Saturday, July 30, 2011

New Sink

It was stained when we moved in, but it's stained worse now. I think I used the wrong kind of cleansers on it. The edge of the sink was high, which meant it was always a struggle to keep the water from pooling in the small space between the back of the sink and the wall. Even after we caulked that with 50-year-guarantee kitchen/bath-quality caulking, it was nasty within a year. In addition to these problems, the moving parts inside the faucet were going bad: it was quite difficult to turn the faucet from one side of the sink to the other.


Two things to get used to:
1) Do not throw the faucet around. After using so much muscle-effort whenever we had to move the old one, we keep using more energy than is required for the smooth-moving new faucet.
2) The Culligan spigot moved over by the dish rack. This means that stacking dishes the way we used to (never towel-drying, perched precariously while air-drying) will cut off our access to the drinking water. We may be compelled to put away dishes in a more timely manner, possibly even breaking out the dish towels on a twice-daily basis. This may [gasp!] make the kitchen look tidier as well as be more readily usable. Now, can we do it???

Friday, July 29, 2011

Psalm 119:54

Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.

House? On a pilgrimage? Part of the characteristic of being on a pilgrimage is that you do not have a house.

We so often understand "statutes" as law-codes and rules. If you get a parking ticket, it will say that you broke statute thus-and-such. The crime reports in the paper tell what statute was transgressed when the dude was booked by the police.

But God's thoughts are not our thoughts. If His statutes are the covenant made to Abraham, the promises given to the patriarchs, that's a little bit different than our concept of statute. So we sing His statutes in the "house" that is our church. We sing, "Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night in which He was betrayed, took bread...." We sing, "This is the Word of the Lord." We sing, "O Christ, Thou Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world...." We sing, "God spoke to His beloved Son, 'tis time to have compassion..." We sing, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel for He hath visited and redeemed His people."

His statutes ARE our songs at church (the house of our pilgrimage).

Today's Laugh

A friend's daughter came up with the cutest way to say something when she couldn't remember the right words. Check out Meghan's story.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Knowing the Mysteries

After Jesus told the parable of "The Sower and the Seed," the disciples came to Him, saying, "Huh? We don't get it. Explain, please. Why do You tell these parables anyhow?" And He answered, "To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven...."

Really? You'd think not. After all, they don't get it and they have to ask. They also don't get it when Jesus says He has to go up to Jerusalem and die. Even after the resurrection, at Jesus' ascension, they don't get it: "So NOW are You going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"

But Jesus said it's been given to His disciples to know the mysteries. As long as we know Jesus, we know. We may not understand details. Without a good teacher, we may be bamboozled by parables. We may listen to our human reason and our experiences more than we listen to God's word. But as long as we know Jesus and His mercy, as long as we cling to Him and His forgiveness, we know the mysteries. Even when it might appear we don't.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I Keep Your Commandments

All through the Psalter, especially in 119, we pray, "I keep Your word" and "I keep Your commandments." Being creatures with a sinful flesh and thus a works-righteous faith, we see those words and think it's about obeying rules. We like rules. We want God to approve of our efforts to keep His rules. Even when we screw up, we still think that our plan to do better next time will make God happy with us.

"I keep Your word" = "I hang onto Your word."

Whether His word condemns our sin (and we agree with its just judgment) or whether His word forgives the undeserving (and we joyfully agree with its declaration of innocence for the sake of Christ) ... we hang onto it. We cling to it. We don't let go of it.

"I keep Your commandments" is more about what we love, what we believe, and what promises we trust in, than it is about stark obedience to rules.


Almost four months:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Thoughts Are Not Your Thoughts

One of the collects uses the verse from Isaiah 55 ("'My thoughts are not Your thoughts, nor are My ways your ways,' declares the Lord") as if God has His way of doing things, and He's just so big and so great that we cannot understand it. So if there's a hurricane that destroys a city, we pray that, y'know, His thoughts aren't our thoughts, and we don't know what's up with the whole disaster thing, but God must know what He's doing.

And that's not untrue.

But Pastor keeps telling us that "My thoughts are not your thoughts" has nothing to do with God being "beyond us" in smarts (which He is), or about His being capricious (which He's not). It is, rather, about His way of looking at things being so different from ours. We believe people ought to pay for their mistakes. We love the people who are nice to us. We get fed up with those who abuse us and either take our revenge or (if we're the [ahem] patient and nonvengeful sort) at least we know to avoid those stinkers who give us grief.

God is not like that!

God's thoughts are not our thoughts. If you look at the context of that verse, it's so obvious. God calls out at the beginning of the chapter, "Come, all you thirsty ones, and get something to drink. All you hungry people, come and get food without paying for it!" A grocery store sure ain't gonna stay in business if that's how they operate! Later in the chapter, He sends out His word to bring people to Himself, and He promises that it will not fail in the job He sends it to do: work repentance and bestow pardon.

His thoughts and His ways are just plain weird.

Can there really truly be that much abundance of mercy?

He Knows Our Frame

In Psalm 103, where it says that the Lord "knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust," this is not merely an intellectual knowing. Yes, His mind recognizes the fact that our bodies were made of the dust of the ground.

But it's more than that. He knows our frame because He has it too. He is human. He took on flesh. He has bones and muscles and skin and eyelashes. He knows our frame not just because He created it, but because it became His own.

Blacking My Driveway

Main lesson learned -- This job should be done in cooler weather!

This is how the driveway looked after my multitudinous patching jobs last summer. The weather failed before I could get the blacktopping completed.

Thanks to Janelle & Jeff for the loan of the power washer. That made the cleaning job much easier.


There were some parts of this job that were very pleasant. After hearing others' stories, I expected to endure the task, but it wasn't bad. I especially liked the gloop-gloop sound of the blacking as I squeegeed it into its spots. I'm not sure why I was tickled (but I was!) when Maggie came out to ask a question and commented how much she liked that sound. Funny!

I am SO glad my Aunt Sue warned me to wear shoes that I can throw in the garbage! I should have done the same thing with the clothes. (She did tell me to wear clothes that would be disposed of, but I forgot to change between the washing and the blacking.)

The muscles in my back aren't so sure they liked this job. If we don't hire out the job when it needs to be repeated in several years, I will do two things differently. First, I think it would be wise to wash down the driveway the evening before. This risks someone eating her dinner on the driveway and leaving mouse guts or bird innards on my freshly washed driveway. But it would be nice to get all or most of the washing finished on the previous day. Second, I would do the job when it's cooler. The instructions say to apply the blacking between 65 and 90°. It was in the low 80s today. With the heat of the previous week, that was too hot: the goop thickened (on its way to drying) too quickly. In the shade of the garage and in the shade of the plum tree -- those were the two places where the goop spread most smoothly and the results were best. The heat is important to the goop cooking/curing/setting. But too much heat while it's being applied makes the work harder and the results less than ideal. As long as you know the temps are likely to climb into the 80s or 90s later in the day, it would be great to start the job at 7 a.m. when the temps are 65-72°.

I assumed I'd have to wear black hose to work on Wednesday, attempting to hide my splotchiness. But after inadvertently blacktopping my feetsies numerous times, I still managed to scrub them clean.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sin Held Its Sway Unceasing

A young friend mentioned a yowza point from one of the organist workshops she attended. It's a very cool thing to notice in "Salvation unto Us Has Come"!