Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Communion Wine (Whine)

“Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’”  Matthew 26:27-28

Okay, so we’re not good Lutherans. 

When I first learned to commune, I used to drink from the traditional chalice.  I was young.  I liked Pastor communing me.  And I knew they used Everclear to wipe the rim of that cup between rounds of communion.  Nanna was on the Altar Guild, after all, so that meant I was an honorary Guild-ster since I helped her put communion out when it was her turn.   I remember when we got those tiny cups for individual wine servings and started offering an “option” to drinking after everyone else.  I remember the horrible filling of those tiny cups with this glass jar apparatus with a rubber bulb on the top. 

I also knew that the inner-round of those circular trays didn’t have wine in them.  They had grape juice.  Welch’s.  Straight from the kitchen refrigerator, to be exact.   It was purple, just like the wine, so you’d have to know what was in those cups.  And, of course, it was assumed by me throughout my growing up that if you took grape juice at communion, you were a recovering alcoholic. 

I’m judgmental that way.

Or maybe I was told that. 

Now they say “allergic to wine”. 


Years pass, Nanna dies, I go off on my own, I get married, move away from my home church, and start attending where I do now. 

And it turns out, I don’t feel so comfortable drinking after all these people anymore.  And it turns out, that the wine tastes like rotten raisins.  And it turns out, you can have grape juice at communion and not be a recovering alcoholic. 

My church uses white grape juice, probably Welch’s, so you know what you’re getting.  Every communion Sunday I have the grape juice.  I don’t care what you say, wine is nasty.  It burns my throat, gives me dragon breath, and is not an enjoyable experience for me to consume. 

And, if my Lord can put his cleansing spirit in wine, then I’m pretty sure he can put it in grape juice too!

So this Sunday, the wafers and the Pastor pass.  Wafer was not stale this Sunday, I note.  Sometimes they are chewy and get stuck in my teeth.  I like to think of myself as quality control for the Body of Jesus.  Ok, maybe not.

Then the elder comes with my now-usual individual cups.  I only say “elder” as a church term.  He was younger than me.  And we’ll blame it on his lack of “elder” knowledge and experience that he’d let the center circle of cups of grape juice run OUT before he got to me.  So I made a face at him.  And he kind of paused and grinned at me, wondering what I was going to do, my unspoken disgust for the situation written on my face. 

And then I took a tiny cup of wine. 

While the elder spoke the words of communion, I threw back the wine so as to limit the exposure of my taste buds to the horrible taste.  It burned my throat as it made a fiery path to my stomach.  My lips curled and a shudder went through me.  My face got hot and red.  Then I looked over at my husband, who was chin to chest with his face contorted into a grimace usually saved for cough syrup. 

And I laughed.  Ok, not hard, but I found all this quite funny.  I don’t think there is much of a chance of the hub and I ever becoming alcoholics if we can’t even handle the communion wine! 

Maybe we’re “allergic”! 

I did feel a bit more renewed, or cleansed, or like a new person, as I walked back to my pew.  Maybe I needed a reminder of what communion is all about.

Plus, the kids enjoyed my dragon breath!     

Thanks be to God for powerful blessings that can turn even stale wafers and grape juice in to perfect reminders of our salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus.  

And for forgiving even bad Lutherans like me!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Can't Put a Price on Innocence

“How can a young man keep his way pure?  By living according to your word.”  Psalm 119:9

*Okay, so Anakin Skywalker has nothing to do with this post, but I was really proud of my Halloween pumpkin.  We won first place at church.  Think of it as me waving the mighty sword of motherhood.

I try to keep my kids safe from the pitfalls of the world.  They’ve only seen a handful of PG-13 movies that I have previewed myself.  Mythbusters is probably the most risqué show we watch on TV.  And my husband and I don’t generally go around having inappropriate PDA moments. 

But…  I am lazy.  I have not installed a firewall on the computer for fear that it will complicate my life.  I used to manage the firewall at a bank that I worked at and we were all-exclusive when it came to the internet.  I had to open up sites one-by-one that were necessary for our employees.  The reason behind this was a few bad apples who spent nine hours a day on MySpace and completed or attempted very little actual work.  So I am well-versed in the pains of the firewall. 

However, my children like to play games on the internet. 

Introducing:  MommyWall.

I have given them “the talk” on how there are inappropriate things on the internet.  Things that will make their eyes fall out.  Things that will rot their brains.  Things that will make them go blind. 

“Like what?” they wanted to know.

Like sex, and violence, and people using drugs, and other stuff that is not age-appropriate.  (I use “not appropriate” as a catchall for all things bad around here.)

They have been instructed NEVER to click on an advertisement because it might take them straight to all these bad things.  They have been instructed to NEVER answer any questions or sign up for any memberships because bad people might be behind it.  They have MOST IMPORTANTLY been instructed to come and get me if anything looks weird on the computer.

So, the other day my 9YO comes out of the computer room with a wide-eyed look on his face.

“I’m sorry, Mommy…   I won’t ever do it again…  I clicked on something…  I think it was sex…” he said.

“Why do you think that?” I asked.  (Isn’t that what the psychologists say to ask?!?!)

“Because it said I had to pay!”

He has no idea!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dead Cats

"For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.  The last enemy to be destroyed is death."  1 Corinthians 15:25-26

We are a three cat family.  We have Mama Cat, Happy, and Mittens.   Mittens should be called Mittens 2.0 because Happy’s brother was the original Mittens, but he met a car that he couldn’t outrun last fall in front of our house.  He’d been dead longer than 24 hours when the kids and I found him.  Twenty-four long, warm hours.  It wasn’t pretty. 

New Mittens is a girl cat and is grey with some peach calico.  She’s a bigger kitten who showed up at the across the street neighbor’s house and she didn’t want to keep her. 

Mama Cat, who has also been called Kitty Waa Waa and Curly by the kids for reasons I don’t understand, has only been a mama once.  She’s older and is kind of cranky.  I’ve lost track of how long we’ve had her, but it’s been a while. 

Oh, and Happy is black and white and is two years old. 

Anyway, three cats…

On Sunday, I was working on getting lunch together and noticed out my kitchen window that I could see a dark, cat-shaped lump in the grass down by the neighbor’s pasture gate.  I kept an eye on the lump while I got lunch together and the lump never moved.  The lump was dark colored, so that made it either Happy or Mama Cat.  I kept watching.  No movement.

When lunch was almost done, I sent the 9YO outside to check and see if he could find all the cats.  Only Mittens was in the garage. 

“Why?” he wanted to know. 

So I told him.

“There is a cat shaped lump down there by the neighbors that hasn’t moved the whole time I’ve been in the kitchen.  I think it might be a dead cat.”

We looked out the window and then he showed his brother.  There was a sense of urgency and they both ran out the door and down the street to check on the dead cat.

My heart constricted.  They weren’t very happy when we found (the first) Mittens.  But I thought maybe this would be better since they were going on their own accord, knowing what to expect, and it wouldn’t be a surprise.

They marched down the middle of the street, Mittens 2.0 following behind. 

I kept an eye on the dead cat.  Still nothing.

But then, just as they passed the halfway point down the road.  The dead cat’s head popped up and Mama Cat ran to meet them. 

It was almost like when the bird came back to life.

I laughed and laughed and so did they.  They patted Mama Cat’s head and came back in the house to tell me she wasn’t dead.  She was only sleeping! 
Thanks be to God for little boys, funny cats, and the promise that our death will only be the beginning of our eternal life in Heaven!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Turntables: The New Stone Tablets


While driving down the road to Wal-Mart yesterday, we were listening to Taio Cruz’s Dynamite song and my 9YO says to me:

“Wouldn’t it be cool if you could play the song backwards and there was a secret code in it?”

A question that spans the generations.

I remember as a kid hearing how certain songs held a secret message if you would only play their record backward on the turntable.

A few definitions:

  • Record – big circular piece of thick black vinyl with grooves cut into it that were “read” by a needle on an arm that was also attached to a set of speakers.  Said grooves resulted in a grainy musical experience not able to be replicated by today’s new fanagled CDs or digital downloads. 

  • Turntable – a large piece of equipment with the equivalent of a lazy Susan for mechanically turning said records. 

I had an old turntable that was part of a stereo that had belonged to my aunt and uncle.  It also had an 8-track player, which we're not even going to get into...  I had a few 33s (size of a record), including Michael Jackson and Van Halen.  I remember hearing about songs that could be played backwards on the turntable and said things like 666 or Kill Your Parents and believed them to be straight from Satan.  Reportedly one was by Ozzy Osborne, who was going through his blood drinking phase.  I thought if I even listened to one the right way, I would probably immediately become a Devil Worshipper (a horrendous fear of my youth) or at least be permanently warped. 

I think I tried to see if Michael Jackson had embedded any secret messages that I could unlock by spinning the turntable counterclockwise with my hand, but alas Billie Jean and Thriller always sounded better the right way. 

Nevertheless, my question for you today is:  With all our high tech gadgetry out there today, could a song still be played backwards?

When I hit the rewind (probably another outdated term) on my CD player, it merely skips back to the sound one second ago and then plays on.  I don’t believe it is truly playing the song backwards.  Plus, I am unaware (of probably a lot of things) of any way to truly slow down the backward playing of a song so that you could actually understand syllables to decode any secret message. 

Is this a part of my childhood that has been rendered obsolete?

Is this a path into the dark side that has been closed by technology?

Will my children ever have the opportunity to change the needle on an old turntable?   

Is this blog really being written by a cavewoman on a stone tablet?

I'm beginning to think so! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Sonic Epiphany

“Youth is wasted on the young.” – George Bernard Shaw

*Note to self:  I should just buy oldest kid a coat for Christmas, as this is the second year in a row his coat has given out the week after Christmas. 

So last week, we had to run to Tulsa to get the kid a coat, even though it was 70 and sunny.  While we were in the 71st & Memorial area, I decided to throw caution to the wind and say:

“You guys want to go to the mall?” 

Now understand that my kids have been to the mall probably no more than five times in their lives.  They think of it as a magic wonderland where you ride stairs up and down, and get to eat at a lovely place called the Food Court.  There is also a place called Candyopolis there, the sights of which makes their eyeballs fall out of their heads.  So the answer from the backseat was:


Candyopolis was sadly closed, but was quickly forgotten when the crowds parted and revealed the beautiful neon of the smorgasbord known as the Food Court.  Unfortunately, the rest of Tulsa was still on winter break as well, and everyone had congregated at the Food Court. 

My children chose Sonic. 

Uh, did they not get the memo about their being free-standing restaurants where you don’t stand in line and they bring food out to your car?

Anyway, while I ordered, they held down three seats at the end of a long communal row of tables and chairs. 

When I had finally secured two Wacky Packs and a hamburger, I joined them at the communal table.  Our seatmates appeared to be traditional college students. 

I say traditional because my friend Deb has gone back to college and is a non-traditional student.  Not the age of the traditional college students.  Nice try, Deb.

As I sat eating my Sonic hamburger, I had an epiphany.  Probably caused by the caloric overload.

My children (who are 7 and 9) are now closer in age to these college students than I am! 

Now that’s disturbing.

Disturbing because I still think I’m with it.

Disturbing because I still think I haven’t changed much since that age.

Disturbing because I still have as many pimples as some of them.

So guess who was the “old” lady at the table that day?

Yep.  That would be me. 

A serious blow to my psyche. 

So from now on, I’m warding off Sonic hamburgers.  Apparently they cause serious introspection that can have disturbing results.  From now on, I’m sticking to only items from the ice cream menu.  There’s protein in soft-serve, right? 


Just say yes. 

Respect your elders, you know.