Saturday, April 25, 2009

Love (and gov't recognition) Makes it Real?

I saw on a tweet yesterday that there is someone who is pushing for tax credits for pet owners. Now, I'm not talking about what they are doing in California, by possibly allowing someone to deduct their adoption fees. The argument is that to many people, pets are their children. Vet bills are expensive, costs of maintaining the pets are expensive. So there should be a deduction.

Every Christmas, Target goes with a theme for their advertisements. Several years ago, I remember it was the Velveteen Rabbit with Amy Grant singing "Love Makes You Real." Somewhere, I think we got confused on all that.

I love animals. Really, I do. But they're not human. Children are human. Maybe because I have both, I know the difference. I know when I was pregnant with my firstborn, my biggest fear is that he'd be allergic to the animals...what would I do then???? But it was clear to me what I would do, and I would've found homes for those animals or put them in a shelter -- preferably a no kill one, but if I had to, the right is there.

The government doesn't have an interest in making sure you take care of your pet...not beyond nuisance level. Your pet is not going to need an education, grow up, and be able to serve in the military or as a concerned citizen. That is what the tax deduction for children is about. There was a time before the Pill and Global Warming that people thought it was good for our future to have children, and several of them. They not only brought us joy and heartache, but they also helped out the family, took care of each other, and grew up to repeat the cycle.

But to say basically that the government should give you a tax deduction because you chose to bring an animal into your home, but its expensive -- that a deduction is in order because you wanted something to that's just silly. But silliness abounds.

Everyone wants to have what they want and they want it to be okay...and to make it really okay, it has to be government sanctioned. Men who want to cut off their genitals and pump themselves with hormones (or women who want to do the same) want the government to give them a new identity saying that they are a woman, when they are not. Down to their DNA, they are men -- men who for some reason hate their bodies. But instead of finding out why, we simply condone it, call "Joe" "Jo" and ignore it.

People who find themselves having feelings for someone of the same sex want to have their relationship put on an equal status with marriage, but the reality is, its not. Even where the government recognizes it, its not. Every culture on this earth recognizes that marriage is between a man and a woman. Many don't think that marriage is about love at all, but about survival, economic benefit, and a safe place for the woman and children. But we've lost all concept of that since birth control is a reality and now children have become not much more than pets, in some cases, instead of a valuable addition to the survival of the family.

Marriage is not about two people coming together just because they have emotions for each other. We have a huge divorce rate because people think that. The vows made in the marriage ceremony really matter - till death do we part, because the need to remain together even if things sucked was much more important when a marriage was two people with different skills coming together to raise a family instead of two workers coming together to share a bed and a place to live while those feelings last.

And the survival of the family and a safe place to raise future citizens is in the interest of the government (however, I'm much more in favor of a flat tax with no tax deduction for kids). Recognizing another class of relationships that will clog up our courts with divorce cases is not in its best interest.

There is more than being a family than just choosing to love somebody. Even if that love is not there, the existence of the family is still a reality, no matter how broken it is. If that bond is only based on emotions, then it is very fragile indeed. And our divorce rates and the amount of animal shelters we have show this.

But the point is, the government can give a tax deduction for pets and mandate how you treat them, and give them alleged rights, but it doesn't change the fact that animals are not children, no matter how much you love them. Marriage IS between a man and a woman, even if the government says differently, because marriage is not about just wanting to be together. Just like they can call Stan "Loretta" and fight for his right to have a baby...he still can't. And occasionally it would be nice to have some sanity on this.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Brussels Sprouts revisited

To those of you who came here looking for the caramelized Brussels Sprouts that Indiana Jane blogged about, here they are... (Hi Debbie!)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

One of those "Not Quite Right" Moments

As I was driving my six year old to her P.E. class, I was kind of daydreaming and not paying attention to the radio. About halfway through a song, my little angel said "I really like this song...its got a good beat and its fun to sing."

The lyrics:

I'm a joker
I'm a smoker
I'm a midnight toker
I get my lovin' on the run.....

At which point I supressed my urge to change the channel and reminded myself....its over her head. LOL. I hope she wasn't singing it at P.E. class.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sermon Link

For those of you who were asking about hearing my husband's Easter 2 sermon, here ya go . If you just click on the button, it asks to download. if you just put the cursor over it, a bubble pops up with a play button. Your choice. :-)

Enjoy. Here also the sermon he preached at the seminary last Fall on the Unforgiving Servant. I’ve been meaning to find a way to post it for a long time. Yea WordPress! It’s a .wav file though and my converter couldn’t seem to read it, so if you’d like to listen, you’ll have to download it. But it is beautiful.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Right Place and the Right Time

Like many Lutheran pastors, my husband preached on Jesus appearing to the disciples in the upper room, and probably like most, he took part of that sermon to talk about Thomas's doubts. He took a slightly different approach to it, though, from what I've heard before.

Looking at the week between Jesus's appearances to the disciples. He talked about how Thomas must have had an incredibly crummy week living there with them after that. He probably wanted to believe them, but he just couldn't, and he was probably approached by all the other guys over and over again to try to get him to believe, to rejoice like they were, while he was grieving and in disbelief.

And Thomas's struggle isn't foreign to any of us. We all have struggled with our pain, our doubts, our misery; but one of the truly amazing thing was is that Thomas was still there in that room with all of them the next week when Jesus reappeared. He didn't leave. Maybe he was simply afraid of being recognized or arrested and had no where else to go, and these were his friends, his companions, all in the same boat together. For one reason or another, he was still there, in the midst of those with stronger faith than he. And because he was there, he was there to hear Christ's word's of comfort to him, he was there to feel the nail holes, the scar where the spear had pierced his side, and to embrace him and proclaim "My Lord and my God."

Often when people despair or doubt, they disappear from God's house. They stay home or go do something that helps them feel better. When they doubt God, they go away, so they are not even there to hear the words that would bring them comfort, the message of the Gospel that the Holy Spirit wants them to hear. These people, our neighbors and friends need our labored prayers, our compassion, and our encouragement. They need the same gentleness that Jesus showed Thomas.

And the Holy Spirit took all of this and smacked me in the head with the Gospel, and I literally wept at the beauty of it.

You see, I've always hated being a pastor's wife - for almost twelve years now, fifteen if you count seminary. I definitely don't fit the expectations that other people have for me, and I'm really not very good at saying "to heck with them." I've responded to these expectations with alternating reactions..from a shrug of the shoulders to tears to marked defiance. Usually a combination of them all.

I've come to church already exhausted from the anticipation of another day of pacing the narthex with my babies or keeping them entertained and quiet...or engaging in the battle of the wills that is toddlerhood...all alone. I've dealt with people telling the elders when they've had a problem with something I've written here, but never me. I've had people interpret something my son has said to be my own opinion, and I could go on and on....

But when I actually list the reasons why I don't like it, they never seem to have any substance to them, which frustrates me more, because they make my pain seem silly. I certainly know pastors' wives who have had it far worse than me. I have been blessed with the company of so many incredible Christians, a good house, a fairly comfortable living, an environment that has been a blessing to my family, and the knowledge that my husband takes joy in his calling--- except for the fact that he knows I struggle with it. I've spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out why God has put me here , when I clearly don't have what it takes. And as far as my husband goes, I've begged, threatened, and coerced -- and out of love for me, he probably would do something else if I pushed hard enough, but I also cannot deny that whatever I may think of my place in all of this, God has clearly made him to be a pastor. I can't see him doing anything else -- and I love him. So after my occasional tantrums, I back off and let the peace restore itself.

There are worse things I could tell you about. I can tell you about my crisis of faith that started before we were married and lasted through the first long five years, where I couldn't deny God's existence, but found myself denying His love. I can tell you about Saturday night blasphemies that tore at my husband's heart, only to find him on Sunday preaching to me, communing me...because somehow, he saw the struggle that was still there within me. I can also recount to you about smiling through his ordination even though I'd just found out I had an ectopic pregnancy only a few hours earlier. Incidences of gossip, lies, judgments, assumptions, and so many other things that are sometimes the life of the pastor's family and his flock at times, because Satan does attack -- and they did serve to tear down my faith further and left me lashing out at no one in pain and anger, so Jeff bore the brunt of them. Memories that my sweet husband says he doesn't remember...but despite belief in God's forgiveness and his, are still all too lucid to me.

The Holy Spirit took the death of our son, Noah to restore my faith. Somehow, instead of seeing his stillbirth as further proof that God was unloving, I desperately clung to the hope that God loved my son and was caring for him when I couldn't. I needed the gospel. I heard it through a woman I had never met telling me online "May the peace that passes all understanding keep you in Christ Jesus." Despite hearing those exact words from my husband's mouth every week at the end of his sermon, I had never contemplated in my heart what they meant. And these words that came from her keyboard and his lips did indeed bring peace.

Despite many years, a stronger faith, and a more peaceful heart, I still find this a role that fits me about as well as a size four bikini and it leaves me feeling just as exposed. I often praise God that he has made me a Christian, for making me Jeff's wife, but never for sticking me in the role of pastor's wife.

But today I realized something that was mindblowing for me. It all of a sudden became clear that while my husband was talking about how we all can relate to Thomas, that I really have been Thomas, maybe worse than Thomas. I all of a sudden realized that God didn't make me a pastor's wife because I am somehow stronger, or at least supposed to be stronger; but exactly the opposite. He made me a pastor's wife because I am weak, terribly weak, and He put me here to protect me, to shelter me...from myself.

The bald reality is that if I hadn't been a pastor's wife, if my husband hadn't married me or had given into my pleas, threats, etc. to find something else to do with his life, I would not have been sitting in the pew through those painful years of agony and doubt. I would've used Sundays to sleep in and ignore the fact that God's Word even existed. I would've tried to prove that God was not loving by not being there to hear His love...probably not even to experience it through the incredible love that my husband showed through all of that. I would've proudly, scornfully walked away.

Even though I didn't want to be there hearing the gospel, I was. And when I needed to hear it, God had put me in a situation where at least I was duty-bound to be there - as terribly angry and resentful as I was. Otherwise, I'm scared to think of what I would be right now. God, in His infinite wisdom knew this and held on to me through even this aspect of my existence that I at best tolerate, and at worst -- disdain - and am constantly repenting.

I cannot even begin to describe the awe I feel at this.

So for the first time in my life, I say thank you, God. Thank you for making me a pastor's wife.

--Psalm 139.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A Little Truth

This was a good article on the reality of life when a woman has a baby with a man that refuses to marry her....

Monday, April 06, 2009

Baseball's Here!!!

Baseball season is here again, and I must admit, after five years here in Indiana, I am still not adjusted to the idea of being horribly cold on the first day. And looking at snow on the ground (though just in patches) is just plain wrong.

But still, all is once again right with the world. My Boys in Blue are ready to play, and I'm excited about the team. I am thrilled with the signings and I love our young guys....and Maggie and I managed to once again obtain Russell Martin for our fantasy team. What more could I want?

Woo Hoo! Go Dodgers!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Representative Mark Souder sent me this email today:

Dear Mrs. Horn:

I want to hear from you on the government's response to the economic crisis. Please click here share with me your story of the economic crisis. Specifically, how has the government's response in the stimulus and President Obama's budget affected you? Be sure to title your email, "My Story" so that we can quickly process your comments in our system.

The economic recession is hitting our entire country hard, but it has been especially challenging here in northeast Indiana. The government must respond, but it must do so wisely. I would like to know how tax increases would affect your ability to pay your health care premiums, send your children to college, start a small business, or otherwise achieve your American Dream.

Your perspective and experiences are very important to me and will help me better understand the needs of Hoosiers in our area.

Here is my response:

Dear Congressman Souder:

You asked for the stories of people in Northeast Indiana, and how they have been effected by the recession, the bailouts, and the President's budget.

My family is currently secure, but we have friends who have lost their jobs or who fear that they will lose their jobs because they work for companies that supply the automotive Big Three.
They are struggling on unemployment, they can't afford their COBRAs and so their children are on Hoosier Healthwise, but they can't take any kind of job that would help ease the strain unless it offers benefits, or their kids have no healthcare. This is a story I hear repeatedly from friends, people at my church, and people in my community.

Strangely enough, everyone that I have talked to in this situation is also against the bailouts of the automotive industry. They are also against universal, government run healthcare, because they see much more clearly than the people in Washington that it is the government's job to protect our freedoms, not provide daily security. Americans have faced very difficult times before, but there is tyranny in "being too big to fail."

Now, we'll talk about me. How have the bailout packages, the ecomomic stimulus package, and the new budget effected me? I'm afraid and I'm angry.

I grew up being with the value that we obey the rule of law, not men, and the most important law of the land is the Constitution of the United States. It is the greatest document written by man that was not inspired by God. I elect my representatives not to necessarily agree with me on every issue, but to uphold that Constitution. Yet I am afraid that it doesn't seem like these Representatives have read it, much less uphold it and use it as a rule to limit their own authority and responsibility for that matter.

As an American, I am being ruled by men who look to the next election, who are afraid of their constituents, and who are ruling by their emotion rather than law. The Constitution did not give the authority for either bailout to happen, for the programs in that stimulus package, and does not give authority for a good portion of our President's new budget.

People could lose jobs. People could struggle. The economic structure of the entire world could be at stake. I agree, it is a very scary time. But the Constitution does not lay the responsibility for this at your feet. The fact of the matter is that the only responsibility that government had was to regulate the banking and automotive industry to keep them from being too big, to keep them from making fraudulent investments that created this mess. In short, to uphold laws that were ALREADY on the books.

And it is not government's job to provide healthcare. God help us that the men who have created this mess manage our healthcare system. We may need something that is not tied to our employment, but the answer is not the government. The only role that I see that government should have in this is to keept he insurance companies from colluding to rip off their customers. Again, laws that are already on the books.

It also is not the government's job to inspire populist rage or respond to it. It is not the government's job to fire CEOs -- that is the investors' job, and it certainly is not the government's job to coerce a company into merging with a foreign company. It is not their job to prevent them from filing bankruptcy which would have allowed reorganization and possibly recovery.

It is also not your job to vote on bills that change the whole nature of the role of the government without reading it.

I suggest that you, Representative Souder, start a reading group with your fellow representatives -- and start with that grand old document that you swore to uphold. I wish you had reviewed it and your oath to uphold it before you voted for both of those bailout packages. In the end, your vote probably didn't matter, except to how you chose to represent those constituents back home, since Republicans have been trying to talk out of both sides of their mouths for so long and have lost so many seats because of it...since they forgot their party platform as well as the Constitution.

This is how it has effected me. My friends still don't have their jobs back, but I am concerned that my freedoms, my rights, and my children's rights and freedoms are in jeopardy.
I thank you for your strong defense of Life, but if another Republican candidate comes against you in the primary with a strong prolife position as well, I am voting with the idea that while term limits might not be law, they are indeed good. These packages have made me do a lot of thinking, contemplating, and reading on issues that I value, but might have taken for granted previously.

As it was said in To Kill a Mockingbird, "I did not love reading until I was going to lose it. One does not love breathing." I didn't value my freedom enough until it is dying.


If Mark Souder is your Congressman, the link for submitting your story is here: Congressman Souder's contact page. If it isn't please Google your congressman and submit your story as well.