Monday, November 27, 2006

Matters of life and death

I've had many opportunities over the past several years to grapple with issues of life and death. There were the decisions to be made about my father's care when he was dying of cancer. There were issues to talk through with my mother as my grandfather' health failed and she tried to decide what kind of care would help him live out his days with the most comfort, both mental and physical. When Terry Schiavo was all over the news my children and I had many conversations about life, what it is, and who is and should be in control of its beginning and end.

Issues at the end of life are often gray. Not isues encompassing active euthanasia or even the overmedicating that is often seen with hospice patients, but questions about how certain medications may prolong or shorten life, what kind of feeding and hydration are the best choices and many other details.

Issues at the beginning of life, however, aren't gray. A woman is pregnant or she is not. The child in her womb is alive and growing or it is not. It is as black and white as can be.

A friend on one of the many email lists that I am on informed us today that her daughter had an abortion last week. This 23 year old woman had decided that the "relationship" that she was in wasn't working, so a baby wouldn't either. The baby hadn't yet begun moving so she "didn't have any sense that there was a baby yet." She felt that it was the best decision for her.

I read this email and sat in my chair and cried. How can someone so lightly throw away the gift of life? This mother was "proud" of the decision that her daughter had made. It somehow showed "strength." What?! Where is the strength in killing our children?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

It's about TIME

The theme today is TIME. I wanted to use a picture of the cool water clock at the Indianapolis Childrens Museum, but I didn't have a clear enough one. So I started thinking about ways to show the passage of time. I thought that this tombstone of one of our distant relatives shows the passage of time in many ways, including by the weathering of the stone.

Now I'm off to shop!


Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm taking a break after the first four hours of food prep at my mom's. This is one of my favorite days of the year. My mom and I--with some help from Bethany--cook all day. My step-dad passes in and out, getting in the way and messing with things. As the afternoon progresses everyone starts arriving with their contributions, including my step-sister Susan with her incredible Sugar Cream Pie.

The food will be out of this world, especially the famous stuffing, and we'll all ooh and ah as we eat it.
And if I'm lucky, my mom will send home some leftovers.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Pre-Advent Christmas Meme

Saw this on a homeschooling buddy's blog and couldn't resist even though it isn't even Advent yet.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Eggnog with Brandy and whipped cream

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? Mom wraps

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? We have white lights outside and colored lights inside.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Nope

5. When do you put up your decorations? Out door: after Thanksgiving Indoor: throughout the month Tree: As close to Christmas as possible, leaving it up through Epiphany.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? I think I would have to say my Grandma's noodles that no one else knew how to make. Every year I think I'll try to duplicate them.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: Going to church at 11:00 on Christmas Eve and the cold stillness afterward.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? In third grade a boy in my class told me, so I had to spy and see if he was right. :)

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Nope.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? Lights, ornaments, and curly ribbons. Our oranaments are a total mishmash.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love it! If it's gonna be cold we might as well have snow!

12. Can you ice skate? Not a chance.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? My guitar when I was 13.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Going to church on Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning with my family.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Cookies!!!

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Baking hundreds of Christmas cookies to share with everyone

17. What tops your tree? Angel

18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? I love buying presents for people.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Overall, probably Hark the Herald Angels Sing, just thinking about the words Of the Father's Love Begotten

20. Candy Canes - yuck or yummy? Yucky & sticky

I think there needs a number 21. Christmas Trees - real or fake? Absolutely real and when it’s possible, a family trip to the farm to chop it down fresh.

I totally agree!! We love going to chop down our tree!

I tag…Anyone who wants to do this…..please leave me a comment and let me know you played so I can check out your answers.

Here are the boys last year:

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Happy Birthday, Toddles!

A slightly-belated happy 40th birthday to my baby brother. This is him holding the gift that he got from his best friend. We hope he won't need these for a while.

Oooh, plush!

Today's Scavenger hunt theme is plush. This morning found me roaming around the house with the camera looking for "plush." Then I looked down at my own feet. Aha! The other shot is of the huntress. She's not as plush a the sweet kitty, but she's pretty plush!


Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

One Word

I saw this on Favorite Apron and couldn't resist.

1. Yourself: procrastinating
2. Your spouse: busy
3. Your hair: flat
4. Your mother: beautiful
5. Your father: dead
6. Your favorite item: books
7. Your dream last night: bizarre
8. Your favorite drink: cappucino
9. Your dream car: zippy
10. The room you are in: office
11. Your ex: none
12. Your fear: failure
13. What you want to be in 10 years? alive
14. Who you hung out with last night? Bethany
15. What you’re not? neat
16. Muffins: cranberry
17. One of your wish list items: vacation
18. Time: flying
19. The last thing you did: email
20. What you are wearing: flannel
21. Your favorite weather: Sunny
22. Your favorite book: Katherine
23. The last thing you ate: bar
24. Your life: zoo
25. Your mood: stressed
26. Your best friend: Colin
27. What are you thinking about right now? money
28. Your car: minivan
29. What are you doing at the moment? blogging
30. Your summer: crazy
31. Your relationship status: happy
32. What is on your TV? : news
33. What is the weather like? grey
34. When is the last time you laughed? five minutes ago

Library thing

I have a new obsession. I have discovered Library Thing. What is a bibliophile to do? The only possible answer is to start entering books. Wow.

So far I've just been grabbing a bunch from here and a bunch from there to enter. I'm going to have to organize this somehow. One thing I'm realizing is that I have stopped buying much fiction aside from classics. There are a couple of exceptions, but not many, and those tend to be multiples of certain authors.

This is fun. It has awakened my inner librarian. (Don't laugh, Lisa.)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Lutheran Survivor

For a bit of goofy fun check out Lutheran Survivor. Currently the competition is between Lutheran actors.

HT: Katie's Beer

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Doing good deeds?

My friend Susan has a great post on her blog about "Acts of Mercy." Be sure to read the comments. The Rebellious Pastor's Wife points out another aspect of the discussion, the real WHY of good works.

This all dovetails quite nicely with an article that is in the latest Issues, Etc. Journal taking on the increased focus in many evangelical circles on "Deeds, not creeds." Get your hands on a copy of it if you can. Rick Warren, purpose-driven guru is proposing a second Reformation, saying that the "first Reformation was about belief; this one is going to be about behaviour." Umm, wasn't the point of the Reformation that we can't be good enough, but that God's grace through the death and resurrection of Jesus saves us? It sounds more like an un-doing of the Reformation.

Does this mean we don't do good deeds, that we don't engage in acts of mercy? Of course not. As RPW points out we do them because of our faith. However, I have seen churches--in fact, been a member--where Susan's concerns are born out. Where the focus of the congregation is on "doing." Where the Sunday sermons are a weak law of exhortation to do good works but none of the strong killing law followed by the sweet gospel that we are blessed with in our congregation. The message of Jesus' death and resurrection for our salvation is overshadowed by raking the leaves, collecting the coats, feeding the free dinner, etc.

As Susan points out many of our acts of mercy are done in the course of our every day lives. The small acts of kindness or compassion that we do: taking dinner to a sick neighbor, driving an elderly person to church (or the doctor, or the polls), providing an extra pair of hands for the mom who is trying to wrestle a toddler and a stroller through a door (these women need help!), on and on. Organized efforts to do good aren't intrinsically bad, but the motives shouldn't be a bait-and-switch "get them in the door with food," and they shouldn't guilt people--especially moms--into neglecting home and family, as so often happens.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Having another look

I decided a few months back that I was going to re-visit some fiction that I read when I was in high school and hadn't re-read since. Last week I finally got around to the first of these books and I'm reading Vanity Fair. I did a term paper on Vanity Fair my junior year in high school and I've seen the movie with Reese Witherspoon, but much about the book seems unfamiliar.

There is a lot of depth that I missed as a 16 year old and the movie is made to make certain characters--especially Becky--more likeable than they really are. Next I want to move on to some books that I didn't like when I read them the first time and see if I get more out of them now.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Today's theme is growth

There were lots of pictures that I could have used today, but I decided to choose these two for two entirely different reasons. The first is my youngest son at his confirmation. This process was a time of great personal growth for him as he took responsibility for the learning that he needed to do as well as growth in knowledge and understanding of what he believes and why. He started to grow up.

The second picture is of one of the old buildings that my daughter and I love and the plants that are taking it over.


Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.
Photo Theme. Join the blogroll. Visit participants.

Friday, November 10, 2006

My new homeschool blog

A move of my homeschool blog has been in the planning stages for months. Tonight it is finally accomplished. I moved the good content from my old homeschooling blog and left the dregs behind. The new blog is here for those who are interested.

Lest my last post sounded too whiny

I have to make sure that anyone who is reading my blog knows that I am fully aware of, and thankful for, my many blessings. In the grand scheme of things cars that are lemons and houses that have one surprise flaw after another are small stuff.

I have four wonderful, healthy kids. I have a husband who is an excellent provider, a great father, and is smart, funny, loving and adorable. (Plus he just let me go away and scrapbook for a whole weekend!) I have a family that I wouldn't trade one member of, whether we're talking blood relative, in-law, or step.

I have incredible friends--even you democrats :)--and a church that feels like family where Word & Sacrament are faithfully and abundantly administered.

I know that I've got it very good.

All depends on our possessing
God's abundant grace and blessing,
Though all earthly wealth depart.
He who trusts with faith unshaken
In His God is not forsaken
And e'er keeps a dauntless heart.

He who hitherto hath fed me
And to many joys hath led me,
Is and ever shall be mine.
He who did so gently school me,
He who still doth guide and rule me,
Will remain my Help divine.

Many spend their lives in fretting
Over trifles and in getting
Things that have no solid ground.
I shall strive to win a treasure
That will bring me lasting pleasure
And that now is seldom found.

When with sorrow I am stricken,
Hope my heart anew will quicken,
All my longing shall be stilled.
To His loving-kindness tender
Soul and body I surrender;
For in Him alone I build.

Well He knows what best to grant me;
All the longing hopes that haunt me,
Joy and sorrow, have their day.
I shall doubt His wisdom never,--
As God wills, so be it ever,--
I to Him commit my way.

If on earth my days He lengthen,
He my weary soul will strengthen;
All my trust in Him I place.
Earthly wealth is not abiding,
Like a stream away is gliding;
Safe I anchor in His grace.


Hymn #425 from _The Lutheran Hymnal_
Text: Prov. 10:22
Author: unknown, c. 1673
Translated by: Catherine Winkworth, 1858, alt.
Titled: "Alles ist an Gottes Segen"
Composer: Johann B. Koenig, 1738
Tune: "Alles ist an Gottes Segen"

The real concrete woes of my life

You all remember how I was so excited about my new kitchen sink? Well, because the counter was badly cut out under the old sink, and the old sink was about 1/8" wider than standard, the new sink is too small by 1/16 inch on each side.

A sink that would work is $800.

We can probably get a new countertop for less than that, but I *hate* the thought of putting a new countertop into this kitchen. I'm afraid, though, that that's probably what is going to have to happen to get it ready to sell.

The thought wouldn't be quite so odious if I hadn't just sunk another $1100 into my car this week and if the property taxes weren't due Monday.

Goodbye Beggars

As I have feared for the last several days, Beggar's All is no more. I didn't know if they were somehow hijacked or chose to go. The latter is the case, and they will be missed.

There are several other blogs in my blogroll that have gone away, so I guess some clean up is in order.

UPDATE: Here's the the explanation for what happened to Beggar's All. This was posted on Lutherquest, so try not to stumble off the path.

HT: Beckfest

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I had a dream

I was just too despondent to post about the election yesterday. Rush really summed up a lot of what I've been thinking.

Then last night I had a dream. It had a horror movie feel: big old farmhouse, dark outside, some unnamed menace lurking just beyond the doors. Then we started finding the bodies. There were quite a few people in the house and one by one they were showing up dead. We all seemed to know who was responsible, but it hadn't been spoken yet in the dream.

As we all stood around trying to decide what to do and if there was any way we could get home to get our guns--Scott was the only person who had one--one of the women pulled a severed head out of her handbag, screamed, and said, "Who did this?!"

One of the men yelled, "Those d__ Democrats!" The lurking menace was revealed.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Happy Birthday Gussy!

Today is my baby's eleventh birthday. He has choir this morning and then after that I am taking him out for Indian food for lunch (his pick.)

Since he and I have birthdays very close together we will have a shared cake--Harvey Wallbanger or German Chocolate--in a couple of days when his daddy returns from a business trip. This weekend he gets to visit grandma for a few days and go birthday shopping, a nice little tradition that the two of them have developed.

I'm not sure yet what he's getting for his birthday. We've talked about a new bike when spring arrives. Those legs just keep growing!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day

I am thoroughly exhausted tonight, but in a good way.

It was a satisfactory day working at the polls. Everything went quite smoothly at my three precincts, although I was surprised at the turnout. It was not large.

For all of the angst the Indiana Dems have had over our new voter ID laws my heavily Democrat, lower-income, largely minority precincts--which also includes a large nursing home--had not one single problem wth it. They seem to see it the same way most of the people I know do: as a common sense way to help preserve the integrity of our elections.

One new element that made today even better is that my hubby served as one of my clerks.