Saturday, July 4, 2009

They Warned Me About Those Steroids...

...and after four days of them, I can say I'm beginning to see what they mean.
I know, I know, they're just supposed to clear that poison ivy patch on my shin, and I'm beginning to see some improvement there, but I'm also seeing a side effect. Let me explain.

This morning when I visited the bathroom by the laundry, I noticed that the toilet needed cleaning. So I found the bowl cleaner and cleaned all the toilets in the house. Upon cleaning them, I noticed that the corners of the bathroom floors looked dirty, because of a lamentable buildup of "mop and glow". There was nothing to do but get a bottle of ammonia and scrub the bathroom floors. In the back bathroom floor, as I was scraping the corners, I became more and more dissatisfied with the condition of the quarter round and molding. It looked terrible.

Well, I have white paint. So I painted the quarter round, molding, sideboard, top round, window sill, sink cabinet...and around the corner to the molding in the laundry room...doors, sills, same story. I pulled out the washer and dryer even, painting behind them, cleaning the floors about five times with the ammonia, then breaking out a new bottle of "mop and glow". About this time it dawned on me that it was three o'clock and I hadn't eaten or rested and my heart was just pounding...but the floor shone. See. That's the danger of prednisone. It makes you feel so good you want to work yourself to death. So I'm making myself relax and enjoy a bit of computer time. It's raining, but I'm too hyped for a nap.

Besides, it's the fourth of July, and I'm enjoying the holiday.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Market Place

We have ten shops in the marketplace. The families visit two each night. Of course everybody's favorite is the bakery, because we smell those whole-wheat rolls cooking throughout the evening, and at the end of VBS each family gathers around their table lamp and eats the bread and drinks cold water drawn from our marketplace well. We also have a carpenter's shop where the children learn to use hand tools and stain a cross, a jewelry shop for making bullas with a hidden symbol inside. There is a scribe who teaches them to write in Greek, a grammaticus school for learning Roman numerals and how to use the abacus. (Is the plural abacci?)They make leather wrist bands in the leather shop, paint a top in the toy shop, make mosaic tiles in the clay shop, and sample simple Roman-type foods in the food market. In the weapons shop they explore a miniature Roman fort and see the might of the Roman army, observing little models of actual siege weapons. Every evening there is also a skit in the market place. Tonight a bread thief was almost arrested, but the owner refused to press charges and forgave him. Here are a few pictures.

Apostle Paul, Under House Arrest in Rome

Here's Elijah as Paul. His chained cohort, Brutus, grew the beard especially for the part, and the young soldier, Carl, stands nearby with a message. I don't know what I'd do without these willing volunteers. They certainly make things exciting for the little VBS kids, who hang on their every word. One little girl embarassed Brutus by hugging him a couple of nights ago. She wanted to show him God's love. Every evening, one group of kids takes a letter from Paul to the underground church and the other group brings an offering from the church to Paul. Last night it was a blanket for his bed. I also contacted one of my eighth-graders to put in an appearance last night in the market place so that he could get arrested and taken away. Now it looks like I may have to invite him back, because the children are worried about his fate. I want them to understand history, but I don't want them to suffer needless fear. It's hard to know where to draw the line.

Here are Lucia and Marcus in the catacombs. They are doing a fantastic job also, bringing hope into what was a dangerous time for the early Christian church.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Good Shepherd of the Catacombs

We are having a great VBS this week.
The theme is "Early Christianity in Rome". Paul is in prison; the Christians are meeting in the catacombs. Thus, there is a serious element to our normally boisterous celebration. Even so, the emphasis is quiet joy. In fact, my favorite moment of the day is when we are singing, Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow, softly in the flickering darkness of the cavern fire light

I'll be posting more pictures over the next several days. Here is a shot of our makeshift catacomb room. My son-in-law, Art, plays the part of Marcus, a pastor in the underground church, and my son, Elijah is "the Apostle Paul". Everyone in our family, almost everybody in our church, and several of my students who go to other churches have a part. They are shop owners, soldiers, and senators. Carina is the leader of a family surnamed Pompeius, Turtle is a scribe and runs the weapons museum. Claye runs the clay booth in the market place. She also did some research on Catacomb art and drew this example on the wall with pastels.

Poison Ivy

Be thankful. At the last minute I decided not to post a picture of my poison ivy reaction. (Some things are better forgotten.) Suffice it to say I am now on antibiotics, prednisone, and some kind of multiple-syllabic topical ointment. To celebrate the occasion I wrote a limerick.

Ode to Poison Ivy

I didn't know what I would catch
when I mowed that innocuous patch
of oddly shaped leaves.
I should have worn greaves
On the areas I now have to scratch

Here are some pictures of poison ivy for your viewing pleasure. I didn't know it could race across a flat field like this, or present itself in the form of a bush. All I can say is, it's a wonder I'm not covered from head to toe.

I copied this pictures from an official "poison ivy" site. If you are doing any outside activities this summer you should visit it first...and avoid my fate.