I haven’t been able to take photos or complete any new projects this week, so I’m cheating by borrowing another set of prompts to make a post:
Outside My Window A sunny day with fall hints and summer remnants. Our maple trees have begun to turn in the cool nights but the garden plants still droop heavy with tomatoes in the afternoon heat.
I am Listening to Telemann and his contemporaries on pandora. As the saying goes, “If it ain’t Baroque, don’t fix it.”
I am Wearing Jeans, a red and white pin-striped collared shirt, brown leather belt, and a necklace from Carl’s mother. After a summer trying to stay cool in shorts and t-shirts it’s a new dressy-casual routine.
I am Grateful for the beautiful state we live in thanks to the Army. There are amazing places in every direction, something we don’t take for granted after life in hot, barren south Texas. Despite eight months deployment and training, in our year here we’ve explored together through 14 state parks and wilderness areas, six town or county trails, and four national wilderness areas. We’ve barely scratched the surface on beautiful places to hike, camp, swim, walk, and picnic (not to mention the historic sites and interesting towns deserving a post all their own).
I’m Pondering “…the first minutes on the pulpit are the most favorable, so do not waste them with generalities but confront the congregation straight off with the core of the matter.” Many pastors and priests begin sermons with an anecdote or generic introduction, but Dietrich Bonhoeffer had a point. Sometimes that warm-up merely wastes the few initial moments of a sermon when most listeners’ attention is focused. If a teacher waits to reach real substance until well into the lesson, a significant percentage of those in the pews may already have drifted into their own daydreams. This applies to conversations, not just sermons. Do we waste time on gossip when there’s real substance to be discussed or real needs to be met?
I am Reading Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. An excellent, thorough biography of a courageous and faithful man. German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer ran several illegal underground seminaries in Nazi Germany, helped smuggle Jews out of the country, passed intelligence to Britain, participated in the conspiracy to overthrow Hitler, and faithfully ministered to fellow prisoners in jails and concentration camps until his martyrdom by hanging shortly before the war’s end, all while writing numerous influential theological works still widely read today. The writing in this biography sometimes feels a bit unfinished or choppy, but Metaxas’s depth of research and thorough look at Bonhoeffer’s life and writings are well worth a read.
I am Thinking about ecumenism, and the fine line we must walk between faithful orthodoxy and self-righteous snobbery. Particularly when discussing areas where Scripture whispers softly rather than shouting, we sometimes ignore the fact that someone is our brother or sister in Christ in our pride over having the “right doctrine” and proving it. Patronizing or sharp comments do little for church unity. Neither does mulling over thoughtless or barbed statements from strangers and sharing them just to hear others’ commiseration or indignation. All concepts and temptations Carl and I frequently discuss and think through together thanks to our (much-blessed and joyful!) catholic-protestant marriage.
I am Creating plans for a front hall coat rack. Something like this (the rack, not the bench). It should be a quick project once I pick up some hooks from Lowes. Right now the jackets live inconveniently in our bedroom closet upstairs.
To live the liturgy or, more generally interpreted, “to build a Christ-centered home.” One of the best parts of our routine since Carl returned from Afghanistan is consistent daily scripture reading together. We lost our habit in the pre-deployment craziness and it’s so nice to have it back. Right now we’re halfway through Ezra. We read a book at a time, but in no particular order…whatever we’re in the mood for. Whoever is ready for bed first scans the next section and any helpful references or notes, then reads it out loud. Good discussions result.
Towards Rhythm and Beauty
“Towards rhythm”: We’ve settled into a new early-morning routine for chores. It lets Carl help around the house on all but the busiest days. Between the two of us it keeps our home respectably tidy and frees up more hours together in the evenings and weekend.
“Towards beauty”: This week we received three packages from my Aunt, all full of my great-grandmother’s old dishes. What a treat! I’ve been washing and sorting them this week – some for eating, and a few with old hairline cracks to hang on the wall so we can preserve them without further damage. I love heirloom items, things that are not only old and beautiful, but also meaningful and useful. Pretty new dishes make me want to cook, much like an empty notebook begs to be filled.
I am learning Just how much library fines can add up to.
Around the House Around the outside of the house: wood chip hauling and spreading. We live in a region with very sandy soil. While I seeded a lot of grass this year, some sections stayed hopelessly bare. If I ever find a miracle plant that cheerfully grows in 100% sand in 100% shade I may re-plant. For now those areas are getting a layer of wood chips for a less patchy look and fewer dust storms when the lawn mower passes by.
From the Kitchen Biscuits and breaded pork chops with broccoli-avocado salad. Half pork loins go on sale at a great price every couple of months and I like to stock the freezer. Some get cut into one pound chunks for recipes, some are sliced ~ 3/4 inch thick for pork chops, and one gets left whole for a roast. I sent the leftover gingerbread cake from Sunday night in to work with Carl this morning – the ICU residents are always hungry.
On my iPod Can’t answer this since I’m the last person in the western world who doesn’t own one. I work from my computer most of the day so pandora meets my needs.
One of My Favorite Things Game nights. About once a week we spend an evening playing games while sipping cocoa, cider, or tea. We’ve been on a Bananagrams kick since my brother sent it for my birthday this summer. Sunday night we played Pillars of Plato (like 3-D, four-across tic-tac-toe – surprisingly mind-boggling) and CatchPhrase (another birthday gift).
On the Calendar for the Week ICU call, which usually means late nights and less sleep. Dinner with friends back after a deployment and leave overseas. Work deadlines for me.
Worth a Thousand Words
Less than a week old and already giving the paparazzi dirty looks. Show some respect for your Grandma young man (Photo credit to my mother).