Paying Tuition

Three years ago (pretty much to the day), I opened an account and began trading mechanical systems of my own design. Those early months are what I now refer to as a time of “paying tuition”. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, let me keep the entry brief:

Paying Tuition

Perhaps there is a different path to take… I don’t know. But if any of you become interested in system trading, be prepared to paint your own pretty picture like the one above.

If you want to be a doctor, or get an MBA, or go to law school, you know you’ll have to pay tuition. Trading really isn’t so different.

Cookie Decorating

Since, as I stated in my previous post, the laundry and dishes will always be here, there are days when it wise to just ignore them for a bit in favor of doing something a little out of the ordinary…especially when that something brings your children so much happiness! You should have seen the kids’ faces when after school on Friday I announced that we were going to bake and then decorate sugar cookies. I believe “You are the best Mommy ever!” was the comment offered in response. High praise indeed!!

We had a great time all afternoon making a mess of the kitchen. The kids cut out pumpkins, bats, ghosts, and little cats in honor of the upcoming holiday. It was my very first attempt at creating decorating icing with egg whites – the children chose the colors for the various bags of icing, and much to our delight, it worked! The icing hardened beautifully after we piped and spread it on the yummy cookies (it was easy enough for the children to work with themselves), and held all our sprinkles, etc in place. Here is the recipe I used.

As you can see, we were all very proud of our tasty creations!


Update on life at the new casa

Having been “settled” in our new home almost one month, it might be nice if I was wowing you with all the fantastic projects we’ve been doing to “pretty up” the place. You’d think after four weeks, this place would be glowing with our personal touches and evidences of hard work. You’d think a month would be enough time to accomplish amazing feats around here. You’d be wrong.

Because well, ordinary life doesn’t cease to exist just because we moved: there are still 4 children, 2 adults and a dog who live here. They like to eat three meals a day, wear clothing, go to school/work/ballet/choir/gymnastics (though we haven’t been able to get the lazy dog to engage in any of these activities), wake up in the wee hours of the night with bad dreams, and other ailments, and basically continue to have lots of needs and priorities outside of the many projects looming all around them.

The mommy of the house is finding that setting up housekeeping in a new place, while fun, is also a huge challenge. First, there is the unpacking. Again, life continues…so no, the unpacking is still not complete four weeks into the new place. Unpacking naturally means things have to go in a certain place, so there is a whole process of figuring out how best to organize the space for the way we live. That requires lots of thought, especially if you tend to stress about these types of things just a little too much, as she is wont to do. And then there is the tiny little detail that we left almost every piece of our furniture at the old place, for “showing” purposes, while the house is still on the market. We are living here without the benefit of bookshelves, toyboxes, dressers, nightstands, etc. So truthfully, stuff stays pretty messy (much to my dismay). I must, however, note that we do have great builtins and closets in this house that we are loving; despite about 600 fewer square feet of living space, our current home actually has more storage capacity than the previous, much larger one did.

The everyday stuff like laundry, dishes, and pickup all seems to take much longer in a new place too. I can probably owe the dishes thing to my new “vintage” Kitchen Aid dishwasher (we think it likely that is is original to the 1965 house!), which though it works beautifully, doesn’t seem to have the capacity, or the intuitive loading abilities my previous washer had. So we appear to be using it more often than we did at the previous house. And I am owing the huge mounds of laundry (despite doing loads ALL THE TIME!) to the time of year; the weather is in that wonderful, yet unpredictable stage where the temperature can be either freezing or way too hot. This means that almost every article of clothing we all own is in play at the same time. Most of the rest of the year, the out of season clothes are packed away, and I suppose that will happen soon enough.

But overall, I do think it just takes time to develop a rhythm and way of doing things that is efficient and smooth. So I really am trying to be patient – I know my many projects can eventually happen…but for now they are more a working out of ideas in my mind than a reality unfolding before my eyes.

And I am also remembering that all the everyday and sometimes mundane stuff I am doing is freeing my husband up to accomplish some very needed projects around the house – projects much more crucial to the ongoing soundness of the home than painting every room, adding crown molding here and there, putting mirrors and light fixtures and towel bars in all the bathrooms, refinishing the wonderful back deck, and sprucing up the landscaping (and no, this is not the full list!). But as much as we look forward to these activities, we have a few responsibilities prior to starting on the cosmetics around here. You see, the home had not been “loved on” in many ways, so there is a lot of basic maintenance that needs attending to. And Jay, outside of his many commitments with work, children, school, and church, has been seriously attending to it!

So far, some of his wonderful successes have been:

*replacing locks/doorknobs/handles on all outside entry doors;

*installing (with the help of a very kind friend) a brand new toilet in our master bath – the other one had begun leaking in a nonreparable way;

*replacing the laundry/garage/attic venting system for the dryer;

*rescuing and preserving the boys’ bedroom carpet and pad and floor from ruination despite several thorough soakings courtesy of a sprinkler head aimed directly at their window, thereby flooding part of their room;

*planning and executing a garage storage system to fit everything that used to reside in a 3 car garage into a 2 car garage (and he’s done a great job – it works!);

*replacing all the “innards” in the boys’ toilet so that it is now useable again;

*customizing a kitchen cabinet/desk builtin to house our computer and all the stuff that goes with that (So I am typing this while seated in my cheery kitchen/breakfast area, and enjoying a cup of fresh coffee.)

*gradually replacing EVERY electrical outlet in the entire house, as well as every lightbulb (he found a couple inside some outdoor lights that actually aren’t even manufactured anymore – guess it’s been a while since they were changed, eh?)

and the list goes on….

Well, I’ll try and keep you posted a bit more regularly than I have been. But for now, it’s back to the dishes and laundry!

Walk on Water

I was listening to Audio Adrenaline’s “Walk on Water” yesterday in the car and had a thought. Actually, several, all related to the story of Jesus inviting Peter out onto the water. Here’s the version of the story in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 14:22-33):

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Thought #1: Compare this passage to Hebrews 12:2… it seems to me that the author is referring back to Peter’s experience.

Thought #2: Okay, this is a bit more complex, but stay with me. What is the sea to an Israelite? And a boat on the sea? It would certainly call to mind the ark floating on the waters of judgment. And the rough seas would remind an Israelite of the gentile nations (see Psalm 68:22, Isaiah 23:11, Isaiah 60:5 among others). Here we have Peter getting out of the ark (the only safe place on an angry sea) and walking on the waters of judgment. Or, at the level of nations, leaving the safety of the promised land for the chaos of the gentile nations.

Jesus was instructing Peter on what was coming and on how to survive. Everything was about to become topsy-turvy. The church would be dispersed throughout the world, and in so doing would paradoxically be used to gather in the elect. The angry waves of the sea would be crashing all around. How would Peter and the early church (and us) survive? By fixing his eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

Winning the war yet losing

It’s been several years since I read The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but for some reason I was thinking about it while mowing the yard last week. I was trying to ascertain the meaning of his ending (if there is one) in which the hobbits head home and have to free the place from oppression and restore its natural beauty.

It suddenly struck me that perhaps Tolkien was reflecting on his own experiences and thoughts about his homeland in light of World War I. Is the entire trilogy a warning that there’s no point in bleeding and dying to win a global war if you surrender your homeland to the same sorts of evils in the name of progress?