Today the kids carved their jack-o-lanterns. Along with coloring Easter eggs, carving jack-o-lanterns reminds me of birthing a baby, in the way that after it's over and as you prepare to do it again, you have this sort of rosy, blurred-at-the-edges type of memory of the last time you did it. You forget how many times you have to say, "This is not a competition" or "This is not a race" or "Can't you share the tools? You don't all need one." No matter how old my children get, they still want to color eggs and carve jack-o-lanterns, for which I'm grateful, but there's that blurred-at-the-edges effect taking hold again. The seeds aren't even cooled on the pan and already I have forgotten how obnoxious they can get.
On Thursday it was 87 degrees, and by Friday morning it was 57 degrees. Now it's 41 degrees.
I have Chipotle Beef Stew with Butternut Squash simmering on the stove, so it's all cosy and smelling good in the house.
Yesterday a representative from the Republican party stopped by the house and asked if we planned to vote, knew where to vote, or needed any help with absentee ballots. He also asked if we needed any yard signs.
I told him frankly that we are against using yard signs because it feels like a poke in the eye. Last fall the school district was trying to pass another tex levy, and the people two doors down put a big pro levy sign in their yard. Because we very strongly opposed the levy it felt like a big poke in the eye. If I don't like being poked, I don't poke back, as much as it might feel good on some level. Besides, Doug and I can both remember a time when you didn't talk about who you were voting for. I remember as a child that I asked my father who he voted for and he very firmly told me that you don't ask that question, which is still true today, but with a lot of people you don't need to ask because they advertise.
I also think that yard signs are very divisive. I can tell you exactly which houses in my neighborhood had Obama signs in the last election. And maybe, just maybe, I kind of hold it against them still. Not very Christian, I know, but see I don't really even know those people, and I know their political views. It's not exactly the only thing I want you to know about me, no matter who I vote for.
I told the gentleman at the door that he could drop a sign off, but I wouldn't promise to use it. Frankly, I might be inclined to use it, but Doug is adamant that we will not. He did, however, cover the sign with plastic and said he would agree to putting a pro-life sign in the yard. So I'll paint "We vote the LIFE ticket" on the plastic, and maybe in little bitty tiny letters "...and that's NOT the current administration."
This morning while I enjoyed my morning cup of coffee, I read today's Saint of the Day and learned something new. I am posting it here in its entirety, with a comment in parenthesis.
Feast of Saints Simon and Jude
"Jude is so named by Luke and Acts. Matthew and Mark call him Thaddeus. He is not mentioned elsewhere in the Gospels, except, of course, where all the apostles are mentioned. Scholars hold that he is not the author of the Letter of Jude. Actually, Jude had the same name as Judas Iscariot. Evidently because of the disgrace of that name, it was shortened to 'Jude' in English.
Simon is mentioned on all four lists of the apostles. On two of them he is called 'the Zealot.' The Zealots were a Jewish sect that represented an extreme of Jewish nationalism. For them, the messianic promise of the Old Testament meant that the Jews were to be a free and independent nation. God alone was their king, and any payment of taxes to the Romans—the very domination of the Romans—was a blasphemy against God. No doubt some of the Zealots were the spiritual heirs of the Maccabees, carrying on their ideals of religion and independence. But many were the counterparts of modern terrorists. They raided and killed, attacking both foreigners and 'collaborating' Jews. They were chiefly responsible for the rebellion against Rome which ended in the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. (That gives me a whole new perspective on the word 'zealot' which I previously thought of as a positive word. I also think it's very interesting that Our Lord still chose Simon -- the Zealot -- to follow him.)
As in the case of all the apostles except for Peter, James and John, we are faced with men who are really unknown, and we are struck by the fact that their holiness is simply taken to be a gift of Christ. He chose some unlikely people: a former Zealot, a former (crooked) tax collector, an impetuous fisherman, two 'sons of thunder' and a man named Judas Iscariot.
It is a reminder that we cannot receive too often. Holiness does not depend on human merit, culture, personality, effort or achievement. (my emphasis) It is entirely God's creation and gift. God needs no Zealots to bring about the kingdom by force. Jude, like all the saints, is the saint of the impossible: Only God can create his divine life in human beings. And God wills to do so, for all of us."