Saturday, December 25, 2010


Over all, this has been a really nice Christmas. It seems like the whole season lacked some of the rush that is normally there, probably because I wasn't working. Shopping was tremendously uncomplicated, and it left everything much more open to enjoy the progress of Advent toward Christ's birth, and also enjoying my family through the month.

The Christmas Eve service was wonderful, followed by our tradition of eating late (some Christmas Eve's later than others. This was a really late one). I found out that this is actually a tradition in some cultures. A friend on Facebook mentioned that they were having dinner at the stroke of midnight, and called it Noche Buena. Other friends mentioned that their French-Canadian relatives did the same thing and called it Reveillon. Since it was so late, we sent the kids to bed and decorated our tree today after presents (had to get those packages out of the way).

After church today, we had some eggs and then opened presents. I'm going to enjoy mine. The kids got me a mandoline, which I have wanted for years. Jeff had me pick out a new food processor. My little Braun is sixteen years old, and was a nice size for the two of us, but I need more sophistication for the way I cook now. We spent the day enjoying each other and learning how to use the new Wii Fit that we got as our family gift. That's been a lot of fun. It was an amazing family day. Have I mentioned that I have great kids?

Dinner was roasted cauliflower-curry soup, broiled salmon with hollandaise sauce, asparagus, pumpkin pie with an almond meal crust, and maple-coconut milk ice cream.

Monday, December 20, 2010


The Puppini Sisters appearing at an open air c...Image via WikipediaJeff and I were in Chipotle tonight, and heard an amazing remake of "Heart of Glass" (originally by Blondie. 1940's - Andrew's Sisters Style. Found it tonight -- It's the Puppini Sisters. Have a listen.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

What God Has Joined Together

I was reading a story today that was commenting on how marriage is dying as an institution in our society. The story talked about cohabitation and homosexuality, socioeconomic differences, etc. It also pointed out that among Christians, the divorce rate is just as high as among non-Christians, and we as Christians have not held up our end in promoting marriage as a good place to be.

So many times, when I hear Christians talk about marriage, the emphasis put on the promises that we make to each other "For better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health."

When a couple comes to the altar and says those vows to each other, usually the joy of the day and being in love mask the depth of what those vows mean. Everything is simply beautiful and dreamy. We're promising our lives, our love to each other forever. Sigh...The bride and groom sign the book after their ...Image via Wikipedia.

But it is not those promises that join us together. It is God.

When the couple later hits difficult times, and Satan, the World, and our sinful flesh attack , often they are reminded of those promises that they made. And at that time, those promises weigh heavy -- Those vows come back and scream "you haven't done this ....your spouse certainly hasn't done this." "I didn't mean this." "This is going to go on for the rest of my life." "I have NO idea how to fix this. It can't be fixed." And the final conclusion -- "I can't save this. I made a mistake. Fixing this means stopping it."

And often couples get battered over the head and heart by those promises they made that were really too big for them, if keeping them relied solely on them. As Christians, we are not alone in the sustaining of our marriage. The Lord who created marriage is there.

It strikes me that in our baptismal and confirmation rites, when we make promises regarding steadfastness, our oath is "I do, by the grace of God." In the wedding rite, instead of an "I do" or an "I will" the vow really should be "I do, by the grace of God."

Because the strength of the Christian marriage is not the husband's strength or the wife's strength. It is the strength of God. The strength of the very God who sent His Son to die on the cross and rise again. And after the promises that the bride and the groom make to each other, we hear God's promise to us.

"What God has joined together..."

I'm convinced where we are falling down with marriage is that we are marriage pietists. In almost every other aspect of life, when we Lutherans talk about sanctification, we talk about how the Holy Spirit sustains, strengthens, guides us through all things. In teaching and counseling on marriage, the emphasis still tends to be on the promise WE make. Not the promise God makes.

In those words "What God has joined together," He has promised to bless the union that takes place. He promises to sustain it. He promises to guide it and strengthen it. And He promises that He is the one supporting it when it seems like there is absolutely no way that it can last one more day. That marriage didn't rely on the judgment or the feelings that were there when the engagement happened or on the day the vows were made. It wasn't the husband and wife that made that marriage. It is God that made that marriage. He made two people become one. And once he's done that, He's not going to leave it to those two people to keep it together by their own strength. It wasn't a mistake. No matter what the difficulties were, God allowed that marriage to happen and He PROMISES to bless you through your husband or wife.

And just like when we lose our jobs, when we've lost a loved one, when we are called to war, or when we face bankruptcy -- we trust that God will provide and get us through. Its the same with marriage. The answer is not "to suck it up and fly right," the answer is to trust that God will fix it, even when we can't individually find a way, and be patient and wait in that promise.

Social science bears that out -- in study after study, couples who have reported significant marital dissatisfaction, five years later, if they remained together, a vast majority report a great amount of satisfaction with their marriage and happiness. Those who divorced on average report much lower levels of happiness.

The Bible promises that we will have hard times, and that these times of suffering shape us and strengthen us, and that God will not give us more than we can handle. Those bad times happen in marriage, too. I don't know why we don't expect it to. It's the most intimate relationship we will ever have. It is a reflection of Christ's bond with His bride, the Church. Of course, Satan is going to use that to attack us. It is our most vulnerable point. God will sustain us through these times. And these times strengthen us, strengthen our faith, strengthen our bond with each other, and they bless us, just as surely as the romantic dates and the great sex do.

Rather than focusing on the law, we need to focus on the gospel, because it is surely there. God created the marriage that happened between the handsome guy in the tux and the pretty girl in the white gown, not the vows that they repeated or wrote. He will sustain it.

The gospel is that there were no mistakes made on your wedding day, because God sanctioned the marriage. God made the two one. And God was there between you, promising to sustain that marriage. If we base our marriage teaching on this promise and when we counsel those who are in trouble, maybe Christians will be able to stay married simply by doing what we are supposed to do -- lean not on our own understanding, but instead trust in God to provide all that is needed in our marriages, as in everything else. Because He will.

(note: this does not necessarily apply to situations that the Bible addresses -- such as where Christ says that divorce is permissible in cases where the spouse has abandoned the marriage or broken it through adultery. Eventually it becomes impossible to save a marriage when the other person has determined to destroy it)

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Why Do People Use Drugs

This is a discussion question that is part of an assignment for my Chemical Dependency class that just started.

This was the question:

Why you think drug abuse is prevalent in society today? Submit at least five top reasons to justify your answer.

This is my answer. Looking through a lot of the other answers, many were answering from the text, so I decided to go a different direction.

I'm reading this question as looking for five reasons for why I think drugs are prevalent. So according to that, this is about the only direction I can go. Generally, I don't integrate my faith with my coursework, but in the end I really can't get around it with this question (not that I think there is anything wrong with that. While I am always processing things within the context of my faith, I usually don't express it as so. People vary on that).

When I work down to the very core of the issue, I think people use drugs because the world is broken by sin. Sin not just the act of doing something wrong, but it flows through all of creation, tainting what is good to varying degrees, so that nothing truly works the way that it should. Here are five reasons that I think are results of sin, and also support why drug abuse is common in our society.

1. People hurt, physically and emotionally. They seek to ease that hurt, avoid it, feel better. Drugs alter their mental state so that for a time, they can feel better and avoid pain. They also enjoy feeling relaxed or thrilled.

2. People get sick. Either in the case of mental illness or physical illness, they often self-medicate or drugs can be given to them that are addictive.

3. People are mean. Child abuse, sexual abuse, crime, prostitution, human trafficking, etc.. Stronger people take advantage of weaker people, and unfortunately, drugs often flow through these situations.

4. People want money -- and from the lowest level of dealing and smuggling, to the highest level of organized crime, there is money in drugs.

5 People crave things that hurt them. While drugs are actually harmful for the body, a sin-broken body can crave and desire and adapt to being "fed" chemicals that are bad for them, at least for a time, but still continue to crave and desire them even when the harm is very very clear..

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Month Later

It's been a little over a month since I went Paleo, in response to the realization that I was reacting big time to wheat and for all functional purposes, have celiac disease.

Mentally, it was quite an adjustment, as some of you saw. Stress this month has been high, both because of the lifestyle change for me -- especially the cooking all the time, cleaning all the time, etc., but also because these last couple of months have been some of the tightest we've experienced in a LONG time, and I was really thinking we were getting past that.

I suppose mentally, I've never really had food take such a role in my life that I had to think about it constantly - 3 meals a day plus snacks. When I cooked, it was actually because I wanted to cook, when I didn't -- it was McDonalds, Wendy's, or Sonic. (Unfortunately, when I decided that Wendy's had the better iced tea, I think I single-handedly drove the northeast Indiana Sonics into bankruptcy) I know that sounds kind of pathetic of me, but I just never really got this part of life down, and as much as I love food, real food, I really enjoyed not having it be something that I had to focus on unless I wanted to (even if I did feel like crap and was eating terribly, despite having good food in my fridge and freezer).

Anyway, I see good things happening. My house is cleaner. In the last week or so, I've had people over that I've meant to have over for a long time. I am actually starting to see my thinking change in regards to meals. I'm even developing new strategies for coping with breakfast -- from leftovers to making muffins or pumpkin pie ahead of time, that are actually paleo, as well.

The moods are stabilizing. I can see my mood swings becoming less drastic -- including the "I don't want to do this" tantrums. My back doesn't hurt anymore, my cycle is no longer absent, my skin thinks about getting clearer.

On the weight side, while things have definitely slowed down, I've lost fourteen pounds this month, as well as 3 inches around my waist. My fasting blood sugar has dropped points as well. I don't test it all the time, but at the beginning of the month, it was at 114-115. It is now around 105. Now that's motivation to keep going -- to get out of the pre-diabetes range.

I have found I am reacting to corn, as well. Tortilla chips will cause my digestive system to do flips. No big loss. I really don't like corn all that much, anyway.

I can't say my feelings on the matter are any different, but I'm coping. And in many ways, I am thankful. I have awesome friends and family. God is providing what we need, not to mention He gave me extra Autumn before we headed into Winter. I hope Spring is as beautiful as Fall was. :)

(Okay, really....brownies??? Who didn't know that brownies contain flour?)
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Saturday, December 04, 2010

If I Could Erase One Animal From the Face of the Earth

Culex mosquitos (Culex quinquefasciatus shown)...Image via Wikipedia(from NaBloPoMo)

If I could erase one animal from the face of the earth, without a doubt, it would be the mosquito. I despise them. They spread disease, itchiness, and dread.

A few years ago, after a lot of Summer rains and flooding, we ended up having an infestation. Octogenarian farmers were saying that they had seen it that bad. The air was thick with them. If we stepped out of doors, we mosquitoes would swarm at us. I sent my son to feed the rabbits in protective gear. We had mosquito netting over the rabbit cages. We kept the dog inside.

There were mosquitoes bigger than I had ever seen. I was told that those were the ones that carried West Nile Virus. I don't know if that was true. Before that Summer, I just considered them a nuisance. Now they seriously freak me out.

It's also why I am thankful that we switched Daylight Savings Time, because here, very few come out in the day (except during that Summer), and with DST, grilling, baseball games, and gardening duties can all be done before the evil bloodsucking beasts become active.
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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Food Blog

Since so much of my life right now is centered around food -- having to think of what I am going to eat, and then preparing it, I've decided to stop neglecting my foodie blog -- Nourishing Rebellion.

Stop by and take a look. I'll be posting some of what I am fixing, as well as issues regarding Nourishing Traditions type eating (pastured meat and eggs, traditional fats, lacto-fermentation, etc.), Paleo/Primal eating, Celiac and PCOS stuff, and just enjoyment of food, because food is yummy.

And I will definitely be trying to work on more here, too. :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Body Scanning

If you know me on Facebook, you will probably have noticed that I have been particularly appalled by the inhumanity and the unconstitutionality of the new policies and procedures utilized by the TSA.

I found this article by blogger Jason Bell, a molecular biologist and physicist working on his Ph.D. - who holds a particular interest in this area. It is well written, and pretty easy to understand why we should be concerned about the radiation issue regarding the scanners.

Big Changes

I mentioned recently that I recently have changed my diet because of celiac disease.

I've known for years that I don't react well to gluten, especially that foggy-headed feeling, fertility and cycle issues, emotional swings, etc. The times I have managed to get off of it, I have felt so much better, but since I had a polycystic ovarian syndrome diagnosis, my focus was always on the relationship that carbohydrate digestion had in relation to how I felt.

When I was on Atkins, I felt considerably better. Six years ago, when he still took insurance, I went to Dr. Mercola's clinic. The first thing they do (and I think it is being offered for free right now on his site), is metabolic typing, which is related to the work of Paul Chek and others (its not the blood test, but picks up on signs on how fast you digest, and whether you are digesting foods thoroughly). The right food for my metabolic type -- which was a fast oxidizer -- meaning I wasn't digesting much, and I needed higher fat/protein, and fewer carbohydrates. I did that for three months, and felt amazingly well (why I fell off is another story). Also they did sensitivity testing -- the kind where you hold a container holding a potential irritant, and they tell you to hold out your other arm, and try to press your arm down. I am highly skeptical of that, but I did not tell her about my known sensitivities to dairy and soy, and my suspicion about wheat, and I could discern no difference in how she pressed down on my arm, yet I couldn't hold my arm up against the pressure when I held those things, and also corn. I never even had skin contact with these, though. Maybe the body is much more aware of threats in our surroundings than we are consciously aware of.

But in my "on the go" lifestyle, I didn't seem to have enough motivation. Three months ago, though, I had surgery on an umbilical hernia caused by my c-section scar in my muscle wall opening up again. After that, things got worse. I've read on several sites that celiac can start after surgeries.

I was dealing with frequent diarrhea, and something called steatorrhea I'll let you read about it if you want to, because it's not pleasant, but its a sign that I wasn't absorbing nurients. My ability to cope and think straight were rapidly declining. When I had my check up with my endocrinologist, the blood tests came back very low for vitamin D, and I am taking a lot.

Given my experience before, and the fact that I also have pre-diabetes (hyper-insulinemia, insulin resistance, Syndrome has lots of names), my inclination has not been to go to substitute flours and products. I don't have the patience or desire to try a whole bunch of things that range from really bad to "almost as good as wheat," and to deal with my kids complaining about it. Rice flour and other flours are also just as much simple carbohydrate, and not good for my blood sugar issues. So after reading a lot about my options, looking at my past experience, I decided that Paleo eating was the best method for me and my family (though obviously, my family is not under the same level of restrictions. The kids can have treats, these treats are just not going to sit around the house).

Basically, paleo eating is based on the work of Dr. Loren Cordain. I reject the evolutionary basis of it, but still think know that this type of eating is fairly pleasant for me, seems to work well with my metabolism, and has a history of working well with people with metabolic issues and gluten issues, and has been known to reverse autoimmune damage such as Hashimotos, celiac, and even Diabetes type 1. It is simply eating meat, vegetables, and fruit. No grains, no sugar. Unlike Atkins, it doesn't restrict the amount of vegetables. The resource I am using most is a book by Robb Wolf, called The Paleo Solution, with more deference to grassfed meats, coconut oil and milk, etc.. It's a good read.

I know. Lots of people with celiac still eat rice, quinoa, and other grains, and what about beans? From what I have read in many sources, legumes and most grains, and particularly quinoa, while they don't contain gluten, still have chemicals in them that are supposed to irritate our gut -- and keep it from healing so that I start absorbing nutrients better again. The two most important of these irritants are saponins -- a soap like coating on grains and quinoa (quinoa has ALOT), and phytic acids. Some of these can be washed away or soaked in a slightly acidic water, but not all can be removed, so for that reason, all grains and legumes will be avoided -- except that my one "fast food" exception is a steak bowl at Chipotle - with rice and beans. It's my one coping fall back. I'm really not allowing others.

But I'm good at roasting or grilling. We already get grassfed meat and pastured chicken and eggs, and raw milk. So there's going to be a lot of taking care of my self, having soups made with my homemade bone broths, more coconut products than previously, because those are very healing to the gut and the immune system, and stuff like that.

Unfortunately, when diets change this drastically, there is a detox phenomenon. For some it is barely noticeable. For me, it often is. Sometimes it is getting really sick. More often it is getting really emotional. And going right from the emotions of the malabsorption I was experiencing to the detox of the diet change, it was really rough. And the toxins that are sometimes released are neurotransmitters that are linked to some very real issues. Considering that this last year has brought a lot of stress to the surface in regard to my parents and siblings, finances, my domestic abilities, and other issues, they are all coming back up.

And I do seem to be through most of it. I was really touched by my friends' responses (and the turkey soup!!!). Thank you, very much. You guys mean the world to me. You really do.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I took some dorky Facebook personality test a month or so ago, and it said that I make decisions based on trying to avoid regret. I had a friend respond that he thought nothing could be far from the truth. That amused me, because I was absolutely astonished --because I've never seen some off the wall statement like that have me pegged so well. And I don't think its a bad thing. It helps me put things into perspective.

Generally, I'm not talking "afraid of regrets," because often, no matter which decision is made, there are regrets. It doesn't do to be afraid of them, though I think that it is natural.

For instance -- my husband and I really had quite a rocky engagement. But through it, I consciously knew that guys like him were few and far between. And deep down, I knew that I was far more likely to regret sending him packing than I was to expend the effort to work our way through the problems.

As I expressed in my previous post, I get pretty torn up sometimes about being the homeschooling housewife. It wasn't what I planned. It isn't where my gifts are. But in the end, every time I looked at going to work with small children, and then what our educational alternatives are, I've come to the conclusion that my regret would be greater if I didn't stay with my children. What they would lose is greater than what I would gain.

Sometimes this philosophy has led me to embrace big changes. Other times, it has preserved the status quo. I can't say that my emotions are always in agreement...or that regret doesn't still rear its head, or that I don't get wistful for the things that I wanted, rather than what was more wise.

And yes...emotionally I'm doing better.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Not Cut Out for This

(warning -- major really DON'T have to read this.)

I'm losing it today. I probably shouldn't, but I am.

I'm not domestic. I wasn't raised to be domestic. In fact, my parents did a terrible job imparting domestic skills to me. I got punished and berated quite frequently for not doing my chores right, being organized, etc., but they never bothered with actually teaching me HOW to do these things or imparting these habits. Being ten years younger than anyone else in my household, my mother just thought it simpler to clean when I wasn't around. The few chores they did give me, such as vacuuming, I never did right. No, that's not the way it was said. Usually, my mom would look over the room and say "You didn't vacuum this."

These skills didn't matter. I was going to go to college and have a career. That's what I was told was important from when I was little. They kind of overlooked the fact that I still have to live somewhere and eat...even without the unthinkable possibility that I might end up "wasting my life" at home with my kids, doing a sucky job keeping house.

So I suck...REALLY suck at keeping house. And I hate it. Not that I haven't done Flylady, read books, etc. I still suck. And for this post, please spare me the "this worked for me bit." Because that's not the point.

I can say that I understand the VALUE of keeping house. I respect the sanctity of the home, the love that it imparts to my family, and the noble ideas of it all. But I still hate it. I WANT to like it. I know all about the doctine of vocation, too, and so I don't need to hear from the traditionalists who want to tell me that if I wanted to do anything else, I would be disobeying God's will. Bite me.

I went to college to be a therapist, to interact with the world. To help others. Now eighteen years later, I still don't have that frigging Masters degree done because of kids and moves and other stuff. I know that raising good kids is probably the best way to help the world not go down the toilet. I even know that to a large extent, despite all my "issues," I'm erasing a lot of the damage that my parents passed on to me.

I have managed to teach myself to cook, and I'm damn good at it. But cooking means cleaning. It's a never ending Sisyphean battle. When I clean, I find that I get extremely angry. I feel the paralyzing rage that I felt being stuck in those no-win situations growing up. I can just feel it flood up within me....which is probably the plus side of my also not doing a good job of imparting these skills to my children.

When I was growing up, the promise of the future was that I would be able to study something I was interested in and spend my life doing something that I enjoyed. Instead, 80% of my life SHOULD be devoted to something that I completely despise and suck at (and I'd be happy just to feel like I merely tolerate it). And I am surrounded by the proof that I suck at it.

This has become all the more clear this week, because I generally avoid the distress by eating out way too much, because eating out means no dishes, no food falling on the floor, etc. But I recently learned that I have celiac disease...or at least all the symptoms of it. There are now very few places that I CAN eat, especially cheaply (and no, I don't want the list of those, either). This is probably a blessing in disguise, because it means that rather than cooking 3-4 times a week, I am cooking every day, for most all meals (and no, I really don't want any advice here, either...or any recommendations on great gluten free pasta or baking products). I've lost ten pounds, and health-wise, I feel better, and the rushed trips to the bathroom have lessened considerably. But it means I am even more immersed in dishes and dirty floors, and stoves that need cleaned, and more time in a house that is a constant reminder of my inadequacies.

And I still suck at it.

I am completely overwhelmed.

I know I finally need to grow up and finally do this. But right now, I just want to hide in bed and cry...and punch something...repeatedly.

Thanks for listening. I may want some of those tips on all of these things later. Just not now.

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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Ways to Show Appreciation for Your Pastor's Wife

I saw this tweeted today. Thought I'd post it. Pass it on :)

Ways to Show Appreciation for Your Minister's Wife

NaBloPoMo: Favorite Song

What was your favorite song this year? Five years ago? Ten years ago? Twenty?

"If It's Love" by Train. Its unique but it glories in simple love, which is rare anymore.

Five years ago? No clue. I even looked at the Billboard Lists for 2005, and the only thing I remember was "Honkytonk Badonkadonk." And that wasn't exactly a pleasant memory.

Ten years ago - "Carlene" by Phil Vassar.

Twenty years ago: Oh wow. I was 19 then, so EVERY song had some deep, intense meaning to me (well, except "Do Me" by Bel Biv Davoe)

But it had to be Wilson Philip's "Hold On" was my anthem. I had just moved out of my parents' house, was in college, and dealing with lots of "codependency issues," because that's what they called it then. I'd be more embarrassed about that, but it was # 1 for the year. :)

Not only that but Chynna Phillips had awesome hair.

Monday, November 01, 2010

If Housing Was Free (NaBloPoMo entry)

How would your life change if you didn't have rent or a mortgage to pay, i.e., if your housing was free?

There are many people who think that since we live in a parsonage, my home is free. It's not. When a parsonage is part of the package, the salary is significantly less. The district guidelines calculates its value at 25% of salary. Basically, 25% of my husband's paycheck is automatically withdrawn before we are paid. So if my home were free, our household income would increase by 25%. That would be a nice raise.


While many of you are doing National Novel Writing Month or whatever its called, I've decided to give this a try this month....looks interesting, and might get me back into the habit.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Autism Spectrum Test and other Diagnostic Tools

There is an autism spectrum test going around on the internet (especially Facebook). It is real. It is used clinically. If you score high, it does not mean you are autistic or there is something wrong with you. IT ALSO DOES NOT MEAN THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE TEST.

These tests are standardized, meaning they have tested them on thousands of people to establish a range of what is normal compared to those who they know have autism. It is not a joke. It is a tool. And tools are used for particular purposes. It does not mean it is a bad test when it is used outside the context it was designed for.

This is a screener, and it does a very good job of screening. It is meant to rule things out, not to diagnose. If you scored low on the test, it meant you had a lot of answers that fell into the Mildly Agree or Mildly Disagree categories. Guess what? A person firmly in the Autism Spectrum does NOT experience life that way. Either they are overstimulated or they are not, either they like you, or they don't, they can't just *kind of* not deal with change well, they just really DON'T deal with change well. Either a person picks up on another's emotional cues, or they REALLY don't.

So a counselor administers this test, and if the client scored low, they say "well, it's not autism." If the client scored higher, they say "lets look at this more." They might find that the client shows other signs of autism. They also might find that the client is an introverted person who operates more in his head than in his emotions and is rather most Lutherans are.

ANY test used for diagnosis should be used this way. Getting a certain score on a written test, unlike taking a test in school, does not mean you have something. It means it should simply be considered. You can still be quite healthy and normal and score fairly high on this test. It's simply that if you score low on this test, you do NOT have autism.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


It's been a rough month. October always hits me fairly hard. I know Winter is coming. It also is insanely busy. I'm almost always working in October, school, church is always busy, kids start in on their lessons (yeah, right). October is always riddled with stress in a way no other month is.

But the usual chaos was kicked off with a mind-blowing realization for me.

Noah would be twelve.

My son, Noah, died in pregnancy at 16 or 17 weeks, and he was delivered on October 1st, 1998. After I was induced, I held his little, beautiful body in my hand, admired his perfectly-shaped hands and feet. Jeff and I got to say goodbye to him, grieve him, have him cremated, and have a memorial service for him.

When we were still in California, we'd go away on his birthday and do something nice for us, because it was always a rough time, and we felt the date coming before we even were aware what was making us out of sorts. Somewhere in that process, we'd release a balloon for Noah. We stopped doing that when we moved here. I don't know why. Maybe because on the first October 1st in Indiana, our heads were still spinning from the travel, from being sick, and from moving in. But his birthday came and went without us noticing.

But I still notice. My husband and I usually do something, if only talk about it.

This year was different. Twelve. It doesn't seem like twelve years. Actually, some years it seems like fifty.

But when comparing kids, two years can be a big difference, developmentally. Ten years old is a lot different than twelve years old. But twelve is not a whole lot different than thirteen-only-four-weeks-from fourteen. And I have one of those walking around the house. Nope. Not much different at all.

And that really drives the truth home. I should be having two boys who are eating me out of house and home or who are obsessed with how their height compares to mine. There should be two boys who are looking at high school and beyond. And there should be two boys who bugging me to drive them to Game Stop and kicking the snot out of each other on the Wii.

What should be hasn't felt this tangible since I could imagine holding Noah in my arms. But this month, Noah's absence is very real.

Monday, September 06, 2010

A Thought

I tend to have a real aversion to curriculum that dictates exactly how you are supposed to do and say something. Teaching Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is like that. Saxon Math is kind of like that. I've fled from these two curricula because of it. It grates on me. I find it insulting to my intelligence. I don't homeschool to teach my kids the way someone else says I should.

However, I find it absolutely humorous that my job -- working as a field interviewer doing research studies -- is EXACTLY that. Say this...inflect it like this. And it has only taken me five years to figure that out.

What's also intriguing is following my thought process now that I have realized that...when thirty minutes ago, I loved my job. I'll get there again, probably in about an hour. Because what is really interesting and provides the variety are the people that I am interviewing.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Why Raw Milk?

A glass of milkImage via WikipediaA very good, basic article on why raw milk is a MUCH better option.

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Chickens in industrial coopImage via WikipediaOn Twitter - @coorganic just tweeted "Wright County Egg, one of the two factory farms responsible for the current salmonella scandal, has 7.5 million egg-laying chickens!"

7.5 million. So these chickens, kept in small cages (and they'd need about 500,000 employees to keep those cages well cleaned), lay eggs daily that get sent across the country, packaged in whatever brand package is popular in your area, and you eat it. These chickens never see sunshine, and eat whatever food is given to them -- that is usually a huge mix of foods that no chicken would ever dream of eating naturally.

We are seeing this over and over again with meat, pork, chicken, and egg infestations. Is it any wonder that chickens raised in this environment would get salmonella? And the answer...give them vaccines against salmonella. So rather than treating animals right, giving them feed that they were meant to digest, and keeping them in good conditions, the answer is to vaccinate them and pasteurize the eggs so that they can continue to sell you meat and eggs that are raised in these kinds of conditions.

That's what pasteurization made possible -- back at the turn of the 20th century, they were keeping milk cows in cities in facilities that were unclean, feeding them mash from beer companies, and tuberculosis was happening. So pasteurization, which was meant for beer, made it so they could continue to raise diseased cows in disgusting conditions and still sell you the milk that they make. Hormones make it so they can make more milk than their bodies are capable of handling, and when they get mastitis and other infections, antibiotics that they load them with help keep the cow going, and you from getting sick...but you know, there's pus in your milk.

Not only that, but when animals are kept in these conditions, without sun, with bad feed, no exercise -- there are next to NO nutrients in their milk, meat, and eggs. With all the soy that they feed cattle, it is now a problem that animal fat goes rancid like soybean oil does.

There is an answer. You are not going to be part of a national food poisoning epidemic if you get eggs from as local of a source as you can -- from chickens that were raised cage-free in pastures. The best option is to get your meat, eggs, and dairy from a farmer who is focused on providing to local people. They don't even mind that you look around the farm and see how they do their job and how the animals are treated.

You can complain that these eggs cost $3.00 as opposed to $1.25, but you are getting a ton more nutrients that you need, rather than eggs that are worth next to nothing. Plus the knowledge that the animals were treated humanely while they lived.
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Monday, August 30, 2010

From Luther

Luther from his House Postils (from Pastor Weedon):

"To sum it all up: we will be good Christians, first of all, when we have a firm faith and trust in God's goodness; second, when we are grateful to God and our fellowmen; and third, when we patiently tolerate ingratitude as we keep on doing good to all people.

In any case, nine people will be ungrateful for every one who is grateful and thanks you for a good deed. And it may well be that the one who thanks you and is grateful is the one of whom you least expected it, just like this Samaritan. May our loving Lord God grant his grace that we remember this and keep growing in our sanctification. Amen."

Friday, August 27, 2010

Take 10 Minutes -- Every Christian (Especially Lutheran and Protestant) Ought to See This

And the link to the document he references:

Real Food Rookies

One of the blogs that I follow -- Kelly the Kitchen Kop, is offering an e-class called "Real Food for Rookies."

ChickennuggetsImage via Wikipedia

If You:

Hate high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors and colors?
Are repulsed by cafeteria school lunches
Think it's wrong that McDonald's chicken nuggets contain *lighter fluid*
Support small farmers and eating locally

Then this class is a good place to start learning HOW to actually make it work without getting overwhelming.

If you've read me for any length of time, you know I don't really advertise or promote things. But over the past several months, I have learned SO much from Kelly and a few of the other blogs that are part of the Real Food Media Network that work so hard to promote real food raised healthily...and well-prepared.

So go here to check it out. I do get compensated for this, just so you know. But I know so many moms who start this direction and get overwhelmed by it (including me) that I really do think this could be a big help (I'm taking a different class right now by another member of the Real Food Media Group, and it is REALLY good.)
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Monday, August 23, 2010

Rejecting Industrialized Sex

This is an amazing post on sex from the First Things Blog. And of course, the comparison to industrialized eating is great, too.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A New Tea Bracket

I knew it was dangerous. The stuff that I was perfectly happy with that was $3.50 a box for a ton of teabags was fine. It was even organic. Tazo was fine, too, though not quite the bargain with it's fewer bags. It was Earl Grey, cold.

But no....after having some of Mighty Leaf Currant Iced Tea at a restaurant in Chicago (I went in 3 times a day for it), I'd done a good job resisting the expensive box sitting on the shelf in Meijer, because they didn't have the CURRANT iced tea. Last night, though, I gave in. I was probably tired. My resistance was weak. I figured "what harm could it do?" I got the sampler pack since I'm trying to have more iced tea at home, rather than out.

I'm in love. It was TOO good. I've moved up to a new tea bracket. There's no going back. My tastebuds have been opened. The Orange Dulce has completely captivated me in it's little silky tea bag surged with THREAD all the way to it's pretty tag that even instructs me delicately how long to let it steep in all its graciousness. It's tea leaves in a classy negligee and it's like drinking liquid ambrosia (nectar of the gods, NOT a bizarre marshmallow salad).

Dang you, Mighty Leaf!
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Submitting to Your Husband as to the Lord

Several years ago, I stumbled upon a book in the book store that taught me more about submitting to my husband than anything I had ever read. It was called The Surrendered Wife, by Laura Doyle. It was actually a bit disappointing that it was a secular book. I wish I could've found this kind of common sense from a believer. But she did have a lot of wisdom. I learned a lot of things from her. (for the record, there were things I completely disagreed with also, like her stance that men "need" porn).

A few of the things I learned are these:

1. To learn to think of my husband as basically a good man. -- It is SO easy to gripe about our husbands, isn't it? To build up in anger over little things like not putting clothes in the clothes hamper or rinsing dishes, forgetting that I too do a lot that he could gripe about as well. It is almost the ultimate feminine bonding experience to sit around complaining about what our husbands do that is so completely insensitive. But my husband loves me. My husband wants the best for me. My husband wants to make me happy. These things are true. On top of that -- my husband doesn't abuse me. My husband doesn't do drugs and isn't an alcoholic. He's not cheating on me. Where he usually "falls short" is usually regarding things he doesn't understand. He's a good man, and he deserves my loyalty, my patience, and a good reputation amongst my friends, because he comes into contact with them as well and shouldn't have to wonder about what I have said.

2. Since he is a good man and an intelligent man, he doesn't need me to tell him how to do everything and how to think about everything. After he made the wonderfully intelligent decision to marry me, he didn't suddenly become an idiot, and even though I didn't realize that was what I was doing when I was offering an opinion on everything under the sun, I was treating him like he was an idiot.

3. A correllary to that -- My husband deserves to have a relationship with his children without me getting in the middle. I always thought I was doing a favor when I suggested things they should do, or when my husband was mad at my son -- interpreting what my son really meant by what he said or what he really needed. My husband is a smart man who loves his son. He might not always express himself the way I would've wanted him to (not that it was bad, and not that I am perfect either), he can figure it out, and since he's not abusive -- he will not do lasting harm to our child. I wasn't giving him the freedom to be totally himself with Chris, or to let Chris relate directly with him and learn that he could indeed handle it.

4. A lot of marriage problems are caused by the woman trying to control the situation.

5. Men need to be respected and showed that they are respected. Women need to be treasured. (Almost sounds like Ephesians 5, doesn't it?). We've been told so many times that we want to be equals in a relationship, but really, we don't. A relationship isn't 50-50, its 100-100. At times, when one is weaker than the other, one compensates for the other. But in reality, we want to be treated like equals in the workplace -- at home, we want to be treasured. Loved. Shown that we are special and prized beyond rubies or diamonds. We really don't want to have a relationship where we are tallying up and keeping a record of who gave the most to the relationship this week, or who is doing the most chores.

6. My husband needs me to communicate with him about what I need. Women often expect the men to be mind readers, and we shrug it off as common sense. It's not. My husband needs to know what I like and what is important to me. And just as much, he needs to know what I can't do. And it is okay to say "I can't do that" and then let him figure out what to do.

When I started doing these things (or not doing the harmful stuff), I didn't tell my husband that I wasn't doing them. I didn't tell him what I was doing. The book told me not to. But I also remember the wisdom from a couple of pastors that went like this: "The Bible doesn't say "submit to your husband IF he loves you like Christ loved the Church. (and vice versa). It's your business to submit, because you are trusting that God gave you your husband...not because he's earned it or he's good enough."

And this brings me to something that I've been thinking about for a long time. What does it mean to submit to my husband as to the Lord? The question in the end is "what does it mean to submit to the Lord?"

Different things go through my head -- "Come unto me all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest. " "Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will rescue you." "Suffer not the little children to come unto me, for such is the kingdom of God." And from the Catechism " a dear child talks to his dear father." "...thank and praise, serve and obey Him." "We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things." "but call upon it [his name] in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks." "Give us this day our daily bread"

In the end, what does God want from me? He wants me to be thankful, and He wants, He commands me, to come to Him when I need something. To ask Him. To bring my EVERY concern and desire of my heart to Him as a child does to his father -- without worrying about whether it is appropriate, and then trust Him that He who sent His very own Son to die for me will give me EVERY good thing (even when it isn't in the way I think God should do it).

So, I keep coming back to the idea that submitting to my husband as to the Lord is the same thing. I'm to be thankful for the gift that God has given me in him and trust that God will bless me through him....because he has promised to. I am also to let him know what is in my heart. What I think, what I want, what I need....and even what I don't think I can handle and don't want. And then, I'm to trust that he is going to love me and lead me, taking my desires and my welfare into account (even when he isn't doing it in the way I think he should do it).

I keep coming back to the fact that it isn't really about blind obedience or losing myself. It's about going to my husband and trusting that he will love me, that he will forgive me, that he will treasure me, and that he will lead our family knowing what I need - because I told him.

Will he be perfect? No. He hasn't been and he won't be. But after sixteen years, I can certainly see how many of those things God has used for good, even when they hurt like crazy. I'm married to a sinner. I'm a sinner. So we do the best we can, we forgive each other, and we keep loving, confiding, and trusting. God is the one who is really providing for me through my husband. And my loving Father has certainly done a better job of taking care of me through my husband than I ever could've done myself.
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I apparently accidentally turned off the ability to comment. My apologies. It's fixed now :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Holy Communion Quote.

(another Wordpress post..I'm transferring it here)

“Lutherans don’t get into transubstantiation or
consubstantiation or ‘how can the finite hold on to the infinite?’– We don’t worry about any of that. How do we know Jesus’s body and blood are really there in the bread and the wine? Because He said so. If I’m in the Sunday School teaching the children why the body and blood are really there, I would tell them “because Jesus said so.” If I go to the [Lutheran] seminary and the great doctors of our faith are discussing the same thing, the answer is STILL simply “Because He said so.” — Rev. Jeffrey Horn, sermon 2/7

Helping Children in Church

(I wrote this when I was on Wordpress...I wanted to repost it here)

How children should behave in church, and what limits should be set can be quite a contentious issue. Personally, I like children in church. I don’t even think it is tantamount to a crime to hear them babbling or fussing in church. Over the years as a pastor’s wife and a La Leche League Leader, I’ve heard so many stories about getting the evil eye by simply walking into the sanctuary with a babe in arms or a toddler. Obviously, if your child is proving to be a distraction or too loud for others to hear, it is a matter of consideration to take them out and deal with it. What that means is defined by your family perspective on it and the age and temperment of your child.

But I am a firm believer in “faith comes by hearing,” and children certainly belong in the presence of their savior, and need to be a part of the body of all believers from the instant they are baptized. I am always scared that nurseries, children’s church, or Sunday school during church give one of two (or both) messages to children: That they don’t belong in the presence of God, or that they should be involved in activities that are more fun than church. Either message can be incredibly damaging to their faith. We segregate so many aspects of life according to age, I don’t believe worshiping our Lord and receiving His gifts is an area where we should be doing this.

That being said, having children in church can be a challenge. I ought to know. As a pastor’s wife, I am a single parent on Sunday. With so many men who are not involved in church anymore, and so many babies not born into nuclear, married families—many women are put in the position that if they want to go to church, they have to take care of their kids alone, and so many of them put off the challenge of having children in church until an age when they might be easier to handle.

I don’t think there is an age that is “easier to handle.” Babies and toddlers are truly a challenge, but they don’t get easier, they just change how they fight against it, if they are not used to it.

I don’t want to make it seem like I believe this is easy. There were days I stayed home because I wasn’t up to the fight of keeping Maggie in the pew that day or dealing with Chris’s moods (he definitely was NOT a morning person. A wonderfully friendly person would go up to him and say “Good morning, Christopher, and he would glare at them and yell “NOOOO” and then bury his head in my shoulder). And there were days when I wonder why I was there because I didn’t hear a word of the sermon, wasn’t able to go to communion, etc. and I was exhausted or in tears the rest of the day (which is why having a husband or family there with you is wonderful.) But as I sit with my kids in church now, and even watch them frequently go to church even when I can’t, simply because they want to, I know that it was worth it.

So here are some things that did make it easier for me:

1. Sit in front. Most parents have a tendency to sit in the back because they don’t feel like the whole church sees when their children act up, and they can make an easy exit. But scooch down to your child’s level. They can’t see anything besides the back of people’s heads. They don’t see why they are there. They often behave a lot better when they can see what is going on.

In our church, there are side aisles, so while I sat up front, I didn’t necessarily sit front and center, so I could still make an easy exit. There even was a door off to the side to a hallway. But even if you don’t have that, it is less distracting to everyone than you think if you need to walk down the aisle (side) or the nave.

2. Bring quiet toys, non-messy snacks, and a drink in a bottle or sippy cup (or discreetly nurse). The fact of the matter is, young children don’t have the attention span to deal with nothing but church for the whole service, and having something quiet to do helps, and if nothing else, it helps you. Chris used to love to stack hymnals, and when he got done, he would put them in a new stack. Plastic animals, stuffed animals, Hot Wheels (if your kid is not the kind that goes Vrroomm) or coloring books can be a help. And also, kids behave better when their blood sugar is even. Something like Cheerios is generally fine. And, having a drink right there means there is one less reason to take them out which means you get to hear more.

3. Pay attention to what is developmentally appropriate. For instance, a baby or toddler will have difficulty sitting still. He is not being rebellious or difficult, his mind is just hard-wired for movement at that age. Also, take into account temperament. My son Chris could sit still and become absorbed in books at an early age. At the same age, Maggie needed to move.

I would take my kids out if they couldn’t sit still, but somewhere around late two or early three, it became clear to me that it wasn’t that my child COULDN’T keep from being active, he just didn’t want to. This was then more of an issue of limits rather than ability. When this became the case, leaving the sanctuary meant that we went and sat perfectly still in a chair for 5 minutes out in the parish hall. They then learned that since snacks, coloring books, etc. were still in the church, they could actually do more in church than they could if we left.

Children are even hard-wired to challenge limits. My rule was they could play quietly in the pew, but couldn’t leave the pew. Maggie would go to the edge of the pew, get “that look” in her eye and then bolt. We’d do the chair in the parish hall thing and then I’d ask, “are you ready to go sit in the pew now?” Often, especially at first, we’d be right back in the parish hall in five minutes. After a while, it became a non-issue. As frustrating as this is, it is actually quite normal, and is part of their learning to think for themselves. Your job is to set good limits and make them stick!

I know a discussion on my homeschool board had where some parents with each five minutes their child was good they’d give them a pile of tokens and then take one away for each infraction during church. With my kids, just leaning over and whispering to them, “you are being SO good” was enough. If I were doing tokens and such, I’d be inclined to give them one every five minutes that they were good rather than take them away. Some kids will do anything to keep from losing one, and with my kids — Maggie probably would’ve cried, and Chris would’ve debated with me why he shouldn’t have lost it.

3. Try 1-2-3 Magic. This is a book or video you can generally get in the library or at Barnes and Noble/Borders. When I was working as a social worker, this was one of the programs we taught to parents who were in the DCS system. IT takes the emotion out of it, which is nice, and sets clear warnings. I was going out of my mind with my daughter who bounces off the walls, and when I started using it, it helped SO much. It worked great in the home, but it worked MARVELOUSLY in church. Maggie was three, and very active. She’d forget to whisper if she had to tell me something, I could just hold up one finger. Three minutes later, she might start trying to walk out of the pew. I’d gently grab her wrist (my reflexes were getting pretty good by this point) and bring her back and hold up two fingers. If something else happened that was not right, within that fifteen minute time period, she got a time out. At first, I went out with her, but eventually, I could just have her stand right in the hallway, in view through the doorway, and then just wave her back when I wanted to. I wasn’t missing church anymore because of her!!

It also wasn’t long before we rarely ever got to three.

So, what worked or works for you? I’d be eager to hear, and I’m sure it would help other parents as well.

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The Twenty Worst Christians Ever

This is a great article at First Things.

An Amazing Step Forward

See those pillows? They mark a great victory. I come from a long line of women that don't really get around to those sorts of "luxuries." You know..the sorts of things that kind of make a house a home. There is always something more important, and there is always the possibility of being questioned regarding whether they are appropriate spending....

So I have pillows. Pretty pillows. And they also settled the question as to what color my walls will be. Ice blue. I want the feel of the ocean. I've been toying around with sea greens, even periwinkle...but it will be blue.

Maybe someday I'll even figure out what kind of pictures to put behind that couch. Or get end tables.
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Saturday, August 07, 2010

Why I Homeschool

Why do I homeschool? One word: socialization.

That may seem like a bizarre reason, since the first protest that I always hear against homeschooling is that schools provide socialization. There is something to the way homeschoolers socialize with each other that warms my heart, and in the end, it was the reason that drove me to homeschooling in the first place.

Being True to Yourself
When my oldest was two, I was at the park with a friend of mine, Lori, who homeschooled her eight kids. Jeff and I had recently started discussing homeschooling as a possibility, and so I asked her why she homeschooled. I expected something like academics, cost, or religious reasons, so what she said surprised me.

Lori pointed to her son, who was currently occupied with his toddler little brother -- the baby was sitting on a skateboard, and the older boy was pushing him around gently, making car noises.

"Look at him" she said. "He LOVES his little brother. And he isn't ashamed of it. He could care less what anyone else thinks about it. He is active in sports and he goes to Scouts, and when the boys there cuss or get into mischief, Zack doesn't feel like he has to follow along because he doesn't spend most of his waking hours with those kids. He doesn't need their approval because he spends most of his days with his family -- people who love him unconditionally for who he is."

This warmed my heart. I had an emotional, easily over-stimulated little boy who had one of the most loving, tender hearts I had ever seen. When I thought of him at school, all I could see was misery. He didn't develop the ability to tune out stimulation as early as others. He didn't adapt to change easily. Sometimes he just needed to be alone, and who knows when that that need would rear its immediate, urgent head. School would be hard for a boy who could detect the flash in flourescent lights and hear them hum and who responded to stress with strong emotionality. I could see him being teased and labeled. I take that back -- I knew he would be teased and labeled. And this little boy who started reading at the age of three -- who was incredibly intelligent, might very easily face a boring and frustrating environment. In my heart of hearts, I knew school wasn't right for Chris. I knew he needed to have more time than a mere three or even five years to get that under control, and as his parent -- it was my job to give him that space. I had no doubt he'd get there (okay, I had some doubt), but there was no functional purpose in demanding that he do it by kindergarten -- when I knew he couldn't.

I didn't think about it in these terms, but I remember a father who visited our homeschool Tiger Cub Scout pack -- his wife was trying to convince him to homeschool. "I get it now. These are the geeks. These are the kids who would be beaten up in school, but because they are homeschooled, they are free to be who they are and to be safe." Okay, started off kind of offensive -- probably true, but he went on. "My son has the tenderest heart, and I don't want to see that destroyed. This is GREAT!"

My family spent a few days this last week at the Wisdom and Eloquence Conference at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne this week (always the first week in August -- HIGHLY recommend it). While not just for homeschooling families, there were a lot of us, and it was so amazing to see the way the kids related to each other..and also pursued their interests. I expected parents to be interested in the "Courtship and Marriage" seminar by Pastor Foy -- but it was largely attended by teens -- raised in families, and valuing families, they were already looking at "how do I go about forming my own family?" They attended lots of different presentations on theology and life...because they wanted to, they were interested, and no one was going to tease them about it. And if they did, I doubt they would've cared.

When Jeff and I were talking about this, he commented "Girl Scouts and other organizations can talk about focusing on making girls strong or talk about kids being true to themselves -- but they are fighting a losing battle when most kids go to school each day focused on wearing the right thing, behaving the right way, and making other people happy so that they don't get teased and can fit in."

I remember that pressure. I don't remember it weighing so much when I was in school, but it certainly feels heavy when I think about it now.

Getting Along

Going back to my friend Lori's boy who was playing with his little brother -- that is something I have seen OVER and OVER again. The first day we attended a homeschool park group, there were a group of teens sitting at a table playing Yu-Gi-Oh together, but they didn't shoo the littler kids away. I would see teenage boys picking up preschoolers and holding them on their laps while they played, without missing a beat. They would also scoot over so that six or seven year-olds could squeeze in and then they would explain what they were doing. Sixteen year-olds had no problem with playing with twelve year-olds.

When we were leaving the Wisdom and Eloquence Conference, I walked into the narthex to get my kids, and my son was standing around talking with other teenage boys. One was casually holding his toddler little brother on his hip. My son Chris, at park days, has felt comfortable going and picking up my friends' babies and playing with them. When he starts to feel like he needs a break socially, he'll even take one and go sit in the swing, rocking back and forth until the baby falls asleep. Now that's self-regulation! I also love seeing how the "tween girls" with their natural, God-given fascination with babies and toddlers are free to follow them around, learn about them, play with them. Kids of every age generally are helping their parents with their siblings...and not even realizing they are learning to be good parents. That is something that I am convinced that our age-segregated society has diminished. I don't know how many people I know who have never held a baby until they hold their own.

Another friend of mine commented on the way kids were playing when they got together. They were creative, they were all over the place, they organized some games, and free-played at other times. She had grown up in Liberia, but the same is true here. "That's how kids used to play. They don't play like that anymore. Everything needs to be structured."

These kids are free to be themselves -- and rather than needing to be grouped by grade or age range, they could very easily relate to the youngest and oldest in the group, and make the needed allowances.

I could go into the closeness of family members -- and there is a lot there. My kids aren't perfect, but they do get along most of the time. I'll write about that another time, because it really is a beautiful aspect to homeschooling as well. But every time my family interacts with a group of homeschoolers, I am amazed at the difference and the peace and joy that is there in how the kids relate to each other.

Monday, August 02, 2010

My Husband's Dream Car

My husband's dream car is a Toyota FJ Cruiser. I saw this one in someone's driveway today.

He wears this every day....Yep. Definitely NOT getting black with a little white top.

Clergy Burnout

Here's a New York Times story that I saw posted on Facebook on clergy burnout.

It seems to me there is a disconnect. There are lots of stats out there on divorce rates for clergy, but there should be more focus on clergy FAMILY burn out. The two environments feed each other.

I'm not saying "Gee, everything would be all right if we did the whole Happy Homemaker thing right." It's not a judgment statement. Its a reality. When we are stressed and unhappy, men who care about us want to "fix" it. Often, they can't. And also, when they are stressed at work, it effects us, maybe more so than in many other careers -- because we love them, and at the same time are tied into their work community, intimately. I see that over and over again.

It is also interesting that it points out that lack of volunteers because of women being in the workplace was pointed out. There really isn't enough said about how that has hurt congregations. Most of of the mercy work, outreach, social activities, etc. that were done in times past were done by women who could give some of their time when their children were in school, or when older children could help with younger children (decreasing family size has also hurt congregations)-- or who could also help with the church work. They could devote part of their time to these things, without taking real time away from their families, because their families got so much of it. Now, with both parents working, families are stretched for time for themselves. It was easier on the men who also devotedly served because they also weren't dealing with some of the stressors that this puts on a family. I'm sure having extended family close by also helps in this, and when there is extended family in the same congregation, that also counts as family time. But the work that the congregations managed to accomplish when this was the norm is impressive.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Beautiful Irony

I love Netflix streaming. If you don't have it, I highly recommend it.

Anyway, I was watching this really well done episode of a PBS documentary on the Medici today (don't laugh...we really need to do a better job of covering the Middle Ages/Renaissance this time around). They were talking about Brunelleschi's dome on the top of the Florence Cathedral, and how many things he did to make that dome happen -- in an age where they had forgotten how to make concrete, and on a building that had been waiting over a century for that dome. When they showed Brunelleschi putting in the last brick of the dome -- in a documentary that is entirely about the Italian Renaissance......they played Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus."

Lets hear it for the Germans!!! (or Engish!!) or the Baroque!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Medical Update

For those of you who don't know, I went in for arthroscopic surgery of an umbilical hernia Monday. Turns out it was bigger than they thought -- my first c-section incision had opened up "a bit." I have no idea how much.

Recovery has been hard. The first day and 1/2 felt just like recovering from my c-section, despite the fact that the incision was in fact, a lot smaller. Turns out there really is a reason for a catheter and those nice beds that change levels and angles. However, it is getting better...more quickly. The nurse who prepped me asked me if I ever wanted any more kids. In a deviation away from my normal answer, I said "Sure." (must be how cute my new godson is). Now -- Nope, no way. AAAGGHHH.

I can get up and down now, and I even laid flat since day one, which is about 6 weeks ahead of schedule after having Maggie. Today I am even wearing a different dress, though the beige tread socks and the slight shuffle might insinuate I came out of a different kind of hospital.

So, thanks for the prayers, I seem to be getting there....keep 'em up :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Last First Kiss

Nineteen years ago today was a Saturday. I know this because we worked at Arrowhead Lutheran Camp, and we had the day off. My good friend Jeff had been backpacking during the regular time camp acknowledged birthdays of the week, so I decided to take him out for his birthday.

After seeing "Naked Gun," we decided to go to the beach and rushed headlong into the discussion we'd been tinkering with over the last couple of weeks...the "what's going on here" discussion. The air was fresh, the seagulls were flying about, the waves were beautiful when we had "the talk." The one where we discussed how impractical anything more than just being friends was, since he was going to be going to seminary in Indiana and I was embarking on my sophomore year in Utah. There now. Nice and sensible.

Within a half an hour, we were liplocked. It took a few more weeks to really come to the conclusion that we weren't doing a good job at this "lets just be friends" thing, but all in all, I think it worked out pretty well.

Happy 19th Anniversary, Sweetie. How 'bout them Dodgers?

Sunday Morning is for Church

A post that I certainly agree with:

Sunday Morning is for Church


With Jeff and Chris gone a few weeks ago, I had more opportunities to watch shows I normally wouldn't watch if they are around -- namely "Bones" and "House."

I've probably spent my entire life watching medical shows and police shows (my dad was a cop and couldn't stay away from them...he even had to watch "Hunter," even though he hated it). But I've been wondering more and more, what is our fascination with shows like "NCIS," "Bones," "House," "CSI," etc. Because there certainly are more of them than there ever have been, and they certainly are more gruesome and graphic than they've ever been. They are also more about the patient or the victim and less about the professional than they've ever been.

I remember having a discussion with Pastor Petersen one day about how our lit

Mark Harmon photographed by Jerry Avenaim.Image via Wikipedia

erature and t.v. shows reflect our societal concerns -- aliens in the '60's and '70's, genetically engineered epidemics in the '90's, etc. But what would shows like our modern crime and medical dramas show us?

I believe they show our fear of loss of identity -- loss of community. Think about it. When someone becomes a patient of Dr. House, a team of five doctors doesn't rest until they find what is wrong with you until you are restored to a state of peace again. The investigators in "Law and Order" do not rest until they have done everything they can to bring justice. Bones, Boothe, and the team focus their amazingly obscure knowledge and all of that they have into making sure that the skeleton and disgusting sludge that comes into the Jeffersonian go out with an identity and a solved murder.

How real is this? Most of us don't get a eam of five doctors who will do anything to make sure we are well. Often when we have five doctors, they don't bother to talk to each other much. We deal with one doctor who performs a couple of blood tests and shrugs during the 5 minute visit because they can't figure out why you feel like crap. Must be in your head...unless the blood tests say otherwise. In reality, I doubt that most murder investigations get the kind of energy that CSI, NCIS, Law and Order, or the others devote. Thinking of the loads these cops and attorneys have, I doubt they can devote that kind of energy.

We live in a culture where we are less connected to people. Sometimes (and it shows in the lives of the victims on these shows), there really are very few people who we interact with who make our existence make sense. That level of devotion that we see in these shows, I believe are a reflection of our society to want to believe that each of us matter, in a world where we are relinquished to ID numbers (this is often explicitly expressed in "Bones.") And in a world where we tend to not show ourselves at our most vulnerable, or the parts that we are most ashamed of -- these shows show us at our worst -- reduced to a smelly sludge, or if still alive, vomiting blood and other bodily fluids. But in the end, we are back to ourselves -- with a name and tied to a life.
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Nomadic Me

I'm back. Maybe Wordpress was too tidy for me or maybe I just want something different..but I'm back now and will start posting again soon :)