Friday, March 08, 2013


"We believe in synergism with regard to sanctification."
I've heard it from a variety of people.
Some even quote one of the "dead orthodox" Lutheran fathers.

And yet,
how does that fit with the catechism?
"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 ...
sanctified me."

Thursday, March 07, 2013


Maggie's echocardiogram today looked great.  Based on how her heart sounded during last year's check-up, the doctor expected some degradation.  He was surprised and pleased that her leak is "mild."  Also "mild" is the pulmonary stenosis (narrowing of the artery). 

The other good news is that one of his patients had a valve replacement in the cath-lab.  Replacing valves via catheterization (as opposed to needing open-heart surgery) isn't common yet, but it's being done by our doctors in our hospital for patients like Maggie.  With how well she's doing, catheterization should be the norm by the time she needs help again.  Might this really mean No More Heart Surgeries?

More good news: Children's Hospital has instituted an adult clinic for people with congenital heart defects.  This means we won't have to change hospitals, and will continue working with doctors who are well-versed in heart defects (as opposed to heart disease, which is what most cardiologists deal with).

The doctor got a dose of Maggie's wit today (which seemed to tickle him).  He brought up the subject of sleep apnea and was asking some questions.  He was explaining to Maggie that sleep apnea is a problem because a person can't be well-rested when "your body keeps waking you up so that you can start breathing again."  "Well, isn't that better than NOT waking up?"  Doctor's eyebrows raised, then he smiled, then he saluted her with a high-five and laughed.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Drink of It, ALL of You?

... He gave it to His disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is My body."  ... "Drink of it, all of you ..."

Hey!  He gave it to WHOM?  Those disciples?  The ones who were soon to abandon Him?  The ones who denied Him? 

There's some comfort there!  If Jesus would give Himself to/for those followers who ran away instead of followed, then that means He'll do the same for me -- lousy follower that I am!

Velcro Paws

Folding socks and hankies and napkins. And they're sticking to my hands.  Like as if my hands are so rough and dry and scaly that they're Velcro. 

Note to self:  there IS hand-cream in the house....

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Saving Money in the Kitchen

Time is money, they say.

According to a sample issue of allrecipes (which arrived in my mail this week), you pay more for convenience foods.  Are you astounded by the revelation that pre-packaged salad greens cost more than a head of lettuce, and that an envelope of taco spice mix is pricier than dumping in your own teaspoons of salt, cumin, and chili powder?  What?  You're not surprised by this news flash?  Well, the magazine offers further encouragement to avoid convenience foods:
Going DIY in the kitchen only adds about 10 extra minutes to meal prep, according to the UCLA Center on the Everyday Living of Families.


It might only take me an extra minute or two to add my own spices instead of using a mix.  But cooking from scratch takes more time than 10 extra minutes per meal.  Shredding cheese.  Baking bread.  Making soup stock.  Preparing dry beans.  Rolling out pie crust.  Snapping fresh green beans.  Scrubbing potatoes, boiling them, and then mashing them.  Baking granola.

Now, I'm all for the nutrition boost of real foods.  And I think it's wise to try to avoid much of the crud that hides in pre-packaged foods.  And it's definitely cheaper to do it yourself.

But c'mon, 10 minutes?  If you make a pizza crust from scratch, make the pizza sauce from scratch, cook the sausage, grate the cheese, and then bake the pizza, that's not a mere 10 minutes longer than ripping the plastic off a frozen pizza.

And I'm not even counting whacko things like making your own butter and cheese, raising your own veggies, rolling out your own noodles, etc.

Oh sure, 10 minutes.  Like as if do-it-yourself in the kitchen is a trifle. 

Monday, March 04, 2013

Toward Perfection

Admit it.  We're two-faced about perfectionism.  We say it's bad for us.  We say it's stressful.  We say, "Well, nobody can be perfect."  And yet, if we're not compelling ourselves to be perfect, we've got those teachers and bosses pushing us toward being perfect, always setting the goals higher and higher.  Once we reach the first goal, then a new goal is set.  There's no contentment, no resting, in a job well done.  Or in significant improvement.

Why is it, the closer we get to perfection, the more we're aware of our imperfection?  A kid who scores C's and B's on his tests won't flip out when he sees "C-" on his test.  But the kid who earns A's will freak over a B.  And the kid who scores 99% will be upset over a "lousy" grade like 96%.  Same thing at work.  The goal for the team is to eliminate backlogged work.  But no matter how much they improve over the year, no matter how many cases they resolve, it's never enough -- it's never perfect.  But the drive for it to be perfect is more compelling when the goal isn't as far out of reach. 

The closer we get to perfection, the more we yearn to have it.

With regard to civic righteousness, striving for perfection can drive a person bonkers and hike his blood pressure.  But with regard to religion, it can become damning if we determine that more effort on our part can get us to where we measure up.

Sunday, March 03, 2013


1. My son-in-law Nathan underwent surgery on his ankle yesterday. He fell on ice in the parking lot, resulting in two fractures in his joint as well as messing up his tendon. (Or was it ligament?  I can never keep those two straight.)  No walking for ten weeks. No driving either, as it's his right foot.

2. I waited too long to go to the theatre. I wanted SO badly to see Les Miserables. All my friends told me how fabulous it was. I have freebie tickets hanging on the bulletin board, with precious little in the theatre I have any interest in seeing. I figured I could happily go see Les Mis more than once. But recent events have prevented a trip out to indulge myself. Today I tried finding a theatre that was still showing it. No go. Bummers.

3. Next Sunday we'll be singing "In Thee Alone, O Christ, My Lord" and Gerhardt's "I Will Sing My Maker's Praises." Ah! I will spend all week looking forward to it!!!  (Is that too weird, that superb hymns bring so much relief and joy?)

4. I was chatting yesterday with a co-worker (who's majoring in psychology and Japanese) about the difference in my granddaughters. At age 4, Alia has very little ability to put herself in another's shoes. That's really not abnormal; she's young. But at age 1 1/2 Zoe was already watching out for others, trying to console sad people, and showing compassion.  My co-worker said that's highly unusual (and it is); she said kids don't start learning that until age 8 or so.  Age 8?  Hmm.  That's not what I see.  I wonder if it makes a difference if they are baptized Christians, united with the One who is mercy?

5.  I finally started watching Downton Abbey.  Oh. my. goodness.  It's so good!!!

Reading Challenge: Update

"A Little Help from My Friends"
Reading Challenge

Get a list of book suggestions from your friends.  From those suggestions choose between five and ten books that you will read in 2013.  Make a list of the books that you will read and a few alternates.
And the other instructions can be found on Jane's site.

My list:
Anne of Green Gables   by L. M. Montgomery  January 24
Anne of Avonlea   (these two with Maggie) February 24
Mara, Daughter of the Nile   by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
Love Divine   by Alan Kornacki
Mitford's Out to Canaan    by Jan Karon
Christ Have Mercy   by Matt Harrison

The list that someone else made for me:
Lutheran Catechesis   by Bender Dec 27, 2012
Old Testament Catechesis   by Bender March 1
New Testament Catechesis    by Bender
Bible Stories for Daily Prayer    by Fabrizius

Kristin Lavransdatter  by Sigrid Undset
To Kill a Mockingbird   by  Harper Lee
Luther, the Reformer   by James Kittelson
The Right to Be Wrong   by Seamus Hasson
On Being a Theologian of the Cross   by Forde
Luther on Vocation   by Wingren

Well, I've never before set up a reading challenge for myself.  Many of my friends do so annually.  I am jealous.  But Jane has devised a teeny-tiny reading challenge (possibly just to encourage me, because she loves me).  I may not be up to the challenge; I may fail.  BUT I have a shot at it -- unlike most reading challenges which are entirely out of the realm of possibility.  Unless I want to quit homeschooling, quit cooking, quit cleaning, quit choir, quit gardening, and quit editing.  And I don't wanna quit those things.  So Mini Reading Challenge, here I come!