Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Reformation Trick-or-Treating

As a Lutheran pastor especially, I always stress that today is first and foremost a celebration of the Church's Reformation, marking the anniversary of Martin Luther's nailing his 95 Theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg (October 31, 1517). Naturally, the world knows this day as Hallowe'en or All Hallows' Eve, the evening before All Saints' Day (November 1), when it was thought that the souls of the dead would return to this world and haunt the living (Jack o' Lanterns were put on the doorstep to spook these spirits away). Luther's posting of his Theses was calculated since he knew that the next morning a large gathering would assemble at the church for the All Saints' Day Mass, though these Theses (points designed to provoke debate) were written in Latin and not meant for the common German people. Within weeks, however, Luther's document was translated into the language of the people and circulated throughout Germany and eventually all Europe. The Lutheran Reformation had begun.

With that short history lesson, I will also report that Lucas will be gathering candy this evening masquerading as Buzz Lightyear. Grace will go along for the ride, dressed in a blaze orange outfit with a little black cat on it. Best of all, we'll have some candy in the house!

Perhaps we'll shoot a few pictures and post them in time.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Settling Back In

Our family is settling back in after ten days of vacation. We had the pleasure of spending several days with family and friends in remote places, but we also got the chance to unwind over the past couple days at home. We loved every minute of it. Most of all it gave Tarren and me an opportunity to get away from our very busy every-day lives and to spend some quality family time together. We are refreshed and ready to go.

We had the chance to do plenty of driving and saw some beautiful places in our beautiful country. Many places we visited were beginning to take on the colors of autumn. Surprisingly many of the trees in our hometown remain perfectly green. The weather has been mild, so I suppose that's the leading factor in keeping the trees looking summerlike. We hope to see the dazzling reds, yellows and oranges soon!

An update on the children ... Lucas is perfectly potty-trained. He has been accident free for at least a couple weeks and continues to do very well. His logorrhea can be wearing on the nerves (it's a relief to our ears when he finally hits the hay), but his imagination is endless and his boyish enthusiasm fills our family life with joy. Currently his favorite pasttime is to look at Thomas trains on Dad's computer. During vacation he got his first chance to experience bowling; it was a hit (see pictures below).

Grace simply adores her brother. It's funny to listen to her squeal as she is being carried upstairs, watching Lucas climb the stairs right in front of her. For some reason she gets a real kick out of that. Right now she's suffering from a slight cold, but she's obviously developing both physically and mentally right on schedule. Every day she's becoming more nimble in her ability to grab things and manipulate them the way she wants. And her grip is made of steel!

Here's a few shots from our vacation:

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Where have you been?

Perhaps some check this blog from time to time, and you've been wondering outloud: Why haven't they blogged? Actually, my wife asks me this question about every other day. I've told her repeatedly that she's can blog herself, but she demurs. So the simple answer as to why you haven't seen anything new on this blog recently is this: I've been a busy man. Conferences, meetings to prepare for, meetings to attend, with pastoral work in between; a visit from my sister Beth; a birthday for Lucas; and two sick kids.

I won't bore you with details about the professional aspects of my life over the past several weeks, but I will expand on Beth's visit and Lucas' birthday. My sister came last Tuesday on the train and was able to be here for Lucas' birthday. We took Lucas to Toys 'r Us so that he could pick out a birthday gift from his aunt Beth. He chose a Thomas the Train set that ended up not being built very well. Tarren returned it the other day, and Lucas picked out a couple wooden Thomas trains instead. Beth's visit was short, but we enjoyed the time we had to spend with her.

Lucas officially turned three. We had a small party the weekend before with Tarren's family; a nice, cool afternoon. Naturally, Lucas got many more presents than he needed or deserved (can someone who is leaving their "terrible two" year behind really deserve anything?). He's at the point where he appreciates the gift he just opened for about a nanosecond, and then he wants to open another one. Once he has all of his unwrapped gifts in front of him he's able to be a discerning judge as to which is his favorite, though I can't honestly tell you what judgment he's made. As of this moment he seems to enjoy the wooden Thomas trains that he picked out last week best. Actually, the gift he asks most about is the Toby train that Tarren and I purchased for him for Christmas when we were at Toys 'r Us. (For the uninitiated, Toby is one of the engines from Thomas and Friends). They had a nice sale, so we decided to buy a few. He wonders daily when he's going to get Toby, and we tell him that he needs to wait until Christmas. So, of course, now he wonders daily whether today is Christmas. He's beginning to make more and more of those types of logical connections these days, and his Mom and Dad are noticing. He's growing up to be a nice, three-year-old boy!

After the birthday festivities came to an end, both of our children received one last "gift," an upper respiratory virus. Grace was running a fever around 102 and had a dry cough. One day she slept for about 18 of the 24 hours, which was a little cause of concern, especially for Momma. But once again, we noticed a difference between our two children. When Lucas is sick, we often have trouble getting him to sleep. When she's sick (granted, this was her first real bout with illness), she sleeps. And even though she was sick, she was quite liberal with smiles.

Lucas got it next, and he developed croup. He sounded pretty bad for a few days, but now he's almost entirely cleared up. One thing that was surprising to me was that the doctor didn't prescribe any antibiotics. I'm not complaining about that, but we've become so used to running to Walgreens in this family that I expected yet another trip. But both children have overcome without any prescription assistance, which is just fine by us!

So there's the update. I'll add a couple pictures since it's so easy to do.