Saturday, September 03, 2011

Curiosity versus Need-to-Know Basis

"What if ...?"

We used to wonder together about all sorts of what-ifs. "If the police stop you while you have a kombucha bottle in the car (thinking it was alcoholic), what would you do?" "If you were planning a party and you didn't want So-and-So to attend, how would you handle it?" "If the library charges you for damage done to a book by a previous user, do you have to pay the fine?" "If we hadn't moved, who would be our friends?"

Kids ask these things. They ask and ask and ask. And ask. As tiring as those questions may be, it's good for their little thinkers. These curiosities stretch their brains. Their problem-solving (even for imaginary problems) helps develop real-life problem-solving skills.

I have noticed, however, that these what-ifs tire me now. It's almost like I don't want to be bothered by problems that aren't within my vocation to solve. When asked the what-ifs now, I tend to say, "Not my problem!! I don't have to figure that out." But that's not good for Maggie and her thinker. Time to attempt to rev up the imagination and the curiosity again.


Five months:

Friday, September 02, 2011

Discovery World

Maggie's prize for the library's summer reading program was children's passes to Discovery World. So one day last week we headed down to the lake front. I was shocked by the "free" fieldtrip's price: my ticket and the parking fee were almost prohibitive. But we haven't gone to a museum in so long, and I think it was good we did. (I'd thought a year-long family membership was a good deal when we had six kids. Even with only one at home now, the year's membership would still be cheaper than two trips where we pay admission!)
We nabbed Alia to take along. It was mostly for me and Maggie's sake. Katie [silly girl] thought we were generously taking Alia to be helpful to her. No! It's so much more fun to go do those things with a munchkin!

One thing that surprised me was how tired I got: after two hours or so, I was wiped out. I used to be able to head off for a full day to explore museums with the kids.

Every time I go to a science museum, I am once again stunned by how fabulous the Rockford Children's Museum is. Others may be good, but I have been spoiled forever by Rockford.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day inland, and even more beautiful at the lake.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Just Stuff

You know it's a delectable meal when you can't figure out which food to save for last, because they're all so delicious that there is no way to "save the best for last."

Mom's dialysis is helping. The c-diff returned and is now beaten back again. She is currently in the hospital with cellulitis. She's still needing to make a trip to St Louis for diagnosing what's up with those ulcers. She can't have the surgery for the permanent port for dialysis until she knows that she doesn't need cancer surgery.

College classes are going fine for Andrew.

Nathan's new job was requiring more hours than he anticipated. He's now done with training, onto his standard schedule, and catching up with the homework in the class he's taking for his computer degree.

I've been learning a new task at work -- running the machine that actually posts the bank's transactions, the machine that makes sure each teller's work is balanced and that the whole branch is balanced. So far it's been fun, sometimes like a puzzle to solve. I suspect my co-workers are amused with me: they ask if I'm having fun with it ... and I am! So far, however, it's been easy. I might not think it's so fun when I get whopped with a huge pile that's full of mistakes to ferret out and correct. Also, it makes me more useful to my boss if I can learn some tasks beyond just helping customers with deposits and withdrawals.

If this heat wave is Indian summer, we are in for a very long winter. Please, let this heat wave just be one last hurrah for regular summer!

I'm wondering why somebody would find enjoyment in scaring a little kid and tickling her until she cries and screams. "Oh, it's just playing." Really? Do you think the kid agrees?

Gary and I went to Spring Green for our anniversary. APT was up for Sunday. We stayed in a very nice bed-&-breakfast in town. We putzed around Monday morning. On the way home we stopped at a friend's house to pick up the kids and enjoyed a conversation there (conversations that don't happen nearly often enough).

Too much gallivanting around on trips, not being at home, means I'm not being diligent about taking my vitamins and taking enzymes with my meals. That means my allergies are acting up. During ragweed season too. I need to work on getting back into that routine.

When you don't have time to can salsa or make spaghetti sauce, the tomatoes really pile up. I palm them off on all sorts of people, and we are eating cheese&tomato sandwiches to our hearts' content!!

Someone took our lawn swing from its spot near the front door. Because it disappeared on trash day last week, I'm hoping that it was an over-zealous dumpster-diver who took it. I hate to think that there might bad guys who are intentionally stealing things out of people's yards.

I am procrastinating so badly on my strawberry bed that I was desperate enough this week to scrub clean the fridge rather than making a dent on the weeding, tilling, replanting babies, watering them in, etc.

The raspberry patch was not as intimidating. I whacked away at those today. That spot in the garden now looks positively naked. My arms are scratched, and the blisters on my hand are raw, but I'm pleased with that section of my berry gardens.

There's probably loads more to report, but it's bedtime.

Walking to School

Jane posted a link to a brief article about being ready for first grade. Thirty years ago, the readiness skills for first grade were similar to today's readiness skills for preschool ... or at least things kids need to know prior to kindergarten. But also on the list of readiness skills from 1979 was that a kid knew how to navigate around his neighborhood (4-8 blocks away from home) on his own. As the commenter put it, that's something today that we're letting eighth-graders try.

Katie tells stories of going to the playground with the girls. She will let 2-yr-old Alia climb up the stairs to the slide. She will let Alia climb the tiny little rock wall at one playground. She lets her swing as high as those short little chains will allow. Alia is doing nothing dangerous. She's engaging in behavior less risky than her parents did, and certainly less risky than her grandparents did. And yet, other mommies are gasping, pointing out to Katie that Alia needs to be rescued, and then being incredulous that Katie is okay with [gasp] Playground Behavior at the playground.

Why do we think this over-protection is in the best interests of children?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chapel Yesterday Morning

In Exodus 25, God begins to give the instructions to Moses for building the furnishings of the temple. In plundering Egypt, God had given the people gold and other riches which they could then offer up for the building of the tabernacle. He told them how to make the tent, the altars, and the priestly garments. He gave them the animals for the sacrifices. He gave them priests. He gave them the liturgical rites they were to use.

God gave them what they needed. And what they needed was not merely manna to eat, shoes to wear, and water to drink -- all of which He provided. But He provided, too, the things necessary for their worship, that they might receive His gifts and His forgiveness.

He does the same for us who are on our pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Healing from Grief

Sometimes it takes a long, long time.

I noticed last fall, after seven years, that the loss was still there, but the tears weren't. And then, recently, Pastor brought up something in Bible class that Pastor Wiest had preached. The part more interesting to me, however, was that he prefaced his words with a parenthetical comment on loss and grief. He said that he could see something in a movie now and it would make him smile to remember Steve. The loss is still there, but the depth of gut-wrenching grief isn't. There's fondness now in memories instead of just tears and more tears. Yes! That's it!

Discovering this (I mean, experiencing it and not just knowing it intellectually) helps me expect that God will carry me through other losses and that healing will, eventually, come.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Green Beans

Fresh lettuce and spinach out of the garden in spring is a delight. Potatoes, onions, carrots, beets, zucchini -- whatever we grow is better-than-bought. I love my berry-parade through June's strawberries, July's raspberries, and late summer's blackberries.

But there are two things that are exquisite beyond all the rest:

the first tomatoes, in bruschetta salad or tomato sandwiches or simply salt-&-peppered

and the first mess o' steamed green beans.

Tonight is green bean night. Yum! I love how they squeak like fresh cheese curds!

Chapel This Morning

Today's story is from Exodus 24. The Lord calls Moses, Joshua, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders up on the mountain.

The Israelites had heard the word of the Lord. They promised to cling to the commands He gave (the commandments and the feasts). Moses sacrificed the burnt offerings and the peace offerings. Half the blood was sprinkled on the altar. The rest of the blood was sprinkled on the people: "This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you according to all these words."

Turns out that the people didn't do what they promised. They didn't cling to God's word. They didn't obey. They went their own way. (Surprised?)

Jesus, however, would cling to the words of the Father. He would obey it all. He would hold it sacred, and gladly hear and learn it. He would be the new Israel who actually kept the promise to follow the Lord. And then He would be the sacrifice and the peace offering. His blood would be poured out on the altar. His blood would be on the people (Mt 27:25). His word would guarantee: "This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is shed for you."

We couldn't keep the old covenant, the one from Exodus 24. But He makes a new covenant. And He keeps it even though we don't deserve it.