Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Personal "Discovery"

My mother arrived in Orlando yesterday, the start of a 2-week visit with her sister. Apparently their weekend plans are so full that Mom doubts they'll get them all in. Last night, after pre-arranged dinner with friends, they added a can't-be-missed-opportunity to the agenda.

Around 10:30 pm, Mom and Aunt Dorie, plus a friend, drove from Orlando to Cape Canaveral to watch the shuttle Discovery lift off. The uncommon nighttime launch "lit up the sky" much more dramatically in person than the televised coverage shows.

My aunt gives her first-person account:

Lots of people parked on the sides of the road and in the median (like us). Families- dogs, dates, etc. I remember the silence of the crowd as the area at the base of the shuttle got brighter and brighter. We were standing between some vehicles that were edged up right to the water. We'd been told there were alligators in the water. The sky got brighter and it was quiet. The crowd was quiet except for one person with a car door open and the radio blaring with the countdown. The noise really came when the shuttle broke through the atmosphere as it was curving (or the look of a curve) off in the distance. And when we could no longer see it - the crowd cheered and clapped. Interesting dynamic for sure.

What a great way to start a vacation! I bet Mom doesn't witness another shuttle blast-off...ever. I bet I don't either, at least in person, seeing as they are scheduled to be grounded in a year or so. Hopefully this event will stay in her "highlight" memory bank.

Monday, August 24, 2009

First Day of School

Boy #2 is officially a big boy. This morning he happily posed for "1st day" pictures, then rode with me to school. When the bell rang, he gave me a final hug, lined up with his classmates and marched down to his room, waving back at me only once. I can't wait to hear how the day went!

Firstborn son seemed excited to return to school, as a 3rd grader this time. He's got the 1st day photo session down pat. Don't you just love the smile (and the stripes)?

The brothers--they really are pals.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Lutherans Vote on Actively Homosexual Clergy

Yet another denomination divided by the question of homosexuality. Some within the leadership equate this vote with that of allowing women clergy. I've heard that argument before in other contexts. Anyone interested in comparing the way the Bible handles both sets of people, in terms of leadership within the church, should read Bill Webb's Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals (Intervarsity Press, 2001).

KSTP TV - Minneapolis and St. Paul - Some See Storms As Sign in ELCA Gay Clergy Vote

The Gospel: Keeping it Simple

The message of the gospel has been on my mind lately. The way last week's Sunday school and church topics coincided has caused me to think on it more than usual. At its core, what is the gospel? What is it not? And what do people need to know in order to consider trusting in Jesus?

Since today was my turn to blog at Tapestry, I blogged on it there. I'd love it if you'd follow the link, read up, and post a comment.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Power Shopping

On rare occasions, I can be persuaded to rise early--as in, dark and early--in order to shop. I've done that once on the Friday after Thanksgiving. I had specific items in mind at one specific store. And though the line at 5:30 am was appalling, I found my deals and was home by 7:30.

Today was another such occasion. Kroger, in Texas and Louisiana, offered coupon doubling up to $1 today only. So it you're reading today, you may still have time! Not realizing what time the store opened, I drove into the parking lot at 5:55 am and stared at the small crowd gathered at the doors. Great. But by the time I'd parked, the doors were opening. Perfect timing :).

It wasn't crowded; just a few bargain hunters--many with coffee in hand--willing to rise early and find some deals. I had my list and my coupons. To the toiletries aisle first, since we are out of toothpaste. The best deals were probably there. Cereal wasn't bad either. Forget the batteries.

"Hi, Brenna!" "Hi, Susan!" Yes, I saw friends there who, like me, sported faces au naturelle. We exchanged tips on where certain items were and what kind of deals we'd found thus far. And then, the checkout line.

Oh, it was a line. But there were no checkers. The self-checkout line helper was inundated with coupon issues. Finally, two brave souls ran to their posts and yelled, "I can help you on #__." We swarmed. We waited.

We waited.

And we waited.

A half-hour later, I peeled out of the parking lot, trying to get home in time for my hubby to leave for his 8 am meeting on time. Thankfully, he's a laid-back kind of guy whose first words were, "So what did you find?" (not, "what took you so long?!"). He was probably secretly wishing he could have shopped instead, bargain king that he is.

My grand total, including the Kroger plus card savings, was 55% savings. I know some did better, but I found most of what I needed at much-better-than-usual prices. That equals success for me.

3 cups of coffee later, I might stay awake through the morning.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Financial Idiocy

Popular as it is, the Cash for Clunkers program was funded on borrowed money. A drop in the environmental bucket (yes, it took 250,000 gas-guzzlers of the streets), this endeavor boosts the auto industry more than anything else. Ford actually posted a profit in July, thanks in part to the clunker trade-ins. But is this government business? Since when do Americans fund individual corporations through their taxes? Probably more than I realize...

But now the government wants to borrow more money, or use more borrowed money, to extend this auto industry stimulus, when it's already accomplished its intended purpose? Read the details:

'Clunkers' Critics Question Move to Extend Funding for Program - Political News -
Rethinking Ruth

In preparation for the study of Ruth I'll be teaching this fall, I posted on the Stitches blog this morning. Take a look: Stitches.