Wednesday, December 27, 2006

West Coast Posting

Since the evening of Christmas Day, my husband and I have been visiting with his family on the west coast. Although it's rainy here half the time, when the sky is clear, it's really very lovely. The view of mountains in the east, the smell of the ocean not too far away, and the knowledge that we might be able to see that huge wet oasis again is wonderful. (I've only seen the ocean once before in my life, and it was three years ago when we were last in this part of the country.)

Yesterday, we visited my husband's grandmothers, who are both in senior care homes. His maternal grandmother's doctor didn't give her more than just a few more months left to live, so we wanted to make sure we got up here to visit before it was too late. With prayers, maybe she'll be around long enough to see us have at least one child, depending on how long it takes us to start our family.

Saturday, we'll be having supper with my husband's paternal grandmother at the nursing home. When we went to visit yesterday, we looked over the menu and read it to her (she suffers from macular degeneration and can't see well anymore) so she could tell us when the food would be most appetizing. ;) She's a very sweet lady. Well, both grandmas are very sweet. I love them both.

My parents-in-law are wonderful people, too. I couldn't ask for more loving and fun in-laws. They love me and treat me the same as they do their own kids. And once in a while, they take my side over my husband's in a debate. ;) They're so cool!

I guess today we're going to do some site seeing. Mount Hood isn't too far away, the ocean isn't too far away, and I guess there are some really majestic canyons and waterfalls to see in this area. The landscape is so gorgeous, especially compared to my native Kansas.

Whenever my husband and I fly anywhere, I try to get a window seat on the plane so I can look out over the land below. I love looking at the mountains, the ocean if I can see it from my seat on the plane, and anything else that pops into my view.

This is a very beautiful part of the country, made more lovely by the family we're visiting. And although we're only going to be here for a few more days, I'm going to enjoy every minute of it that I can. Maybe next time we're in this area, we can come during one of the summer months, when, I'm told, there are lots of flowering trees and the sights are even more beautiful.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and I'll post more in the New Year.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sleeping on a Cloud

After more than four years, my husband and I finally have a real bed to sleep on! For the entirety of our marriage, we have been sleeping on a futon, which was absolutely killing my back. We are now proudly using our futon as a couch (and emergency bed if we have guests, so they can sleep on it), and have a new memory foam bed to call our own.

TempurPedic will tell you that theirs is the only one out there like it, but the reality is that there is another company out there that makes the exact same mattresses for about half the price, and they have the same 20-year warranty. So, we went with the other company: Sleep Level.

My husband and I did a lot of research into the kind of mattress we wanted to get, because this is something you don't want to have to be buying every five to ten years. I talked to my family doctor and also my orthopaedic doctor about it, too. They both said that this is the best mattress we could possibly get. About 98 percent of people who had woken up with back pain or other muscle pains reported that after sleeping on a memory foam mattress, their pain was dramatically reduced, if not gone completely.

I've only slept one night on it so far, and my back already feels soooooo much better! I had been seeing a physical therapist about it because it had gotten so bad! (But I stopped going a few months ago, even though I was still having problems.)

Now, I can't wait to get into bed at night. I pray that I'll be tired during the day so I can take a nap on the new bed, just because I like it that much! But today, I wasn't tired enough to need to sleep, even after sleeping only about 6 hours, compared to my usual 8! And I work until midnight tonight!

This bed is such a good investment. Actually, anytime you make an investment in your health, it's a good investment.

Sweet dreams!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

My nephew will be born in two months!

The picture at the right is a picture of my sister's pregnant belly as of one month ago. She's a little bigger now.

The lower picture is what she looked like in October.

I'm really looking forward to meeting my nephew. My mom is helping me plan a baby shower, which we'll have in January. The baby will be born in February, and the baptism will be in March.

My sister said she feels like she's starting to waddle now. And one of her frustrations is finding warm sweaters she can wear over her baby belly. Most maternity sweaters she's seen are really thin, and if she tries a non-maternity large sweater, it bags in the arms. Any suggestions would be great.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I've got some catching up to do!

It's been some time since I've posted anything other than the rules for commenting on my blog (which, by the way, still apply). So, I've published another new post below this one.

My sister is now about 6 1/2 months along in her pregnancy, which means I'm going to have a little nephew very soon! It also means that I have a lot of planning to do before the baby shower I'm throwing for her in January!

The pictures of her belly that I posted before look so small now compared to how big she is now. And still, she is the cutest pregnant lady ever!

The little baby in her belly is very active. I've felt him move around and kick several times, and it is just the coolest thing in the world! I'm looking forward to meeting, holding and babysitting the little guy!

It makes me more anxious for my husband and I to try to have a baby, too. I want our kids and my sister's kids to be close enough in age that they can play together and relate to one another easily as they grow up.

In other news, my husband and I will finally be going to visit his parents and grandparents on the west coast over Christmas and New Year's. This will be the first time we've seen them in three years, because travel hasn't been very possible on either their end or ours for so long. Please pray for my husband's maternal grandmother, who is in very bad health and who will celebrate her last Christmas and New Year's this holiday season. We're basically going to visit with the knowledge that we're saying goodbye to her for the last time. She'll never know any of our kids, and that makes me very sad.

Also, my grandma's eye surgery went well, and she's able to see much better now. She still has to have a total knee replacement, which is scheduled for sometime in March. That's going to be very difficult for her, because she's not going to be able to go back to her hometown until she's completely healed. The reason is that she likes to help her husband (who is in a nursing home) stand up, get into bed, etc., and it's too stressful on a newly-remodeled knee for her to be doing that sort of thing. But she'll do it anyway, given the way to go back home too early. Please pray for her, too.

Nothing particularly interesting in the news today that I could share, unfortunately. I'll try to post something more before we leave for the west coast in a couple of weeks.

God bless you all.

Non-Christian Organization Serves Godly Mission

I may not work for an organization that would be listed in a Christian business directory, but that doesn't mean that we don't do God's handywork.

Every year around Christmastime (and apparently for the last 30 years), the company I work for organizes a charity drive in which listeners call in to the radio station they listen to within our broadcast group, and "adopt" a child for Christmas. By "adopt," I mean that these kids have been put on a list by the local police department because they live in a family with little to no income, and would otherwise not get any gifts this Christmas.

Listeners called a hotline number, asked what the children wanted for Christmas, and bought those items and brought them to the station to be gift-wrapped and delivered by the police officers.

There are other times when we have charity drives or relay races or other fund-raisers for organizations that help children or adults with whatever may be plaguing them. Some may call these publicity stunts or things we do for public relations, but as someone who's actually gotten to know the people behind these events, I've realized that these people are different: Sure, the PR is good, but they really do care about these people that they're helping.

At a time when there are so many people all-too-willing to receive gifts this year, it's wonderful to see so many people volunteering to give to complete strangers without anything in return.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Trolls like Susan

It seems that my husband and I have a few trolls that have been leaving uninformed, harassing comments on our blogs from people who obviously know nothing of what it is to be Lutheran, and feel they must "correct" our behavior because we're not pious enough for them. (Guess what: We don't care what trolls think about how pious we are. The comments of trolls don't matter enough to be displayed. Trolls are inconsequential to us.)

Because of this, I have enabled comment moderation. This means that before any comments are displayed on my blog, they will pass through my e-mail first for my approval or disapproval. Furthermore, any comments that I deem harassing or otherwise inappropriate for my blog will not be posted, and no one will see them.

This means that if you have a complaint, you'll need to leave an e-mail address for me to respond to if you actually want a response. If you are so embarrassed that you actually read my or my husband's blogs that you don't want to leave your name or contact information, then you have no business visiting or leaving comments.

If you are going to leave comments and want your comments to be displayed, I suggest you leave a comment that is non-threatening, non-harassing in nature, and give your real name. I will not respond to aliases or anonymous commenters.

Ground rules for commenting (if you expect your comment to be displayed):

1. No foul language. This is, and will continue to be, a family-friendly blog that even children can read without their parents fearing that they will be reading something inappropriate.

2. No commenting on topics not posted on this blog. This means that if you've found a questionable topic on another blog (a.k.a. my husband's), you may not post your comment on my blog in response to that topic.

3. No anonymous commenting. I don't care if you don't have an account with Blogger. Leave your name at the end of your comment if you don't have or don't want to create an account. Comments left without a name will not be allowed into the comments section for anyone to leave, and they will not be responded to.

4. IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH ME OR ANYTHING THAT IS POSTED ON THIS BLOG, YOU DON'T HAVE TO READ IT. That goes for any blog on the web, including my husband's. What's the point in visiting a blog you don't approve of unless you enjoy having your blood boil? Get a life!

5. I have the ability to track my visitors. If you truly want to be anonymous, you will be unsuccessful, because I can track where you live and I have your IP address. One way or another, if I have to, I can find out who you are and turn you in for harassment. I have the national and international connections through my media connections to find you and have you prosecuted, if I need to.

Bottom line: If I don't approve of the comments you're leaving, they will never see the world wide web. Anonymous commenters or those who use aliases will not receive responses. I don't tolerate disrespectful people on my blog. Other bloggers may be different. I don't care.

I thought that because of the longevity of my blog and the history of people who have commented on this blog before, I didn't have to spell out my rules in so many words. I guess now, I do. Those of you who are used to commenting on my blog and who have done so without problems or response from me don't have to worry about your comments not being displayed. They will be, I'm sure.

Those who read my blog generally consist of friends and pastors. Many of these friends are those who have been reading my blog and whose blogs I have been reading for a few years. Many of the pastors who visit have become friends or were friends before I started this blog. These are the people who are welcome in my comments section. Newcomers have to go through me first now. I'm taking back control of my blog.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Working on Sundays

Usually, I work on Sunday evenings. I don't really like to work on Sundays, but I don't work too many other days of the week regularly, so I do so mostly for the hours and pay.

Today is the first (and hopefully only) Sunday that I have been asked to work on a Sunday morning. The only reason I consented to doing so is that the lady who usually works this shift had another commitment, and she couldn't find anyone else to take the shift, and she covered a Saturday shift for me not long ago. My boss knows that this is a big favor to be asking of me, because I told him some time back that I didn't want to work on Sundays at all, let alone on a Sunday morning or early afternoon.

To say that working or doing any kind of laborous work on Sundays is not a Lutheran statement. It's full of pietistic sentiments that I don't share, nor do many Lutherans. But Sunday, nonetheless, is a very holy day that should be kept holy. Remember that even Jesus worked, or rather performed miraculous works, on the Sabbath, against the wishes and understanding of bystanders.

So, this morning, my husband is going to church without me. I had to be in to cover this shift beginning at 5 a.m., and I don't get off work until 12:30 p.m. Even though our church is about an hour's drive from home, in the time I'm working here this morning, my husband has been able to sleep until about 7 a.m., be at church by 9 a.m., and be back to pick me up from work at about 12:30 p.m., without being late (I hope).

The good thing about working Sundays is that all of the newscasts are recorded ahead of time, so if I'm really on top of my game, I have all of the newscasts pre-recorded and in the system ready to play within about 1 1/2 to 2 hours after I arrive at work. That way, I can work on writing up or updating other stories, pay better attention to police and emergency scanners so I know exactly what's going on without being distracted ... and, in the evenings, watch my favorite show: "Desperate Housewives" while keeping the scanners pumping through my headphones in my right ear.

But since I don't work tonight (because the lady whose shift I'm covering this morning is working my regular shift tonight from 7 to midnight), I get to watch my show at home without those pesky police and emergency scanners distracting me.

Maybe eventually, I'll be a full-time employee and won't have to work at all on weekends. But, that could just be a pipe dream. One of the full-time guys here does work on weekends ... both days of every weekend.

I'm glad that I know that it's not commanded to do absolutely no work on Sundays, since Jesus showed us differently in the Scriptures, but I look forward to the time when I won't be asked or scheduled to work on Sundays. I enjoy going to church, and I enjoy spending quality time with my husband, making him suffer through an episode of "Desperate Housewives" with me. :D

Monday, November 06, 2006

The influence of Pentacostal/Charismatic Christians on our church services

I know it's been a very long time since I've blogged about anything, and I apologize to those who've been waiting to read something new. I've thought a lot about what I wanted to post on this blog, and I've got a few stories for you. This is one of several, but it's one that explains a lot about what's going on in even our LCMS churches.

I got this story from the National wire service at work on October 5. It got me thinking: So that's why some LCMS churches have "happy clappy" worship services, praise bands, the Ablaze! movement, Promise Keepers, Heritage Keepers, etc. Our churches have lost track of what it means to be Lutheran, because they're paying too much attention to what the Pentacostals, Charismatics and Methodists are doing.

Without further adieu, here is the story to which I am referring:

WASHINGTON (AP) A new ten-nation survey of Pentecostal and charismatic Christians shows they are deeply influencing the Roman Catholic and mainstream Protestant churches and are poised to make a big impact on global affairs.

Pentecostals and charismatics are considered the fastest-growing stream of Christianity worldwide.

The poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that ``spirit-filled'' Christians, who speak in tongues and believe in healing through prayer, comprise at least half the population of Brazil, Guatemala and Kenya, 44 percent of Filipinos and nearly one-fourth of U-S citizens.

The study also found that charismatic and Pentecostal Christians increasingly are willing to bring their values into public debates, which could shape government policies in the years ahead.

And we wonder why our churches are so screwed up! It's not entirely President Kieschnick's fault, although he is certainly not blameless.

Election Day: What's your candidate's position on abortion?

Lutherans for Life published a tract called "Is Abortion an Election Issue?" in 2000. Before you go to the polls, consider your favorite candidates' positions on abortion. It is literally a life or death matter.

The following are excerpts from the Lutherans for Life tract. The portions in quotes are direct quotations from text. The rest are paraphrases of my own:

God doesn't give Christians any "wiggle room" when it comes to destroying human life. "He says, 'You shall not murder.'

"We must not forget what abortion is. All the rhetoric surrounding abortion has deceptively blinded us to the truth. We hear it described as a 'right,' a 'choice,' or a 'medical procedure.' It becomes too easy – even for the Christian – to see abortion as just another one of those 'election issues.'

"Think about it! What is a candidate who supports abortion rights really supporting? Abortion is not on a par with a woman's right to equal employment and equal pay.

"Let's be honest.

"The candidate who supports abortion rights supports a woman's right to have her innocent child murdered. Abortion is not just an 'election issue.' Abortion is a grave sin. Abortion assaults God's Word of truth about the sanctity of human life and, therefore, assaults the Word Himself Who became flesh that we might have life. Abortion is a sin against God Who is the Author and Redeemer of life. Abortion is not an 'election issue.' Because abortion destroys human life, it is a spiritual issue."


"Therefore... a Christian cannot debate the pros and cons of abortion any more than he can debate the pros and cons of a rape or stealing or adultery. Abortion cannot be a 'right' for, in God's sight, it is a fundamental wrong.

"It is such a fundamental wrong that, when it comes to voting, a candidate's stance on the issues is irrelevant if he or she favors abortion. A vote is not a passive act. The voter participates in promoting the agenda of the candidate in an intentional action. A candidate who favors abortion should be disqualified from receiving a Christian's vote.

"Regardless of what our government deems legal, when it comes to abortion, 'We must obey God rather than man.' Those who have been called in grace and adopted as God's children through the merits of Jesus Christ should not sanction the destruction of preborn children."


"However, the Body of Christ is compelled to 'defend the cause of the weak and needy.' The Church is compelled to 'speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves' and to expose the 'fruitless deeds of darkness.' When a candidate for a government office promotes the sin of abortion, God's people must take action to oppose this sin and defend those affected by it."

This being said, I've recently found out that a candidate for Kansas Attorney General that I was hoping might win (and actually might) is a supporter of abortion. Since my husband and I moved, we didn't get any information as to where we would even go to vote, so I guess we're not going to. I'd rather not vote than place a vote for a candidate who supports killing babies.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

My grandma needs your prayers.

My mom and I went to a couple of doctor's appointments with my grandma today before driving her across the state to my parents' house in town. The doctors didn't have wonderful news for my grandma, though.

Looks like she's going to have to have a total knee replacement, and her eyelids are drooping into her line of sight, so she's going to have to have them lifted. The latter, she will be able to get done at the end of next month. The former has yet to be scheduled.

My mom is planning to call the doctor's office where she and I go for our orthopaedic foot problems. There are doctors there who specialize in knees, and we know they're the best in the state. She will be staying with my parents for a while after her knee replacement while she recovers, since she lives alone otherwise, and will need help getting around and getting things done.

Her visit here this time, though, is for a little vacation. She's going to be working on making a maternity outfit for my sister, and she will probably be doing some shopping with my mom, my sister and me.

Anyway, please keep my grandma, and the rest of my family, in your prayers.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Baby Belly Update

It's time once again to visit my sister's ever-growing baby bump. Her hubby, Nick, has been taking monthly pics of her in the same outfit (as long as she's able to wear it, that is). She's already wearing maternity clothes and getting emotional over things she normally wouldn't have before. She's so cute!

In case you can't read those dates, the first one is 15 July, the second is 13 August, and the third is 11 September.

Famous Judge Makes a Visit

Yesterday, Judge Marilyn Milian made a visit to Wichita to speak at a satellite University location. I knew she was coming because, as as an alumn of the University, I get an e-mail with a listing of the events coming up.

I was planning to attend her speech, anyway, because I'm a fan of hers and The People's Court, but I made a proposal to my boss that I go there and get an interview with her. (She was going to be speaking about Hispanics in the media.) He agreed.

I got to the facility about 30 minutes before the event was to occur, and promptly found someone who was working the event, and asked if there was a media staging area. He said yes, and led me backstage where Judge Milian was getting ready to appear, and was talking to only about two other news outlets, both television.

I got to spend about 10 minutes talking to Judge Milian, about 8 of which was in interview form, which I recorded. She is very personable, very intelligent, very nice, and smiles a lot. She is every bit as beautiful in person as she is on television.

She responded thoroughly to every one of my questions, including questions about how she got her job, if she sees it as an opportunity to be a role model to other Latinas, etc. (She said, by the way, that that is a very cool by-product of her position, but not one that influenced her decision to take her job.) And she did so very willingly. She even recorded something for me in Spanish for the Spanish station at my workplace!

At one time during my interview with her, she said that I was asking too good of questions, because a lot of what I was asking, she was planning on talking about in her presentation!

Anyway, just before she went out on stage, she signed a T-shirt for me: "You Rule! Marilyn Milian". I thanked her for her interview and went out into the auditorium and got my sound equipment hooked up.

I tried to get pictures of her during her presentation, but she moves a lot and very quickly when she's talking. She has a lot of energy! So, here are a few pics from the back of the auditorium, where I was sitting and walking around (trying to keep a close eye on my property that I left in a chair).

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

What an interesting birthday!

So far, it's been a very nice birthday. One part of the day has actually been amusing! I went to my exercise class today, and then my mom and sister took me out for lunch. That was really nice, and I got to see my sister's slowly-expanding pregnant belly, which was cool. (She is now 4 months along, and already unable to fit into her regular clothes.)

Then, I decided I should go outside on my patio and water my geranium, because it looked thirsty and I want to keep the blooms looking nice, and decided to do some weeding, but then, I couldn't get back inside my apartment! I was talking to my mom on my cell phone because she was having trouble reaching my grandma and wanted me to try. It was a good thing I had my cell with me because I couldn't get my sliding patio door to reopen!

I called the manager's office and told the lady there that I had gotten locked out of my apartment and was on my patio. After a brief laugh, she said, "I'll come over and let you back in. I'm going to have to walk through your apartment, though. Is that okay?" Like I'm going to say, "No, I want you to find another way to let me in besides coming through my apartment." Ha! Of course, I said, "Yes, that's fine! I don't care!" Less than five minutes later, she was over to let me back in.

She had some trouble getting the door open, herself, so she sent a couple of maintenance guys over to work on the latch. I don't think I'm going to let the door close all the way anymore, though.

Why couldn't I get out of my patio, you ask? 1) My patio is made up of a 4-foot-high stone-brick wall with a 2-foot-high lattice on top that goes around the entire perimeter of my patio, attaching to my neighbors' apartments on either side, and I have no ladder out there, and I'm only 5 feet tall. 2) I'm pretty sure my front door was locked, and I didn't have my key with me.

Anyway, my boss sent me an e-mail birthday wish this morning, and my husband and I are going to have dinner together tonight, and then we're going to see a movie.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering 9/11: Not Only the WTC towers

Five years ago today, I was in a waiting room after getting my alergy shots when I saw the television. No, it wasn't the towers I saw, it was the Pentagon. I had a good friend who had worked at the Pentagon until about a year before the attack. She had a doctor's appointment scheduled there that morning. Apparently, the doctor's office was in the part of the Pentagon where the plane hit. Fortunately, she missed her appointment. Had she not, she would have been dead, incinerated by the blast.

When people remember the terrorist attacks of that fateful day, they seem to forget that the twin towers were not the only structures that were destroyed that day, and the lives lost there were not the sum total of all the lives lost.

I'm not trying to downplay the events of that day. Not in the least. I am simply trying to remind people that yes, a couple thousand people died in those towers, but between the United 93 flight that crashed in a field leaving a 50 foot crater in the ground and the plane that hit the Pentagon, there were at least 1,000 more people who died in those crashes.

About 3,000 people lost their lives that day. They all deserve to be remembered and mourned, not only those who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center towers. Remember and mourn also those who died at the Pentagon and in that field in Pennsylvania aboard United 93. Pray for those who escaped death and survived those attacks. Pray for the families of those who didn't.

United, we stand; divided, we fall. In God we trust. If we forget those who died, if we do not honor their memories, they will be lost forever. Likewise, if we categorize races with the acts of a few members of those races, we lose our ability to stay united, we lose our cultural diversity that binds us together into this great nation in which we live. We lose the wonderful gifts of diversity that God has granted us with.

We need to remember that those who died did not die at the hands of every Muslim person in this world. We need to remember that not all of middle-eastern descent are terrorists, and not all are dangerous. Not even all of middle-eastern descent are Muslim!

Remember those who died, remember those who lived and live still to remember that day. Remember those who are stereotyped as terrorists and are not. Remember that we are STILL Americans, and this is STILL the greatest country in the world. Remember that we must ALL stand together, or we will ALL fall together.

God bless the United States of America, and all her inhabitants.


Monday, September 04, 2006

It's so true. I need the prayers. (and) Happy Anniversary to us!

My husband got that shirt for me when we visited Little Sweden, USA. We went to just about every little shop in town.

I also got a Swedish cookbook, an anniversary hotplate, and a Swedish rosette maker. We stayed at a wonderful little bed and breakfast called the Rosberg House. Isn't it cute?

The room we were in is the one with the three narrow windows at the top of the house. It's called the Heritage Room. Appropriate for a town that is very proud of its Swedish heritage.

I think we'll be staying there again in the future.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sonogram Pics

My brother-in-law, Nick, edited my sister's sonogram pics so I could share them with all of you. See the baby?

Thursday, August 31, 2006

My niece or nephew's first pictures!!!

Thank you to my sister, Tonya, for giving me permission to post this picture!

Tonya is 13 weeks and 5 days pregnant as of today. My mom and I went to her first doctor's appointment with her on August 30. We got to hear the baby's heartbeat (159 beats per minute), and when she had her first sonogram, we got to see the baby for the first time. We could see the head, including the two hemispheres of the brain, in those pictures, as well as the legs and spinal cord.

In the monitor, we could even see the hand where the baby seemed to be waving at the camera!

This kid is going to be a performer. He or she was moving all around during the sonogram, waving... very active. It's almost amazing that my sister can't feel all that movement, but I guess the baby is still too small for that.

I'm guessing my brother-in-law, Nick, took the picture of my sister's profile. See her cute little baby bump!

Baby is due on March 3, 2007. Nick and Tonya should be able to find out the sex of the baby at her next appointment, which will be at the end of September.

Congratulations to the soon-to-be mommy and daddy of a very active, healthy baby!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Finding humor in tragedy

I'll probably add more to this post at a later time, as I find more topics that suit the title, but for now, this little gem:

I was listening to the police/emergency scanners at work when I heard the dispacher send a call out that sounded something like this:

"Two vehicles have hit a house, again, that's two vehicles versus a house."
An officer chimed in, "Was the vehicles moving, or was the house?"

By the chuckle in his voice, I could tell he was obviously joking. But, if the "house" was actually a mobile home, I guess the house could have been moving, too.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Celebrations all around!

As we prepare for the wedding of one Random Dan to one Intolerant Elle, and send them our congratulations, I am reminded of other wedding-related celebrations occurring this month and next:

My husband and I will be celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary on August 31!!!! If I can get enough time off, we might be able to go to a bed and breakfast in Little Sweden, USA! How cool would that be? On our wedding night, we stayed the night at a castle bed and breakfast here in town, which was cool! I can't wait (and hope) to see what a Swedish bed and breakfast is like!

Also, a good friend of mine since high school is having a bachelorette party this Saturday evening, and she is getting married on September 9. She and her fiance have been together just as long as Ron and I have, and they've been engaged a little longer than we've been married! That's a long engagement!

And then, on September 12, I will be celebrating my 26th birthday. Not that that's a big birthday to be celebrating or anything, but it's just another celebration that's happening soon. It also means, if you did the math, that I was less than two weeks away from my 22nd birthday when Ron and I got married. When my sister and brother-in-law got married, my sister was only a couple of weeks away from her 22nd birthday, too.

And the day before our anniversary, my sister has her first appointment with her OB, and will probably be able to hear her baby's heartbeat for the first time! She's about 11 1/2 weeks along now, and is just barely, barely starting to have a little bit of a baby bump!

So many happy events happening very soon! Congratulations to Dan and Elle, Congratulations to Lori and Chris, and congratulations to Nick and Tonya! And a big Wahooooo!!!! for Ron's and my 4th wedding anniversary!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A Complimentary Comparison

I went to the radio station this afternoon to record a phone interview with the State Treasurer for another At Issue program. This time, it's about unclaimed property and money, and how to find it and collect it.

Anyway, I was a little bit early, so I decided to drop by my boss's office to say hi. (He likes me and doesn't mind people dropping by without notice.) He's been going through old interview audition recordings trying to find someone to replace a part-time lady who recently quit, and he asked me what I thought of a couple of recordings.

After he let me listen to a couple of them, he said, "There's just something about it that's just not there. I can't put my finger on it. But when I listen to yours..." And then he played my audition recording, which I haven't heard since I was hired. "I mean, there's just no comparison!" I smiled and said, "Thank you." He smiled back and said, "You're welcome!"

Every once in a while, he turns on the radio while one of my news broadcasts is on, just to listen to how I sound, what I've included in the newscast, to see how I'm improving, etc. He said he was listening to my 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. newscasts this last Saturday, and he was very impressed. I told him at my interview that one of my biggest strengths was my ability to take constructive criticism very well, and since then, he's dropped me a couple of e-mails with constructive criticism in them. But today, it was all compliments.

I told him that I like what I'm doing at the station really well. In fact, I said, I think I like it more than newspaper work, and I was doing that for seven years! He got the biggest grin on his face, and said, "Really? That's good! I'm glad!"

I'll tell you: Of all the places I've worked, I have never had such a cool boss. Even my co-workers are cool. No one has a bad word about anyone else there. They really do treat everyone with integrity and respect. . . like family. . .family that gets along really well. I like it!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The calling of a pastor

The original post, which was published on August 8, has been removed by the author by request of those involved in the story. If you would like to read the post and/or comments, or would like to make a comment as to its contents, please e-mail me at mrs dot t dot swede at gmail dot com.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Independent at last!

I'm at a point right now when I can transition from my cam boot back into shoes, and my foot is strong enough now that I can depress the clutch in my pick-up. You know what that means: I can drive again!

Ron got me behind the wheel to practice depressing the clutch tonight, and I ended up driving all around the apartment complex. No pain, whatsoever. Unlike driving before I had my surgery, when the plate in my ankle would cause a cramp that would not allow my foot to move. There were times that I would be driving and my foot would cramp up, but I couldn't stop because I was in the middle of traffic, and I just had to put up with the pain of the cramp when I depressed the clutch. Never again!

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

What a good-looking foot!

Well, I guess that's a matter of opinion. I thought I'd share a couple of pictures of my foot.

This first one is my doctor's nurse cutting through the cotton that was wrapped around my foot/leg and the plaster bracing that kept it from moving.

This lady is wonderful. She has taken so many casts off of me and put new ones on, and is the same one who removed all the stitches I had. Fortunately, I didn't have any skin staples. Dr. Howell was nice to me. ;)

And, here is my foot, after the stitches were removed and steri-strips were put in place. The steri-strips are kind of like bandages that just keep everything in place after the stitches are removed.

You'll notice the "X" on my leg. They have to mark with an "X" or a "YES" the side that they're going to be operating on.

I have some residual swelling and bruising, but it's not bad. By the way, the yellow you're seeing there is bededine, not bruising.

This was a rather minor surgery, as I said before. All my doctor did was remove a metal plate and screws that were put in two years ago when he had to use bone grafting in the reconstruction of my feet. He also took off some bone spurring: some that resulted from that metal plate being loose, and some that had been there for years. In fact, the latter is some that the Shriners had considered removing when I was a kid, but were afraid that it would come back since I was so young.

I guess I'm not so young anymore. ;)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Fancy footwork

Today is the day I get my splint off and have the skin staples and stitches removed. And best of all, I get to skip casting altogether and go straight into a walking boot. I'm going to try to remember to take pictures of the splint before it gets cut off my foot, the staples before they get removed, and then me in my cam boot, which, by the way, is the same boot I used two years ago when I had my feet reconstructed.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The "good news" you're all waiting to hear:

My younger (but taller) sister, Tonya, and her husband Nick are expecting their first child! They recently celebrated their second anniversary in June, and it is assumed that it was the celebration of said anniversary that led to the expectation of this child.

Anyway, since my sister is my only sibling, this will be my first niece or nephew by blood. My husband's siblings have children (well, all but one does, that is), but I never get to see them, and they're not blood relatives. Don't get me wrong, I still love them, but since they're all at least 1,000 miles away, it's difficult to see them.

So now, I'm taking suggestions as to what kinds of games and gifts to have for her baby shower, which will probably be in February. I've got a few ideas, but I'd love to hear yours.

By the way, my sister has worked in day care for a number of years, and is currently in a supervisory position at the child development center at the local Air Force base. She gets asked lots of parenting questions by parents who know that she has learned enough by day care experience and in her studies in college to know how to care for kids, but she is not so familiar with the whole pregnancy thing. So, any advice you would like me to send along to her would be great, too.

Congratulations, Sis!

At Issue: Inflammatory Breast Cancer

This Sunday morning, a program that I have spent weeks putting together will air on several radio stations in the city. Of course, this is a pre-recorded, prepared program that will run while I'm either getting ready for church or on my way there with my husband. And the cool part is that you can listen, too! Just go to the podcasting site, click on the link, and listen. I guarantee it's worth your time. It won't be up until Sunday, though, so if you try to listen before then, you'll be out of luck.

The topic on the At Issue program that I did is Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Although it only occurs in 1 to 3 percent of all breast cancers, it is very much an unknown cancer. My program is one that is meant not to cause fear or panic, just to inform, to educate the public.

As a bonus, you get to see how meant-to-be-a-journalist I am, and you get to hear my voice, which is an added bonus, since blogging doesn't really give you any clue as to what this journalist from Kansas sounds like.

I've interviewed two doctors (although one gave a better interview because he's the president of the Cancer Center of Kansas), and one woman who is in remission from Inflammatory Breast Cancer. It's a very eye-opening segment, which is worth your time to listen to. As I say at the beginning of the segment, it's information that could just save your life or the life of someone you love.

And because it can attack anyone, particularly women, of any age (Dr. Dakhil said he's seen patients from age 25 to 80 with it), I have a good feeling that it is relevant to the majority of those reading this blog, too.

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments section. If it's something you don't want to share with others, e-mail me at mrs dot t dot swede at gmail dot com. I'll do my best to answer your questions, and if I can't, I'll give you a reference for who can.

It's kind of cool that I got to do this, because in reporting on IBC in this way, I have kind of become a mini-information source. This is the most awesome way to expand my mind, and I love every minute of it.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Pennies – The currency, not the store

A few days ago when I was at work, I asked one of my co-workers if he could go downstairs and get something for me out of the vending machine. I had 70 cents in dimes, nickels and a quarter, plus five pennies that I couldn't use in the vending machine. Of course, the item I wanted was 75 cents. The guy who had gone down to get that item for me chipped in a nickel, and I offered him the five pennies to make up the difference, but (surprise, surprise) he didn't want them.

But when you go to the grocery store (at least in Kansas, where everything has tax added to it), you end up with an uneven total most of the time, so if you're paying with cash and want to use exact change, you have to use pennies. And, conversely, if you don't have exact change, you get pennies back. Some people just tell the cashier to "keep the change" because they don't want the pennies.

Obviously, since pennies don't work in vending machines, they're not going to work at a coin-operated car wash or gumball machine or anywhere else. They seem to only be useful when paying for something in a restaraunt or in a grocery store and using exact change.

And now, the government is considering getting rid of pennies altogether, because the zinc used in their production (about 97% of their production, in fact) is costing the government more than the coin is worth to produce. I don't know about what you think, but if the government gets rid of pennies, everyone is going to have to make changes. Tax rates will have to be rounded not down, but up, to bring the total of purchases, etc., to the next nickel. That's a huge change for everyone.

But, as for the positive, that means no loose pennies hanging around that will never be used. It also means that if the government is going to phase them out, we need to start collecting what we have. They may be worth a lot more someday.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Vocations and Medical Science

I am only 25 years old, and have already had 18 surgeries on my feet, two hernia surgeries when I was very young, sinus surgery when I was in high school, and if you want to count it as a surgery, I had my wisdom teeth removed. If all of those are counted, I have had 22 surgeries, and I'm not quite done yet with my feet.

As far as my feet go, I have had my bones cut through, realigned, pinned, and shaved, and even have screws in some of them. I have so many scars on my feet, they look like they've been through a war. And if life and the fight to be able to walk can be considered a war, then the anaysis is appropriate.

Every time, my bones and my skin have healed well, and after the appropriate recovery time, the bones have worked better than before. It is incredible the strides that medical science has made to allow me to walk, and at the same time, it is very understandable. Why? Because the scientists and doctors working to make this possible have been given the ability to learn and to use their knowledge to help others through their vocations, given by God.

Even if some of these scientists and doctors deny the very existence of God, He uses them in order to bring healing and hope to those who otherwise would have none. I'll give an example:

Who do you think started and is responsible for funding much of the Shriners' Hospital at its various locations throughout the US? You realize that all of the work they do and the help they offer to their patients is done free of charge, right? The organization responsible is none other than the Masons. Masons aren't Christians, but they help Christians all the time. They also help Buddhists, Hidus, Muslims and any other group that seeks help from the Shriners' Hospital.

Vocations are interesting things: You don't have to be a Christian in order to help a Christian. You don't have to believe in God in order to be used by Him to help those who do believe in Him. Of course, I think it helps your vocation if you are a Christian. Anything and anyone can benefit from being a Christian, the biggest benefit, of course, being eternal life in Heaven.

Anyway, to avoid total digression, God uses even those who do not know (or even defy) Him for the good of those who do. That is how a group such as the Masons, who fund and largely support the Shriners' Hospital, can be used and given a vocation that helps people like me. Without the help I was given through the Shriners, I would not have been able to walk at all. The doctors who have benefited from the teaching done at those hospitals would not have learned what they did and would not have been in the position to help me or any of the millions of others who have been helped.

Of course, I hope and pray that eventually, these non-Christians one day become Christians. Christ has loved them and has been using them all along, helping them carry out very special vocations, to improve and, in some cases, save the lives of countless people.

Thank God for His compassion and love for ALL of His children, not just those who love Him back.

This is the way we wash our clothes, wash our clothes, wash our clothes...

The new washing machine is here! I guess I should say it's a Maytag Neptune front-loading washing machine. Take a look! Isn't that a cool washer?!

We didn't actually have to pay the price that is listed. Because the store we got it from doesn't advertise, we actually paid about $130 less than the price listed on that page. Of course delivery was $60, and we got the extended warranty that will last us 12 years.

In about another month or so, we'll be able to get the accompanying Maytag Neptune dryer, too! And, of course, we'll be saving about the same amount on that one, too.

These machines are so quiet, and very efficient. I'm looking forward to having the pair so I can do all my laundry in our apartment's laundry closet instead of asking my mom to take our laundry home with her to do it or finish it up for us. I mean, it's really sweet of her to take our laundry with her and do it for us, especially since I'm not able to carry anything or drive anywhere, but I'm sure she'll appreciate it very much when we have both a washer and a dryer.

Some goals are easier than others to attain.

The apartment complex that my husband and I recently moved into provides washer and dryer hookups in every apartment, which is nice. It's what we wanted. But we have never had a washer or dryer since we've been married because the complex we moved out of didn't have hookups. And since every one of these new apartments has hookups, there is no central laundry room.

So yesterday, when my husband came home for lunch, we drove over to the appliance store I worked at when I was in high school. They don't advertise, so they can pretty much beat anyone else's prices on every appliance they sell, and they don't have delivery people: technicians only. That way, when the technicians deliver the appliances, you're assured that everything will be hooked up correctly, and they can tell you exactly how to operate and care for your new appliance. Then, if you have any maintenace issues with it, even years after your purchase, they know exactly how to fix it, and have a warranty on the appliances and on their work for the life of the machine.

Anyway, since washers and dryers are so expensive (any good one that will last a long time, anyway), we just got the washer. It will be delivered sometime today between 2 and 6 p.m. In about 4 to 6 weeks, we should be able to get the accompanying dryer, too.

These are two of our expensive goals. The next one is to get a SleepLevel bed (similar to TempurPedic), and then a family vehicle since we want to start a family. We're looking at some of the smaller Toyota and Lexus SUVs. My pickup and his sports car aren't exactly baby-friendly.

Four years is long enough to wait after getting married, I think. I'm ready to be a mom. Give me the sleepless nights, the spit-up, the poopy diapers... I can handle it. It would be a blessing to have a child. And the older I get, the more I want one. At least one.

Hey, at least we'll have the washer and dryer by then so I won't have to take all the spit-up stained clothes and cloths to the laudromat. ;)

And I know my parents are looking forward to being grandparents. Maybe before long, they will be. Only God knows for sure when that will be. That's one of the reasons they built the house they're living in now. It has two guest bedrooms and a nice full basement that my dad still needs to finish. I teased them about building a bigger house AFTER my sister and I got married and moved away. Oh, well.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Getting closer to normal life...

This morning, my mom is getting rid of her cam boot, and is transitioning back into shoes. The problem, which will soon be solved, is that the shoes she had before her surgery will no longer work because when her arch fell, it messed them up. So, hopefully, I'll get to go with her to help her find a new pair.

And then tonight, I'm going to go back to work for the first time since my surgery. My boss called me yesterday to see how I was feeling and to see when I might be ready to come back. He said that if I wasn't feeling up to it, I could wait until tomorrow to come back, or wait longer if I needed to. What a cool boss! I've never had a boss who called me to see how I was feeling, or who was so understanding as to tell me to take as long as I need to before coming back to work. He rocks! And if he somehow comes across this blog (which I'm not advertising at work), I hope he sees that I'm very appreciative of his generosity.

I haven't been taking too many percocet or other pain pills lately, although I should probably take more ibuprophen to help alleviate the swelling. Yesterday, I was able to go about nine hours in between doses, when I could have taken one pill every three to four hours. My pain is very manageable right now, which is excellent.

When my hubby gets home, I think I'll have him take a picture of me so I can put it on this blog and you can see for yourselves how I'm getting around, and maybe see the parts of our apartment that have been organized!

As for the "news" I'm waiting to share, which I mentioned yesterday: it's my sister's news, which she asked me to hold off on sharing until she gave me the go-ahead. So, sis, when you're ready, let me know, and I'll do a special post on it!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Blogging from Bed

I'll bet you're all just dying for an update by now, aren't you? Well, we have our computer back, have finished moving, and I just had my surgery yesterday morning.

The new apartment is wonderful. I have a lot more room to put things in my kitchen, I have a dishwasher, and to top it all off, the management actually manages things (unlike where we used to live, where I would have to call the owner about problems because the manager liked his video games too much).

I was the first case of the day yesterday morning. I had to be at the surgery center at 6:15 a.m., and my surgery was scheduled for 7:30. As far as I know, I got in at that time, and the surgery only took about 30 minutes. I got a one-inch-long metal plate removed from my left foot, along with the corresponding one-inch-long screws that held it in place. They were going to do a regional block, but it didn't work, so they had to use general anesthesia. Oh, well. I was still able to go home by 10:30 that same morning!

I think the regional block did eventually work, though, because for the longest time yesterday, I couldn't feel anything from my knee down. I couldn't even move my leg starting at the knee: it was all like dead weight. And the splint is heavy, made with plaster for a shell, my leg is wrapped in cotton, and it's all held together by more cotton wrapping and a large Ace bandage.

Now, though, I can feel my leg and am starting to be able to wiggle my toes again, but I have to be careful, because if I do it too much, it starts hurting.

I have other exciting news to share, but I'm waiting to hear from the people it most directly affects before I share it with the world. I'm just bursting about it inside, though, because it affects me in a large part, too, although not as directly!

Well, my Terrible Swede is back at work today after taking all of yesterday off so he could help me and be with me. My mom, who has been driving herself now for a couple of weeks!, is planning on being over here at my new apartment sometime this morning so she can help me like I helped her when she was in my place. I already have some tasks waiting for her for when she gets here.

I am so thankful to God for allowing me to have this surgery, keeping me from too much pain, and for putting people in my life who truly care about me and are willing to help me out, even if they have to drive for 30-45 minutes to get to me, as my mom does.

And I'm also thankful for those who were with me when I was getting ready to go into the operating room: My husband, my mom, my sister, and Pastor Brockman from our new home church.

God is so good. My recovery is only supposed to be one month. I'll be in this splint until July 25, and then I get to have a cam boot, which I can walk in. I'll have that for two weeks, and then I can start wearing my shoes again! Fabulous!

Anyway, I think I'm going to see if I can find any pants that will go over this huge splint. I may just have to wear my shorts again. I'll write again soon. Now that I have Internet at home again, I can promise that.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Women (and men): Take Note!

Being a member of the media has its advantages. Among those advantages is the opportunity to learn about and inform and educate the public about issues of deep importance. And since I frequently have foreknowledge of these issues, I will, from time to time, share them with you, especially if I think they are education items of dire urgency. This is one of those issues.

There is a relatively rare form of breast cancer that doctors are just beginning to learn about and try to find a way to treat. It is called Inflammatory Breast Cancer, and it can be deadly if not treated immediately.

A quote from the above-linked site:

INFLAMMATORY BREAST CANCER (IBC) is an advanced and accelerated form of breast cancer usually not detected by mammograms or ultrasounds. Inflammatory breast cancer requires immediate aggressive treatment with chemotherapy prior to surgery and is treated differently than more common types of breast cancer.

The symptoms are seemingly odd: red spots that may first appear like bug bites, fast swelling
of the affected breast that can add up to a cup size within a week, spots that look like bruising
that never go away, retracted nipples. . . If it's not recognized and treated aggressively, as stated above, it can be deadly.

I usually don't post about things like this, but I feel that it is of the utmost importance. I've already talked to my boss about writing a series of stories about this for our newscasts, and he wants them done very soon. I have yet to find a local connection to this story, so if you know where I live and know of someone in my area who's dealt with this, ask them to contact me if they would be willing, even anonymously, to talk to me about it in an interview.

Here is a link to a news broadcast that was done by one TV station. Watch it. This is not something you should overlook.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Moving on up!

To the east side of town, that is, and to a bigger, better apartment. That's right. My hubby and I are soon going to be moving out of our 400 sq. ft. apartment into one that is 836 sq. ft. in a complex that has a swimming pool and tennis court, and a nifty club house! When does this move take place, you ask? Saturday, July 1. Needless to say, I've been busy getting things ready for the move, and that's why I haven't been posting on my blog since the Carnival.

Also, just as a note, we're supposed to be getting repairs done on our computer, and we have to send it away for about two weeks, so we won't be able to chat, blog or send or recieve e-mails very well until then.

And another item of interest: If you remember me talking about having to have more surgery, or even if you don't, I have an update on that, too. I will be having a metal plate removed from my left foot on Monday, July 10. This is a small plate that was put in place to hold together some bone grafting I had done two years ago. The surgery will be done on an outpatient basis, and will take less than an hour. I'll be home later that day.

My doctor said I'll have a splint (non-weight-bearing) for two weeks, and then can move into a walking boot for two weeks. After that, I can ease myself back into shoes. Not bad. Then, a few months later, I'll have to have the same thing done to my right foot. The good thing is that I shouldn't have to miss work or school.

My mom is doing well, too. She should be able to wear regular shoes in about three weeks, but she should be able to drive before that. Which is good, because it'll soon be time to switch roles and let her drive me around! ;)

I'll give you another update and post again after the computer gets fixed. May God bless you and keep you until we meet again.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Lutheran Carnival XXV: Whitsunday

Welcome to the 25th installment of the Lutheran Carnival! Compiled below are some fascinating posts from a number of wonderful bloggers, but before we get to the Carnival of Lutheran Blogs, I would first like to bring to your attention that this is Whitsunday, the first Sunday in the church season of Pentecost.

For your benefit, and mine, I have found some information given on the LCMS website that summarizes this season.
The word "Pentecost" is derived from the Greek word for "fifty." The Day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2, occurred 50 days after Jesus' resurrection and 10 days after His ascension.

The day celebrates the sending of the Holy Spirit to the disciples following Jesus' ascension. On the 50th day after the Sabbath of Passover week, the Jews celebrated a festival of thanksgiving for the harvest.

It was known by a number of different names: Feast of Weeks (Ex. 34:22; Deut. 16:10), Feast of Harvest (Ex. 23:16), Day of First fruits (Num. 28:26). The "Feast of Weeks" was the second-most important festival for the Jews. (The most important was Passover.) This explains why so many people from all over the Roman empire were in Jerusalem on the day when the Holy Spirit was sent (see Acts 2:8?11).

The Day of Pentecost is seen as the culmination of the Easter season. In many calendars, the day is listed as "Whitsunday." This comes from the phrase "White Sunday," and refers to practice of the newly baptized appearing in their white, baptismal garments on that day.

The color of the day is red, symbolizing the tongues of fire that appeared on the apostles. In the early church, Jesus' ascension and the sending of the Spirit were celebrated together. By the seventh century, Pentecost had become such an important festival that the whole week following was set aside to observe it. Law courts were not in session, and most work was forbidden.

By the 12th century this was limited to only three days. In most European countries the Monday after Pentecost is still observed as a holiday.
Pastor Snyder of Ask the Pastor adds the following:
Our Pentecost is actually celebrated *49* days *after* Easter (IOW, on the 50th day *of* the Resurrection) but its Jewish counterpart obviously had a different numbering.

Deuteronomy 16:9-10 says, "You shall count seven weeks. Begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain. you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the Lord your God blesses you."
Now that we have introduced Pentecost, it's time to meet our Church Father for this edition of the Carnival: C. F. W. Walther! I searched through all of the previous Carnival editions, and was surprised that no one had highlighted him. Most people have referenced some of his works, but never highlighted him.

Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm (C.F.W.) Walther (October 25, 1811 - May 17, 1887), was the first President of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod and its most influential theologian.

Born a pastor's son in Langenchursdorf in the Kingdom of Saxony (part of modern-day Germany), Walther enrolled at the University of Leipzig to study theology In October of 1829.

He had to take six months off from the university due to a nearly-fatal lung disease; during the time off he acquainted himself with the works of Martin Luther, and became convinced that Luther's theology clearly taught the doctrines of Holy Scripture.

On January 15, 1837, he was ordained as a pastor in the town of Bräunsdorf, Saxony. He was soon at odds with the government of Saxony, because he believed it departed from the faith and practice of historic Lutheranism and promoted false doctrine.

Controversy over Stephan Walther and many others who opposed the Saxon government's view religious policies came together under the leadership of a Pastor holding similar views, Martin Stephan from Dresden.

In November 1838, eight-hundred Saxon immigrants left for America, hoping for the freedom to practice their religious beliefs. The settlers arrived in New Orleans on January 5, 1839, and the majority of immigrants settled in the area of St. Louis. Stephan served initially as the Bishop of the new settlement, but, having been charged with corruption and sexual misconduct, was swiftly expelled from the settlement, leaving Walther as the one of the most well-respected clergymen remaining.

Following this crisis of leadership, considerable debate filled the settlement over the proper role of the church in the New World: was it a new church, or did it remain within the German Lutheran hierarchy? Walther's position, derived from his reading of Luther during a long convalescence, prevailed: this was a new church, free of prior strictures and structures.

Walther's Ministry

In May 1841 Walther became Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, a position he held until his death. Later that year, on September 21, he married Emilie Buenger; six children issued from this union. On April 26, 1847, the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod was founded. Walther served as its first president, a position he held from 1847 to 1850 and again from 1864 to 1878.

During his forty years of involvement in the church, Walther held several positions, including that of president of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (founded at Perry County, Missouri in 1838), President of Concordia Theological Seminary, now of Fort Wayne, Indiana (1861), and founder of the St. Louis Lutheran Bible Society (1853). He also began and edited several Lutheran periodicals, including Der Lutheraner and Lehre und Wehre. He wrote a number of theological books; perhaps the best known is The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel.

Walther also vigorously opposed the theologies of non-Lutheran denominations in America, the influence of the major secular philosophies and movements upon Lutheran thought and practice and defended the doctrinal and cultural heritage of the Lutheran Church. He died in St. Louis on May 7, 1887, and was buried at Concordia Cemetery, where a mausoleum was later built in his honor.

Now, on with the Carnival!

I'm giving the Golden Journalist's Pen Award to the first person who sent in submissions for the 25th installment of the Lutheran Carnival. This award goes to "Der Bettler" of Hoc Est Verum. He sent in a post entitled, "Real Church Growth." In it, he discuses "A look at an alternative plan for church growth." A more in-depth look is given into how we can achieve growth in our church without sacrificing or diluting our own core teachings.

The runner-up for the Golden Journalist's Pen Award goes to the second person to submit posts, turning them in less than one hour after Hoc Est Verum. That person is Dan of Necessary Roughness with his post entitled "Paying for Consequences, Known and Unknown." He says, "The New York Times, in an article about HPV, puts forth the assumption that Christians oppose mandatory vaccination on religious grounds." Dan refutes this and goes on to attack the logic that we are to avoid sinful behavior simply because of its consequences.

Dan also submitted a post entitled "CEN and Vespers at Memorial in Houston." He describes having the opportunity to visit Memorial Lutheran Church and School on Christian Education Night and reports on the teaching and language skills of the senior pastor.

Dr. CPA of Three Hierarchies submitted a number of good posts: First, he uses two obscure byways of Christian history to illustrate the enduring relevance of Luther's reading of St. Paul's
epistles. In "How Do I Get a Gracious God?" in the Intertestamental Era, he shows that a Jewish apocryphal dialogue exemplifies the kind of temptation and despair that some would like to see as only a personal eccentricity of Luther. In "The Theodicy of Bondage of the Will in Novel Form," CPA illustrates this same movement from despair of God's mercy to reliance on Christ in the novels of Harriet Beecher Stowe.

In an older post, "What is Christian Liberty For?" he argues that multi-culturalism – of a specific kind -- is central to practicing and understanding Christian liberty. In "Is Fermented Mare's Milk Unclean?" he illustrates the theological and pastoral disaster that can strike when Paul is not read as making a general statement about all law in his statement that the Law can never justify, but as only including Jewish law or Mosaic law.

The next submission comes from Outer Rim Territories, who discusses The Baptismal Practice & Theology of the Early Church and Martin Luther. This post was written for a seminary class. If you are confused about certain elements of the baptismal rite (like candle, garment, anointing) or the historicity of the rite, it might be useful. The PDF chart comparing the rites is most useful.

Next is Pastor Klages from A Beggar At The Table, with his post "Pray for your Pastor." On behalf of pastors everywhere, Pastor Klages encourages his readers to pray for their pastors. Mrs. T. Swede's note: This is important. Pastors don't often get to worship on Sundays like the people they minister to; they are too busy working. When you pray for your pastor, you give him spiritual nourishment, too. It's also important to thank God for your pastor.

Frank at Putting Out the Fire submitted "Easter Hymn For Rogate," in which he gives us his thoughts on hymnody being a confession of faith. He continues his series of posts on hymnody with a look at how a hymn should reflect the doctrine of Sola Gratia set forth in Scripture. His hymn for Rogate is used to touch on the subjects of conversion, grace and justification.

And I am pleased to introduce, submitting to the Carnival for the first time, Old School Confessional, and his post, "Plagiarism in the Pulpit." This brief post laments the deplorable practice of preaching sermons that a pastor did not write himself. It invites discussion on this topic with regard to prevalence of the practice; importance of the issue; and pastoral fidelity to the Word of God, the congregation, and the ministry.

Then, we have the founder of our Lutheran Carnival, Random Dan (or, as my husband calls him, Dan the Geologist) from Random Thoughts of a Confessional Lutheran. In his post called "Tough Love," Dan explains why he is harder on LCMSers who go wrong than on others outside the LCMS. Mrs. T. Swede's note: In my opinion, it's easier to see where people are going wrong when you are firmly planted in the correct theology, and at the same time, harder to understand why they would stray.

Kelly of Kelly's Blog submitted "Mensa"-styled Bible puzzles. Kelly tries her hand at creating some Bible puzzles styled after a certain Mensa game format. Give it a whirl and see how you do. (This particular game plays a little like reverse "Outburst.")

Next, our organist friend Sean of Hot Lutheran On Lutheran Action submitted "The Confessional Lutheran Church: A Church That's All About You." Sean makes an unusual statement in his pitch for why the Confessional Lutheran Church has the most to offer: It's all about you! Mrs. T. Swede's note: Thank you, Sean, for telling us about how God serves us by His Word. I think this is something we should all take note of.

Aardvark Alley had its usual complement of church festivals and commemorations. Among them, he shined the spotlight on early Church historian and theologian The Venerable Bede. He also introduced his readers to clever continuations of C. S. Lewis's Screwtape Letters in Oh! The Wormwood and the Gall.

Some people, like Pastor Snyder (Thanks again, Pastor, for your help with the Pentecost info!), are a part of more than one successful blog, each with wonderful information and thought-provoking wisdom to share.

1.) Luther Library continues to review books on a wide range of topics. This week, Dcs. Emily Carder gave a glowing report, highly recommending Women Who Make the World Worse by Kate O'Bierne.

2.) Should there be Prayer in Public Schools? Yes and no, opines Pastor Snyder of Ask the Pastor. He gives his reasons why he wouldn't want to return to the "good old days" of his youth in the 60s. Among a wide variety of other questions with which he dealt, he dealt with issues of pastoral confidentiality as he discussed The Seal of the Confessional. He also discusses The Da Vinci Code: Mormons and the Marriage of Jesus, in which he explains what the Mormons believe and teach regarding the life of Jesus, and whether He was married.

TK of Be Strong in the Grace submitted a post which deals with a topic close to my heart. I always enjoy reading what she has to post, and this one is no different: Beauty of Private Confession and Absolution. This is something I find particularly comforting and wonderful, and I pray that everyone has the opportunity to read this. (I have also posted about private confession in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.) In TK's post, she talks about her family's first, but not last, experience with private confession and absolution.

And now, the very latest entry to the Carnival: Terrible Swede and his post Conflict of Interest. In this post, he asks for answers to the question of what pastors do when he and the local congregation that supports the him differ on theological issues (women elders, abortion, open communion, etc.). If you have an idea of how these issues can be solved or mediated, let him know.

Finally, a draft to the Carnival, recommended by Dan of Necessary Roughness. Pastor Borghardt of Bloghardt's Reflector brings us Gospel Freedom and Its Limits. In his post, Pastor Borghardt says "To prescribe an end to Gospel freedom is to put a Law on the Gospel. You don't wanna do that. Why? Well, if there is a limit on the Gospel, then we are lost. For, there would be a limit to Christ's all availing sacrifice FOR ALL men." To learn more on this topic, go to his site and read on!

Just as a reminder, the next Carnival will be hosted by A Beggar at the Table. Submissions are due June 16, and the Carnival should be up by June 18.

Also, more hosts are needed! If you would be willing to host Carnivals XXVII through XXIX, please send an e-mail to daniel dot sellers at gmail dot com, and put the words Carnival Host in the subject line.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Carnival is ready to publish, but...

My husband decided he wants to submit something, too. The problem is that he hasn't written it yet. His plan is to write it while I'm at work tomorrow afternoon. I have to be at work at 1:30 p.m., and I won't get home until around 6:30 p.m., so if he has it written by then, I might have the Carnival up by 7 p.m.

In the meantime, feel free to badger him by e-mailing him at t dot swede at gmail dot com. And thank you all for your submissions, and your patience. This is going to be an awesome Carnival, whether or not my husband gets his post submitted to me before I beat him over the head with the laptop. (Just kidding.)

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

All right, slow pokes...

So far, only THREE people have sent submissions to this edition of the Lutheran Carnival! And it's Wednesday! Where are all of the regular contributors? This is going to be a really
lame carnival if only three people have submissions. So, start typing, people! You have until 7 p.m. Friday to get your submissions in. THAT'S TWO DAYS AWAY!

Come on, people. Don't let us down. For directions on how to submit your posts, see the link in my post below.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


All right, so it's been a while since I've posted anything. But I'm about to make up for it... Carnival style!

That's right, I'm hosting the next Lutheran Carnival right here on Journalistic Jargon. There are no house rules, so whatever Lutheran stuff you have, especially if it has to do with the upcoming church season of Pentecost, which starts Sunday, please send in your posts. If you have more than one post you'd like to send in, please do. If you have more than four, please pick your best four and send them in.

Make sure you follow the directions on the main Carnival site, and e-mail your summaries to lutheran carnival at gmail dot com. Let's make this a great one.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Update on my mom

Tuesday, my mom got rid of her non-weight-bearing cast and traded it in for a walking cast. She is doing very well, and is thrilled that she no longer has to hop along. (Hopalong, that's funny! Just kidding. Sort of.) She'll be in the walking cast for a month, after which, she gets a cam walker, which is a plastic shell brace with a fabric insert that straps onto the leg for removable support. She'll have the boot for two weeks, so right now, she's half-way back to normal.

Thank you for all your prayers!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

God is on my side

You know, you hear people say that a lot, mostly when they are trying to intimidate others or brag on their good luck. But God really is fighting for you more often than you give Him credit for.

Disaster was avoided today, but by less than one car-length. God was truely looking out for me and the other drivers around me. Here's what happened:

I was heading home from my parents' house after helping my mom out today, driving on the highway at 70 mph, when some girl in a small Honda car pulled out onto the highway from a side street right in front of me. I had to slam on the brakes. In fact, I did so so hard that my tires squeeled for about five whole seconds. I honked at the driver of that car, and she seemed to be slowly speeding up. I had to slow down from 70 to about 35 or 40 mph in less than five seconds. I came within less than one car-length of smashing her back end in and disabling my pick-up. A crash like that would have totaled both vehicles, and would have seriously injured us both.

Before you ask, no, it was not possible for me to move into the lane next to me: there were other cars there, and at the rate of speed I was travelling and braking, had I tried to swerve or switch lanes, I could have rolled my truck. I'm just thankful that God was there to guide me and make me realize this in the split seconds it happened in.

Yes, God was protecting all of us who were driving on that highway today. Had he not, several people could have been in the hospital right now.

See, I could say, "God protects me from stupid drivers," but then I would also have to say that God protects them from me, and that he protects them from themselves and others who might not react in the same collected way that I did.

Whenever I'm afraid or uncertain of something, I try to always remember my Confirmation Bible verse: Joshua 1:9. It says, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

It seems to work in almost every situation in which I am uncertain or afraid of something or someone. I always know that God is on and by my side. He guides me and the people around me. And although we're not always the best at listening to Him, He protects us and only allows those situations and people into our lives because He has a plan.

I have shared that passage with a lot of people, and it is always a comfort. Who wouldn't want to know that God is always there? I mean besides our sinful nature, which always wants to believe we can do it all without God's help?

If we're honest with ourselves, we know that the only way we can survive in a world at turbulent and violent as our own is if God is there beside us, guiding us and leading us, and oftentimes carrying us. Let's face it: if we were in charge and didn't have our Christian faith, we'd be no better off than the agnostics, athiests and non-Christian religions of the world who deny the One True God. One has only to look at the Islamic nations.

I have a reading suggestion for you. (What? This from the woman who hardly reads any book that's not assigned to her to read?) Yes, and I promise you will find it intriguing, one you won't easily be able to put down. It's called "The Great Divide: The Failure of Islam and the Triumph of the West" by Pastor Alvin J. Schmidt.

When you read this and further your understanding of just how wonderful our God truly is, especially compared to the other religion in this world that has millions of followers, you will also see just how powerful it is to know that our God, the One True God, is always with us, no matter where we go or what situations may try to take us from Him. His love is so strong.

Thank you, God, for being with me wherever I go, and for keeping me safe in the shadows of danger and death. Amen.

Friday, May 05, 2006

A Birthday Wish...

Happy 30th Birthday to Random Dan, the geologist!

I've got mail!

Fan mail, that is! When I was at work yesterday, I checked my mailbox, and to my surprise, I had a postcard in it from one of our listeners. Here is what it says:

"Congratulations on having 'Mrs. Swede' as a newscaster! Her diction is perfect. It is a pleasure to be able to understand her."

Of course, s/he used my real name, even though it was misspelled. This postcard came from someone I've never met before, but s/he likes my reports. I've never had fan mail before. I think I could get used to it, though! ;)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

An update, at long last

I've been keeping really busy lately. Every weekday, I help my mom do at home and around town what she cannot do herself. Today, it was taking my parents' poodle to the vet to have his teeth cleaned, Mom in tow. It's been kinda nice spending quality time with my mom. To her benefit, she's found out how well I've learned to cook!

As of today, my mom has one week left before she gets a walking cast. Before you get too excited, it's still going to be about two weeks after she gets her walking cast before she can walk without crutches, and she's still not going to be able to drive until she's completely free of casts and splints and everything.

So, that's what I'm doing during the daytime. And if you've been wondering why I've not said anything lately about searching for work, it's because I did find something. It's only part-time, but it's gaining me some attention, whether I really want to be publicly recognized or not: I've been hired as a radio news anchor. I only work one or two weeknights regularly, and I'm also working weekends. All of my hours are evening and nighttime. Most of the time, unless I'm covering for someone, I get off work at midnight, and get to bed at about 1 a.m.

I'm enjoying my work, although I wish I worked more hours and got more pay for my education and experience. On the plus side, my schedule is flexible and my boss is wonderful. I've never heard any of my co-workers speak ill of him. In fact, it's been the complete opposite: they have all said how understanding and kind he is.

The really cool thing is that I almost always know what's happening in the world/community before anyone else does, and it's up to me to get that information out there, and/or send out one of our reporters to get the info. I get to write up stories, record voice clips, and deliver that information to the largest listening audience in all of Kansas.

Now, this broadcasting group and the two stations (FM and AM) that I'm associated with play music, too. However, because of my personal preferences and because I'm way too busy to pay attention to it, I don't listen to the music: I focus on the news I'm reporting. It's important in this industry to make it seem as if you're talking directly to each and every person who's listening. So I pay close attention to the news, completely ignoring the music that's played, if I can help it. ;)

I'll type more later, I promise. :)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


In case you have not noticed or visited Random Dan's blog site, check out the reference to Intolerant Elle in his left sidebar. It's changed, and so have our plans regarding them!

My husband and I have known for a while, but we had to keep our fingers off the keys regarding this news because it wasn't our news to announce. My husband and Dan are best friends, so we will be attending the wedding, of course.

You may want to frequent Dan and Elle's blogs to get more information as they release it. I'd tell you more about it if it was my news to release.

It's time to celebrate!!!! Congratulations to the happy couple! May God bless you with many years (not tears).

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Not again!

This morning, I went to see my orthopaedic doctor because for the last few months, my left foot has been cramping up on me, and in the place where I have a metal plate that was surgically inserted to keep a bone graft in place, it pops every once in a while, causing a jolting pain. I had to get a referral, believe it or not, to see the doctor who put that plate in, because my husband and I have an HMO insurance plan, and specialists aren't covered except by referral.

Anyway, when I saw my doctor this morning and told him what has been happening, he had a couple of x-rays done and examined my foot where I told him I have been having the pain. He came to this conclusion: I have a slight bone spur near the metal plate, and that metal plate needs to be removed because it's a little loose. It would, more than likely, be a same-day procedure, but I would probably have to be casted for a while until that area healed, but I'm not sure. Our conversation didn't get that far.

I told him that I would like to wait until my mom is able to get around on both feet before I have that done, because it would disallow me from taking care of her when she needs me. Also, I won't be able to drive after I have this done, because I drive a manual transmission pick-up and have to use both feet to drive it. He said that would be fine, and I'm scheduled to go back for a follow-up visit on June 6, at which time we will probably schedule the surgery.

By the way, for those of you who are keeping track, this will be surgery number 18 for me, between the two feet. I've had other surgeries in the past, too: two hernia surgeries when I was about 5 years old, and sinus surgery when I was in high school. I guess you could say I'm a mess. Surgery doesn't really scare me anymore. In fact, when my doctor was talking to me about it today, I didn't flinch or tear up or anything: I handled it very matter-of-factly.

See, when it's me, I don't care all that much, as long as it's nothing serious, and praise be to God that nothing I've ever had to have done was of a serious nature. But when it's someone else, like my mom, it really affects me.

Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that my family and I can never have enough prayers said for us. I've asked for prayers so many times that I know some of you are probably saying the same thing I am: "Not again!" Well, yes, unfortunately, it will happen again.

Maybe by the next time I need something done with my feet, the doctors and scientists will have developed working artificial feet and ankles, and I can just have them replace mine. You think I'm joking? My doctor told me two years ago that they're working on that, and I'd be "an exellent candidate." No joke. You will be amongst the first to know if that ever happens, though. It's probably very far away from being a workable invention.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Thank you for the prayers!

Finally, my mom is resting semi-comfortably in her own house, after having been admitted for foot surgery Wednesday. She stayed Wednesday and Thursday nights in the hospital, and was released at about noon today.

She is doing remarkably well. She's able to get around fairly well with crutches, although she's too weak yet to get too far right now. I'm really quite astonished at her progress.

This is quite a role-reversal for me. All the time I was growing up, she was the one taking care of me while I was going through my foot surgeries, and now my sister and I are taking turns caring for her while my dad is working. Strange, but I'm glad that after all she's done for me, I can finally show her my compassion and do for her what she's always done for me.

Her recovery will take about three months, so your prayers for a speedy and healthy recovery are still needed. I will probably be giving more updates as time goes along, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Once again asking for prayers

My mom is having surgery on her right foot today at 2:30 p.m. CST. Please pray that the surgery and her recovery go well, and that her pain is minimized.

As most of you already know, I've gone through 17 foot surgeries, so I know what my mom is facing, but it's completely different when someone other than yourself has to go through the same thing. Please keep her and her surgeon and nursing staff in your prayers today, and during her three-month-long recovery period.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Good quote about marriage

"I love being married. It's so great finding that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life." -Rita Rudner

Just ask my husband: it's so true!

WU Shocka-locka-locka!


We are the Black and Gold

"We will, we will SHOCK you!"

Sweet 16, Baby! Yeah! GO SHOX!

My alma mater kicks @$$!

You know, I'm not really much of a sports fan, but when the university I graduated from is doing so well and gaining national attention at the same time, I can't help but be proud. This is the first time in 25 years that WSU has done so well as to make it to the Sweet 16 basketball tournament. Did ya catch that? I was only an infant!

In case you're wondering, yes, I know we have one of the strangest mascots there is: a shock of wheat that's supposed to look intimidating. Well, interesting history: When Wichita University, as it was known at the time, opened, most of the students worked on farms shocking wheat into bundles during harvest times in order to earn money to attend their classes. Those who did this kind of work were called Wheat Shockers. Well, the name stuck, and for more than 100 years, those who attend Wichita State University, as it is now known, are referred to by the name Shockers. (No, Dan at NR, it's not "shucking." That's what you do to corn husks. ;D)