27 February 2009
*"Boogie fling," obviously, being a term stolen from Flylady. 'Sokay; she's got good cheer enough and to spare.
26 February 2009
I've been entertained recently by the religious illiteracy of the mainstream media. NPR explained a few mornings ago that Abraham Lincoln "was martyred after his assassination." How's that? I've also been working through Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Smart lady (if you can overlook her endless gratuitous digs at stereotyped people of faith), but confused. For example, when the tomatoes were coming fast and furious, her neighbor saw her hauling them into the house unassisted and made a remark which she heard as, "The harvest is bountiful but the labors few." She thought he was saying that it's not hard to gather ripe tomatoes. That's laborers, Barb. Your neighbor was being sympathetic. The distinction could easily be lost on the unsuspecting ear, but it's too bad you (and apparently all your pre-publication readers and editors, also) are too enlightened to be familiar with a line from Heilige Schrift anyone in Christendom, believers or not, would have immediately recognized 50 years ago.
What meaningful, universal allusions remain in the post-Christian era, when the only thing people know from the Bible is "Judge not, lest ye be judged"? Our literati don't just fail to use Christian allusion, they fail to perceive it.
25 February 2009
(Since it's been a while, here's the Rule of our peculiar Order for fasting, if we were an Order which we aren't and had a Rule which we don't.)
Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the agèd eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?
Because I do not hope to know
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again
Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessèd face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice
And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us
If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
If the unheard, unspoken
Word is unspoken, unheard;
Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
The world and for the world;
And the light shone in darkness and
Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word.
O my people, what have I done unto thee.
Where shall the word be found, where will the word
Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence
Not on the sea or on the islands, not
On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land,
For those who walk in darkness
Both in the day time and in the night time
The right time and the right place are not here
No place of grace for those who avoid the face
No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny the voice
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
24 February 2009
C'mon get shriven
A whole lotta pardon is what He'll be bringin',
He'll make you shriven
We had a dream we'd go confessin' together
We'd get some Absolution then we'd keep movin' on
We'd blow through the pantry and the freezer together
We're all feelin' sick by evening on Mardi Gras
Eatin' along there's a song that we're singin',
C'mon get shriven
A whole lotta pardon is what He'll be bringin',
He'll make you shriven
He'll make you shriven
He'll make you shriven
23 February 2009
I understand that for many (sane) parents this is not an issue. The kid wants to know? Tell her! The end. Experts agree, and good, loving parents the nation over host “Birth: How It Happens” seminars for their wide-eyed, inquisitive children.
While I truly admire parents for being frank and get that experts are paid for their opinions, I just don’t like the way this thing usually goes down. From what I’ve seen, forward conversations about birth leave kids terrified and bewildered. Come to think of it, those conversations usually leave me terrified and bewildered. Let’s just say the doctor brings me the baby in her fancy black bag, OK? I’m happy with that. On the one hand, I want to be direct with my babies and explain things correctly before Someone Else usurps the privilege. But on the other hand . . .
Birth is a technical process, true, and as a technical process not that hard to explain. But it’s ever so much more than a technical process—the horrible suffering, the strange beauty, the awful mortification and the soaring joy of birth cannot be explained in a cursory casting about of medical terminology and charts. What's more, children intuit some, but not enough of what lies behind the technical diagramming—hence their terror. Even when taught Latin words and Grey’s Anatomy, they don’t understand. How could they? So, why not save the sticky stuff ‘til later?
I’d rather my children laugh at my belly until it’s time to wonder at their new sibling, and call it a day. My little people are still pretty little; we’ll slouch toward the in-depth seminars slowly: first crawl, then walk, then run, with information sufficient to each stage. In the meantime, how did those of you with older children handle explaining birth (just birth, really; we can discuss the other side of this coin some other time)? Be warned, everything you say can and will be stolen. ;)
22 February 2009
20 February 2009
German and English from here. Sorry for the French subtitles, but this is the best one and you deserve the best.
Klinget, Glökkchen, klinget! Bringt mein Weibchen her,
Bringt sie her! Mein Mädchen her! Mein Weibchen her!
Ring, little bells, ring! Bring my little wife here,
Bring her here! My maiden here, my little wife here!
Nun, Papageno, sich dich um!
Now, Papageno, look around you!
Papageno und Papagena
Pa-pa-pa, pa-pa-pa-Papageno/Pa-pa-pa-, pa-pa-pa,-Papagena
Bist du mir nun ganz ergeben,
Have you now yielded to me?
Nun bin ich dir ganz ergeben.
Now I have yielded to you.
Nun, so sei mein liebes Weibchen!
Now, then be my dear little wife!
Nun, so sei mein Herzenstäubchen,
Now, then be the dove of my heart,
Mein liebes Weibchen, mein Herzenstäubchen,
My dear little wife, dove of my heart!
PAPAGENO UND PAPAGENA
Welche Freude wird das sein, Wenn die Gotter uns bedenken
Unsrer Liebe Kinder schenken So liebe kleine Kinderlein, Kinderlein
So liebe kleine Kinderlein.
Erst einen kleinen Papageno
Dann eine kleine Papagena,
Dann wieder einen Papageno
Dann wieder eine Papagena,
Papageno, Papagena, Papageno, Papageno, Papagena, Papageno
Es ist das hochste der Gefuehle,
Wenn viele, vie der pa-pa-pageno(a) Der Eltern Sorgen werden sein.
What joy that will be if the gods think of us, And give us children of our love
Such dear little children, little children, Such dear little children.
First a little Papageno,
Then a little Papagena,
Then again a Papageno,
Then again a Papagena
It is the highest of feelings, if many [of them] to Papageno(a) will be In the care of their parents.
19 February 2009
Just finished Home. One marvels that a person who has not lived a life like ours can invent it so well. Each child of the pious is a risk; by which I refer not to the immediate comfort which seems so important now and which we mostly discuss here, but to our deepest vulnerability. We are all enticed to take our one, two, maybe three perfect children, and run, call it quits. Healthy and good, so let's not tempt fate. Each child is a terrible risk.
Well. If even a fictional Presbyterian can find comfort in God's grace, how much more actual Lutherans. If it wouldn't weary you to read something so uneasily close to your own life and fears (though from a different perspective--another point of value), pick it up. Gilead too--I kind of wish I'd read it second.
18 February 2009
2. Look at the color. Your belly is ripe when there is little contrast between the stripes.
3. Press on it. If your belly feels like it gives a little (but just a little), it's ripe.
4. Check the number of days from anthesis. Right? Right.
5. Check the size. It's not necessarily true that a big belly means it's ready; but under good conditions, it should be a normal size. If it's not a normal size, you're probably too anxious.
6. Check its weight. An ideal belly should be heavy for its size.
7. Still confused? Yeah. Well. Me too. :)
If you're curious about gauging the ripeness of an actual melon, read this. I stole most of their verbiage for this post, but they deserved it.
While I may frequently be glimpsed sporting prints, stripes, and yes, even plaids simultaneously,* when time is short and the only two mittens to be found have different colored cuffs, I suddenly care deeply about matching. What am I?
Generally known as the soundest of household sleepers, I may awaken at 2:30 of a February morn with the apparent express purpose of heartily belting out “Away in a Manger.” What am I?
Our ears, which are strangely deaf to most any maternal suggestion, somehow effect a magical foreshortening of sound waves in order to perceive the crinkle of Mom’s covert junk food operations from the farthest corner of the house. What are we?
Sure, these riddles may be easier to answer than the Sphinx’s—but ever so much more difficult to comprehend.
*I was recently relieved to see a picture of a fellow CSPP blogger’s children demonstrating a similar fashion sense :D
17 February 2009
1. She will break down. She will become clinically depressed, have crippling anxiety attacks, or otherwise become unable to function. She will require medication and/or therapy of some kind. This will put tremendous strain on the household which might demonstrate exactly what Mom does and why she fell apart. (NOTE: although a lack of marital support can cause a breakdown, a breakdown does not necessarily indicate a lack of marital support. Duh.)
2. She will withdraw. She'll decide it isn't worth it to keep asking for help and will stop relying on her husband. She will still respect and serve him as long as he provides for the family's basic needs, but she will no longer adore him, and they will grow apart. She may be able to redirect her affection to the children, and they will replace him as her primary source of affection. Or she may become dull and defeatist or hardened and resentful, fulfilling her tasks perfunctorily and minimally while holding onto the hope that once the children are gone she will be mostly free. The husband may consider this a relief in the short term, but eventually he will find that even though she's still there, she's no longer there for him. This may take a long time--she wants to adore him, so her heart will resist. But it will empty as she learns that although he is obeyable, he is not adorable. (And after all this--she may end up going the breakdown route, too.)
I think the CSPP bloggers have established their credibility in the Doctrine of Woman department pretty definitively. So I hope I won't be accused of being some kind of feminist creeper if I say that "traditional" roles can, like anything else, be caricatured in damaging ways. A wife who is dependable in carrying out her marital and maternal tasks in accordance with her marriage vows and the Scriptural ordering of family life deserves a response when she asks for help. If the family doesn't have a willing grandma or other volunteer assistant very close (less than 30 minutes away) and very available (most of the day, most days), the husband simply has to pick up the slack or the wife will break, whether suddenly and spectacularly or slowly and quietly.
16 February 2009
15 February 2009
Not without blood did the Blessed Virgin bring forth the Life of the world,* that she herself, that all women, that all humans, together with all creation, might be saved through that most holy childbearing.
Not without blood did our own High Priest complete his work: he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. Indeed, so intense was his labor for the rebirth of the world that his sweat splashed crimson to the ground.
Never without blood do we strive, do we labor to bring forth new life. Sometimes, the blood is loss. Never is it meaningless, never is it nothing. Surely the Son of Man, whose conception forever sanctified the blood of the womb—surely He receives as precious, even holy, the blood offering of the womb. And surely He receives, He delivers, the littlest of His lost lambs with the utmost of tenderness.
Never without blood. And so we approach the altar for our own exhilarating, terrifying meeting with the One who gave, who gives, His own blood for us. May the sweet sharpness of that sacred bloodwine strengthen and preserve us, comfort and hearten us, even now and unto life everlasting.
*Yeah, I know: it coulda happened like the sanitized story we offer our overly curious preschoolers: “It was time and we went to the hospital and—would you believe it—there he was! Shazam! Just dematerialized from Mom’s belly and rematerialized in her lap!” But I’m inclined to think that Mary tossed her unleavened toast at the beginning of the pregnancy, had swollen feet by the end, thought she was going to die when she hit transition, and delivered our Lord in a euphorically terrifying rush of blood and pain.
14 February 2009
Out of love for my family, I work to thwart dirt-inspired SPORE by cleaning up a bit before the baby’s birth. My husband and children gratefully respond to this kind gesture by allowing me to waddle around after them yelling, “What is wrong with you people?!? KEEP THIS ROOM CLEANED UP!”
Surely the end is near. Let the countdown begin.
*Tricksy hospitals with their antiseptic smells and crisp white sheets . . . every time I’m in one I manage to forget that, while that thing in the back of my fridge can no longer be called an onion, at least my house doesn't support a freeloading Staph.
13 February 2009
The supposed demise of Christendom is the rallying cry of young, hip evangelicals . . . .
For them, culture is as dispensable to Christianity as a hermit crab’s shell is to the crab. The true essence of the gospel might don cultural attire when necessary, but only to just as quickly cast it off, seeking new garb to attract a fresh set of converts . . . . The Holy Spirit has found new and better habitations, like house-churches and theology-on-tap sessions in bars.
12 February 2009
Wanna do shots? Bring your own teaspoon and I'll set you up.
Looking for something a bit more exotic? We've got the nebulizer going too.
Over and Out.
11 February 2009
10 February 2009
I'm afraid some of my common replies that talk about how we believe "children are blessings" fall far short . . . . The one I use the most is: "We believe in letting God plan our family." But that just comes across as naïve to people, if not wrongheaded fundamentalism - just "let go and let God." Blaahhgg!
Well said, sir. Well said. I feel exactly the same way. Don't get me wrong, I've got no end of respect for Michelle D., but when she smiles guilelessly at the interviewer and says, "We just believe children are blessings!" with those guileless eyes and that long guileless hair*, my guileful nose involuntarily wrinkles.
Seriously, this operation needs some non-platitudinous talking points FAST. Even my attempts to define the terms of CSPP make me roll my eyes: God-sized family? What is this, Heirs of the Anabaptist Sisters of Perpetual Parturition? Sorry, I tried to fix it. Blaahhgg!
Get on it, people. We're looking for something snappy. Epitome, not Solid Declaration. Use of the words "blessing" or "fruitful," references to arrows or quivers, or any suggestion of granting permission for an act of God Omnipotent constitutes an automatic disqualification.
*no cattiness intended. I have long hair.
09 February 2009
It's February, which is the perfect time to find them super cheap for you and the girls. The bad news is that the Birqini is a hot commodity and never goes on sale. I showed this picture to my daughter and asked her what she thought. She said, "It doesn't have socks." Great kid.
Motherwear is having an end of season clearance including nursing swimming suits for crazy cheap if you know how much they usually cost there. Having attempted to nurse a very annoyed baby under a t-shirt while wearing the aforementioned Speedo at a waterpark, I can vouch for the fact that one of these would be real handy to have if you're looking at a lot more summers of nursing. Coverage looks pretty decent, although the jerks charge separately for the skirts. Sizes and colors are running out, so order while you can.
For the girls, there's a great overstock sale at Land's End. I'm splurging on the 50 SPF Swim-mini skirt bottom and Short Sleeve Rash Guard top for my Scandinavian princesses, and hope to discourage pervs in the process. I hate dropping this much cash on anything, but I really want them to have decent swimwear that falls somewhere between eye candy and Amish. This is as well-priced as you can hope to find it if you have this problem every summer too.
08 February 2009
From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.
Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry. Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him. He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet. He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water. Out of the brightness before him hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.
The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire. And he sent out his arrows and scattered them; he flashed forth lightnings and routed them. Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.
He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters. He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support.
He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.(Ps 18:6-19)
07 February 2009
--When you know she's a card carrying Concordian Sister and figure it's about time
--When you notice her wobbling during that Invocation-Collect stretch
--When she turns down a margarita
--When she eats four cheeseburgers without seeming remotely embarrassed
--When she's looked ill for five weeks
--When you figure it doesn't bother you to be asked so why should it bother anyone else?
--When you can't think of anything else to talk about
--When you really, really, really want to know
--When you've got $8000 riding on it
--When you're on a lifeboat carrying 13 people and provisions for 10
06 February 2009
To whom it may concern about the unbalanced washing machine crashing into the basement wall over and over
In my defense, there were more dirty clothes than usual because I didn't wash them sooner.
04 February 2009
Not long after I arrived . . . here, when I had just begun to feel quite keenly that a gilded cage (i.e. a large and lovely parsonage) is still a prison, I was subjected to a most unhelpful conversation. A fellow was reminiscing about how his wife had taken a leave of absence from her career after each of their kids was born. When she was on those extended maternity leaves, he found her to be “sorta boring.” Because, you know, she hadn’t been out and done anything interesting or talked to anyone or anything. (The wife seconded this observation.)
Hypersensitive as I admittedly was, this little exchange was mental freak-out primetime for me. To recreate that particular mental maelstrom: Mix equal parts indignation at such jerkiness with wretched worry that I myself would become boring to my husband. I wished I could’ve been just righteously indignant, but niggling insecurity at my new role whispered reminders about those days—those confounded, compounded days—in which the Poop Report, and possibly a passable supper, were all I had to offer my husband upon his daily return from being a Person in the World. (For the record, when my mental freak-out later went verbal, I recall that excellent husband reassuring me that even our baby’s poop, and my report thereof, would always fascinate and enthrall him. Good man, that.)
I’ve since mellowed into the proper response to that fellow’s remarks: “How sad for them.” Sure, there are still days a-plenty when I feel a little…mousy? Caged? Housewifely? Mind-numbed? But I don’t waste any more time worrying about becoming boring to my husband. I actually used to think that Dad would somehow find it wearisome to end his long day by coming home to us, always us, with our variations on the same old themes of cacophonous chaos and maternal madness (all senses of the word). ‘Twas a pleasant surprise indeed when I finally verbalized my trepidation and learned that I had been exactly wrong. Knowing that I’m here, yes, always here, energizes him. He looks forward to coming home to us (though he has, understandably, stated a preference for coming home to Sane, Happy Wife over some of the other manifestations). Suddenly, being always here became a bit more bearable: it matters. It’s not just what I do because it’s cheaper than daycare, or even because it’s the best thing for the kids: it’s a gift I can offer my best friend, who so willingly gives his everything, his very self, to me. (Note to self: gifts are better received when rendered graciously, not grudgingly… :P ).
A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”:
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to airy thinness beat.
If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two;
Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if the other do. . . .
Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th' other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun.
But I would never want my daughters to think there's something wrong with them if they want to go to a school worth their time and money, pursue an interest, develop a professional skill, etc., or that they're just doing those things to kill time until real life starts. As working for a man, not for the Lord, as it were.
I wanted to get married, but surveying my depressing options, I concluded early on that I'd never find somebody who met my extremely stringent requirements and so found other ways to occupy myself. Then I liked those things and giving them up was hard. That's part of the marriage deal for men and women alike. There is life for women before and/or without marriage, and there's no point in failing to enjoy and enrich it by going through it half-heartedly as if it didn't count.
Then there's the problem that prospective husbands these days usually don't go knocking on doors to inspect the embroidery of the young ladies of the house and check their gravy for lumps (girls, I can help with the gravy. Email me). I'm bracing myself for the possibility that my girls may have to leave our town of 950 to meet a nice young confessional Lutheran man with suitable notions of vocation and chastity (his own especially). They might have to go to Indiana! Or, good gracious, Michigan!
Let's also not rule out husbandolatry and childolatry as likely hazards of natural inclination toward hearth and home. Ain't no bosom pure enough sin can't pervert it. Here's a sometimes melancholy Dane to demonstrate. (But don't read it if you're pregnant, nursing, weaning, TTC, menopausal, perimenopausal, having a fat day, or otherwise hormonal. Is that everybody?)
If God grants a woman a husband, may he also grant the her grace to leave behind those things which must be left, to whatever extent they must be left (ditto for the husband). For whatever amount of her life she is without a husband, may she find full contentment in the life and gifts the true Bridegroom has given her, Himself above all.
03 February 2009
Furthermore, no matter how many times you tell them to chew with their mouths closed and say thank you, they're still going to horrify you with new heights of rudeness when you take them to see Great Grandma. So why bother?
Every day here feels like a bad day. Someone is always stuck in a cycle of bad moves. Someone always gets yelled at. Someone always ends up crying and neglected while I'm dealing with someone else. I've only got one fuse, and it only takes one kid to burn it down for all the rest of them.
You see so many rotten kids because all kids have rotten parents.
02 February 2009
01 February 2009
I feel pretty! Oh, so pretty!
Granted, I am a bit funny looking when pregnant, so the comments don't hurt my precious, precious feelings. After awhile, they do make me tired. I’m just not sure how to respond when so many helpful people helpfully attempt to describe this, my current state of gibbousness. I think I have two options:
1. Commiserate. After all, the commenters just want to be friendly. Their genial elucidations are best viewed as extended hands, warm attempts to draw me into the large, blissful circle of womanhood.
2. Slap each offender square across the face.
Wait. Sorry. I didn’t really mean that. Of course not. What I meant to say was:
Achieving either course of action is more cumbersome than lugging the belly, of course. But I don’t suppose imperious stares have a place in the church narthex. No. Naturally not.
Tongues to click at the kid who's a schmuck
Throats to bluff through these smug triplets
Mouths content a binky to suck
Tight grip on the hymnal, legs unbend
Get me and the baby up for the doxology
Martin Franzmann, not my friend
(Great hymn, though. I promise to love it again in 20 years.)