Friday, January 31, 2003

Nothing to say

I have nothing to say. Bailey's in bed, Duane's at Dabney. I'm here alone and even the cat is ignoring me.

Wow. I feel completely irrelevant. I haven't had a complete intelligent thought go through my mind since last Sunday, and even then I'm not sure if I thought it or heard it.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003


Does anyone know (besides blogs) of a good forum where someone who isn't a Christian yet can go to get good answers? My sister has a friend who is having a hard time getting mature answers to her questions about Christianity on the internet (surprise!).

I told her to come here, and that I would send her around to some of y'all who are brighter than I am. I think the circle of Reformed bloggers is a good place to start. Any suggestions?

Hey James, I saw a good movie last night called A Shot at Glory. It's an indie with Robert Duvall as the manager for a Second Division Scottish football team that makes it into Scotland's Cup finals. It's got a good story, some good football, and Robert Duvall doing a Scottish accent is enough to make the movie worth seeing.

It's a little profuse with one particular profanity that is a lot less offensive in Scotland than it is to us. If you can keep that in mind, it's worth seeing. Probably not quite as good as Victory!, but it did give me a lot of insight into the culture of football.

(If you're not a football fan, don't comment. Remember, I'm not talking about American football.)

Duane's been cyber-published!

Sunday, January 26, 2003


I heard an instrumental version of this hymn last night on BBN. Yeah, I listen to BBN from time to time...it is a surprising mix of ultra-cheesy and good choral/instrumental music.

The first time I heard it was on Fernando Ortega's This Bright Hour CD. It quickly became one of my favorites. I wish we'd sing it in church, but it has disappeared from just about all hymnals. (We don't "do" inserts.)
O Thou in Whose presence my soul takes delight,
On Whom in affliction I call,
My Comfort by day and my Song in the night,
My Hope, my Salvation, my All!

Where dost Thou, dear Shepherd, resort with Thy sheep,
To feed them in pastures of love?
Say, why in the valley of death should I weep,
Or alone in this wilderness rove?

O why should I wander, an alien from Thee,
Or cry in the desert for bread?
Thy foes will rejoice when my sorrows they see,
And smile at the tears I have shed.

He looks, and ten thousands of angels rejoice,
And myriads wait for His Word.
He speaks, and eternity, filled with His voice,
Reechoes the praise of the Lord.

Dear Shepherd, I hear and will follow Thy call;
I know the sweet sound of Thy voice.
Restore and defend me, for Thou art my All,
And in Thee I will ever rejoice.

Hospitality Revisited

I posted that outline on hospitality to have it somewhere when I was ready to try typing something. I am so happy with the response I got!

If you've ever written anything on hospitality, maybe you'd be willing to send it to me, and we can have a compilation of essays (eh-hem, Kristen, Laurel...) If you have any ideas, jot them down and email them to me. They will all be credited to you. I'd love your input!

Saturday, January 25, 2003

Clarification on Conference MP3's

Duane posted a comment about bootleg copies of the AAPC that are being sold.

It is possible (and probable) that Pastor Wilkins gave permission for the MP3's to be sold. However, I don't believe that the people selling them are giving a portion of profits back to Auburn.

Auburn Avenue defrays the expenses of the conference by selling the tapes. The registration fees alone do not cover the cost.

Rather than looking at it as a copyright violation of sorts (since consent was given), it should be viewed as an ethical issue. If you didn't attend the conference, the tape set (15 tapes) is $75. I believe the MP3's are $30. That's a big difference. I think if you bought the MP3's (at a greater discount than the tape sets would have been, especially if you didn't attend the conference) you ought to consider giving a small goodwill offering to Auburn ($5-$10) to help them with conference costs.

People work hard all year to prepare for each year's conference, and it can be discouraging to see other sources selling and making profit off of something that could be helping them cover expenses.

Thursday, January 23, 2003


I've been thinking about writing a paper on practical hospitality. There is a lot out there on the whys and some on the hows (albeit dated and unattainable for some), but I need something distilled for me. Here's a working outline.

Practical Hospitality

Definitions and overcoming objections

1) Wilkins’ book on the theology of friendship and hospitality
a) friendship – how are we all connected in the body of Christ?
b) what is the fruit of a pursuit of hospitality?
c) does not being best friends with someone relieve us of our duty to be hospitable?

2) What is practical hospitality?
i) how can practical hospitality manifest itself?
(1) meals
(2) overnight guests
(3) phone calls
(4) errands
(5) prayer/spiritual/emotional support
ii) who ought to practice practical hospitality?
(1) married couples
(a) must be mindful not to exclude people in other seasons
(b) must be sensitive to other seasons (barrenness, singleness, etc.)
(2) singles
(a) must be mindful of the generosity of hospitality
(b) must be gracious and thankful for hospitality extended
(c) cannot be excluded from practicing hospitality even with limited means
(3) college students
(a) not expected to exercise hospitality in a dorm room
(b) must be mindful of the generosity of hospitality
(c) must be gracious and thankful for hospitality extended
(d) cannot be excluded from practicing hospitality even with limited means
(4) everyone else
iii) how should practical hospitality be received?
3) Common frustrations with/objections to practical hospitality
a) too expensive
b) don’t have time
c) don’t know how
d) not in the right season of life to have people over (child with disability, illness, unexpected loss of finances, etc.)
e) don’t know the person/don’t know anyone
f) no one reaches out to me
4) Admonitions against refusing
a) bible mandates it
b) we are all members of the body of Christ
c) hospitality is love for your neighbor
d) even if heart isn’t in it, the action speaks as well and will act to right your heart (ref. Doug Wilson sermon on loving your neighbor – Providence Bible Conf. Oct 2001)
Now we’re ready to do it

1) meals
a) married couples – special considerations; budget, availability, time constraints, dietary restrictions (important!)
b) college/singles – how can you offer your hospitality through meals if you don’t have space/resources? ideas on what you can do
c) other – special considerations
2) overnight guests
a) married couples – how do we do it if we don’t have “space?”
b) college/singles – offer transportation, company, etc. doesn’t have to be space, just friendship
c) other – special considerations
d) hints/how? whom do we invite?
3) phone calls/errands
a) married couples – special considerations (bartering services/babysitting swap, etc.)
b) college/singles – offer time and resouces that married couples don’t have; babysitting, cleaning, etc.
c) other – special considerations
d) hints/how?
4) prayer/spiritual/emotional support
a) married couples – unique situation, hopefully church has a prayer chain or small groups; noticing things (not to the point of intrusion or gossip, but be genuinely interested in others in the body), especially about those who are outside your comfort zone (singles, childless families, college students)
b) college/singles – have to make a unique effort (and can be very difficult because you don’t feel “plugged in”) to stay networked; resist the effort to form a watertight circle with just college and single friends.
c) other – no special considerations.


• the quandry of affordable edible food (recipes, anecdotes, suggestions)
• hospitality ideas for overnight guests (sleeping arrangements, baskets)

gh as in enough

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who is a non-native English speaker about the phonics program she's using for her daughters. We were expressing frustrations with the inconsistency and unpredictability of English grammar and generally just being not happy with phonics at all.

I don't know anything about how to teach phonics, but I did notice something. They've recently learned the "two-vowel" rule. Where there are two vowels in a word, the first is pronounced long and the second is silent (I'm assuming only in one-syllable words, but the book never mentioned that part). That works part of the time, but certainly not all of the time. Is this an example of a rule that is made up to help, but then later down the road they have to amend it and add all sorts of exceptions? It seems like this would just produce confusion and frustration later on.

I don't know how I did it. My mom said (there's one example that doesn't follow the rule) I learned (there's another one) reading from watching Sesame Street.
Te absolvo

I knew I'd make several typos in the booklet I put together for the pastor's conference. I made one significant one and two that were a matter of opinion. When I heard about the mistake, I was absolutely devasted.

On the "alto" (harmony) part for Psalm 75, the last two notes were accidentally left stem up. They were supposed to be stem down. I did, however, align the syllables in exactly the right place, so anyone who had an idea that words are sung with the notes they appear underneath wouldn't have had a problem. Apparently it did cause quite a train-wreck. Part of that can be attributed to the fact that not many people were familiar with that piece, and it was difficult to begin with.

The other mistakes were a matter of opinion. I had the extra verses going up and down, left then right. I looked in about 8 different hymnals and there doesn't appear to be a standard to whether or not verses go one way or the other. Duane said it wouldn't matter as long as they were numbered.

So the books were sent off to be printed, and the printer cut the gutter off so all the numbers were gone. Still, a little bit of foresight and thought would have avoided a major problem, but apparently with one of the hymns, half the room went one way and half went the other.

See, worship really is subjective, isn't it? :)

Amanda found out I didn't have her link on my blogroll. So I added her.

Please, visit her blog and tell her how much you appreciate the fact that she is my only friend.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003


My grandmother lived in Munhall, PA when I was growing up. Every time we'd travel to see her, my dad would stop at Isaly's and buy some of their chipped ham. PBS recently featured Isaly's chipped ham on a show "Sandwiches You'll Love", which showcases different signature sandwiches from all over the place. They almost (but not quite!) spoiled it for me by telling what their ham really is - a SPAM-type product that is cut into strips and shredded. It doesn't matter. I could eat a pound of that ham in one sitting.

There used to be hundreds of Isaly's stores all over Pennsylvania and Ohio, but most of them are closed now. They're most well-known for inventing the Klondike bar, which is one of my favorite ice cream treats. You can still order their chipped ham from their on-line store, but the shipping costs more than the ham.

My mom would heat up some good barbeque sauce, add some Isaly's ham, and heat it through to make the best barbeque ham sandwiches I've ever had. I've tried it with higher-quality ham, but it just doesn't taste the same. Isaly's chipped ham is sliced so thin it just falls apart in your hand - you almost need a fork to eat it. I miss it. If you live near one of the few remaining Isaly's, eat a chipped ham sandwich for me someday. I'll like ya' even more if you do.
Bon appetit!

Mmm. Cream puffs.
Updated Links

I've cleaned up my blog roll and added two fellow AAPCers. Welcome, Micah and Aaron!

Tuesday, January 21, 2003


If purgatory exists anywhere except in the minds of money-grubbing popes, surely it can be found in Monroe, Louisiana, where you have to use the AIR CONDITIONER in your car in the middle of January.

Monday, January 20, 2003

Covenant Seed

There was a short discussion on Matt's blog concerning raising covenant children. I wanted to say a few words on this subject.

I have made a new friend in our church who has graciously made the time to give me regular sewing lessons at no cost. I travel to her home once a week, throw Bailey in a port-a-crib, and while Bailey takes a nap, Lori and I sew. We probably talk more than we sew, but I am working on a dress for Bailey. She does not have children and a few years ago decided to work "at" home (her home is her work), which is her passion. Lori has the most beautiful home. She gives untiring attention to providing a lovely home for her and her husband. She says she doesn't like to cook, but everything I've eaten that she has made has been absolutely delicious. She spends hours and hours of time giving her talents to preparing the church for weddings, lunches, and celebrations. She sews gowns for balls and weddings. She gives advice and friendship to just about everyone in the church. She shares her stories and her heart, and laughs easily.

Whether God has given you no children, one child, or fifteen, we are all very active in raising the next generation of covenant children. Lori is giving me her time and teaching me to sew, to knit, to organize my home, to be patient, to be mature and forgiving, and to be fruitful. I am the next generation; in a very real sense, I am her child. Bailey is her child.

Before I was blessed with Bailey, I spent a lot of time thinking about the possibility of barrenness. I have come to realize that in the body of Christ there is no such thing. (Now, that is not meant to minimize any sorrow anyone has experienced at the severe providence of not being given children.) We are all growing, maturing, and loving one another (hopefully!). So, if God has blessed you with the gift of resourcefulness and time, use your time and resources to help others grow. If God has blessed you with physical offspring, be diligent to raise them in covenant faithfulness, but be willing and eager to turn to those with different gifts for help and resources.

Thursday, January 16, 2003


Do you remember that silly trick where you ask someone to pronounce ghoti and you tell them it's fish? That's what I thought of when I saw Duane's post and Laurel's comment on names.

Here are some of the names I found in my old magazines. I couldn't find the best ones.
I used to work with a kid who spelled his name Isiah but pronounced it Isaiah. I also knew a guy once named Micheal. His mom told him she had spelled it wrong by accident but decided it was fate because he was special. Hmm.

I know Bailey isn't a normal name, but at least it isn't spelled Baylee or Baeli or something bizarre like that. And we didn't make it up.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003


Bailey woke up in the middle of the night last night sick again. Duane got sick this morning; it seems none of us are going to escape this round.

Monday, January 13, 2003

Ding, dong merrily on high!

Well, maybe it's too late to be singing Christmas songs, but this story that I heard on NPR back in November was very interesting. If you have ten minutes, give it a listen.

Here's the chicken salad recipe I used last Tuesday. It's only a basic outline, though, and requires you to customize it for your tastes.

3-4 pounds (1 rotisserie or roaster chicken) cooked chicken, cut up (note: some people prefer white meat only, but you get much more flavor by using the dark and white meats. The rotisserie chicken at Sam's/Wal Mart works wonderfully.)
some mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip!)
some celery, cut up
some white grapes, cut up in quarters
some walnuts (thanks for the suggestion, Barb!)
some heavy whipping cream
some pepper

1. Cut up the chicken. Throw in about 1 - 1/2 cups celery and grapes for approx. 2-3 cups chicken meat. Toss. Add more if you prefer.
2. Toss in about 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.
3. Don't add salt unless you're using a chicken you roast on your own; the pre-roasted rotisserie chickens seemed plenty salty. Sprinkle pepper to taste.
4. Add about 1/2 cup of mayo, maybe a little less. In a chilled bowl, whip 2-3 tablespoons of whipping cream (make sure the beaters are cold, too!) to stiff peaks. Fold in with the mayo.

What I don't like about most chicken salad is 1) relish, 2) way too much mayonnaise, and 3) chicken that is chopped so fine it's more like spread than a chunky salad.

There should never be pickles in chicken salad. With the mayo, remember, you can always add more, but once it's in there, it's done. You'll probably want to add more, but just start with the 1/2 cup. You only really need enough to keep the chicken moist and hold it together when you scoop it out. I think it is better if you make it 8-24 hours ahead of time; it needs to be chilled all the way through.

Variations: I've had this with red peppers and pineapple and walnuts, no celery or grapes (at Frulatti in the mall in St. Louis). You can also try red delicious or jonagold apples as a nod to the popular 70's Waldorf salad. Tarragon (a la Au Bon Pain) is good, too; omit the walnuts and grapes.
Really annoying habit

Those of you out there who hate cats, keep quiet.

My cat has a really annoying habit. She loves to lick plastic bags. I've heard this can be because of boredom or a deficiency in their diet. Who knows, but I know that I almost prefer the sound of nails on a chalkboard to the sound of Gracie licking a plastic bag.

Please, no comments about putting her in the bag or using the bag to play "Suffocation".

Sunday, January 12, 2003


Bailey and I are on the back end (hopefully!) of this 24-hour stomach virus that has been going around. We both got sick late yesterday afternoon. Bailey, thankfully, went down at 5:00 p.m. and slept until 8:30 this morning. I did not sleep more than 10 minutes at a time last night; it was a long and quite eventful night (I'll spare you the details). Duane is run ragged from trying to take care of the two of us grumpy girls. I didn't do anything today but lie in bed or sit in a chair - I try to get up to do something and I'm exhausted before I take three steps.

I hope I feel better by tomorrow. I think if I get a good night's rest I'll be okay. It's been seven years since I last had this bug and I hope it's at least that long before I get it again.

Thursday, January 09, 2003


We had houseguests here Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, so I taped JAG and watched it late Tuesday night after everyone had gone to bed. There is an interesting storyline developing.

One of the main characters, Loren Singer, is a crass, tactless lieutenant who only desires to receive promotions and have a successful career in the Navy. no matter who she hurts or destroys or lies to on the way. In one show there was an insinuation that she had had an improper relationship with another of the characters who was about to leave the country. She became pregnant and while being confronted by the brother of the father of the baby, she said she was going to "take care of the problem" and be back aboard ship in two weeks. The word abortion was never used, but characters repeatedly referred to it as "not having the baby". After a conversation with a co-worker who had suffered a miscarriage, Loren reconsidered and decided to carry the baby to term and give him up for adoption. She refers to the baby as "it" or "the problem".

Now, none of the characters who have confronted her have explicity commanded her not to have an abortion because it is morally wrong, but because it might be the wrong decision and she would regret it after the fact. Nevertheless, it is a major storyline and she has been portrayed in a negative light for getting herself into the situation in the first place, and for initially making the decision to have an abortion.

I know some of you wonder why I bother watching TV; others are probably thinking they've never heard of this show, why do I like it? It is a very decent show; there are no storylines (except for this one) of adultery or gratuitous physical relationships; there is no language or gore. Characters don't flit in and out of relationships. I think it probably aims for a conservative demographic, considering that the military is still fairly conservative compared to the civilian population. It deals with marriage and families, and with the loss of children (the baby that was miscarried was named; she is always referred to as the baby or their daughter). Compared to most of what's out there, it is pretty decent stuff.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Tenses revisited

In light of a conversation we had at lunch today, here is the paragraph from Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy for Matt.
"The major problem (encountered in time travel) is quite simply one of grammar. The main work to consult in this matter is Dr. Dan Streementioner's Time Traveler's Book of 1001 Tense Formations. It will tell you, for instance, how to describe something that was about to happen to you in the past before you avoided it by time-jumping forward two days in order to avoid it. The event will be described differently according to whether you are talking about it from the standpoint of your own natural time, from a time in the further future, or a time in the further past and is further complicated by the possibility of conducting experiments while you are actually traveling from one time to another with the intention of becoming your own mother or father.

Most readers get as far as the Future Semiconditionally Modified Subinverted Plagal Past Subjunctive Intentional before giving up; and in fact in later editions of the book all the pages beyond this point have been left blank to save on printing costs.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy skips lightly over this tangle of academic abstraction, pausing only to note that the term "Future Perfect" has been abandoned since it was discovered not to be."

All gone

Well, the 2003 AAPC is done and over. The lunch is past, the Colvins are on their way back to New Orleans. Bailey's sleeping and Duane's at work. It's very quiet.

I attended one conference session - the Wilkins/Pipa talk, and played the piano for one piece (Psalm 1). I have never accompanied a congregation bigger than about 200 people and still, not with such hearty, robust music. Even though I was so nervous I wanted to throw up, I'm glad I did it.

I spent most of the conference cleaning, cooking, and watching Zek'l so Sora could attend the conference with Matt. Bailey had a great time playing with Zek'l. She would run up to him and say "Come here, Zek'l" except it sounded like "Ka-meeer sicle!"

They were a lot of fun to have here, and we enjoyed staying up late (1:00 a.m. each night) and talking about the conference, ideas, experiences, etc. It is so neat that you can have fellow Christians come to your home and you know you have common ground, even if you don't know anything about each other.

I can't wait for next year!

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

By request

The lunch was a hit (I think), although several folks didn't come. I had way too much food. I have no idea how much to plan for each person, so I have about half of everything left. I think we'll be eating leftovers for a while.

I found the baklava recipe on Google. I recommend printing the entire recipe with the diagrams. It was extremely helpful.

I would also recommend cutting the phyllo in half (from long side to long side) with a pizza cutter. It was much easier to handle and did not tear as much working with smaller sheets. All in all, it took about an hour and a half to prepare and about an hour to bake, and I let it sit for three days. Barb helped me by buttering each sheet after I laid it down, which helped immensely. Yummy!

Monday, January 06, 2003

I'm give out

Barb arrived here in scenic Monroe on Saturday morning. We had a nice, relaxing (sort of) day talking and getting to know each other. Bailey asked her to read several books, and Barb helped me (brave soul!) fix the baklava for tomorrow's lunch.

We attended the packed Lord's Day service at Auburn Avenue in the morning (it was pretty close to SRO) and came back to our place for a delicious dinner. We were supposed to eat at the Cranston's but Mr. Cranston wasn't feeling well, so his wife, Miss Lisa, sent a spaghetti dinner (complete with homemade salad dressing and homemade garlic butter!) with their daughter. I had a lovely couple of days getting to know Barb (who says she is shy!), who is a real trouper. She fearlessly accompanied me to Sam's Club to buy rotisserie chickens (but Sam's didn't have any...they didn't even have a bakery!), and then on to Wal-Mart for the rest of the victuals.

I returned Barb home after a tasty lunch of frozen pizza (Barb's treat!) and leftover salad. Bailey went down for a nap, and I started to clean and fix the spinach lasagna for dinner. The Colvins made good time from New Orleans and arrived about 45 minutes earlier than I had expected...and they caught me elbow-deep in dishwater and spinach!

We had a fun dinner with Matt, Sora, and their son, Zek'l. We taste-tested the baklava (I completely forgot to make a desert!). It is, by the way, very, very, very good.

After dinner Matt put Zek'l down to bed and they all headed out to the conference to hear Steve Schlissel duke it out with RC Sproul, Jr. I'm going to miss it, but I can always get the tapes.

I'm give out. Everything is done for tomorrow except getting extra chairs from the church, making a gallon of sweet tea, buying ice, and snapping four pounds of green beans.

Oh, and I need to make scones for breakfast tomorrow.

Anyone want to help? :)

Friday, January 03, 2003


Menu for lunch Tuesday:

swedish meatballs
almond chicken salad on croissants
fruit salad
(vegetable TBD)

decaf sweet tea
hot cocoa

pecan tassies
molasses sugar cookies
peanut butter chocolate cookies
baklava with vanilla ice cream

I hope this doesn't remind anyone of Ryan's or Ponderosa (unless that's a good thing).

Can't wait to meet everyone! Duane will have maps with directions to our place.
Here we go again...

Lifted from Barb...

1. What time is it? 9:25
2. Name that appears on your birth certificate: Sarah Michelle Luce
3.Nicknames: (all terms of endearment from hubby) Ham Sandwich, Poopgirl, Poopchicken
4. Number of candles that will appear on your next birthday cake: 30
5. Date that you will blow them out: August 13
6. Kids: One. You know her as "The Bug."
7. Pets: Gracie the mutt-cat
8. Eye color: green
9. Hair color: the worst color dishwater blondish brown you can imagine
10. Piercing: holes in the ear that are still there, even though I haven't worn earrings in over 15 years (I'm allergic to everything but 18K + gold)
11. Tattoos: Ha-ha.
12. Favorite Activities: generic stuff - reading, music, scrapbooking, I really love movies, too.
13. Favorite color: green
14. Hometown: born in Baltimore, raised in Severna Park - lived there for 23 years. Got pretty attached to St. Louis, but I still long for the coast.
15. Current residence: West Monroe, LA
16. Favorite food: anything that hasn't been in the ocean
17. Been to Africa or Australia: no.
18. Been toilet papering: nope.
19. Loved somebody so much that it made you cry?: Yeah.
21. Croutons or bacon bits: both.
22. Sprite or 7-up: sprite. 7-up tastes like watered-down lemon juice.
23. Favorite movies: this would take forever, but my all-time favorite is Lady Jane.
30. Favorite cola: Wild Cherry Pepsi
31. Favorite T.V. shows: CSI, JAG, and Without a Trace.
32. Favorite type of ice cream: any kind but mocha
33. Favorite Sesame Street Character: Snufulufagus
34. Disney or Warner Bros: Disney
35. Favorite fast food restaurant: Arby's
36. What color are your bedroom walls: red
37. How many times did you fail your driver's test: 0
38. Who is the last person you got an email from before this?: my dad
39. Have you ever been convicted of a crime: no
40. What single store would you choose to max out your credit card in: don't have one
41. What do you do most often when you are bored: chew my fingernails
42. Name the person that you are friends with that lives the farthest away: i don't have any friends
44. Bedtime: 11
47. Favorite sport: to watch or participate in? watch: football and baseball, participate in: crew and soccer
48. Last person (people) you went out to dinner with: hubby and daughter, last night
49. Last movie you saw in theater: Maid in Manhattan (yeah, make fun of me. I had free babysitting!!!)
50. How many broken bones: none
51. Going to the lake, would you rather ski or SeaDoo: SeaDoo
54. Favorite comic strip: I despise the comics.
55. Time when you finished this: 9:34. If I can't do it quickly, I won't do it.

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