Saturday, July 10, 2010


Just wondering.

If it's "really hard to forgive someone" who has harmed you, betrayed you, sinned against you, ...
would that mean your forgiveness wasn't really forgiveness?

So Tired

Who ever thought caulking could be so exhausting? After six tubes of driveway caulk in two days, my hands are sore. I have dropped things because my grip is just too tired to hang on.

Granted, I was out late at a super-exciting ball game last night. But I'm more tired than I can account for. I think these repairs on the driveway require more physical energy than I have to give! I washed the driveway this morning and was all ready to head to the hardware store for asphalt and for another gallon of liquid sealant, when I thought to check the weather. 40% chance of thunderstorms this afternoon and again this evening. And 50% chance of rain overnight on Sunday. Do I risk it?

Gary said that if I fail to water the garden this afternoon, anticipating rain, the rain will not come. Murphy's law, y'know. Then I could do more driveway patching and not have the repairs rained upon. Sounds like a good plan in theory, but I don't trust it.

So I'm looking at the to-do list since I'm not working on the driveway. Everything on the list takes more strength than I've got right now. House cleaning? Nah, too tired. Moving furniture? Nope. Shampooing a couch? Nope. More weeding in the garden. Nope. How about running the lawn mower before the rain comes? Yuck -- but it's still on my list to consider. Cooking for company tomorrow? Not too tiring, but it would require heat -- inside the house. Hmmmm.

Goofing off on the computer? Now, I do have energy for that.

(What's really disappointing is that I'll have to wash the driveway again once I think the weather forecast looks like we'll have a good 24 hours with no chance of rain. Just the thought of hauling the hose from the garden, across the deck, through the garage, and out to the front again makes me want to collapse.)

Today's Laugh

One of my friends works in the customer-service call center of a national pager company. He deals with the usual complaints regarding poor pager operation, as well as the occasional crank caller demanding to be paged less often, more often, or by more interesting people.

The best call came from a man who repeatedly complained that he keeps being paged by "Lucille." He was instructed that he would have to call her and tell her to stop paging him.

"She don't never leave no number, so I can't call her back," he said.

After three such calls, someone thought to ask how he knew it was Lucille if she didn't leave a number.

"She leaves her name," was the reply.

After establishing that the customer had a numeric only pager, the light bulb came on.

"How does she spell her name?" the service rep asked.

"L-O-W C-E-L-L"

Another problem solved.

Friday, July 09, 2010

The Motivation for Daily Activities

Bread rising.
Library not open yet, so time to kill before running errands.
Hmmm... how about a little more weeding in the vegetable garden?
Errands include picking up a book for homeschooling and buying more caulk for the driveway.

Suddenly I think to myself about some of my Christian friends who aspire to be "a real Proverbs 31 woman." An outsider might think my list of tasks today were nobly motivated as I strive to live the Proverbs-31 lifestyle.

Ha! Those folks don't know a frugal-minded cheapskate when they see one. A woman who makes bread and gardens does so to keep from spending so much money at the grocery store. A woman who repairs her own driveway does so because she can't afford to pay the businessman. Not only can this woman not afford tuition for her kids' school, but she doesn't even want to pay for schoolbook and thus borrows as much as possible from the library.

Things are not always what they appear to be.
I wonder what other miserly activities I will engage in today? :-)

Lift Up Your Eyes

Usually when we read in the Bible about someone "lifting up his eyes," we just think it's about somebody looking at something. "Yoohoo! Looky over there. See that?"

Jesus tells Nicodemus that the Son of Man must be lifted up -- at His crucifixion (John 3).

Isaiah sees the Lord lifted up and the angels crying, "Holy, holy, holy" (Isaiah 6).

In the movie Passion, we notice time and again how the people at the foot of the cross look up to see the Man hanging there. Really, there is no way to "fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith," without looking up.

When we sit in the pews at church, we must look up to see the crucifix. When we kneel in the confessional, our eyes look up to see the cross hanging over our pastor's heart.

Psalm 121 --
I will lift up my eyes to the hills.
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord
who made heaven and earth.

Jesus was crucified on a hill ...
whence cometh my help.

Today's Laugh

A new government 10-year survey costing $3,000,000,000 revealed that 3/4 of the people in America make up 75% of the population.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

A Few Pics

My mom and Noelle (my sister's baby).

Gary's folks with Paul, Philip, Maggie, and Andrew.

Brenda and me at the CCA booth during one of the coffee breaks at symposium.

Maggie and Andrew today -- pictures taken simply because I was trying to figure out what was wrong with the camera and if I could make it capture any image. Somewhere. Please. I hope. Don't be broken, dear camera. Anyway, here are the kids as of today.

Not a Pastry Bag (but almost)

Running the caulk gun along those little wiggly cracks near the edge of the driveway made me realize that cake-decorating may be a useful training-tool for household maintenance.

I learned today that I much prefer the "pourable driveway crack filler" to the asphalt caulk. The pourable filler is much easier to use and doesn't leave lumpy lines. Of course, the pourable stuff is much thinner and needs to be applied twice (or thrice -- or more) unless the crack is teeny. But it's easier, cheaper, and gives better results.

I wonder when I will learn that a whole day outside, in the garden, or patching driveway cracks, will result in sunburned shoulders and back? I know it, but I still haven't learned it. Aloe to the rescue!


Some of the good violinists at church (of which there are many) were amused interested that Gary has a violin and can even play a bit. Gary took his violin along to Goltermanns' on Monday. He and Sarah played hymns together for a while. Loved it!

Today's Laugh

These four guys were walking down the street, a Saudi, a Russian, a North Korean, and a New Yorker.

A reporter comes running up and says, "Excuse me, what is your opinion about the meat shortage?"

The Saudi says, "What's a shortage?"

The Russian says, "What's meat?"

The North Korean says, "What's an opinion?"

The New Yorker, says, "Excuse me?? What's excuse me?"

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Galatians 6:1

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass,
you who are spiritual
restore such a one
in a spirit of gentleness,
considering yourself
lest you also be tempted.

When I was growing up, our Sunday school teachers always explained this verse like this: When your friends start to smoke or do drugs or sleep around, you should try to set them back on the path of good works and morality. But be careful, because it would really be easy for them to suck you into their immoral lifestyle.

But maybe this verse is about much more than stopping people from doing some naughty things.

IF all sin flows from unbelief (and it does),
and IF faith cannot help but bear good fruit (and it does),
and IF people are prone to pharisaism (and because of our sinful nature, all are),

then maybe this verse is calling us to flee to Jesus' mercy when we see our brother in sin. We need to speak in such a way that his faith be turned to Christ and not to anything in himself. (This, of course, does not mean that we avoid use of the Law. The Law is necessary that we might be stripped of all reliance on ourselves and trust only in Jesus' goodness.) Our temptation when "restoring a brother overtaken in a trespass" is that he should be as good as we are -- that he should try to be as holy as we are.

But when we "consider ourselves" we find nothing in us but sin and death from which we can in no wise set ourselves free. And yet Christ is merciful to us and has made us a new creation. And so when we help our struggling brother, we help him, not to spiff up his life, but to find his sole sufficiency in the Savior who loves both him and us. That keeps us from being tempted. And it is the only salvation which can restore the brother.

The Need for More Pastors

From Sunday's [three-year] Gospel reading: Jesus tells us that the harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few, and to "pray the Lord of the harvest to send faithful laborers into the harvest" (Luke 10).

But then next He tells the 70 that He sends them out as "lambs among wolves."

And I kept thinking, "No wonder we have to keep praying for more and more pastors. Because the ones that are sent keep getting eaten up!"

Today's Laugh

Cats can work out mathematically the exact place to sit that will cause most inconvenience.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Holiday Weekend

A friend is in Ghana, teaching for a few weeks at the seminary there. Two of his parishioners died. So Gary drove to the south side of the metro area to preach at a funeral after work on Friday. He drove back the next morning for the committal, and stayed for the afternoon for the next funeral. Then Sunday, he preached and taught Bible class here because Pastor is on vacation. That's a lot to cram into a weekend even when you're not working a day-job.

Paul came home for the long weekend! So glad to see him! On the one hand, I wish he were getting scheduled for more hours at his part-time job so that he would've been unable to come due to a sufficiently-busy work schedule. But as long as he's short of hours, it's great that he was willing to make the drive to come home for a few days.

Maggie and I finished the sixth Betsy-Tacy book. I should've been thinking ahead. We didn't put #7 on reserve until we finished #6. Now we hold off on reading until the libraries shuffle the next volume to us.

Katie let me know that they will be moving to a new apartment in the next week or two. Not only does it appear to be quieter and better maintained, but it also has cheaper rent. That'll help. Also, Nathan's second job seems to be working out well.

Enjoyed a wonderfully relaxing afternoon on the Fourth with some friends. And enjoyed a lovely party on Monday at the home of other friends. Thankful for the good food and even better company!

Missed the fireworks altogether. The ones out in Dousman (where we watched last summer) were set off on Saturday night instead of on the Fourth. After Gary's funerals, we weren't about to drive out there at bedtime when he had to preach the next morning. By Sunday evening, we were 1) confused by the thought that the fireworks had been last night, and 2) tired and ready for bed. It initially surprised me when we heard the local fireworks booming away about 9:15. But at that point, we couldn't manage the oomph to get into the car and drive into the village.

Been watering for a friend who's out of town. She has 18 potted plants. They are beautiful. And I haven't killed anything! :-) I am overwhelmed by her commitment to making her home and yard lovely. I don't think I could spend a summer taking care of that many plants that need watering every single day. My practicality compels me to spend my gardening time on food-stuffs instead of pretties. But I can also see the value of how the pretties refresh and restore the soul.

Rosie is enjoying playing at being a huntress. I get a lot of laughs watching her stalking squirrels. She's also highly interested in the bluebird box, but our sweet, dumb cat is no match for a mama bluebird. She's actually caught a few gophers, but she doesn't eat them. Cats should eat their prey rather than leaving it to sit dead on the driveway. Blech!

The driveway needs to be sealed. I learned what needs to be done. Yesterday I began sealing some of the tiny cracks. (This driveway is SO different and smooth and uncracked, compared to the driveway we had at the parsonage.) Today we'll need to do some edging. The supplies for the sealing job cost a small fraction of the estimates we've been given by companies looking for business. And I bet I'll do a more meticulous job. But as I look at a whole week devoted to spiffing up the driveway, I wonder if by next Sunday I'll regret trying to save the $200 by doing it myself. Next on the docket will be sealing the deck; that's easier.

Today's Laugh

On the train to a math and engineering convention, a group of math majors and a group of engineering majors sat in the same car. Each of the math majors had his/her train ticket, but it became clear that the group of engineers had only ONE ticket amongst them. The math majors started laughing and snickering.

When one of the engineers said, "Here comes the conductor," all the engineers went into the bathroom. The math majors were puzzled. The conductor came aboard and said "Tickets please" and collected tickets from all the math majors. He then went to the bathroom, knocked on the door and said "Ticket please," and the engineers stuck the ticket under the door. The conductor took it and left, and the engineers came out of the bathroom a few minutes later. The math majors felt really stupid.

So on the way back from the convention, the group of math majors had one ticket for the group. They started snickering at the engineers, for this time the whole group had NO tickets amongst them.

When the engineer-lookout said, "Conductor coming!," all the engineers went to one bathroom. All the math majors went to another bathroom. Just before the conductor came on board, one of the engineers left the bathroom, knocked on the other bathroom, and said "Ticket please."

Monday, July 05, 2010


Overall, we eat too much sweetness, and sugar-substitutes are not the answer. The answer is to not succumb constantly to our desire for the sweet.

I ran across a jar of stevia at Trader Joe's a while back. I've been interested in trying stevia for quite a while, but the price was prohibitive. Now that it's becoming trendy, more people are growing it and selling it, and the price is no longer something that will give you a heart attack. (Now it's come down to just "very expensive".)

I've discovered a good use for stevia. I have too much craving for sweetness to eliminate all my sugar-fixes. I don't have enough money to make a full switch to sugar-substitutes that aren't harmful: honey, maple syrup, stevia. But when you're sick and are imbibing in many, many cups of hot tea, and when the illness means you really shouldn't be consuming sugar, the stevia allows you to keep "sucking down Darjeeling" without gobbling up many tablespoonfuls of dissolved sugar daily. And the stevia doesn't have the chemical taste that saccharin and aspartame do.

I should learn to drink tea and coffee without sugar.

Really, I should. (And you know my brain right now is drooling over Southern Sweet Tea.... Well, at least my mouth isn't drooling.)

Today's Laugh

The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Today's Laugh

A Dutchman was explaining the red, white, and blue Netherlands flag to an American.
"Our flag is symbolic of our taxes. We get red when we talk about them, white when we get our tax bills, and blue after we pay them."

The American nodded. "It's the same in the USA. Only we see stars too!"