Saturday, June 08, 2013

Longevity of Homemade Soap

One bar of Yardley soap came into our house as a party favor from a baby shower.  (Isn't that the cutest idea?!  Soap for a shower!!)  As Maggie and I tend to develop rashes when using store-soap, we looked up the ingredients online.  Yardley is real soap.  And it smells fabulous.  We used it without any negative reactions.  Woo hoo! 

Maybe I wouldn't have to keep making soap after all.  Granted, it's pricey soap.  But it would save me the trouble of making my own. 

And then it disappeared.  It took nine days for that four-ounce bar of soap to be used up.  That seemed unreasonably fast.  So I timed the longevity of my next bar of homemade.  A five-ounce bar lasted 25 days.  That means the el-cheapo homemade also lasts twice as long as store-soap.

I guess I'll keep making soap.

My Three Sons

It's fuzzy, but I like the expressions on their faces.

(Taken at the wedding rehearsal.)

Friday, June 07, 2013

Such Great Faith

Many Christians want to have "great faith."  So when we hear that Jesus marveled at the great faith of the centurion in last Sunday's story (3-yr series: Luke 7), we wonder what that is.   And we wonder how we can have great faith.  Do people notice our prayers, our good works, our level of holiness?    Surely that would show great faith, right?

Notice the difference between the Jews and this Gentile.  So often the Jews would come to Jesus on the basis of their own merit.  "We have Abraham for our father."  "All these commandments I have kept from my youth."  "Lord, I thank you that I am not like this tax collector.  I fast.  I tithe...."  Even when the Jews came to Jesus on behalf of the centurion, they said he deserved help because he'd done so many good things for them. 

But what did the Gentile say?  "Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof." 

And when Jesus praised the great faith of the Canaanite woman, it was when she'd just agreed that she was an unworthy little dog.

(I'm still pondering what "little faith" is.  It always seems to be in the context of "God, You don't care about us" or "Eeeeks -- bad stuff is happening to us."  Do you suppose it too has something to do with whether I'm "worthy" enough that Bad Stuff shouldn't happen to me?  And if Bad Stuff does happen, then it must somehow be up to me to resolve it?)

Great faith =                              I have no standing
but Jesus saves me anyway
and lifts me up to be His brother

Some Pictures from the Rehearsal Dinner

Alia, Paul, Mandy, Zoe

Ring around the rosie ...

Doing what I do best -- cooking!

Papa and his littlest girl

Paul and Gary-in-Viking-purple

Playing the steal-the-pacifier game

The salad bar and the toppings for the potatoes

I think these were all pictures from Katie's camera.  I didn't take very many pictures, so I keep stealing from other people's Facebook pages.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Too Busy to Take Care of Yourself

Slowing down with meals, then, is symbolic of relaxing into our body, our career, our fears and desires, and anything life presents. It’s about granting ourselves the right to share in the simplicity of joyous moments on Earth. It’s about reclaiming our time, our dignity, and the sanctity of self-care.
My friend recently posted this quote

Since we moved five years ago, our meals have changed drastically.  Part of it is getting home late from work, and part of it is having activities in the evening, and part of it is the lack of a dining room.  Whereas we used to sit down and eat meals together 10-18 times a week, moving cut that number in half.  When I started my job, it got worse.  And our commitment to mealtime continues to wane.  People grab food for themselves because we're not having mealtimes together.  When we are all together at a meal, too often we eat in the living room (with the tv on) because the kitchen table is too cluttered with mail and projects and other items.

"The sanctity of self-care."  I've been thinking about that ever since I saw the quote above.  "Sharing in the simplicity of joyous moments."  As we have fallen away from mealtimes together, I've noticed that it's harder to tend to other aspects of self-care: getting exercise, making sure my heels don't crack and split, flossing, etc.  

And what's worse is that this makes me less attuned to caring for the needs of others.  After all, if there's not enough time for me to take care of my hair, then I'm not motivated to help Maggie fix her hair all pretty and nice either.  If there's not enough time for me to sit on the Homedic massager to knead the knots out of my back, neither am I bothering to knead the knots out of Gary's shoulders and neck.

When we place little importance on mealtime---when we eat in the car, when we snatch bites of lunch while trying to work on a project, when we eat alone without setting the table for ourselves---does that cause callousness to grow in us?  Or maybe it's just a symptom of what's wrong.  I think a lot of health and happiness could be gained by going back to the mealtime practices we had before moving.  

But I don't know how to do it.  
Too many other things would go by the wayside.
And yet, should they, maybe?

Labeling Your Homeschooling Method

Not only do we separate ourselves from other homeschoolers when we label our methodology, but we also mess with our own minds.  "Can I use this textbook for science?  It wouldn't really fit with my unschooling perspective."  Or "It seems like the kids would prefer choosing their own books to read, but I'm a classical homeschooler and therefore the kids must read the books on this particular list."  Just teach your kids already!  What works for others may not work for you, and what works for you may not benefit another family.  And what works this month may not work for you next year.  That's okay.  Just teach your kids.

My friend EC explains it beautifully!!  Really.  Go read it.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013


Minocqua.  Fishing.  A quiet screened-in porch.

What more could anyone want?  Well, I mean, besides a plate of cheese, crackers, summer sausage, and tomato wedges while sitting on the pier with your feet dangling in the lake?

Depth of Emotion, Depth of Love

Mandy's dad caught this snapshot.  I love it.  Paul is his dad's boy.

God's Love or God's Wrath?

"Just as God’s favor cannot be measured by the good things one person has, so His wrath over sin cannot be measured and determined by the afflictions one suffers. Those whose homes were not destroyed [in the Moore, OK, tragedy] were not any less sinful than those who suffered devastation. Drawing a conclusion about whom God loves by their life circumstances is simply wrong."

David P. Scaer 
Professor and Chairman of Systematic Theology
Concordia Theological Seminary
Fort Wayne, Indiana

(taken from Steve Blakey's FB page)

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

A Few Wedding Pictures

Supperless Sunday

"This is the feast of victory for our God ..."
WHAT is the feast? 
Why are we singing this when the feast is not offered?

"I will take the cup of salvation ...."
But the chalice isn't on the altar today.

"I will pay my vows to the Lord now
in the presence of all His people,
in the courts of the Lord's house,
in the midst of you, o Jerusalem."
I'm still pondering this:  IS the chancel heaven-on-earth when the Lord's Supper is not being celebrated?  When we're in church for prayers and preaching, are the saints and angels in heaven joined with us in the same way that they are joined with us for the Holy Communion?

I like Matins and Vespers and Evening Prayer. 

If there's no Supper, the prayer offices are good. 

So why pray the liturgy that goes with the Supper and then not celebrate the Supper?

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Dinner for 40

I was serving dinner for 40-45 people, some of whom had special dietary needs.  And I was doing it far from home where I had limited access to a kitchen.  The menu was a potato bar and a salad bar.  I seriously over-estimated how much food was necessary.  So that I have records for another time, these are the amounts we should have bought and prepared:

20# baked potatoes
2# butter
24 oz sour cream
3# onions, caramelized
4# mushrooms, sauteed
4 bags (12 oz each) steam-in-bag frozen broccoli
2 quarts thick chili
8# bacon, cooked and chopped
2# shredded cheddar

2 quarts cole slaw
1 quart corn-&-black-bean salad

1 bag fresh spinach
6 bags (5-8 oz each) mixed salad greens
1 cucumber
4 pints cherry tomatoes
3 large bell peppers
2 large carrots, grated
16 oz raw, sliced mushrooms
1 pint black olives
1 bunch green onions
6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
8 oz cashews
6 oz sunflower nuts
4 bottles of various salad dressings

1 watermelon
1 large cantaloupe
3 pineapples

1 loaf of homemade bread
2 pans of bars/cookies (13x9" each)
2 gallons lemonade
2 gallons iced tea
12 cups coffee