Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Eric Metaxas on faith, Bonhoeffer | Minnesota Public Radio News

Eric Metaxas on faith, Bonhoeffer | Minnesota Public Radio News

Cramming

Such a gorgeous spring morning! The lawn out back has an even sprinkling of dandelions, and the tulips are waving gently in the soft breeze.

I am on the computer, studying. I have a hard time with this when the weather is so enticing.

Just had to write a little.

The stress of the semester's end has brought down the balance of this household. Sniffles and snorts and sore throats abound. It's hard to get enough sleep when your kids are up half the night studying and finishing term papers.

The caterwauling has been reduced, but the two felines have not yet become comfortable with each other. The dogs question their reluctance with reproachful eyes. Misty continues to police all encounters with her little click-clack claw/paw runs to any cat confrontation. If we don't hear the low growl of the cats we do hear her attempt to reach the scene of the Tet-tete.

 We all anticipate quieter acceptance before long. Predicate is sitting on the piano bench now, surveying her new living room. Kiwi is snoozing on his cushion across the room. Yes, they can tolerate each other for the most part!

A friend who's had breast cancer had good news yesterday. The annual MRI found a suspicious spot last week, but yesterday, 3 years ago to the day --- of her diagnosis--- the second MRI revealed nothing! Only a beaming technician came out to tell her to go home, relieved. Since this doesn't happen very often statistically it was an acknowledgement of a miracle.

We are all grateful.

We are reading about the Seven Deadly Stresses in our school time right now. We are on Greed.

One of the ways to diminish greed in your life is to be grateful for what you have. Gratefulness is a powerful quality!


Do you know the joy that comes from expressing gratefulness? It is practically magical.

I am looking at the sun on the dandelions, the velvet plush of an un-mown spring lawn, chartreuse green. I am grateful for the simple beauty God gives to us on a weekday morning in April.

Yesterday I spotted a honey bee on the apple tree blossoms. My husband and I are hoping it was from a feral hive that swarmed from our boxes a couple of years ago. Unlikely, but we are thankful to have seen it. Somewhere within a mile or two dwells a honey bee colony, and since hives are banned in our city it is likely to be feral!

We need to check our bees soon. The mild winter has provided excellent conditions for swarming. Perhaps it's happened already.

Our director of the Northern Lights Chorale was so pleased with the concert Sunday! What excellent music, and the mistakes made were little noticed! Such a great way to end the season. Looking forward to the next season in the fall!

But let us enjoy (and be grateful for) the season of summer rest that is upon us!

Back to the studies...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

So I Should Be Studying

Passed one of the qualifying tests last night for my securities exam. I have about 6 more to master. It is a good feeling to be able to figure out some of these heretofore confusing terms and conditions. Actually I am thankful for the regulations as they do affect us all whether we like it or not!

A new life joined our family since I last wrote.

She is a cat.

Her mark of the beast says her name is "July" but we named her something much more feline: Predicate. (Up here in MinnesOta that sounds like "pretty cat")

She is short haired, resembles three of my former cats in one way or another, and has green eyes like Kiwi, our resident feline.

Her description at Petsmart said she was good with dogs, children, and very playful. She stretched out her paws at my husband through the glass and we were smitten.

Our Corgi got up this morning and asked to be let out of her crate rather insistently. She made a beeline to find Predicate, and check on her. She has a sense of hospitality I think. It seems she's thrilled with the new responsibility of managing another cat.

Our easy going black lab just wags her tail and enjoys the circus!

Kiwi has had to make the biggest adjustment. He seems to have resigned himself to her presence in the laundry room where he usually reigns in his kitty domain. As soon as they decide that two cats really are better than one I'll post a few photos. For now we have cat wars a couple times a day.

Exciting weekend coming up! Northern Lights Chorale Spring Concert at 2:30, Benson Great Hall. Eric Metaxes is speaking here on Friday evening too. Relatives are migrating northward for the weekend events and the weather has been lovely (but a little chilly).

Happy to report that the school stuff is humming along well.

Now to get studying myself....

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Sea of Life

Just a reminder:

The Northern Lights Chorale will be singing at Benson Great Hall one week from tomorrow: April 22---- and the concert is at 2:00 pm.

The theme is "The Sea of Life."

Our rehearsal Thursday evening went very well, and I am excited to help present this luscious selection of choral music.

See you there!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Pain Management 101

My husband and I were talking last night about my pain issues and how they seem to have overtaken my life: I'm beginning to have more days characterized by pain than not.

I have learned some things about managing pain, and for that I am grateful. I am NOT grateful for the lost energy, lost time, and lost industry.

This is life, after all. We will have trouble.

I thought I'd share some of my ways of coping.

After a visit to the neurologist a few years back he prescribed a narcotic, and said that that was that...  I use it as a last resort.

There are plenty of other things to try first.

I have tried many things, but for me this seems to be my pattern of working methods.  I'm sharing these because I know so many people have pain and must deal with it on a daily basis. Probably my pain is not so severe as that, but I'm giving my help.

The muscles in the back of my neck are starting to tighten: First sign of pain onset.

1. Pray
2. Drink full glass of water. (Keep hydrated through the pain)
3. Food? Do I have any hunger? Eat a banana preferably. Good source of pain fighting minerals. (Starting a stress pain with any other discomfort doesn't work, it exacerbates the pain)
4. Two aspirin, and if I can, a Coke. Rarely, this is as far as I need to go!
5. Light, upright work if possible----No Bending!
6. After two hours, two Ibuprofen (continue this cycle every two to four hours---aspirin/ibuprofen with water. Don't exceed the recommended allowance if possible. No more Coke!)
7. If necessary lie down. (It seems better to keep moving, even a gentle walk outdoors, or swim in warm water)
8. Have someone knead the tense areas (I have my 9 year old daughter walk on my back or pull my hair steadily)
9. Do you have a dry seed corn or dry rice filled cloth bag? Heat in microwave and place on the throbbing area.
10. Sleep if you can. This may or may not relieve the pain.
11. Pray hard, quote Scripture, plead with God to help!

A few days ago I was in the nauseated pain stage, where I was about to lose my breakfast over the pain (though I hadn't eaten any yet!)  I called my prayer team and had them pray for me. I think I must have been like Peter's mother-in-law! I got up from the lying down stage, and started working, and the pain left. I attribute it to the mighty power of prayer.

The Lord wants to help us! Ask Him! (And sometimes His answer is "My grace is sufficient for you!")

I always keep in mind that my suffering is not God's fault. Blaming God is counter-productive, but easy to do.  I focus on the hope of His healing, and giving Him the glory for renewed strength and freedom from pain when it comes.

Believe me, when you are in pain you get very philosophical and theological!


I have also been much helped by swimming regularly. Keeping my muscles in shape seems to be key to less pain. I also visit a physical therapist regularly.  She works on my spine and my hips.

Medications are wonderful. I'm so thankful for them. I simply prefer to use fewer. One time I heard that if aspirin came out today it would be a prescription drug. It is a powerful little pill. A gift. Use it wisely!

Today, I do not have pain. Today I want to continue doing school, spring cleaning, and swim! Praise God for His goodness. Pain free days are just full of praise! It is the little things that can be so important.

Yoga Again

Another article about the origins of Yoga.

To Some Hindus, Modern Yoga Has Lost its Way

Monday, April 9, 2012

Travels

Last week was one of unexpected travel. My husband was on a business trip in Indiana and I went with my parents to see my niece's art show near Chicago.

It was fun to see the springtime color, the land coming back to life and the wild plum blossoms in full bloom. In Chicago the lilacs are peak. Here in cold Minnesota they haven't begun to open yet.

Now we may have freeze warnings issued tonight. Another bad year for the apple crops?

I checked our two pie cherry trees this evening and they looked good. They are not ready to bud out yet, though the ornamental crab is about to burst with pink blossoms.

For me the trip brought an impromptu family reunion, and I enjoyed being with my brothers and parents, most of my nieces and nephews and my sisters-in-law.

Meanwhile, back at the home-front, life went on with college papers in progress and other Easter activity.

I finished reading the "Potato Peel Pie Society" and began "In the garden of the Beasts" by Erik Larsen. Two WWII stories back to back, one true, one not.  My eldest son, home for Easter, was writing a paper on Germany's most brilliant general during that war.  Such an infusion of history from that period!

Today the corgi, the lab, AND the cat had spring baths and the shedding hair was a sign of the season!

Now it's time to continue spring cleaning. The bees have been diligent at it. A young friend wanted some dead bees for a science project, and there were none to be found at the hive yesterday. Minnesota Hygienic bees are notorious "neat-freaks" and they had already purged all the winter kill from the hive.
 

My husband was force to capture a few live ones, and I hate to see them in the jar. I know it's ridiculous to be sad for a few bees, but it seems rather cruel to purposefully plot their premature deaths. Bees are always cycling through life, during the summer months about every 40 to 45 days. Heartless creatures themselves, they drive the old workers from the hive to die when they can't bring home anymore nectar or pollen.

Didn't Metternich write of a hive society and its possible benefits for human imitation?

I don't think so.

Industry is to be admired, but there MUST be balance. 

What works amazingly for the bees is simply not human.

Loving this spring sunshine! Thankful for the promise of the seasons from God until the end of time. 



Monday, April 2, 2012

Birdlife

It is Holy Week, the week between Palm Sunday and Resurrection Day. It seems this spring Nature itself worships the Risen Christ.

Right now a cardinal is crying loudly in the top of the maple. It is dusk, and three mallard drakes have settled in the yard. "Our" mallard pair was here the whole day but left about 5 o' clock. Today, while they were perched at the fish pond a huge crow joined them. They made conversation, neither alarmed at one another.

The crow took a drink and flapped off.

I'm constantly hearing the chickadees as they find their territory and keep watch.

We've had the flicker, the Hairy, and Downy woodpecker, but last Friday it looked like a chicken was pecking around the garden. It was a Pileated woodpecker! Its bright red head was bobbing back and forth. I wonder what it found out there to eat?

Tonight as I brought my son to Scouts a flock of wild turkeys crossed the main street, gangly and gawky, moving unceremoniously with speed.

Recently we were reading about the flicker. Did you know its tongue is 3 inches long, and it sticks it into anthills? The ants think it is a worm and attack, become stuck on the tongue and the flicker pulls it up and feasts. They can eat copious amounts of ants!

New life. The birds are our most natural reminder from the animal world. Even those of us city dwellers cannot miss their spring joy.

As a believer in Christ, this holy day approaching is precious in its significance.

Take the time to watch the "Star of Bethlehem" DVD and view the appendix "The Day of the Cross."

Rick Larson has done the computing for us astronomically and has discovered unique celestial events at the time of Christ's death. I'd love to convince you, but I couldn't as nearly well as Mr. Larson!

Christ's death was observed and marked in Nature. His resurrection is marked in our hearts and our faith. Its historicity is unparalleled.

Believe now. Repent. Love the Lord and keep His commands. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, the victorious King of Kings, the Risen Savior of the World.

Believe and repent. Learn of Him. He is Lord.

Join all Nature in manifest witness.

We can be joyful with the birds this whole week---Our King alive, and He is coming!


Added: Just found this fascinating website through the Loon Cam. Just click on on Loon, and you will see where it has been over the past migratory seasons. Love it! They are coming back!  Loon Tracker

Wednesday morning news: Between 2 and 3 dozen loons were on the pond 1/2 mile south of our house. This is a man-made pond, and it was a shock to see the "flock" of loons. I drove around the area 3 times to confirm that they were indeed loons---my cell phone camera captured very little due to poor resolution. It was a  beautiful sight!!!! Hooray! They are back! They must have spent the night there.