Monday, October 30, 2006

Anticipating the chocolate harvest

In anticipation of tomorrow's celebratory gathering in of the chocolate, I give you my favorite picture of the black cat deciding if the pumpkin is food or not. He decided not and had no more interest in it.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

This weeks' theme is SAFE. That was a really difficult theme for me. We seem to have lots of pictures that epitomize "UNSAFE." But finally I chose this one of my oldest son, Patrick, wielding the "Sword of Hypocrisy" (so named by him) valiantly keeping us safe from our neighbors. (Or from the pernicious influences of suburbia.)


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Friday, October 27, 2006

Addition to Blog Roll

I've added a new must-read blog to my blog roll: Chaplain to the World.

Go read it.

There's nothing like live music

Tonight we had the extreme good fortune to attend the Fort Wayne premiere of the Fort Wayne Baroque Strings as part of the Bachtoberfestiva to benefit the Bach Collegium. It was incredible!

I have always enjoyed Vivaldi, but to hear his music performed on period instruments, from just a few feet away was wonderful. The musicians were all of a very high caliber and watching them was certainly part of the fun.

If you're in the Fort Wayne area there is another chance to see and hear them as part of the Reformation Vespers service at St. John's Lutheran Church in Bingen. (HWY 27 between Fort Wayne & Decatur.) The service is at 7:00 Sunday with a discussion time beginning at 6:30. The Bach Collegium will also be singing at the service.

New Music

Well, new for me at least.

I purchased two CD's this week. I bought Five for Fighting's two lights, because I heard them on Fox and Friends last week. No, really, I've enjoyed their sound since the first time I heard Superman, but I kept thinking that I'd just put some songs on my iPod. But since I still don't have an iPod....

The other CD that I bought is Still the Same...Great Rock Classics of Our Time done by Rod Stewart. I am really enjoying this CD. Rod does covers of some classic '70s songs. (Bob Seger, The Pretenders, Cat Stevens, Van Morrison to name a few of the original performers) If you like Rod Stewart and you like '70s rock you'll almost certainly like this CD.

Of course, this is what suits my mood today. Tomorrow I may very well have my Sugarhill Gang CD back out.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Taking a break

Life has been a bit exhausting lately. I had intended to get back to my long-neglected business last Monday. Then my grandpa died and my schedule went out the window.

I'm a pretty emotional person and goodbyes are hard for me. I used to cry every time we left Indiana to go back to Chicago. I even cry sometimes when I finish a good book because I get attached to the characters. So you can imagine what effect deaths of real people have on me. I am not good for anything until at least a day after the funeral.

I've also been needing to spend lots of time on my treasurer job. (Yes, it is hilarious that I--the one who doesn't balance her checkbook--am a treasurer.) There have been extra things that needed to be done along with the usual and it has added up to lots of time. And it makes me tired because I have to be organized.

So I decided to give myself a few days of much needed R&R. Saturday we went on a fall hike at a state park. Yesterday Bethany and I went to see my grandma and then did a short bit of genealogy research. Today while Bethany was at class I went back and immersed myself in the genealogy department for four hours. I could stay there all day.

One thing that I have discovered is that I am just as enthralled by the stories of other people as I am by my own ancestors. I just love the history. I love reading about their lives and tracing the migration patterns and seeing what influences canals, railroads, and roads had on the growth of towns. I guess it's the same thing that makes me always want to get off the interstate and take the back roads to see the farmhouses, barns, churches, and country schools that dot the midwestern countryside. I love these people who settled in log cabins or small frame houses and built magnificent brick edifices for God among the cornfields.

Tomorrow is a day of running with kids activities. But Thursday is a day to get back to work. More about that on Thursday.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Oh, yes. I am DREAMING

Today's Scavenger Hunt theme is dreaming. I'm dreaming of a week on the sand of Siesta Key. It's been a couple of years and I can't wait to get back. I'm pretty sure you'll find a companion picture at Bethany's blog.


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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

+Robert V. Beery+ 1913-2006

My grandpa, Robert Beery, went Home Sunday evening, October 15.

You can read the official obituary here, but I want to tell you about my grandpa.
The first word that comes to my mind when I think of my grandpa is strong. Although he worked in a managerial position in industry, he was very much an outdoorsman. He loved to fish. And he had a gorgeous garden and grew some of the best musk melons and tomatoes I've ever had.

I remember following him around the garden and hearing about all of the different things growing. One year I remember he was particularly excited about his strawberries. I remember many times sitting by the shed out behind their house shucking corn together. I'm sure I was kind of a pain to have around when I was a kid. I hated bugs or dirt and I think I may have been a bit whiny. But I don't remember grandpa ever saying that I couldn't tag along.

What I do remember is looking for hickory nuts and grandpa carrying his shotgun in case he saw a critter. I remember being forced to hold worms before grandpa baited my hook and realizing worms were pretty cool.

When I found Colin, Grandpa gained a checkers opponent. Not many people could actually give grandpa a game, but my brilliant engineer husband could. It wasn't until grandpa hit his late 80's--and had taught Colin most of his tricks--that Colin could beat him with any regularity.

I wrote about the 70 years of marriage that he and my grandma shared on my old blog back in January. Their life together has been a wonderful lesson for our whole family.

He was also a great-grandpa, and as you can see in the picture of him with our three oldest, not the arms-length type. One of the best parts about moving back to Indiana four and a half years ago is that my kids got to spend lots of time with my grandparents. Even in the last months when grandpa didn't always know who I was--he'd call me the woman with all the kids--he was always happy to see them. Just a couple of weeks ago as we were leaving after a visit they each got a hug and grandpa told them he loved them.

Like most men of his generation Grandpa didn't talk a lot about his faith, but it was there sure and solid and was always a visible part of his life. In these last years he's been a bit more likely to talk about it and knew his Savior and where he was going to be.

Jesus lives! The victory's won!
Death no longer can appal me;
Jesus lives! Death's reign is done!
From the grave Christ will recall me.
Brighter scenes will then commence;
This shall be my confidence.

Jesus lives! To Him the throne
High o'er heaven and earth is given.
I shall go where He is gone,
Live and reign with Him in heaven.
God is faithful. Doubtings, hence!
This shall be my confidence.

Jesus lives! For me He died,
Hence will I, to Jesus living,
Pure in heart and act abide,
Praise to Him and glory giving.
Freely God doth aid dispense;
This shall be my confidence.

Jesus lives! I know full well
Naught from me His love shall sever;
Life nor death nor powers of hell
Part me now from Christ forever.
God will be a sure Defense;
This shall be my confidence.

Jesus lives! and now is death
But the gate of life immortal;
This shall calm my trembling breath
When I pass its gloomy portal.
Faith shall cry, as fails each sense,
Jesus is my confidence!

The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Rom. 8:11
Author: Christian F. Gellert, 1757, ab.
Translated by: Frances E. Cox, 1841, alt.
Titled: "Jesus lebt, mit ihm auch ich"
Composer: Johann Crueger, 1656
Tune: "Jesus, meine Zuversicht"

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Coffee snobbery

I grew up thinking that coffee was disgusting. During my first trip to college, in the pre-coffee-shop-on-every-corner days, coffee was still disgusting. Then, one day, I had my first taste of decent coffee. It was a darker roast served in the union of my fourth college. As a mom working part-time and going to school full-time this yummy concoction soon became my best friend.

In the mid-nineties Starbucks came to a suburb near us. I was hooked. When we moved to Southern Indiana a few years later I couldn't wait for a trip to Indy for my Starbucks. Then I went to Europe and experienced Italian coffee. Oh my! That set me on a search for the closest flavor I could find to that dark richness.

Now I live in a city with a pile of Starbucks plus several good local coffee shops. (And possibly the worst coffee in most of the retaurants!) I can get great coffee without trying. I can pick my cup based on my mood and what sounds good. But it still costs money, so when I was offered three free pounds of coffee to review for my blog, I couldn't say no.

The coffees are Folgers Gourmet Selections. I was dubious about trying them because I still can barely tolerate the Folgers that is the standard at my mom's. But I decided that I would give them a try. They sent me three kinds. The first one I tried was the "Lively Columbian." This is described as a medium roast. The smell when I opened the bag cued me in on what was to come. It smelled like the coffee at McDonald's. That isn't good.

There is a characteristic that I associate with cheap coffee. It is a flavor that comes out mostly in the aftertaste that I can best describe as sour. It's an unpleasant twist on the wonderful bitterness that good coffee has. This was sour.

The second one I tried was the "Vanilla Biscotti." I've never been a fan of flavored coffees, although my mother-in-law buys good quality ones and I always enjoy those at her house. This one didn't taste vanilla as much as it tasted sweet. And it, too, had the sourness.

The last one I tried was the "Morning Cafe." This was a light roast. Surprisingly, I liked this one the best. It wasn't a coffee that I would search out or buy, but it was the only one that I didn't dump out. It was still a bit sour, but the flavor was gentler. I'm not a gentle coffee drinker, but this one, at least, didn't taste bad.

Now, if you're a Folger's drinker or like McDonald's coffee, don't take offense. And if you do like these, you'll probably love the Gourmet Selections.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Photo Printers

I'm considering buying a photo printer.

Any comments or suggestions?

Gorgeous weekend!

The weather this weekend was wonderful. Fall has always been my favorite time of year. Friday the kids and I took a final visit to the zoo before it closed for the year. Saturday Colin and I went over to church and did some work and then spent a couple of hours at Lowe's. Saturday evening Colin's parents came to Fort Wayne for a visit. They took us out for an early dinner and then we came home and had a fire in our fire pit.

The fire pit was Colin's birthday & father's day present and we have really enjoyed it. It was a bit cooler Saturday night than it was when this picture was taken so we were all snuggled in our sweatshirts and there were no bare feet in evidence.

Sunday after Divine Service--with two of my favorite hymns: Salvation Unto Us Has Come and By Grace I'm Saved--we headed for Indianapolis for my oldest nephew's wedding. It was a beautiful drive, marred only by the fact that our transmission decided that it was no longer happy properly functioning. So our van is at a transmission shop in Anderson and we are driving my sweet, wonderful stepfather's Buick. (Which he, thank goodness, isn't going to miss because they will be heading to Florida for a month in about an hour.)

We made it to the wedding. It was sweet, because they are happy, but it was sad because it was Christ-less. So pray for this sweet couple who are now on their honeymoon.

A new kitchen sink!

Yes, I know it's strange thing to be so excited about, but I got a new kitchen sink! It will still be a week or so until it's installed because we are buying the faucet on ebay to save some money, but I have the sink.

It will be wonderful to have a shiny new sink, because the old one is a particularly yucky black acrylic sink. But the best part is that this is one step closer to having our house ready to sell! The house that we liked is still available and last week I heard from the owners of another house that we are interested in that they are getting ready to sell. It is an all-brick house with a pool, a finished dormer that would be wonderful for our scrapbooking and sewing and it's just a couple of blocks from Redeemer. Plus we already like the neighbors. :)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Look who's sleeping

This is my husband in his normal pose after the meal at family get-togethers. :)


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Friday, October 06, 2006

When do they grow up?

I had a frustrating conversation this week with someone who I am acquainted with who decided that it was her turn to critique my parenting. (Socialization, protecting them, etc., etc.) I'm not even going to worry about that. I'm used to it and my kids are fine. The part of the conversation that left me feeling cranky was the part about young adults.

I was shopping for a gift for the grandchild of a friend, and said something about it being hard to believe that I was old enough to be a grandma. She was stunned! Her opinion was that with an oldest child who is 20 there is no way grandparenthood should be an option for at least 10 years. Then she said this, "You know, I think that in this society, no one is really grown up until they're almost thirty. I consider people in their twenties older teenagers and teenagers are still really children."

I said that if that was the case for many young adults it wasn't because that is how it is supposed to be, that it's been caused by society. I mentioned the young couples we know among Bethany's friends and at the seminary who have gladly taken on the responsibilities of adult life.

In her opinion they are missing out
on the chance to "have fun." They aren't going to have as much materially. And they don't really know who they are, so they will probably end up divorced. (The concept of growing together and staying married no matter what is "old-fashioned.")

I also found it interesting that in her opinion teens are kids and should have fun and not have to take life too seriously, and yet she considers them "grown up" enough to go away for weekends at the lakes as couples. Something's backward when her 17 year old is going to Chicago with a group of girls and guys for a weekend in a hotel, but her 21 year old brings his laundry to mom and lives in a pig sty because she didn't teach him to clean. Her 25 year old has his second live-in girlfriend, but isn't ready for marriage yet.

I see the teens as years for training our kids for adult life. It is a time for academic learning and for learning useful skills like how to do laundry and how to fix a leaky pipe. It is a time for learning how to be a useful, pleasant, productive member of society. They are young adults in their late teens. They are physically ready for marriage and responsibility. It is our job as parents to help them to be mentally and siritually prepared as well.

And no, this doesn't mean I think 18 year olds should skip college and line up to be married. I have a single 20 year old who is all academics. But if she met someone wonderful tomorrow and decided to get married in a few months, I would be all for it. And I do think they're much better off getting married young and growing together than practicing the "serial monogamy" that has become so common in our society and is so dangerous for the heart, body, and soul.

There's another post brewing in here about protecting daughters. It will show up soon.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Who will it be?

Bethany and I really only have one must-see TV show. (Okay, two now that Lost is back...and 24 in January...but I digress.)

We have become totally hooked on Project Runway. We watched the first season completely in re-runs. Last season we really watched it. And this season we've tivo'd it and even visited the website for the show. Because it ran all summer it is reaching the finale just as the fall season is starting.

I was really pleased that they had four designers in the finals, instead of the expected three. It had come down to our three favorites and Jeffrey, who is not a favorite (The tatoos!). We're pulling for Michael Knight, because he strikes us as the best all around designer, although I think Laura makes lovely elegant clothes.