Friday, September 8, 2017

Just Breathe or Smoke

We have arrived in some sort of post-cognitive age.  It's not pretty.

We are supposed to relax and meditate and stop thinking.  Fine.  Sometimes, it's good to just be quiet.  But this has become the "answer" to everything.

Oh, sometimes, they "pray" for things to "just go away".  Yes, right.  If we just breathe, maybe things will just go away.  Actually, no, mostly they won't.  The problem will stick around and get worse and worse.  And then you will take some marijuana, which will now be legal, and everything will be better.  No, it won't.

Funny, everyone is trying to get us to learn to think, think from a free and clear mind, unencumbered by history and moral teachings.  But I think we just end up breathing and smoking, and maybe go to a demonstration, to which they have a counter-demonstration, and everyone just breathes fire. Then they can go and just meditate and breathe after that.  Oh, they may have some free sex from the gender-fluid life, in between.

If you have some actual points to make about something, you will be derided as "not loving", as "unkind", as "rude", as "aggressive", or possibly "micro-aggressive."  That seems to be the flip-side of the the just stay cool and breathe message.  Breathe, stop thinking, stop talking, stop arguing, stop saying what you think or believe. The more they breathe and smoke, the less you are allowed to say something to them or discuss any actual problems.


Image result for breathe and relax


Someone, I know, is praying right now (I don't know to whom), that his problems will just go away.  He has messed up his family life, messed up his financial life, messed up his health, and he is hoping his problems are just going to vaporize.  It does not work that way.  Denial has never yet solved a problem.  Shouting down those with unpleasant messages, has not yet solved anything.  You are in trouble.  Big trouble.  You do need a plan.  There are consequences to stupid decisions.  There are also consequences to doing nothing and saying nothing.  Often, we are just talking about not wanting to be responsible for anything.

I looked up Mandy Hale, whose quote I pasted above.  She seems to be a lovely, young woman, who can't seem to nail down a relationship with a man, and makes a living giving dating advice.  I suppose this just happened to her:  her relationships don't go anywhere and voila she has found a lucrative calling.  How nice.  I don't want to put her down, but the women in my life who are ready for marriage and who are committed Christians and solid in many ways, have married and found permanent and lasting relationships.  What kind of dating advice can Mandy Hale really give:  breathe...

Then there is this guy on Youtube:  "How Yoga ruined my life".  It's a misleading title.  But hey, I clicked on it, and he made income from the advertisement I watched.  Really, he wants to tell you, that he found his calling being a yoga teacher.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyX6_todmrg  Here, I am sending you to it.  He will make a little bit more money.  He is going to be a teacher, who teaches you nothing but to relax, and he will make money from this message.  We are indeed, hopeful idiots and people can sell us anything that is easy.



Saturday, September 2, 2017

"Das Feld ist weiss" / September 2

Image result for reaping


Decades ago, I learned a song our religion class teacher asked us memorize.  The German language text is further down, with a link to the melody with chords.

"The field is white,
the the full ear of the grain is bowing down,
to show honor to its Maker.
They call:  Come Reaper, the the sickle ring!
Let the praise of our Lord sound loudly."

This is an amazing verse.  It has echoed in my mind over the years.
There is the picture of the harvest.  The ear of grain and the honor of God have the same sound in German:  "Aehre" and "Ehre".   The grain, the harvest give honor and sound like honor.  They are the same.  And they give honor as they are ready to be cut down by the reaper.  This is the harvest we bring in in the fall and the harvest of souls that belongs to the Lord, Almighty.  He has a reaper with a sickle, our death.  Wow.   I have never harvested a grain field.  I don't know what ringing sickles sound like.  Hm. The ringing stands for the singing of praise.

"One year, All Gracious, you let it grow,
until the seed ripened for us, which will nourish us.
Now you grant it to us and we gather in the gift.
From you comes all that we have."

"Your glory remains to all eternity.
May your arms always accompany us with protection. 
May the praise of our lips please you!
With joy we sing of all your works!"





LIEDTEXT

Das Feld ist weiß, die Ähren all sich neigen,
um ihrem Schöpfer Ehre zu bezeigen.
Sie rufen: Schnitter, laßt die Sicheln schallen
und unsers Herren Lob laut widerhallen!

Ein Jahr, Allgüt'ger, ließest du es währen,
bis uns gereift die Saat, die uns soll nähren.
Nun du sie spendest, sammeln wir die Gabe.
Von deiner Huld kommt alle unsre Habe.

Dein Ruhm besteh in alle Ewigkeiten!
Uns Arme wolle stets dein Schutz begleiten!
Laß unsrer Lippen Dank dir wohlgefallen!
Fröhlich wir singen deinen Taten allen.


September/ harvest /legacy

September has arrived and it is getting a little cooler.  The aspen are sporting yellow leaves even without there having been any frost, as yet.  I love the fall if we can hang on to the colorful leaves for a while and the storms don't forcefully blow them all off. Our Northern Alberta apples have turned red and are extremely tasty.  We can eat them right off the tree, sparing us the purchases from the grocery store.

It is a time to take some stock.  Where has the summer gone;  what did we do with it.  What are the plans for the winter and what are the plans for further down the road;  God willing, there will be time further down the road.  Sometime one thinks that the time is getting short.

Which brings me to a word that I have heard several times lately--it is the word "legacy".  What kind of "legacy" are you leaving?  What kind of "legacy" are you building?  What kind of "legacy" has someone left?  The word jars me.  For one thing it jars me because I am not used to hearing it.  How has it become fashionable? It also jars me because it speaks of accomplishment and pride and reputation.

I have mixed feelings about it.  As a Christian, I don't think in terms of "legacy".  I think in terms of "faithfulness."   Did we do the right thing?  Did we persevere in trials?  Did we honor God's glory before ours?  Did we acknowledge God's grace and help in any or all accomplishments?  Did we wish to serve before wishing to shine?  But also, did we manage to be productive and rule a household well and pass on the faith to succeeding generations, or if we did not have our own household, did we manage to contribute to other people's lives and hopes.  It is in this way that we "build a legacy".

But it seems to me that people apply the word in myriad different ways.  Some seem to mean:  "Since there is no eternal life, let me live on in people's hearts."  Some seem to mean:  "Let me be a progressive activist, so I can think that I have helped change the world for better (by destroying bourgeois values of family, etc.)".  Some mean:  "Let me rise in my profession and career, amass a little fortune, and have something to show for myself."  Some of these things have some value.  (Some not.)   However, in a strictly atheistic view, it is hard to determine any meaning or value in anything, at all, theoretically speaking.  In actual fact, no one can live without meaning.  So what is the meaning behind the word "legacy" for them?  It is a good question.  We should ask them about it when they use the word "legacy."


 Image result for harvest

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Two more Weekends




Two more weekends!  We are on the marathon to finish a summer full of events such as weddings, wedding anniversaries, birthdays and family reunions.  To make it busier, I have been engaged to play piano and organ at some of these.

Overlaid over all this celebrating was all the world-wide political turmoil, and this reminds me of Jesus' saying, that he will come like a thief in the night while people are busy doing their business, getting married... Even Luther said, in any case, if he knew ahead of time, he would still plant that apple tree, do what he loved.

Nevertheless, as we know, man is like the grass, here today, fresh and green, and gone tomorrow.  I did feel very mortal this summer.  I did lose some sleep worrying over Korea and the new missiles. Fall will come and after seasons or weddings and anniversaries come seasons of funerals and losses.  But please not such a horror as we can imagine.

We've been reading Romans, at home, and it helped me.  One, if Abraham is the father of faith believing that from death can come new life, so can we.  And also, if Christ died for all of us, we can die, too.  We shall, by God's grace, follow in their footsteps, dying and rising.


Image result for Romans letter

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Discernment

It has happened to me lately, that people who profess to profess Nothing, have written off anyone who believes Something, as "divisive", "stupid", and "full of phobias".

When they have said this to me, directly, to the face, as a confessing Christian/Lutheran, even though I have tried to treat them with consideration and care, have fed them, given them free lessons, helped their children--even though they profess to believe Nothing--I don't think they really have thought about what they are doing to the interpersonal relationship in the community we actually live in.

As Jesus said:  "Father forgive them, they don't know what they are doing."  He said this while they were nailing him to the cross.  I don't think they have really thought about it.

We must note, however, that they have made it very easy for themselves.  They don't know what you believe, don't want to know what you believe, don't want to know the reasons why, don't want to know how these beliefs contrast with others, they only know one thing:  they are better because the confess Nothing.

It is really quite a magic trick.  By a slight of hand you can accuse others of everything and anything, and absolve yourself of everything and anything, even "without" "religion".

I mean, even the famous Dalai Lama, sits and smiles and wishes everyone the best, but condemns monotheistic religions and anyone who has a God with "attributes."

Or the other day, Pope Francis, in the name of global citizenship, critiques all conservative American Protestants and their Roman Catholic supporters.  Somehow, he expects American Roman Catholics to have no political views, all the while he meddles in American affairs by commenting.

Of course, nobody professes Nothing.  The Dalai Lama advocates acquiescence but campaigns for Tibet.  The Pope has his own political ideas, just not in line with a number of conservatives in the world or his curia. The friendly atheist is about as fervent as anyone can come in his non-ideology.  And indeed, he is rarely friendly, by the way, but I don't think he sees it.

It is one thing to accuse someone of some real faults, and there we all should have our ears opened.  We all have major issues.  And as Paul and Jesus point out to us all, there is not one righteous.  (Read the Sermon on the Mount, and also the Letter to the Romans.)  (Not a single one.  Not you.  And not me.)  Fine.  I certainly confess exactly that, that I am not righteous, but only that my Lord is righteous.  But when someone is accused of stupidity, just because he believes Something, we have someone acting as an accuser who would like to be righteous on his own terms.

It does not work, though.  It never has.




Liberal Onslaught on Christianity Continues - Here's the Proof an Anti-Christian Bigotry Map

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Funeral for German Roman Catholic Bishop

Just to mention:  I don't follow Roman Catholic teachers and bishops, but someone sent me these two links to Cardinal Meisner.  They were very interesting and somewhat edifying, but they are in the German language.  In one of them Cardinal Meisner recounts the events of his life under dictatorships and expulsion from Silesia.  Since my father and his family was expelled from Silesia, and many ethnic Germans where I live in Canada have refugee background, this was important to me, touchingly and well told.

Here is the link to the funeral.

Here is the link to the interview and life story telling.

I enjoyed the sermon at the funeral when it focused on adoration of God and how we become important and human to each other when we adore God.  It reminded me of Bonhoeffer's "Life Together", where he shows that we don't live to manipulate each other, but that we are brothers and sisters to each other in Christ, and only in Christ.  Jesus is with us and between us.  All of this made me push harder to have evening devotions with my husband, he and I now being our own little home congregation of two.

In speaking about the expulsion from Silesia, Meisner points out, how many people had to go through heroic efforts to get their families out alive in severe winter weather, traveling the roads and relying on help from strangers.  His group survived intact, but we also know of plenty of tragedies.  These things are hardly treated in the media and history telling, which is unfortunate, he observes.  Yes, spoken like a Silesian.

He also tells stories about being Catholic in East Germany and contrasts his approach to Angela Merkel's. He explains how he was moved to Cologne from Berlin, by the Pope, against his own wishes to remain in Communist Germany to bloom where he is planted, so to speak.  He obviously was a thorn in a few people's sides, but he always considered this a good sign--it meant to him that he was on the right path.

So much about that, but now I have the links here.


Image result for Cardinal Meisner

Friday, August 4, 2017

Dear Blog



Dear Blog:  I have neglected you for three months.  There are a number of reasons for this.  Firstly, the world seems to be going from bad to worse, and I really did not want to write about it since everyone can read about it for themselves, though it does seem that quite a few have their heads in the sand, not bothering with much besides themselves. Nevertheless, there are many things that worry many of us, from North Korea, to Trump, to Trudeau, to transgender-ism pushed on little children, to the persecution of Christians around the world, and so on.  But I want to leave all that alone.  It is a vale of tears, and one day our Lord will sort it all out...  We pray, and vote and discuss where it makes sense to.

The second reason is that we have managed to go on holiday to Germany for the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. This kept us busy, but I can write some things about that, which could be interesting and which might be fun for me to reflect upon.  I also picked up some cookbooks and maybe I will post some recipes and things I've tried. I have mostly given up on dialectics and discussions, as they have seemed mostly fruitless.  Maybe the men should hash it out among themselves.  Let the fighting-cocks keep going at it forever, and ever.  I have promised myself to stop wasting my time.

I do want to write some things because I am finding that after three months of summer fun, I need to pull some of my thoughts together. We started bullet journal-ling in our home, one for him and one for me, which has helped us tremendously in staying focused and in touch with each other about items for the calendar or shopping, etc. In the back, I write some some thoughts, but mostly, I let some other people write thoughts in it.  This has been fun, but it is not reading and blogging.

I seriously do recommend the bullet journaling to everyone, as we are pulled in so many directions these days, and it can really help you put your mind to things.  Seriously.  My bullet journal is a pink Leuchtturm.  I love the feel of the paper and after all this typing we have been doing since the advent of the internet, I truly adore the feeling of paper between my fingers.  Adore.  The Leuchtturm paper is buttery and luxurious and such a thrill.


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Boys and Girls

The other day, on the Saturday before Easter, to be precise, and this matters, I was driving around finishing the last shopping for the holiday, or rather "Holy Day".  As I used to do often, I was listening to the CBC talk radio.

However, judging by the radio programming, there was no such thing as a holy week, or holy day.  A beautiful, warm, practiced, professional baritone read out an article highlighting the evils of toys that are pink or blue.

The whole experience was somewhat jarring, except we are now getting used to this sort of propaganda and lecturing at all corners.  Some of us still remember having home-made toys from various brown-colored things, such as thread spools, wood, hay, straw, and so on.  We had puppets that had clothes of all colors:  kings, queens, devils, crocodiles, jester... things that belonged into any stock puppet play.  Perhaps, it was inappropriate that the devil was red, and the queen had a red gown, made by my grand-mother, that the princess was pretty and the jester looked crazy. Whatever.

According to the article read out so beautifully, professionally, during the 50's and 60's, or when-ever, in America, or where-ever, with commercialization the boy's toys became blue and the girl's toys became pink.  Perhaps, our set was lucky to escape this sort of commercialization somehow.  The evil involved with this, however, was that girls were somehow conditioned to become domesticated.

Aha, here we have it. From experience, I must say that I have worked in childcare settings and in pre-school settings, and I have noticed that the little girls like to play house in the kitchen set no matter what color it is.  They imitate their parents, if not their mothers.  These days, they perform all plastic kitchen set duties with a pretend plastic phone squeezed between their ears and shoulder.  They are already learning that women must multi-task rather than really attend to the baby. Maybe that is the really sad part.

Anyways, as I am driving around and listening to the sanctimony from the CBC radio, I wow again to give up listening to the CBC, as they are not increasing my Easter devotion, (which is something it could have attempted to do and used to do through music selections, and such).  (These days, I only take in the six o'clock world radio news over the dinner housework, in order avoid all the transgender stories, such as "a man who is transgender is a pianist and he/she--I forget--hates the shape of his/her hands, as they don't match his/her image of himself/herself.  There is way too much of that sort of thing, endlessly.  I hope CBC reads this, as I was always a loyal listener and deeply appreciative of its services.)

Nevertheless, I did make a discovery the other day at the second hand store.  I donate and sometimes pick up little things, there, like books or toys.  Lo and Behold, within 5 min., on one shelf, the whole Boy and Girl thing displayed itself before me quite vividly and tangibly:  1.  a little wooden treasure chest from the Grand Canyon for "boys", a book of prayers for "boys", and a book of stories for "girls".

Well, well, well.  For some reason, I was completely spared this sort of phenomenon.  How is it possible?  Was it the non-commercialized childhood I enjoyed?  We had a children's Bible with a brown linen cover and hardly any pictures, and they were not in color.  We had a similar thick tome of Grimm's Fairy Tales, unabridged and uncensored with hardly any pictures, but in color.  We played outside and did our own thing. Our Mom's tended the kitchen, and since they had children, the Dad's helped. We had a Lego train set and we all played with with.  And so on.

The first time I ever  felt excluded from an activity as a girl was when we visited Canada and my uncle would not take me on the boat saying that fishing was not for girls.  It struck me as rather insulting, at the time and hurt me an awful lot.

 But in the end he was right.  Fishing is not for me.  (But I know many women who love fishing.)

Just to reiterate, in my childhood, I had never seen such a pink monstrosity.







Sunday, March 19, 2017

Tahini Recipes

Once upon a newspaper, I clipped these recipes.  I'll put them here for safer and more convenient reference.

1.  I made these cookies only once, because they are just too delicious (you know what I mean, wink.)  (Even Opra says, that, mercifully she does not have a very sweet tooth. --Well, I do.  I do have a sweet tooth.  We were raised on chocolate and cake, in a land of milk and honey.  And, the tahini is addictive.)

Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies:

1.5 cups of flour
1 tsp. salt
0.5 tsp. baking soda
0.5 cup butter
0.5 cup raw tahini
0.5 cup sugar
0.5 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract of paste
1.5 cups milk or dark chocolate chips
or chopped chocolate
coarse sea salt or sesame seeds or a combination for garnish

350 F, for 10-12 min.


2.  Basic Tahini Sauce

1/2 cups tahini
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
1/3 cup ice water
3 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 salt
pinch ground cumin, optional

add 1/2 cup chopped parsley, cilantro or dill
to the sauce and puree; delicious on fish


3.  Spicy Tahini, Butter and Maple Glazed Carrots

2 pounds thin carrots
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp black petter
1/2 tsp. ground cumin

3 tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. raw tahini
1 tbsp. maple syrup
14 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. lemon juice

Toss carrots with olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin, spread on a foil lined baking sheet.
Roast, 400 F, until starting to brown around the edges and tender, ca. 20 min.

Melt butter, with garlic and cook until fragrant, add tahini and syrup flakes, etc.
cook 1-2 min til thickened.  Drizzle over carrots.  Serve hot or warm.








Thursday, March 16, 2017

A morning in the life of a grandma

Grandbaby is coming for childminding.  The very smart daughter has to study for an exam.--Good for all of us.  This is where life is really at.  Hubby and I went to Lenten service in town last night.  This is also where life is at.  The pastor preached about a commandment.  This is the kind of thing we rarely hear about.  Surely law and gospel both need to be addressed.

Grandma is just making a blog post over her morning coffee to digest the morning news.  Mind you it is yesterday's coffee.  I always make too much and then drink it for two days.  Someone should give me a nice barrista-style machine.   It hardly recommends itself to comment on the news these days; there is commentary ubiquitously to be had.   We can hardly stand the news and the commentaries any more.  The spin cycle goes on forever.

But let me unload myself of these three tidbits.  For one thing, as I am getting older, I feel there is a certain mental hygiene to keep writing about what is in your head and finding words to express what moves and agitates you.  If it is not interesting to others, they do not have to read it.  At least, I am not taking up airtime like those who talk incessantly about the same things.   Also, we should try and do everything possible to help keep dementia at bay.

Anyways,  number one, there was a story about a row between trans-women and feminists in Africa.  This is not really surprising, because where-ever you are, really, only a woman can be a woman.  It is just a fact of nature.  So, a feminist said:  "A trans-woman is a trans-woman".  --This sort of statement is the height of insensitivity to a man who really wants to be a woman, we are always told.  What may or may not be sensitive to women, who happen to be 50% of the population, does not seem to matter at all.  That someone who wants to have their hair, breast, make-up done to be a woman, and understands nothing of what it is to be a woman, and then insists on being called a woman, is just incredible to women everywhere.  As if women were their exterior.  (Only a man could possibly think that way.) But they don't want to get it.  They may be in mental distress but they are not the only people with distress.  We cannot deny womanhood because a trans-woman wants to be called a woman under all circumstances. -- But these stories are so old now, I don't even know why I write about it.

As per usual the Bible is right with its simple formulation.  "Male and female he created them."  It is a loaded saying.  Soon, they will clap you in prison for quoting this verse, so obviously biological in nature.

The other story was about "family offices" for the super-rich.  It was a BBC story here.   Families of super-wealthy billionaires make sure that the wealth stays in the family.  They like to be centered in London, England, and that is where these offices full of advisors are, helping them grow their money, keeping it out of the hands of in-laws, and the government coffers.

It makes me kind of sad on this level of lobbying and news cycling we have been seeing and getting so tired off.  Fund managers with huge wealth and others have been funding movements and news distributors, artists, etc. who will push different agendas.  No doubt this sort of thing happens across the spectrum of opinion, but this march of women on Washington recently does make one think.  How was is possible to mobilize so many women around the globe to walk simultaneously wearing home-knitted pussy-hats.  No self-respecting woman I know would have participated in a thing like that.  Where did they get all these women?  Where did they get all this protesting masses?  And what on earth where they protesting? --  They were worried there would be a loss to abortion funding and to gay rights.  Pussy hats instead of baby hats. -- Let's not get into that right this moment. -- But I do wonder about the funding structure for all this organizing.  Where ever the money is coming from, it just seems to squelch a proper dialogue of interested parties. Even I hardly want to waste my time commenting any more.  Their strategy is working in that respect...but I have a grandchild to watch...  Yippy!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Airports in Canada in March



















For the funeral, I flew in some smaller planes for short distance flights (in Canada not so very short distance).  At home, it was -30 below that morning, when leaving.  But the time at the airport was magical.  A woman was playing Bach on a piano just outside the security area in in front of the big windows by Starbucks closest to the viewing area.  The seating was on park benches by the big glass front, and the effect was very uplifting.  I did get myself a cup at Starbucks--though I think I am boycotting them, I forget why, just now.  (What a world.)  I am also boycotting Paypal, I forget why, also.  They wrote me a note the other day, to please come back and use them.  It must be getting tough for them.

Upon leaving at the other end, I thought it was quite magical, too. The sun was rising over the mountains fringing the lower mainland valley.  I had a nice little banter over word usage with a man just before and during security.  He had walked the whole maze before getting to security and I had skipped through them by the side, missing about 20 meters of useless maze-walking.  We tried to find the best words for what I had done.  He thought I had "got purchase".  I thought I had taken "licence".  Anyways, there were a lot of business travelers and they were a lively lot, reading books and talking things over.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Travels / The End of World War II Stories / Hymn for funeral

We have completed some traveling just now, the latest trip having been to attend the funeral of an uncle in Vancouver. He is the husband of my father's oldest sister and he was quite old when he died.  He had lived a highly eventful life, born an ethnic German Mennonite in the Ukraine and into the time of the second World War.  I heard his stories the first time when I was nine years old and could never forget them including the moral dilemmas and traumas he faced.  He is one who told his stories over and over.  His son said at the funeral that a movie could have been made of his life, and indeed, it would be an incredible movie.--But we are almost coming to the end of burying ethnic Germans who lived through the war and can remember it.  As a great loss to world history, their lives tend to have not been made into movies.

A hymn was passed out to sing for the funeral service that I did not know.

Below it is in German, as it was sung, and in English translation, which I am providing at this time.  The text is by Arno Poetzsch , 1941.


1. Du kannst nicht tiefer fallen
als nur in Gottes Hand,
die er zum Heil uns allen,
barmherzig ausgespannt.

2. Es muenden alle Pfade
durch Schicksal, Schuld und Tod
doch ein in Gottes Gnade
trotz aller unserer Not.

3. Wir sind von Gott umgeben
auch hier in Raum und Zeit
und werden in ihm leben
und sein in Ewigkeit.

_________


1.  You cannot fall so low,
that you are not still in God's hand,
which he holds out for us all,
graciously for our salvation.

2.  All paths lead to the mercy of God,
be it through tragedy, guilt and death,
or any of our great need and trouble.

3.  God surrounds us
even here in space and time,
and we will also live in him,
in eternity.