Friday, November 27, 2009

Christmas Cards

Hymns in My Heart is having a sale on Christmas cards. Half-price! Only 75 cents per card through the month of December. Go check 'em out!

"Ah, dearest Jesus" is TLH 85, LSB 358, ELH 123.
(with Luke 2:30-31)

"Lift up the voice" is TLH 343, LSB 395, ELH 167.
(with Psalm 47:6)

"Silent night"
(with Psalm 66:2, 5)

"Rejoice, rejoice" is TLH 79, LSB 391, ELH 142.
(with Psalm 68:3)

"The happy Christmas comes again" is ELH 143.
(with Revelation 19:1)

"Thy little ones, dear Lord, are we" is ELH 144.
(with Luke 1:14)

Each card also has another short inscription on the inside.

And each card comes with a bookmark with the hymn stanza in calligraphy.

Anonymous Gift

Pastor passed along a check to Gary the other night; it was from an anonymous donor. I'm curious as to who gave it and would like to be able to say "thanks," but I know the person doesn't want to be known or thanked. Thing is, in my curiosity, I realized that there are a LOT of people it could've come from. And that's an awesome thing, to realize that there are that many people who love us and care!

Restoring the Lost

Also brought up in last week's study on Hosea:
Can the apostate be restored?
Yes, the story of the prodigal son teaches us this.

But also,
those who are restored are usually brought back to the Faith through much suffering and trouble.

Doubts and Unbelief

At a Higher Things gathering a couple of years ago, I noticed one sectional on doubts, and how doubts are normal, but are different from unbelief.

At symposium a few years ago, I remember one of the popular professors standing in front of the assembly, saying how wrong it was for these young pastors to get into their pulpits and speak to their congregations as if they were unbelievers, as if they needed to be converted.

But doubts are unbelief.

Why are we reluctant to say that Christians are --at the same time they are believers-- also unbelievers? We say that we believe we are simul justus et peccator (at one and the same time, saint and sinner). We know that all sin flows from unbelief. If we are sinners, we are unbelievers. But Christians are also believers/saints.

So the law must be preached to kill the sinner, to crush him, to make him hopeless, so that he will find his only hope and comfort in Christ's forgiveness. The law must be preached to both believers and unbelievers as if they needed conversion ... because Christians are still plagued by the Old Adam. As we studied Hosea last week, a question came up: "Is Hosea calling for Israel's repentance because they are believers whose sinful nature needs to be killed? Or are they apostate and in need of conversion?" Pastor's answer was "yes." Both are true. He explained that not only is our unbelief serious and damnable, but that (if left unrepented, if left for us to solve in our own ways, if not smashed) it will lead to full-blown apostasy.

When we minimize the seriousness and depth of original sin, when we reason away the wrath of God, when we change our view of hell --when we do not see that we are believers/unbelievers at the same time-- we are on the road toward apostasy.

Today's Laugh

A blonde is hired at the Tickle Me Elmo factory. The personnel manager explains her duties and tells her to report to work promptly at 8:00 AM. The next day at 8:45 AM, there's a knock at the personnel manager's door. The assembly-line foreman comes in and starts ranting about this new employee. He says she's incredibly slow, and the whole line is backing up.

The foreman takes the personnel manager down to the factory floor to show him the problem. Sure enough, Elmos are backed up all over the place. At the end of the line is the new employee. She has a roll of the material used for the Elmos and a big bag of marbles. They both watch as she cuts a little piece of fabric, wraps it around two marbles, and starts sewing the little package between Elmo's legs. The personnel manager starts laughing hysterically.

After several minutes, he pulls himself together, walks over to the woman, and says, "I'm sorry, I guess you misunderstood me yesterday. Your job is to give Elmo two test tickles."

Thursday, November 26, 2009


As of this morning on our way home from church, I didn't know what we'd be having for Thanksgiving dinner other than the standard:
mashed potatoes

But by the time we sat down at 1:45, we added to the "standard":
roasted Brussels sprouts, carrots, onions
steamed corn
cranberry jelly
applesauce muffins
our regular, daily, homemade bread
kombucha, wine, milk, water

And for supper, we had our apple pie and pumpkin pie which we prepared yesterday, as well as some treats prepared by the friends who had us over for dessert.

Not bad for wingin' it.

The Smell of Thanksgiving

If there's a turkey roasting, someone(s) must hang around, waiting for anything which may be dropped, or waiting for a dirty plate to "clean" before it heads into the sink...

Raw Milk Bill

A bill (LRB 3242/3) has been introduced to the Wisconsin legislature to allow the sale of unpasteurized milk.

Raw milk has helped many people who have digestive problems, those who have allergies, and those who have problems with their teeth. Raw milk is a food which has been drunk for millenia and has been outlawed only during the last century.

If you live in Wisconsin --even if you don't care about raw milk but care about our freedom to feed ourselves real food without government interference-- please call your own assemblyman and senator on Friday (or at least before December 4), encouraging him/her to sign on to the bill as a co-sponsor.

Today's Laugh

Jolene was only 8 years old and lived with family in the country with her parents and brother. Consequently they did not often have visitors from the city. One day Jolene's mother said that father was bringing two guests home for Thanksgiving supper.

After they had enjoyed the turkey, Jolene went to the kitchen to help her mother, and proudly brought in the first piece of pumpkin pie and gave it to her father. He then passed the plate to a guest. When Jolene came in with the second piece and gave it to his father, he again gave it to a guest.

This was too much for Little Jolene, who blurted out, "It's no use, Daddy. The pieces are all the same size."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I haven't seen even the tiniest ray of sun since Sunday. 70 hours. Weather forecast says more snow/rain and clouds tomorrow. Maybe sun on Friday?

Katie has landed a full-time job. I should be happy that she found employment,with benefits even. But it's very sad that my daughter cannot stay home with her baby.

I've been working this week on editing. It's good to do; I enjoy it. But I find myself unsettled and tending-toward-cranky when I try to make schoolwork and cooking and housework fit in around the corners of other duties. I'm happier when the most important work is given the highest priority.

I have no idea what's going to happen for dinner today or tomorrow. The turkey is big and I have nothing to cook it in. So I hacked off the legs and thighs and lower back, and threw them in a stew pot this morning. I'll have to figure out what they will become later this afternoon. I think the breast will fit into my biggest pot tomorrow. At least something is started for tonight's supper, even if it's one of those Choose-Your-Own-Adventure suppers.

I should not have planned to fly to California on Thanksgiving weekend. I didn't think about fitting in everything for the holidays while packing and getting things ready to be gone. And they're warning us of the crowds in the airport, and to get there plenty early. At least the forecast for Sacramento is gobs of sun and temps in the 60s!

Church tonight and church tomorrow morning. That will make things look much brighter.

I'll Be There

Gary wanted to watch a movie together last night. So I ignored the proofreading that's due this evening, and sat down beside him to (as I presumed) watch one of the discs we have on loan from Netflix. It took me about 20-30 minutes before I figured out that I'll Be There was something different.

It was supposed to be a romantic comedy. I didn't find it funny. It was slow-moving and boring. The morals lack of morals that was the foundation for the whole plot offended me. And to sit there and listen to a mom explain to her daughter that it wasn't actually such a sleazy thing when the mom had the one-night stand with the rock-star dad. Really, now? Oh, and the Grandpa rocker drove me nuts. He was the one who referred to his daughter as "the white sheep of the family." And it's all wrapped up in a story that's ostensibly about morals: how the rock-star dad becomes involved in his daughter's life, and he also cleans up his act and gets sober.

I would've found more enjoyment in cleaning cobwebs off the basement ceiling.

Today's Laugh

Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.
Erma Bombeck

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Today's Laugh

One year at Thanksgiving, my mom went to my sister's house for the traditional feast.

Knowing how gullible my sister is, my mom decided to play a trick. She told my sister that she needed something from the store.

When my sister left, my mom took the turkey out of the oven, removed the stuffing, stuffed a Cornish hen, and inserted it into the turkey, and re-stuffed the turkey. She then placed the bird(s) back into the oven.

When it was time for dinner, my sister pulled the turkey out of the oven and proceeded to remove the stuffing. When her serving spoon hit something, she reached in and pulled out the little bird.

With a look of total shock on her face, my mother exclaimed, "Patricia, you've cooked a pregnant bird!" At the reality of this horrifying news, my sister started to cry.

It took the family two hours to convince her that turkeys lay eggs!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Evenings Out

Friday night was a video at church on women's ordination, with discussion afterwards.

Saturday night we attended the symphony. It was a student show, so I figured it would not be too far above my head. I was amazed by how quiet it seemed, when there were 3-4 times as many strings as there are at church for festivals. I guess that just shows how little a room our church is.

Sunday evening was a wine-and-poetry party for six couples. Quite enjoyable.

Tonight is Didache, which I'm not normally attending this year. But tonight's story is on Jesus' suffering and death, and I'm just plain ready to soak up 90 minutes worth of preaching on John 18-19.

Two days proofreading the final draft of Nancy's thesis.

Paul due home on Wednesday evening. There will be only six of us for Thanksgiving dinner unless we can entice some friends to join us. Kids are gone for a day (mid-Friday to mid-Saturday) for further filming on a zombie movie. (Yes, I'm rolling my eyes.) And then we have to be ready to head to the airport on Sunday afternoon.

I'm looking at what needs to be done around here, and I'm basically out of time until December 8. Yikes!

Today's Laugh

A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store, but couldn't find one big enough for her family. She asked a stock boy, "Do these turkeys get any bigger?"

The stock boy replied, "No ma'am, they're dead."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Today's Laugh

Why don't blondes ever double a batch of cookies?
Because the oven won't reach 700 degrees.