Archive | January, 2012


12 Jan

Thing I Love: ………….


Thing I Hate: Brain Block

Sorry about the strong language, but it’s true. I hate not having something to say.

Since Christmas I have desperately been trying to reach into the depths of my mind for words with which I might amuse. Thoughts with which I might thrill. Diatribes that deliver meaningful sentiment and ponder-provoking points.

Alas, the well is dry. The keg is tapped out. The milk jug has nary a drop. (I must be thirsty….)

See that? It's me. Doesn't it look just like me? It does.

So, I am going to do what I do best. I am going to rely on my strengths and ignore my weaknesses. I am going to whine.

I’m good at that, right?
Here it goes:
WHERE ARE MY WORDS?!?!??!?!? Contrary to the above proof, I can’t find those little guys. And I REALLY can’t find the big fellas. What’s a blogger to do? Oh, right. Whine. We’ve been over this. I’m writing in circles, and as much as I love that particular shape, rotund writing is rather flat.

Writers out there (as I presumptuously put myself in your group), has this happened to you? Do you ever get dumb? What do you do? Let’s turn this post from hate to love. Give me something I can use. I love that. Go.


The Picture of Love

11 Jan

There are no two more enchanting smiles in the entire world.



10 Jan

Disclaimer:  This post contains wildly opinionated, yet completely untheological arguments.  All theological arguments for and against said percussion will be ignored both now, and in the future on this blog.

My children’s choir will be singing next Monday for the Divine Service at Concordia Theological Seminary.

For those of you keeping score at home, my children’s choir is not the same as the cacophony of voices that is frequently, and loudly heard in song around our house.  No, my children’s choir even has a fancy Latin name.  It’s Schola Cantorum.  Doesn’t that name just ring of sweet, angelic voices singing the most beautiful and poignant Truth?  Well, that’s because they are just that.

These kids are the best.  And by “these kids” I mean every child past, present, and future that I’ve had, have, or will have the pleasure of directing.  I don’t think I’m overstating this fact when I say:

It doesn’t get much better than working with a group of pure, treble voices who are eager to tackle a musical challenge,  do more than feign interest at my bits of historical trivia, and best of all, hungrily digest every bit of God’s Word from the texts they perform.

Whew.  Did I mention how they’re the very best?

I do also love my biological children.  Even when they are “singing.”

Anyway, back to these inspiring Schola Cantorumsters.  The fine folks at the Seminary have asked us to sing a hymn that is unfamiliar to them.  It’s by the Liberian hymnwriter, Billema Kwillia.  The Pastor preaching on Monday is also from Africa, and one of the esteemed musicians at CTS suggestedthat it might be fitting to accompnay the hymn with some percussion.

It seemed like a harmless, and even helpful idea to prepare the children for what they might encounter, so I pulled out our little bongo drums.

Now, directing a children’s choir does not come without considerable risk of personal humiliation.  Over the years I’ve had to define the words ass and virgin, convince young innocents that it’s okay to sing the “O my God” in church,  and stoically ignore giggles while handing out the music for Sexagesima Sunday.  (Don’t make me explain it to you, just go look it up.)

By now you would think that I’ve learned that these embarrassing moments come when you least expect them.  But no.   I continue on in blissful ignorance, scheduling children to sing Psalms about breasts and changing the beginning consonant in our “me-meh-mah-mo-moo” warm-up to a “p.”

But once again, I didn’t see it coming.

Out came the bongo drums.  I impressed the students with a demonstration showing that because bongo drums are open-bottomed they must not be played while sitting on a surface.  First, I gave them a little thunk-thunk-thunk  on the piano top, and then wowed the crowds with the open, hollow ring of correct bongo technique.

In case you’ve never seen bongos played by an actual bongoist, let me explain proper bongoing.  The double drum must be held between your legs, above your knees.  It’s an instrument that makes the cello look modest.

There were a few giggles and whispers.  I didn’t think too much about it, because despite what I said about children’s choirs being the best and all that, they’re still, at the core, children.  They pulled it together and we bongoed our way through the African hymn.

Later, in the privacy of my own office, I bent down to grab a pencil and noticed a bright spot on my lap that I figured must be sweater fuzz. But wait.  It wasn’t on my slacks, it wasn’t even part of the slacks.  No, my brand-new-$4.49-Old-Navy-clearance-size-smaller-than-I-had-previously-worn slacks had a hole in the . . . well, you know where it was.

And that bright spot?  My underwear.  Wait!  Why did I just tell you earlier that I thought it was sweater fuzz?  You didn’t see me today, right?  You don’t know what color I was wearing, do you?? You can’t picture the color of my underwear, can you?  ACK!!  Why are we talking about my underwear!?!?!  What do you mean I’m the one talking and you’re not saying anything?!?  This is awful.


This, my friends, is why bongo drums do not belong in church.

What? You really thought I would post a picture of myself here? Hey! Stop looking at that poor guy's jeans.


Us too! Us too!

7 Jan

I know it’s Grab Bag Special Saturday, but I need to jump on my sister’s band wagon.  But to appease all you schedule followers I’ll throw in a picture from our recent trip to Nebraska and tell you how it illustrates my point.  Or hers.  Our ours.

That,  friends, is my beloved husband.  You might wonder what’s going on around him.  In short, a lot.  I don’t want to go into it right now, but I will tell you that it has something to do with this picture.

Sorry, Mom.  I like this image so much I can’t help but use it multiple times.  I do promise a post about the whole event that brought on this behavior, but for right now let’s concentrate with the same diligence as this guy:

You know what he’s reading, right?  Yup, Hunger Games.  He started it that morning.  He finished it that night.

Meanwhile nine children combusted in joy around him.  One of them burst into a fever right before his very eyes, and yet he was able to work even that to his advantage.  He simply swooped up the child in question, plopped him on his lap for a necessary and long nap, and bode his time in Panem.

I fell prey to the series in a similar way a little over a year ago.  I was painfully recovering from the birth of twins and suffering three hour feedings around the clock.  The Hunger Games were the only books that could simultaneously act as a pain reliever and middle of the night stimulant with no harsh side effects.

Well, there was that whole side effect of getting absolutely nothing else done for the duration of the books, but it was easy to pass that off on being a mom to newborn twins.  People totally bought that excuse.

What’s your’s?


2 Winners.

6 Jan

Hey there. It’s been awhile. I’d like to ensure you that my brain hasn’t been entirely on sabbatical. How am I to do this? Well, I don’t have tangible proof. There’s been no observable gray matter growth. Alas, my hair hasn’t even gotten any bigger. I do, however, have a book (or 3…) on which I can report. Also, at the end of this post I will be announcing our First Ever Giveaway Winner! Tune in, all ye who entered (and even those who didn’t), so we can crown the FEGW in our wildly scientific and professional way.

On to my book report.

The Hunger Games Trilogy. Suzanne Collins. Read them. It is my belief that this series can be universally enjoyed. Seriously. No matter your taste in literature – these are for you. I’m not even kidding.

How have I settled upon this bold opinion? Well, there’s this: my beloved and I both adore them and we have very different literature leanings. Example? He’s Neverwhere. I’m Guernsey Literature and Potato Peel Pie Society. He’s Lord of the Rings. I’m No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. He’s Dune. I’m Pride and Prejudice. Get it? So the mere fact that we both are doting on this trilogy is huge. It’s happened before, sure, but you must be prepared that when we light upon corresponding keenness for a book I will recommend said book to THE WORLD. Yes, the world.

Also, there’s this: Collins has taken a familiar dark plot (think Jackson’s “The Lottery”) and spun it in a way accessible and relatable to many levels of readers. She combines angst, action, citizenship, social standing, death, murder, singing, politics, starvation, tragedy, fashion, likable characters, despicable characters, in-between characters, and high drama in a never-stop-reading stew.

Oh, and there’s love, too. A triangle. A unique, tragic, heart-tugging love triangle.

There. Universal appeal.


In a completely random, names-on-slips-of-paper and drawn from a generic coffee can method, we have determined our FEGW to be…….

That says "Carissa".

Congratulations. We’ll be in touch and you, Carissa, will shortly be receiving The Very First Christmas by Paul Maier.

Cousin Chaos

4 Jan

We all had a really, really good time together.  See:

Wait, that doesn’t really capture it.  How about this:

Still not exactly representative of the family togetherness we all felt.  Let’s give it one more shot:

Never mind.  You’ll just have to take our word for it.


On the Tenth Day of Christmas is Gramma Jan’s Birthday

3 Jan

See this beautiful woman doting on her only granddaughter?

Not only is she wearing one of her 45 turtlenecks, it’s her birthday today.

Her birthday calls for the break of our blogging fast.  Also, it calls for blogging fast, before I run out of January 3rd.

She’s a marvelous woman, that Mom of ours.  Trust me, she dotes on her grandsons, too.  All eight of them.  She serves them pudding,

plays War, 

even dons a towel and sock hands.

Don’t worry, we’ll tell you more about that later.

Also, she is our Mommy.  A really good, snuggly, lovey, lovely, cozy, cuddly Mommy.

Happy Birthday, Mom.  We love you, too.