Thursday, September 6, 2012

"Black Russian"

I really should have taken a picture! Last night my sweet mama friend L and I ate amazing food and relaxed sans babies. It was wonderful. The perfect end to a perfect girlfriend get-together? Black Russian ice cream, homemade by the restaurant with dark chocolate, milk chocolate and Kahlua! I'm in love...
Of course I never would have indulged in a liqueured dessert with baby #1, but really, if I lived in Europe I wouldn't even be troubled by a moment from false temperance-movement-guilt! :)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Wuthering Heights

About two weeks ago, my friend good friend L and I finished reading Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. Since that time I have watched THREE movie adaptions of the book, the last two being made for television. First, we watched the 1970 version which barely attempted to stick to the story line. Next, I watched the two-part 2009 Masterpiece Classic, a much more entertaining movie, though definitely with liberties taken and reminding me of the romance novels in the checkout line at the grocery store. Last night, L and I watched the 1998 Masterpiece Theater version, which has been the most authentic to the story line of the three, though much shabbier of a film compared to the 2009.

All three films have two things in common to a certain degree: First, the actors are much too old for the story! When Hindley returns from college to use and abuse poor Heathcliff, Cathy and Heathcliff are only around 12 and 13. It just doesn't make sense for them to be in their early 30's! Second, and most interestingly, both Heathcliff and Cathy are... softened in their movie roles. I really don't get it. Just let them be the selfish, vengeful, violent, capricious, self-pitying fools that they are!

It's as if the directors read the book and thought, "No one will be able to like them enough to identify with them. The movie will be too depressing, but what we want is a tragedy that's also a love story. An enduring love story! Let's tweak this or that about their personalities and their choices. Let's interpret their motives to be always for the other instead of for themselves, then the audience will be able to love and hate them, not just pity them."

Well, as someone who actually read the book, I prefer them the way they're written. Real. Depraved. Tortured. Of course I wish there was redemption, though there is in a way with the next generation of children. Of course if I'd never read the book, I might prefer the two-part love novel movie and be sadly disappointed when reading the real story. But the sad truth is, it's a story that shows the brutality of human nature and self-love beating love for another into dust. It reminds me of what we are apart from Christ, and just how much grace is given us.

There are still two more versions (1939, supposedly quite good, and 1992) that I know of to be viewed. I'm sure I'll be completely sick of the whole thing by the time I finish them, but maybe one of them will be truer to the novel (and to life!) than what I've seen so far!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lutheran "Lifers"

I had an interesting experience the other evening. I went out for a girls' dinner with a friend of mine who is also newly Lutheran, and her friend from church, a "lifer."

I'm just going to come out and say it. I'm disappointed. 

When I started talking about the formality of the traditional liturgy, she misunderstood and started telling me about all the different styles available. Many places are more modern, etc.  When my friend mentioned feeling a bit awkward about a video clip used during their Divine Service, she mentioned that the responsive reading was too long too, and since she's heard it her whole life, it gets a little long. When I talked about making a family altar, she went silent. 

I'm disappointed, but I get it. She doesn't know anything about any of the American Evangelical garbage that we've come out of. She hasn't studied other denominations or even (I think) her own doctrines. I know. I used to be there as a "lifer" SDA. 

She acted apologetic. Why is that? I went ahead and told her that we don't want to be at a Baptist church or one that's pretending to be Baptist, but she didn't seem to understand that the things she was embarrassed of were things that we were looking for. Who's been teaching her to be ashamed of the different-ness of the historic liturgy? Who's been teaching her that Lutherans should have praise bands and special dramas and puppet ministry, etc., and only take the Lord's Supper every other week?!

I'm not upset with her. I want to get to know her better and become friends. That's not my point. My point is that she doesn't get it! She takes her doctrine and her Church completely for granted. She doesn't know what it feels like to question your salvation, to question your election, to forsake family, friends, and job for the Christian Church. How could she "get it?" She can't. That's okay. But I do hope that someday she studies (gets catechized into) her Church a little more closely and discovers why it's wonderful, and discovers why she should never go anywhere else. Not because it's where she grew up, but because it truly delivers life-giving forgiveness of sins through the Word and Sacraments.

This will also be my challenge as I raise K as a Lutheran. She'll be a "lifer" too. And, I expect that as the years go by, the newness will wear off for me as well. But then, it's not about newness. It's not about doing the same thing every week or about changing it up. It's about truth. We've found it! We're going to hold on to it, by the grace of God!

"Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered." Psalm 32:1

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday - Lent 1: Family Altar

Oh how I love a project, and this first year of observing Lent means that there are many possibilities. Of course, the temptation is to get caught up in the newness and "project mentality," forgetting the reason for Lent. It's much easier to take on a project than to ask the Lord for a repentant heart. Who really wants to repent, right? Ah, my sinful flesh. 

It's precisely because I know my own tendencies that a family altar is a very good idea (albeit a project).  I tend to run with the emotions and energy levels of the moment. If I'm feeling good and energetic, then let's sing/pray Matins/Vespers, if not, well, let's just pretend we'll do it later. The idea of a family altar is a new one for me (as are most historic traditions of the Church), and I appreciate how it satisfies that need for grounding oneself physically. My head and heart are full of baby and husband and the "to do list" and on and on, and they need to be grounded. Stay still. Stay quiet. Rest. 

As we live in a small house, it's looking like a small bookcase in our living room is the only space that will work at this point. It will take some rearranging of books, a lamp and our family picture, and the addition of candles (check) and a crucifix or triptych (need). We'll slowly build up with icons and mantel. I'll update with pictures as we get there.

For the time being, I'll try to work toward making prayer and song and family worship habit. I hope that having a family altar will just facilitate that!

I'll end with the prayer of the day (from Treasury of Daily Prayer, First Monday in Lent, pg. 41):
"Lord Jesus, prepare us for that eternal Sabbath when You will rest in us,  just as now You work in us. The rest that we shall enjoy will be Yours, just as the work that we now do is Your work done through us. But You, O Lord, are eternally at work and eternally at rest. It is not time that You see or in time that You move or in time that You rest, yet You make what we see in time. You make time itself and the repose which comes when time ceases; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever." 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

1st Sunday in Lent - A Blessed Day

  • The look on K's face when Pastor made the sign of the cross on her forehead and told her, "The Lord God bless you and keep you in the faith which He poured out on you in the water and word of Holy Baptism through Jesus Christ."
  • The look on Pastor's face when she excitedly exclaimed, "Christ!"
  • Hearing that my sins are indeed forgiven.
  • My sweet husband recapping the gospel lesson for me later, since I was too distracted with K to remember (though I know it was a great sermon = law & gospel). 
  • Hubby playing with K (and her delighted giggles throughout) while I got a delicious soup and some gf brownies on the table. 
  • Hearing hubby and K singing vespers together as he put her down for the night.
It's tough. I LOVE having K in the Divine Service with us, but days like today make it difficult sometimes. She was so squirmy. Also, she was really into practicing her new vocabulary words and loudly imitating what she was seeing (i.e. holding up her little book and loudly singing "La, la, la!" after we're done singing and everyone is trying to listen to the scripture lesson). Very adorable, of course, but putting all my energy into containing her makes me totally exhausted. 

Thank You Lord, for a church where we don't have a nursery. Thank You for this opportunity to teach K how to sit and listen and love Your Word and Sacrament. Please forgive all my self-pity and give me strength and wisdom and joy in this godly task. Thank you for this sweet child who sings, "La, la, la!" to You with all her heart!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

On My Heart Imprint Your Image

On my heart imprint Your image, Blessed Jesus, King of grace,
That life's richest cares and pleasures never may your work erase;
Let the clear inscription be, Jesus crucified for me,
Is my life, my hope's foundation, and my glory and salvation!

A New Day, A New Blog

My previous blogging adventures have been focused on home and baby. I think this one will include all that as well, but I really want to use it to record what I'm reading and learning: theological and literary.
Here goes! :)