Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Completely Dangerous

Okay, I can just see it. Guy takes his girlfriend out for a cheap meal before the hockey game, hands her a packet of hot sauce, and WHAM, finds he's just proposed. A $3.00 burrito just became 2 months salary (that's the estimated cost of an engagement ring, right? who thought that up anyway?) (Dumber proposals have happened)

Making it even harder, how does he explain that he doesn't want to marry her, even though he's inferring that she's "hot?"
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Good Ol' INFP

Still me....

INFP - "Questor". High capacity for caring. Emotional face to the world. High sense of honor derived from internal values. 4.4% of total population.
Free Jung Personality Test (similar to Myers-Briggs/MBTI)

I love personality tests, but the Myers-Briggs has always rang the most true to me. They were always my favorite classes in college and grad school. I don't talk about it much, but when I grow up someday, I want to be a psychologist.

The first time I heard of this one was when my brother was telling me about it. He'd taken it at work, and when telling me about it, he was expounding why his type, ESTJ, was clearly the best. Of course, when I took it, I ended up being everything he disdained ..... I'm kind of proud of that.

I am however, just about convinced that most confessional Lutherans are ISTJs. Maybe that would make an interesting masters thesis.....

The Blue Ribbon Task Force Proposal

The District Conventions are starting, and that creates a good opportunity to reallly dig in and try to understand the Blue Ribbon Task Force Proposal for restructuring the Synod, right? After all, if we are going to completely restructure, we should fully understand it and be able to discuss it, right?

Scott Diekmann at Stand Firm has the testimonies of pastors who have just attended the North Dakota District Convention...that this is not the case. Please give this a read. It's going to be a long couple of years before this reaches the congregations, and so we all need to be up on it.

I also recommend reading the Blue Ribbon Task Force proposal and Pr. Matt Harrison's statement that is linked at the top right of my blog. It's a lot of reading, but VERY insightful. Pr. Harrison will be running for the office of president. I think he is the best hope we confessionals have had since Al Barry. God bless him, and I pray we all unite behind him.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Interesting Post

Fearsome Comrade over at "Cruising Down The Coast of the High Barbaree" presents some really interesting and impressive arguments on homosexual rights.

Getting to Know You

I got this from By Sun and Candlelight. I took out the ones that didn't apply, because it originally went around by email.

1. What is your occupation right now? Homeschooler/Homemaker. (the current research project I was working on is done..woohoo)
2. What color are your socks right now? I'm currently not wearing socks, or shoes for that matter.
3. What are you listening to right now. The sound of my computer fan and I can occasionally hear my husband typing in the next room.
4. What is the last thing you ate? A baked potato
5. Can you drive a stick shift? Yes I can, in fact, I prefer stick shift.
6. Last person you spoke to on the phone? My husband called me from Wal-Mart
7. Do you like the person who sent this to you? I copied it off of a different blog
8. How old are you today? 37
9. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV? Baseball. Can't wait for things to start up again
10. What is your favorite drink? Non-alcoholic: iced tea. Alcoholic: Margaritas or Amaretto sours
11. Have you ever dyed your hair? yep
12. Favorite food? Sushi...nothing like a good golden roll.
13. What is the last movie you watched? Jeff and I watched a bit of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" while we were waiting for the kids to go to bed. The last whole one was probably "Casablanca" a few weeks ago.
14. Favorite day of the year? Easter
15. How do you vent anger? I storm and occasionally yell. I don't insult though. I have to get the physical energy out before I can really work through the problem.
16. What was your favorite toy as a child? My stuffed dog Chocolate. I still have him, though he no longer has a nose, because that was a convenient place to grab on.
17. What is your favorite season? Spring.
18. Cherries or Blueberries? Blueberries. Neither really top my list
19. Living arrangements? Parsonage -- 3 bedroom ranch house with full basement on the church property.
23. When was the last time you cried? Last week..
24. What is on the floor of your closet? My husband's shoes. Probably some clothes that have fallen off hangers.
26. What did you do last night? Went to the Higher Things Reception and saw old friends and had a beer.
27. What are you most afraid of? Parties. I'm practically phobic if I don't REALLY know some people there.
28. Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburgers? Plain. Though my husband adds cinnamon or curry to the meat, and they are EXCELLENT
29. Favorite dog breed? My best dog ever was a border collie, but I'm rather fond of my Catahoula Leopard Dog.
30. Favorite day of the week? Friday. Jeff is off and we get to hang out. We don't do school lessons on Friday.
31. How many states have you lived in? Nevada, California, Utah, Arizona, and Indiana -- so five.
32. Diamonds or pearls? Pearls. My mother gave me her pearls when I got married.
33. What is your favorite flower? Plumeria or Beauganvilla.
34. Favorite Hobby? Reading, but blogging is a close 2nd.
35. Have you ever tried singing Karaoke? Nope

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Walking Together

A few days ago, I attended a conference at Redeemer in Fort Wayne. For those of you who don't know of it, Redeemer has the reputation of being one of the most "high liturgical" churches in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Some aspects of the level of ceremony would throw your average liturgical Lutheran into a tailspin. I love it, but know that this is Redeemer. It would somehow not fit in my congregation and probably not yours, either. But Redeemer is there, letting all of us know that yes, this is beautifully Lutheranism as well.

At some point in the service, sitting in the chapel, I looked around. Most of the people there were pastors from various congregations. It was so crowded (close to 50) that we were fitting four of us on a corner pew that was probably meant to seat 2 comfortably (and I am more woman than many) and we were sitting 4, including my daughter on my lap. Because of this, Chris and I didn't even bother opening our hymnal for the liturgy and I was wonderfully surprised that my six year old didn't seem to have much problem either. I love reciting the liturgy from memory...I flub a word here or there occasionally, but it allows me to concentrate on what I am saying. When I am reading off of a page, it can go through my eyes and to my lips without my really ever thinking about what I am saying.

Anyway, staring at the hymnal, I began thinking. I am in a room with people representing at least twelve Lutheran congregations. We don't all use the same hymnal, and as much as I believe the new hymnal is wonderful, the fact that we aren't all looking at a burgundy cover every Sunday isn't THAT important. For the most part, the liturgy is the same, with the exception of some thees and thous. The reality of how unified we are in practice became very powerful, despite the fact that some were genuflecting or other observations you wouldn't find in every Lutheran congregation. I could be in that service and know completely what is going on and fully respond because we were all saying the same words that I say in my own congregation, in every congregation I have ever been a member of. There was no feeling completely out of my element while I figured out what I was supposed to do.

Going back a year to when my husband and I attended an installation of a friend down south, where they use blended worship, it was COMPLETELY different. There was no way I could've sat there and appreciated all of this because I was too busy scrutinizing the changeable music and the confession of faith that applied to THIS week in order to even deduce that we were of a common faith, even though there was the LCMS symbol on the sign outside.

Thinking about that grieved me in realizing how many people aren't aware of how precious a gift our liturgy is. It feeds us with God's Word, it focuses us on Word and Sacrament, and it unites us all in common practice not only in location, but in time since the liturgy is historic and has come to us from the Early Church. No wonder Satan works so hard to convince us to be bored with it or to disdain it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Patience Is a Virtue...Yeah, Yeah, I Know.

A pet peeve among homeschoolers is when they hear "I thought about homeschooling, but I just don't have the patience." As if to imply we must be sainted (or out of our minds). If anything, homeschool shows us how NOT sainted we are. And if I had a dollar for every time I've heard this, I'd be well on my way to compensating for that second income we don't have because I'm homeschooling. Homeschoolers aren't sainted...there is NOTHING special about us, really, other than a vague hope that our massive faults and little foibles will do less damage to our kids than whichever fault in the educational system has managed to convice us that our kids are better off at home.

Sometimes what cracks me up about this is that I think I hear this from school teachers who spend their days teaching 35 kids at a time that belong to other people, but know enough about themselves to realize that they would lose their patience with their own kids. I respect that honesty. We are more emotionally invested in our kids...and our kids know right where our buttons are as well.

But here's the thing. Homeschooling moms are not professional teachers. We don't need to be. When you are dealing with just a few kids, a few kids that you know intimately, it is easy to figure out what they know, what they don't, and most of the time, it is easy to figure out the best way they will learn it (sometimes it is a challenge). Teaching 35 kids at a time requires a completely different set of skills than teaching a couple of kids, especially your own kids.

And in relation to that...since I am not a professional teacher, I am not paid to teach other people's children according to a set guideline of behaviors and ethics. I am a mom. And moms get a lot more leeway than teachers because our kids know we love them. We are allowed to have bad days, teachers aren't (though they do....they even have bad YEARS...and that could be the year your kid was in their class. I'm related to several teachers that will vouch for this...but probably won't talk about it to the parents of their charges). We are allowed to decide to do something else entirely when we don't have the patience to tackle long division that day for the fifth time (teachers aren't. And they also don't have the luxury to stay there until the students all get it either, I do...and I have the liberty to decide now may not be the right time to learn it, and come back to it in a month or a year). And we are allowed to get angry and lose our tempers, because on the other side of that, we have the fact that our kids know that we love them. In fact, we often lose our tempers with them BECAUSE we love them.

In fact, I'd say I was a heck of a lot more patient when my kids were younger. I honestly would say that I don't have enough patience to do this either. My kids probably have more patience with me a lot of the time than I do with them. I'd be oblivious to half the sinner that I am if I could send my kids away for half the day and I would have many more delusions about my competency and capabilities. Homeschooling is definitely humbling. But love is what is really required. And I got that.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Obama's Heritage

Several years ago, in my first class in my master's program, one of the assigned readings was a novel that I have since blacked out because it was so unpleasant to read (and I know I didn't bother keeping it, so sorry, no title). It was a stream of consciousness book about a Jewish guy who was undergoing psychoanalysis. A very depressing, self-deprecating character.

But in the book, there is one part where he describes his journey to Israel where he has an affair with a beautiful Israeli woman who is serving her time in the military there (and for one reason or another, she kind of reminded me of the woman in Orwell's 1984). It doesn't take long until she can't stand him, either. She tells him that he has the mentality of ghetto Jews. Jews who just surrendered to their fate. She is a strong, beautiful Jew and the complete opposite of him.

His attitude toward life was no different really than his parents, and his parents had come over from Eastern European ghettos in "the old country," and they settled in a beat up apartment in a beat up Jewish neighborhood in New York, and raised him there. He realized powerlessly to some extent, that his heritage had made him what he was, and hers was completely different. Hers was of ancestors that fought to have a homeland and continued to fight for that homeland.

This book, and particularly this difference between the main character and the Israeli woman comes to mind whenever I think of Barack Obama lately.

Now, justifiably, there is a lot of attention to the fact that Obama is the first black President of the United States. However much I disagree with his politics and worldview, this is truly a historic event. But in reality, he is very different. He is bi-racial for one, but that is not what I mean. Most bi-racial children in this country are treated as if they are Black, almost never treated as if they are white, and they often live the lives of Blacks, not Whites.

But Obama's heritage is different than most African Americans. Obama's father was Kenyan. Obama does not look back on his family tree and see slaves. He was raised by his white mother, who has a doctorate in anthropology, has traveled the world and taken him with her; and also by his grandparents in Hawaii. Even the time he mentions that his mother took welfare had to do with her earning an advanced degree....not a life that is devoid of education, hope, or lack of choice.

We'd like to think that this doesn't matter. But it does matter to most people who their ancestors were, where they came from, how they got to America.

When I hear Obama talk, it is not the talk of biting injustice and victimhood that you hear from Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. It is not even the rallying cry of Martin Luther King, despite his being proclaimed the culmination of MLK's dream. When he mentions poverty or struggle, it is generally not anything detailed at all.

I wonder how much his difference in heritage has shaped the man who has managed to become the first Black President of our country. I wonder if that is at least part of the difference.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Baseball Imitating Life....In the Middle Ages

My husband is a fan of Ebbets Field Flannels and loves the look of traditional baseball jerseys, and it is just fun to look at the different uniforms and muse over the names of Negro League and minor league teams long gone (and some still around).

Looking through their website tonight, we found a cap for one team that was a pretty obscure historical reference, the type you rarely find in baseball...especially minor league baseball

The York White Roses.

Clever, and I hardly would've expected a minor league baseball reference to the famed War of the Roses that tore Britain apart for so long...IN THE 15th CENTURY. After all, the stereotype is that most of the fans and definitely the players back then could barely read. To see a reference in baseball to the thirty-four year battle for the throne that waged between the House of York and the House of Lancaster...Wow. That was unexpected to say the least.

But what struck me as completely ironic was the blip in the section on the history of the team:

Managed by Rudy Hulswitt, York finished in 7th place, 17 1/2 games behind the pennant winner. The franchise MOVED TO LANCASTER!! in 1941, but the move didn't help, as the franchise finished dead last, 39 games out.

It however, doesn't say whether or not the franchise was renamed to the Red Roses when they moved.

And yes, I am a complete geek. I know it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

How I'm Feeling Today

Mitchell and Webb, my favorite comedy duo, have a skit that shows pretty much exactly how I am feeling today. Oh yeah, PG13 for language and situation.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Pastor's Heart

Pastor Rick Stuckwisch has an excellent post talking about how hard it is when the people that he pastors make assumptions about him and fail to do the Christian thing, to talk with him about things that are bothering them that he might or might not have done.

As a pastor's wife, I've experienced that, but as much as that bothers me, I can vouch for the fact that it hurts more to see when it happens to my husband, knowing how much he really cares for his flock, how much he wants peace and to help, and prays daily for the welfare of his flock. What hurts the most is when a person or a family leaves in such a way that he has no idea why, and treats the relationship that they have like it is nothing. - when he has baptized and catechized their children, held their hands and prayed with them through crisis or even death.

It isn't pleasant to go to someone and say "what you did/said offended me," or "I don't like this." Christ makes it clear that we are supposed to do this -- we are to go to the person with whom we have a problem. We're not supposed to talk to others about it. That only hurts the person more, and also may bring the other person (people) into your problem. If you are complaining to another person - not with the one you have the problem, its gossip, and it is hurtful. You have no idea how much.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Chicken and Rice Soup with Coconut Milk

3 stalks of celery
3 carrots, peeled
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic

Heat the oil in the bottom of a soup pot. Add celery, carrots and garlic. Add a pinch of salt. Cook over low heat and allow to sweat for about 5 minutes. (for a nice touch, add some ginger)

2 quarts chicken stock
cooked chicken
2 1/2 cups of rice (Any kind will do, but I like basmati, if you like it thinner, add less rice)
bay leaf, thyme, basil, tarragon, or whatever ya like..
can of coconut milk

add stock, chicken, rice, and herbs and bring to a boil and cook until rice is done. Then add the coconut milk. The more you add, the creamier it will be.

Remember to remove the bay leaf,though :)

Chicken Stock

One of the three most touching things that my husband says about me is that I make incredible soup. (other two: I DON'T throw like a girl, and I have beautiful eyes). That may not seem like a big deal, but there is a history there.

When Jeff and I first got married, I ordered this cookbook from Healthy Choice where you get a new package of recipes every month and it comes in a huge notebook. I quickly started in on the soups. But every single one of them was bland and he began to dread my soups, and I began to dread making them. Well, all except the black bean chili. And of course, that's the one that gets lost.

Anyway, the reason they all were so bland? They were all low sodium. Sodium is good for you, and there is a significant amount of evidence out there that cutting back on sodium is not, even if you have high blood pressure or conditions like pre-eclampsia. Your body needs that salt to absorb water into your blood stream and to convey nutrients into your cells. So don't dread putting more salt in your soup, and even more than seems like should be good. The way it dilutes, it really isn't a serious issue. a few years ago when we discovered the Food Network, one of the advantages was I learned how to make good soup. And good soup starts with good stock. And it is very hard to make a rich flavorful stock without sodium. Not Morton's salt, but usually something with less of a metallic taste, like kosher salt or sea salt. Much better.

Stock is really healthy, as well, because it gets most of its nutrients from the bones -- lots of collagen and other stuff in the marrow.

The thing I really like about stock is that you can do it with leftovers. I will often roast two chickens, serve one to the family, and save the meat off of the other...then use the carcass of one (or both) and put them in my big 6 qt stock pot with 3 carrots, 3 celery sticks, 2 onions sliced in half -with skin, and cold water. It's important that it is cold.

Then I add some dried herbs like basil, thyme, or oregano. And then I also throw in two bay leaves and some salt (a couple of good pinches, maybe 1/2 a tsp.). I put the lid on, put the stove on low, and let it go overnight. Then in the morning I strain it through a fine colander and refrigerate or freeze the stock or use it immediately.

I'm trying to get in the habit of doing this every Sunday so I have stock for the next week. Soup is great for lunches this time of year, and chicken and rice soup, chicken and noodle, butternut squash, and so many others need this to start. I also like to poach fish in stock. (Glenda has two excellent recipes here and here).

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Blessed Epiphany to You All

Hey, Happy Epiphany everybody!!!

In other news:

Isn't it always the case that when you make a New Years resolution or change, that things you never wanted to do (or rarely wanted to do) that completely conflict with your original desire step in to make it THAT much harder.

Last year, I gave up soda. That was a big deal, because it was making me feel awful, and growing up, we drank Pepsi like we should've been drinking water. When I was thirsty, I craved bubbles. But we're at a year plus now, and I feel so much better.

But, given my PCOS and weight issues, I wanted to get a couple of other personal demons out of the diet, so this year, it is wheat and sugar. Maybe not forever on the wheat, but I want to give my body a good long break. That should help my insulin situation considerably (and I've already lost 3 lbs.). But my MIL got me this great cookbook that I've wanted for a long time, Jamie at Home (Jamie Oliver - the Naked Chef guy), and in it, is the most amazing pie. So today, being Epiphany, all bets are off, and I made the pie. I have never been able to master pie crust, but I think I have succeeded. Now I want to try the savory and make a chicken pot pie. But it will have to wait. And the artisanry of it always pushes me toward bread....waaaah.

I love the look of the cinnamon and raw sugar on the crust....mmmm