22 May 2007

Baby Ainsley 365: Leavin' On A Jet Plane

Well, today we're off to the Cities to spend the night with family before flying to the east coast tomorrow for two weeks in Washington DC and Boston. WooHoo! Because internet access may be limited, there might not be much here until we return. So here's a two-fer for today.

We are starting to figure out the jumper, and we like it!
Reggie still hasn't figured out who is that little person who keeps making noise and occupying our attention, but he does know that she has lots of cool stuff. Case in point: the stroller.

21 May 2007

Baby Ainsley 365: Four Months Old

Four months old today. Is it possible?
Here's our baby girl on the day she was born:

and here she is this morning, playin on the boppie.

We celebrated by shopping in Alexandria before getting our four month shots - we loved that about as much as we loved the two month shots.

Someone want to remind me what we did before we were parents? :-)

20 May 2007

Sermon for the Seventh Sunday of Easter - "Annoyance and Astonishment"

Preaching Texts

The Reverend Jerry Falwell died on Tuesday of this week. Some of you who are my age or younger may not know who the Reverend Falwell was or why he is important enough to be mentioned. In 1979, Falwell founded the Moral Majority, a political action group for conservative Evangelicals and Baptists. He also founded Liberty University and served as pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church for 48 years.

Reverend Falwell was known for making blunt statements regarding his faith and the direction toward which he believed our society should steer. In 2001 he suggested that the attacks on September 11th were God’s vengeance on America for gays, feminists and the ACLU. He later apologized for those particular remarks, but he made others throughout the years that to some were just as divisive and harsh.

It should come as no surprise that a man who was o polarizing in life would also be somewhat so in death. The Minneapolis Star Tribune ran an editorial that spoke about Falwell’s legacy of division, to which one reader responded:

It was with shock, and dismay, that I read your May 16 editorial, and cartoon, concerning Jerry Falwell. Agree with him or not, this was a man who did what preachers do. He railed against what he believed was sin, and preached that repentance from it would bring salvation. When he decided to enter the political arena, he knew, in advance, that he would be met with vicious opposition, such as your own. In spite of that, he did what he felt God wanted him to do, and willingly took the abuse from his opponents.

Upon his passing, one would think that even his detractors would grudgingly admit that he was a man who fought the good fight for what he believed. You can imagine my revulsion, then, when I saw that, even in his death, you couldn't pass up another chance to denigrate him and what he stood for.

Now I’ll be honest: I don’t know if I ever agreed with the Reverend Falwell when he issued a public statement on anything. I certainly felt that at times his ministry was more harmful than helpful. There were times when I was very much annoyed with the Reverend Jerry Falwell, just like the writer of the letter to the editor was very much annoyed with how the Star Tribune portrayed the Reverend Falwell. But I also know that Jerry Falwell and I had one thing in common: we both confessed that “Jesus is Lord and Savior of the world.” And like it or not, very much annoyed or not, when Jerry Falwell said that “Jesus is Lord,” well, I agreed with him, because he was speaking the truth.

Paul knew something about being very much annoyed when someone was speaking the truth. In today’s reading from Acts, he and Silas were on their way to a prayer meeting in Philippi when they were interrupted by a very annoying spirit who was speaking the truth: “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation!” Luke, the writer of Acts, tells us that “this went on for many days.”

“These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation!”

“These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation!”

“These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation!”

“These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation!”

The message was the truth, but the messenger was annoying. Thank goodness that doesn’t happen very often in the church, huh?

There are a number of things that annoy me about these few short verses of Acts 16. First, Paul allowed a spirit to control this woman for several days after his first encounter with her: shouldn’t compassion have compelled Paul to heal her at the first opportunity? Secondly, when Paul did heal this woman, it was his annoyance with the spirit that drove the healing, not Paul’s concern for the woman’s well-being: again, where was Paul’s compassion for the sick? Thirdly, after the woman was healed, she disappeared from the story entirely: We don’t know what happened to her. We don’t know if she was able to find a new way to care for herself. We don’t know if she became a follower of Jesus. All we know is that she was annoying, but she spoke the truth: Paul and Silas were slaves of the Most High God, and they were proclaiming to the people a way of salvation. Very annoying or not, this woman spoke the truth.

God can accomplish astonishing things when God’s very annoying people speak the truth. In Isaiah 20, God’s people were planning a war, but God said “No.” To make God’s word clear, Isaiah marched naked around Jerusalem for three years as a sign of what would happen if the people went to war.[1] In Jeremiah 13, God sent Jeremiah to tell the people that God could no longer be proud of the people. To make the point, Jeremiah bought a new pair of undergarments, wore them every day without washing them, then buried them in the wet river sand. Later, he dug them up, strapped them on and shouted that this is what had happened to the people who once were God’s pride.[2] In Luke 7, even Jesus grew annoyed by one of God’s very annoying people. Jesus was trying to quietly eat a meal in a house in the region of Tyre, but a Gentile woman found out he was there and pressed Jesus to heal her daughter. “Let the children be fed first,” said Jesus, “for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” Jesus must have been tremendously annoyed to say something like that. But the woman persisted by reminding Jesus that even the dogs get to eat the scraps that fall off the table, and Jesus, astonished, healed the woman’s daughter.

Paul and Silas encountered this annoying woman who told the truth about who they were and what they were doing. Because of that truth, and through Paul’s impatience and annoyance, God would soon be doing astonishing things yet again. We read that Paul and Silas were arrested, attacked by a crowd, stripped naked, beaten with rods and thrown into prison, all because they had deprived the slave girl’s owners of their means of making money off of her demonic possession. Never mind the injustice of these men profiting from the slave girl’s disability: when the church crosses swords with those who seek to keep unjust systems in place, this is what happens.[3] But here the astonishment begins.

Paul and Silas were beaten soundly by an anti-Jewish crowd, though they were Roman citizens and thus exempt from such punishment. But rather than complain and fight, the writer of Acts tells us that Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God about midnight – and their fellow prisoners were listening to them. Can you imagine the intrigue these two men must have created in their fellow prisoners? Who would pray and sing to God after being treated so horribly because of their faith in that same God? Then came the earthquake: the loosing of their chains, the opening of the jail doors, and suddenly everyone was free to do as they wished. And they wished to stay put – not just Paul and Silas, but their fellow prisoners as well. When the jailer saw what had happened, he prepared to kill himself, because he was certain that the prisoners had all escaped and he would be held responsible. But Paul said, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!” Not “we are here,” meaning Paul and Silas, but “we are all here,” meaning all the prisoners. An entire Roman jail, full of men who were likely awaiting some horrible punishment for their crimes, stayed in their cells rather than running for the hills. The Bible doesn’t tell us why they stayed, but I’d like to hazard a guess. I say they stayed because they, like Paul and Silas, were now slaves to the Most High God, from whom they had received a way of salvation. I say that the astonishing thing that happened that day in the Philippi prison wasn’t the earthquake: I say the astonishing thing that happened that day was the miracle of faith given to these prisoners, to stay when they could have run. I say the astonishing thing was the conversion of the jailer, who invited Paul and Silas to baptize his entire family. I say the astonishing thing was that by the end of the story, the prisoners, Paul, Silas and the jailer are in bondage to God, a joyful bondage that is stronger than any Roman chain could ever be.

All of this comes about because of one very annoying slave girl who told the truth. God took a flawed vessel and used her flaw to speak the truth, healing her of that flaw in the process. Could the same be true for us? Could the annoying people around us who speak the truth be doing God’s work? Could astonishing things happen through the annoying people in our lives? Could we be the annoying people through whom astonishing things happen? All things are possible for God – and we pray, not that we might be astonishing, or that we might not be annoying, but that God would give us eyes to see clearly in either case.

[1] The Lutheran Handbook, © 2005 by Augsburg Fortress. Kristofer Skrade and James Satter, ed. p., 160.

[2] Ibid., p. 161.

[3] Bishop Roy Riley said this at the NWMN Synod Assembly in 2004. Though I don’t think Paul and Silas were purposely “crossing swords” by healing the slave girl (remember, they were annoyed after several days of hearing her, not offended at her slavery and possession from the start), the statement is true: when the church stands up to unjust systems, the system often punishes the church for its prophetic speech.

18 May 2007

Friday Five: Big Event Edition

Did you know that the major purpose for forming a non-profit, RevGalBlogPals, Inc., was to be able to attract grant support for a large scale RevGalBlogPal meetup? My dream from the beginning has been attracting financial support that would allow as many of our bloggers to be together as possible.

RGBP, Inc. now has a planning committee, and we are in the early stages of planning the RevGalBlogPal Big Event. What, When, Where and Who are all on the table at the moment. In that spirit, I bring you the Big Event Friday Five.

1. What would the meeting be like? (Continuing Ed? Retreat? Outside Speakers? Interest Groups? Workshops? Hot Stone Massages? Pedicures? Glorified Slumber Party?)
Well, I'm always up for a retreat, with a speaker or three and a lot of time for re-creation (hyphenated on purpose).

2. When in 2008 might you be able to attend? January? Shortly after Easter? Summer? Fall? Some other time?
January is always a good time to get away, but I never seem to take advantage of it. I hope to get a con ed or retreat trip in during January 2008.

3. Where would your dream meeting location be? (Urban Hotel? Rural Retreat Center? New England Camp? Southwestern Fantasy Hotel? Far away from civilization? Nearby Outlets or Really Great Thrift Stores?)
I'm going to display a little favoritism here and suggest Carol Joy Holling Conference & Retreat Center in Ashland, NE. I worked at CJH as a summer camp counselor during college and I think it's one of the best retreat options around. Ashland is halfway between Omaha & Lincoln, a 30-45 minute drive from each airport, and it's centrally located so no one from east, west, north or south has to travel a terribly great distance. But as I said, I'm biased - so don't take my word for it, check it out for yourselves.

4. Who would make a great keynote speaker? (That's if #1 leads us in that direction.)
I would suggest Susan Briehl or Gordon Atkinson (aka Real Live Preacher). Susan is currently an affiliative professor of art and ministry at Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque, IA. She spoke at our synod's pastors' conference in 2005 and blew us away - she's awesome! Gordon, of course, is well known to many of you, and I'd think he would love to be part of something like this.

5. Did I leave out something you want to suggest?
Not really - as one who's a "pal," not a "gal," this is your conference to plan, not mine. But I hope wherever y'all go you enjoy it!

Dream big for the Big Event!!!

15 May 2007

Okay, Okay - Posting the Damned Pics! :-)

Since both Beloved and LH's Sweetie have commented on the fact that I haven't posted our pics from our trip to NE last weekend, I suppose it is, indeed, time to do so. (But the weather has been so nice - please forgive me for wanting to play outside!)

We drove to NE on Thursday the 3rd to celebrate my brother's completion of a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. After a fairly uneventful day Friday, Brian, his wife and their son Zach arrived Friday night. Zach was very excited to play with his new doll...err, cousin:

So finally Uncle Butt had to get in on the action:

Saturday morning we all had breakfast together and a few minutes for more pictures:

It was so very dark in the auditorium at the college that none of our pictures really looked decent at all. Here are some shots from after the ceremony. First, the graduate & his proud son:

Our good friends LutheranHusker, Sweetie & Kiddo were in attendance as well, and they were very excited to meet Ainsley for the first time:

Ainsley discovered her hand on this trip, as you might have already seen. I'm sure she'll soon be sucking her thumb like Daddy did!

After the graduation ceremony (and after a good soaking in the torrential downpour that followed) we all repaired to the Johnson farm for lunch and cake. My Grandma Janke got to meet her twelfth great-grandchild for the first time (I think it's twelve - there's so many of us it's hard to remember); that was fun to see. The picture here is my Mom, Beloved, Ainsley and Grandma Janke - the four generations of women in my family.

Saturday afternoon we drove down to Lincoln to stay with LH and family before the Lincoln Half-Marathon on Sunday. I ran with Gene & Bobby, two of my college roommates, and had a good day in spite of the weather. I posted about this run here, but here are some pics of the race:

After the race we joined my family for brunch at a restaurant not to be named here, because the place has really gone downhill since we were in college. I hate to say that, but my food was nearly cold and the service was SLOW. Next time we're going somewhere else - like maybe the hotel where Gene & Bobby and I warmed up before the race. Coming back through the open air lobby/restaurant on our way to the van was not easy, as they still were serving brunch. Yum.

Around 4:00 that afternoon some old friends gathered to celebrate the run and the 33rd birthday of LH and yours truly (we are six days apart in age). The coolest thing about the day for me was catching up with Carol Meyer, an old friend I haven't seen since her husband Larry's funeral two years ago. Actually, we realized after the fact that our celebration Sunday was the two-year anniversary of Larry's funeral. I like to think that Larry was there with us, tipping back a beer and enjoying the company and conversation.

Did I mention that it rained a lot that weekend? It did - and we discovered how much late Saturday afternoon. LH went downstairs to get something and discovered the plastic cover of their sump pit floating - the pit was full of water. Apparently they've not installed a pump in said pit because it's never been a problem, but then again, they've never gotten almost 10 inches of rain in three days before. So, being the group of college-educated, willing workers that we are, we set about fixing the problem. First, run a garden hose from the sump pit, through the basement, up the stairs, out the door, through the garage and down to the driveway, where said hose runs into a wet/dry vac and is sealed by hand to provide suction.

Whaddya mean, that didn't work? Well, if at first you don't succeed, add alcohol:

Finally, just bail out enough of the water that you're not so worried about flooding your basement anymore. Call your neighbor who works for RotoRooter and have him go get a portable sump pump that fits a garden hose (on a Sunday, no less), and continue drinking. Gather for a group picture later with all the necessary props:

Then get your wives (who are laughing, but not all that much), friends and family together for a group photo:

Finish the weekend on a more innocent note by posing your cute children together one last time. Then remind everyone how we need to do this more often. Rinse. Repeat.

Thanks for a great weekend in Nebraska, guys - it was so much fun!

13 May 2007

Sermon for the 6th Sunday of Easter - "Listening to Heal"

There was this girl I dated in college who talked a lot. I mean a LOT. We'd eat lunch together at the Student Union and she'd tell me how her day was going. In detail. I remember thinking one day how amazing it was that she could take half an hour eating lunch at Burger King to tell me what had happened so far that day. Half an hour – to report on maybe five hours worth of stuff. It was pretty incredible.

At first all that listening was endearing. After all, we were young, she was beautiful and I was infatuated. A guy will do almost anything at that stage in a relationship. But after a month or so I started feeling like I ought to be doing more during these conversations. Up to this point my only contribution had been making sure I kept my mouth closed while wolfing down my Whopper with cheese. I did offer the occasional one-word response: "Cool." "Uh-huh." "No way!" But those are the conversational equivalent of kicking your leg when the doctor taps your knee with the little hammer – it's a reflex, nothing more.

So I started talking back. That's when the trouble started. The thing is, I wanted to add to the conversation – get my two cents in, that sort of thing. So I started commenting on everything she was saying. So-and-so kept chomping her gum in statistics? Maybe my friend could kindly ask her to stop. People keep pulling Professor Whats-his-name off topic? Maybe my friend could steer him back to the subject with a pointed question about the day's topic. Pretty soon our conversations consisted of her telling me things and me telling her how to fix those things, and as you can imagine, that didn't last long.

One day she'd had enough. "Scott, I’m not asking for your help here – I'm just telling you what's going on." It wasn't opinion that she wanted: it was a listening ear, to know that she was with someone who listened eagerly to her and paid attention to what was going on in her life. She wanted connection, companionship, a feeling that we were in tune with each other – and all I wanted was a cute girl to make me look like I was a guy who could get a cute girl. It wasn't much longer before that cute girl and I weren't dating anymore.

Listening eagerly is an art form, and it might be one of the most difficult to develop. Four years into ordained ministry, I'm still learning to listen well. How does listening play a part in your faith? Where does the ability to listen eagerly come into the faith you've been given? When God is telling you what's going on, are you telling God how you can help?

This video by Rob Bell talks about listening well, listening eagerly, listening to heal – let's watch now and we'll talk about it when it's done.

The video is "Rhythm" in the Nooma series - you can order the video at nooma.com.

What do you hear when you hear about God? What does God’s word whisper in your ear? Are you listening to prove that you’re right, or are you listening to heal and be healed? Rob Bell talks about the song we sing and how we can be in tune with the song – has the music of God’s word ever spoken so deeply to you that you just felt that everything was right? If so, then I think you had a moment where you listened to heal.

Our reading from Revelation this morning talks about the leaves of the tree of paradise coming forth “for the healing of the nations.” For God, heaven isn’t about getting a right theology or having the right doctrine: for God, heaven is where the nations are healed and everyone lives in the presence of God. Heaven isn’t where everyone gets what they want: heaven is where everyone becomes what God meant for us to be. Heaven is where we stop listening to judge, listening to fix, listening to condemn. Heaven is where we listen eagerly, to heal and be healed.

In our reading from Acts, Lydia is described as a “worshiper of God.” In the New Testament, this meant that she was a Gentile who believed in the God of Israel, someone who found a spiritual kinship with the Jews. When she came to hear Paul down by the river in Philippi, she heard something, a word or a promise or something that she’d never heard before. The writer of the book of Acts says that she “listened eagerly” to what Paul was saying, and what Paul said brought her healing. Jesus said that the Spirit would come to help us learn and remember everything Jesus taught us, and so it does. Here where the Word speaks to us, where we hear the song of God’s creation and strive to be in tune with that song, we are healed by listening to God’s word. We are made whole by the promises God makes to us, washed over in our baptism and brought into relationship with a God who loves us passionately. Where this word of God is heard, where this song of God’s creation is sung, we are drawn into the life of Christ and made whole through what we hear. The Spirit given to the disciples has been given to us, and now, like Lydia, we have the ears to listen eagerly to God’s Word, to be healed by the fruit it produces in us. Let us pray:

Almighty God, grant that we, who have been redeemed from our old life of sin by our baptism into the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ, may be renewed in your Holy Spirit to live in righteousness and holiness. Like your servant Lydia, help us to hear with eager ears the message of healing and salvation given to us through the help of the Spirit, who calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies us in true faith. Bless the nations of this world with a foretaste of the healing that is to come in the day when your kingdom shall come. All this we pray in the name of Christ Jesus, our risen Lord. Amen.

11 May 2007

anti-stewardship commercial

I am SO going to use this in this fall's stewardship program!

Friday Five: Potato, Po-Tah-To Edition

From ReverendMother over at RevGalBlogPals: There are two types of people in the world, morning people and night owls. Or Red Sox fans and Yankees fans. Or boxers and briefs. Or people who divide the world into two types of people and those who don't. Let your preferences be known here. And if you're feeling verbose, defend your choices!
1. Mac? (woo-hoo!) or PC? (boo!)
Why yes, the Friday Five author reserves the right to editorialize!
*sigh* I want to be a Mac person. I really do. But I'm terrified to take the plunge. The last time we needed a new computer we went with the safe route and decided, "Dude, you're getting a Dell." It's a decent laptop - actually, it's been a really good laptop. But it's not an Apple, and becoming an iPod user hasn't made my desire any easier to allay, nor have the funny series of commercials starring the guy who played Warren on Ed.

2. Pizza: Chicago style luscious hearty goodness, or New York floppy and flaccid?
Umm, couldn't I file this under my favorite "either/or"? I mean, it's PIZZA, facryinoutloud. I suppose if a choice were required, I'd go with the deepest deep dish you could imagine, but "fold & feast" is also good. Plus, the simplicity of the New York style can be really tasty.

3. Brownies/fudge containing nuts:
a) Good. I like the variation in texture.
b) An abomination unto the Lord. The nuts take up valuable chocolate space.
[or a response of your choosing]
Again, what's not to like? Chocolate? Good. Nuts? Good. Ice cream? Good (sorry, I need a little ice cream when I have chocolate).

4. Do you hang your toilet paper so that the "tail" hangs flush with the wall, or over the top of the roll like normal people do?
Amen: preach it, sister! It might seem as if either option is equally valid, but we all know that God intends for us to hang the toilet paper over the top.

5. Toothpaste: Do you squeeze the tube wantonly in the middle, or squeeze from the bottom and flatten as you go just like the tube instructs?
Oh, Mylanta, you've touched a nerve here. I am a dedicated bottom squeezer (quiet, you), while my Beloved is a wanton middle squeezer. We use different tubes because Beloved also requires sensitive toothpaste, while I could use battery acid if I needed. So every couple of days her tube looks like one of the dumbbells in our basement: fat on the ends and skinny in the middle. At that point I must repair the damage my wife is doing to her toothpaste and my sense of order and decorum. She's walked into the bathroom many times in the four years of our marriage to find me flattening her toothpaste tube and muttering vague imprecations under my breath. The same goes for EVERY TUBE OF OINTMENT AND/OR UNGUENT IN OUR MEDICINE CABINET. Such is life with a hopeless anal retentive like myself.

Another funny story: my ex-wife trained me to put the toilet seat AND lid down when finished with my business. Now I live with a woman who steadfastly refuses to put down the lid, and it bugs the hell out of me. She also refuses to close cabinet doors after opening them and enjoys leaving her dresser drawers an inch or so from completely closed, preferably with a pair of sweats bunched up in the gap. Help, please!

Bonus: Share your favorite either/or.
Hmmm - there are lots of music acts that are similar and enjoyable. For example:
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton (I know, their playing styles are worlds apart, but they are both consummate bluesmen and fun to hear)
Harry Connick, Jr. and Michael Buble
Jars of Clay and PFR
Steve Miller Band and Bachmann Turner Overdrive
Neil Young and Bob Dylan (both legends, both guitar-driven, see above)
Billy Joel and Elton John (sorry, LutheranHusker - they're both great!)
There is, however, only one Storyhill.

Freddy Kruger and Jason Voorhees
Sam Keller and Joe Ganz (Husker fans will understand)
Gustav Mahler and Dmitri Shostakovich
Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo
Mike Yaconelli and Rob Bell

By the way, it is obvious to me that the world is better when I can watch the sun rise, the Red Sox are God's chosen team, the Yankees are excess and vulgarity incarnate, my boys need space to roam and anyone who feels otherwise should be cast into the outer darkness. For an afternoon or so. :-)

10 May 2007

Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)

We were driving back to Minnesota the other night when the song "Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)" by Billy Joel came up on my iPod. The sun was setting over a lake to our left as I drove through beautiful Minnesota valleys. I looked in the rearview mirror and my wife and daughter were asleep in the backseat, confidently trusting in my ability to get them home safely. I damn near burst into tears, the moment was so powerful.

I remember hearing this song years ago and wanting to remember it for my child, should I ever be lucky enough to have one. Now that I do, the blessedness of it is even greater than I had ever imagined.

Here is the video of this song at YouTube. The lyrics follow.

"Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)"
Billy Joel

Goodnight, my angel
Time to close your eyes
And save these questions for another day
I think I know what you've been asking me
I think you know what I've been trying to say
I promised I would never leave you
And you should always know
Wherever you may go
No matter where you are
I never will be far away

Goodnight, my angel
Now it's time to sleep
And still so many things I want to say
Remember all the songs you sang for me
When we went sailing on an emerald bay
And like a boat out on the ocean
I'm rocking you to sleep
The water's dark and deep
Inside this ancient heart
You'll always be a part of me

Goodnight, my angel
Now it's time to dream
And dream how wonderful your life will be
Someday your child may cry
And if you sing this lullabye
Then in your heart
There will always be a part of me
Someday we'll all be gone
But lullabyes go on and on...
They never die
That's how you
And I
Will be

Baby Ainsley 365: Handy

Yup - that hand is a clear favorite these days.

Teaching Moments

I've been catching up on the blogroll this morning and found something truly cool. My friend Ross is an adjunct faculty member at Augsburg College in St. Paul, MN. He recently encountered an episode of cheating in his class and handled it beautifully. I can't seem to link to the posts directly, so go to In Lay Terms and scroll down to the Academic Integrity posts.

Mmmmm - hand

Wow - I don't know what this thing is on the end of my arm, but it sure tastes good!

09 May 2007

Baby Ainsley 365: We Love Elk Point, SD

Really, our visit with J & J went better than this - just five seconds before this was shot Ainsley was smiling!

The full report from our trip to NE will come tomorrow night.

06 May 2007

Lincoln Half-Marathon on gobigrev.blogspot.com

I posted my results from the Lincoln Half-Marathon here.

04 May 2007

Friday Five: It's My (Birthday) Party!

I wanted to post pictures of my own first birthday party, but couldn't find any in my parents' albums. So I just posted these from thirty-two years and some odd months ago. The picture above is me with my Grandpa Johnson - the picture below is me with my friend Karla, who graduated from high school with me and (I hear) checks this blog regularly. Hi, KB!

From Songbird at Revgalblogpals: I hate to say it, but over the years I've been to too many parties where I, or the birthday child, has felt much like the chorus of Lesley Gore's old tune. I am therefore not the biggest fan of birthday parties. For this Friday (which happens to be my birthday), tell us these five things about parties, birthday or otherwise.

How fun! I'm visiting my parents today, and tomorrow is my 33rd birthday, so a party meme makes perfect sense!
1) Would you rather be the host or the guest?
I would rather be both. A couple of times in the past few years I've celebrated my birthday by inviting friends to join me for dinner at a favorite restaurant, at a friend's home or at our own home. What's far more important than hosting or guesting (yes, I just verbed "guest" - deal) is being with those you love as you celebrate significant milestones.

2) When you are hosting, do you clean everything up the minute the guests go home? Will you accept help with the dishes?
I will ALWAYS accept help with the dishes, and we do usually clean after the guests leave. Credit that to a wife who hates to leave dishes unwashed even during a meal; but that works out well for me, since I LOATHE doing the dishes.

3) If you had the wherewithal, and I guess I mean more than money, to throw a great theme party, what would the theme be?
I would throw my own eleventy-first birthday party! I draw much of my thoughts on birthday parties from Bilbo & Frodo Baggins' joint celebration at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring. I would love to throw a gigantic party, inviting all the people I know half as well as I'd like and all the people I like half as well as they deserve. There would be good food, good ale, small gifts for everyone from me, and a big fireworks show. Oh, and Longbottom Leaf as well.

4) What's the worst time you ever had at a party?
I'll amend this to focus more on birthdays, mostly because I don't think I've ever not enjoyed a party. The worst birthday I ever had was my thirteenth. I finished dead last in both shot put & discus at a junior high track meet, a girl I liked sent one of her friends to tell me she wouldn't go to the end of the year dance with me, and an 8th grader who saw it teased me mercilessly the whole bus ride home. Talk about miserable.

5) And to end on a brighter note, what was the best?
This year is shaping up to be a great birthday celebration. I'm home visiting family, my brother is receiving his Master's degree tomorrow, and on Sunday I'll run the Lincoln Half-Marathon with friends and enjoy a joint birthday celebration with LutheranHusker and some of our friends. So, a Happy Birthday to you, Songbird, and also to anyone else celebrating this weekend!

02 May 2007

Baby Ainsley 365: Good Morning!

No, we don't let her sleep like this - I propped her up in our comforter so I could get dressed quickly Monday morning.