Archive for October 2011

A CHILD OF THE KING LOOKS FOR THE KINGDOM

October 31, 2011

What complex, unfathomable, hard-to-tame minds we have!    

  Yesterday we celebrated Christ the King and the probable 7 billionth person born on the planet.    The conclusion of my blogging these past days is we’re all beloved children of the King;  we’re all Number #1 on this planet.  “God loves me best!!”    (And you too!)   We should always feel “happy.”       You’d think.

Thanks to God this truth doesn’t depend upon our daily “successes” or our emotional states.      All this year I have been adjusting to the New Normal, that is, life without Hubbie.

Each day has been like Falling into the Future, searching for that New Normal.      Funny thing is, the New Normal is kind of fragile sometimes.        Take a look around you.    Identify and enjoy the good things in your present Normal.      Things tend to happen to Normal.

Sometimes you get used to the Falling into the Future, until the little anniversaries trip you up.   October 31 is the last “date” that Hubbie and I had together, the last time we went out just to do fun things.        So I don’t feel like a “carefree” happy child of the King today.

Then there was yesterday, a silly little thing that dimmed my bright idea.   No sooner did I try to “eat like our King” might have, in the Middle East, 2,000 years ago,  as I reported in yesterday’s posting,  than I found out I didn’t like that food very much.

(Fixed that problem with an evening steak, shared with Son, who also prefers a good steak to fluff-awful and bubba’s genough from Middle Eastern cuisine. )     Know yourself and be who you are!!

From the things of worldwide significance to the personal, and from the important life tasks to the silly ideas,  our minds are loaded sometimes with a multitude of complex  thoughts that grab our attention.

I think that’s okay.    Each of us who follow Christ is a Child of the King, but each of us daily pray “Thy Kingdom come…”       We still live on this Earth, in this, our lifetime, in all our complex circumstances.

There is a beautiful old song about this.   If you have a moment, check out the lyrics, ( and look up the song on YouTube).

I’m a child of the King,
 A child of the King:
 With Jesus my Savior,
 I’m a child of the King.

My Father’s own Son, the Savior of men,
Once wandered on earth as the poorest of them;
But now He is pleading our pardon on high,
That we may be His when He comes by and by.
I’m a child of the King,
 A child of the King:
 With Jesus my Savior,
 I’m a child of the King.

I once was an outcast stranger on earth,
A sinner by choice, an alien by birth,
But I’ve been adopted, my name’s written down,
An heir to a mansion, a robe and a crown.
I’m a child of the King,
 A child of the King:
 With Jesus my Savior,
 I’m a child of the King.

A tent or a cottage, why should I care?
They’re building a palace for me over there;
Though exiled from home, yet still may I sing:
All glory to God, I’m a child of the King.

I’m a child of the King,
 A child of the King:
 With Jesus my Savior,
 I’m a child of the King.

(Words by Harriet Buell,  1877)

SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA

October 30, 2011

King's Food?

I LOVE today’s Feast Day –   it’s the day Christendom (where it exists) sets aside to honor Christ the KIng!  Christ as King.  Christ the King.

  We are not lost orphans!

We do have a King who has rightful authority over us, and with His benignity,  longanimity, and long-suffering mercy,  we can be sure He is a King who knows what’s best for us.     Submission to this King, therefore, brings – paradoxically –  liberty!!

He came to Bethlehem and to Calvary  at the appointed time to accomplish His actual reign among us;   and He will come again to claim what is His own some day.

So….well…..in between  His  First and Second  Coming  we acknowledge and follow and honor and worship the King, and  commune with Him often.    I can do all that gladly.    Today, though, I wanted to enhance the experience.   What a  nice way to honor the King if I could eat like He did, so long ago….I would share the food that he could have eaten when He was here on earth.      On my way home this morning I stopped in at our local Middle Eastern cafe.

Stuffed grape leaves.   Baba ghanouj.   Yougurt salad.  Assorted almonds and tomatoes.

I thought I liked all that.   It seemed like such a good idea.   But, surprisingly …. not too wonderful on my tongue.       It was bitter and sour and slightly too tart.    Un-locatable meat.

I tried to imagine myself somewhere in the Middle East, cooking and eating…that.

The King must have appointed me to be a Child of the Far North.    For 13,000 years, my taste buds have been developed in the cold north….the northern shore of the Baltic Sea, specifically…(according to an actual DNA search.)

    These are taste buds for cod;  smelt;  herring;   trout;   eel;  whale;  elk;  reindeer;  and the occasional mastodon.    Type O blood, you know.     Our vegetables are roots.  Our fruit are berries.  Our grains are rye and wild rice that feels like meat in your mouth when you chew it.

Oh, boy!    There is still “supper” left for today.   I’m going to start all over again!     There’s steak to take out of the ice (box).   No more foreign eating for me.

It just seemed like such a good idea……

“WHAT NUMBER ARE YOU?”

October 29, 2011

This is the question put to “you,”  the general public,  What number are you?   It is meant to have your mind participate in, and therefore be influenced by,   the latest Scare Craze.   This latest Scare Craze is called THERE ARE SEVEN BILLION PEOPLE ON THE PLANET NOW —   EEEAAARRGH!

Yes, well,  this is the weekend which we are being told to notice that the latest estimate of the earth’s population is seven billion human beings.

  Certainly we are not meant to connect the popular holiday of Halloween with this current estimate.

Certainly a logical, reasonable person would not fear the number of human beings on this planet, as though the number itself was a menace.

 

Since I was in college a long, long time ago,  I’ve been hearing about the ZPG people, those who dedicate themselves to spreading the idea of Zero Population Growth.   I know some otherwise intelligent people who seem to see no problem with this idea.   For a while I thought it was another mindless ’60s type fad, but I’ve seen a tiny portion of these people persist into the present day, even  radicalizing the  idea into not just a zero percentage population growth,  but  advocating a population reduction, sometimes talking about a drastic population reduction.

Back in those college days and some years after, I’d read articles by sociologists who say the planet can actually sustain comfortably a population of about 42 billion people, at the current state of technology!     We’re only a sixth of the way there!     Recently I read an article that makes an argument for 14 billion living well on this planet.    (Are our sociologists getting more timid in the face of Conventional Thinking?)

Here’s how not to do it:

And here’s how not to do it, even though it looks nicer:

It’s not the number of people that is the problem.     It’s the clumping together of people into unsustainable, inhuman, inhumane conditions.

You can do the math about the planet’s ability to hold seven billion people:    Find out how many acres there are in the United States.    Divide about  a little over half the land in our country into one acres parcels.   Place a nice home with a family of four or so into each acre.    All the people who are living on our planet right now, being given such a typical nice little house to live in with an acre of land surrounding it and an average density of about one small family, would not even fill our 48 lower states.

Too cold in the United States for this to be “comfortable”?   Put all the people in the world, living under these same somewhat spacious circumstances, say, in the northern part of South America.   Leave them there — and now you can use the rest of the whole world to grow their food, care for the herds of cattle and sheep, the chickens;  place the factories; and build the inevitable administrative centers.     From space, the “whole rest of the world”  will look very underpopulated.

Our entire United States and Canada and Mexico would be – empty!!!   And so would Europe, Russia, China,  Asia, Australia, etc.

The BBC’s questionnaire asking you to think about “What Number Are You?  will have you focusing on just the numbers and the emotions.    There are so many more issues that we ought to be thinking about, but if we don’t focus on the right things, these issues will never get solved.

You see, always, when there are concentrations of people into cities, there is also an accompanying concentration of power, wealth, status, and force into the hands of a few and out of the hands of the many.    Leaders with power then begin to fight over the possession of resources and their allocation.   Bigger is NOT better.

Here is a recent photo of some food relief that Americans have paid for:

It is being fought over by local warlords who are doing the dirty work of greater powers who are fighting for control of the population.

Food is the weapon used to control the policies of the countries of the world.    There is much to study here.  It’s for those who have time and interest to look behind the mindless game-show-participant type question and to discover who and what is behind the Scare Craze about population.   Check into what the UN is doing.   Check into such popular sentiments such as those that are carved onto the Georgia Guidestones.   Why do these people want us to desire a drastically reduced population?

What is the “number” of people in the world?     A better question is “What is the number of persons in the world?”    One.   Number One.   Each human being is Number One in the mind of his Creator.

Nobody is too many.

OCTOBER 26 – THE END OF AN ERA

October 26, 2011

Funny how we keep little “anniversaries.”

Today, October 26, is the day we remember Saint Everistus.    (Died about 107 A.D.)    It’s approximately the anniversary of his martyrdom.

Our family has a kind of “anniversary” today.    One year ago it was one month before Hubbie died.   We didn’t know we would have only one month left.     We didn’t see it coming.  

Everistus was selected to be head of the Christian Church.  He has the distinction of being the first man to be leader of the Church after all the Apostles had died.    There was no one left who had seen and heard Jesus, who had touched Him and ate with Him, and who had been taught by Him, directly.     And still the Church must find a way to go on, keeping faithfully to what it had been taught.

We’re going to carefully remember these next thirty days of last year.    What was said;  what was done;  what is important to know and to keep in our hearts.    We  also are finding a way to go on….

Everistus and his generation was the first post-Apostolic generation.   The Apostolic Age had ended and a new era was beginning in Christian history.    He set the tone for this new era by remaining close to the original teachings and by carefully protecting and then passing on the Tradition laid down by the Apostles.  

A good principle we have followed during this past year is:  “Make no sudden moves (decisions).    We are still “of Hubbie’s household”  and we are still the same people we always were.   The time of Hubbie’s actual  presence has ended, it’s just a new era for our family that is beginning.

With Pope Everistus the Church enters a new era, one that is commonly called The Age of the Apostolic Fathers.   That is,  the Fathers of the Church were those who had known and had been taught by the Apostles, although they were not technically apostles themselves.    From their writings we can see that they were not only faithful to the Tradition which had been passed on to them, but that they also grew in their understanding of what they had been taught.   They too became “giants” in our Christian history, until at last, it was the end of their era too.

It’s good to look back and see what we had known back then.    We need to measure ourselves, sometimes, against what was given to us by those who left us so long ago….even those who left us only a year ago.

 

 

 

THE LEAF MENACE

October 26, 2011

(The Leaf Menace)    That would be me….

As October began,  I succombed to a fit of compulsive furniture moving.   Kept me busy for a couple weeks, busy and very, very fatigued.    I moved every bit of furniture in our house, changed their positions, changed their rooms.  I moved furniture that hadn’t been moved for a couple decades, I think.     Hubbie always said some of that furniture “can’t” be moved.

He was wrong about that.   I moved it.    But now I think he meant some of that furniture “shouldn’t” be moved.  He was right about that!

After the furniture frenzy was over, I was busy getting ready for and entertaining our California family,  Grandma’s forty-eight-hour first babysitting experience.    Another week of October passed by.

Then I spent a week….well, not sure how, but “fighting the mighty virus” is what I was doing.

Now I’m up and about and October is gone!    And Michigan is not a state that you want to ignore October in, or else the leaves will bury you.   And worst of all,  your neighbors who have diligently been keeping up with the leaf removal will certainly look askance at any “lazy one”  who just leaves the leaves lying all around.

My leaves were a menace to all those leafless lawns.     I could just feel them driving by in October, glaring at my lawn, wondering “when is that lady going to take care of her leaves before they blow all over the place?”

How do I know that?    I don’t.   My neighbors are wonderful.    It was my guilty imagination nagging me.

And guilt is a worthy motivator.

 

A MICHIGAN SIDE DISH

October 25, 2011

Keep it simple so you’ll do it often:

Applesauce, from beginning to end:Select apples.    I pick up a bag or a bunch and smell their aroma at the store.    I try to get the apples that on that day smells  like  how I want my applesauce to be.   It makes a big difference to want the crisp, tart taste of the Jonathans, but you brought home a syrupy sweet bag of Honey Crisps or the more exotic flavor of  a Gala.    Or vice versa.

Make your own blends of apple varieties too.

Peel and cut the apples into large slices or small chunks.      (Just a pound or two.   It’s just a side dish.” )

Put the cut-up apples into a pan, add water to about half way or three-fourths of the way up into the apples.   They give off juice of their own, so you don’t want too much water.

Add sugar “to taste.”  Start with nearly a cup of sugar,  and about one-fourth cup of brown sugar.   (You’ve got to “know” your apples to judge the sugar.   Honey just doesn’t work as well.)

Add a pinch of salt.   Add a pinch of nutmeg, if desired.   Add a generous spoonful of cinnamon.

Boil and then simmer slowly over low to medium heat, depending on your patience and the amount of time you have.   Keep checking to see if you need to add more water…The apples will boil down in size,  but they should be simmering in juice.   (….maybe half hour to an hour)
The SLOW simmering brings out the pectin and helps to thicken…

But towards the end, when all the apple pieces are soft,  I sometimes add a teaspoon or so of corn starch (or arrowroot)  to make it a little thicker.

Mash gently to desired consistency.  (Thanks, my friends, for reminding me of that step!)

Serve warm over the best ice cream, or with whipped cream  (the real stuff),  or with cream drizzled over it;  or serve plain;  or serve cold —   Aha!  Serve any which way!

Happy Autumn!    Deo gratias!

 

THE #1 RAIDERS FAN!

October 24, 2011

You think he knows what he’s cheering for?

He’s only 10 1/2 months old,  but he’s been a Raiders fan for more than a year.  Here he is wearing his “Raiders Tiny Kicker” shirt  (inside of mommy).

And he’s been going to the Raiders games for more than a year — this time wearing his first Halloween costume:

Truly ghastly.    I mean, you’d think there’d be a Bear in there somewhere!

 

MISSING BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

October 23, 2011

I had to miss out again this Sunday.   I couldn’t trust myself driving to church.

It’s been a long illness.    I wasn’t exactly dizzy, but I couldn’t always feel the floor under my feet as I walked out to the garage to try to get into the car.   Didn’t make it.   I wouldn’t trust myself as my own driver today.

There is  a sorrow and a sense of loss when I have to stay home on Sundays.  

Keep Out !!

Today I missed the Gospel Reading of the Invitation to the Wedding Supper.    Yikes!    We all know what that means if we’d miss that invitation!

 

But I read the prayers for this day too.   These prayers have been said on this particular Sunday down through the centuries and they wisely match the season and the Readings.   Here is (part of)  the Collect that sets forth the meaning of this particular Sunday:   “I am the salvation of the people, saith the Lord: in whatever tribulation they shall cry to Me, I will hear them and I will be their Lord for ever. ”  (Ps. 77: 1)

In whatever tribulation, whatever changing and difficult circumstances.  Christ is greater than all that.  “I will be their Lord forever.”   This is “Salus populi” Sunday:  Christ is the Salvation of the People.

I got to thinking about “basics.”   Since I couldn’t do much today,  I’m down to bare minimums.  Just the basics.

And what is my “basics”?    Me, as a child, 4 years old, then 5, then 6, 7, 8, 9, 10….when I first heard and believed that Jesus is the Savior of the World, and my Savior.     It’s all of us too.    Just who we are, down to basics,  as a child would hear the Invitation (to that Wedding Supper), and simply believe.   It’s more than just “belief,”  I know, but a trusting response is a good start, because it is Jesus waiting for our response Who is our Salvation.

At the prayer called the Offertory we hear again that our salvation is the work of Jesus: “If I shall walk in the midst of tribulation, Thou wilt quicken me, O Lord; and Thou wilt stretch forth Thy hand against the wrath of my enemies; and Thy right hand shall save me.”

I hate staying home on Sundays.   But I’m not forgotten.

I’m found.   I didn’t miss the Invitation in today’s Gospel because I had to stay home.   It is He Who is the Salvation of His people.     Greater than all our circumstances.

 

 

NOT MY BIRD FEEDER

October 22, 2011

This is some strong virus that’s still visiing me   From eyeballs to tailbone,  I didn’t know there were so many parts to get infected and sore.    I’m still “down for the count” as they say.   (Will someone stop counting already?!)

Things begin to look funny when you’re in and out of sleep all day long.

The guys are still working on my back deck…. A couple of weeks ago I asked them to build a little platform for me to feed my birds on to protect the deck railing from the seeds and the pecking.   Son said it would be No Problem…they’d use a little scrap lumber and make a little bird feeder for me.

They were here today, working for a little while.   I woke up after they left.

Not exactly what I had in mind for the bird feeder platform!    Right place.  Wrong size.

(Apparently we had lots and lots of rain this past week – while I was sleeping –  and they needed some place to dry out the extra boards.  )

…..I do have lots of birds…..

 

DON’T SHED ON ME

October 19, 2011

Been busy fighting……

Before I can tell you about the recent visit of my Giggle-Puss Grandson, I’ve got to put myself back together.

It’s been a very tough few days;  tough to breathe, tough to sleep,  tough to get comfortable until this virus works its way out.    And my vision still seems to be blurry.

In a related paragraph,  please, everyone,  ethylene glycol belongs in your car radiator,  not in your bloodstream.    Same with formaldehyde….it kills life…it doesn’t belong in your bloodstream, along with a dozen other ingredients listed on the flu vaccine insert label.

The vaccines also have semi-attenuated live flu viruses….which you will shed on the rest of us for two to four weeks.  I have only one stern rule in all my classes:  If you are nutty enough to get that stuff put inside your body,  warn us, don’t come to class for a while….   If you get a vaccine YOU are dangerous to US!

I’m just about well enough to go out and get some symptom relief medicine…..too grumpy to refrain from writing this today.

I know.  We all get sick once in a while.    May God let me become miserable enough so that I always remember to be kind and helpful to others who get sick.

I think that’s what I mean……

P.S.  –  The vaccine carrier wasn’t someone in our classes this time.

 

HASTILY PASSING BY

October 13, 2011

So busy,  so little time, used up all my energy temporarily…..

Me and da Bearz, we’ll do better —  soon.

MEANWHILE:    I do notice what’s going on in the world.   This topic deserves our serious thought because  it is not our friends who are stirring things up;  but there are a lot of funny things about it too.

You know,  the OWS group?   Here’s one commentary:

I think they started out with pure intentions.    Right?    Down with corporate power?

I mean, they keep saying it.

As I said, I’m only hastily passing by this week.   No time for serious analysis.   Just a  few giggles.

WAITING TO SEE WHAT I’D SAY?

October 11, 2011

It’s temporary:

Wasn’t pretty, but it’s temporary.

 

OBSESSED WITH MOVING

October 6, 2011

Moving this, moving that, moving all things in this house.

It just as well might be the whole house.    Furniture, book cases, clothes, boxes — no object is safe.  I’m moving everything around.  Rearranging.

Note to self:  DON’T get up in the middle of the night without turning a light on.    Familiar pathways no longer exist.

I don’t know what started it.  I guess some internal clock just said it’s time to make this a new, clean house.    I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with moving everything here.   Maybe this time of the year inspires a new, clean start.

I searched my archives for other “birthdays” in September, but I couldn’t find the post I was looking for, but I wrote about this time of the year before.     Yes, my birthday signals a whole new year ahead for me, but there are other new beginnings for everyone.

“New” is  for all of us!

It’s the start of a new school year, of course.  You may remember your student days:  clean notebooks,  crackingly new textbooks, sharp pencils, new pens….and wide-open possibilities.   You may have children starting a new grade in school – possibilities there too, and a lot of unknowns.    And there is no reason why an ordinary, reasonable adult couldn’t choose to start learning something new, something to delight and stir up interest during the long winter season.   Be your own teacher!

There is a change of seasons, always exhilarating in the Far North.   Our air changes from thick and glaringly bright and humid to clean, crisp and refreshing.   The trees put on whole new and always surprising colors.     Energy returns.

It is Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur,  a good spiritual start for the New Year for those who first learned of the One True God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Somewhere in all those reasons, surely everyone could look for a sense of a new year given to us.

As I move things around in this house,  cleaning, sorting, “lightening” the physical load on this house,  I make decisions about what stays, what goes….    Is this part of the old life?   Or can this be part of the new life?

It’s in our hands!

 

SUNDAY DRIVE

October 2, 2011

“Behold, I make all things new…”     For the Christian, Sundays are a reminder that “all things” are new, all things can be seen in a whole new Light.    Today’s Gospel Reading was simply this:

Love supersedes all other motivations.    

Is the Law (or customs or guidelines or instructions) so important that you must judge things by the strict letter of what it forbids or commands?   “Which of you, having an ox or an ass which falls into a pit, would not immediately draw him out on the sabbath day? 

In the Epistle Reading,   “the love of Christ surpasses all knowledge…..”       That is,  without Him it’s impossible to comprehend.     With Him,  all things are worthwhile.

As I said yesterday,  I’m going to ignore how I feel and get on with things.   So….this morning I woke up ten minutes before I’d have to leave for church.     (The spirit is willing but the flesh is still tired.)

Fifteen minutes later, I climbed into the Big Red Car   — and really woke up.

It was so beautiful!   It’s early Fall around here and some of the trees look like they can’t wait!

That is the street which runs through the edge of MSU’s campus, stores on one side, campus buildings on the other.

Here’s a familiar building to Spartans.    It’s where the State News is produced….a little newspaper with things of interest for students and residents alike.

Passing through the campus, on the way to our capital city, I have to drive by Hubbie’s hospital. . . the second to the last one.    It’s a terrible place, where you must practice your faith in the Newness of Life beyond this one.     You can see a little tiny dot of the white capitol dome underneath the overhead walkway, but in the distance.

And then on to my destination, surrounded by the yellow leaves of early Fall;  a lovely setting for the tower-steeple:

But inside, more beautiful still,  is the Miracle and the message.  Because of the Miracle, the message is true.    We can count on it.    It was worth rushing out of bed for….worth the beautiful Sunday Drive….to hear these words of power and truth as the Epistle ended:

“Now to Him who is able to do all things more abundantly than we desire or understand, according to the power that works in us — to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations, world without end….”

 

(Gospel and Epistle,  read for centuries on this 6th Day After Pentecost,  from Ephesians 3 and from Luke 14.).)

 

BRAIN DRAIN

October 1, 2011

 

I think I’m still busy with the darn thing:

I don’t think I’m hosting that one,  but probably one very much like it.   Or a few billion of them.

Thought I was over it last weekend,  but I’ve been in a little “purple haze”  for a few days.   Funny how you need physical energy in order to think non-physical thoughts.

I will absolutely ignore this thing — starting tomorrow.