Archive by Author

A Decree from Mother Disgusted

11 Jan

Yes, this is a shameless reposting from last year, but it’s necessary.  Please change all dates to make it applicable for the current Year of Our Lord 2013.  And although I acknowledge that it is still both winter and Epiphany the ban this year includes all versions of “Walking in Your Winter Underwear” and “We Three Kings of Orient Are,”  especially those that mention the smoking of a rubber cigar.


I know what's going through your head, and it isn't "Gloria in excelsis Deo."  Well, maybe it is.

I know what’s going through your head, and it isn’t “Gloria in excelsis Deo.” Well, maybe it is.

On this, the 17th day of January in the year 2012 it has become necessary to remind the inhabitants of our humble abode of certain disallowances.

This annual ban, who’s humble beginnings date back to the unfortunate summer reading of “Junie B. Jones:  Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! P.S. So Does May” will be reinstated every January until the youth of the family are able to control their holiday ear-worms.

The aforementioned ban took effect following the 12 Days of Christmas, on January 6, 2012, but due to an increasingly large number of infractions a formal reminder of the ban must be put in place.

The ban includes, but is not limited to:

  • all singing, humming, screaming, and rhythmic inference of Jingle Bells.
  • spontaneous performance of The Twelve Days of Christmas.
    —This portion of the ban encompasses all Christmas carols contained in the Straight No Chaser arrangement of the counting song.
    —Please note that while technically a Hanukkah tune, Dreidel,  Dreidel, Dreidel will not be tolerated in its original form, or the more Christmasfied “Cradle, Cradle, Cradle . . .” version which has received so much popularity in our home.
    —The singing of Rains Down in Africa will be assessed on a case by case basis.
  • the blaring Latin refrain “Gloria in Excelsis Deo.”  However, a gentle, head voice singing of this most sacred of angels’ songs will be tolerated and possibly even encouraged, especially on Sunday mornings, and usually in English.
  • any audible reference to  seasonably inappropriate music as determined by persons over the age of 18.

The above ban will be lifted on the first Sunday of Advent, December 1st, or with the arrival of a large tree inside our walls.  The exact date will be determined by the generosity and patience of the parentage of the household.

All attempts to request an early lifting, or violations of said ban could result in the extension of the prohibition until the official start of the Christmas Season.  The Official Christmas Season begins at Midnight December 25, 2012.

The Pits

5 Dec

What do a cherry pitter and Christmas tree lights have in common?

Cherry Pitted Lights

Nothing.  That is, until they fall into the hands of Evil Twin Genius.

_________________________________________________________________________________words worth

Thou Shalt Not LEGO (registered trademark)

30 Nov

Let’s get two things straight right up front:  I love God.  I love LEGOS®.

Goodness, writing that makes me think that God deserves all-caps and a registered trademark, or something.  Greek, maybe?

Despite my love of these things I’m a little cautious about the combination of the two.  As it stood, the LEGO® Star Wars™ Advent Calendar stretched my understanding of the building blocks of the liturgical year far enough.  But then my children brought this home from the library.


The book is by “”The Reverend””  Brendan Powell Smith.  Please note the double quotation marks, I just want to make it clear that I am simply quoting his quotes.  I do not think that punctuation mark means what he thinks it means.

The Reverend

Mr. Powell Smith has a “calling” (once again, his word, not mine) to illustrate Bible stories with plastic bricks.  He’s done over two hundred, but despite his expertise, it would seem that even this self-ordained expert finds some limitations within his medium.  For instance, festering boils appear to need the aid of a photoshop physician.

Festering Boils

And animals must be tricky.  Most four-legged creatures in the stories bear a close resemblance to Dr. Who’s K-9.K9 Passover Lamb

But somewhere along the line “”The Reverend”” got his paws on a Lego cat, because Pharaoh’s kitty nudges her way onto multiple photo spreads.  Maybe Hermione’s Crookshanks somehow apparated on the scene.

Pharaoh's Cat

He does get bonus points for his creative use of the drowning horse that I bet he assembled using that elusive piece from the Godfather Lego Set.Horse Head

And I don’t think this falls into the animal category, but, are those dragons on top of the Arc of the Covenant?

Ark of the Covenant

He probably should have considered adding a PG-13 rating to the book for sexual content, nudity and violence.  Transparent red bricks flow on many a page.  True Old Testaments artists don’t shy away from blood and guts.


And the yellow flesh is shocking.  First,  Pharoah’s daughter is bathing in the river.  I hate to throw around labels, but can you say ‘flat chested?”

Naked Bath

Later she gives Moses back to his mother for a little topless nursing.  Uncomfortable, and not just because they are squarish plastic objects.

Nursing Moses

And, I’ll admit, talking about the sixth commandment with children is always awkward, but I don’t think this helps.

Sixth Commandment

But it’s not all bad.  The bright side of this book is that I will never again feel compelled to sweep the kitchen on Sundays.

Sabbath Slay

Even if it means I have step on a LEGO® or two.


History 10What?

29 Nov

Things I (we) Love:  My husband’s approach to History Education

Yesterday he taught his class that when Marco Polo arrived in Beijing, Kublai Kahn welcomed him into his palace, invited him to take a swim in the giant pool, and then made him close his eyes while the emperor dodged about shouting the guest’s name.

You just can’t make this stuff up.  Oh wait, you totally can.


So Long, Farewell, Auto Wiedersehen, Goodbye

28 Nov

Exactly fourteen years ago today I bought this:

The Saturn, not the tow truck.  The tow truck didn’t come around until yesterday.

I didn’t think I’d established a relationship with my car.  I never gave it a name, or even a gender.  But when they pulled it down our street, around the corner, and out of sight,  I got choked up.  Okay, let’s be honest, I bawled like a 3rd grader faced with long division.

The breech in the emotional floodgates started when I flipped over that title, which had been solely in my hands with a giant PAID stamp on it for well over a decade, and was forced to maneuver my handwriting into a signature that my muscle memory had forgotten:  Christina J. Vogelsang.

The car was my first major purchase as a full-fledged, gainfully employed, single adult.  I did the research, the shopping, the haggling (okay, fine, it was a Saturn, there was no haggling), and the paying.  That navy sedan was a sign of my independence.

Except independence isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m sad to see the car go, but I am overjoyed that we have now become a two mini-van family.  I embrace the double dorkiness.  Give me booster seats, and entertainment packages, and back-row cupholders.  Forget independence – I have dependents!

And also, I am dependent, on a fantastic man, with whom I have now researched, shopped, haggled (you should have seen me talk to that dealer who wouldn’t give us the price he originally quoted last week), and paid.  It’s a dependency that is accompanied by the most freeing contentment you can imagine.

I cried not for the loss of the last little piece of my single life, but for the many miles that I have covered in the last fourteen years, and the beautiful location at which I have arrived.


Love’s an Itch

27 Nov

My sister is wearing this 

as I am using the leftover yarn to make my husband a scarf.

Today the strands of love that knit us all together aren’t virtual.

Watch out world, soon you may all become the recipients of beige, wooly warmth.



16 Sep

This weekend Our Savior Lutheran Church is celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Rev. David Fleming’s Ordination.  We are truly blessed to call him our Pastor.  While I was unable to attend the dinner and presentation last night this letter went in my stead.  This morning the joyous celebration culminates with the Divine Service and preaching by Pr. Fleming’s good friend, Dr. Paul Grime.


Dear Pastor,

Congratulations on the 25th Anniversary of your Ordination.  Please forgive my absence this evening.  As tempting as “an environment conducive to conversational fellowship” might be, it was my husband’s turn to enjoy this rare treat, since he affords me the same on a weekly basis as I rehearse the talented members of our congregation.  In my absence I send this letter.  I’ll try to be brief, but then again, I’m usually the one who makes us sing all ten stanzas of Salvation Unto Us Has Come.

As I reflected on this anniversary I immediately thought back to the 2nd annual Good Shepherd Institute at the seminary nearly eleven years ago.  True, it was at the 1st Annual Good Shepherd Institute that I met you, but it was the next year when I was first introduced as “David Fleming’s Kantor.”  That title hit me with equal amounts of responsibility and joy. The responsibility is tied to the word Kantor.  For in my vocation as a church musician I must deliver the Word through God’s gift of music.  It’s a charge that often falls on my blundering fingers, notoriously loud and flat voice, and sometimes poor sense of judgment.

Gladly, the title comes with a possessive, much like being Jerry’s wife, or best yet, God’s own child.  And, as in those cases, it is the possessor that is the source of joy and comfort.  I’m not just a Kantor, I’m David Fleming’s Kantor.  As your kantor I am under your theological, and even musical, care and guidance.

And so for the past eleven years I’ve received joy and comfort as you taught me to point to Jesus in every hymn, the correct usage of stanza and verse, and even the best tempo for Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven.  You’ve modeled joyful singing in a contagious manner that gave me the most robust congregation in the Missouri Synod to accompany. You’ve corrected without condescension, and forgiven a thousand wrong notes and an even larger number of wrong-doings.  You’ve patiently borne my impatience, humbly covered my arrogance, and worked around my stubbornness.   You’ve guarded me against hurtful words, and built me up with encouraging ones.

Above all, in your preaching and in your actions, you’ve given me Jesus.

And you’ve given Him to our family as well.  You prayed for “Robert” and I on our wedding day, designed platforms so Jerry’s now-sainted father could baptize the twins (Dr. Wright, did you put the emphasis on the second syllable of “bapTIZE” like Prs. Fleming and Krieger would want you to?), sang that Cecilia was breakin’ your heart just minutes after her birth, and selflessly share your beautiful family.

There is one other thing I remember from the trip to the 2nd Good Shepherd Institute that deserves mention this evening:  you minted a brand new portion of the liturgy.  And although you’ll have to ask Dr. Grime why it didn’t make it into the hymnal, it’s time I took my job as Kantor seriously and taught the liturgical response to the congregation.   This new salutation goes like this:  Pastor Fleming will say, “We’re all jerks,” and the congregation will respond in full voice, “But not you, Pastor.”  So Pastor, if you don’t mind, you should all give it a try.

P:  We’re all jerks.
C:  But not you, Pastor.

Congratulations on your years as Christ’s servant, may He continue to bless you, and us through you, for many years to come.

We love you deeply in Jesus,

Two Do List

6 Sep

Shampooing the carpets was not originally on the agenda for this evening.

Especially not with actual shampoo.


The Wonders of (Old) Technology

5 Aug

So how do you maintain your daily dose of Olympics when life dictates a trip to Chicago?  The VCR, my friends, the VCR.

You remember those old machines that play clunky old tapes, right?  No?  Well surely your remember the problem that my dear sister had earlier in the summer because of this out-of-date entertainment equipment.

But it turns out that the VCR, like an athlete everyone thought should have retired four years ago, made a stunning comeback and redeemed itself.

So that big race between Lochte and Phelps that the world watched Thursday?  Yep, we got to see that via onboard VCR as we made the early morning trek to the windy city.  Poor picture quality never made three groggy boys so happy.

Day-old Olympics and day-old doughnuts – the secrets to a successful road trip.


Let the what begin?

2 Aug

Did you know the Olympics were about sports?  I know, I got so caught up in food, and crafts, and even geography, that those athleticky things sort of slipped my mind.

Not our boys’ though.  Nope.  One hour into Opening Ceremonies they were still asking “When is it going to start?”  We just kept answering that it already had.  Finally, (no world record’s for parenting adroitness here) we figured out they were asking when people were going to start playing games.

Oh, yeah.  Games.  Tomorrow.

So, like the Olympians we too let our games begin last Saturday.  Since then our little sports have pretty much kept us honest with at least one event per day.  We’ve had running races, biking races, basketball, cricket, archery, and shooting.  We’ve enjoyed the thrill of victory, and the agony (and whining) of defeat.  We’ve learned the rules to games most people don’t acquire from books.  We’ve handcrafted our own tools of the competition.We’ve taken games we loved, modified them with a slight jump of the pitcher and addition of really young players, and referred to them by their Olympic, and excitingly buggy monikers.We’ve given medals for cuteness.

We’ve learned the national anthems of China, Australia, Great Britain and the good ol’ USA.  We’re cheering on our teammate from Brazil so that one day soon he too can hear his national anthem sung loud and clear through the screendoor on YouTube.  We’ve worn our medals with pride, and noticed that while our comrades in London have purple ribbons around their necks instead of blue, they have still have lids, just like us.