Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sins and/or Ills

At Lessons and Carols the other night, we sang the LSB version of a Gerhardt Christmas hymn:
Children, from the sins that grieve you,
you are freed.

It struck me because TLH says,
Brethren, from all ills that grieve you,
you are freed.

It's like what Matthew tells us (chapter 8).  While Isaiah says, "He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows," Matthew quotes it as "He took up our infirmities and bore our sicknesses."

Even though the sicknesses wouldn't be here but for sin,
even though sin is the cause of illness and death,
sometimes it nice to know that Jesus isn't "just" the cure for our sinfulness, but is also the one who bore the brokenness of our bodies, our snotty noses, our achy joints, our headaches, our mental shortcomings, and our physical weakness.  And because He took those infirmities to the cross, that gives us a cure.  The cure.

"From all ills that grieve you
you are freed.
All you need
I will surely give you."

Monday, December 22, 2014

Broken Day

Pie-filling spilled over on Saturday night.  The oven was smoking.
Maggie and I have snotty, coughy colds.

First item of business Sunday morning?  Stepping in a big pile of kitty-barf.  Squish!

Then I caught myself right before I walked out the door to church.  Dinner in the crockpot, ready to cook while we were gone.  But it was turned off.  Flipped the switch on -- whew!

Came home from church to find dinner cooked (whew!) but the house cold.  Twelve degrees lower than the thermostat was set.  Arranged for the repairman to arrive first thing Monday morning.  I couldn't manage to start a fire in the fireplace, but Gary fixed it when he came home from church.  I couldn't bake for heat, as the oven hadn't been fixed from the pie-spill.  A friend loaned us her space heater.  Blankets, fire, two space heaters, all the body heat contained to one room -- we didn't turn into popsicles.

Adjusting blankets in the evening, we managed to knock over a pint of cranberry juice.  Not cranberry cocktail, all nice and watered down.  100% cranberry juice.  I used a lot of Resolve, and the stain did come out.  Woo hoo!

Repairman arrived this morning.  Weird breakdown, but the part was available somewhere locally.  He had it fixed by 9:30.  We can now [again] feel a noticeable temperature-difference when entering the garage from the house.  Honest and knowledgeable tradesmen are gold.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Helpful Girls

I need to watch my whining around my daughters.  I express any dissatisfaction over what needs to be accomplished and how unable I am ... and somebody shows up to tackle projects. 

On the one hand, I feel guilty.
On the other hand, I feel oh-so-relieved and grateful!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

That Scary Part of Amos 5

Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord!
For what good is the day of the Lord to you?
It will be darkness, and not light.
Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light?
Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it?   (Amos 5:18-20)

When Pastor read those verses, I hated it.  
Where's the hope?
So, you're waiting for the day of the Lord?  
Sounds like Amos is saying, "Tough noogies.  Ain't you gonna be surprised?  It's going to be terrible!"

But what about the pillar of cloud (Ex 14:20)?  It was darkness to the one side, but light to the other.  That pillar was protection for the people of God; it separated them from those who would harm them. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

They Slumbered and Slept

Interesting what we find back-to-back in Matthew.
Chapter 25 -- the parable of the wise and foolish virgins.  They slept.  They were supposed to watch for the coming of the Bridegroom.  But they couldn't.
Chapter 26 -- the Garden of Gethsemane.  Peter, James, and John were told to watch and pray.  But they couldn't.  Instead, they slumbered.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Opposite of "Rejoice"

Pastor is always talking about rejoicing, even in the midst of trouble. 

So. Hard. To. Understand.

In my mind, the opposite of "rejoice" is "grieve."
You know -- if you're not happy, then you're sad.

So when you run across a passage like 1 Thessalonians 1:6 ("You received the word in much affliction, with joy in the Holy Spirit"), it messes with my mind.  So I asked a simple question:  "What is the opposite of rejoice?" 

The answer?  "Despair."

Grieving and suffering and hurting and sorrow are NOT the opposite of joy.  Despair is.  Hopelessness is.  Giving-up-on-God's-mercy is the opposite of "rejoice."

Now things are beginning to make sense.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Malefactors Crucified with Jesus

It's Luke that tells about the two criminals crucified with Jesus (23:39-43).  Luke -- who was connected to the apostle Paul. 

Paul -- who blasphemed at the cross.  Paul -- who scoffed at Jesus' prayer for those who were putting Him to death.

Paul --  who came to believe that he deserved torture and death for his sin.  Paul -- who learned to beg for Jesus' mercy.

No wonder the story is in Luke.  That story of the two criminals probably really resonated with Paul.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Those who like apologetics tend to think of faith as having an intellectual foundation.  They use reason to "prove" why the Bible is true.  But because of this intellectual foundation, they have little regard for the sacraments, which are supernatural, and which cannot be explained by way of reason and evidence.

Today's Laugh

We all could use a little more calmness in our lives, right?
On that note, here's a message from a friend:

"Here's some simple advice from the Dr Phil show.  He said that the way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you've started and never finished.

"So I looked around the house to see all the things I started and hadn't finished.  Soon, I finished off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of Zinfandel, a package of Oreos, the remainder of my old Prozac prescription, the rest of the cheesecake, a bag of Doritos, and a box of chocolates.

"You have no idea how freaking good I feel."

Just to clarify, for people who have no
sense of humor (and I know you're
 out there!) this is a JOKE.  Okay?
Everybody knows that you can't be
drinking liquor and popping Prozacs.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Going to Church "All the Time"

During certain bits of the church year, we have daily services.  Even though I cook supper and vacuum and go to work on those days, even though we're in the Divine Service for only an hour or two each day, during the rest of the year it seems like those are seasons when we have church "all the time." 

And when people become ill or elderly, and when they can make it to church only once every month or so, they look back on those years when they attended church weekly as "when I could be at church all the time." 

Sometimes I think the book of Revelation paints heaven as one long never-ending church service.  But maybe "all the time" doesn't mean that we never do anything else.

A Divorce for Mary and Joseph

Should he divorce her?
Or should he go through with the marriage?

I heard it again!  Many people think that Joseph was trying to decide whether to divorce Mary or stick with her.

No.  From his point of view, she had been unfaithful to him.  She was carrying another man's baby.  She obviously wanted to be with that other guy.  He could let her marry the baby's father, let her go, divorce her. 

His choice wasn't so much between marriage and divorce.  His choice was more between a quiet, legal divorce or calling her out for her adultery, having her stoned.  Being a just man, a man who believed in mercy, a man who offered forgiveness, he did not want her killed for her adulterous affair.  He would spare her life, even if it meant that his own character would be besmirched as one who didn't wait long enough after the wedding ceremony for the coming-together night. 

The angel came to Joseph in a dream. 

Two thousand years earlier, another Joseph dreamed.  That Joseph had an experience where an accusation of adultery was made against an innocent person.  Both the angel and the Bible story corroborated Mary's story.  That's when StayingMarried became an option for Joseph.

Friday, December 12, 2014

But Didn't They Ask the Same Question?

Zachariah to Gabriel: "How shall I know this?  For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years."

Mary to Gabriel:  "How can this be, since I do not know a man?"

Every year, the same question comes up.  How come Zechariah gets in trouble for saying the same thing Mary said?  It's often been said that Zechariah's question came from unbelief and doubt, whereas Mary responded in faith.  But where did we get that idea, anyway?

Well, the story does tell us, point-blank --
The faith of the heart.  Luke 1:20 tells us that Zechariah "did not believe."  Verse 38 says that Mary responded in faith: "according to your word."

More about the difference --
Zachariah was in the temple, confessing sins and praying for the Messiah.  An angel comes from the Lord and announces that the Lord has heard Zechariah's prayer.  Even though he was right smackdab in the middle of praying for the things the angel announced, still Zachariah said "no" when he heard the message.
According to church tradition, Mary was going about her daily chores when the angel came to her. 

Also, notice there is a difference in the questions --
Zachariah asks, "How shall I know?" while Mary asks, "How can this be?"  Those may sound like the same question to us.  But the answer to Zechariah's question is, "Uh, excuse me.  I'm an angel.  I've been sent by the Lord.  And I just TOLD you, for pity's sake.  And what I told you was from the prophet Malachi.  That's how you shall know.  And besides, good golly, don't you remember the stories in the Scriptures where an old man and a barren woman had a baby?  This has happened before, you know."

Mary on the other hand doesn't ask how to know.  She asks how this can be.  She needs to "test the spirits" (1 John 4:1).  "You're going to have a baby."  "But I haven't known a man."  The angel proceeds to explain that the child will be conceived by the Holy Spirit.  And Mary concludes that this angel speaks in harmony with Isaiah's prophecy. 
Furthermore, Mary leaves Nazareth and heads to Elizabeth's place.  And what does she find?  Elizabeth is pregnant.  Just as the angel said.  Hmmm -- this sounds like a pretty reliable messenger.  She hangs around three more months.  Baby arrives.  Hmmm -- it's a boy.  Just as Gabriel had told her.  This angel agrees with scripture, and what he says comes to pass. 

So let's have no more of this, "But they said the same thing.  Why is one punished for it and the other is not?"

Thursday, December 11, 2014

How's My Faith-Walk Coming Along?

In the story of the Emmaus disciples (Luke 24), the disciples are listening to Jesus preach to them all that the Old Testament taught about the Messiah.  When He blessed and broke and gave them the bread, they realized this fellow was Jesus.  And He disappeared from sight.  Then they said, "Whoa.  Hey!  Yeah.  Our heart burned within us as He taught us!"  And they skeedaddled back to Jerusalem to tell the others.  

Did you notice?  When they were listening to Jesus, their eyes and ears and minds and hearts were captivated by HIM.  They weren't evaluating their feelings.  They weren't thinking about their faith.  They paid no attention whatsoever to their response to His preaching ...

because all they cared about was Him.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Report on Hair Length

7 months ... and it is no longer "boy hair"

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Today's Laugh

It's so dry in Texas that
the Baptists are starting to baptize by sprinkling,
the Methodists are using wet-wipes,
the Presbyterians are giving out rain-checks,
and the Episcopalians, Catholics, and Lutherans are praying for the wine to turn back into water.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Miss Timnite

Samson was off to visit his heartthrob.  He killed a lion on the way.  When he returned for his wedding, he found the beehive in the lion's carcass.  And that's where he came up with the riddle.  When the Philistines couldn't solve the riddle, they threatened Samson's wife.  "Hey, you better find out the answer, Miss Timnite.  If you don't, we'll kill you and your family."

You know the story.  She whined.  She pouted.  She begged.  She wore down her husband, and he told the answer to the riddle.  She ratted him out.  And havoc ensued.

But catch what happens in the next chapter (Judges 15:6).  The Philistines turn on her anyway, and burn her and her father's house with fire, precisely what they'd threatened at the wedding.

That girl was doomed.  If she didn't tell, the Philistines would've killed her.  When she did tell, they ended up taking out their anger at her and executed her even though earlier she had complied with their demands.

That's how it is with the devil.  "Do this and I'll leave you be."  "Do this and I'll give you something good."  You do.  And he turns on you.  What a liar and enticer!

Champagne Vinaigrette

We fell in love with a salad dressing from the California Pizza Kitchen.  After hunting up a variety of recipe-fakes, the following concoction has been whipped up many times over the last couple of months:

¼ cup white wine vinegar *
¼ cup raw olive oil
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard**
1 lime or ½ lemon, juiced (1 to 1½ Tbsp)
1½ Tbsp honey
1 clove garlic or ½ a shallot, lightly minced
½ tsp salt
½ tsp fresh ground pepper

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and somewhat emulsified.  Stores nicely in the refrigerator, unlike my other oil-and-vinegar dressings which separate and where the oil solidifies.  This isn't as healthy as my usual homemade dressings, but it's so yummy it makes me want to melt into the floor with joy.

* The recipe is supposed to use champagne vinegar.  Several recipes suggested letting leftover champagne sit out for several days to become vinegary.  Ummm ... we seldom have champagne, so it's a little hard to make champagne vinegar from the leftovers.  Conveniently, Aldi offered white wine vinegar as a special purchase not long ago, and I nabbed several bottles.

** I usually use plain old hotdog mustard any time a recipe calls for whatever-type mustard.  Aldi also ran a mustard extravaganza recently, so I bought my first jar of Dijon.  The Dijon definitely makes a difference in this recipe.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Nicene or Apostles'?

It's probably bad to have a favorite when both are holy words from God.

But I sure do like the Nicene Creed better.

1)  Longer section on the atonement.  Why is it that my mind tends to wander so easily at "was crucified, died, and was buried"?  But "was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried" is simply enough extra length that a brief moment of distraction doesn't mean I miss the whole section. 

2)  The necessity of God's word:  "according to the Scriptures" and "who spoke by the prophets."

3)  Not just that the resurrection and the life-everlasting will come, but that we long for it.

4)  "Light of light."  Beautiful words during these short days of winter, and also as we approach Easter and the Vigil.

5)  "For us."  Twice.
God became man "for us men."
Jesus was crucified "for us."
Even though the events of Jesus' life (as listed in the Apostles' Creed) are indeed for us, it's the Nicene Creed which states "for us"  right out there, blunt and obvious and clear and unavoidable.

Monday, December 01, 2014


"Jesus wept."

Lora remembers her children in heaven and talks about the comfort of Jesus' tears and the comfort of the resurrection of the body. 

Lord, have mercy upon us.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fix-It Time

The washer was having its fits.  The water would drain out, but the tub wouldn't spin.  Clothes were too wet.  I researched likely causes for the problem, took the washer apart, and found lots of rust inside the outer-shell.  After plenty of sanding and spray-painting, no more bits of loose metal could get jammed in the lid-latch-detector.  And the washer works!  Yee haw!

This week I finally tired of crackly phone lines and purchased a new phone.  Now I can hear conservations through the phone.  Nice!

Problems with a flickering light.  Turned out not to be the light fixture or the wiring, as I'd thought.  It was merely a faulty bulb.  Replaced that, and we now have our under-cupboard, above-counter light again, after two years without.  And it's over the cutting board -- important place, so you know whether you're chopping veggies or fingers.

Ugly equipment on the bathtub-plug lever, ever since we moved in.  Also, the plug had a slow leak.  Thursday night the metal busted altogether.  I took it apart, went to the hardware store, and installed the new pieces.  Woo hoo!  Fixed that too.

I've been unable to play CD's or DVD's on my computer.  That also meant I had no way to transfer the scanned old-timey photos onto my computer.  I bought a new CD-drive and tried to install it.  I couldn't; I bought one with the wrong plugs.  But Nathan came over, found that we could switch around the old-fashioned plugs and the newer ones.  He installed the new CD-player.  Everything is hooked up and works!  How's that for new-and-different?!

I'm feeling mighty self-satisfied
and pretty durn powerful because
of the repairs I accomplished!

And pretty thankful for the places
where Gary and Nathan took over
and finished what I attempted!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Popularity of Sims

In Bible class recently, we were discussing how God's word determines the value of things.  God made the light, and He declared it to be good.  He said the earth and seas are good.  He said the man and woman He created (and the marriage by which He joined them) was very good.

God is the one who gets to say what's good and what's not.  Hey, He was the one who made it.

Now, if you create a universe, then you get to decide how things go and what value things have.  If you create the universe, you get to decide, for example, whether "being happy" is more important than being moral.

And that's when I realized: maybe that's why Sims and Minecraft and other video games are so popular.  It's where we get to be god.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Definition of Faith

We are SO good at turning even faith into a work.

I've heard definitions.  Good definitions.
~ Faith is the passive receptivity of God's mercy.
~ Faith is the trust of the heart.
~ Faith is defined rightly only if you can replace the word "faith" with the word "Jesus," and still have the sentence mean the same thing.

Recently, Pastor said
Faith is a desire to be loved 
and forgiven by your Lord.

A desire.
Nobody confuses "desire" with my own work, my own activity, my own merits.

I like that.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Upcoming Shopping-Weekend

"Black Friday"?

It's a new-fangled term.  I'd never heard the phrase until my daughter worked at Borders. 

I wasn't crazy about it at first.  Then I began to use it; everybody else does! 

This year, I'm refusing.

I hate the word.  I'm not sure why.  I suspect it's because of the consumeristic hype.  It's also because my distaste for the name has increased as the Friday sales have spilled over onto Thursday.  It's also influenced by the harm done to people (stampeding as shop-doors are unlocked, or crazy rudeness in parking lots). 

A week or so ago I made a decision to refrain from using the phrase "Black Friday."  I've slipped up a couple of times.  But I'm still trying to stick with the much longer description: "the shopping day after Thanksgiving" or "the crazy shopping-weekend at the end of the month." 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Learning to Trust

When Pastor recently said something about "learning to trust Jesus," I realized that there are two different ways people could take that.

1)  Matthias is learning to walk.  He wants to.  He keeps doing it.  It's not "work."  It's just what he does.  And he falls a lot.  No biggie.  You just keep growing up and bumbling along, and the walking gets easier.
2)  Pick a typical third-grader.  Choose one of the math-haters; not a weirdo like me who thought math drill was play-time.  That kid may be learning his math facts.  But he's doing it because the teacher is arm-twisting him into it.  He hates it.  It's boring.  It's hard.  He doesn't understand what good this will do.  Why does he have to do this anyway?  "Because it's good for you."  "Well, I'd rather climb a tree or ride my bike."  There's no joy in the learning.  And he hates being berated when he makes a mistake.

Both are learning.

But "learning to trust Jesus" is much more like the first than the second.

Reading Challenge

Update on this year's reading list:

finish proofreading New Testament Catechist  [done Feb 11]

Light from Heaven (the last Mitford book) [done March 6]
Home to Holly Springs [done Sept 7]
In the Company of Others [done Nov 23]
Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good

the Kristin Lavransdatter series, by Sigrid Undset
Bridal Wreath [done March 27]
Mistress of Husaby [done April 30]
The Cross [done June 15]

Anne of the Island [done July 31]
Anne of Windy Poplars [done Sept 8]
Anne's House of Dreams [done Oct 12]
Anne of Ingleside
Rainbow Valley
Rilla of Ingleside
(with Maggie)

Hammer of God (again)

The Complete Guide to Creating a Special Needs Life Plan, by Hal Wright [done Sept 19]
likely some proofreading on Bible Stories for Daily Prayer

a Luther biography with Maggie
Narnia (again)
Horses of Heaven, by Gillian Bradshaw [done Sept 1]
maybe try out an Elizabeth Gaskill book
something by Beverly Engel or Robin Stern
Quiet by Susan Cain [done July 20]

additions beyond original list
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause [done July 29]
Struck by Genius [done Oct 20]

The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You
by Elaine N Aron
Let's Roll, by Beamer
Beyond the Mists, by Benchley
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Cutting for Stone, by Verghese
Light in the Dark Belt: The Story of Rosa Young

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Zoe Said Her Catechism Verse

At church, there's a star-chart in the hallway.  Kids' names, listed by grade, with slots for having learned the main Bible stories and the Six Chief Parts.  When you say the Bible verse from one of the chief parts, you get a colored star.  When you speak the entire section, the date is listed. 

Today 3-yr-old Zoe recited fully and correctly to Pastor for the first time.  (Earlier this year, she told him the Lord's Prayer almost by herself without prompts.)  This morning she whispered told him the verse from John 20.  He gave her a high-five, then she walked away, dragging me with her.  Down the hall.  Directly to the star chart.  It was all of about 15-20 seconds after finishing her recitation. 

Disappointed little girl.  Her star had not appeared on the chart yet!

(I told Pastor about her expectation.  I suspect the star will appear soon.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Learning the Letter Sounds

Three-year-old says:
"Q" is for "'kwuh."  Kwuh, kwuh, KWOSED!

 (You know.  "Kwosed" -- the opposite of open.)

Stealing Katie's stories because 
they make me smile.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Any guesses as to what Matt's doing?  No?  You can't figure it out?  Silly you.  Alia turned him into a Christmas tree.  He's wrapped in green.  He has ornaments and garland.  And he was nice enough to stay there and take it ... until somebody finally "chopped him down" so that he was free.

Hair growth at 27 weeks.  Top still has some curl, but the sides are pretty straight.  The back is wavier than the sides, but not as curly as the top.  I think it still needs to grow more before I get it shaped up by somebody who knows what to do with a grown-from-shaven mess.  Earrings help. 

Visitors at church.  Concordia River Forest students, visiting with the Kapelle.  But what's wild is that they are grandsons of a pastor who preceded Gary at his former congregation.

Friday, November 14, 2014

People Praying for Me

I phoned the Issues Etc Comment Line today.  Jeff asked my name and my comment.  Just before he put me on hold, he asked where I was calling from.  I told him and then kneaded bread while waiting for my turn on-air.  About a minute before Jeff was ready to put me through, he popped onto the phone to tell me that the break was nearly over and they were about ready to take my call.  And then ...

then he asked me how I was doing and how my health was.

And he told me they'd been praying for me.

I was floored.
Why should he even know me?

I lightly (and quickly) mentioned that I was much improved.  I said I am walking, talking, and DRIVING again. 

People that I've met only a few times, only briefly, and yet they care and they pray on my behalf. 

"The communion of saints."  Sometimes you get a glimpse that you don't normally see, and it blows you away.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


I put my good mittens (the most-excellent ones that Dad bought for Mom) into the car.  They feel fantastic when the steering wheel is so cold.

Upon the girls' encouragement, I trimmed about an inch of hair off the very middle back of my neck, to even out the look of the short hair.  It does look better now.

Katie cleaned house here last week.  Gary did loads of raking over the weekend but didn't have time to get rid of the leaves.  Today Katie finished raking and dragging leaves over to the garden.  Wow!  What a relief that that's done!

I cleaned out the gutters last weekend.  Funny, for some reason, we didn't get to it last spring.  There were a few teeny-tiny maples that had sprung up from spring's helicopters.  Whew!  I'm glad we didn't leave them there longer -- I hate seeing maples grow out of people's gutters.

Coat needs to go to the dry-cleaner too.  Still covered with last winter's road-salt.  Funny, for some reason, I didn't get that chore done in May either.

Chicken soup is my friend.

Proud, proud, proud of Katie for getting involved with village politics, where a bunch of regular folks are calling out the shenanigans of the village leaders.  She's been to some public meetings, talked, and is circulating petitions.  Proud of her!  And proud of the 100-or-so other folks in the village who are also fed up with government spending and subterfuge.

Upon a friend's reminder of what fish oil can do for joints and nerves, I have been diligently working to remember (and oh!, it's hard to remember) to consume fish oil daily.  I've also been pretty good recently about remembering my pond scum vitaminsArachnoiditis has noticeably improved.  I begin to tentatively hope that maybe, someday, I will actually "get back to normal."  Maybe.

The computer mouse has been acting up recently.  It's annoying, but I haven't done anything to fix it yet.  (What's up with that laziness?!)  Yesterday, the Blue Screen Of Death swooped upon us.  The computer tried its self-repair thingy, and then we attempted going back to a restore-point.  I'm scared that pretty soon it's going to keel over and die-beyond-resuscitation.  But Gary did get the machine turned on last night, and I backed up photos, documents, bookmarks, and email.  That's the critical stuff.

I'm sorting and cleaning out files at church.  Today I think I finished the Scaer files for already-published and yet-to-be-published volumes. 
a)  There's so much stuff I want to nab, curl up with on the couch, and read.
b)  Combine several different editors on the same project, and a variety of different concepts for organizational themes, and it turned out there was LOTS of duplicate material.  The boxes are nicely thinned now without any articles being eliminated. Yee haw -- all the highs of clutter-dumping with none of the worry of "What if I need it later?"

Sunday, November 09, 2014

With Two They Humbly Hid Their Feet from Sight

Isaiah 6 -- Isaiah saw the seraphim around the throne of the Lord.  Each used two wings to cover his face, two wings to cover his feet, and two wings to fly.

Interesting about covering the feet.

Because when we hear about redeemer types, their feet are uncovered. 
Moses (Exodus 3).
Joshua (Joshua 5).
Boaz (Ruth 3).
Jesus (Genesis 3).

Even preachers too (Isaiah 52 and John 13).

I don't know what it means, but it makes me wonder.
(And I do wonder about God becoming incarnate as a man, not as an angel.)

Friday, November 07, 2014


Fun evening out tonight at the Cafe Bavaria.

A couple of weeks ago, Gary said he wanted to take us out this Friday evening to celebrate.  "Celebrate what?"  An anniversary.

Hmmm.  Not our wedding.  Not our kids' weddings.  Not our parents' weddings.

No birthdays either.
I was stymied.

He finally asked, "What happened six months ago?"  He said it was time to celebrate.

Andrew and Olivia and Maggie and Gary and I went out for a fabulous-tasting dinner, visiting, and lots of laughs.  (And a little post-election cheering.) I got my first look at their very cute apartment!  It was one of those evenings that you wish could happen more often (and are grateful for the gifts that made such a fun and extravagant evening possible).

And you know what else?

It's really really nice that my family wants to celebrate that I'm still here.  It makes a person feel all warm and fuzzy and loved!

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Your Daughter-in-Law?

Katie came to the bank today with the kids.  The girls accepted stickers and colored.  Matthias crawled around, causing Alia to worry that he would get into the garbage or something.  Our newest employee did Katie's transactions while I flirted with the grandkids. 

After my family left, the new teller asked, "So, that was your daughter-in-law?" 

No.  She's my daughter. 

It happens over and over.  When there's a substitute or a new employee, upon meeting Katie, they always assume she is my daughter-in-law, and they seem surprised that she's my daughter.

A) Different last names seems to me to indicate she had my last-name, but no longer does.  But divorce is rampant, and some women don't take their husbands names anyhow.  Still, wouldn't it be nice if people could take it for granted that her different-last-name meant she was my daughter?

B)  Really -- why the pervasive assumption that Katie is married into the family instead of born in?  I don't get it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Korby Quote

"Jesus does not puke when He hears you or sees you."

 -- Ken Korby, 1992

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Date It!

Going through files at church, thinning, weeding, sorting, and ordering, again I see the importance of dating paperwork. 

Invitations to conferences with dates and no years.  That makes it hard to sort chronologically.

Faded and yellowed papers.  Are they from the 1950's?  Or is the booklet from the 1990's but printed on cheap paper that aged too quickly?

Lovely to run across a stream of stuff that you'd luv-luv-luv to throw out, but it must be kept for certain reasons ... and find that at least you can put them in order because they're fully dated.

At home it's good to find an owner's manual with the date scribbled on the front of when we bought that mower or washer or stove ... especially when the years fly by and you could've sworn that the appliance was only three years old in spite of the written evidence proves the item is twelve years old.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Thyself to Scorn Didst Offer

A few weeks ago we heard the parable (Matt 21) about the vine-dressers who beat up the land-owner's servants.  Then they killed his son.

Then we heard (Matt 22) about the people who were invited to the wedding-feast of the king's son and responded with, "Phhhtttthhhbbbbppp!  We've got better things to do."

We also heard about Pharisees and scribes and Sadducees trying to entrap Jesus (Matt 22)

If we keep reading through the passion (Matt 26-27 or Psalm 22) we'd see a lot more scorn and mocking -- from the church leaders, from the soldiers, from the people.  Even from the disciples.

Every single sin we commit =
unbelief =
disobedience =
scorning Jesus.

Lamb of God, pure and holy,
who on the cross didst suffer,
ever patient and lowly,
Thyself to scorn didst offer.
All sins Thou borest for us,
else had despair reigned o'er us.
Have mercy on us, O Jesus.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

We Have Never Been in Bondage to Anyone

Pastor was talking in Bible class today about how we believe in the Word of God.  But it's not only words we believe.  Any religious leader can spout words.  The truth of those words is shown in whether the words come to pass (Deut 18:21-22).  The events of Jesus' suffering, death, and resurrection show that His words were true.  His own words came to pass in the historical events.  The words of the Old Testament prophets also were proven true in the historical events of Jesus' day. 

So I asked, "Did the Old Testament Christians believe in 'just the words' or did they have the events too?" confused because they obviously had not observed the events that occurred in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.

Pastor pointed out the constituative event of the Israelites: the Passover and the crossing of the Red Sea.  That was their salvific event.  It saved.  It was a historical fact.  It was the fulfillment of the promise which came before.  It showed that the Lord was faithful to His word.

About an hour later, we hear from John in today's Gospel.  Jesus is telling His followers to abide in His word.  He tells them, "The truth shall make you free."  And what's the response from some of the Jews?

Free?  Huh?  We're free.  We're Abraham's descendents.  How come you're offering freedom?  We've never been in bondage to anyone. 

I laughed. 

Hello, guys:  Pharaoh.  Egypt.  Slavery.
Moabites, Amorites, Sidonians.
Ammonites, Canaanites, Philistines.
Babylon and Persia.

Yeah, I guess if they couldn't remember the historical events of their past, they're not going to be able to believe the words which came to pass in the unfolding of those events.

And neither would they believe the words which were soon to pan out in the events of Holy Week.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Psalm 26:2

Examine me, O Lord, and prove me;
Try my mind and my heart.

Hatred of hypocrisy.

Sounds like I don't need lovingkindness (verse 3) or redemption (verse 11).  

This is true when the psalm is in the mouth of Jesus.

When it's in our mouth, it is true because of what God reckons us to be.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Tardis, the Wardrobe, and the Chancel

The T.A.R.D.I.S. -- it's bigger on the inside.

The wardrobe. A portal into Narnia.  It too is bigger on the inside.  There's a whole world in there.  A world that's not apparent to people outside.

We were reading in Anne of Ingleside the other night.  Some kids were tormenting little Walter:  "Your mother is going to die.  But that's okay because you'll see her in heaven."  "How far away is heaven?" trembles Walter.  "Oh, millions and millions of miles away."

We're blind.

Jesus' flesh and blood are in the chancel.  "Lord of lords, in human vesture, in the body and the blood, He will give to all the faithful His own self for heavenly food."

The angels and archangels, the apostles and prophets, the martyrs and the blessed dead -- they're in church with us.  "Rank on rank the hosts of heaven spreads its vanguard on the way as the Light of Light descendeth from the realms of endless day -- comes the powers of hell to vanquish, as the darkness clears away." 

The Tardis is bigger on the inside.
But it's just a story.

The wardrobe is bigger on the inside.
But it too is just a story.

The chancel is bigger on the inside.
More crowded than we realize.
But it's not just-a-story.
That doorway into the nave?  It's a portal to where heaven and earth intersect.
What happens there is realer than any Reality we experience on earth.
And it's not millions and millions of miles away.

Jesus comes TO US.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Jealous God

Jealousy is bad, right?  It's like envy.  It means you're unhappy that somebody else has something you want, or that you might lose what you have -- whether it's stuff or a position or a relationship.

So when God says, "I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God," we see that as a flaw.

Sometimes people think God has an ego problem:  "Hey, don't worship anybody else.  I'm the Big Cheese here, and I want your praise and your accolades."

Sometimes people think God gets hacked off when we don't honor him as we should.  It must hurt His feelings, they think.  Why can't He get over His pettiness, they think.

If you're a parent, you know the terror-of-heart as your beloved child runs toward the busy street.  Or embarks upon some other stupid stunt that's quite likely to endanger him.  If you're not a parent, you probably remember your own confusion after you did something idiotic as a kid.  "Why are you so mad at me, Mom??!  You're glad I didn't get hurt, but you're mad too."

The Lord is jealous.  And it's not about His ego or His feelings.  It's because what hurts Him most is when we insist on harming ourselves.  He loves.  He cares.  He gives.  And when we run off into the busy street, when we run off into danger, it grieves Him.  Not because it damages Him.  But because it hurts us.  And that is why He is "a jealous God."  It's for our protection, for our benefit.  Not for His.

He is the source of life.  When we leave Him, we turn our back on life, and the only thing left is death.  That's why He's jealous for us: He wants us to have life, and have it abundantly.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Time Flies

 So why is it that grandkids grow up so much faster than your own kids?

Because you're older, and 5 years of kiddo-growth is a proportionately smaller part of your life when you're 50 than when you're 25?

Or because your whole life isn't consumed with tending them, caring for their every need, comforting, teaching, feeding, cleaning, knowing their lingo and their own sinful propensities and their own particular sweetnesses? 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Here a Slave, There a Slave, Everwhere a Slave

Romans 6: You're either a slave of sin or a slave of righteousness.  A slave of uncleanness or a slave of holiness.  A slave of death & sin or a slave of God. 

Slaves of sin are "free in regard to righteousness."  Free, huh?  What kind of freedom is that?

Matthew 11:  Jesus invites us to Him for rest.  "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."  So in a way, there's still a yoke, still a burden.  Just as Paul said: "slaves of God."  But one slavery is easy.  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Why Malchus's Ear?

When Peter went hacking away with his sword in the Garden of Gethsemane, he cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest.  Pastor pointed out that this was not just a humongous injury.  This was his EAR. 

Apostles are to preach.  They are to save people through their words.  Hack off the ear and the fellow cannot hear the word of mercy.  What Peter did was violent and hurtful, to be sure.  But even more, Peter interfered with the man's hearing.  When Jesus healed Malchus, it wasn't just fixing an owie.  The miraculous healing gave back to Malchus the organ through which he could hear the preaching which saves. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Trusting in Which God?

Remember that part at the end of Narnia, where the Calormene fellow ends up in heaven confused, saying he worshiped Tash and not Aslan? 

Yeah, that's bothered me, like, forever.

Today I bumped into an article about a Lutheran gal who converted first to Roman Catholicism, which then [she said] made it easy to convert to Islam.  She went on her pilgrimage to Mecca.  It's sad to hear the bondage of the rules which must be done to get your brownie-points for making the pilgrimage, and what you can do to get yourself an exemption to some of the particulars while still racking up your brownie-points.

The woman rightly desires a conviction that "God is all I need or will ever need."  She says that those who have that trust will never be worried or discouraged.  That's quite a lot of pressure to measure up to, emotionally and mentally.  But I suppose it's true.  IF I had perfect faith in Jesus, I would never be worried or discouraged.  But that ain't gonna happen.  That's why He loves and forgives sinners  -- we can't be confident and perfectly full of trustingness.

What comes after "God is all I need"?  Statements like these:
"I realize that this is something I have to work on every day."
And talk about feeling God's presence.
And, "Now that I have experienced this pure connection to God, I want to maintain and grow it. The onus is on me to make the changes necessary to help this happen."

I want to grow this connection with God.
The onus is on me.

What happened to "God is all I need"?

I've heard Christians say, "God is all I need," but then focus on their following, their works, their praying, their feelings, their efforts to grow?  Which God are they worshiping?  How is it different from the Muslim god?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Gary worked on the garage floor, cleaning it, filling in the rotting cement so that it just begins to smooth out a bit, and painting the floor.  A few more years of diligent upkeep and we might remedy the pitiful state the floor was in when we bought the house.  It looks SO much better already.

Can't seem to get the house cleaned.  Garden isn't put to bed either.

Maggie and I keep plugging away at some schoolwork.  I haven't gotten her to a second volunteer-job yet, though, which was high on the priority-list for this school year.

I was ill last week.  Now that I'm off the antibiotics, I suspect the problem may be returning.  I'm trying to do everything I can to fight it.  But I suspect my immune system is more compromised than I thought.  It may be a long, vitamin-C-filled, achy, garlicky, lazy winter.  It's so hard to know when you should plow stolidly ahead and when you should cry "uncle" and just stop and rest. 

Everybody thinks I've recovered better than I have.  I hate saying "no," especially when I want to assist with the projects that need to be done.   I guess I'm faking Adequacy well enough that people expect me to be back to normal.

Three new babies this week for friends.  And an engagement.  And a friend released from the hospital.  So much happy news out there!

Now that sunset is earlier, the huge glass windows at work have become mirror-like at the end of the day.  I didn't realize until yesterday how much I'd been avoiding looking in mirrors.  So many people have complimented my short haircut.  I've been told that it's chic, trendy, cute, becoming, and a bevy of other nice adjectives.  Nevertheless, I still don't like it.  But that's been okay because I seldom see myself.  Now at work, I can't avoid facing up to my super-short haircut. 

I started watching the series "Doc Martin."  LUVving it!   Thanks to Lora for recommending it!

Right now I'm reading a biography of a guy who suffered a brain injury and became a synesthete.  For some reason, the book is beginning to creep me out.  I can't figure out why, but it really bothers me that he insists there is no such thing as a circle; he sees everything as angles, squares, triangles.  He pretty much sees everything as pixelated.  And I believe there are circles.  It seems theological to me, and I can't pin down why.  I'm glad Maggie and I are still enjoying the joy of Anne books, and that I'm still not done with the Mitford books.  Katie suggested that I'm spoiled by the lovely books and don't have patience with most of what's available these days.  She's right.

One of those serendipitous homeschooling things:  Maggie and I have a few different things going for school right now that hit on worldviews and how macro-evolution has affected so much in academia.  We keep bumping into the same thing from different perspectives.  That probably adds to my impatience with waste-o-time books and movies.  There's so much in the world that is good and beautiful -- let's enjoy them instead of [ahem] facing reality. 

the ostrich

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Being Glorified

Such a tight link between justification and glorification!

Romans 8:  Whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Notice that "glorified" is a past tense verb?  It's not just a "some-day" thing; it's a done deal.  It's happened.  And it happened because we were declared righteousness (aka, "justified").

And what does Simeon sing?  "My eyes have seen Thy salvation ... the glory of Thy people Israel."  Our glorification is that we have been saved from our sin.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Wisconsin Homeschoolers

Your PI-1206 report is due on Wednesday (October 15).  Fill out the report ONLINE.  Do NOT follow the advice of a certain out-of-state homeschool organization which tells you to use a paper form of their own making.  Do it online.  The online form does NOT request any information that is different from what is required by law, the information we used to report in the olden days of filling out the paperwork by snail-mail. 

Failing to file properly (that is, online) includes the possibility of trouble for yourself.  But that's small potatoes.  More likely, when people insist on filing a non-government paper-form instead of the online form, we're setting ourselves up for legal hassles as a group.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Reading Lesson

The older kids would play or color or build-with-Legos while I read aloud to them.

The older kids would read books to themselves on their own.

The doctors told us Maggie would never read for fun, for enjoyment.  They told us that kids with VCFS learn rudimentary reading skills, but their comprehension is abysmal.  Well, phooey on that.  Maggie continued to increase in her reading ability.  Then, a couple of years ago, she accidentally discovered something that helped even more.

If someone reads aloud ... and the listener has her own copy of the book -- two things happen.
a) The listener's reading skill increases.  ("Oh, that's how you pronounce that word!"  Also, a better understanding of how words are grouped into phrases.  And much more.) 
b) The listener's comprehension of what is heard-with-the-ears increases because of what is seen-with-the-eyes.

Now we're to the point that Maggie always wants to search out of second copy of Anne or whatever-we're-reading. Hooray for a big library system!

Monday, October 06, 2014

He Remembers That We Are Dust

Step on an ant or a beetle.  Crunch!
Swat a mosquito, and get blood on your hand.
Swat a fly with force, because it requires some smashing.

But swat a moth?
You barely have to touch it.
It doesn't leave a blood stain on the wall.
It practically turns to dust.

That always amazes me.  Moths are so dry.  There's nothing to them.  They are so easy to do away with.  And they're like powder.  Like dust.

"He knows our frame.  
He remembers that we are dust" (Ps 103).

The Lord remembers that we are dust.

But we don't. We think we've got substance.  We think we've got strength.  We think we've got lasting-power.  We think it takes somethin' big to knock us out.

But we are dust.
And the Lord is gentle with us dry dusties.

"As a father pities his children, 
so the Lord pities those who fear Him." 

Sunday, October 05, 2014

He Remembered the Word of the Lord

Jesus said Peter would deny Him.  Peter said, "No way.  Ain't gonna happen.  I'll stick by You, even if it means prison or dying."  That's when Jesus told Peter, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times" (Luke 22:34)

Hours later, when Peter had --sure enough-- denied Jesus three times, the rooster crowed.  And then Peter remembered the word of the Lord (verse 61)

I always thought that verse meant Peter remembered the prediction of his failing.
And only that.

Pastor pointed out in class this week that there was more to the conversation: look back at verse 32.  Jesus had also said, "I have prayed for you."  That's no small thing, no impotent thing, that Jesus prayed for Peter.

Jesus had also said, "When you have returned to Me."  In other words, Peter would indeed be restored.  He would be forgiven.  He would be brought to repentance and placed back  in the office of apostle.  "When you have returned to Me."

When Peter "remembered the word of the Lord," there was also a word of faithfulness from Jesus mixed in with the statement of Peter's unfaithfulness.  It is God who gives faith, works faith, and sustains faith.   "The God of peace Himself will sanctify you wholly and keep your spirit, soul, and body sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He who called you is faithful, and He will do it."

Saturday, October 04, 2014


A movie about dying of cancer. A professor who is alone, no family, no friends. She agrees to aggressive treatment, for the sake of research, with only a small hope for recovery. An exacting professor who teaches John Donne's poetry. A woman who has little to hang onto other than "Death, Be Not Proud" and her own toughness.

A woman who eventually must face the prospect of her own death. A woman whose only comfort is the gospel (if you can call it that) found in The Runaway Bunny.

So very different from Stephen's death.  A man surrounded by family, friends, and pastors.  A room filled with hymns, prayers, more hymns, liturgy, psalms, and a few more hymns.  An image on the wall of Jesus dying on the cross to bear the wages of Steve's sins.  A statue of St Michael defeating the dragon-of-old.

Unlike the tough professor in Wit, Pastor Wiest knew long before that he was weak.  But His Jesus is strong.  As he became weaker at the end, he was given more and more and more of Jesus' word of forgiveness and mercy.  "For when I am weak, then am I strong."

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Library Sorting

When Lora was eliminating Stuff from her house before moving overseas, she talked about her books, and how wrenching it is to get rid of books.  So many of us look at bookshelves to get an idea of WHO somebody is. Without our books to identify us, people can't get to know us by perusing our bookshelves.

I'm sorting through Pastor's books, making sure they're properly grouped and arranged after his study was moved into a new room.  On the one hand, it's fascinating.  Oh oh oh -- so many books just begging to be borrowed!  On the other hand, the work feels like trespassing, as if I'm butting into somebody's brain.

Of course, as Katie pointed out, her bookshelves don't necessarily reveal things about her; there are other people in her home.  And yet, "Goodnight Moon" does reveal something about who Katie is, even if the book is not her top choice in literature for her own personal reading.   Same for Pastor: he has books on his shelves about cults and heresy and other errors, alongside the books that refute error and books that are just fabuloso all on their own. 

Paid job;
resting my body while sorting at church;
resting my body while doing schoolwork with Mag;
resting my body while goofing off on the computer;
not spending as much time cleaning, cooking, blogging, or gardening as I think I "should." So many many chores that are screaming for attention, and I keep scolding myself into trrrrying to lollygag and watch TV and read more.  Healing takes time.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Joy, Suffering, and Philippians 1

In Sunday's epistle (3-yr series) Paul was comforting the saints in Philippi with assurances that his imprisonment was for the sake of the Gospel.   
In my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.
I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
Yes, Paul was acting Christlike, to suffer for preaching the forgiveness of sins to those who are not worthy of it.

Yes, Paul was an example to the other Christians, so that they were emboldened.

But also, he was writing to the church at Philippi.  You remember who was a member of that congregation?  The Philippian jailer.  The guy who'd listened to Paul and Silas singing hymns half the night.  The guy on duty during the earthquake when the Lord opened the prison doors. The guy who was going to kill himself, until Paul stopped him.  The guy whose whole family was baptized, who welcomed the apostle into their home and treated his wounds and fed these missionaries.  The guy who rejoiced (Acts 16:34) in the Gospel.

You want an idea of why Paul could say that his chains are for the furtherance of the Gospel?  And that in his chains, they partake with him of grace?  And why that resonated with the folks at the church in Philippi?  Because they knew, intellectually, emotionally, experientially.  They had lived it.  They knew this fellow who worked at the jail.  They knew his family.  They worshiped with him.  They cared about him.  And this family heard the good news of Jesus' forgiveness because Paul had been unjustly accused, beaten, and imprisoned.  Not fun or comfortable for Paul.  But cause for rejoicing nonetheless, because there is greater joy in heaven (and in the church militant too) over one sinner who repents. 

And there it was again, in Rome: Paul's arrest being a good thing.  (So weird.  An unfair arrest being good?!)  But if anybody would "get it," it'd be the folks at the Philippian church.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Single Red Branch

Winter's coming. 

(Shhhh.  Did I really say that?  Right out loud?  [shudder]  I should have my mouth washed out with soap.)

Leaves are changing color. 

This year, more than other years, I'm noticing how one branch's leaves will turn red or orange, while the rest of the tree's leaves are still green.  It's so patchy.  And it's not just one or two trees; many are showing the same pattern.  It seems odd.

Then I think of people's hair.  How my gray hairs all come from the same small patch on my head.  How a man's beard will change with one stripe graying before the rest.  How some people will turn gray at their temples first.

Maybe those trees are more like us than I thought.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Roots and Stability

I like to know what to expect.

I don't like not-knowing --  not-knowing about the economy or safety or politics/military action.  It makes it hard to plan for the future.  It leaves a person unsettled.  We're trying to think about our will right now, and whether to set up a trust for Maggie.  But who knows what to expect these days?  Health care and taxes and who'll be running the country and whether religious persecution will come to our shores -- it's all up for grabs.  No certainty.  Questions about stability.

In our Bible story recently (Numbers 6), we heard about the Israelites in the wilderness of Sinai.  They'd left Egypt a little more than a year earlier.  For a change of pace, we hear that they obeyed the Lord.  When the pillar of cloud/fire moved, they were to move.  And they did.  When the pillar of cloud/fire stayed put, the Israelites were supposed to stay in the same spot.  And they did. 

But what about their expectations?  Any one evening, at the end of the day, when the cloud of the Lord's presence settled, the people pitched their tents and started supper ... with no clue whatsoever as to whether they were going to be packing up again the next morning or in a week.  Or in a month.  Or in a year.  They lived day-to-day with no knowledge of the morrow.  No certainty.  No stability ...

except ...

"the Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer."

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Crucifix Shopping

Shhh: don't tell the computer or Big Brother.  I have figured out how to get NICE ads in the sidebar of my computer.  If you go shopping for a few hours on eShakti, they start sending you gazillions of ads.  If you keep clicking on them, pretty soon the ads go away that want you to [ahem] meet singles or buy Bounty or subscribe to some liberal magazine.

Tonight I spent a couple of hours looking for crucifixes.  On ebay.  On Amazon.  On various Catholic church-supply sites.  And now I have crosses and pretty dresses popping up as ads.  Nice!

While shopping, I discovered how
few people knew what a crucifix is.  There were plenty of empty crosses listed under "crucifix."  There were also the kind that some of our kids received as baptism gifts from the congregation -- the kind with a kneeling child in the center.

"I don't like that cross, Mom!  I don't want to die on a cross!"

Uh, yeah, that was when those crosses went away.

I also discovered somebody's crafts: turquoise and yellow beads, strung together like we used to make at summer camp to be key chains or lanyards.  In a cross-shape.  Turquoise and yellow.  Ugly as could be.  Mixed in with the crucifixes.  Good grief.  It takes a lot of sifting to shop for something online.

PS: If you need an introductory coupon for eShakti (which also offers free customizing on first-time orders), let me know.  You'll get $25-35 off your first try, and I'll get a $10 referral coupon.

Friday, September 19, 2014


When a brain aneurysm ruptures, blood mixes with the cerebrospinal fluid.  Your brain doesn't like that.  Neither do your nerves.  That nice, clean fluid is supposed to protect your nervous system, and blood pollutes it.  This can bring on arachnoiditis.

After my little aneurysm problem, I had debilitating pain in my lower back and my legs.  Once the doctors figured out the cause of my pain, they knew that the best solution was for the blood to be re-absorbed by the body so that it would be away from the nerves.  That meant my getting up to sit and even walk.  It also meant lots of pain meds to make it possible for me to sit or stand. 

Thinking about how arnica gel had helped so much in healing my bruises (where blood leaked and has to be re-absorbed) I asked my family to bring arnica to the hospital.  I can't say for sure that it helped.  But I sure felt better when I used it on the sore spots.  Of course, the improvement may have been caused by the doctors' treatments, or time, or a combination of many things. 

With some recent flare-ups, I'm trying arnica again.  I doubt it will help.  It doesn't seem reasonable to try, as pain now is residual nerve pain, and not pain from blood currently polluting my CSF.  But what would it hurt?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Is the Ancient Definition of Marriage Bigoted?

"Same-Sex Marriage and Interracial Marriage" was a recent topic on Issues Etc.  [Excuse me: why isn't anybody putting quote-marks around that word anymore?  A year or two ago, it was same-sex "marriage."]

Two points stuck out.  First -- never, in all the world's history, in any culture, was a same-sex union considered to be marriage.  Even in cultures that accepted homosexuality as just another option, nobody considered that relationship to be marriage.

Second -- what about the charge that those who oppose same-sex unions are just like the bigots who opposed interracial marriage?  The speaker pointed out that that kind of bigotry was never about the essence or definition of marriage.  It was always about racial "purity" and guarding whiteness.  It was about the hatred that wanted to prevent mixing races.  But the argument then was never about what marriage IS.  The arguments today are not about who can and can't get married (although some say that it is); the argument today is about what marriage is. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Music Appreciation

Oh, the grand plans that homeschool moms come up with!  And how hard to execute all those lesson plans!

I was intrigued by the program used by our congregation's school.  The Brummitt-Taylor Music Listening Program includes 131 music selections.  The concept reminds me of the Five-in-a-Row curriculum for little kids:  choose something good [be it kiddy-lit or a piece of classical music] and repeat it daily for a week.  I've been wanting to develop my own list of music to be used in a similar way:
just a few minutes a day
just listening -- no projects or study
repeated exposure

This is what I've come up with.  Our plan at this point is to use each piece for half a month, and not necessarily in the order listed here.  I'm including you-tube links, but there are multiple places to find the pieces, online or through purchased CD's.  We will not have the script offered with the B-T program, nor their comprehensive list, but I'm telling myself that familiarizing ourselves with some classical pieces is better than nothing.  At the rate of 2-3 pieces per month, I've got two years worth of plans here.

Rossini:  Barber of Seville -- Figaro's Aria

Britten:  Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (2-minute intro)
(full version)

Vivaldi: Four Seasons -- Summer
Vivaldi: Four Seasons -- Autumn
Vivaldi: Four Seasons -- Winter
Vivaldi: Four Seasons -- Spring

BachAir on the G string

Handel:  Xerxes -- Largo

PurcellTrumpet Tune and Air

Charpentier: Prelude in D-major to "Te Deum"

Handel:  Water Music Suite #1 -- Air
Handel:  Water Music Suite #2 -- Hornpipe 

Chopin:  Minute Waltz

Rossini:  William Tell Overture -- Finale

MozartEine Kleine Nachtmusik, Serenade #13 for strings in G minor

Bizet:  Carmen -- Overture

BachJesu, Joy of Man's Desiring

Clarke: Trumpet Voluntary

Copland: Rodeo -- Hoe-down (beef commercial)

Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D minor

Tchaikovsky1812 Overture

BeethovenFur Elise

Sousa: Stars and Stripes Forever

Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody
Tom & Jerry's Hungarian Rhapsody

BachWake, Awake

Mendelssohn: Wedding March
Wagner: Wedding Chorus  (Here Comes the Bride)

Wagner: Ride of the Valkyries

Gershwin: I Got Rhythm

Mouret: Fanfare Rondeau  (Masterpiece Theater theme)

Brahms: Lullaby
LevineFanfare for the Common Man

GriegPeer Gynt (from Mountain King)
GriegIn the Hall of the Mountain King  (another version)

Offenbach: Can Can Music

BachBouree from Lute Suite -- BWV 996

DebussyClaire de lune

SchumannThe Merry Peasant

Delibes:  Sylvia -- Pizzicato

ShastakovichThe Second Waltz

AlbinoniAdagio in G minor

Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake Ballet
Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker Suite -- March
Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker Suite -- Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker Suite -- Waltz of the Flowers

Handel:  The Messiah -- For Unto Us a Child Is Born
Handel:  The Messiah -- He Shall Feed His Flock
Handel:  The Messiah -- He Was Despised
Handel:  The Messiah -- I Know That My Redeemer Liveth
Handel:  The Messiah -- Hallelujah Chorus

Vivaldi: Double Concerto in D minor for two oboes

Mozart: Symphony #40 in G minor K 550

MozartPiano Concerto 21 -- Andante

Pachelbel: Canon in D Major

Mozart: The Magic Flute -- The Bird-Catcher

Beethoven9th Symphony, 4th movement

ProkofievPeter and the Wolf March

Ravel:  Bolero

Mendelssohn: Song Without Words

DvorakNew World Symphony, part 1, 4th movement
Khan Academy on Dvorak's New World Symphony

Beethoven5th Symphony
Khan Academy on Beethoven's 5th Symphony, part 1
Khan Academy on Beethoven's 5th Symphony, part 2
Khan Academy on Beethoven's 5th Symphony, part 3

Haydn: Symphony no. 6, movement 1
Listening guide to Haydn's Symphony #6

Stravinsky: Firebird Suite Finale
Khan Academy on the Firebird Suite

Glenda steered me in the direction of Harmony Fine Arts that could be used to supplement and deepen the simplistic list I've gathered.
Cheryl offered some ideas, as well as pointing out "52 Most Important Classical Works of All Time" which may expand your own list of pieces to include as you learn more about music.