Jenna. For those who don’t know Mary Lenaburg, she lost her 22 year old daughter Courtney at the end of December after 22 years of taking care of her through daily seizures and other medical issues. Jenna sent this to her.
Trader Joe’s Greek Yogurt Spinach-Kale Dip. This stuff is freaking awesome! I love it for dinner with carrot sticks on hot days. It also works well on a baked potato when someone in your house has consumed all the regular Greek yogurt you bought. (Not that this happened this past week or anything…)
This graduation video. My class was so bad during graduation that subsequent classes were required to come in their pretty clothes and only allowed to put robes on AFTER they were searched! I wish we had done something like this instead.
My priest. At Bible studies with new people, she introduces me as follows: “This is Jen. She’s a Lutheran pastor’s wife but we claim her.” Adding onto that, Jon was supplying at the Lutheran church across the street from my Episcopal church and I went over after my worship ended to catch part of his. I stayed for about 3 minutes at coffee hour (known as the third sacrament for Lutherans) which led my priest to tease the pastor of the Lutheran church about her indignation that “[HER] Lutheran went to [HIS] coffee hour.” I love her.
Jessica Beck’s writing. I fell hard for her Donut Shop mysteries… and enjoyed a donut for the first time in years while finishing the last one. I was less than enthused about the donut (too sweet) but her books are fabulous. I’m starting her Diner series next.
Outside my window… dark. It’s been quite warm here lately with temperatures around 80F but humidity that makes it feel hotter.
I am thinking… about my week and if I should ask my physical therapist to work on my leg tomorrow as I’ve got a muscle that is severely tensed in it and not relaxing.
I am thankful… for the concert celebrating Dr. Wilbur Held’s memory that I was blessed to attend yesterday. It was mostly organ with a little bit of choral music and a BIG piece at the end which involved, choirs, organ, and hand bells.
In the kitchen… I had some trail mix as my pre-bedtime snack.
Crocheting… nothing new — still the big boy blankie and the amigurumi stuffed animal.
Around the house… I managed to push this until a late hour yet again so I’m the only one awake.
A favorite quote for today… “The main purpose of prayer is not to make life easier, nor to gain magical powers, but to know God.” — Philip Yancey
One of my favorite things… the smell of anointing oil.
A few plans for the rest of the week: PT and errands tomorrow, taking my car to the mechanic on Tuesday, VBS music meeting on Wednesday, Daniel’s last day of school on Thursday, and heading up to San Jose on Friday.
A peek into my day… I love how Twila Paris does this particular old gospel song.
Clinical study for preeclampsia underway at Yale. Yale School of Medicine and 29 other sites around the country are in trials for the FDA-approved drug ATryn. If it works, it would be amazing for moms like me for whom pregnancy is a deadly proposition. Details here. (Props to my friend Jen for bringing it to my attention.)
On the #CharlieCharlieCharlie phenomenon.Simcha Fisher has a fabulous piece over at the National Catholic Register on the dangers of the #CharlieCharlieCharlie game. This is one of those times when it is absolutely a pain to have to explain why I as a science-minded person am opposed to what seems like a silly game for superstitious reasons. Thing is, we as Christians believe in powers and principalities which are not visible to humans and this falls into that category. While it is likely a very silly little game, it opens one up to the possibility of demonic forces; and as most clergy will tell you, that door is incredibly hard to close once it has been opened. Satan is not picky and will wait patiently until we are far enough in before making his move.
My new e-reader and its name. My in-laws upgraded my e-reader to a NOOK GlowLight for my birthday and I’m loving it though still getting the hang of it. I have a tradition of naming all my electronics after the titles for an Orthodox priest’s wife so this e-reader has been christened “Tasoni” after my favorite Coptic priest’s wife who blogs.
Schadenfreude is a wench. A man in South Carolina made disparaging remarks about Obamacare and how he pays his own bills and would never sign up for it. Well… he had a bunch of mini-strokes and can no longer work because of his eyesight. If he was in a state with Medicaid expansion, he would qualify and his medical care would be covered… except that he lives in South Carolina which hasn’t passed Medicaid expansion. His change in employment means that he could have signed up for a plan under the Affordable Care Act… except he refused to and lost that option when he missed the deadline. He blames Obama. Here’s the Daily Kos article on it.
His answer: a GoFundMe site to raise the necessary funds. As I’m writing this, he needs a bit over $3300 to be fully funded. Guess who most of the donors have been? If you guessed liberal Democrats, you’d be right. Said donations do come with some snark (which, given the nature of the situation, is to be expected) but I think it was probably eye-opening for this man. (And yes, I made a donation as well. It’s what Jesus would want me to do.)
Responding to Kathleen My friend Kathleen wrote an excellent post on how sex always has consequences. I fully agree with her that there is no such thing as sex without consequences. The consequences can be good (conceiving a child, intimacy with your partner, etc.) or bad (an unplanned pregnancy, side effects from birth control, phase 2 falling during Valentine’s Day/couple’s weekend, etc.) but they are always present. I really recommend going and reading and seeing what she has to say.
Vacation Bible School. I get to help lead the music for VBS at my church at the end of June and I’m seriously excited. I’m going through all of Wee Sing Bible stuff on iTunes and my CD’s of church camp music for songs to sing.
Mission Bible Class songs. I’ve been using the following playlist from Mission Bible Class to learn some hand motions and new songs for VBS because we’re creating our own VBS curriculum this year.
All my former Fundamentalist friends. Some of my ex-Fundie friends like Elizabeth Esther and Melissa are being quoted on the Josh Duggar issue. Eschet chayil!
Phillip Yancey. I’m reading his book Vanishing Grace and it’s an interesting answer to his 20+ year old book What’s So Amazing About Grace?. One of the major premises is that it helps to think of the “lost” as the “thirsty”. As with What’s So Amazing About Grace?, he is unfortunately not having to struggle to come up with examples of Christians failing to treat others with grace.
The “Arky Arky” Song. My church choir director hates it (or loves to claim that he hates it) and I’m sorely tempted to add it my list of VBS songs because he’s helping with music.
Outside my window… dark. I was planning to get this done early but ended up having to spend 5 hours in the dark fighting a migraine. It was cold this morning but it seemed to get nicer later.
I am thinking… about VBS and what songs to teach because I’m co-leading the music and trying to come up with appropriate songs for the day, especially on the days that I’m leading it all. (We’re coming up with our own VBS curriculum this year which involves Legos and creativity.)
I am thankful… for Wycliffe, Lutheran Bible Translators, and all those who work with similar organizations that translate God’s Word into languages that others do not speak.
In the kitchen… I made myself some leftover pulled pork and baked beans for dinner.
I am wearing… grey v-neck shirt and navy/white-striped pj bottoms.
I am praying for… a call for Jon, the water sitch here in California, my father-in-law who is fighting cancer, and a few special intentions.
I am going… to physical therapy tomorrow. I’m seriously looking forward to it.
I am wondering… about so many things at this late hour. This must be why I’m still up!
I am reading… I finished Tragic Toppings, Drop Dead Chocolate, and Illegally Iced this week and am taking a break from murder mysteries (I had some Livia J. Washburn ones that I just couldn’t get into) to read Vanishing Grace by Phillip Yancey.
Crocheting… blankets and amigurumi stuff from the last few months.
Around the house… quiet as I’m the only one up.
One of my favorite things… silence.
A few plans for the rest of the week: PT tomorrow, Bible study/errands/choir on Wednesday, and a concert on Saturday in addition to whatever else comes up.
A peek into my day… One of my favorite Bach pieces (the “Fugue” movement from the Concerto for Two Pianos BWV 1061). I wish I could make this my ring tone for my cell phone.
Post Script… At Bible study last Wednesday, my priest was talking about how she doesn’t like to do Pentecost readings in multiple languages at once because the point was that everyone understood despite the myriad of languages present. She then said that she’d love to post different languages up on the walls of the sanctuary and I offered to help because languages/linguistics is one of my geeky pleasures. While putting Daniel to bed on Thursday night, I compiled a bunch of interesting languages and sent them to her, thinking that she’d pick 4-5 of them.
I walked in on Sunday morning and found all of them — 35 in all — posted on the walls. I was seriously jazzed and also kind of wishing that I’d gotten them in every language off of Bible Gateway and Unbound Bible. People were impressed and it was honestly a really fun way to serve my church in helping to put it together.
I think my next task is going to be going in there and getting every language possible to post.
Vaccine Take #1. This week, we’ll focus on the ethics of some vaccinations. For this first take, let’s talk about the issue of the MMR vaccine being derived from aborted fetal cell lines. This is one where I’m not happy that these cell lines were used for the vaccine (being pro-life and all) but it raises the question of whether putting a large number of people in danger by refusing the vaccine is ethically a better decision than getting it despite its origins. There are pro-life alternatives for measles-only and mumps-only shots but no alternative for rubella. Rubella *has* been eradicated in the Americas but that could all change if someone who is unvaccinated returns from an area where it is present (example: Africa) with the disease and goes into a group of people like the hippies in northern California or certain Hasidic enclaves on the east coast that don’t vaccinate. Another alternative situation for it spreading would be someone unvaccinated coming from Africa and being treated for symptoms in an ER with other unvaccinated people (example: cancer patients, transplant patients, etc.) before they can put infectious disease protocols in place.
So… my question for those who are concerned about the MMR vaccine for these reasons: what would be an ethical solution to this situation given that you can’t get around the rubella vaccination? Do you refuse to get it and risk contracting it yourself while any pregnant woman in your path risks severe birth defects for their baby or miscarriage? Assuming that you could get ahold of the only version of the MMR from Japan that is free of this cell line, do you pay through the nose to have it shipped to your doctor’s office? Do you bite your tongue and get vaccinated, after which you write sternly-worded letters to pharmaceutical companies to tell them off?
Here is the list of alternatives to the vaccines that are not derived from these particular cell lines. I tip my hat to JoAnna of A Star of Hope for providing me with it.
Prayer Request #1. My friend Ian fought leukemia in 2013 and we thought he’d won until this week. Please pray for him, his wife Christy, and his daughters Asha and Fiona as they are dealing with the gravity of this.
Prayer Request #2. On my way back home from San Jose on Monday, my battery light started coming on and I thankfully made it home safely without a problem. I finally got a chance to take my car in today (Thursday) and it turns out that there was a problem with the alternator. It is at the repair shop of the guys who have kept my father-in-law’s Volvo running for almost 30 years and they’ve had to replace the alternator and 3 drive belts in addition to possibly having to replace the A/C. Could y’all pray that they can finish my car tomorrow (Friday) and that the bill isn’t more than the actual value of the car? Please and thank you!
Pentecost fun. At Bible study on Wednesday, my priest mentioned that she’d love to put copies of different translations of Acts 2:1-21 around the church on Sunday for Pentecost. I asked if she wanted help and she told me to start sending her languages. Between Bible Gateway and The Unbound Bible, we found some pretty interesting languages ranging from Maori to Wolof to Quechua to Coptic.
My Bible study. One of the ladies put on a tea for me this morning and we had quite a feast between the treats my mother-in-law sent for me, the scones/lemon curd/jam/tea that M brought, and the brownies that one of my choir people brought. There were only five of us but I couldn’t ask for five more wonderful women.
A Screwtape Letter for the Unappreciated Mom. Someone in #Cathsorority posted this and I resonate with it so very much. Another way that Screwtape and Wormwood tend to work is through older women I encounter who start harping about how *THEY* never got to read books when their kiddos were little or how *THEIR* husbands never watched the kids so they could go have an hour or two of respite. Seriously, I wish these women knew how much their kvetching makes the young moms want to distance themselves as far from them as possible, causing them (in some cases) to leave the Church.
This article on the measles. Because of my vaccine postings, several people pointed out this article on measles to me. For those in a “tl;dr” mindset, the gist is that scientists have discovered that measles effectively erases immunity to many diseases to which the body has seen before. When kids are vaccinated against measles, they’ve found a drop in mortality to other diseases. This, to me, is a pretty compelling reason to VACCINATE YOUR KIDS.
Murder mysteries. Seriously, I’m loving my “cozies” (the genre of murder mysteries I tend to read) because they give my brain a vacation from the day-to-day stuff I’m forever thinking about and working through internally.
The NCIS franchises. I got caught up on NCIS while I was in San Jose and I’ll be working on getting caught up on NCIS: New Orleans starting this week. I have some crocheting to finish and it should give me something to watch while I do.