Thursday, December 28, 2006

What does submission mean ...

A friend of mine, Pistas3, has made some comments about Paul's writings being pro-women when read as intended. She has been a little busy (I asked her almost seven years ago it seems for a longer comment ... but graduate school and life happen to us all), but I found a similar scholarly analysis:

In fact, Ephes. 5.22 is elliptical, and so when Paul gets around to saying "wives to husbands as to the Lord." and so on, he is presupposing the meaning of submission enunciated in vs. 21--namely that that wife's submission should only be offered in the context of mutual submission. When the husband is exhorted to love his wife as Christ does the church, this is another form that mutual submission takes in Christ.

Mutual submission in Christ is what submission means, not one to the other.

So, how are we doing ...

Well, other than wanting to see more friends more often (things get so busy), this is probably the best Christmas we've had. Now, if we can only catch up with the Greens (and my thanks to the people who sent me the phone number for Billy Joe -- your e-mail address bounced when I sent a thank you note to you, but I had a great talk with him and he gave me Bob Smith's number to [I think, I had the strangest dream and woke up with Bob Smith's number on my telephone's saved number list]).

Our Christmas letter follows. I think we got them all mailed (they were in the kitchen when we had our fire, and I still worry ...).



is at BYU. A

Neuroscience Major

Rachel is now in first grade

with Soccer, Girl Scouts, Judo

Piano, Earthsavers, Book Buddies

Chess Club. Mom tired. Steve is still

at St. Paul Travelers. Happy man. Skinny

man. He lost 75 pounds. In Judo too. His

Mom and Dad moved in down the street. Bought

a house and started major renovations. Win still doing

Anesthesia. Chairs Landscaping project for elementary school,

chairs Ward Activity Committee. Girl Scout Leader. Very Tired




That was our family Christmas letter. I got Win to approve it when she was very tired, later, on reading it again, she laughed when she realized I was talking about her being perfect and gorgeous, then realized I had sent that out to everyone we sent cards to (though we lost too many addresses in a PDA crash and the fire).

I'm so grateful to have gotten through a Christmas without the memories overwhelming us or another tragedy striking and to have a living, happy seven-year-old in the house, and Heather home for the holidays.

Another blog by a parent in grief.

Monday, December 25, 2006


Well, it is the "real" Christmas morning and everyone is still healthy and breathing.

Sometimes you just need to be grateful and to breathe.

Sometimes there is nothing more that you can really give or that you really need.

Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square

almost as good as Christmas at home with my sleeping baby (ok, she is really seven years old now, but she is sleeping like a baby).

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Books.

Each Little Bird That Sings (Golden Kite Honors (Awards)) by Deborah Wiles (Hardcover - Mar 1, 2005) -- a story of death, life and transition, about a ten year old girl whose family owns the town's funeral home when death visits her. As a reviewer said "The book could easily have turned cutesy or, 190 degrees the other way, overly morbid. That it is neither of these is something just short of a miracle."

For a time when you need someone else's grief and someone else's humor.

We had a lot of books for Christmas at our house. (Yes, we had Christmas a day early because of work and other issues).

May you have found a good book for Christmas, to bring Christ and his hope back into your life.

I'd love to have the suggestions of any visitors of good books.

Friday, December 22, 2006

I didn't know that was what they really meant

"Birds, I've missed birds. I knew they flew south for the winter, but I didn't know that was what they really meant -- that they would all be gone."

When the birds fly south for the winter from Dallas, it means the geese fly over head and the ducks leave, but lots of birds are still to be found. In Utah, my daughter discovered that when the birds go south for the summer they all go south, leaving a land completely barren of flying things.

Yes, Heather is back from BYU for Christmas, Rachel is now seven and still alive and it has been a wonderful day.

When they told me that when I got older I'd be happy with simple things, I didn't know that was what they meant.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Only girl in the chess tournament, youngest too.

Rachel went to her first chess tournament. She was the only first grader from her school, the only girl at the tournament. Small, just three schools teams (I think, may have been four), Swiss style tournament. She came in sixth place and her team took first place.

I'm pleased as punch, to use the old saying, and it was a great day. I had to skip a test for Judo, but Rachel is more important. I'll have next year, but this was her only chance to be the only six year old in a chess tournament, her first, and to bring home a trophy (different trophies for sixth through first place).

Friday, December 15, 2006

Peacetalk 101 -- Elgin's Advent Story

Another book by Elgin, about someone who found hope in the Christmas Holiday after falling into the deepest of despair. Read the reviews and the sample chapter on-line to decide if it is for you.

Peacetalk 101 (Paperback)
by Suzette Haden Elgin
(5 customer reviews)
29 used & new from $6.00

What other books can you think of that preach hope to people who face despair?

For more on Elgin visit or her blog at

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Patricia A. McKillip, reprise


I just read her Alphabet of Thorns -- just when I really needed a book of that sort. It brought me joy.

So I decided to look for more about her on-line. Found things that Google didn't provide me before, such as the link above.

Alphabet of Thorn
Alphabet of Thorn by Patricia A. McKillip (Hardcover - Feb 3, 2004) - Bargain Price
Used & new from $6.99
In Stock

Is what Amazon had to say. I'm afraid I paid about that for a trade paperback,
but I'm glad

If there are books that have helped you or given you comfort when you needed it, please mention them in the comments.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Seasons of the heart, emotions and time

Christmas season brings up such a flow of emotion in almost everyone. The vitality of emotion also causes everything driven by emotion to surface, as well as emotions. Grief, joy, love, sorrow, gratitude and resentment all rise on the same tide.

At the same time, in grief, there are separate seasons of the heart, driven by events, by memories, by anniversaries and by the passage of time. Sometimes they coincide with the physical seasons and the ebb and flow of holidays. That is especially true in my life.

I find that if I allow everything to rise, to flow through me and into me and to become a part of me (which it already is), then I am me for the season, and can encompass the joy of it along with the sorrow, the sweet as well as the bitter. To be one makes me whole.

May you be whole this season, healed by the light that is in Christ.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Normal does not equal desirable. Or even survivable.

Normal does not equal desirable. Or even survivable.

That is a great line. So many things in grief are "normal" and yet so many people do not survive them.

God bless all of you, each and every one. May normal for you be desirable, and may the season bring you joy.

Christmas Program (by Win Marsh)

Christmas Program December, 2006

6:30 pm – Santa set up in overflow area

7:00 pm – Dinner service begins with Bishopric offering opening prayer

7:15 pm – 15th Street Starts (Singing group, beautiful harmonies)

7:30 pm Lights Dim

Vance Bryson in chair with microphone.

Picks up scriptures and starts to read

Read Luke Chapter 2, Verses 1-5

Mary and Joseph walk into the room from back entrance. Both look tired. Joseph is helping Mary who is obviously pregnant. They have a lantern.

“Oh Mary, we are finally here in Bethlehem. Now we just need to find a place to stay. “

looks at him and nods. She walks as if she is exhausted.

“ I’m sure you feel better after a rest. (Pause) I see an Inn right over there. Do you think you can go just a little farther?”

Joseph and Mary present themselves at the door. There is an Innkeeper outside sweeping.

Innkeeper #1:
“Don’t even ask. Every room is full. The hall is full. There are absolutely no rooms left. Try my brother’s place across the way. He still had a room available this afternoon.” Innkeeper waves them off towards the other side of the cultural hall.

Mary and Joseph walk on to the second door. They knock.

Joseph: “Your brother told us that you might have a room.”

Innkeeper #2:
“ I did have a room. A terrible room. But even it is gone now. There have been so many people arriving today that there just isn’t anything left in town. Even my own house is rented out. My family is staying with my cousin.”

Mary and Joseph slowly walk away. Walk through diners towards other side of cultural hall.

“O Little Town of Bethlehem

Joseph knocks on third door.

Innkeeper just waves them away.

Innkeeper stops and watches them walk away.

Mary and Joseph slump their shoulders and walk slower and slower. Innkeeper watches, pauses, calls them back.

Innkeeper #3: “Come back. You won’t find rooms tonight. There is no room in my inn – or in any other inn tonight in Bethlehem. I do have a stable. We could put down some clean straw and a couple of blankets. It is the best I can do for you tonight. It is safe and out of the wind.”

Mary and Joseph look at each other, nod and go back to the innkeeper. They are led out the door.

Vance: Read Matt Chapter 2: Verses 1-9

Young Men enter through back doors singing “We Three Kings” and travel out through the doors closest to the stage.

Vance: Read Luke Chapter 2: Verses 8-12

Shepherds are gathered with their animals. Angel appears. They follow angel across the room to the door closest to the stage.

“Away In A Manger”

Curtains open: Nativity Scene

“Silent Night”

Curtains Close

FireTruck at the Marsh House

Rachel thought it was the neatest thing ever. Myself, I'm not a big fan of stove fires breaking out while I'm not in the house, and I'd have been happier if the doors throughout the house were closed instead of open, but the turkey got its last revenge ...

The fire department dropped by, used their blower to evacuate smoke, confirmed things were at a non-toxic level, gave Rachel a tour of the fire engine (it was really neat) and were properly buff and heroic. We've a lot of laundry left to do, but I washed the counter tops and floor and then Win did it again.

I'm grateful it is over and that everyone is OK. I'm also grateful it wasn't my fault. Better to be mildly amused and helping out ...

It is a wonderful morning.

Automated spammers ... amazed beyond belief

My website,, had the following for last month:

2528 1.60% 45399 3.30% /Guestbook/guestbook.cgi

That is twenty-five hundred hits plus on a cgi script that doesn't do anything on my website and that has no external links to it. All of those by spam robots.

I've gone from a mild distaste for spam, to a real dislike of it, to being stunned beyond belief at it.


# Hits Search String

1 501 10.11% swords
2 131 2.64% mediation
3 118 2.38% adr
4 88 1.78% fallen angels
5 79 1.59% alternative dispute resolution
6 79 1.59% what makes a hero
7 44 0.89% death of a child
8 44 0.89% real swords
9 40 0.81% loss of a child
10 34 0.69% que es la comunicacion
11 25 0.50% oni
12 22 0.44% heroquest
13 22 0.44% wing commander
14 20 0.40% adr dispute resolution
15 20 0.40% shared custody
16 19 0.38% necro
17 15 0.30% divorce law in texas
18 14 0.28% mediation statistics
19 14 0.28% wolf man
20 13 0.26% joint physical custody

As long as the following statistic remains true, the site remains up:

8 375 0.24% 212 0.87% /living/sloss.htm

In spite of spam, some good is being done.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Understanding vs. endorsing

I once made the mistake of responding to the question "how can x group be so blind or so stupid as to not ..." The response to explaining why the mistake was being made was so harsh I left that group. There were too many members who could not separate understanding from endorsing, explaining from believing (though one person remarked that I was continually making the mistake of explaining both sides of an issue and thereby irritating people who had chosen one side or the other).

Understanding is not endorsing. Much like a refusal to talk is merely a choice of communication strategies.

"We do not talk with terrorists" or "we do not talk with criminals" seems silly when you ask the person saying it "So, do you mean you do not communicate with them?" Not only that, but most police departments have found that they get better law enforcement and achieve their goals better when they communicate with, usually by talking with, those who have taken hostages or committed other crimes. It would amaze many people to learn just how much good police work is done by talking.

It would amaze many people how important to good police work understanding is.

The police are the last to endorse crime, to intend to give in to criminals. Yet, they are the first to understand and to communicate with criminals, given the chance.

Understanding is not endorsement, communication and talk is not surrender.

Responsibility v. Caprice

A while back I read an essay that contrasted communities of duty against those of choice. It was interesting, and from a liberal perspective made the first argument against gay marriage that made any sense to me (not that it was convincing, but at least it made sense), but in trying to understand, it missed the point.

The point is not that some people have communities and relationships formed by duty and some that are created by choice, but that some people are responsible and some people appear to be ruled by caprice and whim.

There may be some issue of duty in terms of family members caring for family members, but it is more about being responsible. There may be some duty in members of the church caring for each other, but it is more about love and responsibility. The same is true of those who participate in the children's medical clinic we have locally. I guess some one who volunteers feels a duty, but mostly they are just responsible and they chose compassion.

The network of relationships that forms any community has a great deal of choice, but it is founded on responsibility, not duty. It is not as if there is some lifeless, drudge filled "red" state of mind driven my grudging duty that should be juxtaposed against the glorious freedom of choice and the blue light of freedom.

Rather, many people see it as a choice between being responsible and being ruled by caprice and whim. Aesop got it. Bruce Hafen understood it (see his "love is not blind" speech). But until someone understands that what is going on is perceived as a clash between responsibility and arbitrary caprice rather than a clash between duty and choice, they will not understand and will only insult instead of engage.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Rachel, I think that's cheating ...

Though darn inventive ...

My six-year-old created an alphabet code (one where you replace letters with various numbers). Nothing big, except she invented the idea herself. She then wrote a message in her code.

My wife asked her what she was writing. "The difficult spelling words." Yes, she planned to remember the complete code and translate from the numbers back to words for the difficult first grade spelling words ...

We broke it to her that her plan was probably cheating, not to mention harder than just learning the words (her code wasn't strictly alphabetical and did not include all the letters, only the ones in the words and a few more that she really likes).

Creative little kid though. I sure do love her.

Rhythms of Communication: The Universal Language

There are certain communication patterns that are hardwired into human infants. Every child, well before they can speak, if they can hear, speaks the universal rhythms.
  • The pattern of encouragement ("good boy, yeah");
  • The staccato "no, no, no" pattern;
  • The comforting rhythm ("oooh");
  • The happy "look at that honey" pattern; and,
  • "Watch out" or beware.
Is there a universal grammar for human beings? Is more than this set of rhythms innate? I do not know. But even the deaf, for whom sounds must be touch (rather than the famous "sound is touch at a distance") speak this language, hear and feel and see the patterns, when they are children, before they know words or signs or even that they really are.

When the angel appeared to the shepherds, I wonder what rhythm he or she spoke "Fear not" to -- Angels say that so often it must be universal too.

December Morning ...

Memories haunt me in December. Intensely sometimes, not at others, all the more so with a six-year-old in my life again. With any luck, this December will pass and the echoes will pass with it.

I often save things to read for times like this. One thing I saved was an oral history of Philip M. Flammer, a professor I dearly enjoyed when I was younger. It did not fail me, and I really enjoyed it (you can too, as a call to BYU can get you a photocopy of Richard Poll's interview of Philip Flammer in the Joint Oral History Project).

I'd still like to find him (I got the history trying to find him through BYU just after he retired) to tell him just how much I appreciate things he taught me that stayed with me through my life.

Even in this December.