Monday, March 31, 2008

quote, stolen

Most people want to serve God, but only in an advisory capacity.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Thanks for asking, but, no, my eyes are NOT any better. They hurt. They burn. I’m sensitive to light. I went forward for the laying on of hands during our healing service today at church.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Liturgy and such

As a member of my church's choir, a very small, enthusiastic, but not all that talented, choir, I'm probably more aware of the choice of liturgy and hymns than most members in the pew. Our choir director, who is a member of the worship committee, always has us practice any hymns that might be unfamiliar to the congregation, and we always practice the liturgy if we are in for a change. Our choir anthems range from old ethnic favorites, to gospel songs, to modern adaptations of old hymns, to newly written hymns from the Catholic hymnbook; anything as long as they aren't too hard for our modest talents.

We had the green LBW hymnals for as long as they've been out. We added the blue With One Voice when it came out. Our people love the liturgies in that hymnal, so it is still in our pew racks. And last fall, we dedicated the new cranberry Evangelical Lutheran Worship, using setting three throughout the fall. This is the same setting that most people knew from the green book.

For Advent we used the Light of Christ setting from the WOV, and then for Lent, we used Setting 6 from the ELW. That is a lively, somewhat jazzy liturgy, which I liked, but I thought it was an odd choice for Lent. Now we are learning setting one in the ELW, which is supposedly the one setting everyone who used the ELW will learn. Our choir found it easy to sing through.

I've heard of churches who approach these type of changes with trepidation. We don't; we've always embraced variety. Of course, it is a great help to have a pianist who has an open mind and the talent to play many styles, and especially, the faith to play like she mean it. BTW, we also have the ELCA's African American hymnal, though we are a mostly white congregation, and those who are not white are not AA.

I did go to that funeral

I did attend the funeral and, yes, I’m glad I went. Mostly I’m glad that I was able to greet the daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren of the deceased, who are old friends.

Sometimes I’ve thought that funeral services in my tradition are sort of “canned,” that is, too much right out of the hymnal. This funeral was in a church of another tradition. It was not canned. In fact, it seemed so informal to me, but maybe that is just that pastor’s style. But there is no doubt that the person, who is now with Christ, was a woman of great faith who passed that on to her family. Praise God!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Today's inner dialog

“I’m going to a funeral this afternoon.”

“I really don’t want to go to a funeral.”

“But this is the funeral of my old neighbor.”

“There will be so many people there that no body will notice if I’m there or not.”
“If I didn’t go to the funeral, I have some place else I could go.”

“Well, since I didn’t out of the house to do the other thing, its too late anyway.”

“I guess I’d better get ready to go.”

“Well, I’m dressed. I’ve got the card ready. How early do I need to get there?”

“Dang. What did I spill on my blouse?”

“Ok, I’d better go so that I don’t have to stand outside.”

“Sheese, I’m selfish.”

New Direction(s)

My friend, who had an art minor in college, has always enjoyed painting. It was fun to see her collection of her own paintings when I visited her house. She is going to have an exhibit at a small gallery in town, and she invited me to be a part of this show.

My work consists of original fabric/sewing/fiber art/art quilting, and I also do photography. I don't have a lot that I can show, so I decided I'd make some note cards using my photos. My specialty is close-ups of flowers, especially with the background obscured or from an angle that gives an unexpected background. (Some photos here and here.) I've been wanting to do more with putting photos on fabric, so I'm busy working on that for this show.

The "new direction" is really in "putting myself out there," as they say. I've been doing photography for about 34 years and sewing since junior high, but with a more creative emphasis for the last ten years.

So, I'd better get off the computer and get to my sewing machine!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Gorilla McMansion

This article tells the tale of the St. Paul gorilla who need an upgrade to his home. It is hard to get on board with this when reimbursements to our state's nursing home have dropped back to 1990 levels (inflation factored in.)

An excerpt from the article:

Now the zoo is asking for $11 million, mostly for the gorillas. That has rankled some lawmakers, who see it as a misguided priority.

"I don't have anything against gorillas per se," said Republican Marty Seifert, the House minority leader. Earlier this month, Seifert unsuccessfully fought to steer the Como money towards a fund that would maintain worn-down school buildings.

Seifert said $11 million in his town of Marshall could buy a couple dozen McMansions.

"We're talking granite countertops and chandeliers," Seifert said. "Is that what the gorillas are getting?"

Not exactly. But it definitely would be an upgrade.The current outdoor exhibit looks like a jungle gym in the middle of a concrete pit. Visitors must look down to view the animals.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Seder Supper

The Seder Supper, at the Catholic Church, combining two Lutheran churches, with the Catholic group, was lovely in all respects. It was mostly planned by one of the Catholic ladies and the Lutheran youth director, with input from one of the Lutheran pastors.

Bright Eyes

That should read, "Bright; Eyes." It has been nice and sunny outside, leading to some melting of the snow, warming of the house, and, in general, a feeling of being very inviting to go out. Unfortunately, there is something wrong with my eyes, and I can't stand the sunshine. They have been bothering me somewhat for a month, and I've been assuming that I have a minor virus, but then just the last couple of days, I've been sensitive to the light, so now I have a doctor appointment scheduled for next week.

I'm looking forward to church services in the next few days, which will be indoors. This evening we are gathering at the Catholic Church for a Seder Supper. Tomorrow we gather at the Covenant Church for the Good Friday service. I am thankful that our pastors, at least some of them, work together to encourage the Body of Christ. Sunday will be quite a change as our choir, of which I'm a member, isn't singing. The director is on vacation.

I've been working on photos and creative sewing for a small art show I will be in next month. That is a new direction for me.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Please Pray...

Please pray for my acquaintance "Bill" who had a bad accident yesterday and who had long surgery last evening trying to repair the damage. More later.

Update: I'll only add this detail: Bill's hand was severed in a work accident on Saturday and the surgery was to try to reattach it.

2nd update: He has some feeling in his hand after it was reattached.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

True Conservationist

Nature Quote of the Day
A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.
John James Audubon

Friday, March 14, 2008

Little Humans

A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin - 5 and Ryan - 3. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson.
"If Jesus were sitting here, He would say , 'Let my brother have the first pancake... I can wait.'" Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, "Ryan, you be Jesus!"

This joke reminded me of an incident when my own kids were small. I decided to have an empty chair at the table so that when we said “Come Lord Jesus” we would have a place for Jesus. Unfortunately, the kids decided to fight over who got to sit next to Jesus.

Monday, March 10, 2008

New Sins

The Catholic Church as a new list of sins, according to CNN, article here.

One quote from the article, "Father Antonio Pelayo, a Spanish priest and Vatican expert noted that it is time for both sinners and confessors to get over their obsession with sex and think about other ways humans hurt each other in the world in which they live.

"There are many other sins that are perhaps much more grave that don't have anything to do with sex - that have to do with life, that have to do with the environment, that have to do with justice," he told AP Television."

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Lone Wolf

This guy passed by my windows twice today.

I measured the footprints, so I'm convinced that it is a grey wolf, which is just about to be de-listed from the endangered species list.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Health Care Worker Brain Drain.

The US has a shortage of health care workers. "The study by the Association of Schools of Public Health found that by 2020 the U.S. will need more than 250,000 additional public health workers." Living in an area of small cities, we know this on a personal level. It is hard to find good doctors to fill in when one of the current doctors needs to go out of town. It is even harder, if not impossible, to find doctors and nurse practitioners to replace those doctors who retire or move. The smaller the town or hospital, the longer hours the doctors tend to have to work.

Many foreign doctors move to the US for better opportunities, better facilities and more income than they have in their country of origin. I've read that a fairly large percentage, though not a majority, of doctors in Great Britain, are from foreign countries.

I risk sounding like I'm against having foreign doctors in the US. I'm not because I know that they have to take a number of exams, etc. before they can be licensed here. A doctor who communicates well, cares about the patients, and knows the medical information is a good doctor, regardless of his/her native tongue. Yes, that could exclude some doctors born and educated in the US.

What I really want to know is why aren't the US and the other western countries educating more doctors and nurses among their own people? Why are relying on the rest of the world to fill in the gaps? Certainly the richer countries have more resources to do this than the other countries. Cuba, apparently, is an exception in that it has 21 medical schools for a population of 21 million.

"Currently, there are 2.4 million too few physicians, nurses, and midwives to provide essential health interventions, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), a shortage that will require adopting a global approach to health worker human resources." Link here and here

"A global health conference, which ended in Kampala yesterday, called for massive commitments by international organisations and countries to increase the number of doctors and nurses to resolve the health workers crisis.

"The participants also want rich countries to pay a recruitment fee to the poor countries whose health workers they import.

These are some of the recommendations contained in the 'Kampala Declaration', adopted by the over 1,000 participants from 57 countries who were present at the Global Forum for Human Resources for Health."

Doctors should be free to move if they choose, but every effort should be made by the richer countries to train more doctors at home.

Another good link.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Faithful Travel

Our Lenten service this evening focused on hunger and the food eaten in various parts of the world, its cost and availability. After the discussion, our pastor showed a video about traveling to other countries that was pulled from the web, although I think it was produced for our church wide body.

I agree with what seems to be the underlying assumption that you can't really begin to understand another place without seeing it.

Two very different church services, and my judging mind.

When I was in another state 2 weeks ago, I attended two church services in the nursing home. The Lutheran service takes place once per month on a Thursday morning and the other one is every Sunday afternoon at 2:00. The Sunday service seems to rotate between three or four pastors/groups/churches.

The Lutheran pastor was late due to having to preside at a chapel service at the Lutheran school just previous to the nursing home service. There could be numerous reasons why he ran late, but I'd add poor planning to the list because the lay people there to help knew he was going to be late. The nursing home is in a time bind due to using the space for two shifts of meals as well as church services and any entertainment. So in breezed the pastor, and then he led the service with his really nice voice, the invocation, the liturgy, two hymns ("you might not recognize this one") a full sermon, and the communion. To say he breezed through the liturgy is an understatement. Double time might be more like it. Then we had communion, from the common cup.

My reaction to the whole thing was not positive. Yes, the Word of God is valid even if it is said rapidly. Yes the communion was real even though the pastor talks fast. But there was not one bit of warm pastoral concern or connection during the 30 minutes of the service. I can't understand a pastor picking a song that people in their 80's and 90's haven't heard before. And, although I know that the common cup is sacred to some groups, I consider it irresponsible in the nursing home setting. There are ways to get around this and still have one cup.

There was one sermon illustration that I remembered after the service. I remember it because it was so jarring. Maybe my memory isn't accurate, but what I thought I heard was this: Jesus is like the life guard. Your son is swimming and starts to go down. Jesus swims out to save him and they both go down. We can rejoice because we are saved by Jesus' death.

On Sunday I attended a service led by a denomination I've never heard of. I went reluctantly, but went for my relative's sake. I was incredibly blessed by being there. The man whom I assumed was the pastor, led the prayers and singing. The woman, his wife, I think, played the piano. I jumped to the sad conclusion that they may belong to a group that keeps the woman in her place on the piano bench. But she got up and read the scripture. Oh what a reader she was. The scripture came alive. Then she gave the sermon (the Woman at the Well.) The story came alive with meaning and drew us in to be part of the scene without adding extra-Biblical notions.

So I said to her after the service, when the two of them were warmly greeting the people, "I made the stereotypical assumption that you were the pastor's wife, and he was the pastor." She said, "I'm not a pastor, I'm a teacher. I love to preach whenever I get a chance."

Jesus warned us about being judgmental, but that I am. Dear Lord, teach me to be less judgmental.

Monday, March 03, 2008

President Bush on their Minds...well, not exactly their "MINDS"

Scroll down about half way on this link. Look at the fabric of the clothes the women are wearing.

Does this catch my interest because of politics, because it is about Africa, or because my passions include fabric? You be the judge.