Pistol Packin' Presbytera

Presbytera, in the Greek culture, is the wife of the Father, or parish priest.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

SBA Summer Hiatus

This is part of the curriculum at St. Barbara's Academy. Is it physical education? Is it dance? Is it recess? Is it drama? Well, in our homeschool, it is a little of all of those things and then it is also history.

For the past 3 years my friend Kim has been kind enough to share her history curriculum with us. This year we were working through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Reformation. First we look at the history cards (very beautiful pictures of classic art) and I explain the basic idea behind the card. Then they listen to the song which is really a timeline of history with 31 key dates, places or people from that time period. They repeat the song 3 times each day. On the second day of the history lesson, we explore the event in a little more detail and of course they listen to the tape again. On the third day of their history, we might read another source or they might color a picture or do a little project centered on this part of history. And once again, they listen to the tape. By the end of the school year, they have listened to this song at least 300 times and they have it easily memorized.

This picture was taken when they were listening and singing along with the history tape. Can you tell history is one of their favorite subjects?

Our school is on hiatus for the summer. We will get together to work on some art projects which I just didn't have time to fit in and finish. We began knitting and cross stitch and I know the girls really want to finish those things. Their Aunt Crina has also offered to work with them in doing some wonderful art. She is very accomplished and is off of school for the summer. It should be a fun summer school : ) Knowing how much they love history, I'm certain they will be listening to this tape again and again and again!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A birthday, a birthday and a birthday

Our family recently got together to celebrate two family birthdays and as an added bonus we also celebrated the birthday of Mr. Barb the Evil Genius. Here are Nick and Naomi dishing out the ice cream cake I made for the birthdays. We were celebrating Naomi's 22nd birthday so she was our birthday girl for the day. The Evil Genius Barb is helping dish out the dessert. Melody if you are reading this, we are using the cat plates you gave me : )

Here are the birthday boys anticipating chowing down the cake. We celebrated Theo's 28th birthday and I'm not certain of the number for Mr. Evil Genius but it is the day after Theo's. Our dining room table was not big enough to handle all four families but we did manage to seat the adults there. My grandsons ate at the counter in the kitchen and the young ladies ate at a card table reminding me of family meals growing up. We children were always relegated to card tables in the kitchen.

The day was nice so Grandpa opened up the treehouse for the children to play in. Lily is missing from the picture -- don't know where she was when it was taken. This is the treehouse that Nick and his dad built as a math homeschool project. It won't be long before Nick's daughter will be playing in it!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Graduation Recital

My dear husband and I recently had the privilege of attending a graduation recital for Abby. Abby is a member of our homeschool group North Coast Regional Lutheran Homeschoolers. I've seen Abby grow from a young girl into a lovely young women. It was a treat to see her perform and to perform well. I've had the opportunity to attend several concerts Abby has participated in and even received a private recital in her home! She played several memorized pieces which she has worked on through the years. Abby was accompanied on violin by her instructor Marian

Another thrill was when Abby's younger sister Hannah joined her for 2 pieces. Here are the two sisters playing Minuet 2 by J S Bach. I'm certain it was a joy for Hannah to be a guest violinist at the recital of her sister.

This picture shows Abby in her graduation cap -- it was actually the cap & diploma from her cake!! Abby and I have gone cross country together and I enjoy her company. We were able to attend a Higher Things Youth Conference in Seattle and had much time to get to know each other on the plane there and back. Congratulations Abby!

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Cycle Continues

I began blogging about a year ago -- right during the Memorial Day weekend. Those first posts found me shooting, attending the Greek Festival and visiting my friend Beth in New York. A year later, the cycle is continuing.

After going to the Greek festival this year, we took a little tour of the surrounding neighborhood. This area is peppered with many churches, small homes crowded together (by today's standards) and is currently in a state of flux. The homes here were once occupied by the many immigrants who made their way to the industrialized haven of the big city Cleveland. They lived in this neighborhood and walked down into the valley to work in Cleveland's great steel mills. They worshipped in nearby churches and patronized nearby stores. This picture is a not uncommon site. An abandoned building with interesting architecture waiting for some cycle to continue. Will it be the cycle of revitalizing a community by refurbishing this house or will it remain abandoned until this piece of history is demolished?

This building is right next door to the house with the broken windows. The roof on this building (part of a larger complex of buildings) looks like it will hardly make it one more cycle of the seasons.

One more turn of the corner reveals the newer part of the Tremont area. Clean, revitalized new homes. The cycle continues as the people who move into these homes will once again work in the nearby area although they will not walk into the valley to the steel mills. They will most likely drive their BMW's downtown into the city and work at a law firm. They are the new urban settlers. They shop at nearby art studios and eat at upscale restaurants close by. And so the cycle continues....

A year ago, I was visiting my friend Beth as she battled cancer. This is a picture of Beth in happier days with her not-yet-but-soon-to-be-husband Mark. Of course, now is really a time of rejoicing for Beth as she has completed the cycle of life and death begun at her physical birth, continued with her spiritual life begun in Baptism and finally claimed as she entered eternal life through death a couple of weeks ago.

The cycle continues in church as we celebrated Pentecost yesterday. The Father loved us enough to send His Son into the flesh. The Son loved us and the Father so that He gave His life on the cross in payment for our sins. The Son loved us and sent His Spirit, the Counselor who would lead us into all truth. This Spirit of truth draws us and calls us by pointing to Jesus and what He has done for us. And Jesus completes the cycle by once more pointing us to the Father in glory.

At Christ Lutheran Church we go through the cycle of the church year and rehearse, relive and remember the cycle of life given to us by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We were blessed this weekend to attend the wedding of a member and the baptism of the son of a member. Here I am celebrating with the mom and aunts of the groom. These ladies have been called, gathered and enlightened by the Holy Spirit and brought into fellowship with the Triune God. These sisters have gathered this weekend for the wedding traveling from South Carolina, Iowa and Wyoming.

Yesterday also marked the 28th anniversary of the Baptism of my son Theodore. As my parents brought me to the font and as my husband's parents brought him to the font, so we brought Theodore (which means in Greek - gift of God) to the font and rejoiced as he was given New Life in baptism. His father baptized him and his Uncle Tom, my brother, came from St. Louis with his family to witness the baptism of my first born and preach at the service. My brother Tom has completed the cycle of his earthly ministry and is now singing with the other saints who proceeded him. Theodore is now the father of five and has brought his children to the font. Two were baptized at area Lutheran churches; two were actually baptized at the font below and we await the birth of his fifth child.

This post ends with a picture of the baptism of our newest member of Christ Lutheran Church. He is being baptized by his grandfather, Rev. Roger Vernick, who traveled from West Virginia to participate in the service. Here he is baptizing the 4th son of his daughter. And so the cycle continues.....

Friday, May 25, 2007

My great grandparents

I have been doing some scanning of pictures for our family at ancestor.com. My husband's brother signed us up and asked us to fill in the information. I took the opportunity to also add info for my family. This is my mother's paternal grandfather. I never met him but I took this picture from his alien registration. His name on his naturalization papers is listed as Wilhelm Johan Niemann. That paper was prepared on Feb 25th 1919 although he had been in this country since Dec of 1882. I'm certain it was done because he came here from Hamburg Germany and it was WW I era. He also has an alien registration card for WW II but by that time his name was listed as William John Niemann. He was born in Bruda Germany in 1856 which means he was 26 when he emigrated to America. In 1919, he listed his occupation as night watchman. The residence he listed in Cleveland is the house that I came home to as an infant, 31 years later. Houses tended to stay in families longer then!

He brought his wife with him. This is the picture from her WW II registration card. She was 78 years old when this picture was taken. Her name is Augusta Frederika Niemann. Wouldn't feminists have a fit over that name!! She was born in 1864 in or near Mecklenburg Strelitz Germany. They traveled here on the ship Victoria.

Carry On

Favorite Apron asked me about what gun I was shooting when we practiced the other day. I was actually shooting two different guns. This cute little gun looks just the right size for my hand. I really liked the fact that you could easily tuck it into your pocket or purse. However, it packs too powerful a punch for my arthritic fingers. I could shoot with it if I had to but I really want to be proficient with the gun that I carry and I didn't relish practicing with this Kel-Tec. It might be the perfect concealed carry for someone else -- just not for me. It is so cute though, too bad I can't handle it. : )
Here's a picture of my sweetie. It felt so comfortable in my hands -- it was good to hold my sweetie again. If you want to find out more about my Smith and Wesson, you can check it out here. I never would have believed that I would be interested in shooting. I never really gave it much thought.

Five years ago, I would have been terrified to pick up a loaded gun but I began to realize the assault that was going on with our constitutional rights and of course, 9/11 happened. I had always learned that the 2nd amendment spoke about my right to carry a weapon. Ohio at that time was one of the last states to withhold the right to carry a concealed weapon from it's citizens. Because of my husband, several of my friends and the Ohioans for Concealed Carry, I considered it my personal mission to obtain a concealed carry license as soon as they became available in Ohio.

Somewhere along the way to preserving our freedom, I began to really enjoy shooting. I learned how to safely handle a weapon in a class that I took and it is a great opportunity for my husband and me to have fun together. He delights in having a wife who encourages him in his bang-bang-shoot-'em-up hobby. As posted previously, it is a family affair.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Some Creatures Great and Small

Tuesday was a busy critter day at St. Barbara's Academy which is located in the city -- not countryside. My dear granddaughter looked out at the pond and proclaimed "They're back!" Last year, we were regularly visited by this loving pair of mallards. They visited several times over a 2 week period and then disappeared. Tuesday they were back. My 4 year old grandson was also here and it was hard to contain him.

I carefully crept forward and got this closeup of them in our pond. Shortly after that they got out of the pond and went waddling out into the yard. Needless to say, the children were delighted and practiced their duck calls until they flew away. They were not back yesterday but we are ever hopeful!

On Tuesday my husband and I also had the opportunity to go to the range to practice my Pistol Packin' skills. It's been a long winter and I was glad to be out shooting again. We practiced rapid firing where I grabbed the loaded gun and shot quickly at the target. This was to simulate an actual scenerio where I had no chance to carefully take aim. I am glad to report, my first shot was dead center! After returning from the range, I began preparing dinner and looked out my kitchen window and saw this interesting target!

While I continued with the dinner prep, my hunter husband approached for this closeup of our visiting buck. He was definitely interested in munching on the undergrowth in the wooded area next to our house. The buck paused to cautiously watch my husband and to check out the noise of children passing by on the sidewalk. Too bad my students had already returned home. I'm thinking that my husband was wishing he was pointing something other than a camera at this buck.

I did not get a picture of the last creature that visited on Tuesday. It was 11 p.m. and a HUGE raccoon was checking out our garbage cans. By the time we were ready with camera, the raccoon had wondered off for greener pastures....or at least an open garbage can or wayward plastic bag filled with goodies.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tag anyone?

I do not plan on tagging anyone so if you read this and want to answer the questions -- go ahead!

First of all, BTEG tagged me and here are seven random uninteresting things about me.

1. I had my tonsils out around the 5th grade.
2. If there are 2 switches to turn on a light, I want them both to be in the up position when they are on, and the down position when they are off.
3. I earned my varsity letter as the manager of a swim team.
4. I found this exercise very hard because I think I am an interesting person.
5. The first thing I made in home ec in 8th grade (1964) was stewed prunes.
6. I took my first jet ride to Massachusettes and when I got home, I knelt down and kissed the ground.
7. In college I most wanted a VW bug. They were selling for $1777 and I never could afford it.

I also was tagged by Cheryl to find out what I wanted to be at the age of 5, 10, 15, and 20

I don't remember being 5 years old so I can't answer that!

I don't remember what I wanted to be at age 10 -- I probably didn't think about anything other than playing outside : )

At 15 I knew I wanted to be a deaconess missionary to Papua New Guinea. I did go to Valpo to start the deaconess program (that's where it was in 1968) but soon became convinced that my vocation was to be a layman in the church. Ironic that I ended up marrying a pastor.

At 20 I wanted to be a wife. I had already met the love of my life and I was working hard at convincing him that I was the love of his life!

Fancy Schmancy Jello

I recently had occasion to prepare a jello parfait which took a little time but was fairly easy. Years ago when refrigerators had metal slatted shelves (like ovens) it was a cinch to make this jello. You filled the parfait glass half way and tilted it in the refrigerator by putting the bottom of the parfait glass between one of the wire slats and leaning it against the inside wall of the refrigerator. The jello hardened at a slant. When I began to prepare this jello, I realized that my refrigerator now has glass shelves. OH NO! I pulled out my bread pans and improvised. Here is picture of the glasses leaning in the bread pans. I only spilled a little when I carried them to the refrigerator.

Success!! I have the cherry jello in the glass with a slant. While this was jelling, I began the second layer of peach jello to which I added chopped peaches. The peaches weren't actually chopped -- they were more in the neighborhood of smushed. I bought the very generic brand of peach slices and I think they cook the life out of the peaches before they can them.

Here's step three. I have straightened the glasses and I filled them with the peach jello. Now they can just sit on the glass shelves in the refrigerator....that is after I cleaned up the spilled jello!

THE FINAL PRODUCT -- A scoop of whipped topping and maraschino cherries are added for the final flair. It's been years since I made this jello and I was happy to do it. After these past months, it's been good to be creative and produce something lovely. Oh yes, it tasted good too!!!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Guess Who We Visited With This Week

This has been a very busy week as I begin to get back into the swing of things and we had lots of visitors! The girls and I are quickly working our way through the last lessons in our Saxon math book. Here they are being introduced to "functions". Don't they look entranced?

This lovely lady visited us on Tuesday at St Barbara's Academy. We enoyed having her babble and listen in on what we were doing. The girls sang their history lesson to her....I'm not certain how much she retained but I hope she comes to SBA again sometime soon.

On Friday, one of my homschooling friends from Iowa was passing through town and we had the opportunity to be their guests as we dined at a nearby restaurant. It has been about a year since I've seen Suzanne and it was a real treat to catch up on our families and friends.

Another friend that visited this week is Rev. Timothy Landskroener. My husband refers to him as the Chaplain to the Chaplain. We had a wonderful time eating with Kathy and Tim at Marta's, a very nice Czechoslovakian restaurant in Cleveland. On Friday, he and my dear husband did a ride along with the Cleveland Police Department -- just to see the seamy side of life.

Another visitor I had this week was by eamil and telephone. I talked with my dear brother Gary from CA/NM/CO. He emailed me this picture taken in Utah and we talked a while on Saturday. We have not physically seen each other in 10 years but I'm hoping my husband and I will be able to visit with Gary and Liz sometime soon. We had a nice chat covering family matters. Since our brother Tom died a month ago, old memories surface and it was wonderful to talk them over with Gary.

This last picture is of my husband hugging our friend, Beth Schlamann when we visited last May. Beth right now is in the arms of Jesus but we will be visiting later this morning when we attend the Divine Service. We will take communion together however we will be on different sides of the Table. She is supping in heaven with our Lord; we will be kneeling here at Christ Church and getting a glimpse of heaven on earth as we eat and drink the Lord's Body and Blood. I will most certainly think of Tom and Beth as the church sings this morning "with angels, and archangels and all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy glorious name, everymore praising Thee and saying: Holy, Holy Holy.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


I am still working through the grieving process whatever that means. My dear brother Tom died on April 13th and I haven't felt much like blogging....and I have been busy. I think getting back into the swing of things will help me so I will attempt to resume blogging.

I figure that I have XXX number of tears that will fall and only God knows the answer to the number. At this stage of my grieving, I'm pretty certain that the number is more than the number of hairs on my head!

There are many things which have helped me in the recent weeks and I would like to tell you some of them. Every sympathy card I received was like a friend reaching out to me. I was amazed that so many of my online friends took the time to look up my address and send a card.

One of my friends wrote -- it is never the right time to lose a loved one but God is never surprised by the timing. I found that comforting.

I also found a conversation with Pastor Timothy Landskroener of comfort when he reminded me that the explanation to the first commandment is that we fear, love and trust in God above all things. Trust means that we rely on God doing the right thing even when we can't see the wisdom to it. I obviously can't see the wisdom of my brother being gone from this earth but I trust God that He knows what's best.

That leads me to the hymn which is so comforting to me.
What God ordains is always good. He is my Friend and Father;
He suffers naught to do me harm. Tho' many storms may gather.
Now I may know both joy and woe, some day I shall see clearly
That He hath loved me dearly.

What God ordains is always good, Though I the cup am drinking
Which savors now of bitterness, I take it without shrinking.
For after grief God grants relief, My heart with comfort filling
And all my sorrow stilling.

Pastor Williams Parsons who preached at Tom's funeral assured us all that Tom is more alive now than any of us left on this earth. Of that I am certain and that brings comfort. I am certainly not crying for Tom - he is blessed beyond measure. He is with his Savior in a way we have yet to experience. He is also with my dad and mom and for that I rejoice. Yet I continue to weep for my loss.