Furnace Wars in Real Time

For those of you who don’t know, our house has a wood-burning furnace.  Most of the time my husband tends to the fire because he is a) home more than me and b) better at it.  However, for the next two weeks he has an intensive class in the evenings, leaving me in the unfortunate position of having to restart the fire and keep it burning when I get home from work.

This is an official record of the Furnace Wars.

6:30 p.m.  Return home from work and drop things off in the house.  Return outside to check the furnace.  Heat registering at 88 (it should be between 150 and 160).  Only small coals remain from the fire.  I try to find small pieces of wood from the wagon to restart the fire and realize that I have to haul some down from the top of the pile.  Also realize that they are completely soaked from last night’s rain.  Finally get enough small pieces to put in the furnace.  Close furnace door and head back inside to get some dinner.

7:00 p.m.  Return outside after eating dinner.  Heat is registering at 87.  See that the wood has not caught on fire from the embers liked I hoped.  I decide that the wood is too damp and I set out to the barn where the dry wood is kept.  Unfortunately, the barn is dark and there is a woodchuck hole in front of the woodpile.  I imagine raccoons and recluse spiders biting my hand as I reach into the dark woodpile.  I also have visions of an enraged woodchuck barreling out of its hole and gnawing off my leg.  I gather some dry wood as a huge blast of icy wind sucks my breath away and causes me to stumble.  I return to the furnace (still no flames) and throw the dry wood on the embers.  Close the door.

7:10 p.m.  After playing with the cat on the porch for a couple of minutes I return to the furnace.  Heat now registering at 86.  The dry wood hasn’t caught on fire, so I decide to give it more time and head inside while I wait.  The cat slips by my feet and wanders inside (she isn’t allowed in the house).  I take off my muddy boots and go after her.  Before I can grab her, she has tucked herself under the bed where I can’t reach her and the only way to get the little stinker out is to put food in her food dish.  She finally leaves the bed and starts munching on her undeserved dinner (thankfully outside).  What a treacherous little punk. . .

7:30 p.m.  Head outside again and see that the heat is registering at 84.  Open the furnace, only to discover that THE FREAKIN’ WOOD STILL HASN’T CAUGHT ON FIRE!!  WHAT IS THE BIG FREAKIN’ PROBLEM?!  IT’S DRY AND IT’S ON TOP OF HOT EMBERS!  WHY, WHY, WHY WON’T IT CATCH?!!  Wait, no, must stay calm.  Perhaps it just need more time before it burst into beautiful, house-warming flames.

7:55 p.m.  Return to the blustery outdoors and see the heat is now registering at 82.  This does not bode well for my side of the battle.  I open the furnace door and see a wondrous sight–lovely, hot, bright flames!  I have revived Prometheus’ ill-given gift and brought forth fire!  I quickly pile on a couple of thicker logs and shut the door.  

8:15 p.m.  Check the furnace to make sure the fire continued to burn.  It was blazing by this point, although the heat is now registering at 81.  Throw on a bigger log that will keep the fire going until my husband comes home (then he can deal with the stupid thing).

I shall declare this battle a victory for me!



God is Pro-Life

Today is Life Sunday for the LC-MS, the Sunday we set aside to reflect on God’s gift of life.  Likewise, it is the Sunday we remember all those unborn children who have unjustly died due to our country’s abortion laws.  Today is also the 39th anniversary of the passing of Roe v. Wade.

It’s funny how supporters of Roe v. Wade love to toss the tough cases into the abortion debate, especially when talking to a Pro-Lifer.  Should abortion be allowed in cases of rape and incest?  What about when the mother’s life is endangered by the pregnancy?  The problem with these arguments is the fact that these points of contention have nothing to do with Roe v. Wade.  Many states already had such laws in place before the passing of Roe v. Wade and these instances are just a small percentage of abortions performed in the United States.  No, what Roe v. Wade fought to protect was women’s right to chose whether or not she wants to carry a child for nine months.  I’m sorry, that is not a God-given right.
You see, God makes the case of abortion quiet clear in the scriptures.  In Jeremiah 1:5, He states, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”  Psalm 139:16 reads, “Your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.”  He doesn’t view His children as lesser people before they are born; after all, He knows us before we are known by our parents.  All nuances of the abortion debate aside, God loves life and calls us to keep it sacred and my prayer for this day is for all those who have been affected by Roe v. Wade–the unborn, the unrepentant, and those in need of God’s forgiveness in the aftermath of an abortion.     
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Waiting for Vicarage: The New Year

One of the strangest things about seminary life is the constant state of transition.  We spend second and fourth year anticipating where we will live the next year and what our husbands (and we) will actually do when we get there.  Consequently, the calendar change for the new year also solidifies the fact that our anticipation is so much closer to fruition than we ever imagined with the old calendar.

So where does that leave me?  I’ve readily admitted my fears and worries about this grand adventure that is the vicarage process, so it would be easy to assume that with the flip into January I would go into overdrive mode and pretty much explode (*insert image of me sparking and then bursting into flames*).  Surprisingly, this isn’t the case.  While my concerns haven’t shifted into faithful trust of God’s will (I’m working on this), nor have I restrained my urge to make a face whenever people mention the placement process (okay, okay, I’m not working on this), I’ve observed a different phenomena throughout December and into the new year–my husband’s increasing excitement.

In the midst of my worry and stress about what vicarage will do to me I often forget that this is more than a necessary step for my husband to become a pastor.  It’s a year where he gets to do the things he enjoys most about the seminary on a daily basis–preaching, teaching, and caring for God’s people.  Despite my anger at the seminary system and the pressure it puts on families, I could never ask my husband not to do this because of his evident joy as he gains more responsibilities at church.  To ask him to leave the seminary and not become a pastor would pull him from his aspirations and abuse the gifts that God has given him.  So with the beginning of 2012, better known as the year we go on vicarage, I begin to feel opposing emotions.  The fear, worry, and anger remains, but among those feelings is the smallest flutter of excitement of what vicarage will bring for my husband.          

Funny How I Never Saw This Coming

Sometime during my sophomore year of college I made a deal with two of my friends:  In 2012 we would take a trip to London for the Olympics and wander the streets in hopes of seeing David Tennant (who cares if Doctor Who is actually shot in Wales?  We could always hope. . .).  It may sound like a silly goal but it actually represented my life’s aspirations.  For one thing, I figured that two years after graduation would be enough time to find a steady job with benefits and save enough money for the trip.  Another reason was that none of us were dating at the time, much less thinking about getting married.

Flash forward 4 years or so and I’m not going to London.  Two of us have gotten married since we made this deal and I am no longer in contact with the third friend.  The economy is tough, so a job with benefits is no longer a realistic goal, especially when I’m changing jobs every year.  The money that T and I save goes toward his tuition.  Likewise, we will most likely be moving sometime in July.  To top off this failed plan, David Tennant no longer plays the Doctor. *Sigh*

At any rate, I’m okay with this failed plan.  While it would be nice visit London, the Olympics probably isn’t the ideal time to go.  The two of us who got married happily entered this institution and neither of us would give up our husbands to go on this trip.  And while the whole job issue really sucks, it comes with the fact that I married a seminarian (not that I view my seminary experience as a wonderful time filled with butterflies and unicorns).  Mostly, it’s just funny how I never would have predicted how my post-graduation life would actually be.

P.S.–While David Tennant did a wonderful job of playing the Doctor, Matt Smith, the current Doctor, also does a great job.  See, that worked out as well!    

Gingerbread House Disaster

The week before Christmas I had the brilliant idea to make gingerbread houses with the kiddos.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, so I got on the internet in search of a recipe.  I found this: http://www.cookingwithmykid.com/holiday/easy-gingerbread-house/.  It seemed like a simple enough recipe and I didn’t even have to make gingerbread (it used graham crackers instead).  Consequently, I got the kids excited for making the houses, bought a bunch of candy, and went to work on our Christmas creation.

For those of you who read Cupcake Fun!, you’ll know that my cuisine expertise is far from superior.  First off, I completely botched the icing and couldn’t get it thick enough to actually glue the graham crackers together. Secondly, I bought store brand graham crackers.  Unbeknownst by yours truly, the store brand graham crackers come in squares instead of rectangles and therefore made it impossible to make a functioning house.  Fortunately I found an extra can of frosting in the pantry and declared that we were making gingerbread apartments before either of the kids had a complete meltdown from sugar disappointment.  A very sticky hour later, we had completed our creations.  I then tried to move the houses and promptly dropped the seven-year-old’s on the floor.  In less than five seconds, I scooped the sugary mess off the floor, stuck it back on the cardboard, and cheerfully stated, “Good thing I just cleaned the floor!”  Yeah, not my best moment as a nanny.

This is how ours turned out with my “creative” solutions:

Not exactly the epitome of gingerbread houses.  However, the five-year-old spent the rest of the afternoon wandering over to look at his creation and saying, “I really love my gingerbread house, don’t you?”  At least he was pleased with the results.