7 Quick Takes: Sad Prayer Requests, Lots of Church Music, and The Big Bang Theory

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Update on my Edda. My princess has been gone for over a week now. The not knowing is the hardest part. I wish we knew if there was any hope of her returning — it would allow me to grieve and get some closure.

— 2 —

Sad prayer request. Please keep Caitlin of Savor His Goodness and her family in prayer. They found out this week that their second baby has no heartbeat.

— 3 —

The Big Bang Theory. I’m trying to get some Christmas crocheting done so I turned on The Big Bang Theory to have something to watch during the brainless parts of the crocheting. I just finished watching the prom episode and am on the one where Leonard has the septoplasty (the surgery to fix his deviated septum). I know I should suspend my disbelief but… they don’t have the gauze on Leonard’s nose the correct way. After a septoplasty, it’s taped *UNDER* the nose to catch the blood dripping out. How do I know this? I had the same surgery in July of 2008.

— 4 —

Church music fun. I’ve been blessed to be part of a choir that has the ability to sing some pretty fabulous music even though we’re a pretty small group (6-7 of us on a Sunday usually).

We did a piece based on a Haydn chorale on November 5th:

This past Sunday, we did a piece by Heinrich Schu?tz (the English translation of it):

This Sunday, we have something more conventional:

Our Christmas Eve music will be the Christmas section of Handel’s “Messiah”. It’s the first time I’ve performed it in 12 years though I definitely have sung along to my CD of it enough times on long car trips. I used to do it with the San Jose Symphonic Choir in high school and college when they’d have their annual “You-Sing-It Messiah” at Christmas and it’s a work I know pretty well.

— 5 —

Regarding “quiet times”. I can’t remember if I’ve shared this link or not but I read a fabulous article on why “quiet times” shouldn’t happen alone. (For non-evangelicals, one’s “quiet time” is one’s personal time for prayer and devotions.) It’s one of the reasons I love being part of a church with a set lectionary — any Scripture I’m reading on my own is read on Sunday mornings in community and it gives everyone a chance to hear and digest it within the parameters of the community so that there is less of a chance of misinterpretation.

— 6 —

I am Scrooge. This is the time of year that makes me more Scrooge-y than usual because I despise the consumerist attitudes that hijack Christmas and make it more about buying stuff and giving the perfect gift rather than it being about the gift of God dwelling amongst us. The signs are already on the street in the Village in Claremont and most stores have all their Christmas signs and decorations up… and it’s only November 21st. We haven’t even had Christ the King Sunday yet, not to mention all of Advent! /rant

— 7 —

I can’t believe it has been a year. A year ago, I was sitting in the sanctuary of Twin Lakes Church in Aptos for the funeral of Gordon Smith, one of the leaders of the college group at the church I attended during most of college. It was great to see people that I hadn’t seen in 12-13 years but I wish it had been a more joyous event. The mother/son duo accused of murdering him goes on trial next March and I still wish they could understand that the man they shot was someone who had given them more chances than humanly possible and who would give them the shirt of his back during a blizzard if they were cold. He chose to work with middle schoolers and college students, two groups where identities are being developed and who need a lot of love. I know he and his wife Joan loved me and stood with me through some of the toughest times in my life and I can hear both his infectious laugh and his very down-to-earth way of telling about the faith he had in Jesus Christ.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook: November 17, 2014

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY November 17, 2014

Outside my window… dark. It’s almost midnight and as usual, I’m doing this late at night while everyone else sleeps.

I am thinking… about Edda and wondering where she is. (For those not in the know, my black cat Edda disappeared last Wednesday night.)

I am thankful… for my mother-in-law getting Daniel off the bus so I could pull the covers over my head and hide from life for a few hours.

In the kitchen… clean now but various things were made today.

I am wearing… green shirt and black sweats.

I am praying for… Edda to come home or for the grace to come to terms with her being gone, for a call for Jon, and for a number of other intentions.

I am going… to do some more flyering tomorrow to see if we can’t get some information on where Edda is.

I am wondering… what happened to her. (Do you see a theme here?)

I am reading… A Deadly Yarn by Maggie Sefton. I’ve gotten into her murder mysteries big time. I also read and finished my Miss Julia book by Ann B. Ross last week.

I am hoping… Edda does eventually come home.

I am looking forward to… maybe getting a pedicure this week. I need one pretty badly given how cracked and dried out my feet are these days.

I am hearing… Jon snore and Arthur (my in-laws’ citrus cat who is snuggled up at my feet) purring like a Harley Davidson.

Around the house… silence except for Jon and Arthur.

A favorite quote for today… “It is as if a sort of communal personality came into existence. Of course, it is not a real person: it is only rather like a person. But that is just one of the differences between God and us. What grows out of the joint life of the Father and Son is a real Person, is in fact the Third of the three Persons who are God.

This third Person is called, in technical language, the Holy Ghost or the “spirit” of God. Do not be worried or surprised if you find it (or Him) rather vaguer or more shadowy in your mind than the other two. I think there is a reason why that must be so. In the Christian life you are not usually looking at Him: He is always acting through you. If you think of the Father as something “out there,” in front of you, and of the Son as someone standing at your side, helping you to pray, trying to turn you into another son, then you have to think of the third Person as something inside you, or behind you. Perhaps some people might find it easier to begin with the third Person and work backwards. God is love, and that love works through men – especially through the whole community of Christians. But this spirit of love is, from all eternity, a love going on between the Father and Son.” — C.S. Lewis

One of my favorite things… playing a good word in Words with Friends on Facebook.

A few plans for the rest of the week: flyering the neighborhood, choir practice on Wednesday, and Date Night at some point. Oh yes… also trying to get the Christmas cards ordered.

Hosted by The Simple Woman.

7 Quick Takes: Random and Wow!

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Prayer request. Edda, my black cat, didn’t come home last night and we’re worried sick so I’d really appreciate it if you’d pray that she would make her way home. Please and thank you. :)

— 2 —

Things to donate this season. My mom shared this top 10 list of things food banks need but won’t ask for and I thought it was good enough to share. This is usually the season when needs increase exponentially so if you can donate any of those items, I’m sure your food bank will thank you profusely.

— 3 —

The required Quick Take about weather now that baseball season is over. It’s been overcast and cool here for the last few days. As a native northern Californian transplanted to the desert, I am positively giddy. I miss living in a place with 4 distinct seasons — something that southern California lacks.

— 4 —

Christmas Eve music. My church choir is talking about doing the Christmas section of Handel’s “Messiah” on Christmas Eve and I’m incredibly excited. I haven’t performed it in 12 years and I’ve missed it. I used to do the “You-Sing-It” Messiah with my mom almost every year in high school and college so I know the music quite well. There’s also a community Messiah sing with the orchestra that my church choir director conducts for and I’m pretty sure I’ll be singing at one of those performances. (There are two of them.)

— 5 —

Death marches. The weather is cool enough here that Daniel and I can take walks in the afternoon — a good thing because my mutant death cold is wiping me out enough that I’m going back to sleep as soon as I get Daniel on the school bus. It wears Daniel out to be walking 2-3 miles and it clears my head. I referred to the walk jokingly as a death march once and my mother-in-law perpetuated the name. Oh well…

— 6 —

New series of murder mysteries. Someone donated a bag of books to the Little Free Library that my mother-in-law runs and in it was all of the murder mysteries by Maggie Sefton. They center around a yarn shop in the fictitious town of Fort Conner, Colorado. (I’m totally aware that “Fort Conner” = “Fort Collins”.) I read the first one in the period of a couple days and am into the second one.

— 7 —

“Say ‘good night’, Gracie.” My eyes are crossing so I need to sign off. Have a lovely weekend, y’all.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly (our guest-hostess-with-the-mostest) at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

Five Favorites: Miscellanea (XXIV)

Five Favorites

One

My mother-in-law. In the last 24 hours alone, she has watched Daniel for me, made me some gingerbread to help with my nausea, and made me some comfort food for my lunch. It’s those little things that make her so awesome.

Two

The cooler weather. I hate heat which is why it makes no logical sense that I live in a desert. (Then again, I really didn’t have a choice in the matter and nothing in my life has ever made logical sense.) It’s been chilly in the mornings and it’s supposed to be in the low 70’s for the next 10 days. I am positively giddy.

Three

Sleep. I’ve been having to go back to bed while Daniel is in school this week due to my mutant death cold. I’m not sleeping well at night because I will start coughing if I’m flat on my back. Eventually, I’ll catch up, right?

Four

Reading. I’ve discovered a new series that takes place in a fictional town in Colorado and involves a yarn shop. I believe the author is Maggie Sefton?

Five

The hoodie my mom found for me at Costco. It has polyester fur on the inside and keeps me nice and toasty when I’m helping Daniel put out books in the morning or waiting for the bus to pick him up.

Go love up Jenna and the others.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook: November 10, 2014

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY November 10, 2014

Outside my window… dark. I’m writing late at night as usual

I am thinking… about who the protagonist in the Miss Julia books reminds me of in my life.

I am thankful… for the life of my former co-worker Karen. One of my favorite memories of her took place in the fall of 2009 when we were sitting and eating lunch with a few other people. The other young 20something woman at the table and I were discussing pregnancy and breastfeeding and I mentioned the things we’d be doing with my next baby. Karen, who had watched my horrific pregnancy with Daniel, interrupted me and exclaimed, “You mean they’re letting you get pregnant again?!?!?!?!?” Believe me, nobody laughed harder than I did because she had a way of speaking whatever was on her mind and doing it in a humorous way.

In the kitchen… my mother-in-law made some fabulous pizza.

I am wearing… green shirt and running shorts.

I am praying for… a call for Jon, healing from cancer for one of my brother’s Boy Scout friends, safety for some friends in Israel right now, and some other special intentions.

I am going… to have to find things to do with Daniel tomorrow which should be interesting because my mother-in-law is probably going to veto him leaving the house after the pukesplosion he had tonight.

I am reading… Miss Julia’s Marvelous Makeover by Ann B. Ross. I finished the latest Jan Karon book this past weekend.

I am hoping… for decent sleep tonight.

I am looking forward to… choir practice on Wednesday.

I am hearing… Jon in the kitchen eating dinner.

Around the house… quiet other than the sounds from the kitchen.

One of my favorite things… ice. It’s horrible for my teeth to chew it but it’s helping with my water intake.

A few plans for the rest of the week: choir practice and whatever comes up otherwise.

Hosted by The Simple Woman.

My Take on the Election

It has taken me until now to weigh in on the election for several reasons:

1.) I’ve been sick so my personal time while Daniel is at school has been spent sleeping and trying to fight this cold.

2.) I want anything I say to be based in fact and I want to be able to point to a place where people can go to get more information.

So… here are my thoughts on the election:

1.) My life actually hasn’t changed. I live in California which is one of the bluest states in the nation. Our governor won a historic fourth term, beating his GOP opponent by 18 percentage points, and pretty much held every other electable job in the state in between his second and third terms. While we were out doing errands on Tuesday, my mother-in-law asked me if I had heard of his challenger. My answer: “Yes, but only because I saw him on TV before the primary.” The GOP pretty much abandoned him because I didn’t see a commercial or mailing for him from June until Election Day. Our two senators weren’t up for election (and are pretty hard to defeat anyway) and my congressional rep didn’t have much of a fight to be re-elected. In other words, my state is in good hands and my congressional representation is where I want it to be.

2.) It was not surprising that the Republicans had a good night. One party regaining congressional control during a midterm election happened during Clinton’s tenure in the White House as well as during Bush’s time. Given how completely divided our country is and the fact that the Republicans completely outspent the Democrats in a lot of the campaigns, it was a forgone conclusion.

3.) The Republicans have a majority in both houses of Congress but it’s not one that will make a huge difference. The majority in the House is +16 seats and the majority in the Senate is +2 seats. It’s a simple enough majority to pass bits and pieces of legislation but not nearly enough to do damage. On legislation that doesn’t require a 2/3 majority, it will pass even if everyone votes along party lines. However, the Republicans don’t have enough of a majority to override presidential vetoes. To do that they would need 290 seats in the House and 66 seats in the Senate. They also don’t have enough people to invoke cloture in the Senate (they would need 60 seats) which means that filibusters can and likely will happen. Likely, the only thing they’ll be able to do is hold up nominations of judges and just be a thorn in the President’s side.

4.) This means that the system of checks and balances works out well. Does anyone else remember learning about our government having “checks and balances” in school or is that one of those weird things we learned about back in the Dark Ages (also known as 17 years ago in my Government class in high school)? The basic idea is that no one branch of the government has too much power. Given that the executive branch is run by a Democrat, it’s actually not that weird to me that the legislative branch is controlled by the Republicans. The judicial branch has appointees from both Republican and Democratic presidents. This means that the legislative and judicial branches are not going to function as rubber stamps for the executive branch and that’s actually the way it should be.

For the sake of full disclosure, I double-checked all my facts at Project Vote Smart.

7 Quick Takes: Can Jen Avoid Discussing Politics??? Yes, She Can!

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

You mean you’re still posting baseball takes?!?!?!?!? Yep. I finally watched the coverage of the Giants’ Halloween victory parade this past Tuesday night. I’m also amused by the various bets placed on the World Series.

This will probably be my last baseball-related Quick Take until March unless the team doesn’t re-sign Pablo Sandoval.

— 2 —

For those expecting me to be a perfect pastor’s wife. One of Jon’s higher ups posted this on his Facebook and I find it to be pretty accurate. One of my pet peeves is when parishioners put me on a pedestal and expect me to be so much more spiritual/holy/whatever. It really doesn’t work that way. It also seriously shocks people when they find out that I’m a convert to Christianity. Apparently, I’m too well-read to be a convert?

— 3 —

Yet another link on how to keep kids in the faith. This one from HuffPo is interesting but the parents being committed to the faith only goes so far. You can usually control your kids when they’re living under your roof but your ability to micromanage their life and thoughts disappears when they leave home for college and/or adulthood. So how do you keep your kids in the faith? You encourage them to own their faith so that it isn’t just “the faith of [their] parents”. Nothing pisses me off more than teaching Confirmation to kids who are doing it because their parents have promised that they can stop attending church when they are confirmed. It’s a waste of my time and a waste of theirs. Another important way to keep them in the faith: give them an adult role (ushering, cantoring, lectoring, etc.) after Confirmation so that they’re integrated into the life of the church by the time they hit actual adulthood.

— 4 —

I am Father James Martin, S.J.’s Lutheran fan girl. Seriously, the guy makes me happy to be Christian when he writes stuff like this. His book on Jesus (from which most of this column is drawn) should be required reading and I don’t say this lightly. It’s on my list of books to give to new Christians in addition to Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis and What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Phillip Yancey.

— 5 —

Srsly?!?!?!?!? I’m getting carded left and right these days. In the last week alone, I’ve been carded while buying Robitussin to fight my mutant death cold and also while buying wine at Trader Joe’s. I can’t really blame them for carding me for the wine (I think the rule is that they have to card anyone who appears to be under 30) but being carded for the cough syrup was interesting because I’m almost twice as old as I’m required to be to buy it! It also has only been a little over six months since the LAST TIME I was carded while buying it.

— 6 —

So why no takes on politics? I’m avoiding politics in my Quick Takes today because if/when I weigh in on the election on Tuesday, I want it to be well-researched and well-worded — something I can’t do in one Quick Take as I don’t want to flippantly post random quotes from people who may share my opinion but make other people stabby. I have to deal with enough trolls as it is.

— 7 —

A question for you. How do you pray? Leave your answer in the comments.

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at ConversionDiary.Com.