". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Monday, January 15, 2018

Mid-January update

I am back at work in St. Louis and finally over the December sickness, yay! Praying I avoid whatever is now going around my workplace. From the descriptions of what some of my coworkers are experiencing, I think it might be the same bug, which should mean I am immune, right?

Caitlin has been in St. Louis with me this week, which has been wonderful. I kinda like that girl. Yesterday we joined some of the LCMS Communications team in attending the Chicago March for Life. We left at 7:00 a.m. and returned about 18 hours later.

On the way in our nice, warm van.

Lunch at Nando's. 

On the right is the social media manager for The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod. He does superb work. You can catch a few of his live videos from the march here. Unfortunately, the cold was a major drain on all our devices, including the livestream camera, which shut down before the march was over.

We have eyes of life!

On the way home we stopped for gas in Bolingbrook, Illinois, where we lived from the time Caitlin was 4 until she was 18. She has many memories of this city, as well as of Chicago, and would like to go back for a longer visit. We hope to do that when it's a little warmer. 

Much of our drive home was in snow. This is my back yard in St. Louis this morning.

Today I drive Caitlin back to college for her final semester as an undergrad! In May she will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a French minor. Boy, did those four years go by quickly.

Meanwhile, here's Trevor back at school at University of Iowa, where he is beginning his second semester of his doctoral program in piano performance. Next to Trevor is his current teacher at Iowa, Ksenia Nosikova. Next to her is his former teacher at University of Nebraska, Paul Barnes, who recently visited the U of I campus. Next to Dr. Barnes is a high school student who formerly studied privately with him in Nebraska but who, after a family move to Iowa, now studies privately with Dr. Nosikova. It is a small musical world!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Useful phrase

So I learned a new phrase over Christmas break. My college kids taught it to me, and I'm liking it more and more. Here it is in case you want to try it out.

"Quit harshing my mellow." 

In other words, stop messing with my serenity, disturbing my peace, rattling my cage, invading my quiet, or otherwise impinging on my sense of calm.

There. Go useful that one and let me know what you opinion. :-)

Monday, January 1, 2018

A Magness New Year's Eve

It was a wonderful New Year's Eve.

Trevor received the board game Ticket to Ride, so we played it for the first time. It was fun and not hard to learn. Guess who won? :-)

Evan plots his next move.

I am so proud of these two, the amazing people they have become, and the things they are doing with their lives.

Blurry Evan and Mom.

We made black-eyed peas in our Cosori (think Instant Pot, but better).

After game and supper, we listened to the King's College Lessons and Carols broadcast since we didn't get to do it on Christmas Eve. Then we watched a little of NYE from Times Square, after which we went downstairs to the piano and gathered around to sing "Auld Lang Syne." There may have been a few tears.

We wrapped up the night by taking turns sharing our aspirations for 2018.

Today I leave to go back to St. Louis. It will be a cold, cold drive! I am excited to return to my work but sad to leave the family here. I know they will be making good use of the time, though, and I'll be back home Friday night.

In spite of a lot of sickness running through various members of the family at different times of this holiday season, it has been a blessed time of togetherness. I pray the remainder of your Christmas celebration is a continuing reminder of God's goodness to you and His promise, no matter what happens, of another year of grace.

Now greet the swiftly changing year
With joy and penitence sincere.
Rejoice! Rejoice! With thanks embrace
Another year of grace.
Remember now the Son of God
And how He shed His infant blood.
Rejoice! Rejoice! With thanks embrace
Another year of grace.
This Jesus came to end sin's war;
This Name of names for us He bore.
Rejoice! Rejoice! With thanks embrace
Another year of grace.
His love abundant far exceeds
The volume of a whole year's needs.
Rejoice! Rejoice! With thanks embrace
Another year of grace.
With Him as Lord to lead our way
In want and in prosperity,
What need we fear in earth or space
In this new year of grace!
"All glory be to God on high,
And peace on earth!" the angels cry.
Rejoice! Rejoice! With thanks embrace
Another year of grace.
God, Father, Son, and Spirit, hear!
To all our pleas incline Your ear;
Upon our lives rich blessing trace
In this new year of grace.
("Now Greet the Swiftly Changing Year" - LSB 896; translation by Jaroslav J. Vajda; to the tune "Sixth Night" by Alfred Fedak)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year!

Have you made any New Year's resolutions?

I wasn't planning to, but something my husband said today has changed my mind. He was reading an old post here and noted that one of the things that he appreciates about my blog is the ability to look back and remember what we were doing in years past. The thing is, that is getting harder to do, as the frequency of my blogging has steadily declined over the last five years. I started this blog in mid-2007. In 2008, my first full year of blogging, I posted 431 times. That was by far my most prolific year. The years 2009, 2010, and 2011 each went down. 2012 went back up a little, but since then my posting has gone down every year. So far this year I have only posted 20 times.

I think there are probably several reasons I am posting less. One, when I first started blogging, I had many friends who were also blogging. I read their blogs, they read mine, and there was motivation in that. When fewer people are reading, there is less incentive to write.

Two, I started this blog as an outlet for my writing. Now that I have found some other ways to channel that passion, I feel less driven to do it here.

Three, some of the things I have historically blogged the most about, such as homeschooling and child-rearing, are becoming less of a factor in my life.

But I don't want this blog to die. I have no idea who is still out there reading, but I hope that some day when I am gone (a long time from now!) this will at least be a place my children and grandchildren can go to revisit stories of their parents and grandparents and great-grandparents. Maybe when I'm an old lady in the rest home it will be a place I can do the same.

And hey, I may not have as much to say about homeschooling and child-rearing as I used to, but I do still have thoughts, and maybe even a bit of wisdom to share.

So I'm going to try to blog more in 2018. How much is "more"? If you want to know the answer to that, you're going to have to keep reading. :-)

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Minor Adjustment

For years now our family tradition has been to listen to Lessons and Carols live from King's College on Christmas Eve morning. We wake up and have our breakfast and coffee in pajamas while also enjoying a feast for the ears. It's our one opportunity as a family to sit all together during the Christmas season, hear God's Word, listen to beautiful music, and sing Christmas carols with no responsibility for leading any of it. 

We didn't get to follow our usual custom this morning as not only is it Christmas Eve, it is the Fourth Sunday in Advent (making for the shortest possible Advent season on the calendar). Instead of listening to Lessons and Carols, we attended church, and rightly so. We were blessed to join our church family in Scripture and song and to receive the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. But I wouldn't be completely honest if I didn't admit that a little part of me was missing our Christmas Eve tradition.

But no matter! If you are also a Lessons and Carols fan and you missed today's broadcast, be advised that you can stream it any time over the next 30 days! We have decided that we will be transferring our Christmas Eve Lessons and Carols listening to the morning of December 26, otherwise known as The Feast of St. Stephen. We'll wake up, make cinnamon rolls and coffee, and listen just as though it were Christmas Eve morning. Problem solved!

There is something magical about listening live, knowing that you are joining with millions of listeners around the world who understand the special and mysterious beauty of this nearly 100-year-old festival. But the most important thing is the opportunity to reflect in peace and quiet with the people I love best. Will I take that two days late? You better believe it. 

Here is a link for streaming the service.

Saturday, December 23, 2017


Between a full-time job, the shortness of Advent, and being sick for the last two weeks, it has been a little tricky to get ready for Christmas this year. But somehow the tree is up, the cards are mailed, and the shopping is done. (Don't ask me if the house is clean.)

Today is wrapping and cookie baking. Phew. By the grace of God, we did it! Of course, the only readiness that truly matters is the kind we have no part in--the readiness that is all gift, placed upon us in our baptism so that we might no longer be called an enemy of the Creator, but His precious child.

As I think of the gifts I wanted to buy but couldn't find because I ran out of time; the cleaning that didn't get done; the cough that lingers, making me wonder if I will be able to sing at all this Christmas; I remember that none of it matters, because whatever is not in place on Christmas morning, the one thing needful will be right where He promises to be, coming to us in Word and Sacrament, caring not whether I am ready because His readiness is all.

Come, baby Jesus! We are waiting for you!

"O holy Child of Bethlehem, Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, Be forn in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels The great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Immanuel!"
(Lutheran Service Book 361)

Tuesday, December 5, 2017