Wednesday, August 31, 2005

For All the Saints, Who From Their Labors Rest

I ask your prayers as we travel to Allentown, PA for the funeral of John's mom, Ruth. Ruth died at the age of 94 early Tuesday morning. She loved to sing and to laugh, and I thank her for producing six terrific children -- especially the youngest.

Noah is the organist for the funeral, and he'll be playing For All the Saints as well as other great hymns that the Horn family loves.

A few hours after learning of Ruth's death, and with about 4 hours of sleep, I drove to Dubuque and took the final exam for Greek class. I am done! I did it!

I will be away from e-mail communication from Thursday through Sunday of this week. Until then, may all of you be well.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Bah Humbug!

Noah left yesterday for his fourth year of college and returned to his organ job near Cleveland. We're delighted that he's there, but it seemed especially hard when he drove away. We think this is because he was home this summer, so once again we got used to having him (as well as his constant music-making and his friends) around.

It's awfully quiet in the house.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Why I Wanted to Run

... to the nearest Episcopal church:

This was the opening Prayer of Confession today at the Presbyterian church across the river in Rock Island, Illinois, where Noah played his last service as summer organist before heading back to Oberlin:

Mysterious God, we shut out the infinite dimensions and variety of who You are to cut You down to a size we think we can manage. Then we cut ourselves down to stereotypes we can pigeonhole. In this limited view, creativity and spontaneity are snuffed out. Even Jesus becomes a predictable relic of the past. O God, forgive us for so distorting reality that we miss Your surprises. Welcome us back to Your big world of possibilities. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Friday, August 19, 2005

God Bless Friday

I am happy that another week of class ended well. I'm even happier that tomorrow I might sleep later than 4:45 a.m. without awakening every 90 minutes, genitive absolutes roaming around in my brain.

And at last, the major detour around Dubuque is gone. I've had to drive in circles around the city for the past several weeks, taking a detour that itself had road construction!

Yesterday at the end of class, one of my study partners had a huge meltdown in the classroom. Only the professor and I stuck around; everyone else split as fast as they were able. We listened to Craig (the, um, Melted One), responded, and thought he was better. Moments later, I walked through the Refectory and came upon his melting a second time -- only much, much louder and longer. We'd been told that students often experience meltdowns during intensive Greek (read: "this is normal"), but I really thought Craig was in trouble, and stayed with him. He actually was wailing! Only the day before, he was the life of the classroom, having bestowed upon us magic encoder rings (a.k.a. toy rings embedded with rhinestones)and now he was raging and crying over what he felt was an impossible task: passing today's test.

Craig calmed down; I went home. Today he did fine on the exam. He promised me he'll talk with his advisor about his fear and anxiety. It is major. We have one and a half weeks to go. I'm getting attached to these people, who all will continue learning together while I go off to my place back on the block.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Oh, Goodness!

You are an AKMA.

You stand out from the crowd because of deeply held beliefs in the unknown.

You ponder endlessly and treat everyone, even fucknozzles, with respect.

WWAD (what would AKMA do) guides your actions.

Take the What Blogging Archetype Are You test at

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Thanks to Susie for a Break from Participles!

Oddly enough, though, these are different results from the last three times I've taken the Myers-Briggs (which all were INFP).

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Roger and the Bat meet Parsley

Yesterday marked the end of the equivalent of one semester of elementary Greek for our class at Wartburg Seminary. We completed 16 chapters in 3 weeks, and had the "midterm" exam. The fourth section of this exam was translating the beginning of Mark's gospel into English. As I translated, I approached the gospel with intensified awe, something much larger and mysterious than I've felt when reading in English.

On Thursday, we had two visitors in class. Roger, a middler from Wisconsin, appeared in class as an auditor for the remaining three weeks. He took this same class last summer, then had a series of small strokes. Due to his memory lapses, he forgot the Greek he learned. Shortly after his arrival that day, a bat flew through our classroom, down from the dome of the skylight to circle around our heads. My study partner yelped and covered his head with his textbook, while our professor continued to write verb tenses on the board. The student next to me said, "This must be what hell is like!" Luckily, our instructor seems unflappable. She told us this week that the informal name of our course is not Summer Greek, but rather Suicide Greek. (Now she tells us!)

Meanwhile, my study group has renamed me Parsley, due to my insistence on "parsing" each part of our homework sentences. So, while I introduced myself to Roger as "Raisin," my cohorts introduced me as "Parsley." Either way, he seemed skeptical, but amused.

My study partner Kirsten trusted us enough this week to say that just before Greek class began, her husband of nearly 20 years asked for a separation, unable to support her decision to enter seminary because of the financial drain. My study partner, Craig, reported that his wife questions the strength of their marriage because Craig spends most of their time together studying Greek. David, newly relocated to Dubuque from Kentucky, now questions his call.

Back at home, John and I pray for his very dear mother Ruth. At age 94, she has just been hospitalized, suffering the end stages of dementia. She is anxious, paranoid, and even violent with the staff. She no longer remembers what food is for, so has not eaten. Her living will stipulates not only DNR, but no IV hydration nor feeding.

And so we pray this day for Ruth and for John (and siblings Toot, Marian, Bill and George), for Kirsten and Craig, Roger and David. I also pray for my colleagues completing CPE, and our batch of incoming seminarians!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Greek Verbs

So, last night I went to bed thoroughly spent and discouraged because I'm finding Greek so difficult. If the class were on a semester schedule, we'd just have completed ten weeks -- instead of two.

Early this morning, I dreamed that I was at Wartburg library's circulation desk. I asked to check out some Greek verbs, starting with the verb for "to loosen or destroy" in all its tenses. Problem is, all the present active indicative forms were available, as were the passive, but the imperfect forms already were checked out. The librarian suggested that I might check out the imperfect forms for a different verb, but I couldn't believe that she expected me to mix them, and was on the verge of shouting at her when.....I awoke, grinning. Wacky Greek dream, to be sure, but this morning I'm happy to note that I've recovered from my accumulated sleep deprivation, and thus have regained my sense of humor.

Note to self: Greek is challenging. I hope to heaven that it is challenging for everybody and that I am not alone in my frustration as I make mistakes. Working on verbs before going to bed is not the best idea. Perhaps savoring ice cream before bed is better!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Grow old along with me; the best is yet to be!

Today is our 30th wedding anniversary. Some friends seem startled to hear the number of years we're celebrating together, claiming that we don't show our age. We just tell them that we got married when we were ten.

My Greek class prevented our going away on this day, but we've planned a night out, and certainly look forward to it. We're very lucky still to be "so in love," as Cole Porter's song declares.

I give thanks for this day.