March 31, 2008

Wool Sculpted Lady

I teach needlefelting classes, so I end up with lots of heads and unfinished bodies laying around. Since a local art gallery was asking for donated pieces for their $100 for 100's fund raiser I finished one of the bodies and took it over this morning.

I've talked about the needlefelt process in earlier blogs and posted pictures. I'm about to start another two classes. The art gallery asked if I'd teach classes for them too.

Since this was started in the class at the yarn store, I use what wool they have available. This particular skin tone wool was coarser (or too, I could have a darker wool color underneath to save on the skin tone if there doesn't look to be enough for all of us). But it was harder to get a 'smooth' looking face. I'm always looking for cool wool for hair and found this in a store. I usually dye the hair for my classes - pretty normal hair color :O) too!

Though I do flat pieces (which I just did four for four favorite friends' combined birthday get-together), I really like the more sculpted three-dimensional work.

Ukrainian Eggs

'Travis and Friends' were at our home over the weekend. Him and Sarah wanted their friends in their small group to experience our home, us, and do Ukrainian eggs.

I saw an article in a 1973 National Geographic Magazine on Ukrainian eggs, and wanted to do them. Since I knew how to do Batik textile art, I understood the process, but didn't know special tools existed. As is typical of me, I just jump in and do things. I got beeswax and melted it in a metal measuring cup and stood over the stove painting the wax on eggs. And the only dyes I new of were the typical grocery store Paas (?- I think that's what it is) dyes. Monte joined in the process when we were dating.

Soon after we were married I found the traditional kistka tools and special dyes. For years now we've been ordering supplies from the same store, and have bought kits for wedding presents. We've also bought a lot of extra tools and leave the dyes out for about a month and have had many people around our dining table decorating eggs. One couple, years ago so looked forward to it they started designing eggs months beforehand. When they moved away they bought their own kit and have done it every year.

Though electric kistkas exist, it's traditionally done by heating the metal funnel of the kistka over a candle till the beeswax is melted. It does not run out until it touches the egg. It's a wax-resist process, starting from lightest and getting progressively darker. You initially wax over everything you want white and put egg in yellow, once dry, you wax over what you want to stay yellow, and so on. When done you hold the egg to the side of the candle and wipe the melting wax off with a paper towel. The eggs are raw and they dry out over time.

This picture is just one of the three cartons that got done. This was a very productive and artistic weekend of eggs. Everyone loved it! Dawson took more pictures (and I'm sure better than mine but he didn't download them on my computer yet).

I cap the canning jars of dye and repack the box. I store them along with the old silver spoons, candles and candle-holders, box of tools and instructions and pictures, and then the vinyl tablecloth. It can be pulled out anytime. Every year I say I'm going to do it for Christmas ornaments - but I haven't yet.

March 28, 2008


Life after death ... How do you envision it?

It seems the Resurrection of Jesus started a muddle.

What is Heaven?

It seems most of our beliefs of heaven and hell are from Dante.

It's an interesting thing to think about.

Ever hear the phrases: Church Triumphant, Church Expectant, and Church Militant? What do they mean?


A new day. Going to be a busy day. 'The Swan Inn' is going to be full this weekend.

Monte's geology partner Stan has been here this week. They did a 'dry run' for another geology field trip they'll be leading next month. This time at least five Norwegians will be coming. They put together a book as a guide. So Stan leaves today.

Travis and Sarah are bringing around ten friends to stay the weekend. They want to do Ukrainian eggs. So there'll be lots of people sleeping all over - don't know where yet, but we'll see what happens tonight.

So I've been thinking 'food'.

March 27, 2008

Women In Art

A friend of Monte's and mine sent us this link thinking we'd appreciate it. It's beauty. It's art. Watch the eyes.

March 26, 2008


Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? Or might I ask, is it merely in the eye of the beholder? Or is it something 'out there'?

"You can recognize truth by its beauty and simplicity."
- Richard Feynman, Nobel laureate in physics

"Beauty is the battlefield where God and Satan contend with each other for the hearts of men."
- Fyodor Dostoyevski in The Brothers Karamazov

March 25, 2008


Today is the Calendar day for the Annunciation, when Gabriel came to Mary. (There is exactly nine months until Christmas.)

Isaiah 7:14 spoke of this event, "Behold a virgin ..." This is the day back in time God chose to enter our history. Mary in her "Yes" became the link between Heaven and Earth. We call this 'taking on flesh' the Incarnation.

I selected some works of art. There are probably over 100 done of this event. The first piece is done by El Greco - of the 1500's. The next "Annunciation" is from 1528 by Andrea del Sarto.
I think the third and forth are by Caravaggio, 1608-1609, and then Dante Gabriel Rosseti, 1849-50 (I could have them mixed around).
Then I think it's Arthur Hacker, 1892.

The last two pictures are more modern. HeQi did the sixth in 2001. The last, by Jim Hasse is called The Incarnation - World Annunciation, and a poem ends with:

"The girl says "yes"
"And the Angel left her"
Our World is changed

March 24, 2008

Buechner and Dillard "Remember" Quotes

Instead of adding these to the last post, I thought I'd post them separate. Of the variety of books I read, these are two more of my favorite 'very interesting' authors.

I like the word "remember" and it's in Scripture more than 300 times. The thief on the cross asked, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And Jesus at the table said, "Do this to remember me."

"When you remember me, it means that you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are. It means you can summon me back to your mind even though countless years and miles may stand between us. It means that if we meet again, you will know me." - Frederick Buechner

OH, does that tug at my heart reminding me just now as I typed that above of this quote in the book Deep Unto Deep by Dana Candler: "When I stand before Him face to face one day soon, when I meet His eyes for the first time, will I experience a memory in that gaze? Will there be familiarity?"

"I have no problem with miracles ... that isn't the question I struggle with. To me, the real question is, 'How in the world can we remember God?' I like that part of the Bible that lists kings as good and bad. Suddenly there comes this one, King Josiah, who orders the temple to be cleaned up and inadvertently discovers the Law. This happens after generations of rulers and after the Israelites followed God through the Exodus. Somehow they had forgotten the whole thing, every piece of it. A whole nation simply forgot God." - Annie Dillard

This quote tugs at my heart as well. It reminds me of Nehemiah 8 when Ezra does read the Scripture they found. The people STOOD for the entire reading of the Torah, hearing it for the first time, and they wept. Then they partied!

Burning Heart

This morning's reading brought me to the two guys walking the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. This is another story in Scripture I love. I would so love to hear Jesus tell stories. They were trying to make sense of what just happened in Jerusalem. Jesus walked up asking, "What are you so intently discussing?" and walked and talked with them.

Everyone was so sad. All their hopes that Jesus was the one to redeem Israel were shattered. Jesus couldn't have been the one, because they killed him.

We ourselves have just come through the season of Lent and lived again through the week of passion. I put a potted cross Dawson made years ago for me along with a barbed wire 'thorn of crowns' on our kitchen table adorned in black from Good Friday through Saturday night. In the hopeless waiting, in puzzlement over it all, we can ask questions too, like: How can we make sense of it all? What on earth has gone so badly wrong? Why should this have happened? If we want God's hope, God's love, God's thoughts instead of ours - then we have to go though a time of silence, of resting, of unknowing.

John's "Word of God" fell silent; the living water no longer flowed; the bread from heaven scattered; the light of the world got snuffed out; the good shepherd, snatched away from the flock; the grain of wheat, falling into the earth died; the Messiah came, and his own rejected him.

Then I ponder two lines from a poem, (I think by TS Eliot): "On the seventh day God rested in the tomb/ Having finished on the sixth day all his work of joy and doom."

But surprise!
Jesus started appearing to people. He had already gone through death and out into God's new world, God's new creation and he's come forward to meet us, 'back to the present'. Though it still seems dark out there, the new world has begun.

Mary Magdalene was the first to see the risen Jesus. "Very early in the morning while still dark, she came to the tomb..." She, the first witness, brought Peter and John running to the empty tomb, puzzled and worried and scared. This was something they'd never imagined! Jesus appeared to people with his body fully alive.

Jesus is wanting us to leave the old creation behind on the cross and work at making more bits of the new creation happen within the world as it still is. Didn't Jesus keep saying, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand" here and now?!

Before I go to bed Saturday night I drape the potted cross in a white lace tablecloth and hang a garland of roses. It's our early morning visual reminder of the resurrection. Some years, since Dawson and I raised silk worm moths and him other moths, I've put cocoons on the table for the days leading up to Easter, and hang butterflies we made from feathers over the table Saturday night. It helps kids understand the resurrection process better.

We need to pray for vision and wisdom to know where God can and will make new creation happen in our lives, in our hearts, in our homes and communities.

We stand on resurrection ground. We are in the Season of Easter between now and Pentecost. We need more prayer, more parties, more knocking on God's door to see what he wants us to be doing; and more celebration of God's new creation!

The two on the road to Emmaus didn't recognize Jesus. While walking, he told them stories from Scripture. They invited him home with them to eat. The moment Jesus broke the bread, they recognized him, and then Jesus disappeared. He reappeared later to the gathered disciples and there again shared stories. Like the two said, I too would love to feel (and maybe I do), "Didn't our hearts burn within us as he talked, opening up Scritpures to us on the road?"!

March 22, 2008

GOOD? Friday

Other than Jesus' words on the cross "It is finished" (accomplished, completed) and his words in Mel Gibson's The Passion of Christ "I make all things new", I wouldn't call what Jesus went through 'good'.

March 20, 2008

Maundy Thursday (Passover) - Seder

Some churches have Maundy Thursday services tonight. "Maundy" is Latin for "mandatum" or "commandment" because at the Last Supper Jesus said, "A new commandment I give you: Love one another ..." Because Jesus washed the disciples feet that night, some churches wash feet.

At this meal, the disciples were expecting it to be a traditional Passover ritual they grew up with. On Passover Jews eat history, remembering the Exodus story with a Seder ("ordered") meal. This Holy day was to awaken Israel's past into her present.
Passover spoke powerfully of God rescuing His people.

The disciples had no clue Jesus was going to die. Jesus shared the meal with them, with special twists that would tell his story more powerfully than any other way.
Jesus must have played the role of the father in the typical seder, but as he did with everything, he made the Passover become personal. Jesus' new Passover speaks even more powerfully of God rescuing His people in a new and complete way.

Many years I've done a seder meal at home. I have a Haggadah I can copy that is a script for the ordered meal. Sometimes our kids have had friends over, and they take advantage of the idea of reclining at the table, which we've heard the Jews typically did - with low tables. It truly is eating history.

Now that one of our pastor's is Jewish, this will be the second year in a row we'll have a seder meal at our church tonight. As Christians, there's so much more depth to the ritual. "...Every time you eat this bread and drink the cup..." we are actually announcing to the world around, to the principalities and powers that keep people enslaved and fearful and angry or not living to their full selves, that Jesus is Lord, and that his death has broken the power of sin and fear and sorrow and shame. This meal propels us out into the community in the confidence that God is at work.

The Passover meal became the Lord's Supper. The Passover Lamb becomes the Lamb of God. Instead of just remembering the slaughtered firstborn of Egypt - we remember that Abba Father slayed His firstborn. Instead of smeared blood protecting the firstborn - Abba protects those who drink from His firstborn's cup.

Jesus made himself the center of the Passover re-enactment. Jesus established the physical bread and wine so we will never forget his gracious act of love for us. It's a meal that speaks more volumes than any theory. We participate in his life (and death) for us. We physically remember. Jesus asks us to "taste, see, and know My presence".

March 19, 2008

Joseph-Reputation vs Identity

Today the Church Calendar remembers Joseph. I like to remember him as the provider of shelter for Jesus and Mary. Joseph was in the stable when Jesus was born. He took Mary and Jesus to the Jerusalem Temple to present Jesus to God. He shared Mary's anxieties when Jesus was presumed lost. After this, no more is heard of him in Scripture, but I imagine him educating Jesus and training him in the carpentry business.

(This painting is by Raphael.)

Putting myself in Joseph's sandals helps me see that identity (who I really am) is more important than reputation (what others think of me). Joseph was not just a secular Jew, but was one who observed the Torah faithfully and completely, and his reputation was challenged with gossip of Mary's pregnancy. So what was going through his head? He poured over the Torah, consulting legal matters.

What to do with Mary? She says she wasn't seduced or raped, but instead "it was a miracle of God". If he marries Mary he'd lose his reputation. But what if Mary is right? Will he love God by obeying the Torah or will he love Mary? He's about to choose a private divorce when an Angel tells him not to fear (not to fear losing his reputation). I respect him for his attentiveness and listening to angels.

He married Mary, the supposed adulteress.
He gave Jesus a name, becoming the legal father of this 'illegitimate' child. He loved God and others - he surrendered his heart, soul, mind, strength and reputation to God. Joseph became 'less' in the eyes of the religious Jews to provide room for a baby boy who one day would give the 'lesser' (the outsiders) a better reputation than the religious establishment.

When we surrender ourselves to God - lose ourselves - we find ourselves - our real self - we discover our true identity.

March 18, 2008

Loosing Myself

I so love John 12. I love the image of Mary anointing Jesus' feet with costly perfume just before the week of passion. A couple gave Monte and me a picture of this scene and I have it hanging in my office and can see it as I sit in my favorite chair reading.

For this Holy Week I'm reading a little book by NT Wright called Christians at the Cross - subtitled Finding Hope in the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. Wright leads you with the theme of music
through this week's story. When Christians say "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures", Wright says according to the scriptures could be considered the bass part, the foundation of the tune. Karaoke recordings have everything but the melody - the song itself, because you're supposed to know the song and sing it. The Gospel Story is the melody. All the other parts create the totality of the harmony and whether it's major or minor, happy or sad.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, he knew all the Old Testament prophecies and what was ahead of him that week. John 12 mentions that Jesus' followers didn't put the pieces together until later. Isaiah said that God will send his servant, with his eyes fixed on his strange work of setting the world right through his own death.

"Unless a grain of wheat is buried, dead to the world, then it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over...If you let your life go, reckless in your love, you'll have life forever..." And this is what Mary did in anointing Jesus' feet. Judas thought it a reckless extravagance. Jesus said, "She has done a beautiful thing to me - preparing me for burial." The fragrance filled the house. The fragrance probably stayed with him through his trial and beating and death.

Who are you in the story: Martha, Mary, or Judas? Because of this scene I ponder: It is very easy for me to 'lose' myself in God, but can I 'loose' myself, as did Mary?

March 17, 2008


Locavore is the new 2007 Oxford American Dictionary word of the year. I'm just reading about it.

It's all about the popular trend in using locally grown ingredients. It encourages people to buy from Farmer's Markets or even grow or pick their own food. As local and fresh as possible has got to be the best tasting and most nutritious!

Some groups are spelling it 'localvores'. (For further interesting comments along this vein and another dictionary word, check out my blog called Orthorexia.)

Indoor Gardening

I had an opportunity to purchase some Aerogardens cheap, so I got three. The third one had some minor difficulties which are now solved, so my Italian herbs are just sprouting. But the Garden Salad mix and Tomatoes are off to a great start. Tomorrow I'm going to raise the lights to the next level.

For years I've dreamed of sprouting and growing plants better, and possibly keep us in salad makings through winter. We did keep a cold frame outside that gave us salad makings most of the winter - until voles found it! But it's so labor intensive with putting insulation back on every night and removing in the morning, and sometimes needing to crack the glass open so the plants don't cook! And then last winter with the 3 foot snow dumped just before Christmas that never melted ...

The key for seed and plant growth in low sun angle cool weather is heat for the soil and grow lights. Now I've set that up in the greenhouse! With all the excavating and landscaping we are doing this year, the cheapest route is to start from seed.

Every year, I do start my veggie garden seeds in the house, on the rug in the dining room, just for a bit of warmth, and then move the sprouted seeds to the cooler greenhouse attached to the south side of our house. My growing season averages about ninety days, so I need to get a head start on some things. And too, I've learned what things start best in the garden.

But there's some things I know I can start from seed but have not had a lot of luck with and think it's the soil temperature. So this year will be a year of experiment. I'm going to start my garden seedlings in the greenhouse soon, and the grow lights that I can raise as plants grow, will keep the plants from getting leggy. After the garden starts, I'll start the perennial seeds I got for landscaping and can be planting them out through fall. Then I'll experiment through winter. If the winter gardening is successful in the greenhouse, then I'll be passing on the Aerogardens to my kids.

So far, what I've got growing in the greenhouse is wheatgrass. It's about ready to start harvesting. It's supposed to be very nutritious for you. We had bought some and Monte tried just eating it. His comment was, "It tastes like grass ... not objectionable though". I tried blending it with some juice, and it doesn't 'chew up' very well. So we'll 'juice' it through an extractor like a meat-grinder. I'll give you an update on that.


So, what day is today? Everyone knows it's St Patrick's Day. What do we wake up thinking? or maybe even plan ahead for? Wearing something green ("so I won't be pinched!"). Oh, that's really important! I'll say something about him later.

The 15th of March is The Feast of Saint Longinus. Do you know him? I wonder who even remembered his name, or did they just give him a name. I took a picture of a picture from one of my Saint books - and who do you see? John Wayne! not his typical western look. What movie is this?

Tradition merges the soldier whose spear pierced the side of the crucified Jesus with the centurion who later acknowledged him to be the Son of God. According to legend, Longinus was baptized by the Apostles and eventually died, a martyred bishop, in Cappadocia.

Why not take a day each year to think about the crucifixion scene and all those witnesses. How might it have touched so many people's lives. We don't know all the stories ... but just imagine!

Another person remembered from that whole story is the man who offered his tomb for Jesus to be buried. March 17 is the Feast of Saint Joseph of Arimathea. According to a legend, Joseph was Jesus' wealthy uncle, and after his nephew's (did you ever think of Jesus as a nephew?) Resurrection and Ascension, Joseph accompanied Mary Magdalene to France. Then, alone, he made his way to Britain, bringing with him the chalice drunk from at the Last Supper, which became an ornament of the church he established at Glastonbury, Somerset. And that is how the Holy Grail ended up in England and why King Arthur was so concerned with it!

So from this legend we have so much literature - from the tales of King Arthur (and "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" movie - I'm grinning) and on to the more current The Da Vinci Code (I read that Novel and the book that followed. Good writer of a good story, but remind yourself - it's a novel). I think Dan Brown knew of this legend and extrapolated! All I'll say is, "He's an angry-at-the-church man, and doesn't know his history."

Everyone knows bits of the St Patrick story so I don't want to say much. Of all that's written, my favorites are How the Irish Saved Civilization and The Celtic Way of Evangelism. I came away from having read those books realizing my faith is more Celtic than Roman based. Celtic writings are much like the Hebrew Psalms and very inclusive of the Trinity. (My favorite book for exposure to this is The Celtic Way of Prayer.) What must have overflowed from Patrick (born Succat) was the Celtic based monasteries that were very inclusive of the surrounding community, focusing on relationship and embracing the common people. They loved people into The Kingdom. The Europe they evangelized to life, kinda died again, returning to the Roman cold, exclusive (exclusion) monasteries and nitty-gritty detail focus and rules.

A Palladius or Pallagious was actually the first missionary to Ireland. His name was mentioned in the newest King Arthur movie, and because I know something of him, I made the connection in the movie. He preached that people can take the 1st step to salvation without the grace of God. Augustine took steps against his followers.

St Patrick, with a satchel full of books, including Augustine's writings, like City of God and his Confessions, returned to Ireland with its un-invaded tranquility by the barbarians who were ransacking Rome and all of Europe. Thus literature was preserved until Europe was ready to take them back.

Hasn't Patrick's Breastplate prayer been put to music?
Make Irish Soda Bread!

March 16, 2008

Palm Sunday - Hen and Chick Bread

Jesus' Palm Sunday Entry into Jerusalem
Our Supper Group friends just left - our brave friends. It's snowed a few inches, but the heaviest is supposed to start around midnight. I'm anxious to hear how their drive home went! It was raining in Denver when they left to come to our house. I'll let you know how much snow we get. It's not supposed to move on till tomorrow late afternoon. The meal turned out great, even though I was grilling the chickens in the snow! We had a great time and conversation.

I came home from church with lots of palm fronds (I do that every year) to decorate the kitchen table and set out my wool sheep and Jesus on a donkey. Everyone thought it so cool that I had to take a picture to post.

I found one tradition in all my readings for Palm Sunday that I've been doing several years now. My ancestors on my dad's side in the Netherlands carry on this tradition: baking bread chicks on a stick with colored streamers and parading them about homes and church. I bake a large bread shaped chicken with baby chicks sticking out around her.
Where does this come from, and why Palm Sunday?

As Jesus overlooked Jerusalem, He wept. Jesus knows us and loves us, even with all our ordinariness.
Jesus wished He could "gather them under My wings like a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings". (Matthew 23:37, Luke 13:34)

Here's my recipe for hen and chicks bread-
1 cup hot water in a blender with- 1 small unpeeled, cut up and seeded orange (cut off some skin to use as chick beaks)
1/2 cup raisins

Let soak a bit and then blend well. Pour into a bread-making bowl and add-
1 pkg (2 tsp) yeast

1/8 cup oil or melted butter

1/8 cup honey or sugar

1-2 Tb molasses

2 tsp-1Tb cinnamon

1 cup flour

Mix these ingredients just until the dry ingredients are moistened, and with a cover on to keep warm, let sit to sponge for 10 minutes. Then add-
2 tsp salt & more flour till dough begins to clean the bowl and form a ball. Knead for about 10 minutes.

Shape the dough into loaves or the chickens (one large or 2 small). Let rise on a greased baking sheet, covered with a towel. Bake about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
(I haven't done this this year yet. If I do, I'll take a picture and add it here.)

I do a large ball for the hen body, then lots of small balls around her body for the chicks and one small ball on top of her body for her head. Take a toothpick to make indents and add currents or cut up raisins for eyes and slivers of orange peel for beaks.

I pulled out art work that I set on an easel for this week. I have Leonardo da Vinci's "Lord's Supper" as well as a modern painting of the scene. I have Rembrandt's "The Raising of the Cross" where he paints himself in the picture. And then Michelangelo's "Pieta". I saw these scenes frozen in Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion of Christ" and it caught my breath - a work of art!
Passion Week is before us. One day the people cry "Hosannas" that soon changed to "Crucify Him"!

Birthday and Snow - ENOUGH!

It's Monte's 60th birthday today! I googled party ideas and most were 'over the hill' type stuff with jokes and hearing-aids and all. But they don't fit Monte. He's in a wonderful place in life with lots of great things going on! So I settled on a Vintage 48 theme - Each Year Gets Better (or Aged to Perfection!). Lots of good aged quotes.

I have the chickens over the beer cans on the grill (I posted that recipe a bit ago) BUT it has started snowing! We have (or maybe I should say had, cuz I'm guessing they won't come now) friends coming for our church's small group - "Supper Group".

What year was that?...several years ago, after a horrible summer of drought and fires and not much winter snow, we got dumped on THIS VERY NIGHT 74 inches of snow in two days, and drifts were another matter (looks like the storm watch is predicting at least 16"). But we've had enough snow this winter!


I've been following the news on the blood thinner Heparin. They are trying to track down the contaminate that seems to be giving people varying side affects and then some deaths.

I lived on heparin for about eight months during my pregnancy with Dawson. I developed a serious blood clot, and ended up on heparin which is the only blood thinner that wouldn't go through the placenta to the baby.

That was nineteen years ago and I remember feeling like a guinea pig. I had to give myself shots (sometimes Monte did it) two times a day, much like a diabetic. Because of the thinned blood, the shots caused bruising. And then there's the occasional blunt needle ... (Monte could see the hooked tips with his geologic hand lens).

I had to have my blood analyzed once a week. The nurses did not look forward to seeing me. It ended up that my doctor would draw my blood. I have good veins, but they collapse because of my low blood pressure, even when I drink tons of water, and rarely does the first try work, so I'm poked several times, moving from place to place. (Are you grossed out yet? There's more.)

I often times could taste blood and would tell them that the heparin must be in excess racing around my body, like a hemophiliac. We deduced that whenever my body was fighting off an infection it didn't absorb the heparin.

I was told that it would rob my bones of calcium. We didn't know that it would also affect my muscles or tendons as well, and then my milk for nursing - Dawson was starving. After the birth, I felt like I had tendonitis of my entire body.

Once prone to blood clots, you're advised to not get pregnant again or they'd put you on heparin immediately. So with the ten-year gap, Dawson was like an only child. We all thoroughly enjoyed the sense-of-wonder that he ignited again in all of us.

Heparin, if you read about how it's made (don't), is made from pig intestines. There's more grossness than that, so I'll stop there. The US seems to get most of it from China ...

As with so many of us, after the pain of birth, we so often say, "I'll go through that again".

March 15, 2008


Sometimes I think Jesus a bit harsh. I've just accepted some of these as his need for hyperbole - extreme exaggeration for a point. Like telling us to hate our mother and brother.

Like the man telling Jesus he wants to follow him, but "first let me go and bury my father". And Jesus said, "Let the dead bury their own dead".

I learned about the Jewish burial customs in Jesus' day. It took place in two stages. Immediately after death the body is placed in a casket in a tomb to decompose. The family sat shiva (mourned) for seven days (you can read about this mourning 'celebration' in Lauren Winner's book Mudhouse Sabbath). After about a year the bones are taken from the tomb and put in an ossuary (box for bones), and then reburied for good.

It's probably between these two burials that the man approached Jesus and maybe it couldn't be for a year before he could finally follow Jesus. So he's caught - should he follow Jesus or follow how he understands the Torah - which is the commandment to honor one's parents in respecting the burial customs.

These are the exaggerated extremes: Do we love God by following Jesus more than we love the Torah and our family?!

March 14, 2008


Today is Pi day. I have it on my calendar for the fun of it. Our news radio station mentioned it this morning because one of the station daughter's class was to bring round things in. And the daughter was going to bring in a square pie. I thought that was fun!

We had done the same kind of exercise when our kids were young - had them look at anything round and have them measure around the circle (circumference) and divide by the diameter of the circle. No matter the circle size, they'd come up with this same 3.14... number. This magic number is called 'pi'. They had fun!

The joke this morning about the square pie was: a farmer sent his son to college and asked him when he was done to tell him a math fact. (I don't know any hidden keystrokes on this computer to type a pi symbol or a raised 2. Or maybe use a 'n'?) He told his dad "A circle area=pixr2". The farmer was upset, "I spent all that money for schooling when any fool can tell you pies aren't square!" (you've gotta say it with an accent).

March 13, 2008

Tongues Quote

"Art, music, dance, theater, literature, film. 
They're all a way of speaking in tongues."
-Ian Morgan Cron

March 12, 2008


I'm home from a women's ministry meeting at church, and relaxing and unwinding from a busy day before going to bed. Monte is trying to finish getting a new toilet installed in the kids bathroom. We are going to replace the one in the guest bathroom soon too. So, for now, the only usable toilet in the house is in our master bathroom (which is having it's own problems and will also be replaced). It's what comes of a 24 year old, well-lived-in-house (like I posted long ago about our Velveteen House).

I woke up two days ago and no water - these old toilets without warning 'run' all night. Luckily the pump and well don't take too-too long reviving ... but Dawson couldn't take a shower before leaving for the day - and no laundry that day.

I had posted (maybe at the end of November, or early December) about our church going through a rough transition. This year MOPS has had a rough year. And now with a big chunk of the congregation, including staff, gone to start another church ... it's feeling like ... real church. Like we are truly a body, with the parts dependent on the other parts, desiring to work together ... and feeling out of control, yet not wanting to jump in quick and "fix it"- so more waiting on the Spirit.

Some of us, part of the original women's community team, are just trying to hold the pieces together and finish out the season's plans. We're really hoping for new body parts, new blood, and new ideas, to come forth.

So I'm trying to relax in God. Though I'm currently relaxing in my recliner with my laptop on my lap, I'm actually sitting in God's lap, resting my head on his chest, wanting to sync my heartbeat with His.

March 11, 2008


On this day in 1829, Felix Mendelssohn conducted Bach's St Matthew Passion. Bach was still relatively unknown, even though he had died almost a century before. More than one thousand people were unable to get tickets, so two additional concerts had to be scheduled.

It was only then that scholars began to analyze and appreciate the artistic majesty of Bach - one century from his first, long-forgotten performance of this piece! 

So great was the sensation that composer Hector Berlioz marveled, "There is but one God--and Bach and Medelssohn are His prophets."

March 10, 2008

The Shack

I'm reading a great book. I originally tried getting it from the library but there's lots of holds on it. A friend who KNOWS me said, "Karey, you are going to want to own this book!" Many people I know are reading it more than once. It's The Shack.

Here are just a few of the many comments on the book:
"This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress did for his. It's that good!" - Eugene Peterson

The Shack is the most absorbing work of fiction I've read in many years. My wife and I laughed, cried and repented of our own lack of faith along the way. The Shack will leave you craving for the presence of God." - Michael W Smith

"Reading The Shack during a very difficult transition in my life, this story has blown the door wide open to my soul." - Wynonna Judd

March 7, 2008


Pablo Picasso said, "I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it."

This also describes me. A while back I posted about "Process vs Product" and I described myself as a process person. I'm forever wanting to learn how to do new things. I'm forever researching. I sometimes pick the hardest patterns in textile arts just for the challenge of a more interesting process.

I'm not taking pictures of my newest project until I get the stuff on the wall. Oh ... maybe I'll do one of the door, just to show the new colors. But of course the door's not done. (I guess installing door trim is another new thing I need to learn from Monte so I can finish all the trim around this house. It doesn't seem to bother him, but it really bothers visual me!) I taped some areas of the door as guides, to see how it would work and look. I think I'd like to add more green in some indents, but taping takes so long, but I don't think my hand is steady enough for straight lines.

I'm going to the airport to pick up Monte in a little while. There's a fish taco place out there where I'm looking forward to eating. I got a coupon the last time I was there and had been waiting for a long time. The place is really popular. I don't think there is one of these restaurants on our side of town yet. I haven't made fish tacos yet, but I'm going to research and learn how! Monte's had them in San Diego and Tucson and loves them.

March 4, 2008


I took Monte to the airport again yesterday - or maybe I should say, he again flew to Tucson for geologic research and writing with Stan. When he's gone, I don't have to think about creative meals, so it's a nice break (except I did have Gary spending the night with Dawson since they were studying for a history exam. So I did do some cooking, but easy simple stuff).

I started painting the laundry/exercise room today. Since I had given Dawson and Gary free reign to explore texture with drywall compound in that room last fall, and it's pretty thick and rustic, I thought I better put on a drywall sealer-primer first. I'm glad I did - it was so 'thirsty' it really soaked up the stuff! I'll finish painting it tomorrow with two colors. When I'm done I'll take pictures and post them.

I bought some fun kid maps of the world to put on the wall in front of the treadmill. I like looking at something with lots to look at and learn from. I'll change things out for new viewing off and on. I'm toying with putting up the old homeschool timeline we had in the laundry room. Don't know ...

That room has undergone several changes since we built this home 24 years ago. Since we didn't finish the upstairs for awhile, living in the downstairs, the laundry room started out as Monte's and my bedroom. Then it became Monte's office for years. We talked of turning it into my office or craft room, but I like what it's become - still laundry with a door into the garage and exercise equipment. It's on the north side of the house and overlooks the front porch. A macrame window-covering I made in our first townhouse when first married hangs in the window.

The funniest story of it as our bedroom has to do with a porcupine under the window in the night rustling in some flats of plant starts. Naked Monte went out to scare it away. But a porcupine? What happens when a porcupine gets scared?! No, it didn't fling it's quills at Monte, but it wouldn't go away and just kept eating all my baby plants. All that was around was a snow shovel, so Monte tried using it to shoo it away, to no avail. Then he began thinking about our dogs and vet bills and the ponderosa trees the porcupine had stripped. So he hit it and knocked it out. He then carried it all the way down our driveway (remember he's naked but for shoes)(and our driveway is long) and buried it in the ditch. Well ... a few weeks later a couple in an old Cadillac were trying to turn around at the bottom of our driveway and landed in the ditch, right where Monte had buried the porcupine. As they spun their back tires trying to get out, the porcupine, which had turned into a quilly, soupy, rank consistency, was flung all over their Cadillac and the road.

Well ... moving on to another type of soup, at the end of the BLT Soup post, I mentioned it was snowing that day after a 70 degree day for March 1st and now it's supposed to start snowing again tonight into tomorrow. We'll see what March brings, though warmer and lots of snow and ice melting, the road has already started that 'greasy' mud that's almost worse than ice.

I get Monte at the airport on Friday.

The Visitor (2008) - Movie Trailer HD

This looks really good. I can't wait.

March 3, 2008

Katharine Drexel

March 3, 1955, Katharine Drexel died. In 2000 she became the second American-born woman to be canonized. She was born into a very wealthy Philadelphia family. Katharine had an excellent education and traveled extensively with her family. (This photo I took with my camera is out of my book of saints. All other photos are her as a nun.)

She started over 60 schools throughout the United States including Xavier University in 1925 in New Orleans, the first university for blacks. The first school she started was in Sante Fe, New Mexico, for Indian kids. I googled her and usually wikipedia and a catholic site about her would be on the first page, but four pages are full of schools and libraries and foundations named after her.

So what occurred in her life that seems to have influenced so much good? First, her mother opened their home three days a week to the poor. And too, her father spent a half hour in prayer every evening. She visited Pope Leo XIII in Rome and asked for missionaries to the US West's Indians. He looked at her and asked, "Why don't you become a missionary?"

In 1891 Katharine founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored. Attuned to the Holy Spirit she joyously facilitated advances for social justice. Traveling and speaking, United State churches became aware of the grave domestic need among Native Americans and Afro-Americans. She hoped to change racial attitudes in the United States.

At the age of 77 she had a heart attack. Her activity shifted, spending the last almost 20 years of her life in intensive prayer.

March 2, 2008

Christianity Roots

I was just reading. So many names from Christianity's roots I know: Augustine, Athanasius, Clement, Desert Fathers, Origen, and Tertullian - and many of them I've blogged about, I just thought them what? Middle Eastern? Greek?

We just assume (without really thinking) most of our roots are European. But in reality many of the early church roots are African! There's a great article about a book and a call to reclaim Christianity's roots.
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