Friday, November 30, 2007

Peanut Butter Sandwich Girl Scout Cookies

"Crisp and crunchy oatmeal cookies with creamy peanut butter filling." These are also called Do-Si-Dos and are my favorite Girl Scout Cookies. I usually buy at least a box each year from some little girl to get my Girl Scout Cookie fix. Once you open that package, man, it's hard to stop eating these delightful cookies!

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Another great film written and directed by John Hughes. This follows the adventures of Neal Page (played by Steve Martin) trying to get home to his family for Thanksgiving. Along the way, he is befriended by Del Griffith (played by John Candy), and they have a series of mishaps with various modes of transportation. It is a funny movie throughout.

The Hammer of God Section 2-Jesus Only "Three Days Before Christmas"--Bo Giertz

Another awesome section from The Hammer of God!

..."I only ask what it is that you believe in."

"In Jesus, of course," answered Fridfeldt, raising his voice. "I mean--I mean that I have given Him my heart."

The older man's face became suddenly as solemn as the grave.

"Do you consider that something to give Him?"

By this time, Fridfeldt was almost in tears.

"But sir, if you do not give your heart to Jesus, you cannot be saved."

"You are right, my boy. And it is just as true that, if you think you are saved because you give Jesus your heart, you will not be saved. You see boy," he continued reassuringly, as he continued to look at the young pastor's face, in which uncertainty and resentment were shown in a struggle for the upper hand, "it is one thing to choose Jesus as one's Lord and Savior, to give Him one's heart and commit oneself to Him, and that He now accepts one into his little flock; it is a very different thing to believe on him as a Redeemer of sinners, of whom one is chief. One does not choose a Redeemer for oneself, you understand, nor give one's heart to Him. The heart is a rusty old can on a junk heap. A fine birthday gift, indeed! But a wonderful Lord passes by, and has mercy on the wretched tin can, sticks His walking cane through it and rescues it from the junk pile and takes it home with Him. That is how it is."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It's a Wonderful Christmas--Michael W. Smith

When you find music that blows you away, it is always hard to convey in words how truly awesome and powerful it is. When I first bought this album, I didn't know what to think because there weren't really many traditional Christmas songs. But hey, it's Michael W. Smith, and I was so excited to get his latest album. And wow, when I played the CD, I was awed, I mean, to the point of wanting to cry. The music was so powerful to me, and of course the words too. This album was recorded with a 65 piece orchestra and four choirs. It's hard to pick a favorite song because each and every song on the album is awesome. But "Sing Noel, Sing Hallelujah" and "Christmas Angels" are a couple that really stand out. Everyone should go buy this Christmas album--it is incredible! to hear some clips go here:


Gazelle Workout

This exercise equipment provides a great workout, and was an excellent purchase. I decided to get this one day after trying on clothes and the clothes not fitting well! "The Gazelle mirrors natural walking motion - the suspended exercise is like walking on air." It works upper and lower body. And I like it cause I can set it up in front of the TV and watch it while doing my workout. So far I've done over 195 miles on my Gazelle.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Hammer of God Section 1-The Hammer of God "The Call"--Bo Giertz

In Bo Giertz's book The Hammer of God, the first part of the section called "The Hammer of God" has the young pastor, Savonius visiting a dying man who sees only his sin, and feels he will not be saved. Savonius is overwhelmed when he feels incapable of bringing comfort to the man. A neighbor Katrina comes to the dying man, Johannes, and speaks to him. Here are parts of the dialogue:

"Katrina, it was good of you to come. You are kind, Katrina. God will reward you. And me, He will punish. So will He be exalted and declared righteous in all His judgments. But it will go badly for me. Katrina, why is it not as it used to be? Do you remember when we sang the old songs from The Songs of Moses and the Lamb? Then my heart was glad in the Lord. But it never became clean. Katrina, I am a sinner, a great sinner."

"Yes, that you are, Johannes. But Jesus is a still greater Savior."

The sick man breathed heavily before answering. He seemed to be going over something in his mind.

"Yes, He is a great Savior for those who let themselves be saved. But my heart is not clean, my mind is evil; I do not have the new spirit."

"They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. He came not to call the righteous, but sinners."

"Yes, Katrina, but it reads 'to repentance.' It is repentance that I lack."

"You do not lack repentance, Johannes, but faith....Your danger is not that you lack repentance, but that you have been drifting away from faith."

"What, then, shall I believe, Katrina?"

"You must believe this living Word of God: 'But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.' Up to this day you have believed in works and looked at your own heart. You saw only sin and wretchedness, because God anointed your eyes with the salve of the Spirit to see the truth. Do you have sin in your heart, Johannes?"

"Yes," answered the sick man timidly, "much sin, altogether too much."

"Just that should make clear to you that God has not forsaken you," said the woman firmly. "Only he can see his sin who has the Holy Spirit."

..."But why, then, have I not received a clean heart?"

"That you might learn to love Jesus," said the woman as calmly as before.

..."What do you mean, Katrina?"

"I mean, Johannes, that if you had received a clean heart and for that reason had been able to earn salvation--to what end would you then need the Saviour? If the law could save a single one of us, Jesus would surely not have needed to die on the cross. 'Because the law worketh wrath,' and God stops every mouth by his holy commandments, that 'all the world may become guilty before God.'"

..."have you anything more to say, Katrina?"

"Yes, one more thing, Johannes. 'Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.'"

He lay quiet a moment.

"Do you mean...? Do you really mean that He takes away the sin that dwells in my unclean heart?"

"Yes, He atoned for all that sin, when He died in your place."

"But I still have it with me, don't I?"

"Yes, as surely as Paul also still had it with him. Have you never read, 'I know that in me (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.'"

"Yes, that's how it is," whispered Johannes.

"That is the way it has always been for us, and for all others. 'With his stripes we are healed.' 'He is the propitiation for our sins: and...also for the sins of the whole world.'"

The sick man lay breathlessly quiet. Then he whispered, "One word more, Katrina, a sure world, and I will believe it."

The woman got up quietly, took the Bible that lay on the table, and sat down again. Opening the Bible, she read: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."

"Amen, I believe!" said Johannes, in a voice that could barely be heard.

Katrina rose and replaced the Bible on the table.

"Now God's work has taken place. Now you must ask the pastor to give you the holy sacrament."

I love this! It's all about the proper distinction between the Law and Gospel. Sometimes people are crushed by their sin to the point of despair. They need to hear the Gospel "for you." All of us can say we are great sinners. Yet praise be to God, we know Jesus is a still greater Savior!!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Smirnoff Vodka Mojito

"A perfect fusion of Smirnoff No. 21, the world's number one premium vodka, Kaffir Lime Liqueur, and a dash of mint." (When I was looking at stuff about this online, the pictures show this having Triple Sec, but what I've been drinking has Kaffir lime). Now it's surprising I'm talking about mojitos made with vodka rather than rum, since rum is my drink, and I guess a usual mojito would be made with rum. I kept hearing mojito this and mojito that in the summer, but I was always leery of trying one because of the mint. Mint is one of those things that I like in some things and not others, it just depends. So I didn't know if I would dig it. But one day when I was grocery shopping, I saw this Smirnoff Vodka mojito cocktail, and thought, what the heck! And I really like it. The dash of mint is just right, not too minty--you can taste it a little, but you taste more of the lime. A very tasty, refreshing drink.

Philippians 4:19

19And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

I take a lot of comfort from this verse, especially when I'm freaking out about how something's going to work out. We think we know what we need, but we are usually wrong! God knows exactly what we need and supplies exactly that. He knows all and knows what's best for us. We trust our God to take care of us even though the way He's taking care of us may not make sense to us or things may be uncertain in our limited perspective. We know He's taken care of our most important need by sending His Son to suffer and die for us. And so we know He will take care of ALL our needs.


Though this day is happy because it is fun to eat turkey, potatoes, cranberries, etc., and enjoy time with family, this day is really about being thankful for God's grace and the many blessings He gives us. Pastor had an awesome sermon last night in which I was convicted of my ungratefulness. So number 1, I am thankful for Christ's death on the cross for me, and for the forgiveness and salvation I have through Him. And not only has He given me that, but He has given me so much--awesome people in my life who care for me, and whom I care for greatly, a great vocation serving in the Church, food, clothes, a wonderful place to live, and I could go on and on. I am so blessed, and I am so thankful to God for His goodness to an undeserving person like me!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


A few years ago, when I first heard the premise of this show Lost that was coming on, I thought it was hokey--this plane crashes on an island. I thought, what are they going to do with that? But I watched because Matthew Fox was in it. And wow, what a great show! It's partly about the island and stuff going on there, it's mysteriousness, "others," experiments that went on there, etc. But it's also very much about these characters. For the most part, every episode has given some glimpse into the character's life (typically in flashbacks). So as more and more episodes have aired, you find out more and more pieces of these people's lives and how they have ended up where they are; it's fascinating. Another interesting aspect is how there are all these interconnections between the characters--many of them have crossed paths before the plane crash or are connected in some way. There have been many theories about the show--one popular theory for awhile was that the island is purgatory, but the producers said that's not the case. Fans love to discuss and speculate on websites devoted to the show. The writing is just so brilliant on this show--the episodes give you information and pieces of the puzzle, but just when they answer one thing, more questions are raised and some mind blowing thing happens. The viewer is left wondering what exactly the story really is with the island and these people, and how things will ultimately be explained. The producers set an end date for the show (3 more shortened seasons). It will be very interesting to see what happens. Great show and excellent cast!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


This movie was based on a sketch that was on Saturday Night Live. The adventures of these aliens trying to blend in on earth after their spaceship crashes there are quite funny. They speak in a monotone voice and use different (more technical) expressions for common words. A good movie when you're in the mood for something silly.

Some Conehead Language/Expressions:
Parental Units
Enclosed Retail Compound
Consumption of Mass Quantities
Broke My Blood Valve Chamber
Maintain Low Tones!

And perhaps this movie is what got me saying "Unacceptable" on a fairly regular basis to express disapproval over something. I noticed the last time I watched this that they say that a lot (in that monotone voice).

Monday, November 19, 2007

"Chief of Sinners Though I Be"

Chief of sinners though I be,
Jesus shed His blood for me,
Died that I might live on high,
Lives that I might never die.
As the branch is to the vine,
I am His, and He is mine.

Oh, the height of Jesus' love,
Higher than the heav'ns above,
Deeper than the depths of sea,
Lasting as eternity!
Love that found me--wondrous thought!
Found me when I sought Him not.

Only Jesus can impart
Balm to heal the wounded heart,
Peace that flows from sin forgiv'n,
Joy that lifts the soul to heav'n,
Faith and hope to walk with God
In the way that Enoch trod.

Chief of sinners though I be,
Christ is all in all to me;
All my wants to Him are known,
All my sorrows are His own.
He sustains the hidden life
Safe with Him from earthly strife.

O my Savior, help afford
By Your Spirit and Your Word!
When my wayward heard would stray,
Keep me in the narrow way;
Grace in time of need supply
While I live and when I die.

Text: William McComb
Tune: Richard Redhead

This is another hymn in my top 5 hymns. Great Law and Gospel! Verse 2 is my favorite because it reminds us that because of our sinful nature, we do not seek God. But He loves us and comes to us even though we would turn away from Him and have nothing to do with Him. And that love is beyond comprehension and is immeasurable. Mind boggling, blow you away kind of love!

1 John 1:8-9

8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

When the hammer of the law crushes us, man, it's hard! But we need to be crushed; we need to see our sinfulness, and how very filthy we are. And then we can trust and rejoice in the Gospel, that we are forgiven. We are cleansed! I cling to these words. It's awesome that these words are in our liturgy, that we come back to these words again and again.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Lisa and I became friends probably a year or so after I moved down to the St. Louis area. We were both going through challenging times in our lives, and I believe God brought us together at that time so we could support each other and build each other up. There were time when I wanted to be so tough and strong when faced with challenges professionally and personally, but she kept telling me it was okay to get my stuff out, it was okay to cry when I needed to. And after giving me permission to do that enough times, I did! And Lisa was there to give me a hug and remind me God was with me and would get me through whatever. We took a couple great trips together--to Kansas City and to Lake of the Ozarks and had a blast traveling together. Our friendship has gone through a lot and changed, and our lives are in very different places right now. But we get together when we can and catch up on each other's lives. I will always be grateful for how Lisa was there for me in some difficult times, and I am grateful for some important things our friendship has taught me about relationships and life.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Mellencamp Concert

I had seen Mellencamp do a benefit concert several years ago. While it was a great show, he didn't do a lot of his popular and famous songs. So the second time I saw him (which was last night), I was really hoping he would perform the hits he is known for. The concert last night was awesome! He sang "Pink Houses," "Paper in Fire," "Human Wheels," "Scarecrow," "I'm Not Running Anymore," "Our Country," and other hits; he did an acoustic set which included "Small Town," and some new stuff. But my favs that he performed were "Jack and Diane" and his encore number "Authority Song." Mellencamp is 56 and he told the audience that he was sick and almost canceled the show. He was coughing a lot throughout. But for being 56 and feeling like crap, the boy rocked it! Great concert. (The fiddle player was fantastic too, by the way!) The only think that disappointed me was that he didn't sing "Peaceful World." That is my fav. Mellencamp song, and it would have been so cool to see him do that live.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Casa Gallardo

This is probably one of my favorite restaurants down where I live (St. Louis area). I love Mexican food, and Casa Gallardo has great enchiladas, fajitas supremas chiquitas, and tableside guacamole. Sundays they have an incredible buffet--taco bar, various Mexican foods, breakfast foods, and desserts. Delicious!

Saturday, November 10, 2007


This is such a fun game. Some strategy is involved, (figuring the best places to place chips, trying to block your opponent etc.), but being able to make a sequence depends partly on what cards you get (which determines where on the board you can place chips). It's a cool game in that you can play it one on one or with teams. It is fun working with a partner.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Martin Puryear's Art

I've only seen Martin Puryear's art in a magazine and online. I think you'd have to see it in person to fully appreciate it. It's really different. The picture above is a recent work of his called C.F.A.O. It consists of an old wheelbarrow that carries a timber framework that's over 7ft. tall. Embedded face-first in the nest of wood is a replica of the underside of an African tribal mask. Puryear lately has gotten into using things "with a previous life in the world": wheels, tree trunks, wheelbarrows, etc.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Diet Coke with Lime

I pretty much love anything Coke. I used to drink a lot of regular Coke. Then I had a lot of cavities one time, not from candy, but from all the regular pop I was drinking. My dentist said to drink diet pop. I did not like diet pop at all at first. But the Diet Coke with Lime came out several years ago and has a great flavor, and I started drinking this a lot. It's also great when you mix it with some Malibu rum!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Psalm 62:5-6

5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

I've always liked the image of God being our rock. This is such a comforting passage to me right now! I will not be shaken!


I met Gen in college (Concordia River Forest). She was an RA in my dorm. We had some fun times, and it was cool to go hide out in her private room and talk when things got too crazy in the cluster where I lived! Gen is funny, caring, smart and very solid and strong in her beliefs and convictions. Also, she gives the best hugs! I wish we lived closer to each other now, but I do get to keep up with her life through blogging world, and it is cool to hear regularly about her life and family.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Amazing Race

I enjoy this reality show quite a bit. One reason is it involves travel. It is fun to see the various places around the world the teams get to travel to. Also, it is fun to see the interactions of the teams and interactions between the teams. It is always interesting to see how people relate to each other, and how stress affects the relationship. In some cases it is touching to see the bond strengthened for some pairs whether it be friends, a married couple, brother/sister, father/daughter etc. In some cases you laugh at the antics of people. And sometimes you do scream at the TV because people are just being idiotic! But it's really fun to watch. Above is a pic of Mirna and Charla who were on one of the seasons, and then were back for an all star edition. They were a fun team to watch since these cousins both had strong personalities and bickered with each other (yet it was obvious they really cared about each other); they had such spunk and determination. I really wanted them to win! The current teams are really bizarre; each one seemed weirder than the next. Should make for some amusing moments!

National Lampoon's Vacation

Such a fun John Hughes movie featuring the Griswald family and their adventures as they travel (by car) from their home in Chicago to the Wally World amusement park in CA. Clark (played by Chevy Chase) has such good intentions, but tends to go overboard in trying to guarantee a fun filled trip for the family. Things just kind of happen to the Griswalds--odd interactions with family members like Cousin Eddie and Aunt Edna, getting lost and ending up in a bad neighborhood, driving off a road, an unfortunate dog incident etc. I love how Clark wants to stop off and see these quirky things like the House of Mud and the second largest ball of twine. I would totally like to take a trip around the country seeing all that quirky kind of stuff!

"For All the Saints"

For all the saints who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Oh, may Thy soldiers, faithful, true, and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old
And win with them the victor's crown of gold!
Alleluia! Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blest.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day:
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
Singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Text: William W. How
Music: Ralph Vaughan Williams

I love this hymn--it's in my top 5 favorite hymns. And pretty much All Saints Sunday is the only time we sing it (though I have been at some funerals where it is sung, and want it sung at mine). I love the music and of course the words reminding us of those in the faith that have gone on before us, and how in Him, we all are one. Such hope in this hymn--though life is a battle, and we can get weary, we are confident of the victory we have in Christ, and have so much to look forward to. I mean, really picturing what vs. 7-8 are saying, how can you not have a tear in your eye and unspeakable joy in your heart?! Pure awesomeness!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Meet the Fockers

This is the sequel to Meet the Parents. In this flick, Pam's parents meet Greg's parents. Greg's free, uninhibited parents are very different from Pam's parents, so this creates for some funny moments. Also, Pam's baby nephew is featured in some funny moments like when he says for his first word something inappropriate that Greg has said in front of him. Great cast! DeNiro, Streisand, Hoffman, Stiller, etc.

Picket Fences

This show, which aired in the 90s, took place in the little town of Rome, Wisconsin. It featured the Brock family--Jimmy the sheriff, and Jill, the doctor and their children. Other main characters included the deputies Max (Lauren Holly) and Kenny. The show had a high quirkiness factor--one episode featured a serial bather, someone that broke into people's houses and took a bath, and another featured the Frogman, a burglar that left frogs at the scene of his crimes. Yet the show also dealt with serious topics and issues and presented various sides. There were episodes dealing with HIV, abuse, birth control, end of life issues etc. The show was part police investigation, part courtroom scenes (Don Cheadle was wonderful as a lawyer, by the way), part relationship focused. And the right blend of these things worked well. The show was especially good in the first seasons. As it neared the end, it wasn't as strong. This show had a great cast!

Friday, November 2, 2007

1 John 4:7-21

7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19We love because he first loved us. 20If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
I remember when I was in about 5th or 6th grade, this was in Lutheran grade school, we had some free time, and I was reading the Bible, and started reading 1 John. I can still remember sitting there in that mobile classroom just being blown away at reading about God's amazing love. So 1 John continues to be one of my favorite books in the Bible. John lays out simply God's love for us and how we love because He first loved us. He reminds us we can know and rely on God's love for us. Sometimes it may seem there isn't really a whole lot in life to rely on, but we can ALWAYS rely on that. This passage continues to "wow" me!

"The Lord's Supper in the Lutheran Church" Herman Sasse

This is a great letter Sasse wrote to Lutheran pastors speaking of the importance of the Lord's Supper and how it was being neglected by the Lutherans. I like what he says in here about theology:

"All genuine theology must proceed from the principle of speaking where God's Word speaks and being silent when God's Word is silent. For this reason, Luther is the greatest teacher of the church for us, because he held unshaken to this principle even when the great temptation came to him, in which even the greatest theologians have always been caught at some point, to let something else hold sway in addition to the Word of God."

Rum and Coke

Rum and Coke is my favorite alcoholic beverage. And though I like various kinds of rum like Bacardi or Malibu, etc., Myers is my favorite. It is a dark rum, strong taste. Good stuff!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

"End of the Line" Traveling Wilburys

End Of The Line
By Travelling Wilburys
Best Video Codes
The Traveling Wilburys consisted of George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and Bob Dylan. There is something really cool about having all these musicians, all this talent together. The guys are having fun together, doing their thing. This is a cool song, one that's definitely fun to sing. The video was made after Orbison's death, and it's touching how they have a guitar in a rocking chair and then show a picture of him during his vocals.
"It's alright, even when push comes to shove.
Well, it's alright, if you've got someone to love."