Saturday, November 29, 2008

I Wanted To Be A Scholastic Monk Who Wasn't Fat and Made Great Spaghetti Sauce

I may seem as is I am rambling today because I am sorting out thoughts. Sometimes thoughts are like socks in the dryer when you pass forty because random ones disappear, and you cannot find them anymore. You know they were there once because you are looking at the result of the thought, i.e. a post it note or some unknown item that you purchased and stowed away for a special occasion which never occurred. This is probably why I keep a gift box under my bed. Sometimes I re-gift things which I have received and did not want to various individuals, and sometimes it seems like I am re-gifting when it is only the first time I remember ever seeing it.

Today, Mr. Sinta is off four wheeling with the neighbor, and I spent my extended off day prayer time praying and cleaning the spare bedroom where I generally read and pray. Then, I started praying about rearranging my life, and simultaneously started rearranging the room. Probably that made it a prophetic act, if you talk to people in the know. My prayer cell needed a reduced spider population, clean floors and general rearrangement, but so does my life.

Life can sometimes be evaluated by the decisions that we make at key times which influence how we spend individual days which make up the seasons of a life. As I was on my knees killing arachnids and scraping up dots of white paint, I pondered my new bookcases again. I got a great, super and fantastic deal from Mandi on some big green bookcases that I keep in my basement. They are so loaded with possibilities that I was overwhelmed, and I have done pretty much nothing with them.

I think that I know now what I am going to do. I am going to use them to get an education. Education ranks really high on my list of important things, and at various times I have pursued it on a full time or part time basis; I am referring to university study. However, as much as I want a degree, there is no money for it at this time. Period. End of story. I am taking classes at church for a year, and I will eventually graduate with a year of non-transferable credit at a ministry school, if I can keep from getting kicked out. I love it. I am learning a great deal. It stretches me and makes me think.

However, it is not the kind of Western civilization studies combined with the best of English literature education which constitutes admitting one to life's great conversation that I want. I am admitting to you that I want exactly that. At the library cheap shelf the other day, I bought a book I have wanted for years and years. I have actually copied pages and pages out this very book because it was a reference work and could not be checked out. For some reason they were discarding it, and I got it for 50 cents. It is: The Lifetime Reading Plan by Clifton Fadiman. My explanation is that God provides a way when He gives a desire like that.

I will be rearranging my shelves and my life to work on this season of my life. I already have a lot of the books. The truth is that in order to accomplish this goal, I need to thin out the books that I have. Initially, I am going to throw the thinned books into a box for at least a year. Some of them, I will give away. It is going to be like a intellectual marathon, and I need to throw out the junk books.

The funny thing is that I was getting rid of a book on the minor prophets that I really felt contemptuous about, and I gave it to a really good friend and confidant who is an evangelical, since it is an evangelical book. I explained to her that I despised the book because it was so incredibly shallow. I think of it as shallow because I compare it to some Catholic commentaries on the minor prophets that I own. I do not agree with their assessments of the Scriptures, but I appreciate the incredible amount of time that they have spent evaluating the Hebrew, and the light that they are able to shed on what the words actually mean. They compare how words are used in different contexts in the same book, etc. They do not have a grip on literal interpretation, but I can glean enough from their research to come up with my own ideas of what God was actually saying by the prophets. I have read some of them, especially Amos, again and again. I do not believe that the evangelical book referred to any of the detail or beauty of the original language at any point, and drew really just a few thoughts from each book, condensing them almost in comic book style. I love my friend, and she was not at all offended that I was giving her a shallow second rate commentary on the minor prophets. She is not shallow or second rate in any way, but she is a lot more humble than I am, and she can learn from just about anybody. The most helpful thing in the book I gave her was a page with a one sentence summary of each book of the minor prophets. I kind of wish I had made a copy of that one page. It is really good that I was never a monk because we still would not have a complete copy of any manuscript. Too many decisions.

I am also working on losing 50 pounds so I can make another stab at a marathon next fall. Without disclosing my method, I will simply say that I plan to consume less, eat healthier, and stick with it until I meet my goal. I am giving up running, this sounds like sacrilege to some of you, until I can lose a significant proportion of that weight because I believe it is hard on my body to make it carry that much extra weight. Trust me that I want to run. I will be walking in the meantime, just three lousy miles a day.

I also want to write. I have a novel in my head and I am ready to start it. All the current ideas fit on a four by six card. When I get it actually going in a week or two, I will let you know more.

The other thing that I really want is a Biblically renewed mind. I want to really think and live and believe and act just like God intends. I think that somehow all of these goals are kind of tied together. It is time to start a new season, in which I am concentrating on hard, but doable things, things within reach. I trust that as I am a faithful monk, or monkette, or monkess, if you prefer, that by putting one foot in front of the other on a disciplined daily basis, that my life will get cleaned and rearranged, just like I prayed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Heck, I Already Blew It

I already blew it on my eating today, so I am not going to wallow in that. Breakfast is wicked!

Abby communicated to me her complete irritation with the grammar program that we have been using to kind of 'nail down' her senior year English education. It is from the good folks at Canon Press; don't buy it.

In an effort to find a sequential, builds on review kind of curriculum quickly, I went to the basement and dug up the old records of the Shurley Method. For some reason, I saved the Level 6 Teacher's Manual, so we will review with that for now. I grabbed Aimee's Level 6 student manual, and for your blog entertainment, I will reproduce some of her original sentences for you. You may note that they are all correct; Aimee is a very correct person. We call her the perfect child. The entertaining part is the subject matter. Horses weigh heavily in almost all of her thoughts!

I have a horse. Do you like horses? The wild horse almost ran over John! Bring that horse here. (Declarative, Interrogative, Exclamatory, and Imperative)

The angry horse reared quickly.
The beautiful horse ran quickly by the stands.
The beautiful horse was running at the jump because he loved jumping.
The gentle horse walked quietly.
We know nothing about riding.
Do not ride on the icy path in the woods.
Were the beautiful palomino horses ridden yesterday?
Today the town sheriff met the bandits.
Several angry dogs barked at the boy on the fence.
The little puppy ran around happily.
She is riding today at Bob's stable.
The horses whinnied loudly outside.
(You get the idea.)

Here is an original 3 point paragraph by Aimee.

My Favorite Breeds of Horses

I have three favorite breeds of horses. They are Arabians, Morgans and Pintos. My first favorite breed of horse is the Arabian. I like Arabians because they are very fast. My second favorite breed of horse is the Morgan. I like Morgans because they are strong. My third favorite kind of horse is the Pinto. I like Pintos because they have beautiful spots. I am fond of many kinds of horses, but I like Arabians, Morgans, and Pintos best.

Inserted, almost parenthetically, in her daily sentence log are a few fun facts about the family, like the following:

Hooray! Abby can do a front walkover.
Mom bought a new sofa.
I asked, "Who gave you that candy bar?"
"Woof," said Randy.
Abby walked Randy, and I walked Sassy. (The dog next door, now deceased.)
Abby rode Sundance, and I rode Simon. (Simon and Sundance have passed on as well.)
Abby was sick; however, she went outside. (The need to report is strong in a middle child.)

There were a few horse bloopers:

When the horse stopped, I fell off.
After the horses ran away, we rode cows.

Some complex sentences:
When the music played, the dog howled, and the cat turned green.
The next day:
When the music stopped, the dog turned green and the cat howled.

I could go on for quite a while, but I will finish with another 3 point paragraph.

My Favorite Animals
by Aimee

I have three favorite animals. They are horses, dogs and cats. My first favorite animal is a horse. I like horses because they are fun to ride. My second favorite animal is a dog. I like dogs because they are fun to play with. My third favorite animal is a cat. I like cats because they are graceful. Although I like many animals, horses, dogs and cats are my favorites.

I think she may have changed her mind about cats. This was their lone mention in the entire level 6 workbook.

Enjoy your children today. Now Aimee is old and married and writing another novel this month and presenting a paper next year at a conference in Boston. I doubt she mentions cats in either one, but I would not be surprised if she managed to squeeze in a horse or two.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Well, last night I woke up at about 3 am and could not sleep. I wasted time on the computer, and fell asleep about the time that I should have been getting up. The day continued in that same vein of not doing the right thing first, so although I got things done, I probably wasted a great deal of time. Late in the afternoon, I remembered to check to see if I had a class tonight, and I did. I had just enough time to take a quick shower, and make supper before running out of the door. I came home and ate leftovers and watched a PBS show on seal rescue. Interestingly enough, it mentioned Pier 39 in San Francisco, which we visited last month.

I am certain that I could have done without the seal melodrama, as it turned out to be. Always humans are the bad guys, especially humans who excrete waste. Is there any other kind of human?

If you do not have enough bad news, my bil, Joel, relayed the thoughts of a Russian thinker who believes China and Russia will eventually run the international banking system. When Gog and Magog take over, I am hoping to be leaving shortly...

I did get some Christmas shopping done today, cleaned the first floor of the office, picked up the mail, and bought my Lies Women Believe book. Also, the Rostrons are coming for Thanksgiving. Hooray!!! Of course, the house is filled with leaves that the dog has dragged in, and if I vacuum them up, he will drag in more just before I answer the door on Thursday. I love my messy dog.

On the good side, I am not all upset about everything. I have decided just to stop being so intense about things that I cannot fix. However, I have no one to blame but myself for my weight, so I am going to work on that---Tomorrow, of course!

Monday, November 24, 2008

In between beatings...

In between times of telling myself that I am going to lose 40 pounds and do it RIGHT NOW, and other times of telling myself to get off my butt and get out there and run, and other times of telling myself to get out of bed right now because IT IT TIME TO PRAY...then I think to myself that I need to get re-motivated or start rethinking my approach to life. What I am doing is not working for me.

Today, a great thing happened. I got together with a faithful-prayer-partner-friend- mentor-person, and we are going to meet once a week for a few months to go over the Nancy De Moss book, Lies Women Believe.

There is something about accountability that really helps me to get motivated and get things off of the ground.

It is probably a great deal like telling your kids to make their beds vs. telling them that you will be in shortly to check on their made beds.

We had a great weekend in Reno watching the Broncos beat the Wolfpack. That was a stressful, exhilarating game with loads of really fun fans, even the one behind me who accidentally poured beer down my back and later bonked me on the head unintentionally. I kept telling her, "This is not a problem. We are packed in here like sardines." :)

I have to say that it was a thrill to feel the cold beer on a brisk day outdoors when we were in the nosebleed section of the stadium. All of us survived, and a long hot bath did wonders for body and soul that night.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Rhetorical Question

Is it possible to see yourself in the process of decomposing while you are still alive?

The last couple of days have made me want to just pull my own plug, and turn in my Believer Card to my Maker.

"Here I am. I am done. I believe in You. Please take me into Heaven because a. You are merciful b. You love me more than life itself c. It looks like the country is taking a turn for the worse very shortly, and I did not vote for it, pray for this to happen, donate to the wrong people or even watch Oprah, who evidently is the new Antichrist. d. Relationships with church people are driving me to the brink of (Insert something desperate, but non-violent in here, thank you.) e. All of the above

Running away never solves anything, even running to Heaven, although I hear the shadow is a great place to be. (Psalm 91) The truth is that as we stay and face up to our own insecurities and the blatant insensitivity and ungratefulness of the body of Christ is when we are being most Christ-like, and most God-like. In the sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us that his Father is kind to the ungrateful et al.

Being like Jesus, means that I am going to die to some/all, depending on the day, of my personal goals and ambitions because how I treat people is more important than how they treat me.

When people in the body of Christ engage in activities and speech than is offensive to us, and we take the time and care to approach them to deal with the offenses because we care about maintaining relationships, a value that is high on God's list as well, (Keep your offering until you make things right with your brother.) and we are scorned, disbelieved, rejected, lectured, and dissed, there is some dying in that. We get to die to our ideas of what great fellowship looks like because sometimes there is blood on the floor, and we find out it is ours. We get to die to our illusions that our spiritual leaders are really sensitive and compassionate, because we find out that they not only have feet of clay, but that the reason they have so many problems getting along with people is that they do not have the people skills of a Kmart cashier, despite their great spiritual gifting or calling.

Oh well. I am staying on earth. And I am dying to a few things this week, and probably decomposing a little more next week. Somewhere in all of this will turn up life. It's on the back of my Believer Card. He who loses his life will find it. Doesn't say where or when, but will. Maybe in Reno...maybe in Boise...but it will happen, just like the sun coming up.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Blew It

I did something today that I have not done for a long time. I blew it. I was mad that no one did the dishes while I was gone last night, even though I made all the food and set the table for them. I was mad that they used my best cookie sheet to stick some BBQ'd chicken in the oven and have apparently ruined my cookie sheet. I have guarded my two best cookie sheets for years from pizza and assorted things that would ruin the finish, and now this. I was mad that Abby got up 2 hours later than I did and then said that she was ditzing on the computer instead of doing school because she had to wait for me. I was mad because some other people, not related to me, seem to have presumed to direct and control my plans. Those who know me, know how much I just love that. Other things, which I am not mentioning, have been pretty stressful as well. So, I blew it. I yelled. I stormed. I said I was taking today off of school. I pushed a stool with a brisk squeaky action with enough strength to make it crash a little, although it didn't do any damage. I told Abby she was doing all of her work by herself today. So there.

I went to the basement to do someone else's laundry, and talk it all out with the Lord. He is the only Person in the universe who is not threatened by angry women who have absolutely had it. The Red Cross had the misfortune to call and want my blood at that moment. The Nerve. I politely let them know that I would not be giving them any more blood. I am off the list.

When I started praying, and unloading everything with the Lord, it occurred to me that I am really weary in my soul. I thought about the marathon and how wearying that it turned out to be, how I felt completely overwhelmed when I was on the last fifth of the race. That's when my friend, Lynn B., came and parked her car and ran the last five miles with me. There was no glory in it for her at all. It wasn't even a good work out for her because I was going so darn slowly. When I thought about how weary that I was, and how much I appreciated her sacrifice for me, it made me cry. Suddenly it dawned on me that it was so touching because she was acting like God does. He does that for us. Doctrinally, I know that He is always with us, but sometimes when we are just weary in our souls and want to quit, we just need a good dose of His presence to make us good to go again. Patient endurance can come just from being encouraged at the right time by a Friend who wants to see you succeed by not quitting. A very gracious Friend.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ryan's Tender Heart

Yesterday Ryan started telling me about a elementary aged boy in northern Idaho who was being beaten by his parents and was removed from his home and put with a foster family. Eventually, the boy went before a judge, who wanted to place him with different extended family members, his grandparents. The boy said that they would beat him as well. The judge suggested an aunt and uncle. The boy protested that they would beat him as well.

At this point I explained to Ryan that when a family is so dysfunctional as to beat a child in the way that this boy had been beaten, that often the violence is rooted in the extended family. As I waited to hear the conclusion of the story, I felt kind of a sad anticipation, and wondered if the reason Ryan was bringing this up was that one of our friends was taking in this young boy.

Ryan added that the judge asked the boy where he wanted to be placed, if he could choose any place. The boy answered, "I want to live with the Idaho Vandals, because they never beat anybody."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Well, People Are Coming

I am not sure why, but we are having a terrible time trying to make friends at church.

We usually make friends by spending time with people at church, a.k.a. Sunday school or small groups, but this church does not have those things. I tried to make friends by serving, but I only became acquainted with the secretary because the building was empty, no big surprise here, when you are cleaning it. I worked in the nursery for the Saturday night services this summer, and also came up empty. There was never more than one child at a time in there. Well, once I had two children, and talked to one of the moms who hung around a while, but they did not stay at the church. They were just visiting and trying to decide whether or not to leave their old church. Total strikeout.

Another way we have of making friends at churches is by having people over for dinner. Everyone whom we have gotten to know in this way has left the state. One left the country; she moved to Australia. She sends me fascinating emails replete with photos of all that they are doing and experiencing, and sweet personal notes and encouragements that she is praying for me. Alas, she is an email friend. We need some flesh and blood friends.

Our final way of making friends is by having parties. We are supposed to have one tonight, and I think that it may have bombed before it even started.

Hey!!! The phone rang. Aimee and Brent are coming...It may be a fun time after all.

I will let you know.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Non-conformist is a label that I give myself when I realize that my opinion differs with everyone else's opinion, and my opinion, which I am usually passionately ready to die for, is likely to be very unpopular.

Having a label for myself like that insulates me a little from small minded people who disagree with me. Not all people who disagree with me are small minded, but I have run across quite a few. They want to make me unhappy, in addition to being unpopular, because I disagree with them. It is an emotional power play. Thinking people resist all such small minded attempts to force us to conform. I think that I learned this when I was a preschooler. I have practiced.

So, when other people call me a name for being different or disagreeing with them, I automatically insert the word 'non-conformist' in its place, so their label doesn't float around in my head and weaken my position.

I was caught off guard on Tuesday night, when a class mate called me unorthodox. To his shock and chagrin, I replied that, "Yes, I am." The implication being that he had to just deal with it because I had no intentions whatsoever of entering into the "What can I change to please you?" mind game.

Today, I looked up unorthodox and discovered that the first definition had to do with not conforming to established doctrine, and the second definition dealt with being unconventional.

It made me mad, but I got over it.

However, I thought that I should come up with some snappy comebacks, in case it ever happens again.

"Yes, I am unorthodox, but I don't recall ever hearing an original thought come out of your mouth."

"Unorthodox, sure I am. I bet that the last time you thought outside the box was when your mom got a new refrigerator."

"Unorthodox? Thanks. I didn't realize I had made it to the top of the heap."

What did I do that was so unorthodox? I asked a question. Actually, I asked permission to ask a question about a text we were reading outside of class. Of course, it was a question over a doctrinal point that I disagreed with, but he had no way of knowing that.

I am glad I am over it.

I am so over it. :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Things I Lost At the Marathon

I meant to put this in the other day, but, "Oh, well."

The City of Trees Marathon was on a pretty brisk day for Boise, so I wore a t shirt over a tank top with a pair of shorts and a belted waist fanny pack for runners with a water bottle. I wore sunglasses. Woo-hoo.

I bought the fanny pack on the day before the race because I was afraid that they would not have enough water stops. That freaked me out, so I did what no marathoner is supposed to do. You are never supposed to ever change anything the day before the race. You ONLY do what has already worked for you. So...I broke the rule, and I am glad that I did. There were no bad consequences. It is really a good rule for marathoners because even wearing a different t-shirt than you normally do can cause major grief for you.

For instance, I had to buy a product at the running store called Glide, because when I put on long mileage days, just the rubbing of my tank top on my arms made very painful red welts where the skin had worn off in just one practice run. When you are repeating the same motion, over and over, you have to be careful of little things like that.

At any rate, I was happy for the extra t-shirt. It was an ugly green one that Mr. Sinta had not worn for years, so he donated it to the cause. On about mile ten, every article of clothing that I had was already soaked through with sweat, so I discarded the t-shirt. I did not want to be a trashy runner, so I gave it to a person who was directing traffic and asked them to dispose of it as I was running past. Amazingly, she assured me that she would not put it in the trash, but would donate it to charity. This is Boise's North End. They are an amazing bunch. I recycle. And I donate things to charity, but I live on the Bench. Roughly translated, that means if you hand me a sweaty t-shirt at a marathon, I am going to put it in the nearest trash can. This is not a slam on the North End. It is an observation. They are different. They care about the environment more than you care for some of your relatives.

I have had a change of heart toward the North End since I ran down Harrison Blvd. This is one of the richest streets in town. You probably don't live there unless you inherited the house, or you own quite a bit of a Fortune 500 corporation, you are a physician or you are on the board at Micron. Nevertheless, when I ran by, an old overweight solo runner who was so far back that I could not even find the trash that the pack left behind, they came out in their front yards and cheered and clapped for me. It was a very humbling and uplifting experience. I even high fived a two year old. I love you, North End!

Okay, so what did I lose? When I took off the t-shirt, I forgot that my sunglasses were on top of my head, and evidently they dropped into the street. That accounts for two losses, the shirt and the sunglasses.

The third loss is kind of gross, and if you have a weak stomach, you may want to skip this and come back another day. You were warned.

When I took off my shoes at home, I could see that one of my toes looked deformed. It had a very huge blister underneath one of the toe nails. I will spare you the details, but later this month, that toenail fell off. Isn't that strange?

The positive side is that I got to wear one of my Hello Kitty band aids for a few days. I love Hello Kitty.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Latest

In order to stop feeling guilty about all of the days I have missed blogging, I will attempt to give brief concise descriptions of things so I can move forward on another day without guilt.

The Marathon: I ran and ran and ran and ran and ran and ran some more. Various people in the North End cheered for me as I ran all by sweaty tired self, way behind almost everyone else. My husband rode his bike and encouraged me on Crescent Rim. My friend, Lynn, drove around in her car and gave me wonderful Gatorade at various times, and also ran the last five miles with me, or I do not believe that I would have finished. I hurt so much that the only way I could keep running was to sing my goofy Barry Manilow love song, Can't Live Without You to the Lord again. It honestly actually helped me to run, but poor, poor Lynn had to listen to me! She said that she had never seen (or heard, I imagine) a singing marathoner before. Since I sang it when we were running together, I briefly considered that the soccer players in the park would think we were lesbians, and decided that I was going to just concentrate on running the race and let other considerations go. I was so emotional that I had to stop singing from time to time or I would have sobbed. As I crossed the finish line, and they placed a medal around my neck, I had one big sob and then held back the tears. Mr. Sinta thoughtfully brought me a COLD DIET COKE for which I bless God!!! He also brought me some warm sweats to slip over my shorts and tank top because suddenly I was very cold and all my muscles started to seize up and if I thought I was in pain during the race, it was only a foretaste of that pain which was to come after the race. :)
I crawled into the truck, and went home and stood in the shower for at least an hour. I am not kidding! Then I made a big mistake and sat on a low sofa with no arms for about 3 or 4 hours, and I could not get up. I had to crawl to a doorway and a desk and pull myself up. Feeling 88 instead of 48 lasted about 3 days. I won't tell you how hard it was to get on and off of the potty, but I will just say that it was REALLY hard. I am very, very glad that I was able to run the marathon, it is something that I will remember until I die. I might run another one next year if I can lose 40 pounds first. I have no intention of every carrying 40 extra pounds over a finish line again...I took a month off from running and finally made it out today for a short and slow 3 miler. I am very happy to be on the road again. For some reason without much trying, I have lost about 13 pounds already. We theorize that it was because I was eating like a pig when I was training, and the loss of some muscle weight. I have determined that I will not run another marathon without an iPod because it is just very difficult to maintain the mental discipline if you end up running by yourself. I honestly do not have any idea why I ran a marathon. I asked myself that while I was running it. Wouldn't it have been prudent, you say, to have asked myself that before the race? Yes, but it never occurred to me.

The Election: I thought Mr. BO would win, but I was wishing and praying that he would not because he is a death sentence for the unborn. He also will not be doing any favors for the middle class, small businessmen, people who own guns, people who go to churches that he does not agree with, people who think logically, people who don't like having terrorists blow up their country, people who buy food at grocery stores or anyone who is not a Oprah fan. I am glad that the Marriage Amendments passed, glad and amazed.

My Novel: I am planning on beginning to write a novel in the next few days. It will be a private novel until I figure out what I am doing. Then, I will release it to the masses, travel around to Borders nationwide doing book signings and hire only photographers with special lenses which make me look skinny. Oh yes, when Oprah calls, I will be too busy to do the show.

My Dog: He is very, very cute and sweet and seems to have chosen me for his best friend. He follows me everywhere. I think that everyone else in the house is too busy for him, so he has adopted me. He also has seeds in his fur, and needs a thorough combing. He has managed to stay on the right side of the law, since the last time, and I have stayed out of court. For this, I am extremely thankful.

The School of Ministry: I would never have anticipated enjoying this as much as I do, but it is true. I really enjoy it. We just finished our second month. We are tested monthly in three subjects. So far, I have 6 A pluses.

All for now. In the near future, I can sign in with short snippets and write without guilt. Thank you for waiting for me, faithful readers. I am sorry for taking so long!