Sunday, September 30, 2007

"The Holy and Blessed Sacrament of Baptism" Luther's Works Vol. 35

Martin Luther says, "This faith is of all things the most necessary, for it is the ground of all comfort. He who does not possess such faith must despair of his sins. For the sin which remains after baptism makes it impossible for any good works to be pure before God. For this reason we must boldly and without fear hold fast to our baptism, and set it high against all sins and terror of conscience. We must humbly admit, 'I know full well that I cannot do a single thing that is pure. But I am baptized, and through my baptism God, who cannot lie, has bound himself in a covenant with me. He will not count my sin against me, but will slay it and blot it out.'"

Saturday, September 29, 2007


I think you gotta love poker to love this movie. After I got into Texas Hold'em a few years ago, I bought this movie, and I really enjoy it. It gives insight into the game and captures the excitement the game brings. Rounders, people who make their living by playing poker, are fascinating to me.

Friday, September 28, 2007

"Second Hand News" Fleetwood Mac

I can remember when I first heard "Second Hand News" on the radio. It was one of those songs that just got into my head and was so catchy. I think it's my favorite Fleetwood Mac song. To listen to a sample you can go here: Clips
"Down down down down down down down down down down down down down down down down down down down down."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

"Have No Fear, Little Flock"

Have no fear, little flock;
Have no fear little flock,
For the Father has chosen
to give you the Kingdom;
Have no fear, little flock!

Have good cheer, little flock;
Have good cheer, little flock,
For the Father will keep you
In His love forever;
Have good cheer, little flock!

Praise the Lord high above;
Praise the Lord high above,
For He stoops down to heal you,
Uplift and restore you;
Praise the Lord high above!

Thankful hearts raise to God;
Thankful hearts raise to God.
For He stays close beside you,
In all things works with you;
Thankful hearts raise to God!

Text: Heinz Werner Zimmermann and Marjorie A. Jillson
Tune: Heinz Werner Zimmermann

Lately I've been having trouble sleeping. And the other night as I was lying in bed with a bunch of stuff swirling around in my head, I was trying to pray and needed something to hold on to. And this hymn started going through my head. It was so comforting! Sometimes it's a hymn like this that is so comforting because it speaks simply and plainly that God is there taking care of us, and we really do have nothing to fear. It is that simple; it's something to hold on to in sleepless nights, in difficulties, in all the challenges and struggles in life.

The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel by C.F.W. Walther

The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel is awesome! I don't even know really what else to say about it. Walther just lays it all out. Understanding this distinction is crucial. "Without the Law the Gospel is not understood; without the Gospel the Law benefits us nothing." Unfortunately many people, many pastors, many church bodies, botch this up and lead people astray. As Walther says, "distinguishing the Law and Gospel is the most difficult and the highest art of Christians in general and of theologians in particular. It is taught only by the Holy Spirit in the school of experience." I read this first as an undergrad when I was studying to be a deaconess. I just recently completed an entire reread of it and was blown away again at how Walther explains everything.

Some passages from this book are included under the Theology label of this blog. Check it out!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

We Are Marshall

I wanted to see this movie originally because Matthew Fox was in it. And when I saw the movie in the theater (and then again on DVD) I was blown away at this telling of the plane crash in 1970 that took the lives of 75 people including most of the Marshall University Thundering Herd football team, coaches and athletic directors and some of the team's supporters. It is incredibly sad, yet this movie is also very much about healing and rebuilding after a tragedy. The movie is shot really well, and really captures well the grief the various people experienced and the process of working through that and figuring out how to go on. Great film, but anyone watching should have a box of Kleenex handy!

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Sunsets are amazing--such a reminder of what an awesome Creator we have! My year in Minnesota, I often went to the lakes at sunset. The picture on top I took at Clearwater Beach, FL. And the bottom pic I took outside my house a few years ago.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Dilbert (From 9/8/07)

This cracks me up! This is so how people are. I've seen that a lot!

The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel Twenty-Ninth Evening Lecture C.F.W. Walther

Dr. C.F.W. Walther says, "Well, do not forget that the blessedness of Christians does not consist in pleasant feelings, but in their assurance that in spite of the bitterest feelings imaginable they are accepted with God and in their dying hour will be received into heaven. That is indeed a great blessedness."

Bagna Cauda

"In the Piedmont region of Italy, eating bagna cauda is a favorite ritual. The diners gather around an earthenware pot filled with hot olive oil, anchovies, and garlic, and they dip raw vegetables or bread into the 'hot bath,' a kind of Italian fondue."

Every year I get Bagna Cauda at the Italian Fest in town. I love garlic, and this stuff is garlicky goodness!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

"Grey Street" Dave Matthews Band

Grey Street
By Dave Matthews Band
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Dave Matthews Band is one of my favorite musical groups. They have a really unique sound, and I don't think their music can really be easily identified as a certain genre. I think they're classified as alternative sometimes or as rock, but with the violinist, saxophonist, bassist, drummer, and Dave on guitar, it's just a unique sound (plus Dave has a distinctive voice). "Grey Street" is one of my favorite DMB songs. I just love the music. DMB is a lot of fun to see live; it is so cool to watch the guys perform. I have been to one of their concerts and definitely want to see them again.

The Golden Girls

I remember seeing this show when it first aired in the 80s. But it has been in watching the reruns of it now that I really have grown to love it. It is a funny show! And though it's been over 20 years since it debuted, it has a timelessness about it. I read an article that college kids dig this show even though it's about older women. I think this is so because ultimately it is about friendship of women. Though the characters are very different from each other, they are family to each other and get through the various ups and downs of life together. They banter back and forth, and sometimes get mad at each other, but they always stick by each other. I think the chemistry of these actresses was so great. Bea Arthur is my fav. Her dry humor, the ways she delivers her lines--I love it! A couple of my favorite episodes include "The Auction" and "It's a Miserable Life."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Creme Caramel PartyLite Candle

I think this is my favorite candle. I love caramel, and so this scent is awesome!

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Cable Guy

I really enjoy this dark comedy. Jim Carrey plays "Chip Douglas," a cable installation guy who latches on to a guy (played by Matthew Broderick) when doing a cable installation. Some parts I like--all the messages Chip leaves on Stephen's answering machine and the Medieval Times scenes. Though I think it's a funny movie, it also raises some interesting ideas to ponder about the impact of TV and cable on people's lives.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel Fourteenth Evening Lecture C.F.W. Walther

Dr. C.F.W. Walther says,
"The Scriptural answer to the question: 'What must I do to be saved?' is: 'You must believe; hence you are not to do anything at all yourself.'...Having this doctrine, what exceedingly happy and blessed people we Lutherans are! This teaching takes us to Christ by a straight route. It opens heaven to us when we feel hell in our hearts. It enables us to obtain grace at any moment without losing time by following a wrong way, striving for grace by our own effort, as we sometimes do with a good intention. We can approach Christ directly and say: 'Lord Jesus, I am a poor sinner; I know it; that has been my experience in the past, and when I reflect what is going on in my heart now, I must say, that is still my experience. But Thou hast called me by Thy Gospel. I come to Thee just as I am; for I could come no other way.' That is the saving doctrine which the Evangelical Lutheran Church has learned from Christ and the apostles."


I first met my friend and deaconess sister Julie when we were at Concordia River Forest. She and I along with another deac student/friend were assigned to the same field work place. So every week the three of us would ride there together. We had a good time even though back at that time Julie gave me a hard time EVERY WEEK about wearing pants as part of the deac uniform. I knew back then during those field work days that Julie was a lot of fun. As the years have gone on, she and I have gotten to know each other more as we attended deaconess conference, worked a booth at a convention in Tampa, and as we got together when she was in the area visiting family. I respect Julie a lot--she is a solid confessional Lutheran deaconess, a hard worker, and a compassionate person. And she's still a lot of fun and always makes me laugh! It is so good to have a fellow deaconess to talk about things with. Sometimes there are things that only a deaconess sister can understand.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

7To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

This passage gives me a lot of encouragement. We don't know for sure what Paul's thorn was, but like Paul, each of us has a thorn in our flesh that we wish the Lord would take from us. And we see our weakness in many ways--physical problems, broken relationships, worries, various tribulations and struggles with sin. And the devil is always quick to point out our weaknesses and be in our face about them. But actually coming face to face with our weakness is one of the best things that can happen to us. For then we remember Christ's strength is there in our weakness. His power is made perfect in weakness. The words Jesus spoke to Paul are the sames words He speaks to us, "My grace is sufficient for you." Though we are weak, in Christ we are strong; and His strength is perfect.

Friday, September 14, 2007

El Cortez

One of my favorite kinds of food is Mexican food. So I have been to many different Mexican restaurants in many different places. But my favorite Mexican restaurant of all time remains El Cortez (located in Country Club Hills, Tinley Park, and Blue Island IL). Their food is excellent. My favorite thing to order is the enchiladas. There are several different kinds. I love the enchiladas poblanas with that great mole sauce that is sweet and spicy. And the enchiladas querantanas that have a creamy sauce are good too. I've also tried tacos and other items that are great, but I usually always stick with the enchiladas. This is one of those places that I usually have to eat at when up north in IL!

"Snow (Hey Oh)" Red Hot Chili Peppers

Snow (Hey Oh)
By Red Hot Chili Peppers
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I am not really a Red Hot Chili Peppers fan at all. But when I first heard this song on my car radio, I absolutely loved it--so much so I made a CD of this song playing over and over again. Though lyrically I'm still not totally sure what the point is, I love the song musically and play it quite a bit. Oh, by the way the video is a bunch of their fans mixed with performance footage. "The more I see, the less I know; the more I like to let it go. Hey oh."

Listen Here

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel Fifth Evening Lecture C.F.W. Walther

In the Fifth Evening Lecture in The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, Dr. C.F.W. Walther says,

"By ascribing to man some share in his own salvation, we rob Christ of all His glory. God has created us without our cooperation, and He wants to save us the same way. We are to thank Him for having created us with a hope of life everlasting. Even so He alone wants to save us. Woe to him who says that he must contribute something towards his own salvation! He deprives Christ of His entire merit. For Jesus is called the Savior, not a helper towards salvation, such as preachers are. Jesus has achieved our entire salvation."
We can do nothing; He does everything. And thank God for that!

Sunday, September 9, 2007


I met Donna shortly after I arrived at the church I serve. But it is in the last few years that we have really become good friends. Being pretty much the only single people where we work, we formed a bond, and have been a great help and support to each other as we have faced struggles and frustrations with single life and dating. Donna is a very compassionate person with a great sense of humor. And I respect her so much for all the mission work she has done. She has gone to Russia, Nicaragua, Panama, etc. She eagerly goes wherever in the world to tell other people about Jesus, and daily tells children about Jesus in her classroom. She's a pretty incredible person!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

9 to 5

I saw this movie first when I was a kid, and have just always loved it. I think it's really funny, and it's a movie I have watched numerous times. Lily Tomlin is my favorite actress in it.
Some lines:
Roz: Here, Violet--you can put this up on the bulletin board.
Violet: Thanks, Roz. I know just where to stick it.
Violet: I'm not you're wife or your mother, or even your mistress. I am your employee and as such I expect to be treated equally, with a little dignity, and a little respect.
Franklin Hart (the Boss): They're trying to kill me!
Judy: Why would they want to do a nasty thing like that?
Franklin Hart: I don't know. I'm not such a bad guy.
Judy: You're a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical, bigot.
Franklin Hart: So I have a few faults, who doesn't?
Violet: I'm going to the pen. I'm gonna be locked up for life. I'm going to lose my job.
Judy: Violet, just calm down!
Violet: I'm no fool! I've killed the boss. You think they're not gonna fire me for a thing like that?!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

"Spreadin' Rhythm Around" (Lady Bug vs. Lady Day RR Remix)

I hadn't really listened to Billie Holiday music before, but when I heard this remixed version of "Spreadin' Rhythm Around," I totally loved it. It's so fun, and just puts me in a good mood listening to it. I have read some reviews of this remixed and reimagined album, and I guess there are a lot of people who don't think they should remix Billie Holiday songs, and that they messed up a lot of songs by doing it. But even the bad reviews seem to acknowledge that this particular song is done well on the album. Go here to take a listen for yourself:

Monday, September 3, 2007

Philippians 4:13

13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
This verse has been an important one to me for a long time. Back when I was in high school and was stressed out about stuff, I would look at a little card containing this verse pinned to the bulletin board in my room. And it always encouraged me. It reminded me to look outside myself. It reminded me to look to Christ. This verse continues to be very powerful to me, and lately I seem to be surrounded by this verse--it is the theme this year of the school/church I serve, and it just keeps popping up in various places. And it's the perfect verse to be surrounded with at the time I am writing this. I am busy with my full time work in the church and trying to finish work on my Master's. Sometimes I don't know how I can do everything. And then this verse reminds me I can do NOTHING myself. I am weak, I am powerless, I am nothing on my own. But Christ Who died and rose again is strong, and powerful, and is always with me. He conquered sin, death, and the devil. He gives me forgiveness and eternal life. And He gives me His strength daily. I take great comfort in that.

Friday Night Lights (TV Show)

I wouldn't have thought initially this was a show I'd get into. But once I started watching it, I was so engaged by the characters including the high school football players dealing with the struggles in their lives and trying to figure out their various relationships with friends and romantic interests. (Particularly interesting is the character of Jason who becomes paralyzed due to an injury in a football game). And I love the coach's character--he drives the boys hard in playing football, but is always there to guide them and help them as they deal with the challenges of life. His wife too is a great character, and it is interesting to see their marriage--how they together weather conflicts, pressures from others, and various struggles. Great acting, characters, and stories. This show is definitely more than a show about football.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Michal and Family

I met my friend Michal at college (Concordia River Forest). We lived in the same cluster of a dorm and were both there for orientation week (myself as a transfer student and Michal as a freshman). We had good times in college--late night talks, rowdy games of spoons, snow "fights," praying together, laughing together. Michal was a good listener to me, a calming presence when I got stressed out, and from the beginning I always appreciated her wit, intelligence, and humor. One word that has always come to mind when I think of my friend, is sincerity. Michal is one of the most sincere, genuine people I know. Sometimes in the world we live in, that can seem pretty rare. Though life has taken us in different directions, and different states the last several years, I am so thankful we keep in touch, and am so thankful to have been able to spend time with her and her family too. Her husband Sam is a great guy, and her kids Jonah and Seth are amazing. I have enjoyed my times with them so much. It has been cool to see Michal as a wife and mom--I just have so much respect for her in how she juggles everything, and she is such a great mom to those kids. One of the blessings of going to Concordia was to meet fellow Lutherans--people I share a bond of faith with. And I think it's that bond of faith that will keep Michal and I together as friends no matter where each of us is in life.