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October 2012




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Oct. 8th, 2012

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After a time, it feels as if so much time is past that one does not know where to begin, so beginning becomes more difficult and never happens.

I suppose I should begin with Austin's job, and the lessons we have learned during his unemployment.  He lost his job the week before Thanksgiving last year, and got paid unemployment for 6 months, until May of this year.  During that time, we pared down but still managed to make minor progress on our debt.  We saved some money, still gave some (but a smaller amount) to charity.  Then May came and he still didn't have a job.  We pared down more, continued learning more recipes using beans and rice, honed our Sale Shopping skills, built up reserve meals in the freezer, stocked up when things were cheap.  We managed to make ends meet on my paycheck, which continues to amaze me.  There were unexpected boons.  Like, we had paid ahead enough on his car payment that we could skip 2 months.  He had no income so we got a forbearance on his student loans.  His parents sent us a couple gift cards for King Soopers.  All of that helped. 

We also were eligible for help from WIC, which helped us out for 3 months.  Now that he has a job, we are going to pay that forward, and continue giving food to our church's food pantry.  He did end up getting a part time job with UPS which has been very useful for the last month and a half.  Now, we are planning to continue living frugally, pay off our debt more quickly than we would have before the unemployment, and save to move to a safer neighborhood with better schools.

I did find a good school in our district, Crown Point Academy.  It is a public charter school, and I put Michael's name on the waiting list to get in, should we still be there when it's time for him to start school.  We may not be, but if we are, it's really the only good public school in the district in which we live. 

He has been covered by CHP+, which is a health care plan subsidized by the State of Colorado for kids whose parents don't have/can't afford insurance.  It's been a comfort, even though we've not needed it.

Now, we are going to have to figure out child care again.  It looks like we will need care in the mornings, so we are brainstorming that.  I would ask you, Andrea, but it is my understanding that you don't do mornings, and that you may be watching Inara.  I don't want to overburden you, or put you in the awkward position of having to say no.  So, there it is.  God will provide, He always has.  I trust that He always will.  In His own time.

There is so much else going on right now.  Inara (which fills me with a happy warmth every time I walk with Linds).  Walking.  I'm down to 195 pounds, which I've not really lost weight since Austin started working for UPS.  My exercise schedule has been severely disrupted.  But I've maintained, which is good.  And, this morning, I was 1.3 pounds down since Friday.  As long as I keep not moving in the wrong direction, I am pleased. After all, at my heaviest, when I was pregnant with Michael, I weighed 285 pounds.  

In fact, I do like pointing that out.  10 more pounds and I will be down 100 pounds.  Can you imagine that?

I've got a friend who is hurting that I don't know how to help, or if I can even help.  I've got a new church and seem to argue with the teachers there, too.  In fact, one of the older teachers in a Sunday School class I took last year calls me the Smart-aleck one.  I'm disturbed and pleased all at once. It's not my fault he doesn't like to be questioned.   I won't stop questioning things. Not any more.

I don't know who else is still here.  I miss coming here and catching up, it used to feel like passing notes to let someone know you were still around.  Well, to anyone who sees this.......I am still here, and I still care, and, well, leave a note and say you stopped by.

Jun. 5th, 2012

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What would you do?

Our neighbor had a name.  It was David.  I don't know his last name.  David was retired, perhaps on disablity.  He had cancer and was going to Chemo.  He used to sit out on his porch, which faces ours, and drink, and watch.  Especially on hot days.  He would chat with you when if you took the time to stop.  David didn't like authority or government, and was slightly paranoid.  He also owned a gun.  I don't know a whole lot about David.  He used to live there with his mother, Miss Katie, who passed some years ago.  His only family was his sister, her husband, and their kids, who live in Utah.

Last Thursday, the police came. Evidenly, they had gotten a call from the sister, who was worried about David, as she had been unable to get ahold of him.  They pounded on the door, but he didn't repsond.  They returned Friday, and were told by a voice inside the home to "go away".  They couldn't enter, legally, (evidently), as it was just a maintenance call.

It was hot this weekend.  David was not on his porch.

His window unit was not turned on, nor were any lights seen in the house.  All weekend.  Or yesterday.

The sister showed up today.  She came with a key.  But she was so upset, she had grabbed the wrong key.  They finally had to break down the door.  She asked if she had to go in, the police said she only had to be there when they opened the door, that they would go inside.

At 1:30 today, the coroner was there.

I can't imagine driving across two states, worried about your brother (or sister, for that matter), not sure if he is alive or dead.  And I am wondering.....what is our moral obligation in a case like this?  What is our ethical obligation?  What is our Christian obligation?

I can't help but think that we should have gone over there on Saturday, Sunday, Monday.  Banged on the door.  Tried the knob.  But, if the cops can't get it, what makes me think I would be any different?  If it were my brother, would I want the neighbor "trying to help?"

Possibly.  But I would not expect it.  At all.  Maybe, if we had been friends.  But isn't everyone suppsed to be my brother?  Maybe.  But then not everyone is paranoid and armed. 

I have to admit, self-preservation kicked in.

But I still want to know.....what is our obligation?

Dec. 6th, 2011

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A diversionary post

I've been a bit down today.  I'm not entirely sure why, I've got some theories, but I don't feel like dwelling on them.  I thought I would come and write about something that cheers me up.  So I'm going to tell about my weight loss.

At my most pregnant with Michael, I weighed 285 pounds.  At that time, I probably would not have told you that.  Imagine.  Almost 300 pounds.  I realize I was 9 months pregnant.  But that's a lot.  I gained 35 pounds with him, 20 of which was in the last month or two.  After I gave birth (I don't know....you "give birth" when it's a C-Section?  Or do we have brith given to us?) to Michael, I pretty easily and quickly lost 20 pounds.  Of course, half of that was baby and amniotic fluid (my doctor expressed surprise at the amount of amniotic fluid, and he's been doing this for 25 years). After that, I lost 15 more, again, fairly quickly.

Then it started coming back.

When I reached 262.4 pounds, I decided I needed to change.  My habits, my life, my body, my self.  I'm tired of being depressed because of my weight.  A voice in my head, that voice, I finally started listening to it, that voice that has been whispering for so, so long, that if you are so unhappy about it, change it.  Also, I want to be healthy.  For me, for Austin, but mostly for Michael.  He didn't ask to be born to a 45 year old mother, and I owe it to him to be as healthy as I can for as long as I can.

Also?  It feels really, really good.  I know, a lot of it is endorphins after exercising.  But it feels really, really good.

So I started the Slim Fast and WiiFit.  I started doing the shake at breakfast and dinner, but then would snack at dinner time too.  So I elimated the evening shake and ate healthy (mostly) light snacks.  I liked the balance, because it still felt like food so I didn't feel the need to eat again.  Then I did 30-60 minutes of exercise on the WiiFit after Michael went to sleep, and then relaxed until Austin got home.  Napped, frequently.  And lots and lots of water.

Now that Austin is home at night, we fix dinner and eat together, all three of us, as a family.  It's wonderful, actually.  So, I have a shake for lunch, my powdered shake in my coffee for breakfast, and lots of water.  But the exercise had been thrown off.  It's hard to exercise with Austin home, at night, somehow.  I seem to be much more tired, and I just feel like spending my time with him instead of on the WiiFit.  So I have now started exercising at 5 a.m.  I'm usually awake anyhow, and so I figured I may as well get up and exercise.  Michael is an early, early riser, but if I am lucky, I can get some exercise in and get to read for a few minutes with my coffee.  Once he wakes up, he usually wants to dance for 10 or 15 minutes, so I get more exercise in with him.  I love that part.

The mix of exercise isn't as good.  I used to do a routine that was yoga/strength training on Mondays and Wednesdays, aerobic Tuesday and Thursday, and whatever I felt like Friday.  Now, I am still trying to work out my new rhythm, but so far I do a few yoga stretches to get my muscles awake, and then something aerobic.  Or, I choose some areas to work on and let the WiiFit pick the exercises.

I like it better in the morning.  I'm not fighting with having eaten all day, I feel like I get a more honest measurement of what my weight is from day to day.  Also, it's been a more steady decline, so see, which I definitely going to prefer that!  My weight this morning was 205.

205 pounds.  To date, I have lost 57.4 pounds.  I think about that when I hold Michael.  He weighs about 27 pounds.  I have lost over twice that much.  That much weight that I used to carry around every moment of every day.
I would like to be under 200 by Christmas, I'm not sure I will make that but that's what I am shooting for. 

My goal is 160.  The WiiFit tells me 124, but I don't think I agree with that.  I think that 160 might be a good place to hover, a place where I can loose 5 or gain 5 and still be okay.  I'll see when I get there.

This has brought so much tangential good to my life.  I have found so much support on facebook, and I love walking with my Mom.  It has given me a way to connect with my eldest sister, and I cherish that.  I feel like I have found comraderie everywhere.  It's a warm, happy, energetic feeling.  It's like...basking in a puddle of sunshine...then charging off to chase a bug.

I was right.  This did help me feel better.


Oct. 14th, 2011

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Misery really does love company

Oi.  I haven't been here in a while.  I'd like to start coming back more often again.  Sometimes, it helps to get things out of your system.  Sometimes, one can visit friends here.  Both are good reasons to return.

I have recently become much more grateful for contact with friends.  I used to feel that in order for the contact to be meaningful and useful, it had to be an outing or a long afternoon or evening.  I have come to realize I was wrong about that.

My schedule as far as my family goes is difficult at best.  My husband and I work opposite schedules and see each other for about an hour and a half at night, 30 minutes at lunch, with a little extra on Friday afternoons.  Then, he works mandatory overtime every other Saturday at the time of his normal shift.  It makes for little family and husband/wife time.  Yesterday, they were informed that on the weeks they are not working Saturdays, they will now be required to work 10 hour days instead of the usual 8.  This means he won't get home until very late, and I will, by necessity of my own job, have had to go to bed by then.  I know that hour and a half at night doesn't seem like much, but it sure is a lot when you loose it.

This was very discouraging.  I will admit, I cried at work yesterday when he told me.  I hate crying at work.  I posted about it on Facebook, and then, well, something wonderful happened.

I got responses.  From friends.  And family.  I got concern, and encouragement, and love. And a hockey update.

Later, I had a conversation with a friend who is in a remarkably similar situation.  It was an amazingly helpful conversation, and cheered my discouragement.  I understood then that I am not the only one, that what I was feeling was natural and normal and maybe even useful.  I understood that, even though I spend much time by myself, or time with just me and my son, that I am not alone in the world of adults.  That there are many, even among my small circle of friends, who touch on the same lonliness, frustration, fears, confustion, discouragement, exhaustion. That no matter our situation, we are not condemned to live lives of quiet desperation.  There are friends.  There is understanding.   And this conversation?  It felt like it lasted hours, when in reality, it was no more than 15 minutes, probably closer to 10.  But in that 10 minutes, my burden was eased, and I knew, for certain, that I am not alone.  It served to prove the old cliche about misery loving company.  I think I was given a new understanding of that saying last night, and there was a bit of guilt and a much laughter for me in the concept.  "You are miserable!  Awesome!  So am I!  Do we feel better now??"  Really.  It's funny, if you think about it.  Pitiful, but funny.

I thought about my walking posts, and the responses I get from them.  Those momentary connections and personal comments that come my way, the encouragement and support I receive in my quest for the 15 minute mile....they touch my life.  They touch me.  I have had to learn that much of the time, friendship is shown in bits and pieces, in tiny moments or simple afternoons at the park.  That connections to people are vital and valid in whatever from they take, and that maybe The Baker's Wife is right in Into the Woods...that if life were only moments, then you would never know you had one.  And that we need to appreciate the moments we have, the moments we are given, and hope, and keep trying.  Just keep swimming.

I believe I was taking the moments for granted before, and rather than appreciating them for their own beauty, I just kept wanting more.  Not now.  I am thankful.  For friends.  For family.  For Facebook.  For company I found in my misery.  For lights and tunnels.

Mostly, I am thankful for hope, where ever I may find it.

Aug. 22nd, 2011

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Faith Day at the Rockies Game

We went to the Rockies Game yesterday.  It was Faith Day, so there was a Casting Crowns concert afterwards, which is why we went.  We went 2 years ago, Mercy Me was playing.  It was a great time and a wonderful concert.

Have I mentioned recently how very active my son is?  He doesn't sit still well at all, he runs everywhere, and he is very curious.  He loves exploring new spaces as long as the new people leave him alone.  Also, he is moving toward one nap a day, but sometimes it is a morning nap and sometimes it is in the afternoon.  Yesterday was not a morning nap day, in spite of our best efforts.  He gets a bit hyper, or rather, even more intensely active when he's tired, and, ultimately, cranky.  Being tired in no way dampens his desire to explore, however, but greatly increrases his displeasure of being told "no".

Add all this up, and I knew that I wouldn't be seeing very much of the game.

We sat with him in the stands before the game.  Austin walked him up and down the stairs (Michael also loves stairs), and just as the players were taking the field Michael was wanting to run again.  Trying to hold him still was just not working, so I walked with him inside (we were on the club level) during the first inning.  We went back to the seats for the second inning, and while no one was next to us, Michael was happy in his own seat....it folds, he can play.  But when someone came for the seats, back he was wanting to explore.  Austin took him up this time, and about halfway through the 5th inning I switched places with Austin.

By this point, Michael was beyond exhausted.  But he wouldn't sleep, too much going on.  I am better at getting him to sleep, I've had more practice.  So I took him to where the elevator is, there was much less traffic there. And I sang.  Summertime.  A lot.  And he finally gave up.  I walked down to a place near the bar, there are curvy comfy chairs, and made myself at home with my sleeping, exhauted son on my chest.

We stayed there until the end of the ninth inning. 

Needless to say, I didn't see much of the game.  At one point, I started getting really bummed about that, but then he shifted positions and I could see his face.  His beautiful, peaceful, sleeping, perfect face.  I got a wave of joy and peace, and wondered to myself, "Really?  There was really something you would rather be doing than this?" 

No.  There wasn't.  It was a perfect moment.  I smiled while he slept, happy that he was sleeping, happy that I could hold him, happy that he is here.  I could hear the game, and watch the people, and hold my son.  It was beautiful and simple and perfect.

I couldn't have stayed there forever, mind you.  But when the Rockies won, and people started streaming in shouting and whistling, well he woke up.  Rested and confused.

The concert was good, he danced and clapped and seemed to have a good time.  It was good to be there with Austin, and the music, and Michael, and God, and people.  I liked Mercy Me better, I know more of their songs and they seem to reach me more.  Also, the sound mix was much to heavy on the electric guitar, it was overpowering.  But it was a good concert, and we had a good time.

I think for a while, though, we need to focus on more....Michael friendly entertainment.  We went to the zoo the week before.  It was a perfect day.  He loved the tigers, the gibbons, the seals. 

Thank you, Father God, for the family you have given me.  They are a blessing. 


Jun. 20th, 2011

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Our Last Sermon

Last week was (most likely) our last at Grace Fellowship.

The sermon was, of course, about Fathers.  At Grace, they teach that Fathers are the spiritual leaders of the home.  In the first part of the sermon, our pastor said that Adam's first sin was not, in fact, eating the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, thereby disobeying God.  His first sin was in not being a strong enough Spiritual Leader to keep Eve from eating the aforementioned fruit in the first place.


I don't know where to start with my issues with this one.  Guess I'll start Biblically.

Eve was created to be Adam's helper.  Not his servant. According to Genesis 2, starting in verse 18, "The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”   It goes on to say that while Adam was given all the animals to name, no suitable helper was found for him, so God put Adam into a deep sleep and pulled one of his ribs, making Eve.  Later in chapter 2, it says in verse 24 ' That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. "

This is the NIV version.  King James used the phrase "help meet".  NAS also uses "helper".  The New King James uses 'helper comparable to him". 

At this point, in my own opinion, Adam and Eve appear to be equals, partners, created that way by God, according to what the Bible seems to be saying.  Later, after the fruit is eaten, God tells Eve that one of her punishments is that "your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." (Genesis 3:16, NIV).  King James says the same thing ("rule over thee"), NAS says the same as the NIV, as does the New King James.

So, if you are going strictly by what the Bible says, it seems to me that woman was not subject to man until after the fall.  Not before.  Therefore, it is logical, I would think, that Adam was not, in fact, Eve's spiritual leader, and that she made the decision all on her own to eat that fruit, as did Adam.  They each had to answer for their own sin. 

However.  I have other issues with it.

I have long had issue (okay, since I started going there) with Grace's attitude toward women.  Basically, they have a "separate but equal" sort of philosophy.  Sort of.  Women are not allowed to teach on their own above a junior high class, and even then they will choose a man over  a woman.  Women cannot teach men, therefore they cannot be preachers, elders, or sunday school teachers of an adult class unless they are teaching with a man who is in controll of the class.  But they also teach that this does not make women any less important, after all, they are the primary caregivers for the children at home.  They are to shape the lives of these kids.  Except, of course, where the mom and dad disagree, in which case, the dad is right, because he is the spiritual leader.  See, I don't believe that  you can say "I am the leader but you are just as important."  If that were the case, we would both be able to be leaders.  And we can't.  If you are an adult and you have a penis, I am not allowed to teach you.  And I may, just may, have something valuable that you could learn from me.  But you can't.  Because I don't have a penis.

I know.  I sound like a feminist.  I am not, and do not mean to sound like that.  I just don't buy into this thinking.  If I am capable of doing this thing, but I am not allowed to do it simply on the grounds that I am a woman, it is not equality.  And if you tell me I am not capable of doing this thing solely because I am a woman, well, that is not equality either.  Now, I am not talking about basic biology, because we all know Men and Women are different. 

And...even if I did buy into that philosophy, the actions of the elders speak louder than their words.  For example.  For the men's retreats, they go away for the weekend, away, usually into the mountains, where they learn and pray and bond.  For the women's retreats, they have them at the church.  There are things on Friday night, they go home, come back Satruday, stay all day, go home.  Don't the women need and deserve the retreat away just as much, in some ways, more-so, than the men?  This was brought up to the elder board.  Nothing.  Another example.  Years ago, we were assigned "shepherds", people in the church who would pray for you, be accountable with you, people you could go to for help, advice, etc.  Mine was Hugh.  Yet, they preach that women and men can only go so far in terms of their friendships, accountability, etc.  There are just some things which are not appropriate to discuss with the opposite gender.  So I told Hugh if that were true, then there should be female shepherds as well.  This thought had never occurred to the elder board, and in theory they agreed.....but never changed the shepherding assignments.

So.....I suppose it is safe to say that I believe God's initial plan is the better one.  Help Meet.  We are meant to be one flesh, one body, working together.  I have always thought this, and have tried for, oh, 8 years to see things Grace's way.  But I don't, and I can't, and I think they are wrong, and I am no longer going to try.  And I am absolutely not going to let Michael grow up thinking women are weak, and .....  just.....less.  And that is what Grace teaches, whether they say that is what they are teaching or not.

I don't know where that leaves me with the other verse.  I'lll have to spend some time figuring that out. 

The other issue is that of personal responsibility.  If Austin is always to blame for my sins, it isn't much of a leap that every time I sin, I could say it is also his fault for not being a strong enough spiritual leader.  And really, we have enough problems in this world with everyone finding someone else to blame for their problems.  I refuse to add to that.  I refuse to teach Michael that.

I am thankful for the sermon, really.  It helped to solidify my desire to leave Grace, and made it clear to me that I do not fit there, I do not belong there, and I never, ever will.  I am also thankful for my time at Grace.  It taught me patience, it taught me to try to see even more all sides of an issue, and I am thankful for the understanding of their theology.  I am thankful for the lessons I have learned, that my faith has grown, that my beliefs are more, much more solid than they were when I began.

I am also relieved, so incredibly relieved, to be done.
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After all, it is part of the rules....

... to change things that don't work.

We didn't actually get to play last night.  Our little guy was extremely tired (I think he may be growth-spurting again) and we were an hour late, and no one was ready to play.  Abby was still eating dinner, there wasn't space for me on the table, the gate wasn't up for the kids.....and then it was bath time for Sebastian, and by the time bath time and naked time were over, it was 7:30 and the Vintons have to leave around 8 or 8:30.  I was a little frustrated, but part of it was our doing as well, and with 4 kids in the mix, well, we are lucky we ever get to play, really.  However, we were at the end of a story, which means they got to heal dramatic wounds, and level up a bit.

It brought me to a conversation with my Avalonian on her Glamour Magic.  The way it is written, you have to spend a drama die to use your Glamour each time you do it.  Your drama die only renew every story.  You can also use reputation dice as Glamour Dice, but first level characters generally don't have a lot of reputation, and that takes a while to build up.  (And I need to get better at giving out reputation points as well.)  Which means that you spend 40 creation points to get full-blooded glamour, only to be able to use it twice, maybe 3 times, every story.  I understand why they do it that way (the Glamour is a gift from the Sidhe and you aren't supposed to over-use it.)  But it doesn't seem fair to me to spend that many creation points--almost half--and hardly ever be able to use it.  I also don't like that it automatically succeeds....I think it's better if there is a chance at failure.  So we reworked the mechanics.

Each Glamour knack is associated with a trait.  We are going to roll on it just like you would any other knack, so trait plus knack keep trait.  TN for easy things will be 10 (like trying to change your hair and eye color to look like a different person), TN 15 or maybe 20 for harder things (15 for an animal you have seen before and are very familiar with, 20 for an unfamiliar animal, for example).  That way you have a chance of failure, there can be a counter roll for perception, and you can use the Glamour more often.  I think it's more fair, and more fun for our Mage.

Jun. 15th, 2011

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The Trip To Seigsburg

Well, the group got to Siegsburg, where they found an Inn just outside of town that was in amazingly good repair for the town it is in.  While there, the obliging innkeep served Emil (Tim) a very old bottle of Ale, the name of which just happened to be the same as the family for which he was searching.  (We were short on time, otherwise I would have made them find the brewery.)  Said Innkeep also gave a bottle of wine to Guy (Austin) which turned out to be from the personal stock of Emperor Leon du Montaigne.  As in.....no one ever gets that but the Emperor himself.  Ever.  Unless he chooses to share. 

The Obliging Inkeep directed them to the brewery, although it closed down about 55 or 60 years ago.  When they found the brewery, they found it closed but standing, untouched by vandals.  A good architecture roll  by our scholar (Bella) found a secret entrance.  They went inside, where they found the brewery, again, untouched by vandals, only touched by time.  In the office (which had, of course been ransacked), Emil found a hand-written history of the family. In this history, he learned that the Leinenkugels were given nobility and lands in exchange for sending 1/4 of their male heirs to serve the Imperator.  With this land, they made the best Ale in all of Eisen.  Or so claim the locals who remember.  This can be tested, as Shafiq found a small keg of ale which he took out for the party. 

Upon exiting the brewery, an unfriendly party of five were waiting for them.  I made these guys true villains, so the fight was at least a decent challenge.  I was happy with the fight, although time constraints made me cut it short which bummed me out just a bit.  It's okay, because when they come back (and they have to come back at some point), this man will be waiting to try to kill him again.  You see, this man is Klaus, brother to Giselle, who is keeping the province going for Eisenfurst Reinhardt, The Comatose.  He wants to get his sister out of the way (this part is from the GM Guide), so he is trying to kill Emil, who bears an uncomfortable resemblance to his father.  Emil's mother?  Yeah.  Giselle.

So, the fight ends with the villains running off with threats, and our party returns to the hotel.  Emil and the boys (there were only two rooms available) find a cloaked person in their room.  She pressed a medallion into Emil's hand, telling him that He must leave, for his own sake and for the sake of Wische, that she needs some time to make it safe for him, but that he must return and she will explain everything.  And she leaves.

The medallion has the crest of the Eisenfurst on it.

Tim now thinks that he is a lost member of the Leinenkugel family, and that they knew the secret of what happened to the Imperator, and who killed him and how he died, and that the folks are trying to kill him because they think he knows that secret.  Hee hee.  I love this.

Our Obliging Innkeeper?  His name is Hans.  Why is he so Obliging?  Well, he's a member of DK.  And he recognized our Intrepid Hero, at least his face, and thought he just might nudge him along the right path.  Now, Hans doesn't know who Emil really is.  But he couldn't help but notice the resemblance, and later when Giselle came to the Inn and wanted into Emil's room, well, Hans is sharp.  He's starting to think, and to hope.  And besides, those in DK tend to know.....secrets.  I have a feeling we will be seeing him again.

From here, it is back to Freiburg, then on to Avalon. 

Jun. 14th, 2011

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Austin and I are looking for a new church.  There are several reasons for this.

1.  Distance.  It is about a 20 minute drive to church one way.  This makes it difficult to be too involved in the church, or to attend evening gatherings, when Michael is taken into account.  We aren't involved in the community, either, and many of the folks that attend there live nearby, or at least, not this far away (there are exceptions) so it is hard to build relationships.

2.  The sermons are repetative.  I am well aware that I need reminded to not sin in my anger,but I have heard that particular sermon 4 times and I also need the sermons to challenge me.  Lately, they haven't been new or challenging.

3.  I have had a real issue with the worship team leader for quite some time.  The worship seems to be less about God and the music and more about him instructing us what is the correct way to worship.  I find the worship music frequently uninspiring.  I do not think he ties the music in with the sermon most of the time, and there are times when I think he should do just that.  Not always, mind you, but sometimes I think it would be a good idea, to emphasize the sermon.  I don't like to sing the same song two consecutive weeks.  Much of the music tends to be out of the vocal range of most of the congregation.  Basically, I don't find that he is in touch with the congregation, and his actions frequently seem more theatrical than sincere.

4.  I disagree with some of the theology, and while I am able to make the distinction between what I believe and what I don't believe, I have started asking myself, "Is this something I want Michael to grow up learning?"  And the answer to some important things, in my mind, is no.

5.  I understand that we need to hear about God's wrath, and sin, and how we aren't perfect, and how we fall short of God's glory, and how we need to strive to be closer to God.  I realize we as humans are imperfect.  It would be nice to hear every now and again, however, some celebration and some good things we can sing a huge "halleluiah" about.  I don't need to feel inspired and uplifted every time I go, but I would like to feel it now and again.  I seem to have gotten bogged down in the rules and lost a bit of the joy of the message.  I would very much like to find that again.

I recognize that my attention has been split for the last 14 months or so, with trying to keep track of Michael and to try to keep him relatively quiet. This does account for part of my issues.  But there is just too much, and it isn't just me, Austin has many of the issues I have.  So, after this week, (Austin is ushering this week and we do want to honor that commitment), we start looking for a new church.  

Guess I better start my list of what I am looking for in a church.

May. 17th, 2011

Laugh text

They're going off script

We began Erebus Cross Part 2, Scoundrel's Folly, a couple weeks ago.  We only really play a couple hours at a time, so it takes a while to get anywhere. 

We have gotten to Stefan's castle, Heilgrundstadt, and net Reginald, and figured out more secrets of the compass.  They have been pointed toward I'le  du Bete, and are on their way there.  However....while they were in Heilgrundstadt, Emil (Tim) and Guy (Austin) went to Stefan's vast libriaries, and researched Emil's sigul (is that the right word??) on his dracheneisen, and found a family crest with said symbol on it.  They learned that the crest belongs to a family named Leinenkugel, a very old minor noble family, whose motto, written in Thean, is "To Serve and Protect". (This family, which they do not know yet, was made landed nobility in exchange for an agreement that they send a quarter of their male heirs to serve in the Imperator's guard....a duty which they gladly and proudly fulfilled.)  They also learned that as of the writing on that text (about 150 years ago), there were no know extant direct descendants of that family. (Again, what they don't know is that the last direct descendant actually died in the War of the Cross, and was the guard who took Emil to his adoptive family....his first one.  It was his last act of service.)

Me and my bright ideas.  When Reginald said they needed to go to Freiberg to get transportation and to find the person that can take them to the I'le, (supposed to be Berek, but it will be another infamous Sea Dog, but they don't know that), they looked at a map and saw where Wische is, which is where this minor noble family is from.  They also saw how close Siegsburg is to Freiberg is to Siegsburg, and decided to head there first to find out what they can about this family.

After they made that decision, the GM decided it was a great place to stop.  I've no idea what they will find there.   

Here is what I am thinking, however.  On the road, they of course need to have an unscripted random encounter, and on this I have 3 choices.  Either a roaming band of Waisen, (the zombie-like orphan bands created by the war), the solden of the Eisenfaust, or a band of bandits.  I'm leaning toward the bandits, but I'd like them to come across the Waisen, too.  They will want to help them and won't be able to.  It will create an interesting problem for them, I think. But they also have not met a band of unfriendlies in a while.

I have decided who is trying to kill Emil.  Eisenfurst Reinhart Dieter von Wische mentally checked out when his last son got killed, and Gisela Insellhoffer is essentially his regent.  She has a brother who is trying everything he can to get rid of her and the Eisenfurst and take over Wische.  (This from the books).  This brother, quite by accident, discovered Emil's existance.....he happened in the Inn where Emil was being raised, and unfortunately, Emil looks just exactly like his father, Reinhart's eldest son.  This connection wouldn't occur to anyone else, but it was unnerving enough for the brother to keep an eye on him.  And once he saw the Dracheneisen, he knew that Emil had to go.  Of course (should anyone ask), he didn't actually see Emil with the armor, but rather a piece that his adoptive father sold, and traced it back to the family.  He has no idea that Emil is actually his nephew, or that his sister gave birth.  He just knows that some how there is a man that looks more and more like the son of the Eisenfurst that he is trying to get rid of, and if an heir should show up, especially one that looks so much like one of Reinhart's lost sons, his chances of taking over Wische is finished.  So, while in Siegsburg, this brother will see Emil, and follow him around (just long enough for Emil to get that he is being followed  by some extremely unfriendly eyes) and then, of course, try to kill him.  And his party.  The lovely Gisella, naturally, will see nothing of this, only hear about it after they have gone, and start to wonder if the son she gave birth to all those years ago was still born after all.

I think it's enough to give Tim to go on, and wonder about, for a while, and hopefully enough to get him back to Seigsburg, eventually.  I want to draw this out for a while.  I can't make it too easy.....he'd be so disappointed.

Meanwhile, Abby thinks that Bella's husband is on the I'le du Bete.  He's not.  It's so much better than that.  She will get the note from her fiance at some point on the journey.  The captain of the ship on which they are sailing to the island will get a bird with a note.  I know......but the convention has been established for that particular crew, and I might as well use it.  That way, Bella gets word of her husband (who is originally from the Highlands, after all), which would be  a comfort, except that she will learn he is in the hands of her ex- fiance, who is a downright bastard.....while she is on a ship in the middle of the ocean and can't do anything about it.

Hee hee.

You know, Tim accused me of being too nice to the characters.

So, before Sunday, I must come up with:
1.  Band of Orphans
2.  Band of Bandits
3.  Giselle's brother
4.  Giselle's brother's men

Also, I need to think about Frieberg, since a couple things happen there that the party must be privy to, and Reginald is going there without them and they are meeting up in a couple days.

And Steph?  Yeah...she is hunted by people in Avalon.  Where we have to go to get the ship.  Yeah.  Her time is coming, too.  I don't know what's going to happen.  I can't see that far ahead yet, and Avalon seems kind of misty.....

Sigh.  Ok.  Sorry for that. 

I actually used their civil skills.  I'm trying to balance things.  I hope they are having fun.  I hope they talk about it after the game is over. 

K.  Back to work.

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