Saturday, March 20, 2010

Less-than-fully Appetizing

I'm putting together the Mexican Casserole of Awesomeness for Sunday dinner.

I love refried beans. Truly, I do. But I do wish that, when you open the can, it looked a little less like dog food.


Andrew has been using an expander the last week and a half. He doesn't want me to post a picture, but it's done its job. The expander has created a nice big space between his front teeth, through which he can whistle and shoot streams of water.

It looks like this has prevented the need for palate surgery!!

They're Moving

Thursday was Match Day for the fourth-year med-school students all across the country. For those of you who hang out in LCMS circles, it's pretty similar to Call Day for the vicars and pastors. The doctors receive their assignments. Like vicars and unlike pastors, there is no option to say no. The residency will be for 4 or 5 years.

Rachel's blog announcement is here.

As Rachel said today, it was the news we were not ready for. We had pretty good reason to expect that Matt would be placed in Milwaukee. It wasn't until Tuesday afternoon that it finally occurred to me that Milwaukee wasn't a sure thing, and there were several different Midwest metro areas that might become their new home.

Everybody says it's great that Chicago is close. But right now, I'm thinking about how seldom Matt will be able to see his brothers. And they will have to find a new church home. And I suspect that for the next few weeks I'm going to fail at holding back tears when I see little Joseph helping his grandpa usher at church, or when I see Hannah run up to Grandma Louise and give her a hug before choir, or when I hear Barbara and Laura and Cheri talking about babysitting their grandchildren. All the exciting prospects of living in a "world-class city" don't seem quite enough today to compensate for the fact that they're going away from his family, her family, and their church.

But we'll get used to it, and I'll smile again. I'm very proud of Rachel for being cheerful and upbeat for Matt. I'll have to get my act together before I see him tomorrow morning.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Just Like It Always Was

This evening we watched a dvd that was a cross between a travelogue and a food show. It was a show about sandwiches across the nation. A month ago we watched a similar show about ice cream stands. Besides some majorly delicious looking sandwiches, one thing jumped out at me.

Over and over and over again, the customers at these popular little restaurants said things like, "This place hasn't changed a bit since I came here as a child." Or "What others restaurants around here have the same decor they had 50 years ago?" Or the owners would say, "We haven't changed the recipe one bit. This sandwich has been our secret for success for decades."

Nobody was looking for "improvements."
Doing the same old thing was cherished.

But we don't even have that much sense about the life-giving liturgy.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I Can Do All Things

Faster than a speeding bullet!
More powerful than a locomotive!
Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

It's a verse we hear a lot. It's often used to encourage us to try harder, to persevere, to set our hearts and minds to solving a problem. After all, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And God wants us to succeed, right?

But I can't run a 3-minute mile. And I can't carry 500# on my back. And I can't jump over the fire station. And I never will, no matter how hard I try, no matter how diligently I work at improving myself, and no matter how long I persevere. There are limits on what I can do. I can't survive on 4-6 hours of sleep a night, even if I think it would give me an extra 3-4 hours per day to clean house and grade schoolwork. I can't run an exemplary, rigorously academic, individualized educational program for six different people and keep house and cook and stay sane. I can't keep up on current events and be involved in community events if I'm going to do the work set before me.


So what does that verse mean, then?

Pastor said it's not a theology of glory verse; it's not about accomplishing all sorts of tasks to our heart's content; it's not about "succeeding." Look at where Paul tells us that he can "do all things." He's talking about being satisfied with Christ's forgiveness and his preaching, no matter what earthly circumstances he's living in. So, ultimately, being able to "do all things" has a lot more to do with
living in faith in a loving Savior even when things are not agreeable
than it has to do with
changing circumstances so that they are agreeable.

Today's Laugh

I used to think the brain was the most fascinating part of the body.

Then I realized, hey, look what's telling me that.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Today's Laugh

Why do people wear shamrocks on St Patrick's Day?

Because real rocks are too heavy.

Getting to Know the World's Greatest Inventors and Scientists

This series doesn't look as interesting as the other two, but I want them sorted out for perusal anyway. After all, how will I know where to plug them into our history outlines if I'm looking at names that I may be unfamiliar with? (A few of these "world's greatest scientists" I'd never heard of until I was hunting up the artist series and stumbled upon this series and the President one, written by the same author.)

Benjamin Franklin : electrified the world with new ideas
electricity; other inventions such as lightning rods and bifocals

Alexander Graham Bell : setting the tone for communication

Thomas Edison : inventor with a lot of bright ideas
light bulb, movies, phonograph, etc

Daniel Hale Williams : surgeon who opened hearts and minds
first heart surgery

Marie Curie : scientist who made glowing discoveries

Henry Ford : big wheel in the auto industry
mass production; automobiles

The Wright brothers : inventors whose ideas really took flight

Lise Meitner : had the right vision about nuclear fission

Albert Einstein : universal genius
theory of relativity

Charles Drew : doctor who got the world pumped up to donate blood
blood banks

Rachel Carson : clearing the way for environmental protection
marine biologist and environmentalist

Luis Alvarez : wild idea man

Jane Goodall : researcher who champions chimps
studied primates; environmentalist

Stephen Hawking : cosmologist who gets a big bang out of the universe
black holes; theoretical physics

Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak : geek heroes who put the personal in computers
Apple computers

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers

There aren't as many of Mike Venezia's books on composers as there are on artists.

early 1700s -- Johann Sebastian Bach (baroque)
early 1700s -- George Handel (baroque)
late 1700s -- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (classical)
around 1800 -- Ludwig van Beethoven (classical/romantic)

early 1800s -- Frederic Chopin (romantic)
late 1800s -- Johannes Brahms (romantic)
late 1800s -- Peter Tchaikovsky (romantic)
around 1900 -- John Philip Sousa (marches)
early 1900s -- Igor Stravinsky (neoclassical)

early 1900s -- George Gershwin (popular, jazz, classical)
mid 1900s -- Aaron Copland (American modern & folk)
mid 1900s -- Duke Ellington (jazz)
late 1900s -- the Beatles (pop)

Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists

Mike Venezia is the author of this children's series. The books are geared for grade-school kids, covering the life of the artist and some of the famous paintings by each one. They're easy to understand. (I can handle these books, and art is definitely not my style.) Katie read these kiddie books over and over in her pre-teen years, and it was definitely a big factor in why she scored so high on the Humanities CLEP.

Right now, I need to know which of these books dovetail with our history studies. So here's the approximate chronological arrangement of the series:

1300 Giotto (Italian)

1500 Raphael (Italian)
1500 da Vinci (Italian)
1500 Michelangelo (Italian)
1500 Botticelli (Italian)
1550 Bruegel (Dutch)
1550 Titian (Italian)
1575 el Greco (Spanish)

1650 Rembrandt (Dutch)
1650 Vermeer (Dutch)
1650 Velazquez (Spanish)

1800 Goya (Spanish)
1850 Eugene Delacroix (French)

1875 Camille Pissarro (French)
1875 Degas (French)
1875 Renoir (French)
1875 Monet (French)
1875 Mary Cassatt (American-French)

1875 Georges Seurat (French)
1875 Winslow Homer (American)

1875 Cezanne (French)
1875 Van Gogh (Dutch)
1875 Gauguin
1875 Toulouse-Lautrec (French)
1875 James Whistler (American-British)

1900 Frederic Remington (American West)

1900 Henri Rousseau (French)
1925 Matisse (French)
1925 Picasso (Spanish)
1950 Chagall (Russian-French)
1950 Salvador Dali (Spanish)

1925 Grant Wood (American)
1925 Edward Hopper (American)
1950 Norman Rockwell (American)
1950 Grandma Moses (American)
1950 Georgia O'Keefe (American)

1950 Frida Kahlo (Mexican)
1950 Diego Rivera (Mexican)

1950 Jackson Pollack (American)
1960 Andy Warhol (American)
1960 Roy Lichtenstein (American)

Paul Klee (early 1900s, Swiss)
Rene Magritte (early 1900s, Belgian surrealist)
Dorothy Lange (photographer during the Depression)
Horace Pippin (early 1900s, slavery and segregation)
Alexander Calder (1900s, American sculpture and mobiles)
Jacob Lawrence (late 1900s, American cubist)
Faith Ringgold (late 1900s, American, story quilts)

Today's Laugh

The doorbell rang this morning. When I opened the door, there was my mother-in-law on the front step.

She said, "Can I stay here for a few days?"

I said, "Sure you can," and shut the door in her face.

Monday, March 15, 2010

When God Doesn't Answer

Or maybe I should title it ... When God Doesn't Answer the Way We Want.

A friend was telling me excitedly the other day about her grandson's surgery, and how things worked out perfectly, and how the right people were in the right place at the right time to discover his birth defect. There were so many ways God provided for physical healing and sustenance for everybody concerned. That is a beautiful and happy blessing for which we thank and praise the Lord!

But there's always this little bit of me that shudders inside whenever I hear people say, "You could really tell God was there, working" when temporal blessings abound.

What happens when it doesn't work out the way we want?

My god-daughter was born with a serious heart defect. She was baptized minutes before the Flight-for-Life helicopter whisked her away to the humongo Children's Hospital. Not only was Bethany's congregation praying for her, but so were all the churches in our circuit, and churches across the whole country.

Five and a half weeks later, Bethany died.

Her daddy said that he was asked again and again, "What did we do wrong? Weren't we praying hard enough? Why didn't God answer our prayers?" And again and again, he was given opportunity to confess that God had indeed answered our prayers, that He had granted Bethany the new birth, that He had drawn her to Himself, and that her little body was awaiting the resurrection.

Thanks be to God that He gave physical healing to this little boy that's connected to our church family. But even if He hadn't, He still would have been there, He still would have been caring, He still would have been working. God did not forget us when Bethany died; He did not turn His back on her but opened His arms to receive her, just as He had opened His arms to spread them out on the cross to die for her and cleanse her of all her sin.

I still don't know how to respond to a joyful expression of "God was really there with us!" when things go our way. Because it's true. He is there with us when things go according to our wishes.

But He's there, too, when things hurt and when things go contrary to our desires.

The Lord giveth.
The Lord taketh away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Today's Laugh

Laughter is a lot like changing a diaper. It doesn't permanently solve any problems, but it sure makes things better for a little while.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Now That It's Light Later...

My husband queries ...

If we're on Daylight Savings Time now,
were we on Daylight Wasting Time yesterday?

It Is Finished

Gary points out that John starts his Passion narrative (13:1) with
Now, before the feast of the Passover,
when Jesus knew that His hour had come
that He should depart from this world to the Father,
having loved His own who were in the world,
He loved them to the end.

He also points out that it is John (and none of the other gospel writers) who reports that Jesus said on the cross,
It is finished.

John tells the story in such a way that the same word from Jesus' mouth begins and ends the Passion. This is not merely that Jesus loved His own until the end of time, but He loved them all the way to the "It is finished."

(End and finished are the same word in Greek.)

Today's Laugh

A follow-up tale related by Nathan:

Katie's been trying to get Alia to do the "What does mommy say?" again, but Alia hasn't been too inclined to answer. So on Saturday, Katie tried springing it on her.

What does a cow say?
What does a cat say?
What does a dog say?
Aww, no, a doggy says ruff ruff! What does mommy say?
Ruff! Ruff!

Oh, that is one sly and tricksy child....