Thursday, December 29, 2011

Two and a Half

I posted in my side bar the two and half books I've read since my last post.

I couldn't make it all the way through  Not in Front of the Servants.  It is a book about the life of English Servants and it was somewhat interesting.  I did learn some interesting facts but by halfway through I was simply drudging through the reading and it wasn't keeping my attention anymore.  So I just stopped and moved on to the next book.  I feel a little guilty, but not enough to pick it up and read the rest.

Today is library day so I get to go get some more to keep me busy!  Yeah!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Very Special Gift

Our family tradition is the children get two gifts, one from us and one from Santa.  The children also exchange names to give each other a little present as well as all together give their mother and father a present.  Those gifts are all opened on Christmas Eve after the 7pm service.  Each of the 12 days of Christmas the children find a little present in their stocking from us.  The last couple of years they also have given their father and I a little present in our stocking each day of Christmas.

This day's was one that was extra special.  It was a cd they made of Christmas hymns.  It included them on their instruments; organ, flute, violin, piano, as well as a couple of sung pieces, including Veni Veni Emmanuel.

I've been playing it over and over all morning.  It is so beautiful, so thoughtful, so eye-watering to a mother.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Hobbit

The trailer for the movie, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is now available.

To view, click here, and then click "watch now".

We are looking forward to seeing the movie!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Book List

Since September I've been keeping a list of the books I've read for two reasons.  One so that I can remember what I've read (I'm very bad at remembering titles, not to mention authors), and two I can see easily the types of books I've read.

Oh wait, there is another reason.  I've never done well with lists of books to read, so I thought a reverse list might be more useful to me.  It might be more motivating to keep a list of what I've already read, more of an accomplishment list and not a chore list.  So far, that has worked.  There's been only one problem.  I've lost my list. . . . twice.

So in order to have a permanent copy I'm creating a new widget in the side bar to keep a running list of the books I've read.  In case you're interested here is what I've read since September 2011.

  • Mt. Vernon Love Story by Mary Higgins Clark
  • An Untold Love Story by Madeline Albright
  • The Violin of Auschwitz by Maria Angels Anglada
  • Over the Earth I Come The Great Sioux Uprising of 1862 by Duane Schultz
  • The Company We Keep A Husband-And-Wife True-Life Spy Story by Robert & Dayna Baer
  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Monday, December 05, 2011

Baking, Snow, Friends, and Other Happenings Around Here

This week brings cookie baking for the annual Ladies' Christmas Bazaar and Bake Sale.  Last year I had baked all sorts of things (cheesecake, cookies, and apple strudel) and then the event had to be cancelled due to a snowstorm.  This year it has snuck up on me and I am scrambling to figure out what and when to bake.

This week also brings company, which makes me very happy.  I can't wait to see my friends and offer them a place to sleep and food to eat while they're here to rejoice with their son upon his graduation from Bethany.

We went to Bethany yesterday for their annual Christmas at Bethany.  It was beautiful and I teared up when they began singing Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence by E.C. Bairstow from the  Liturgy of St. James, Fourth (?) Century.  It was so beautifully sung and the words!  Oh the words!

Let all mortal flesh keep silence and stand with fear and trembling,
and lift itself above all earthly thought.
For the king of kings and Lord of lords, Christ our God,
is cometh forth to be our oblation and to be given for Food to the faithful.
Before him come the choirs of angels with every principality and power;
the Cherubim with many eyes, and winged Seraphim,
who veil their faces as they shout exultingly the hymn: Alleluia

I had to force myself to not think about those words, those beautiful words, or I would have been a sobbing puddle and disturbed everyone around me from listening while they wondered what was the matter with that crazy lady.  The choirs sang many beautiful Latin pieces as well as wonderfully singing Handel's For Unto Us a Child is Born, and the Hallelujah Chorus.  It was a very nice evening I thoroughly enjoyed.

We finally got snow this past weekend, so it looks and feels like winter should in this land o' lakes.

The children want to put up the Christmas decorations sooner rather than later.  I love their excitement, it is contagious.  But I will probably disappoint them as I'm not sure decorating will happen until next week.  Although that is such a big motivator, they often get their work done more quickly if there is a possibility of Christmas decorating afterwards.

I'm currently reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. So far (I'm merely at the beginning) it is quite interesting and find the man to be well, weird.  But I am learning a bit more about the era and it made me realize that the culture one grows up in and lives in really shapes a person.  And I can imagine the angst and heartache Steve must have given his parents while he grew.

I've had my own angst over children and it is very humbling.  It isn't easy to see my own little ones grow up and choose things that cause me worry.  But thanks be to God who speaks His forgiveness in my ear when I confess my sins against these beloved children of His.  How beautiful and right that is.

Two new things we are doing as a family this Advent season.  One is actually lighting a candle on our new Advent wreath.  Well it isn't a wreath but a 4x4 piece of wood that David drilled holes for the four candles and a friend stapled greenery around the top.  But it is our first ever Advent wreath and the children love to light and extinguish the candle(s) during our evening prayer.  The second new thing is also during our evening prayer.  Usually we sing a second hymn picked by one of the children, however during this season we are singing Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel in Latin.  Hopefully some of it will sink into our hearts by season's end.  Nathan and Abby both quickly spotted that the Bethany choir sang the first verse (in Latin) yesterday as the very first thing to open the service.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wittenberg Academy

There is a new on-line Classical Lutheran High School that is set to begin in the fall of 2012.  It is Wittenberg Academy.  Check it out, pray for it, pass the word along, and consider enrolling your student(s) for one or two or for all classes.

From their website:

About Wittenberg Academy

Mission: Provide the best in classical Lutheran education for today's high school students through online delivery.
What makes us different from other online classical education institutions? We are unabashadly Lutheran, meaning all of our classes are grounded in the Sola's- Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Scripture Alone, Christ Alone.
luther glass rose

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Does any other Thanksgiving cook think the day before should be a fasting day?

With a head full of when to get the turkey done, the pies and rolls baked, the salads prepared, the vegetables peeled and cooked, when is the cook supposed to think about, let alone have time to prepare, meals for the family to eat the day before?

Instead, let us just get good and hungry for the beautiful feast by not eating the day before.  Think it will work?  I can't discuss it anymore, I have family hollering for something to eat for dinner - gotta go.

Monday, November 21, 2011


I love NASCAR. Tony Stewart is my favorite driver.  I've known him since 7th grade and it thrills me to no end that he is so successful at what he has loved to do his whole life.

I am overjoyed that he won the Sprint Cup title this year - his third - and he did it in an absolutely amazing race that came down to the wire.

I wish I could have watched it, but I don't have cable tv.  Plus I was gone for most of the race due to other obligations.  However I was on pins and needles listening to it on the radio for the last 37 laps when I got home.

Way to go Smoke!  Thanks for an incredibly exciting Race for the Chase.  Congratulations on winning the Championship!

Picture from The Associated Press

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Home Free

Last week David was the guest speaker at the Fall Banquet Fundraiser at the Lutheran High School he attended.  The entertainment was Home Free Vocal Band.  They are very good.  They are five guys without instruments who sing.  Their stage presence and jokes are very well done and it it amazed us how the one who "plays drums" creates those sounds.

Here is a video of them singing at a corporate convention earlier this year.

I bought one of their albums and all of us have thoroughly enjoyed an original piece, How Nice I Really Am, otherwise known as the stalker song.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy Hops Hobby for Hubby

My husband used to brew beer when we lived in another state.  Then we moved here and it seemed like life got in the way of his hobby, although he tried a time or two over the past eight years.  One time the taste wasn't the greatest, although it was perfect to cook with, and another time, just last year, the yeast was a bit too active and exploded the top off the five gallon primary fermenter.

Life hasn't gotten any slower, if anything it seems to have gotten busier.  Most likely just because of the extra business, David wanted to try brewing again.  I was glad to help.  So a week ago we brewed a batch of Dunkelweizen, and put it into the the primary fermenter.  This time we put it into a glass carboy with a tube fitted for the blow-off to prevent last year's mess and heartache.

Last night we moved the brew into the secondary fermenter.

And in about a week we'll bottle it where it will sit for a few weeks before we enjoy our labors.  I'm quite happy to help my hubby with this hops hobby.


Here are the pictures from Sam's birthday supper last Friday.

The cake was made by Hannah and Nathan.  They did a great job!  Uncle Matt is my husband's brother.  His birthday is the same day.  That means that my fifth child and my mother-in-law's fifth child were both born on the same day.

Sam told me earlier in the day that he hoped he would get lots of Legos.  Fortunately for him - everyone got him just that!
I was trying a different setting on my camera - apparently one I shouldn't use again!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Two Sides

I just finished reading Over the Earth I Come The Great Sioux Uprising of 1862 by Duane Schultz.  Before reading, I knew little about the events that took place that year.  How the Sioux Indians were mis-treated, how the revolt began, and how cruel the Indians were in their slaughter of the white settlers in the area.  I had heard of some of the names prior to reading, Little Crow,  Governor Ramsey,  Henry Sibley, and many of the places, New Ulm, Mankato,  Fort Ridgely, Fort Snelling for example.

But what I'm more astonished with than my new knowledge of this piece of history is that the author, in my opinion, did a very good job showing how all sides were guilty of wrong.  I came away from reading this not liking many of the people's actions and very saddened that there was very little forgiveness on either side.  Revenge and the way one looks to one's people (either white or Indian) very much guided the actions of the day.

Mistrust, arguments, fighting always contain two sides and it was nice to read a book that presented both and didn't try to justify the actions of one side over the other.

Friday, November 11, 2011

9 on 11-11-11

Our youngest is 9 today!

He picked cinnamon rolls for breakfast:

For lunch he picked chicken wings and mac-n-cheese:

His supper choice is corn dogs, baked beans, and either Doritos or Cheetos.  Hannah and Nathan are decorating his cake and I'm making the homemade ice-cream.  We'll be ready by 6pm because Sam wanted his Grandpa and Grandma, Aunt, Uncle, and cousins, plus a family from church to celebrate with him.  I'll have pictures of the festivities after the evening is over.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

How Far I've Come

When I first met my husband we were students at Concordia River Forest.  At Thanksgiving break our junior year, I went with him to his home to meet his family.  I distinctly remember feeling quite annoyed that all his family did was talk theology.  "Enough already" I thought.

Fast forward 20 years to tonight.  I'm sitting with my beloved spouse, enjoying a glass of Rosso and listening to President Harrison's report at the Ft. Wayne Seminary and then to his sermon preached on Reformation Sunday.  And I don't think "enough already," I think, "how beautiful."

Sola Deo Gratia!

Friday, November 04, 2011

October Happenings

I downloaded pictures from my camera and found several that will give you a glimpse into what happened in our home during October.

Our eldest turned 16:
Emily loves her Hannah

Instead of cake, she requested Fruit Pizza, her favorite dessert.  Grandpa and Grandma came over to enjoy as well as her uncle and aunt and cousins.

These two sisters get along very well.  For that I am very grateful.

Our church had to replace the roof on the bell tower several years ago.  In doing so, the cross had to be taken down and couldn't be put up again due to the shape of the new steel roof.  Well, finally a new one was put back and I was able to take pictures of the work in progress.

I'm always amazed how God provides.  All the people you see working on the cross are members of our congregation and own the equipment being used.

Last Halloween, Hannah and Ellie decided they were going to sew LOTR costumes for everyone for this year's trick-or-treat festivities.  They did.  No patterns were used.  They simply looked at a picture from the internet and began stitching.  Everything except Abby's skirt was sewn.

Abby as Rosie Cotton, Ellie as Eown, Nathan as SamWise, Hannah as Arowyn, and Sam as Frodo

David and I went to a Murder Mystery Dinner at a friend's home.  We, too, dressed up, had fun solving the mystery.
David as Asthmaedeus, Prince of Dimness, me as Glumda, the Wicked Witch of Depressed

Friday, October 28, 2011


I have a real bad case of this lately.  That and needing to "do something different."  It is not necessarily a good thing to have the commander of the household be so flighty, the soldiers seem to follow suit, which adds to the commander's flustering feelings of getting nothing done, which leads to more scatterbrain decisions, and so forth.

I'm currently living a Laura Numeroff plot.  As much as I enjoy reading those books to my children, I'm not enjoying living out the fiction in reality.

I do know how to stop this merry-go-round, and I really should take that trail, to stop the madness, to once more oversee a well-run (that is always in the eye of the beholder) home.  I think I will try today to curb the current chaos for some semblance of control and emulate better behavior towards the troops in my command.

Wish me luck.

Now I wonder what is happening in the blog world this morning.  Oh wait - I want to do some more editing in photoshop.  But first I should call my sister-in-law and see how she is recovering from surgery and touch base about Trick-or-Treating.

I need to do some laundry.

Where is the child who is suppose to load and unload the dishwasher? Oh, I better answer that email before I forget.  I'll do that after I finish a chapter in my book.  Which reminds me to read to the youngest more about space.  I wonder if there is a decent documentary on Netflix we could watch. . . .

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

All About Jesus

Today in a pastor's study I saw a framed letter from a child.  It had numerous tally marks on the top half with a printed letter on the bottom.  I can't remember the exact wording but it went something like this:

Dear Pastor _________,

In the service today you said Jesus 113 times today.  I counted them.  Thank you for teaching me about God.

Then the child signed his name.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

It Makes Me Happy

My son Nathan takes oboe lessons from Luke, a senior in high school, at his home.  We drive to the farmhouse every Friday afternoon.  I sit in the living room, while Nathan is learning more about playing an oboe in the music room - the small room off the living room with a piano, lots of music books, and a music stand.

This farmhouse makes me happy.  When we first walk in, the porch is filled with current produce from their garden.  The first few lessons it was lots of tomatoes, yesterday there were pails of potatoes and some squash.

The house itself is old with lots of neat character, from the woodwork to the hot-water radiant heating to the open stairwell banister.  Plus the touches of the family are all around.  The shoes and coats, the books, the definitely-not-picture-perfect-but-so-obviously-loved-to-sit-in-to-read-or-watch-tv couches and chairs fill the home as does the smells of supper which Mom is fixing while the lesson is proceeding.

The first time we went I noticed the family portrait on the wall and smiled that this family also has five children.  I spotted Luke in the picture and quickly figured out he was number 4 in line, and being a senior in high school, that meant it was only he and his younger brother still at home. I wondered if his older brother and two sisters must be in college, or was the oldest graduated from college and just two in college.

But yesterday I was really happy while sitting in the recliner during Nathan's lesson.  When I walked in there were more people on the couch than ever before (usually there is none) and there was an aura of joy in the house.  I thought maybe either Luke or his younger brother had friends over, but I was wrong.  It was the older siblings, home from college for the long weekend due to fall break.  The chatter of the kids, the verbal jabs given back and forth was giving that wonderful happy vibe throughout the home.

And I was happy for the mom, that all her kiddos were in the nest, the bustling of bodies and voices had to be a pleasure to her once again.  And I thought of how, even though I now yell "QUIET" and yearn for some peace, I know deep down, that I had a glimpse of my life in a few years.  When I'll have offspring who've grown and flew away, but will return for brief stays and all the world will be right with noise once again.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

One Cool Family

The other night David and I saw a great tv commercial for a Honda Pilot.  We looked for it on You Tube to show to the kids and found an extended cut version that is better than the one we saw on television.


Thursday, October 06, 2011

A Splendid Evening

Last Sunday, David and I took Hannah and Ellie to American Players Theatre in Spring Green, WI, to watch the closing performance of Taming of the Shrew.  It is my favorite Shakespeare play, and now it is David's.

It was very good indeed.  I had heard of this theatre from friends and we finally decided to just do it.  I'm so glad we did.  The girls liked it, I liked it, David liked it, and we all look forward to next season!

We left after dinner on Sunday and arrived with ten minutes to spare.  I had time to catch my breath (it is an uphill walk - or in our case, run) and snap two pictures before the performance began.

It was a perfect fall night for an outdoor play.  This will be a night we won't soon forget!  Plan now for next season and enjoy a well-done Shakespeare play in Spring Green!  Who knows, maybe we'll see you there.

Saturday, October 01, 2011


My husband visited a four month old boy from our congregation in that big, well-known hospital on Wednesday.  This little lamb of God had surgery on his skull because his soft spot had closed prematurely and his brain no longer had room to grow and was pushing his skull into unusual shapes.

The surgery lasted eighty-nine minutes in which the surgeons cut into his skull what my husband said they described as a pie (math) shape, removed some parts, added a calcium (I think I'm remembering correctly) plate that will grow into the skull as it now grows with him.

I can't even imagine the worries and fright that Mom and Dad and Grandpa and Grandma had.  But I rejoice with them that God brought His little lamb through without complications.  I am amazed and astounded at the knowledge God has granted to medical staff in order to fix these types of problems.  That this is described by those doctors as "not that uncommon" and that this little boy will most likely be able to go home this weekend, only a few short days after a major surgery, is another wonderment.

Praise be to our Heavenly Father!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Jane wrote about what she cooked when she was first married to give encouragement to her newlywed daughter.  It brought back good memories of newlywed life and some of those new found problems.  Here are a few:

  • We ate a lot of taco meat and hamburger helper meals thanks to the food bank at the seminary.
  • I remember buying a candy bar just about every time I went to the grocery store, because now I could.
  • I remember wondering how long it would be before we had a "junk drawer."
  • I remember saying to David when he would ask me what to use to clean something, "Well in my house we would have used a rag, but we don't have any of those yet."
  • I remember we often called either my mom or his mom to ask some cooking question.
  • We also asked either his dad or mine about how to fix this or what to do about that quite often.

I'm sure there were others, but that is all I can remember right now.  Interesting walk down memory lane.   What do you remember about that time in your life?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Digging Historical Fiction

I took two books along on vacation and was able to read both of them.  I found them in the library while searching the shelves for "something interesting to read."  I can't remember the last time I read the genre of historical fiction, but having read these two, I'll pick up more in that category.

First I read, Mount Vernon Love Story by Mary Higgins Clark.

It is a novel about George and Martha Washington.  It was a very easy read, engaging, and I thought added to my knowledge of the character of our first president and his wife.  It made me want to read more about these two people.

The second book I read was Early Candlelight by Maud Hart Lovelace.

This was good as well, but took longer to grab my attention.  It is about Fort Snelling in the 1830's and Lovelace does a good job of weaving a story out of the lives of fur traders, Indians, voyageurs, and the military.  The author of the introduction, Rhoda R. Gilman notes, "It (Early Candlelight) is the kind of work that throws open a window on the past and inspires more than a few readers to go on to a lifelong study of history." That is true for me.  As I read, I would tell David that now I want to return to Ft. Snelling and tour it again and also to see the Sibley House, of whom Lovelace bases the main character.  I also pulled out a map and looked again at the rivers and noted the names of roads, towns, and areas that were mentioned in the book, and it all was more fascinating after reading.  I love that about reading - it takes me to new places and makes me want to dig further.

Friday, September 23, 2011

More Pictures

I have close to 500 pictures from Camp Luther.  Many of them were taken by Hannah who wanted to try out my Cannon EOS digital camera.  She took many neat pictures, capturing the different fun times and scenery at camp.  I'm now going to make encourage her to learn Photoshop Elements in order that when I don't remember how to do something, she can teach me.

Because I have nothing else to say at the moment, here are more pictures for your viewing pleasure.

It was a cool, sunny week.  The perfect temperature for hot chocolate and jamming to music on the iPod.

Trees!  Lots and lots of pine trees!

The deck of the cabin which faces the lake.  We sat there a couple of warmer afternoons, reading while watching the grill.

Watching Daniel Boone:

Game Room fun:

Telling us directions for one of the games in our Friendship Celebration.

Silly boys!

Like Father, like Son.

 A favorite activity at camp - Archery!

"It's a dangerous business Frodo, stepping out your door.  You step on the road and who knows where you might be swept off too."


Silly Boys!

This is the first year the camp had wireless internet.  However, it wasn't working at our cabins so we had to walk down the way to pick up service, and check in on our virtual world of emails and Facebook.

Peaceful and beautiful

I had a birthday while at camp!

Playing Daniel Boone!

The Voyageur canoe that all of us fit into!  It is fun!

The place I would sit on the beach to read and check on my virtual world.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Home Again Home Again Jiggity Jig

After spending a wonderful week here:

We are home again.
It was a beautiful week, with swimming, games, fireplaces, and friends.

This was the tenth year of our two families meeting.  From that day our friendship has grown and grown to one that we both cherish.  Hannah and Ellie wanted to celebrate and one evening we had a

They had games for us and a slideshow with all the pictures from the past years, and a video of our times together.  It was a lot of fun!

We sure love being able to see our godchild  Joseph.  He is such a cutie and has a very fun personality.  He loved the freedom camp offered him.  To go in and out of the cabin, to follow the other boys to the forts they built in the woods around the cabin, and especially to open the refrigerator and reach the peanut-butter bars at will.

Each year we take a picture of all the kids and here is this year's:

Yes, it was a wonderful week.  We'll have those great memories while we are busy with our daily lives here at home.