Saturday, November 12, 2011


Because it's too funny to let some of my friends miss, I need to post a couple of stories that Katie's told about my granddaughter recently.

Alia's ballerina dog just said (by way of Alia's mouth) the whole close of the commandments with one "minor" alteration. "I the lord your dog am a jealous dog...

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The joys of Alia are innumerable. Today's bit of awesome: crooning a love song... to a piece of cold pizza.

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And the serious one, as she was pretending church and communion -- "Drink the blood of peace; now you are part of Jesus. Eat the bread that is Jesus for your peace. Forever and ever. Amen."

One of the Best Articles I've Seen on Raising Kids

Don't let the website address for this article put you off. It's a very long article, but it addresses a common struggle -- especially among homeschoolers. How do parents balance their training of a child with their unconditional love for the child? And does the message of that unconditional love of the parents actually get through to the kid?

The same problem pops up frequently in information put out for parents of special needs kids. The social workers and nurses keep telling the parents to love their child, not to treat them according to their disability. And yet, everything you run into from doctors and therapists and teachers is that the child is a project. A project to be conquered, to be tweaked, to be perfected insofar as can be done. But the child isn't a project. The child is a person. A person made in the image of God. A person who has strengths and weaknesses, joys and sorrows, just like all the rest of us.

The article isn't perfect. But the author is at least heading in the right direction.

Friday, November 11, 2011

They Couldn't Do It

This week and next we are praying the Third Article of the Creed:
I believe that I cannot
by my own reason or strength
believe in Jesus Christ my Lord
or come to Him.
But the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel...

One of our Bible stories this week was about the end of Joshua's life (chapter 24). Joshua preaches to the people all that God has done to save them, to rescue them, to defeat their enemies. Joshua asks them to choose whether they'll serve the Lord or all those other gods of the Egyptians and/or the Canaanites. The Israelites respond, "We're gonna serve Him." But Joshua tells them, "You cannot serve the Lord."


Pastor pointed out in chapel how this dovetails with the Creed this week: "I believe that I cannot."

We cannot. We have no ability to trust. We have no strength to serve. But nevertheless, the Holy Spirit calls us, enlightens us, sanctifies us. He does in us and for us what we cannot do ourselves.

Pumpkin Pie

I've been disappointed in the pumpkin pies I've been making. They're good. But they're not awesome. Some were made with pumpkin I baked; some were made with canned pumpkin. I think I've decided that butternut squash is where it's at. When I use butternut squash for the "pumpkin" pie, then we're talking exquisite yumminess!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


There was a discussion recently about how people out there in the post-modern Real World (TM) respond to Christians. One of the pastors said something quite wise:

People will react more honestly to "Christianity displayed as important to you than promoted as important for them."

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


We run into it all the time: people telling us what we need to do to make ourselves holier. But look what it says in the Small Catechism.

(Luther's little expositions are so rich and full that sometimes we are overwhelmed by all that he's saying and don't catch the simplest things. So I'm going to leave out some of the verbs and subordinate clauses and prepositional phrases.)

I believe that I cannot ... but the Holy Ghost has ... sanctified ... me .... In the same way He ... sanctifies the whole Christian Church.

Who sanctifies? Not me. I cannot. But He does.

Naming Nature

Could you possibly be as clueless as I was back a few years ago? I could identify cardinals and robins. I knew what dandelions were. But naming a tree? Not likely. Wildflowers? Ha!

Mary Blocksma was clueless too. She wanted to start learning about the nature around her. This book is her diary. It not only documents the birds and trees and grasses and flowers she learns about, but her journey demonstrates to the reader how to learn more about nature. It's perfect for those of us in Michigan, Wisconsin, and northern Indiana, because the climate and geographical location is perfect for what we're experiencing along with the author.

Reading this book was one of my favorite homeschool projects. The book begins on January 1, so now is the time to buy yourself an el-cheapo copy of the book. Then you'll be all ready to spend a whoppin' 5-10 minutes a day with a tiny dose of nature study. It's so encouraging and empowering to read a nature book by someone who's not an expert, but who is a plain old normal dummy but is undumbifying teaching herself. I caught the bug that year and spent the summer ID-ing a lot of wildflowers (aka, weeds). After getting our feet wet, we turned around the next year and re-read the book. We've read it periodically. I think this January would be a great time to reprise it.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Distant Triumph Song

I've been dawdling on blogging about a line in "For All the Saints." And now I don't have to. I'll just link to my call-in comment to Issues Etc. Hee hee hee -- Todd liked what I echoed from Pastor, and so I won the prize for best comment. Woo hoo!

I suppose I really ought to share my prize with Pastor. We'll see.

(I'm just a smidge past the halfway mark on the recording.)

Monday, November 07, 2011

The Trouble with Angels

Gary found the movie The Trouble with Angels available on Netflix instant-play. I was working in the kitchen and overhearing bits and pieces of this story from the mid-60s. Pretty soon, I was drawn to sit down with him and watch. The basic story is a couple of somewhat troublesome girls attending a Catholic boarding school. What a great movie! Funny. Sweet. Not offensive in any way, shape, or form. It even included a theme about giving oneself to others. But primarily it was just plain funny! Definitely worth watching!

This one is something my mom would freely enjoy if it showed up at the library or a video store. And if you're a person with munchkins, don't let the PG rating throw you off. All we could figure was that a scene with the girls hiding and smoking cigars bumped the movie from a G to a PG.

If you liked Beverly Cleary's Ramona, you'll like this.

Starting the Morning ...

... with another flat tire. Last month we picked up a nail in one tire of the van. Today Gary noticed another flat on the van. This time the culprit was a screw. Hey, at least it was a different tire. There's also a slow leak on another tire of the van. Thankfully we could pump up the flat and drive it to town for a new tire. So much for the errands I'd planned to do today.

But on the up-side ... I found socks. The most expensive socks I ever bought! But they're wool. And they're men's toe-socks. Who would've thought that toe-socks would be sold in Bigfoot's men's size? Now I'll have something to keep my feet warm while still allowing me to wear the orthotic flipflops which keep the shoe-pain at bay. Woo hoo! (I'm telling myself that this is a medical expense and not an outrageous clothing purchase. That makes it easier to endure the price on these things.)

Now off to make bread.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

We Just Want to Thank You ...

A friend mentioned something this morning that he'd heard on Issues Etc recently. When we begin our prayers with "I just wanna" ask God something, it indicates a belief that God is miserly. We don't want to ask anything big. We're just going to trouble Him with a small, not-too-inconvenient request.

"Honey, on our way home, can we stop at Piggly Wiggly? I just wanna grab a bunch of bananas." I wouldn't begin my request to Gary with "I just wanna" if I were planning to be in there for 55 minutes loading up on the sales and making sure we have the entire week's groceries purchased.

Look at the collect for the 11th Sunday after Trinity (also used recently in the three-year series): Almighty and everlasting God, always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve, pour down upon us the abundance of Your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ.