Friday, November 25, 2011

The New Domesticity

"The New Domesticity, Or a Step Back for American Women?", a Washington Post article, is most fascinating.

I really appreciate its acknowledgement that a force behind the movement back to domestic skills is partially a political movement against commercial foods, and also a movement toward independence -- a desire to be able to take care of ourselves, not unlike the conflict posited in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (are you truly free on the roads if you do not have the skills to fix your own bike and you rely on others who have these skills, or are you becoming more and more disconnected from yourself and your experience? was one of the questions explored in the book.)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Art And the Common Girl

One of the first dates that Jeff ever took me on was to the Getty Museum. Not the big collection on the top of the hill along the Sepulveda Pass -- no, the Getty Villa in Malibu. Mind you, this was twenty years ago, and not only were the ancient collections there, but the art collections were as well. They had just acquired Van Gogh's "Irises,"and Jeff was eager to see it.

The villa is a model of an ancient Roman villa, complete with fountains, herb gardens and a magnificent view of the ocean. It was so beautiful outside most of the many times that we went there, that it was sometimes difficult for me to go inside and look at the collections because the velvet walls, rich colors, and dark rooms seemed like such a heavy contrast.

But there was one painting that always struck me -- I could stand and gaze at the folds in the princess's gown forever. The painting was HUGE...took up a whole wall, and it always surprised me when it was meeting me as I turned the corner...probably because it was such a maze. It is a portrait of Princess Leonilla, Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, by Franz Xaver Winterhalter. I admit it...I really just covet the dress.

From that first visit, the Getty has played an important part in our family life. Jeff and I went on several dates there, we used to take the kids there as well. I remember hearing about how one woman in my La Leche League group had been insulted there because she had nursed her toddler there. I found that incredibly ironic, because how I kept my toddler interested was by carrying him around there in a sling, showing him the many paintings of a standing Jesus nursing at Mary's breast. When we go back to L.A., we still go to the new museum, and while Jeff managed to get to the new refurbished Villa, I still have not made it. I would love to see a Greek play there.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Calls and Temptation

My pastor in college shared some advice from Dr. Robert Preus, back when Jeff was his summer vicar: "When you get your first call after your placement, you are going to look at the money. You can't avoid sinning."

Jeff has received two calls since becoming a pastor, and neither one would have been financial gains. When we moved to our current congregation, with cost of living factored in, it was very break even, and with state income tax and some other factors, it actually turned out to be a pay cut that was not unfelt. The call that he has received recently was pretty much the same, so at least with that out of the way, other things can be considered. And just to note, it is NOT a sin to make sure you can take care of your family.

Dr. Preus had it right, though...only he was too narrow. When a pastor's family has a call before them, it can really cause them to covet -- a church that has a heart for missions or confessional theology, a bigger or smaller town, the opportunity to own a house away from the church or getting to live nearby in a parsonage, a school -- or no school, maybe its near a seminary or near the beach, etc. It stirs up a desire to want what we don't have.

A friend of mine once commented that when there is a call before a Pastor's family, it almost feels like adultery....or at least flirting with it. I'd have to say she was very right. There's a lot of comparing the glamorous "other woman" with the one who is comfortable and familiar. Contemplating a call is a very uncomfortable process. And like flirting and temptation, it can be a very pleasurable one.

Not that all of this is entirely sinful. It's not. In going through the call process, we've met some wonderful people; learned a little more about ourselves and our current congregation, about what's involved in moving to a new country and a different church body, and about God's provision at all times. And while things were dang good in our marriage, I think it also has strengthened it even more.

On Sunday, my husband announced that he is returning the call to Messiah Lutheran Church in Waterloo, Ontario. Please pray for them that during this process, they learn more about themselves as well, and that God guides them to a faithful and loving shepherd.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

An Interesting Thought on Dating

One of my favorite shows is called "Bitchin Kitchen." It's out of Canada and is REALLY hilarious. Luckily, The Cooking Channel picked her up. Occasionally, in her quirky and sometimes disturbing way, Nadia G will drop some good advice. This is from her episode "The Dish on Dating."

"Much like making dinner, the first step to finding a mate is knowing what you want. But people are too funny. Ask them what they do and they'll say Í'm a microbiologist specializing in gram negative bacteria, specifically endotoxins. My hobbies include rustic Malaysian cuisine and collecting garden gnomes." But ask them what they are looking for in a mate and they'll say 'a sense of humor.'Come on! Be specific!

"...Same goes for finding a mate. You've got to figure out which ingredients will make them tasty to you. Otherwise, you'll never date (holds up a package of "Mac and Sleeze") outside the box."

Saturday, November 05, 2011

A Call

I haven't posted about this before, but my husband has received a call from Messiah Lutheran Church in Waterloo, Ontario Canada.

We just got back from visiting there for a few days, and had a wonderful time with the members that we met. Jeff is continuing to deliberate. There has been so much to consider, but he has set November 13th as the day that he will announce his decision.

Please keep us, Zion, and Messiah in your prayers.

Thank you.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Interesting Communion Quote

Pastor Weedon had this posted this on his blog over three years ago, but I absolutely love the quote, which is from Johannes Bugenhagen, Martin Luther's pastor, and it describes their practice of allowing children to communion in the Reformation era:

"After this confession is made, also the little children of about eight years or less should be admitted to the table of Him who says, 'Suffer the little children to come unto Me.'" (Concordia Triglotta, p. 82)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Under Construction

Yes, I'm messing around with the template. Unfortunately, in my earlier posts, I'd messed around with the font colors, and what I didn't know, is when I change templates, it doesn't change the ones that I had deliberately coded differently. That means that when I change a template, some of these posts are very difficult to read or completely invisible.

Big mess.

So I'm trying to find an option that will keep those things visible.

In the meantime, sorry. This really looks awfully bland to me.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Homeschooling and Structure Revisited...again and again and again

When we started homeschooling when Chris was five, I didn't answer the phone during the time I'd set aside for lessons. Nothing interfered, and we went through what we were supposed to and got it done. Sometimes while rocking in a hammock in the backyard, but we got it done.

I remember seeing a title of a book called "Homeschooling is About the Baby." I think it was locally produced But what the author was trying to say is that homeschooling is about life, life has interruptions, and when someone needs you, that comes before a textbook. So things went on hold and worked around naps after we had Maggie. When we moved here, we took a long time to get back into any kind of structure.

We have always been a late to bed, late to wake up family. In some ways this has hurt us, but fighting against that too hard made it more difficult. Though there have been times that I have tried.

My perfectionism also has gotten the best of me, and sometimes I drove myself during times that my kids needed a break, or I did...and regretted it later. And this has led to the other extreme...doing almost nothing.

I have found that sometimes these nothing times, where my children pursued their own interests have been some of the times that they learned the most, and sometimes the very thing that I was pulling my hair out trying to teach them.

For us, though, I think the answer is somewhere in the middle. I have a classical philosophy when it comes to homeschooling, but unlike many homeschoolers, it does not come out in a structured expression. Instead, having my children surrounded by classical ideas, in an environment that values history, literature, and the historical liturgy to a large extent creates a classically educated child. I've seen this in my unschooling friends.

However, I find if we don't have something, I feel like I am pulled around in many different directions, and I go just as nuts as if I am hyper-structured (its not pretty when I am hyper-structured). I think I am returning back to the Charlotte Mason fold.

Short lessons, living books (avoiding textbooks, for the most part...books that are devoted to a particular subject or range of subjects and are clearly written by someone who cares for the topic they are writing about), how things are related (Charlotte believed that education is the science of relations, not merely a conglomeration of separate topics) more emphasis on art and literature, narration to show that the children know the topics, these things have worked well for us in the past, here's hoping they do in the future.

I do struggle with incorporating art into our work, but I think it will help the kids if I figure out how to do it.

So now as the hyper-activity period of September and October wrap up and people stop wanting to socialize with each other and want to hide in their houses, looking at "doing school" becomes more practical.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

That Annoying Little "Commissioned Minister" Status

In the LCMS, we've always had a strong doctrine of what it means to be called. It was a term reserved for our clergy, our male clergy (we only have male clergy).

Ministers have certain protections under the tax system. They balance out the additional penalties that Ministers get because they are regarded as self-employed by the Social Security System, and therefore must pay the full 15%, and are regarded as employees by the IRS, and therefore get no tax breaks as self-employed.

Way back, the Synod decided to invoke the title "commissioned minister" upon our male teachers. Since they don't get paid well, and they have families to support, lets extend those benefits to them. Then, of course as female teachers became more prominent and didn't necessarily stop teaching just because they got married, and because it was sexist and the title was meaningless anyway -- it was extended to female teachers as well.

All of this goes against the good sense of reserving the title of Minister for the clergy. It confuses our doctrine. Since this has happened, the Office of the Ministry has lost some of the respect that it once had.

Now, because of the nebulousness of the "commissioned minister" title, an LCMS school teacher has opened the flood gates and given the Obama Administration exactly what they always wanted, the possibility of applying discrimination and employment laws to the Church. She signed a contract when she received a call as a "commissioned minister" but now argues that she really wasn't so that she can win a discrimination suit. I don't envy her health issues, and am not sure why the church school contracted another teacher instead of bringing in a long term substitute -- maybe one wasn't available, but they shouldn't have contracted a teacher to fill her position for the entire year. But the Obama Administration is using this as an opportunity to argue that the nondiscrimination laws are so unbiased that they need to be applied to church situations as well. Here's another story as well.

And...the school is closed down. They've partnered with another church, but these children are not hearing God's Word, and the battle is before the public eye. I'm sure Satan is happy.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I'm Better Than You (No, really, I'm SO not)

I have pretty strong opinions on many issues...and a lot of the positions that I take are not really mainstream.

I believe in natural birth and think the best place to be born, is probably home and with a midwife.

I chose a method called Attachment Parenting to raise my children -- family bed, child-led weaning, and I carried my infants around on my body in a sling, rather than using a stroller -- most of the time.

I also believe that raw milk and meat is better coming from grass-fed cows that get a lot of time out in the sunshine and fresh air. There is a significant difference in the nutrients of the products between grass-fed and grain fed cattle. Pasteurization destroys and alters nutrients, and changes the ratios so that the nutrients left may not be as useful to your body. And Vitamin A and D are replenished, but in forms your body can barely use, and are even suspected carcinogens. Not only that, when the fat is removed, these fat soluble vitamins are even less useful. You need fat to absorb vitamins. I could do a whole post on this.

Obviously, I feel strongly on these issues. I have done a LOT of research on these issues and have personal experience with them. As far as breastfeeding, I even underwent what amounts to two years of training to be a La Leche League Leader and certified lactation consultant. If I didn't feel strongly that "Breast is best" doesn't mean "its just a little bit better," I wouldn't have done that. I also wouldn't have nursed two children for a grand total of seven years combined.

Does this mean that I believe that you are inferior if you chose differently, if for some reason you couldn't, or if you didn't really think about the issues? No. Because in my life, it has taken me 40 years to get to this point, and I wasn't even there on some of the nutritional issues a year ago. And I know I'm not done yet.

Let me give you some examples:

Despite my birth beliefs, I have two children out of two who were born via c-section. The first because I didn't know any better, the 2nd, because after 32 hours of labor, they weren't going to let me go any farther. Things weren't happening according to their textbook at the hospital, where I could only deliver at, because there wasn't a midwife in L.A. at that point who could get a doctor to back her up if she did a home VBAC, despite the fact that the safety statistics are there.

Breastfeeding -- I didn't want to breastfeed. I only tried because I promised my husband I would give it six weeks, and he held me to that. And since my son was very allergic to cows milk and soy, it was a blessing that he did. But he was nipple-confused from the first time he received a bottle in the hospital, and it took almost 4 weeks to get him to nurse. I think the c-section made me determined. But he had four weeks on soy formula, throwing up all over the place and dealing with chronic constipation. The difference I saw in my son when he finally was a breastfed baby as opposed to a formula fed baby showed me that there really is a difference.

Nutrition -- we have eaten fast food at least three times this week, and despite my knowing that I was reacting poorly to wheat for years, I only managed to get off of it when it turned into full-blown celiac disease.

But that doesn't mean that I don't strongly believe that there is an ideal as to how something should be. And I know I generally don't reach it. I know most people don't. But that isn't going to stop me from posting articles or statements about what the ideal is. And I am not necessarily saying you should meet this ideal. I am putting information out there, in case you are interested in this topic, because I certainly am....and it is my blog (my facebook status, my mouth) :D

I get frustrated when people take it as "I didn't do this, so you are attacking me." No, generally the information that I put out there is citing something that is fact. If you didn't have a natural birth or breastfeed your child, I still know that you love your child, and if you missed out on those things (and I did) you still have MANY ways that you love your child. If you don't want to become a food hippie like me, I at least hope there is something you do that is good for yourself...that YOU are more interested in.

But in the end, through my research and experience, I believe strongly in these things. I wouldn't be sharing this information if I didn't believe strongly in these things. So my sharing them with you is not an attack, it is a gesture of love -- this matters to me. I hope it helps you. But it should be treated like any gift I would give you. If it doesn't help you, get rid of it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Socialization and Homeschooling

HT: The Elephant's Child, and of course, Indiana Jane herself.

One of the best statements I've seen on the "S" Word, by my friend Jane, and her kids are proof it works. I remembered it from a long time ago, but it deserves recirculation.

The Company You Keep

Is Facebook Down for You, Too?

Just wondering. All of a sudden everything disappeared a few minutes ago, and my cell phone is getting a couple of updates, but not a whole lot. When I try to go to my page....nothing.

I've spent the day kind of defending Facebook's right to make changes. I can't say that I LIKE the changes, especially once I realized that I was getting updates on Friends commenting on their Friends' comments. Who needs that?

So I started editing what would be in my feed, person by person as they popped up. Then all it would say is (for instance) "Indiana Jane shared a link" That's even WORSE.

Many people commented on how Facebook is a free service. That's not exactly true (and I'd just got done saying this when it shut maybe I'm just paranoid). Facebook isn't free. It makes a HUGE amount of money. And the product that they offer is US. They sell the information we give them, our links to our friends, our regional connections, and yes, now even the data off our cell phones. And they also advertise TO us (unless you have Adblock, which I love). We are their commodity, and they need to keep us happy in order to keep us on Facebook and not somewhere else, like, say our personal blogs.

The image that comes to mind, and maybe its fairly apt, is the human farms in Matrix. Remember when the evil cyber-agent dude said when they made it too perfect, people couldn't handle it and died? Maybe they do like to shake it up because in the end, we do need change and trouble every once in a while. And believe me, Facebook knows that with each change, people get upset for a few days and adjust. If they don't change every once in a while, something else will come along and steal us away, or we'll grow bored. If they do change a bit, they'll get some complaints, but we will settle down. But if it is too much -- then it will stay upsetting to people, and they'll go over to Google Plus, spend more time on Twitter, blog, or actually go hang out with their family, which is what I am going to do now.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Dinner last night was brought to you by our garden! Woohoo. Well, some of it.

Until the garden has finished up, I am not resigning myself to giving up nightshades yet. I planted a whole bunch of heirloom tomatoes and they are just too FUN to ignore.

Serrano and jalapeno peppers, along with some of the tomatoes went into a really kickin' salsa. The peppers were picked a while ago so were partially dried, which means spicy. I love my salsa to bite back, but it took way fewer peppers to make that happen this time.

The salsa was there to provide ornament to -- Paleo Pork Tacos.

I took some of the pork that I had cooked and froze, and cooked it back up with onions, garlic, and apple cider vinegar. Then instead of taco shells, we used romaine lettuce leaves as taco shells...just put the toppings of tomatoes, raw cheddar, and salsa on the spine and folded it length-wise. It was more popular, even among the Paleo-resistant, than the organic corn taco shells.

Oh, and we finally harvested a watermelon. It was amazing.

I only wish the avocados were ripe.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pumpkiny Goodness

I was greatly afraid that powdery mildew and squash bugs were going to get my pumpkins before they got ripe. Fortunately, I chose a type of sugar pumpkin this year that ripened a lot earlier than previous types. The plants are withered and dead, but the pumpkins just made it.

The pumpkin harvest is here, and they look beautiful. I have started processing them two by two. I learned a valuable tip last year in processing pumpkins -- well, two really. First of all, its a lot easier to wait until AFTER they are roasted to get out all the stringy stuff and the seeds (unless you are purposely wanting to roast those separately). This year hasn't been as much of an issue, because the sugar pumpkins this year actually are REALLY easy to seed. Secondly, the crock pot is a magnificent way to roast pumpkins. I just break them up into quarters and put two of them in my six quart crock pot and set it for twelve hours. When its done, I can pull them out, let them cool a little bit, take off the stringy layer with a swipe of my spoon, and then measure out the remaining pulp into 1 cup increments, baggie by baggie.

Voila...then they are ready to be pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin soup, and maybe even some pumpkin juice, Harry Potter style :D

Just a Thought on Men and Women

For my class assignment, one of the discussion questions was related to the difference in pay that men and women still receive for doing the same job. I can't remember exactly how it was phrased.

When I am out in the workplace, I am generally in fields that there really aren't many men. My work is generally either in field interviewing, which requires me to go to people's houses and administer the questionaires for social science research; or in social work. My most recent position was as a QMRP (Qualified Mental Retardation Professional) and co-manager of a group home for the developmentally disabled. Out of 30 of us in group home management, there were 4 guys. These guys manage the homes with the most challenging clients.

Both fields that I spend my time in have repercussions for men. They can be accused of things. They often are not wanted. In field interviewing, many people will let a woman into their home who would be very hesitant to let in a man. In group homes, many guardians express discomfort with men caring for the personal needs of female clients. Many men don't want to be put in that position because they don't want to get accused of something, either.

When I look at the way I parent my kids as opposed to the way my husband does, I am WITH my kids, whereas my husband DOES things with them, far more often. He's the one that takes them hiking, plays video games with them, teaches them physical skills, coaches their teams...I'm not saying that women can't do things like that, but this dynamic is more common. It's also not true that my husband can't nurture my kids or just be with them, but I fill that role more readily.

In the same way, men in direct care are an asset because they are usually itching to get out and do things with the clients. When we have a house full of female staff, they focus on "I have to get the food made, the meds done, chores done, the showers done, and get everyone ready for bed." Come to think of it, that's pretty much how I think of my days at home with my kids, too - its often a list of one thing after another. The guys...they speed through those things, because they want to go out and DO something with the clients, and that is an incredible asset that is being missed out on because there are fewer guys in this field, and while most would consider it sexist -- I can completely understand paying them more in order to keep them on staff. Same with the men who are field interviewing because they can take the few men who don't feel comfortable being asked personal questions by women, and they have to put up with a lot of refusals.

But also, these careers used to be male-dominated. You almost never heard of women taking care of the mentally disabled. Door to door anything used to be entirely male. Now, take a look at the numbers of women getting college educations as opposed to men. In another fifteen years, the issue of pay equality will be a non-issue because there are going to be so few male professionals at all.

I had a pastor tell me one time that the reason why he had male acolytes and male ushers is because it the females started doing it, it would be all females doing it, because the guys wouldn't do it anymore. I do see that in many places in the church. Male Sunday School teachers are few and far between anymore, male school teachers are more rare as well. There are fewer male elders serving where female elders are allowed to serve, where women are allowed to be readers, etc. (and there are theological problems with women filling these roles as well). Once you have a church where men do not have specified place, you often have a female dominated church in almost all areas of service.

I have no clue where I am going with this...its just a few thoughts that I've been entertaining, so do with them what you will.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sharing an Insight into Pastors

I thought this was a very good insight into caring for pastors. I know many (most?) pastors very well who have no clue what their congregations think of them. While they may still serve according to their conscience and with all their heart, it doesn't make it easy.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


I just realized that when I changed my wallpaper, it left some of my posts unreadable. I will try to correct that next week, especially the ones in the sidebar.

Pastoral Care

A very good article by Pastor Torkelson at Prairie Pastor.

I think I'll be reading more of him.Link

Monday, September 05, 2011

The Eighth Commandment and Theological Discussion

In my 19 years since I returned to Lutheranism, and this time to Confessional Lutheranism, I have pretty much been constantly surrounded by pastors, theology students, and other very devoted laymen. I've been in live discussion groups (as in, actually WITH real people), on email lists, in the blogosphere, and on Facebook. And one question has plagued me the whole dang time:

How come the Eighth Commandment doesn't apply to theological discussion?

I'll break this down into other questions to clarify --

Why is it okay to basically assume that a person is not "solid" until they have proven otherwise?

Since when is it considered perfectly acceptable by some to openly mock someone, just because we don't agree with their doctrine or practice?

Who actually believes that someone will be open to change in their doctrine or practice when they are being ridiculed for what they are doing now? Why should they take guidance from you when you are treating with disdain something that matters very much to them (right nor not)?

If someone shares a quote or an idea over lunch or by email because they think it is interesting or sweet, is it good manners to pick apart the phrasing to show how theologically inadequate the statement is? In the end, even without the best confessionally-correct choice of words, you probably knew what was intended, and so does everyone else; so why cause frustration?

When did orthodoxy stop becoming a journey that we sinners are all traveling toward? When did it become a competition?

When you point out your brother-in-Christ's flaws, Are you really trying to correct him out of love for him? Is it his well-being that you are seeking, or are you seeking to make a good theological point? Are you really the best person to address the issue, or do you think there is a better way to bring about repentance and reform? Are you willing to respectfully walk him through the issue that has drawn your attention, or do you just want to point out the fault and move on?

Don't get me wrong, I know there are certain issues that should be corrected, but there are plenty of statements made by your average Joe that can go either way; and while they may not be phrased quite right, they still don't do any harm. In these situations, it is just more civil to assume that it is meant in the best possible way. After all, most of us don't expect to face the Spanish Inquisition over an "interesting" link on Facebook (NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition).

We also need to be careful because in these discussions, we might completely miss what our brother is saying when our own "issues" get triggered. Sometimes the person is just sharing their love for Jesus and actually didn't intend to bring up the issue of sovereignty or Arminianism at all (as examples).

We are called by Christ to love each other. Jesus bore with a whole lot from His disciples, and only corrected things that were terribly crucial. Really, He ignored a lot of the nonsense, and when He did find need to correct, He generally did so with gentleness. The "Get Behind Me Satan" response is not appropriate just because someone shares an inspirational quote that gets in your craw. Jesus reserved this treatment for Peter's denying the need for the cross.

This is not talking about true theological error. However, before we open our mouths, we should ask ourselves whether or not we are truly being loving, especially in a public forum. We should ask ourselves if this is worth hurting someone's feelings or causing a lot of exasperation. Important theological issues are definitely worth it, because the person's well-being is at stake. But again, it might be better to address the topic privately or even go to the person's pastor for assistance if it is really concerning. If you find yourself getting actual pleasure from it, you probably should walk away, hang up the phone, or turn off your computer.

In the end, when we are discussing the very topic that is most dear to our humanity -- our relationship with our Creator (through Christ), it is important to remember that Christ died for the person that we are arguing with, and it is a pretty safe assumption that in our quest for theological purity, our Lord doesn't want us to forget that.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Bulk Cooking

Every once in a while, I come across programs for bulk cooking -- buying a month's worth of food, and cooking it all in one day and freezing it. Often, this is so much work that the recommendation is to do it with someone else, get the kids out of the house, kick the husband to the curb, and make sure to take that double dose of Zoloft or Tequila (not both, no matter how tempting it might be), and don't forget to hire a maid to handle the aftermath.

I've never really given these programs much more than a passing glance. Often the recipes are full of more processed foods than I am comfortable with, especially with my dietary restrictions. Not to mention, I don't really want to cook with someone else. I'm pretty elitist when I cook -- and also kind of grumpy. And for some reason, I just don't get around to eating dishes that I've cooked and frozen. And affording a months worth of food.....

Monday, I surprised my hubby by bringing into the house an "Every Day with Rachael Ray" magazine. He knows Rachael Ray hasn't been one of my favorite chefs for a long time (just think she's over-marketed, and her dishes on her t.v. show are never enough for a family of four, especially when one of those family members is a teenage boy). I don't mock her or least not like I do the skinny Italian chef (How can I believe her food is good when she clearly doesn't eat it?), or like the plastic Sandra HER I mock with her kitchen decorations that change EVERY episode.

But I digress.

The reason why I brought the magazine home is because it had a different take than I've seen on making meals for a month. Rather than making many different entrees, instead, it calls for preparing the ingredients -- Five different base ingredients that can be combined to make twenty different dishes. In the article, the building blocks were :

  • Pulled Pork -- 2 shoulder roasts that are seasoned, roasted, shredded, and frozen in 1 cup portions
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Roasted Veggies -- yep, roast Bell Peppers, onions, squash, garlic, etc. and then put in freezer bags to add to recipes later.
  • Pulled Chicken -- same idea as the Pulled Pork.
  • Rice Pilaf -- a large recipe of rice that also gets frozen and added to other recipes.
While I looked at a lot of the recipes offered (and the fact that I'm SUPPOSED to avoid tomatoes, peppers, and rice -- at least I'm working on that), most of them wouldn't fit my lifestyle, but I then looked at a lot of the recipes that I do make on a regular basis, and realized that I could really do something similar.

Roasting all of this stuff is not a bad way to go, because most of it can be cooked in the same oven, so actually, it saves some energy, too. I so love roasted vegetables, too!

These are my categories:

  • 4 Pulled Chickens -- because I use chicken in a LOT of soups and stews, not to mention it would be nice to have it around for salads and such , too. Once the bones are cleaned of meat, they'll be thrown into a stock pot to make chicken stock .
  • 1 Boston Butt Roast -- Not sure how much I'll need of this.
  • Roast Vegetables -- onions, garlic, beets, and squash. Oh, and cauliflower. LOTS of cauliflower (we use a lot, and Meijer has a good sale going on)
  • Hamburger mix for meatloaf and meatballs.
My pumpkins are ripe in my garden, I'll be doing a lot of roasting the meat of those and putting them in 1 cup freezer bag portions, too.

I'm embarking on this today, but not whole hog, so to speak. Probably enough to get me through a week and a half to two weeks, I hope.

I still have a week of work left, so I hope this helps (and I will probably divide it up into two evenings because of this, too). I want to ease into it , because if this IS a good idea, I don't want to kill myself over it so I don't do it at all.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I Could Never Homeschool.....

My boss said it to me the other day. "I could never homeschool. My kids would drive me NUTS." (If I had a nickel....)

Over the years, I generally respond "It's not as hard as you think." I realized that is all wrong. The reality is....actually, it is a lot harder than you think. maybe my six month break doing other work has given me a different perspective. Instead, I replied "Yeah. They would. I know mine have occasionally really gotten to me." (and I to them)

I didn't feel the need to elaborate on just how close to "nuts" I've been.

Homeschooling is hard. It can be VERY hard. And honestly, I think probably the easiest part is the teaching. The lessons and subjects, going through the curriculum. That's generally not hard at all.

It's the social isolation. Even when you belong to a co-op or a homeschool group and you have activities and park days, it can still be very difficult. When you homeschool, your life has a completely different flow than everybody else's. At times, its wonderful. I, for one, really don't like the pace of most lives. However, it still puts a person on the outside of the "norm." And the outside of the "norm" can be a lonely place to be. Sometimes it feels like I just don't sync with anyone else, and those I do sync with seem so far away.

I've homeschooled in a metropolis and in a small town. In a metropolis, your friends are spread out. Getting together has to be more structured. Neighborhoods don't really play a part in social life as much, because most everyone else is working. When you homeschool in a small town, there is a lot more of a tendency for life to revolve around the school, and there is a lot more personal pride in the school, because it is the only option. Choosing to homeschool rather than send your kids to the local school can be interpreted as a judgment on the school or on other parents. Homeschooling can isolate you from your community.

Not being able to leave your kids somewhere and participate in activities that grownups are participating in without kids is just not an option, at least not as much. That feels isolating.

Your kids aren't part of the daily life of the other kids, so they tend to be isolated when they participate in other activities like Scouts or 4-H.

I think most women who work don't necessarily do it out of job satisfaction or a that their jobs have a real purpose. I think it is because work creates a structured social sphere, and outside of work, that just doesn't exist in the community anymore. At the workplace, you can rely on your friends being there every day to talk with, lend support, provide help.

When our lives focus around our kids -- if their activities or interests change, or we decide to do something differently, then so do our social lives. I have three very close friends who I used to meet with on a weekly basis during seminary children's choir rehearsals. For years, it was the peak of our week. But as our kids had different things going on and our boys' voices changed, we fell away from that as our kids had other things to do. Something like that is hard to replace.

These things can drive a woman nuts. I honestly believe that humans aren't meant to be as socially isolated as we are in our daily lives. Modern technology is wonderful, but it also is isolating. I don't have to go to the well to gather water because I have indoor plumbing. Refrigerators and freezers eliminate the need for frequent gatherings at the market place, and air conditioning means that it is bearable to work in my house instead of on my porch during the scorching Summers. TV means I don't need to seek entertainment elsewhere. Easily accessing books means I am less likely to seek out forums for intellectual stimulation. We were meant to have the help of family, neighbors, and church brethren. Too often, we live too far away, don't know our neighbors, and are scared to show our weakness at church.

Has homeschooling my children been wonderful? Oh yeah. I LOVE having my kids home. I love being able to interact with them on a constant basis and hearing their thoughts and being a real part of their lives, not just a part of a few hours a day (which right now, is probably the hardest part of working. For the first time ever, my social need is being well-met, but my relationship with my kids feels distant. I can't wait to have that back). I adore being able to see the world open up for them. And I know that my involvement with their lives has turned them into a young man and ayoung lady that I am very proud of, and blown away that God has blessed me with the opportunity to be a part of shaping them. But there have been months at a time that have been laced with depression and tears.

Would I do it all over again? Yes. Absolutely. Would I recommend it to others? Definitely. But its not easy...and yes, your kids will drive you nuts--- seriously, painfully nuts.

What I have found in spending my days with moms who have their kids in daycare and at school. Their kids still drive them to the brink. However, what seems different between the relationships that I see with homeschooled kids and their parents and working parents is that I have a lot more influence over my kids than they do. My kids know where they stand with me (most of the time), and it matters to them. While my kids have friends, they don't matter to them the way they would if they were spending more waking hours with them than with me, so in general, repairing breaks in our relationship is easier. My kids are much more confident in their ability to have friends that like them for them, rather than needing to earn and seek their approval. It's my approval that they want, and while I may nag or get upset, they know that they have it. I am also less likely to back off on a problem that I think it is important because I have so little time with them. I've seen others do that because they don't want all their times with their kids be miserable. It hardly ever works. If there is a need for correction or even a conflict to happen, it just gets worse until it happens.

So the investment is worth it. By God's grace it is worth it. If you are homeschooling or are looking at homeschooling., God be with you. It's the hardest thing you'll ever do.

Monday, August 22, 2011

How are Things?

Honestly, things are pretty dang good.

I haven't had a moment to breathe, much less write....but things are good. I've been working, going to school, raising my children, and dealing with life. But they are good.

Things also are quieting down soon. The job is going. It was wonderful, terrific, and great-- other than being 45 hours a week, I can't imagine one better suited for me....but my other vocations call. And it is a different kind of stress realizing how much needs done and there ISN'T time, as opposed to not MAKING time.

And one thing I miss is blogging. For a while, I just couldn't blog. Then I didn't have anything to blog about. Then I had loads to blog about but no time.

But I will be back soon. :D

Thursday, July 07, 2011

No, No, NO!!!

I really hate that I think I feel better. I REALLY hate that I think I feel better.

Its been a long time since I talked about it, but I have celiac disease. When I found out, I decided to go Paleo, since I really didn't want to mess with gluten-free chemical experiments and cost, and because I just find it easier to do without starches than to tolerate substitutes. I know that some substitutes are pretty good, but I just don't have the desire to learn how to do them.

Paleo went really well. My one cheat was Chipotle, because Robb Wolf said "if you have to cheat, have corn and/or rice." I also would occasionally have Wendy's chili when I needed something fast. I also ignored the part where he said "if you have an autoimmune disease, you ought to avoid all grains, as well as dairy and nightshades." Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease, and I have tested positive at times for anti-thyroid antibodies. So that makes two. I'm pretty dang close to diabetes, as well, so probably not good to ignore...but I was having a hard enough time coping with the idea of no more wheat for the rest of my life. I really grieved what that meant culinarily as well as socially. It really is hard being the person who can't eat a whole bunch of stuff.

When I started working, these became much more regular, so really there was no way I could call my diet "Paleo" anymore, just gluten-free. And I started feeling it. And my weight stood still for the last four months.

Three days ago, Dr. Mercola emailed an article talking about chitin-containing lectins. Lectins are the reason why most grains aren't actually good for you...even sprouted grains. But these chitin-containing lectins are functionally identical to gluten. The body reacts the same way. No big deal...I don't eat most grains. But the problem is -- I do eat a ton of nightshades. Tomatoes, peppers, potatoes (I know...I'm not supposed to eat those potatoes!!!).

When I was body typed years ago, I was told to avoid nightshades. But I love them. When I went Paleo, I was told to avoid them. I've heard from many other sources to avoid them also -- and especially if I had joint pain, but I ignored it because they are my "go to" food. For some reason when I read it this time, it really hit home, but it also made me REALLY mad. So I made it a point to search the topic that wasn't Mercola-based, and unfortunately, I've found a ton.

I've pretty much been nightshade-free for three days, and already feel better, and I've lost three pounds....maybe some of that weight is inflammation going down.

But I'm still mad. I mean "shaking my fist at fate" mad.

Here's a non-Mercola article on the same subject:

I'm not posting this kind of stuff to guilt anybody...just to inform, because a lot of this stuff isn't mainstream, and as the article says -- maybe those who are taking glucosamine/condroitin and arthritis meds, etc. would be better served by eliminating grains and nightshades. And if you are better served for that... you have my complete empathy. It sucks.

Saturday, July 02, 2011


Yesterday, Maggie and I were driving up Clinton Road, and we saw a Smart Car driving next to us. What I found kind of out of place was that as we were checking it out (and mentioning Top Gear's opinion on them), the driver all of a sudden flicked his cigarette out of his sunroof!!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sermon Length

There is a great deal going on today about sermon length, and the discussions are going along the same lines as most Lutheran discussions go -- "If you don't agree with me, you're wrong."

Some are throwing out there that there is absolutely no reason for a sermon that goes longer than 10-12 minutes and what goes unsaid -- or worse, IS actually said, is that those who go over are poor preachers or poor pastors....and definitely NOT as good as the short sermon guy.

When reasons are given for why short sermons are best they tend to follow this:

1. People have had their attention spans trained by t.v. They can't really focus on a longer sermon because most shows are 30 minutes.

However, that's still a lot longer than 10-12 minutes. And you can say "but commercial breaks divide it up." But with the advent of DVRs, most people don't change channels or go to the restroom during commercials. They watch the whole thing and fast forward through the commercials. Not only that, the most popular shows are not 1/2 an hour, they are a full hour. People also have no problem watching movies that are longer than that. And really, the GREAT attention span trainer, the classroom, say the college lecture hall, goes 50 minutes.

What I also find ironic in this statement, is the very men who throw this one out frequently would completely BALK at having any other aspect of our superficial culture dictate how their service should be. They wouldn't dumb down the liturgy if people didn't understand it. They would instead say they need to be taught about it or get used to it.

2. There is a need to keep the service short -- to an hour.

I'm sorry, I used to be non-denominational, and while I didn't get a proper law-gospel sermon every week -- sometimes it was a lot of law, sometimes it was a lot of gospel, It wasn't unusual for the service to be over 2 hours long, and the sermon itself to be an hour or more. And we WANTED to hear it, to get all that we could out of it. And lest you say that's because it was "entertainment" theology, many strongly liturgical Orthodox services go two hours as well.

Maybe we need to focus on why people don't want to hear more than ten minutes of the very food of their faith, and help them to grow in this desire to hear God's Word through continued preaching and prayer.

But the reality is the criteria of a 10-12 minute sermon is nowhere in the Bible. In fact, there are plenty of examples of sermons going on for hours and hours. There is nothing in the Early Church tradition that lays this out as an ideal. And while we hear it proclaimed that "faith comes by hearing" there is nowhere that says the Holy Spirit works most efficiently in 10-12 minutes.

God called particular men to care for His flock, just as He called certain men to be prophets and apostles. And in the same way that God worked through these men in ways that were completely unique to their personalities, He still does that with pastors. All pastors should strive to be in the Word and continue to grow in their preaching. But this may not mean shorter. It should always mean staying truer to the text. And to a large extent, they should follow their own inclinations in preaching the text in the manner that allows them to feed their flock in the best way they know how. This may take 10 minutes, this may take 20. It used to not be unheard of for it to take far longer.

Each pastor has charge of his own flock. They know what their flock can handle, and they know what their flock is striving with. For another pastor or layman to judge his worth based on how short his sermon is, or whether he wears a chasuble or not, or a myriad of other things that have NOTHING to do with the proclaiming of the Gospel is shallow, simplistic, sinful, and downright nosy. It certainly is not following the 8th Commandment. It's like looking at your friend's wife's butt and comparing it to yours to be reassured that your wife is better. Your wife is simply better because she is the wife God gave you, and you have no business looking, and no business judging on her worth on the basis of her derriere. Judging a sermon or a preacher or a congregation by the timer is akin to that.

Are you truly caring for your own flock so efficiently that you have all this time to worry about other people's flocks on issues that the Bible and our confessions say nothing about?

There are many good sermons that are 8-10 minutes long. There are more bad ones. There are many excellent sermons that are longer. There are also many horrid ones. But the Holy Spirit promises to work through the preaching of the Word, and He doesn't limit himself to a timer.

Those Were the Days

I find I REALLY am missing the days when the Lutheran Blogosphere was a good and friendly place to share ideas. It was civil. It was fun. Now I am barely ever even motivated to read it, and terrified to write about anything.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Introverts Unite...Seperately, Quietly....

I thought this was a really good article and wanted to share it.

Caring for Your Introvert

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Take Up Your Cross....

Christ Carrying the CrossImage via WikipediaOf course I'll take up my cross and follow you, Lord.

But Lord, this one in particular, its too hard....can I have an easier cross? Mine's a little rough.

If I could design the cross I would carry (not to presume anything), it wouldn't look like this cross.

What about carrying it THIS way? I'm not sure that the other way is the best way to carry it.

Can I carry it over here, Lord? I really don't want to go over there. Over here is kind of a nicer place.

I've been carrying this cross for a while Lord. Can I have a break? Can I stop now? Can I carry a different cross?

I know that others have heavier crosses, but this one is too much for ME.

Thank you, Lord, for dying on the cross and rising again for me. Because I'm a wimp, Lord, and I think I can do it better my way, and I kick and scream and whine all the way, just like the Children of Israel. Thank you for your loving patience, and for your forgiveness.Enhanced by Zemanta

What the Seminaries Should Actually Tell Candidate Wives...

This is excellent. I was one of those women who got married just before vicarage and then worked after we got back to Fort Wayne, but I can still say - yes, this is right on the money.

What the Seminaries Should Actually Tell Candidate Wives Instead of all the Overblown and Unnecessary Stuff They Do Tell Them.

Please read the comments. What Anonymous says is also very beautiful

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Wedding Thought

"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.....And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. " Philippians 1:3-6, 9-11 ESV

This is our wedding text. I remember when we picked it, I chose the New American Standard Version, because NIV and New King James didn't say "partnership." They said "fellowship." I was marrying a guy who was studying to be a pastor, maybe even a missionary. We were partners in that.

I was even a little ticked that the pastor focused his sermon on the prayer, rather than on the first part, the partnership, the journey we were embarking on together. That's why I chose it. That's what a marriage is, isn't it? Instead he went through the gifts that God would give and how He would sustain us and sanctify us. I didn't like that I was irritated about that. But I was.

The irony was, I chose not to say "obey" in our vows because I felt the weight of the Law in that. The Lutheran Worship text said "regard as the I regard Christ" and I was fine with that. After all, I try to obey Christ. I was concerned others wouldn't understand what I meant if I said "obey," and I knew what a huge failure I would be at trying to keep that vow. I'm a stubborn, untrusting soul, and I know it.

Looking back now, if I had any common sense, the word "partnership" would've freaked me out way more than "obey."Because you want to talk about not being able to keep least the way I intended it, and it is that word. I've turned my back on that concept so many different times its amazing. And it is only by the grace of God that we are still married, happily married.

Understanding the doctrine of the Divine Call, I am happy not to be a partner in the ministry. But I turn my back on the things I should do often enough, and cause pain frequently. I often sin in expecting my husband to be a more perfect partner than I am.

The one thing I can say looking back over the last sixteen years is that Pastor Barth was right. The prayer is where the emphasis should've been. There's the promise. Christ is bringing the good work He began in us to completion, though it will not be complete until He returns. Over the years, we have grown in love, knowledge, and discernment together, in ways we didn't even think at the time that we needed. And Christ is certainly our righteousness. We could not stand before God at all without being clothed in Christ. It was a solid promise that Christ was and is sustaining our union.

I am so blessed to have my husband, and I don't deserve him in the least -- as I don't deserve ANY of the blessings that God has so richly blessed me with.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Holy Spirit and Liturgy

Pastor Rick Warren at Saddleback Church.Image via WikipediaI follow Rick Warren on Twitter. Probably a mistake. Most of what he posts is pretty inconsequential. Occasionally, he's right on. Every once in a while, way off base.

The night before last he tweeted: "You cannot choreograph the Holy Spirit. Pentecost never happens in a completely scripted worship service."

Usually, he takes the position that different people need different "worship styles." This statement however seemed like a direct attack on the liturgy, and since this statement is often how non-liturgical Christians seem to perceive the liturgy, it seemed worth addressing. defines liturgy as:
  1. a form of public worship; ritual
  2. a of formularies for public worship.
  3. an arrangement of services.
  4. a particular form of the Eucharistic service.
  5. the service of the this service (Divine Liturgy) in the Eastern Church.
It's an order of worship. Something that is basically done every time. Loosely speaking, the nondenominational church that I went to when I was eighteen had a liturgy -- half an hour of music, an hour of sermon, fifteen minutes of music, altar call, another ten minutes of worship. (Yes, Lutherans, that's a two hour service, and I did say an hour sermon). Really, it was very scripted, and everyone there fully expected the Holy Spirit to do His job.

Every church has some amount of scripting. Even Joel Osteen's opening "This is my Bible. I am what it says I am. I have what it says I have. I can do what it says I can do. Today I will be taught the word of God. I boldly confess my mind is alert, my heart is receptive; Ill never be the same. In Jesus name, God bless you " is in this sense, liturgical.

In the Lutheran Church, we go by a liturgy that is generally in the hymnal. It is similar to the Catholic mass and has developed through the historic worship traditions of the Church. We have thrown out any practice that was against the teachings of Scripture. What it is, really is a constant flow of Bible verses being either recited, sung, or chanted back and forth between the pastor and congregation.

The liturgy follows a progression. First, we invite God into our presence with the Invocation : "In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." These are the words said at our baptisms -- the name of the Triune God -- our claim to the right to be in His presence, because we were made one in Christ through that baptism. It reminds us that God has promised us this.

Then, being in God's presence, which makes us aware of our sinfulness, we confess our sins through a corporate confession, and the pastor absolves us of our sins. Then, we launch into prayer that God provides for us (Introit) and the Hymn of Praise. Being forgiven, we can go to God in all confidence and expect that He will sustain His church and we can praise Him for the gifts He has given us. Then we hear His word through the readings, confess our faith together through the Apostles or Nicene Creed, and hear God's Word preached to us. Then, having been fed through His Word, we bring Him our gifts out of what He has given us, we bring our concerns to Him through the prayers of the Church, and then we prepare to receive His Body and Blood, where the Holy Spirit feeds us, sanctifies us, and sustains us. Then the pastor blesses us and sends us back out into the world. Interspersed in the service are hymns.

There is often criticism that a liturgical worship takes the brains and heart out of the worship. There are times I've felt that, too. But in reality, there are hundreds of Bible verses being said there. We are being nurtured there. By saying them over and over again, they are entering our hearts. Sometimes we don't realize this is happening. But God promises us that He works through His Word...whether we feel fully conscious of it or not. For " all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

It doesn't matter if you've said it before. Bring it into your heart and meditate on it. Learn it by memory. Scripted does not mean less authentic. In fact, it often means more authentic. It is harder to error when we are using the very inspired words of God, and the words and worship that The Church has used through the centuries.

The verb definition of "worship" is "to render religious reverence and homage to; to feel an adoring reverence or regard for (any person or thing)."

Often, Christians tend to focus on the nature of the 2nd part of that definition -- what we feel. And when we pay this reverence, we focus on what makes us feel that way, rather than what actually conveys reverence to the receiver. In our casual days, we have often eliminated our dress as conveying reverence, what we say, how we act (bowing, folding hands, refraining from conversation) are less important than the fact that we feel warmth, awe, etc. We lift up our hands rather than get down on our knees. We choose music that we enjoy, rather than music that conveys any sense of form or formality. And we focus on whether it matters to us, whether we think we need it. We look at traditions and because we don't understand them and weren't taught what they mean, we decide they don't matter, rather than seeking their meaning before we decide that, even though the Church throughout history has chosen to observe that tradition. We can even go so far as to say things that are in Scripture don't matter to God -- whether the pastor is male or female, married or not, homosexual or heterosexual.

We tend to view worship as something WE do. So in worshiping God, we are giving a piece of ourselves as we are. The historic view of the Lutheran Church and other confessional church bodies has actually been the opposite. The Sunday liturgical service is called "The Divine Service" not because it is a church service having to do with God, but because through the liturgy, the preaching, and Holy Communion, God is coming into our presence and SERVING us. Through these divine things (and I am defining the liturgy as divine because it is composed of Scripture), the Holy Spirit comes to us, assures us of our forgiveness, nurtures us, strengthens us, and sanctifies us. Our praise is the response to this, but the entire focus of the service is what God is doing for us.

That is also why the historic view of the church service is that the worship service is for the believer. What Pastor Warren is also failing to see in this statement is that the miracle of Pentecost did not happen in the church service, it happened in the streets. And as soon as the Holy Spirit created believers of the masses of people who heard the apostles preach, He then caused them to gather in Solomon's Portico to worship, learn, and strengthen each other -- to become a congregation.

Christ promised us that the Holy Spirit works through the Word and the Sacraments. Administering the Word and Sacraments are most often scripted. And whether it is loosely scripted or strongly scripted, if the Word and the Sacraments are there, He is working to create and strengthen faith in those who hear.

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Monday, January 17, 2011


(cross-posted on both blogs)

* Do you spend more than 3 hours a day thinking about your diet?
* Do you plan your meals several days ahead?
* Is the nutritional value of your meal more important than the pleasure of eating it?
* Has the quality of your life decreased as the quality of your diet has increased?
* Have you become stricter with yourself lately?
* Does your self-esteem get a boost from eating healthily?
* Have you given up foods you used to enjoy in order to eat the 'right' foods?
* Does your diet make it difficult for you to eat out, distancing you from family and friends?
* Do you feel guilty when you stray from your diet?
* Do you feel at peace with yourself and in total control when you eat healthily?

(from: Lisa's Life Lessons)

There are a lot of questions about this list that come to mind, chiefly who made it? There are a lot of corporations out there that would benefit from converting a solid concern with eating healthy into a disorder.

There are two questions that define a disorder (According to Dr. Winter, my Psy 101 prof - the only man ever who has managed to get me up, alert, and interested on a consistent basis at 8 a.m.). These questions listed above don't facilitate getting good answers to the two key questions.

First of all -- is the behavior abnormal? And by abnormal, it means, does it deviate from the norm. In our culture, I'd say "normal" is pretty wide, because there are certainly subcultures that would support and uplift this thinking and behavior. While in the overall culture, eating organic and going out of the way to seek healthy foods and avoid harmful ones is abnormal, one cannot overlook the cultural system that the person is in.

This leads to the second question -- is the behavior deviant? That is, does it keep the person from functioning in a healthy manner? The question about socializing with family and friends probably comes closest to assessing that. But again, if the person does have social support, eating healthily helps the person feel good about himself, and it is feeding the person's body with nutritious substances, then it probably does not fall under deviant, even if more than four questions can be answered "yes." The one about feeling guilty is another one that looks like it could assess for deviancy, however, it doesn't measure degree of guilt (from "dang, shouldn't have eaten that" to utter despair), and how that guilt effects the person's overall functionality. It's misleading.

A person can be so obsessed with how they eat that it does get in the way of their functioning, but I have seen this already used across the board to describe people who care about eating real food, who go against the mainstream diet, yet manage to hold jobs, raise their families, and enjoy life -- and make enjoying that food a significant part of it.

For most of the history of humankind -- devoting a good deal of our energy toward what we will eat has been central to existence. Being able to open a few packages and have something whipped up in twenty minutes, or to pull into a drive thru is NOT normal, anthropologically speaking. Being able to do this together, and to enjoy these things together is a core part of what community has been about through most of the history of people. And when we look at how food is raised now (See Michael Pollan's book, The Omnivore's Dilemma), what it is doing to our environment, and what it is doing to our own bodies and health...if you asked a cultural anthropologist, it would be pretty clear which is deviant.

Some of the questions describe healthy behavior. Any organizational expert, chef, etc. will tell you that making a menu before you shop for groceries is healthy. It also saves you money.

And what about self-esteem for eating well? Watch food commercials, read magazine articles in women's magazines -- We are conditioned to feel good about making good food decisions. We're supposed to want to feel good about eating right. And listen to all the talk about obesity and overeating-- there certainly is conditioning in our culture for obsessing about what we eat and feeling bad about it.

Another important question is "why?" For instance, as of two months ago, I could answer yes to several of these questions. I have celiac disease. I've really had a hard time adjusting to the idea of it, and I certainly can say my that my quality of life has gone down. I don't eat at restaurants I used to love, I don't cook the foods I used to love to cook, and I get to lie to people about how good the cookies were that they gave us for Christmas.

But which would truly be the disorder -- to keep eating in a way that was destroying me and was severely hindering my function, or to be able to eat at McDonalds whenever I wanted?

What they also fail to evaluate in this is when a person CHANGES, it takes all their energy to focus on that change until new habits develop. And sometimes, the way we focus on things that matter to us does separate us from those we love.

It doesn't seem to be anything new to me -- as someone who chose staying at home instead of working, driving one car (to save money), family bed, extended breastfeeding, homeschooling, and even marrying a pastor -- my life is full of decisions that have separated me from my friends and family for something that I felt was more important.

One thing to note here -- trying to eat healthy in a counter-cultural way has been around for a long time, and despite the "disorder" language used here, orthorexia is not included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IVTR, (DSMIV-TR), nor are they planning on including it in the DSM V. If the person's obsession with food is truly inhibiting their function, it often will fit under a diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or one of the existent eating disorders. This has all the marks of a propaganda movement on the part of the food industries, because in the end, you're not an obsessive foodie if you eat low fat Dannon yogurt and Special K cereal all the time. You're an obsessive foodie if you decide you want something other than what is in the grocery store.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Homeschooling Article, Local Style

My friend Linda was interviewed for a homeschooling article for our local paper: "A Lifestyle of Learning."

The Temmes are an amazing family. Pastor Temme is in my husband's circuit, and our kids have been in choir together for years. I was so thrilled they were interviewed for this and wanted to pass it on.

Also, a little feedback on the article is due, not with anything Linda said, but with some other things mentioned. Often homeschoolers are portrayed as having to really have their acts together in order to pull this off. Since I lean toward the very unstructured side of things, I took a bit of an issue with Mr. Tenney's statement about "Get organized or die." We seem to get things done pretty well using the "by gosh and by golly" method. I find that while we all may have some faults that make homeschooling harder on ourselves, what tends to work best is something that's compatible with the way you and your family relate to the world, and that "delicate balance of structure and getting things done" tends to fit into that.

But you don't have to be really organized to homeschool your children, and it doesn't have to absorb your entire day (teaching one-on-one goes very quickly because you know whether they get it or not, and so much of classroom time is just absorbed in group management). So if it is something you are considering, know that these are issues that can be worked around. There are so many different approaches to homeschooling, and what is "legitimate" for your family may be completely different for someone else's.

What the mother mentioned about the needs of her sixteen month old coming first is right on. One of the things about homeschooling is that the children are learning in the midst of life, they haven't been pulled out of real life in order to learn...and the truth about real life is that when a little one needs love, that comes first. It's a really good lesson to teach kids -- to learn to function in the midst of life, to be able to suspend what they need for others. And when things are taken care of, we return to the routine.

Also, there are MANY reasons that families homeschool. You don't have to be religious or have that as your main priority. Many people of many different religions (or who have none at all), choose to homeschool their kids all the time. You can be liberal or conservative politically, or not even give a whoop.

The article is right. There are SO many different resources out there that whatever your reasons or needs for homeschooling, you are very likely to find something to meet it. Quite often, as a Lutheran, I find I have more theological problems with many of the religious curricula out there, I have a tendency to look at secular curricula, but freely discuss how our beliefs flow through what we are studying, and use the Bible, the Small Catechism, and the Book of Concord often. When your faith flows through your life, and prayer, devotions, etc. have their proper place, it is easy to bring them into everything else.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Together We Thrive?

Why "Together We Thrive?" How about "Together We Mourn?"

What is so wrong with grieving? What is wrong with being angry, searching for meaning? Why do we have to go right to a place of strength, jump to a place of "hope?"

Why do there have to be t-shirts?

I'm not trying to be snide, picky, or mean. Really, I'm not. This just doesn't seem right. Tragedy shouldn't have an upbeat slogan. People who are grieving shouldn't feel compelled to cheer up. The message of hope in the eulogy shouldn't be about how strong WE are, when we've just been shown how truly weak we are.

I don't know...this just seems really...I don't know. The only words that come to mind are askew and incongruent. Hardly words that fit, either.

Cough, Cough, Hack, Sniffle, Sigh

EVERYONE in the house is sick, and it hasn't been some minor cold, either. It went Maggie, Me, Chris, and Jeff. Usually either Jeff gets sick first or I get sick first, but then one is pretty much recovered. Not this time. The kids were sleeping on the pull out beds in the living room because they could barely move, and we were often isolated in our bedroom because there was no room in the living room. Coughs, sneezing, draining, exhaustion, fevers, chills, and a bit of nausea has been the norm. It's been a long time since something has hit us this hard.

While I would be very overdramatic to say that it compared to the time when everybody in the Ingalls family got sick in Little House on the Prairie (you know...the time Ma thought it was watermelon that got them sick?), this did make me think about what it would be like to have everybody in the house really sick and have animals to take care of...because getting out to feed the rabbits has been hard enough. I can't imagine what it would be like back in the day to be sicker than this, and have horses to feed or cows to milk.

Maggie and I are only left with a bit of stuffiness and a cough. Jeff is sounding better, but his went into bronchitis almost right away. Chris is the one kind of still in the midst of it.

Monday, January 03, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

I'm generally not big on New Year's Resolutions, but this year, I do have a few, since it is my last year in my 30's. They are all pretty much related.

1. I am going to exercise at least three times per week. We gave ourselves the Wii Fit Balance Board for Christmas, and we are all having fun with that. I see that as really helping through these next few Winter months. It keeps track of goals, work out sessions, etc. And as a mother, I really admire its skill with guilt trips.

That being said, Wuhu Island is fabulous, and I want to move there.

2. I want to move my bedtime up, at least to 11:30. I know 10 p.m. would be better, but right now that is a HUGE change. I am convinced that my body still operates on Pacific Time. Here, even seven years later, I still go to bed 3 hours later than in California, and wake up about 3 hours later. I've read that some people just don't have the ability to adjust to time zones, especially over several, and continue with health problems until they return to their home time zone. I hope that is not me.

3. 30 pounds (45 total) by my 40th birthday. That's not my final destination - about half way to my final goal. 30 pounds puts me at a place where I was at least a lot more functional and content with my body than I am now. I wasn't snoring, my cycles were regular, and I could fit into clothes I actually liked.

In the end, my goal is to be healthier, not perfect. Not being able to eat grains or sugar has made a huge difference toward those ends. But with all that I've given up recently...I'm definitely skipping out on the "giving up something for Lent" this year. There's nothing left except sex.

So, do you have any resolutions? I'd love to hear them.