Monday, December 14, 2015

If Only In My Dreams

Karen Carpenter made me cry.

Christmas has its hard moments for those, like me, who have lost loved ones. Home for the holidays is right here. I make it. I am making it. But I do sometimes long to be the kid again, with my parents and my brothers and sister. Back when I did not realize all the hard work that goes into making a Christmas, Christmas. Back when Christmas was magical. I miss the people I love so much.

I miss my family.

Here I am in Arizona. Very slim chance of a white Christmas (and that's okay!). Making a home with my new family, people I love, celebrating the birth of our Savior, creating new traditions for my children to keep and maybe pass down to their children.

This year we have Mr. Bee's dad joining us - he is recently widowed. And we have daughter Lucy's boyfriend - his family is lives on the other side of the country, and we have Lucy's dog that she rescued. Three others who are not home for Christmas this year. And we will try our best to make our home into their home, and share our happiness and food and drinks and fun.

For a moment Karen Carpenter brought me to tears because I miss those who have gone on. I would not feel so sad if I didn't have happy memories of Christmases past.

It really is a privilege and a responsibility to make Christmas for others. And I must say, have been truly blessed to have had a home that I miss.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Oops, I Forgot to Blog (Again)

I guess I just didn't have anything to say. What did Twain say? Better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and prove them right? Something like that.

Anyhow, here it is, Advent again. Lots to do. The tree goes up this weekend. I've got a start on the shopping and I'm going to do a bit more online and at the stores today. Not in a panic. Yet.

The minor feast day today is John of Damascus, theologian and hymn writer.

For today among his own
Christ appeared, bestowing
His deep peace, which evermore
Passes human knowing.
Neither could the gates of death
Nor the tomb’s dark portal
Nor the watchers nor the seal
Hold him as a mortal.

-Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain, verse 4

Monday, May 11, 2015

JE #50

Today is the commemoration of Cyril and Methodius, missionaries to the Slavs.

Cyril and Methodius translated the liturgy and much of the Bible for the Slavs. But as Slavonic had no written form they first invented an alphabet, later to be known as Cyrillic, to accomplish their task.
 Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
(Revelation 14:6-7 ESV)

Saturday, May 9, 2015

JE #49

Today is the commemoration of Job, patriarch.

 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see for myself,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
My heart faints within me!

(Job 19:25-27 ESV)

Friday, May 8, 2015

JE #48

May 7: Commemoration of C. F. W. Walther

Founder of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

JE #47

Today is the commemoration of Frederick the Wise, Christian ruler.

Protector of Martin Luther.

Monday, May 4, 2015

JE #46

Today is the commemoration of Friedrich C. D. Wyneken, pastor and missionary.

Is His love like a burden or has His yoke become too heavy?  Do you want to once again depend on the world and your own righteousness?  You say: “Oh no, no, but my heart is weak and doubtful, and sin is mighty!”  Do no despair.  There will be enough temptations, trials, and sin; yes, you may be overcome by your body’s weakness. But you are not depending on your own heart but on your Jesus, who saves you from your sins and gives you renewed mercy in Word and Sacrament. Forgiveness of sin surrounds you like the air; yes, it is spread out around you like the sky. He is faithful, the one who has called you. He will do it for you. You just hold on to His Word and Sacrament. Do not forsake prayer. Death might meet up with you whenever and wherever it wants. It will only lead you into the eternally new year, into the right peace and bliss. And even while you are in the throes of death, this beautiful name will lighten your way and bring you safely across: JESUS!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

JE #45

Today is the commemoration of Athanasius of Alexandria, pastor and confessor.

There were thus two things which the Savior did for us by becoming Man. He banished death from us and made us anew; and, invisible and imperceptible as in Himself He is, He became visible through His works and revealed Himself as the Word of the Father, the Ruler and King of the whole creation.”

Friday, May 1, 2015

JE #44

Today is the feast of saints Philip and James, apostles.

 And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
(Matthew 10:1-4 ESV)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

JE #43

April 24: The Commemoration of Johann Walter, kantor

The Bridegroom soon will call us,
Come, all ye wedding guests!
May not His voice appall us,
While slumber binds our breasts;
May all our lamps be burning,
And oil be found in store,
That we, with Him returning,
May open find the door.
Today is the Feast of St. Mark
 But the word of God increased and multiplied.
And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them John, whose other name was Mark.
(Acts 12:24-25 ESV)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

JE #42

Today we commemorate Anselm of Canterbury, theologian

I acknowledge, Lord, and I give thanks that you have created your image in me, so that I may remember you, think of you, love you. But this image is so obliterated and worn away by wickedness, it is so obscured by the smoke of sins, that it cannot do what it was created to do, unless you renew and reform it. I am not attempting, O Lord, to penetrate your loftiness, for I cannot begin to match my understanding with it, but I desire in some measure to understand your truth, which my heart believes and loves. For I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this too I believe, that "unless I believe, I shall not understand." (Isa. 7:9)

Monday, April 20, 2015

JE #41

Today is the commemoration of Johannes Bugenhagen, pastor
If you know Jesus well, it is enough, even if you know nothing else.
    If you do not know Jesus, whatever else you learn is nothing.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

JE #40

April 6: Commemoration of Lucas Cranach and Albrecht Dürer, Artists

Jesus and the Adulteress - Cranach (1532)

The Adoration of the Magi - Durer (1504-05)

JE #39

March 31: Commemoration of St. Joseph, Patriarch

But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

(Genesis 50:19-21 ESV)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

JE #38

Today is the Feast of the Annunciation

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
(Luke 1:26-38 ESV)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

JE #37

Today is the feast of St. Joseph, guardian of Jesus

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

(Matthew 1:18-25 ESV)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

JE #36

Today is the commemoration of Patrick, Missionary to Ireland

In the light, therefore, of our faith in the Trinity I must make this choice, regardless of danger I must make known the gift of God and everlasting consolation, without fear and frankly I must spread everywhere the name of God so that after my decease I may leave a bequest to my brethren and sons whom I have baptised in the Lord—so many thousands of people.

Friday, March 6, 2015

JE #35

Today is the commemoration of Perpetua and Felicity, martyrs


The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. - Tertullian

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

JE #34

Today is the feast of St. Matthias

So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
(Acts 1:21-26 ESV)

Monday, February 23, 2015

JE #33

Today is the commemoration of Polycarp, pastor at Smyrna and martyr

"Let us then continually persevere in our hope, and the earnest of our righteousness, which is Jesus Christ, “who bore our sins in His own body on the tree,” who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth,” but endured all things for us, that we might live in Him.  Let us then be imitators of His patience; and if we suffer for His name’s sake, let us glorify Him.  For He has set us this example in Himself, and we have believed that such is the case." - Polycarp
 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life. I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’" (Revelation 2:8-11 ESV)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

JE #32

Today we observe the commemoration of Martin Luther, doctor and confessor

Lord, keep us steadfast in Thy Word;
Curb those who fain by craft and sword
Would wrest the kingdom from Thy Son
And set at naught all He hath done.
Lord Jesus Christ, Thy pow’r make known,
For Thou art Lord of lords alone;
Defend Thy Christendom that we
May evermore sing praise to Thee.
O Comforter of priceless worth,
Send peace and unity on earth.
Support us in our final strife
And lead us out of death to life.
- Martin Luther, 1541

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

JE #31

Today is Ash Wednesday

I, a sinner, come to Thee
With a penitent confession;
Savior, mercy show to me
Grant for all my sins remission.
Let these words my soul relieve:
Jesus sinners doth receive.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

JE #30

Today we observe the commemoration of Philemon and Onesimus

 I thank my God always when I remember you [Philemon] in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. (Philemon 1:4-7 ESV)

 yet for love's sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus—I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel, but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord. For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. (Philemon 1:9-16 ESV)

JE #29

Yesterday was the commemoration of Philip Melanchthon, confessor

"But faith is not belief in the history of Christ, as the godless think, but belief in the purpose of Christ’s incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection. For he took on flesh, was crucified, and rose from the dead in order to justify all who would believe in him.”

Saturday, February 14, 2015

JE #28

Today is the feast of St. Valentine, martyr

Today's feast is kind of a tricky thing. St. Valentine has fallen out of favor in the last 50 years as his story (or stories) relies on tradition rather than any hard facts. His feast appears to be a co-opted pagan fertility festival which has morphed into a useless Hallmark holiday. Nevertheless, it is on the calendar and I have chocolates and lovey-dovey cards to give to my dear Mr. Bee and our sweet little Bees.

Pictured above is the altar of St. Valentine's Polish National Catholic Church in Philadelphia, and may I say WOW! WHAT AN ALTAR! I hope they are celebrating a wedding there today.

Friday, February 13, 2015

JE #27

Today is the commemoration of Aquila, Priscilla and Apollos

 Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus. (Acts 18:24-28 ESV)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

JE #26

Today is the commemoration of St. Silas, fellow worker with St. Peter and St. Paul

 And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words. And after they had spent some time, they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them. (Acts 15:32-33 ESV)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

JE #25

Today is the commemoration of Jacob (Israel), Patriarch

 He [Jesus] will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:32-33 ESV)

Monday, February 2, 2015

JE #24

Out my Window: After a very rainy Friday-Saturday (2+ inches!) the sun is out and we have enjoyed a bright and warmer Sunday-Monday. The forecast calls for sun and warm temps (70s) all week. Yes, I DO like Arizona winters.

Weighty Matters: I am working on adopting the DASH diet. Hypertension worries me, especially since it caused the deaths of my mother and my mother-in-law. With the DASH diet I don't need to count calories, just servings. Pretty easy. Right now the antibiotics for my abscessed tooth are wrecking havoc on my guts - yuck. But I will soon be done with those and back to norm. In the meantime I must eat more yogurt.

Churchy Stuff: I am enjoying observing the traditional liturgical year. I think Protestantism has devolved the church in many ways. For a many in the church there are only 2 holidays a year - Christmas and Easter. But in fact, there are many more observances and feasts. It is hard to explain, but for me it adds depth to my faith and to how I view Jesus. Worship is becoming less Sunday-centered.

Today is the Feast of the Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple

Today is 40 days after the Feast of the Nativity (Christmas) and according to Mosaic law Mary must present herself and Jesus to the temple along with an offering:

 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If a woman conceives and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days. As at the time of her menstruation, she shall be unclean. And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. Then she shall continue for thirty-three days in the blood of her purifying. She shall not touch anything holy, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying are completed. But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her menstruation. And she shall continue in the blood of her purifying for sixty-six days.

“And when the days of her purifying are completed, whether for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting a lamb a year old for a burnt offering, and a pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering, and he shall offer it before the LORD and make atonement for her. Then she shall be clean from the flow of her blood. This is the law for her who bears a child, either male or female. And if she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves or two pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. And the priest shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean.” (Leviticus 12 ESV)
 The LORD said to Moses, “Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.” (Exodus 13:1-2 ESV)
 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” (Luke 2:22-24 ESV)

Today's holiday is also called Candlemas because it is often celebrated by a procession of candles due to part 2 of the presentation story:

 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”
(Luke 2:25-32 ESV)

I am keeping a candle burning today to remind me that Jesus is my light.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

JE #23

Today we observe the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul (January 25)

“In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ (Acts 26:12-18 ESV)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

JE #22

Today is the commemoration of John Chrysostom, early church father

“Do you wish to honor the Body of the Savior? Do not despise it when it is naked. Do not honor it in church with silk vestments while outside it is naked and numb with cold. He who said, “This is my body,” and made it so by his word, is the same who said, ‘You saw me hungry and you gave me no food. As you did it not to the least of these, you did it not to me.’ Honor him then by sharing your property with the poor. For what God needs is not golden chalices but golden souls.”

Monday, January 26, 2015

JE #21

Health News: The tooth is out. Now it REALLY hurts. But I know it will feel better soon and I'll be able to eat again. I'm down 4 lbs. since Christmas. That's good!

Today is the feast of St. Titus

But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. (2 Corinthians 7:6-7 ESV)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

JE #20

Health News: The toothache/loose crown turned out to be a broken tooth (above the gum). I see the oral surgeon on Monday for extrication. Yep, I'm losing a tooth. The cost of an implant is too much so I'm getting a flipper. Fortunately it is a premolar (#13) and not front-and-center. Pain got much worse and an abscess formed so I'm slugging down antibiotics and ibuprofen. Also on a liquid diet because chewing hurts like heck. But enough complaining...

Today is the feast of St. Timothy

 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church. (1 Corinthians 4:17 ESV)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Journal Entry #19

Hello, Little Blog! Sorry I forgot about you for a few months (again).

Out My Window: Beautiful sunshine, blue-blue sky. 60 degrees heading to near 80. Love Arizona winters!

On My Mind: I've got a toothache and a loose crown. I'm in pain and have got to see a dentist. Probably the worst thing about moving, after the heavy lifting, is finding new doctors, dentists and barbers. We now have good insurance with Mr. Bee's new job. That is a relief! But the dental coverage provided us a list of dentists and required us to pick one. Kind of hard when you are new in town. I did what research I could on the internet and decided on a guy who seemed okay. Small office and not part of a chain. I'll find out this afternoon. In the meantime I'm sipping green tea with honey & lemon (from my lemon tree). Could use a couple more ibuprofen.

Church Stuff: The new church is working out well. Liturgy has renewed my interest in keeping up with the daily lectionary. I have found 2 resources I like a lot: Liturgy Geek and Psalm Tones. A nice combination to start each day.

Reading: Time to start the list over for 2015. Currently not reading anything. My Apocrypha reading bogged down in Sirach and never recovered. I'd still like to read those books, just need to muster some motivation. I don't know what chapter I left off on and I really, really don't want to start over from the beginning. There are 51 chapters in Sirach - Ugh!

Today is the commemoration of Sarah.


For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. (1 Peter 3:5-6 ESV)