pick you first.

The one that's not quite so 10-yr-old:

I'm going to a potluck and was told to bring a hot dish. Will you go with me?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Rabbit Fence

Guts. Too many guts. On the corner of the driveway, tucked up in the sheltered corner between the living room and the garage. They draw ants when I don't dispose of the guts frequently enough. Oh, and they get stinky!

Loads of the neighbors have rabbit-fence around their gardens. I don't. And no nibbles, no damage, no problem. Nary a bunny to be seen in my garden.

Finally made the connection. All those huge guts must be rabbit guts. I thought they looked way too big for gopher-guts or sparrow-guts. Athena must be catching too many to finish them off completely as she usually does. I have found little bony legs -- she eats the meaty ones. She's not bothering with the less tasty bits of gut. And now I've been finding fur, which clinches the fact that it's rabbit she's been snarfing.

I was getting pretty irritated about all the guts I've been having to pick up (eeuuwwwwwwwww!) but I gotta admit it's a whole lot cheaper than installing rabbit fence. I hope Athena lives a good long --and hungry-- life!

Psalm 119:18

Open my eyes, that I may see
wondrous things from Your law.

Usually what we see in the Law is rules. Do this and you will make God happy. Do this and you will prove how much you love Him. Sometimes it's even as crass as "do this and you will earn heaven."

But there are wondrous things in the Law. Things that show us Jesus and His atonement. Things about the ceremonial law and the sacrifices. Things about who Jesus is and how perfectly He obeyed the demands of the Law. There are also the promises God made in the Torah/Law.

Jesus healed the blind. Open my eyes, that I may see the wondrous things in the law and not simply the condemnation.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Today's Laugh

Vegetarian = Native American word for "poor hunter"