Trying to post

Hello! Tim has been working hard getting this new (to us) blog format going. The changes are pretty much all behind the scenes (address didn’t change) but they should help us (me in particular) be able to blog more smoothly and, most importantly, include more pictures. I do think pictures are one of the very best things about blogs. I love to see snap shots into people’s lives.

The Edgren Girl Cousins at our Easter Tea PartyThe Edgren Girl Cousins at our Easter Tea Party

I have all sorts of work I should be doing. I’ve made Tim’s breakfast muffins already. They are cooling on the stove top. I still need to finish cleaning up from dinner. Who is on dinner duty this week?? I think it may be Daniel. Of course, he was sent to bed early for fussing at his father and is now in bed moaning over some stomach cramps. Sigh.

I guess either I convince Joshua to do the dishes and clear the table (possible) or I do them myself (more likely). I need to pack Tim’s lunch, work on my Bible study (BSF) lesson, and sneak in an exercise work out. Ha! I doubt all of that is going to get done as it’s already 9 pm.

Tomorrow Daniel and David have dentist appointments at 7:30 am. That is a terrible hour to be out doing errands, much less something as painful as having a cavity filled. Will Daniel be well enough to go? There may be a little bug going around family. Tim had some stomach cramps yesterday for about 15 minutes (then felt fine) and Daniel woke me up this morning at 6 am to say David had thrown up (was fine the rest of the day). Perhaps there is a 30 minute flu bug hitting our household. That’s got to be the shortest bug in history. Ha!

David and Sarah enjoying books on our swing in early April (not a sunny day)

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Detestable Food

The really strange thing is that I wrote this blog before I started my 30-day subscription to Kathy’s Maniacal Eating Plan (KMEP), and, of course, the title has nothing to do with the taste of the weird grains and vegetables that she has me eating. I guess it is just prophetic … read on, if your curiosity is piqued.

Allergy season has arrived with a vengeance, and so I begin the unhappy practice of waking in the night, sneezing uncontrollably, and rubbing at my eyes until I look like someone from a horror comic book. About three years ago I started taking Allegra, and I found that I could survive if I started early and stayed current with generous doses of the medicine.

This year I managed to get my doctor to agree that a dosage for a ‘normal’ adult was not quite enough for someone of my girth and weight, but even so, the medicine doesn’t quite suppress the symptoms for the whole 24-hour period.

One happy side effect is that once allergy season is over, I am very thankful for my health for a couple of months afterward.

Recently, I was perusing the book of Numbers, and I read about the episode of the Bronze Snake. As was their frequent practice, the Israelites were complaining against God and Moses, this time about the food. As you may recall, God provided manna for the Israelites during their 40-plus year sojourn in the wilderness, before they were permitted to enter the promised land. As Numbers 19 records, they complained and said, “We’re tired of this detestable food!”

It doesn’t look all that detestable to me. A little maple syrup …

Sometimes I am amazed that any Israelites survived to enter the land of Canaan. Just a few verses before, a good chunk of the tribe of Levi had been swallowed up by the earth for their presumption in challenging God’s selection of Moses and Aaron. Considering the great mercy that God had for the people in providing manna for upwards of two million people every day, it seems the height of stupidity and ungratefulness to complain about it.

While I was thinking about those rascally Israelites, feeling a bit superior, the thought occurred to me that I have a lot in common with that rebellious people. Every time I complain to God (and I do it more often than I would care to admit) aren’t I, in some sense, doing the very same thing that they did, spitting on His grace and mercy and presuming to second-guess His sovereign and majestic will?

Ah, but I do it in such an enlightened, twenty-first century style, couching my complaints as ‘prayers of supplication’ and stopping short (in my words, at least) of open defiance against God.

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Family Pictures

My folks and the 'grown ups'

A couple of weeks ago we all went out to the Duckabush to take family photos while my sister Posie and her family were in town. Mark and Elizabeth and Posie and her husband Greg were there with all their kids — we made quite a tribe, with proud grandparents looking on.

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Trying out something new

A dear friend of mine (college roommate) has been blogging up a storm these days. It has been so much fun to read about her life. I really enjoy keeping up with all the comings and goings in her busy family (they are in the process of selling their house).

I write lots of e-mail, especially to/with my family (EMF–email family) but I don’t spend much time blogging. Reading Rachel’s blogs make me want to do more writing myself. Tim did some research and found us a new blog editor. He wanted to make it easier for me to blog and post pictures. Yay! This is my first try.

Kathy's college friends, 1992

Dear College Friends–Jodi, Me (Kathy), Anne, Cara, Kim and Rachel 

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Mechanical Failures

We’ve had what seems to be a run of mechanical failures in our home lately. This is the kind of thing that holds a special terror for someone like me, who can count successful machine repair projects in my lifetime on one hand.

First the hot tub developed a leak. Next, the last reliable burner on our stove stopped being, er, reliable. Then the fireplace stopped working. The garage door opener disengaged from the ceiling. The power on one side of our garage went dead. Our septic tank began pooling wastewater across the front lawn and you guys know how delicate septic tanks are. Most recently, our microwave started to randomly turn itself off and on Sunday the hot water started leaking water across the garage floor and under the carpet, at a rate of a gallon an hour.

February 2006 (19).jpg
Daniel likes to get involved in repair projects, having inherited skills from both his Grandpas, which seemed to skip a generation.

It is enough to make one wonder about being a homeowner. Maybe we didn’t get such a good deal on this house, after all … especially considering the pressing need for a new roof.

The curious thing is that most of these problems turned out to be a tempest in a teapot. As I wrote in my last entry, the hot tub only leaks when the circulating motor is off … we’re supposed to keep it turned on, anyway, so no harm, no foul. I bought Kathy a new stove to replace the old one … she really likes it, and the old one was free with the house, so we can’t really gripe. After I messed around with the fireplace for an embarrassingly long time, I discovered that the pilot light was off; I lit the pilot, and we were back in business. Twenty minutes’ work and a new metal strap fixed the garage door opener. The power problem in the garage was due to a tripped GFI breaker that simply needed to be reset. The septic tank was backed up because someone (probably me) had inadvertently turned off the power switch to the grinder (a machine that pre-processes our sewage before it enters the city sewer system). The microwave is probably really broken, but, hey, it is one that I bought in 1989 before I met Kathy, so we are probably due to get another one.

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Sometimes, you just have to buy a new appliance. This was one of those times.

The hot water heater seemed at the outset to be a serious problem. I called the local Lowe’s store to see about getting a new hot water heater put in, and discovered that recent legislation in our town requires a complete rework of the ducting system for gas water heaters. “It could cost you a couple of thousand before you’re done,” warned the man in the plumbing department, with a worrisome indifference to exactly how many ‘thousands’.

Calling Home Depot for a second opinion, their plumbing guy wanted to know exactly where it was leaking. On closer inspection, I found that the water intake hose was leaking and the fix cost me $12 and about a half-hour of work, to my considerable delight.

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This little girl didn’t really help with the project, but she’s photogenic, so we put her in.

I think a lot of trials and troubles in life are like these mechanical problems … when we first see them, we’re inclined to expect the worst and to forget about God’s provision and protection. But often when we face them, we find that they can be easily and somewhat painlessly resolved, with God’s hand leading us.

Let me give credit where it is due: in most if not all of the cases I listed, the positive outcome is rooted in the fact that we prayed and committed the problem to God. I think that God delights in answering our prayers and in providing for us in surprising ways. I don’t think we’ve prayed about the microwave yet, but it is clearly time that we did. Time and again I’ve seen God’s gracious hand in protecting our family from financial loss … I think it is directly attributable to the fact that we ask for His help in troubles like these, and that we are obedient in terms of tithing.

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David loves wearing boots, even if it involves septic systems.

Sometimes we let ourselves be paralyzed by fear. When the power went out in the garage, I felt a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I’m hardly an electrician … and I know that they don’t come cheaply. The wall along which the circuit presumably ran is obstructed by a long storage shelf packed with stuff … it would be non-trivial to even begin looking at the problem. I let at least a week go by before I investigated the problem; it took me less than five minutes to move a few games and discover an outlet behind the storage shelf with a GFI fuse that was popped out. Hailed by the family as a hero, I felt pretty stupid.

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Granted, this was a pretty sloppy repair, but it seems to be holding, so we’re happy.

Last night we were reading about the crossing of the Red Sea by the Israelites, and Rachel asked me why Moses had to hold his staff (or hand? I can’t remember) over the water. It seems to me that God enjoys our participation in the things He does. He doesn’t want us to sit idly waiting for Him to do it all for us, but rather desires us to step out in faith and action. That’s not to say that Moses could go around making paths in random bodies of water without God, but rather that God allows His children to be intimate with His miraculous power and builds our faith my giving us a personal ringside seat.

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