31 January 2015

Food

You know it's a favorite theme of mine, and tops among first article gifts for which I give thanks to our kind Creator. Cindi and I have been through a pile of different phases and learning when it comes to the eats. We both lost weight with Atkins and were crazy for low-carb for years (as long time readers of the blog will no doubt recall), but gradually the weight crept back up. We found primal and paleo, ditched the grains and other foods and saw some success for a while, but gradually the weight crept back up. We followed the resistant starch stuff with interest, but never really saw it impact weight. Sticking with Sisson has been a good move as he's always learning and growing, together with many in the paleo communities. One podcaster we have really enjoyed is Angelo Coppola. On a podcast a couple weeks ago he told a little of his history with eating and it was amazing how we tracked along the same routes. So where have we landed as of today?

One phrase captures it: whole food. We still don't eat wheat or wheat products (read Wheat Belly!), and in general we don't do grains. But we eat taters and sweet taters, we load up big time on veggies (still trying to push that up even more) and we enjoy our beef from local farmer (thanks, Steve and Dana!), our bacon comes from a butcher shop that processes local animals without one blasted thing added (we salt it ourselves), we splurge on wild caught fish now and again (sockeye salmon is our favorite), canned oysters and such, and (of course!) Shirley's eggs (from chickens you have to shoo out of the way to get to the house!). 

We don't eat packaged almost anything. We haunt the produce section of the store and will often opt for the organic stuff, particularly if the outside is consummed. We use honey for a sweetener if we need one and occasionally maple syrup. We don't use sugar. Our dairy is rather limited, but not really avoided. We certainly eat lots less cheese than we used to. 

I still enjoy a glass (sometimes two) of wine in an evening, but have extended times without it. We enjoy dark chocolate (think 85% or higher!) but only a square of it a day. On very special occasions, Cindi makes a bit of homemade icecream (that honey and maplesyrup do the job!). 

Anywho, feeling great with where we've landed. We're thinking about Angelo's idea of no added fats (gulp, but I LOVE Kerrygold...) and his advice to dump all supplements (appeals to the Dave Ramsey in us). This a.m. I was happy to see 148 on the scale. But where the journey will end as we keep learning? Who knows! 

30 January 2015

Loving it!

The gym at work, that is. I've known it was there since I started at IC, but come this past Advent I started using it regularly. I finish up Thy Strong Word at noon and head to locker room, change, and instead of lunch most days, spend a half hour on treadmill. Mondays, Wednesday and Thursdays I walk. Tuesday and Fridays I run and also lift. It is amazing how that break in the middle of the day energizes me. With the gym at work and the treadmill at home, I get my 30 minutes of walking or running in every single day and on Saturdays I add in my sprints on the bike. If the weather is nice, I can walk outside, but it's great this winter to stay moving. Most Wednesdays and Fridays Cindi and I skip breakfast, so we have nearly a full 24 hour fast twice a week. Anywho, this routine has left me feeling more energized than I have since starting at the International Center. I love it!

Share a moment of our joy...

...today the scholars of St. Paul Lutheran School, Hamel, blessed us at the IC with their musical leadership. They accompanied themselves and sang all of Psalm 2 (this is just a snippet of their practice) AND they sang all of Tis Good Lord to be Here (which they had memorized). As you can tell, their voices were crystal clear. They also assisting with singing Matins which they know by heart from constant use in the school's chapel. Listen in right here:

Start of Psalm 2

29 January 2015

Lenten Midweek Ideas

Can be found here.

28 January 2015

A beautiful bit from Chemnitz...

...(thanks to Dr. Stuckwisch who sent me hunting):


The mourning Christians indeed know the divine promises concerning those who have died in the Lord; nevertheless, when they are troubled as they consider the weaknesses of their loved ones, and because they do not see before their eyes their rest and happiness, they flee to God and commend them to the mercy of God in their prayers, in order that they may by these very prayers confirm themselves with respect to the blessedness of their dead. For such prayers, as the most ancient were, rest on these promises: Whoever believes in me “will never see death”; “He…has passed from death to life”’ “Though he die, yet shall he live”; “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord” etc.

....

For it would be animalistic apathy not to be touched by the death of one's own, to erase the memory of departed friends immediately from the mind, not to wish them well and to pray for their welfare—all of which, however, are to be kept in bounds according to the Word.

Examen III:268

27 January 2015

Commemoration of St. John Chrysostom

Today our Synod commemorates the Golden Mouthed Preacher, St. John Chrysostom. The collect:

O God, You gave to Your servant John Chrysostom grace to proclaim the Gospel with eloquence and power. As bishop of the great congregations at Antioch and Constantinople, he fearlessly bore reproach for the honor of Your name. Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellence in preaching and fidelity in ministering Your Word that Your people shall be partakers of the divine nature; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Our Treasury notes:

His determination to reform the church, court, and city brought him into conflict with established authorities. Eventually he was exiled from his adopted city. Although removed from his parishes and people, he continued writing and preaching until the time of his death in A.D. 407. It is reported that his final words were "Glory to God for all things! Amen." (p. 1158)

The writing for today also features the great saint:

And what does "ransom" mean? God was about to punish them, but He did not do it. They were about to perish, but in their stead He gave His own Son and sent us as heralds to proclaim the cross.

The Book of Concord cites from Chrysostom as perfectly capturing the doctrine of the consecration of the elements in the Sacrament of the Altar by the Words of Christ.

Fittingly, the hymn assigned for today's commemoration is LSB 578:5:

Give us lips to sing Thy glory,
Tongues Thy mercy to proclaim,
Throats that shout the hope that fills us,
Mouths to speak Thy holy name.
Alleluia, alleluia!
May the light which Thou dost send
Fill our songs with alleluias,
Alleluias without end!

Prayer for Psalm 120

In the 30 day Psalter, today begins with Psalm 120. I thought the prayer following particularly apt:

O most merciful Father, guard us by Your power that we do not fall into the snares of slanderers and into the toils of those practicing deceit. Preserve us from soul-destroying errors. Give us teachers whose hearts are upright with Your Word, and kindle and increase in us the knowledge of Your saving truth, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

23 January 2015

Mighty Ones

Praying with my handy new Concordia Psalter the other day, a thought occurred to me that had not before. Psalm 103 and the reference to the mighty ones who do His bidding, referring to the angels. And WHY are they mighty? Is it not BECAUSE they do His bidding? Strength never comes in setting one's self in opposition to the will of our loving Creator. Strength comes through allignment with the will of our Creator. Our Lord Jesus proved strongest of all, mightiest of all: because He used His human will to allign Himself fully to the will of the Father:

"Thy will be done."

There is no stronger, no mightier prayer. We, indeed, literally REIGN with Christ, as we join Him in this petition, even as He taught us to pray.

22 January 2015

Well...I knew it was bad

when Cindi called me at work. She next to never calls me at work. I was in the middle of playing service for LCEF and saw she had left a message. A car accident. She was on the way to work was waiting to turn off of 140 onto Bob's road when a car crashed in from behind. She didn't see it coming, but the car apparently didn't slow down at all. No broken bones, thanks be to God! A deep gash on the cheek that the plastic surgeon dealt with for now and says he will deal with the scar when she's healed. God's holy angels were working full time today! She's home, resting now. Tomorrow we will face as it comes. 

17 January 2015

Cilantro

Seems you either love it or hate it. I love it. Cin not so much. Threw a bunch in my salad tonight. Major yumminess. And for salad dressing? Hot salsa. Perfect!

16 January 2015

Glasses

I still remember my first pair, and how I looked in awe at the leaves on the trees and could see them clearly. Each time I get a tune up on the lenses I look first to the trees, even if it's only oaks with old dried up leaves at the moment. Yup! Crystal clear. 

What I got for first time is magnetic clip on shades. Wow! Drove home with them on today and was mega impressed by crispness and lack of strain on eyes. 

The lady at the doctor's was a hoot. She simply ruled out pair after pair that I tried on.  "No, you can't buy those (or those or those or those...). You have a narrow face. You need small lenses." Well, think she was right. I love them!


10 January 2015

Concordia Psalter

I simply cannot say enough positive about this little gem. The Psalms, of course, are THE hymnbook of the Church. Now, in a single volume (that Pr. Kalvin Waetzig would call positively packy), you can have them easily at hand. But why a special edition of the Psalter?

* The wording matches the ESV version that was used in Lutheran Service Book.
* Suggested Psalm tones are PRINTED before each Psalm (first a tone from LSB, second a newer tone but following the same three syllable pattern) and these tones "match" the thought of the words of the Psalm. Twenty-two tones are provided total, and some of the new ones are particularly fine (I think my favorite thus far is tone 8 (by Dr. Kosche).
* Longish Psalms are divided into parts for easier praying.
* Psalm prayers follow each Psalm (or part) that focus on a Christological understanding of what has just been prayed.
* Three charts for praying the Psalms are included in the front of the volume covering the Psalter either in a month or in a two-week period. 
* Two-part tones are not neglected (the book supplies six of them total), and no guessing if the two-part will come out even on a Psalm anymore: they are printed only on Psalms they actually work on!

I can see this book finding several uses among us:

* in the pews, so that the congregation has the entire Psalter before it for any of the liturgies.
* in the school, so that the children of the Church learn to sing the entirety of the Psalter.
* in the home, for daily prayers (Cindi and I used ours this morning WITH the Treasury).
* in the choir, so that the Choir can lead the Psalm singing in the Daily Offices.
* in retreats and other settings where fuller use of the Daily Office cycle commends itself.

I think mine will be a constant companion. Kudos, CPH! Yet another homerun.

08 January 2015

35 Years

I wanted to write this up back on January 5, but life interfered! January 5 marked the day that Daddy died 35 years ago. A quiet man. One of the WWII great generation. Up at five on workdays and out the door to faithfully provide for his family. Home by around 4:30 or 5. Year in, year out. Mom stayed home and raised us, but I remember many a chilly evening, hanging about outside, waiting for the car to pull up and Daddy to be home. When he was home, all was good.

I went off to Concordia College in Bronxville NY the fall after he passed. I had inherited the car. I remember on cold nights slipping outside and just sitting in it. It still bore some faint lingering scent of him.

35 years seems so very long, Daddy, but I am very thankful to have had you for those first 19 years of my life. May you rest in peace!

07 January 2015

Epiphany Joys

Yesterday we celebrated the blessed Feast of Epiphany and it shed its great light upon us: the light of the open door to our shining home, where we join even now with angels and saints in praising the One who opened that door and made that light again our home.

Day started with a Bible study at the IC on the Epiphany Gospel for the Office of National Mission. Then we began prepping for the Divine Service. This first six months of 2015, St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Hamel is sponsoring the Divine Services for us. Deaconess Patten played her trumpet and Rev. Kantor Henry Gerike trumpeted on the organ as we sang "O Morning Star." I chanted the Gospel reading and right in the center, the choir took up the verse: "And lo, the star" (setting by Johannes Petzold). It ended on verse 11 and then I finished out the Gospel chant. I then preached on the Gospel reading. It was joyous to partake of the Sacrament together.

Then a romp through Revelation 10 with Dr. Lane Burgland on KFUO's Thy Strong Word.

The afternoon was spent playing catch up on LetUsPray and Lectionary Summaries for February, and setting up chapel for today's installation.

St. Paul's had Epiphany Divine Service in the evening, and I ended up playing that, so got to sing "Morning Star" twice in one day. Joy abounding! The St. Paul service was wondrously smokey with the sweet incense arising and the even sweeter incense of the saving Gospel preached into our ears.

"Behold, the Lord, the Ruler has come, and the kingdom and the power and the glory are in His hand!"

May Epiphany continue to unfold for us its great joys!

05 January 2015

New Year Resolutions

My new year's resolutions actually came with the Church's new year and not the civil realm's. I'd slipped a bit from my primal way of living (mostly adjusting to how to fit in it with work) and had added some pounds to show for it. So back to a rather strict primal approach for the month and allowed myself zero alcohol until a planned party on St. Thomas' day. With the treadmill at home and gym at work (as well as at home), no excuse for not getting in my regular walking or running, sprinting and lifting heavy things (though for that am following presently McDuff's Body by Science with its very short and yet painfully intense and slow workouts). Anywho, sometime before Thanksgiving I'd weighed in at 165. The last day of December, weight was 152 (same weight as when I started at IC and started letting my primal life-style slip too much). So very happy. Walking lots, running some, sprinting at least once a week, only a glass or two of vino a day and plenty of days without any, tons more veggies, solid sleep, and feeling great. 

Last Day of Vacation

After the whirlwind trip to NC, it is great to relax at home today. We have a fire roaring in the fireplace, Lydia toddling around, and some movies yet to catch up on (this evening, perhaps). I've got sermon and prayers ready to go for the Epiphany Divine Service tomorrow at work, and I'm rather eager to get back to work. This was a long break, and wonderfully relaxing (yes, I even found the drive out to NC and back to be relaxing), but my mind is racing on things that need attending to at the office. Cindi says she'll likely start taking the Christmas decor down tomorrow. And now that Christmas is almost done, is it summer yet? I'm ready to run outside and to enjoy the pool!

03 January 2015