This is the soup I made for my family on Monday evening. It is from a new cookbook that I picked up at the book fair, called Keeping Good Company . This cookbook is full of down to earth, non-gourmet, wholesome family foods. I chose the Chicken Pasta Soup because, as many of you know, I am the Soup Nazi of Bismarck, and I am constantly searching for a new soup to tweak. This is a nice change from my classic chicken noodle and I am impressed by the volume of vegetables I could sneak in. This is not a quick and easy soup. It took me well over an hour to prepare. It is also not low fat, but if you ever saw the boys in bathing suits you would see that I am not needing to restrict their fat intake any time soon. I did redeem it somewhat by using whole wheat penne as the pasta…and not one of them noticed the switcheroo! So, without further ado:
I love to stand back and observe the boys. I prefer to do it when they don’t know I’m looking. Then I play a little game…I like to try and figure out where every goofy mannerism comes from. Sometimes I see a set of a jaw just like their father, sometimes I see a slight crossing of the eyes which comes from me. I watch them giggle at things that are not funny, me again. I watch them figure out complex problems and look pleased with themselves, definitely Dad.
These are enjoyable creatures that the Rev and I helped bring into the world. But oh my, some days I feel so pressured by the responsibility of it all, the fact that I have to try and make them into respectful, caring men, husbands, fathers. That is a HUGE job.
But you know what? I’m not in this alone. First off, God gave me my husband to father these boys. He does an incredible job. He can jump in just when I am ready to go into crazy mom mode. Sometimes he even jumps in long before I reach that point. He is an incredible and unselfish provider. He is a fabulous example of how to be caring, yet strong.
But, even if the Rev were not around, I would still not be alone in this feat. God promised that he is with me always. I remind you, and myself often, that people let me down. They really cannot help it. I let people down all the time. I am flawed. All of humanity is flawed. We are full of sin. We cannot escape it. Because of this sin, I will always be an imperfect mother, no matter how hard I try to achieve perfection, whatever that will look like. Thanks be to God, that he is perfect, and dependable, and steady and sure. He’s unchanging.
So, when I look at my boys, trying to see pieces of me and my husband in them, I hope to also see bits of their Heavenly Father in them as well. When I look at Andrew I see a staunchness and a firmness that I pray will keep him in his baptismal grace. When I look at William I see the kindness in his eyes, that comes from the compassion his Heavenly Father has. In Owen I see a yearning to know more of God, and an eagerness to tell others what he knows. And lastly, in Ethan I see the childlike, innocent faith that we all should have. He does not question, he just believes!
Dear President Elect Obama,
Congratulations on being elected to hold the highest office in the free world. You have taken on a difficult and daunting job.
I did not vote for you.
This is no secret.
The fact remains though, that you will be our president in a few short months. I am bound by the fourth commandment to act in a respectful manner towards you, whether I agree with your views or not. I am admonished in Martin Luther’s Small Catechism that “We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents or other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.”
I am oddly grateful for an opportunity that your ascending to the office of the President affords me. Since the time that my children were very small, I have had a photo of President Bush displayed in our living room. Ours is a patriotic family. I have taught my children to respect those in authority. Friends and family who have noticed this display have asked what we would do if a Democrat were elected president. We have always responded that if the new president wished to gift us with a portrait, we would display the leader of the free world in our home.
I have the opportunity to teach my children a new kind of honor and respect, the honor and respect that is more difficult. It is easy to love and respect a beloved parent, it is harder to respect a neglectful or abusive one. Likewise, it is easy to respect a president who shares your views, it is harder to show respect to someone who shares few if any of your ideals. Thank you for this challenge and opportunity.
Mr. Obama, rest assured that I will pray for you, as I have prayed for Mr. Bush. I pray that you can lead our country in such a way that we can come together as one nation under God. I pray for your family, as the White House can be a hard place to raise a family.
God Bless you, Mr. Obama, and God Bless America.
I did it again…I cried in church tonight. It happens every All Saints Day. We sing For All The Saints and I feel very brave and strong and sing joyfully for about three verses. Then I weep. I’m not a terribly emotionally charged person. I don’t cry about much. Unless I am pregnant Hallmark commercials have no effect on me.
I am much more stoic than my mother, she cries way more than me. I grew up watching my mom cry in church. She is emotional, I am made for mothering a gaggle of boys.
But when we are dealing with God’s awesome promises, and the foretaste of heaven and visions of all the Christian saints, all bets are off. When I picture my loved ones and brothers in the faith all endlessly praising God, clothed in white…I weep. And what mother would not be moved by the thought of “Sweet is the calm of paradise the blest.”
Between the readings tonight we sang another one of my favorite hymns, Behold A Host Arrayed in White”. We sang the first two verses between the Old Testament and Epistle lesson, and the third verse before the Gospel. When a hymn is split up, I find that I pay more attention to the words. Because of this I noticed something I had not noticed before. Near the end of the first verse is the line:”They now serve God both day and night; They sing their songs in endless light.” To me this line speaks volumes about vocation. Is that not what we are called to do? Are we not to serve God both day and night, by living out our callings, whatever they may be?
The motto of the hospital where I work is “Let all be received as Christ”. This seems like such a simple and basic principle, and just a natural outpouring of how we should live out our lives as Christians. BUT, reality and our fallen condition leaves us with crabby coworkers and difficult patients, and things that cannot be made better, and somehow receiving all as Christ becomes difficult, but a calling none the less.
I cannot wait for the day when serving God both day and night entails singing songs in endless light…I have a lot of favorite hymns!
Come Lord Jesus.
Behold a host, arrayed in white, like thousand snow clad mountains bright!
With palms they stand; who is this band, before the throne of light?
These are the saints of glorious fame, who from the great affliction came
And in the flood of Jesus’ blood are cleansed from guilt and shame.
They now serve God both day and night; they sing their songs in endless light.
Their anthems ring as they all sing with angels shining bright.
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