Saturday, August 03, 2013

Pure Plastic?

So Andrew comes home with a bottle of water.  FIJI Natural Artesian Water.  It was what was available when he needed to buy some bottled water, so it's what he bought.

When I was washing the bottle for refilling, I noticed the spiel on the label:

Why travel to the South Pacific islands of Fiji for a drink of water?  FIJI Water’s aquifer is in a virgin ecosystem at the edge of a primitive rainforest, thousands of miles from the nearest industrialized continent.  This natural artesian aquifer protects the water until is is bottled at the source and shipped to you.  

So people want pure water from unpolluted sources.  Okay.
And some people are willing to pay extra for it.   Gotcha.

And they package this water in plastic?
That's where they lost me.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Keep on Praying

A slight twist on Dory's song:
Just keep praying.
Just keep praying.
Just keep praying praying praying.
What do we do?  We pray pray pray.
(I hope Nemo doesn't mind the tweaking.)

Pastor likes to make the point that the story of "The Friend at Midnight" (Luke 11) is NOT comparing God to the neighbor who doesn't want to hand over the bread.  It's contrasting God with that fellow.  The neighbor didn't love the demanding guy who was banging on his door, but God DOES love us.  How much easier it is to ask (and ask and ask) somebody who loves us and cares about us and has made promises to us!!

But [she wondered] if I really believed that God would give what I need, then why should I keep pestering him about it?  After all, I could pray once, and then just trust Him to do what is good and right, and not keep asking (and asking and asking).  So is my persistent prayer due to my lack of faith???

Pastor said no.

He said a mother would know what it is like to have children talk to them.  Don't parents delight when their children talk?  Isn't that what parents want?  Isn't it great to know that they trust you and enjoy talking to you?  Don't we love to hear their stories and their discoveries and their thoughts and their feelings?

Yeah.  We do.

(Now, hang on just a minute.  I know some of y'all are at the stage with kiddoes that you're thinking, "Uh ... uh ... well, uh ... sometimes I'm not so sure I delight in that.  Sometimes I kinda sorta want to lock myself in the bathroom to hide from it...."  Okay, let me put it this way:  If one of your kids stopped talking to you someday, your heart would break.  And you would miss him.  And you'd have no way to pour out your love to him.  And you'd rejoice when there is some small chance to talk again.  So yeah, you young moms, tired though you may be, hiding in the bathroom though you may be, you do TOO love hearing your kids talk.  It may not always be apparent to you, but deep-down you treasure it.  Trust me on this.)

So, yeah.  I guess I can "just keep praying praying praying."  And it's okay.  It's not annoying God.

Quite the contrary.

Thursday, August 01, 2013


Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.
He was wounded for our transgressions.
He was bruised for our iniquities.
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
and by His stripes we are healed.  (Is 53)

By His stripes we are healed.

Children of the heavenly Father
safely in His bosom gather.
Nestling bird nor star in heaven
such a refuge e'er was given.

Let the little children come to Me.  (Mark 10)

For the transgression of My people He was stricken.
When you make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed,
He shall prolong His days,
and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. 
(Is 53)

My people.

God His own doth tend and nourish.
In His holy courts they flourish.
From all evil things He spares them.
In His mighty arms He bears them.

Out of the depths have I cried to You, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice.
Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
O Israel, hope in the Lord.
For with the Lord there is mercy,
and with Him is plenteous redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquity.  (Ps 130)

Neither life nor death shall ever
from the Lord His children sever.
Unto them His grace He showeth,
and their sorrows all He knoweth.

A voice was heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children,
refusing to be comforted for her children,
because they are no more.
Thus says the Lord:
Your work shall be rewarded,
and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
There is hope in your future, says the Lord,
that your children shall come back to their own border.  (Jer 31)

Jesus said, "I am the Resurrection and the Life."  (John 11)

Though He giveth or He taketh,
God His children ne'er forsaketh.
His the loving purpose solely
to preserve them pure and holy.  (LSB 725)

Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 
For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.  (Matt 18)

He lives, all glory to His name.
He lives, my Jesus still the same.
Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives:
I know that my Redeemer lives.   (TLH 200)

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
There shall be no more death,
no sorrow, nor crying. 
There shall be no more pain,
for the former things have passed away.
Then He who sat on the throne said,
"Behold, I make all things new."  (Rev 21)

E'en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come,
and night shall be no more.
They need no light nor lamp nor sun,
for Christ shall be their all.   (Manz)
By His stripes we are healed.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Neighbors Moved Away

So they played loud music.  Music that I wasn't fond of.  That's not too big a deal.

But first impressions?  Boy, when they were checking out the place prior to moving in, and those kids were running through our yard, across our deck, and making leaps off our deck onto the grass below, that did not bode well. 

But, hey, I was impressed when the dad sent the kids over with an apology when the boys' party guests ran through my garden and trampled strawberry plants.

We were surprised last November when we arrived home after work to find Christmas light in OUR tree.  And a mega-ugly job of lighting up our huge old maple trunk.  It's hard to find Christmas lights done in an ugly way.  But these were!  And these lights were burning for three months, pouring light into our bedrooms at night.  In March, when the neighbor finally took down the lights on his eaves, we were hoping the lights on our tree would be removed too.  No such luck, though.

And then they moved.  The landlord apologized to Gary for whatever trouble this neighbor had caused: apparently other neighbors had been complaining for quite a while.  We saw that these people left a mess for the landlord to deal with, tossing garbage out at the back of the property rather than leaving it for the garbage pick-up.  It seemed characteristic....

So we headed out to remove the lights from our tree.  How did he accomplish this "decorating"??  The lights strands were STAPLED to the tree.  Fifteen feet high.  We have a huge ladder, and the only way we could remove these light-strands was with wire cutters and the extended-handle pruning saw.  There's still garbage up in the tree that we couldn't remove.  When we put lights on the indoor tree, we usually have one person standing on each side of the tree, passing light-strands back and forth.  HOW did this guy wrap lights around a 4' diameter, 15' in the air?  No wonder he didn't want to remove the mess!

We have a better feeling about the new neighbors.   Hooray!

The Story about Abraham's Persistent Prayer for Sodom

Maybe it's the math geek in me.  The part of the story (Gen 18) I always noticed was the countdown.  50?  45?  40?  30?  20?  10? 

I never noticed in verse 19 what the Lord was pondering about Abraham's status:  "For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”

The Lord loves us.  And we teach others about His love and mercy, so they too can hang onto that righteousness He gives. And the Lord needs to make sure we know (verse 17) about His punishment of sin so that we do not waver in trusting His goodness.  What we see and experience must never be allowed to override in our hearts the sweet promises He has made.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fussing about Ordination Being Called a Sacrament

Crab, crab, crab.  "It's Catholic to call ordination a sacrament."  (Wait.  Did you read that last sentence correctly?  "Catholic" has to be spoken with a scrunched-up nose and have a definite tone-of-insult.)

I realize that the Roman Catholic Church teaches some things about ordination that aren't scriptural.  It almost seems to me it's like magic: the priest is given "indelible character" that makes him (in his own person!) able to do things laymen cannot.

But what if "ordination" is "being put under orders" -- and those orders are the commands of Christ to baptize and to preach and to forgive and to administer the Supper and to judge doctrine?  If the pastor's power is entirely in the Word of God, and if those actions are a means through which God gives grace (not particularly to the ordinand alone but to the man's whole congregation), then why would anyone object to a high view of ordination??

The Confessions themselves say:
If ordination be understood as applying to the ministry of the Word, we are not unwilling to call ordination a sacrament. For the ministry of the Word has God's command and glorious promises -- "The Gospel is the power of God for salvation to every one that believes" (Rom 1:16).  Likewise, Is 55:11 -- "So shall My Word be that goes forth out of My mouth; it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please." If ordination be understood in this way, neither will we refuse to call the imposition of hands a sacrament. For the Church has the command to appoint ministers, which should be most pleasing to us, because we know that God approves this ministry, and is present in the ministry.  (Apology XIII:11-12)

So, what's the problem?  Consider it a sacrament (without consenting to the errors of Rome).  Or consider it not-a-sacrament (without consenting to the errors of the Anabaptists ... a far more prevalent problem in today's society). But why should it be an issue?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Fathers in Luke 11

Look at all the fathers in Sunday's [three-year] Gospel (Luke 11:1-13).

"Our Father who art in heaven." 

Then comes the parable of the friend at midnight.  Did you notice that the neighbor (the one who doesn't want to get out of bed to hand over the bread) is a father?  He's in bed with his children.  He's unwilling to grant the unreasonable request of the dude next door, and we always think he's a selfish grump.  But maybe he's just trying to take care of his children.  (Every mama knows what it's like to have the babies awakened by noisy neighbors.  Yeah . . .  you know what I'm talkin' about.  We can understand the fellow-with-the-bread having loads of love for his kids ... and no heart for the guy who's pounding on the door and disturbing the munchkins.)

Then comes the example of the human kids asking their human dads for something necessary, and how daddies take care of their kids instead of hurting them.

Then comes a heavenly Father who gives the Holy Spirit.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Post about Nothing

(I didn't watch Seinfeld, but I think that's the line people used about the show.)

I found the old Playskool wooden puzzles and brought them upstairs.  Zoe had a great time with them yesterday.  She's just the right age for it. 

Our Culligan water filters needed replacing.  The salesmen think our system is obsolete and should be replaced.  I think they're trying to sell something.  But there's the niggling fear: what if they're right?  What if I'm spending the bucks on new filters, and it turns out to be wasted because the system is too old.  Why, oh why, can't I buy an appliance once and have it last my whole life long??

I was mean to the septic system today.  I put bleach in the wash.  Those white bath towels were looking so grungy.  They're still not white-white, but they look so much better.  Story is that one of my grandmas prided herself on having the brightest whitest laundry around.  She would be horrified at me.

Andrew started full-time work as a CNA.  He works evening shift.  

I'm hungry.  I am SO looking forward to Tuesday or Wednesday -- and a happier gall bladder -- so that I can have soup or burritos or lentils or a pbj or a hamburger or my favorite tilapia recipe.  [drooooool....]

Poor little granddaughter.   Her daddy has crud feet.  And her momma and grandma and great-grandma have crud feet.  Really now -- bunions already when she was two?  Thanks to a generous soul at church passing along virtually new "hand-me-downs," Alia wore Birkenstocks last summer.  This summer she's been aching but unable to explain why -- unable to know that this ain't how it's supposed to be, folks.  But wise Katie managed to figure it out and bought special supportive shoes and inserts.  (Really?  Inserts for a preschooler??  Yikes!)  Child is much happier!

Andrew and I have been hauling wood chips from the town's compost pile.  My plan was to put down cloth in certain weedy spots and cover it with a hefty pile of wood mulch.  I need to cut down on the amount of work around here, and mulch seemed like A Plan.  I'm beginning to wonder, though, if the wood chips are already too composted.  There seems to be a lot of dirt in with the chips.  Maybe I'm just going to end up with shallow-rooted weeds. 

Black raspberries came up volunteer.  Yowza -- I thought red raspberries had prickly thorns.  Nothing compared to these black raspberries.  These delectable little guys are the kind of thing you'd want to plant around your castle, next to your moat.  Yup, a fence of these canes would be some serious protection. 

Met with the lawyer this week about guardianship for Maggie.  After reading the paperwork, it appears that there are less drastic ways of accomplishing what we need, such as Power of Attorney paperwork.  So we're looking into those matters.

If we used Divine Service 3 (aka "page 15") every Sunday for the next few years, I do not think I would get tired of the Lack Of Variety.

Things have been kind of slow at work while our road has been under construction.  I'm looking forward to business picking up again soon.  I hate sitting at work during those occasional 10 minutes stints without customers, knowing that there's plenty to do at home.

The other day, I saw a little girl at the grocery store that looked amazingly like Alia.  When she turned around, it WAS Alia.  You know what?  There's something incredibly joyous about bumping into friends and family at the grocery store.  Rather than leaving with my groceries, I bopped through the store again, just to grab a few minutes with Katie and the girls.  These chance encounters provide a dose of happiness that is unreasonably huge.  Love it love it love it!

We're trying to declutter.  The weekly trash piles have been huge recently.  The give-away trips to Goodwill have been more frequent.  The pile in the garage for a rummage-sale is growing!  "But we could use this for [fill in the blank]."  NO!  Fighting the urge to hoard!!

Maggie is on a Beverly Cleary jag.  I'm just a tad jealous.

Someone here purchased a Wii.  I have mixed feelings.  The other people who live here do not have mixed feelings.

That's enough "nothing."  I probably left out some major stuff from this update.  But my brain is pre-occupied with my tummy ache.  So this is all there is.  For now.

Used Furniture

A lovely little consignment store recently opened in Sussex.  Framed art.  Furniture.  China.  A few books and rugs and other items.  Good prices.  More expensive furniture than Goodwill, but it seems to be in better condition. 

It's on Main St, just west of the hardware store.  Great service.  Check 'em out.