Sunday, December 31, 2006

Christmas Week

It's been quite a while since I posted. I've backdated this post to fill in some of the events of Christmas week. I preached at Rock Dell and Our Savior's in Belview while Pr. Faugstad went up to Oklee to preach there for me.

After Church my Grandparents and my Aunt and Uncle came to celebrate Christmas with us at Mom and dads.
Grandma taught the girls how to fold a hanky into dolls.

My Aunt Nyla is one of my sponsors. I'm really glad that she and Uncle Roger were able to come. Their younger daughter, my cousin, Jenni is getting married this year.




Roger and Nyla gave the kids their own special pillow-cases. Each one fit their character. Stella is trying really hard to hold the pilow-case up to her chin like everyone else. You cant really see John in this picture. He's behind Elsie's head. But his pillow-case had cars on it.



It was really nice to be able to go home for a short while. And I thank the Clearwater Parish for letting us trade places with the Faugstads for this weekend. I also want to thank the Faugstads for making the long trek up here to Oklee.
Uncle Roger became a favorite of Clara's. He helped her put her birthday gift together, told her silly stories, and kept busy with all the little ones.

Back to Oklee on the 1st.

Friday, December 29, 2006

A Play

Clara, Louisa, and Elsie portrayed various characters from The American Girl's story about "Samantha." They worked together on costuming, set, blocking, and props. Dialog was adapted from the American Girls book.









Elsie was supposed to be Samantha's cousin/uncle/whatever named Gard. She looked much more like Tiny Tim in her hat.

Louisa did a great job remembering her and everyone else's lines, but she needs to speak a bit louder.

Elsie helped out with lines for Clara. Clara was very clear and eloquent.





Since Sophie helped with the production she was included in the curtain call.

Keep up the good work, girls.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A Couple of Projects

Dad and I worked on replacing their older water heater. We planned the work the night before, went to the hardware store to get the fittings, got home and did the work.

It took a couple of hours, but working with a torch has always been satisfying for me.






Mom wanted carpet on the base for her treadmill. Dad and I built the base last Christmas. This job took only about 15 minutes.

I don't know if we can do it this week, but dad would like to get the water softener installed. Maybe I should come down sometime at the end of January for a day or two.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Clara's Birthday

Clara had one candle left when she blew out the other 6. Hmmm. The cake was gluten free so dad and I could eat. And it was yummy.

So, gf cake and gf ice cream. My mom's parents were there. So we had Great Grandpa and Grandma at Clara's birthday party.

It's been rainy and foggy hanging around 33 degrees F for the past couple of days. Hopefully it won't be too soupy by Saturday.




Saturday is when we have

our family Christmas celebration at mom and dad's

We're thankful to have clara with us, Happy birthday, Clara, and many more.



So, any snow back home in Deer Park Twshp?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas with the Grandparents

On Tuesday we celebrated Christmas with Grandpa and Grandma Abrahamson. It's been a long time since we've been able to be out in Washington to celebrate with Grandpa and Grandma Eskew. Just so y'all know, Kathy and Joel, Lisa and Mark, Mike and Shawna, Rachel, Sarah and Mike, Emily, Bud and Joan, we all love you and all the cousins.
Merry Christmas.
Mayby someone could give Paul and Lois and their kids the address of this site. Does Elinor do the internet- or Chip and Kelly, Dale and Marci?

Mary's probably going to have to correct all the spellings of names tomorrow. Oh well. That's just proof that we dont get out to Washington enough.
There isn't any snow here really. Storms have just missed us. But there's hope for snow by sunday evening. Just in time for us to head back home in a storm. That's cool. Done that before. Actually, it is both a pain in the neck and kind of nice at the same time. You get so dragged out by the driving that getting home seems twice as sweet. Maybe there's a sermon illustration in that somewhere.

Special Gifts

In case you're tempted to come on over to the parsonage for a meal sometime soon, you should be aware that my mom gave our boys some canned food for Christmas.

I'm not sure I believe the labels. The Mashed Maggots ingredients are: Maggots, worms, lard, pork, swine, dirt and two helpings of Skeeter's spit.

I haven't opened the can.

The other one, Roadkill Ravioli has the ingredients: Possum, raccoon, fox, deer, skunk, cat, squirrel, pasta, tomato paste, license plates and tire rubber.

The boys are eager to open them up and try them. Jake, let your family be warned. I smell some kind of trick or invitation from our boys.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Day

"How could God have shown his goodness in a more sublime manner than by humbling himself to partake of flesh and blood, that he did not even disdain the natural privacy but honors nature most highly in that part where in Adam and Eve it was most miserably brought to shame? so that henceforth even that can be regarded godly, honest and pure, which in all men is the most ungodly, shameful and impure. These are real miracles of God, for in no way could he have given us stronger, more forcible and purer pictures of chastity than in this birth. When we look at this birth, and reflect upon how the sublime Majesty moves with great earnestness and inexpressible love and goodness upon the flesh and blood of this virgin, we see how here all evil lust and every evil thought is banished."

From a Christmas sermon by Martin Luther, from his Wartburg Church Postil, 1521-1522



God bless your celebration of the Birth of Christ. My sermon for this morning is available over at the left on the Sermons link.

We had church at St. Petri and then at Nazareth this morning. Crowds at each congregation this weekend. Children and grandchildren, even great grand children are home this weekend.

And so we are heading to my folk's place after church.

Well, it was 4pm when we left for my parent's place. We got there at 10pm, had a meal and went to bed.

Good night.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

This morning we had Christmas Eve worship at Mt. Olive, no Saturday School or Confirmation classes.

An update on Pr. Stafford's father. He came through the surgery well. His aortic valve is in good condition and they appear to have fixed the aortic dissection. They kept him under sedation until they felt confident to remove the ventilator. He had an echo cardiogram to determine whether there was any blood around the heart. This test came out good. All of this was Friday. Pr. Stafford called me Sat. Morning to let me know so that I could inform others. Pr. Stafford wants to thank you all for your prayers.

This afternoon we had worship at Oak Park for Christmas Eve.



I made oyster stew for supper. Yum. And after clean-up we all opened presents.

I also took a bunch of pictures that I want to inflict on everyone else. But, these 4 should do. Matt and Jeremy happy with a 2nd hand Harry Potter chess set.

The bigger kids by the tree trying to look happy for dad. They are trying because I made them stand still for about a dozen shots like this. I wanted to use no flash, but that meant no one could move. Notice Clara's ghostly skirt. She held it and dropped it during the no-flash photo. Cool effect--when you want it. I just wanted smiling kids.
Matt and Jeremy think that Santa has Celiac Disease and thought he might need a bit of cheering on the way. So, they raided my six-pack of GF beer for Santa.

I'm pretty sure Santa liked it. The bottle was empty in the morning. There wasn't enough snow to see whether the sleigh tracks were still straight.

Tomorrow, Morning Worship and then off to Grandpa and Grandmas.

God bless your Christmas.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Program Number 4

Saturday morning I had to go to TR to do a hospital visit. While I was there I found out that I also had to go to Grand Forks for another Hospital visit. John had come with me, so we chatted about all kinds of things on the drive to and fro.

Mary had taken all the rest of the kids, except Jeremy, off to Bemidji (Prounounced: Ber-mi-jee by many in the area) to get some gluten-free supplies she had ordered at the food coop. Christmas program/Catechization at Mt. Olive started at 4pm.
Silent Night is a lullaby. We sing it as the last hymn of the service. One of the kids just couldn't resist the lullaby. She could only be awakend by the special words, "They're passing out candy and presents." It's amazing how quickly Chantelle bounced back to wakefulness.

Here's Kathy, the organist, up by the Christmas tree. Mt. Olive is not a very big building. It can hold maybe 60 people comfortably. We used the whole thing tonight.

The Confirmands did very well on their Catechism and Bible passages.

The little kids did great on the Commandments and their hymn. I played guitar and they sang, "Away in a Manger." Anna is 4, Chantelle and Katie are 6. While they were reciting the Commandments, a couple of times I asked Anna, and she looked at me and said, "Not me." But she still did about a third of the commandments.

Afterward we passed out cards, candy bags, apples and presents.

Most of us stayed quite a while. Ruby put together the treats that people brought. Here we have Kathy, Hilda, Clara, and Katie sitting and talking together.

Here are Elsie, Louisa, Ruby, and Kathy out in the entry at the serving table.

Well, Christmas Eve Sunday morning service at Mt. Olive bright and early tomorrow at 9:00am.

Friday, December 22, 2006

TWTF

That's [T]uesday, [W]ednesday, [T]hursday, and [F]riday.

Well, it's the mad rush to get everything done. Mom and dad went home Monday morning after I left for Winkel.

Tuesday
I had a bad head cold and migraine. I wanted to try to take the day off anyway. But I did do work on some devotions for the January issues of the Grygla Eagle newspaper. Those articles are almost done now and can be viewed on the parish website here.

We took our nordic trak into TR and donated it to the Northern Lights bookstore. We had the whole clan up in TR for some Christmas shopping and last minute library stops. Through the day my migraine seemed to nag, it made me kind of foggy and cranky. Sorry Mary, sorry kids.

That evening the hospital called, Ragna is in the hospital.

Wednesday,
Hospital visit to Ragna. I took Louisa and Elsie with me. We had devotion and sang some Christmas hymns for her. She was a little out of sorts today. I was planning on coming in on Thursday for one more shut-in visit so I told Ragna I'd check on her Thursday as well.

Louisa, Elsie and I picked up a few groceries at Hugo's, and I picked up a left side-view mirror for my Escort at Sheldon's auto parts.

When I got home it took a total of 5 minutes to replace the mirror. I felt so smug. "Hey, Mary, look what I did!" That evening I did a little more trimming on my bow stave.

Thursday
I went to TR for shut-in calls and stopped in to see Ragna as well. Ragna hasn't wanted to make a big deal of this, but she is willing to let people know what is going on. Ragna has been undergoing chemo therapy for the past couple of weeks. Her lymph nodes tested positive for cancer and they put her immediately on a chemo regimen. Chemo messes with your whole body. She's had trouble with maintaining her temperature. And because of that she couldn't have her third treatment. They hope to get her temp under control so they can treat the cancer.

But Ragna is facing some other issues as well. Her grandaughter-in-law, Sunny is experiencing kidney failure. She's at Altru in GF. Sunny is Ryan's wife. Thursday they did a biopsy to try to find out why her kidneys were failing. I haven't heard the results yet.

Please keep them all in your prayers.

I picked up Mary's christmas present today. And I installed it in the van. I hope she likes it. It's a radio/cd player that actually works.

Friday
This morning Pr. Stafford called. His father passed out last night and was rushed to the hospital. He has an aortic dissection . They started operating on him at 6am this morning.

Alyssa came in to do the office work for the weekend. While she was here Pr. Stafford called to say that his dad is out of surgery and that the surgery went well. Pr. Stafford is with his father and mother now. It's quite a drive. Amy and the kids are at home. Her folks are coming up this weekend for Christmas. Please keep them in your prayers as well.

Well, I have some hymns to get ready for Epiphany and Lent. Have a good evening.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Winkel Christmas Dinner

I did get my presentation done before midnight. It was a very nice winkel. Pr. Stafford preached on John 1:19-28. A very good sermon that I needed to hear. I presented preaching and worship service helps on the Old Testament text for the 2nd Christmas Day service: Micah 5:2-4. Pr. Stafford and I presented on the editorial introductions to the Smalcald Articles in the Lutheran Confessions. Pr. Dale presented a study and summary of Walther's 3rd evening lecture on Law and Gospel.

Afterward we all went to the Stadium in Fosston for our Christmas dinner. The Stadium was a second choice. We wanted the Fireside in Bagley, but they weren't open monday nights. We had a good time together, the meal wasn't really worth the price. And, even though I talked with the waiter and the cook, my plate still came out with a bun on it. Amy reminded me of the mishap at Uncle Bob's Restaurant.

I stopped to get some milk and drove home on the ice.

Ruby and Irv's house and yard is all decorated. And I'm sorry this is such a pathetic picture. I'll try to get a better one. They do a nice job with the lights each year. Their house is on the way home from Fosston. And I'm still learning how to take night photos with this camera.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The 2nd and 3rd Christmas Programs

Again, I cant take pictures during the service, but here's Nazareth with the Christmas tree.

Nazareth's Sunday School consists of 6 very young children. I played guitar for them when they sang "Away in a Manger." They did a very nice job with the program.

Afterward there was food a-plenty and a gift/card exchange. This is Nazareth's first sunday school program since Sara and Betsy were confirmed. They're both in college now.

Rural congregations have these generational growth and diminishing patterns. When the kids who stay in the area are grown, get married and have their own kids then we get a little bigger. When those kids grow up and go off to school we get a little smaller. Thankfully we have several families with small children in the congregation again.

Oak Park's catechization was in the afternoon. OP's Sunday School is much larger than the other three congregations'. And there's a wider variety of talents the teachers can draw from.

I didn't take these pictures. They're from Janelle. Thanks for sending them to me, Janelle and Alison.

With 4 Catechizations/Programs to manage I generally write out the catechization service and let the Sunday School teachers at each congregation decide how to distribute parts and music. I'd just get everyone confused if I tried to manage all those things.

Our little John was supposed to be up front with the shepherds and angels. He was supposed to be the "angel of the Lord." But during the song just before the little ones went out to change, John went over to Mary (she was the prompter) and fell asleep.

When the little ones went out to change there was no waking him. He didn't wake up until after the service during the gift exchange.

After all the gifts were passed out the Ladies' served a lasagna dinner. Chris made a pan of gluten-free lasagna for Alan, my Dad, and me. It was a hungry crowd though. They gobbled it all up.

When we got home we spent some time having fun and talking with my parents. We all went to bed fairly early, well, all but me.

I still have to finish a paper for winkel tomorrow.

Good night.

Twas the Hours before The Christmas Program

Early Sunday morning the girls got their hair washed and primmed. Louisa didn't look to happy about my taking a picture. Sophie likes pictures. And she really likes this new book "I did it, I'm sorry."

Each of the kids was practicing parts for their catichization.

Each of the kids practiced their music.
Clara is playing for the first time in front of church. So she works hard to get it right.

Oh well, I'm off to church at Nazareth. I have a program there this morning.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Busy Day!

Saturday morning began with worship, Saturday School, Confirmation, program practice and then Christmas Caroling with the Mt. Olive kids. Tylor, Tasha, Amanda, Chantelle, Ana, Katy, and Sylvia accompanied me to McIntosh Mannor to sing to Ray and about a dozen other residents.

Then we were off to Fosston and 1st Care to sing to Esther. We stopped at DQ afterward. The roads were very icy in the morning but the way home was ok. Sorry, I took my camera along but forgot to take photos.

In the afternoon I prepped for the evening.
We piled my mom and dad and all our kids into our van and went to St. Petri for their program. Now, I didn't take any picutres during the program.

Shane, Whitney, and Briley did an excellent job on the catichization. Whitney and Briley played their recorder/flutes for pre-service music.
I managed to get some photos of the post service mix while gifts and cards were being handed out. It was a nice mix of family, friends, and neighbors. The kids started playing around a bit in a nice way.
Stella was glad to find a christmas tree that was just her size. She made a big deal of exploring the whole church. She also made a pretty good job at finding all kinds of people to make faces at her after the service.


Whitney and Briley packed away the snacks afterward with Jeremy. We had a Christmas snack kind of supper after the catichization. My parents were able to renew acquaintences with some of the members and guests at St. Petri. There was way too much good stuff to eat.


Stella and Johnny can see when I have the camera out and generally make a bee-line straight to me to get their picture taken. Johnny was trapped behind a table, but Stella looked up and made tracks right away.

We got home fairly late, enjoyed some conversation with my parents and got ready for tomorrow.

The Bow Stave

Last week I mentioned that I spent a bit of time on my bow stave project. So, I thought I might include an update on how it's taking shape.

The draw knife that Mary bought me is a wonderful tool. It makes removal of the extra wood fairly quick. Unfortunately for me the more the ash cures the harder it gets. That means it becomes harder to cut.

So my next experiment will be with a young tree that I cut at the same time but have kept in the bark and kept in the garage at low temperatures. It will have aged some, but most of the moisture will remain and hopefully keep it easier to cut.

Both ends are now squared on the belly and sides. I'm beginning to taper them. On the right end of this photo you can see that the stave bends toward the belly a bit. There's a knot in the wood at that point. From reading in the Bowyer's Bible I believe I'll have to leave the area around the knot a bit thicker to prevent it from breaking.

Elsie was willing to pose with the stave so that I could show the scale. Elsie is 4 foot and a few inches. The stave is 6 feet. I'm leaving the back of the bow rounded with the curve of the outside wood. The belly is being tapered out toward that outside edge.

Given the amount of time each week I spend on it (about 45 minutes), It should be done in late February.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Alyssa hospitalized today

Alyssa is the parish secretary, and she and her husband are expecting their third child. But not yet. Her husband, Quinten, called this morning and said she was in the hospital but that it wasn't an emergency. She would probably be released around 1:00.

Because she does her job here so well it's been a long time since I've had to do the photocopying and folding of all the bulletins and programs and calendars. When she's gone, I appreciate what how generous the parish is in paying her to do all this work. And I appreciate her for doing it.

Today I spent putting the final edits on each congregation's version of the Christmas program and copied, folded, and collated 500 sheets double sided and around 150 sheets single sided. This included 4 unique double-sided, eight-paged Christmas programs for each congregation; bulletins for Mt. Olive; Calendars for all 4 congregations; and Budget proposals for Mt. Olive. I'm out of paper now. I'll get some tomorrow, there should be some in Fosston.

After supper I went out for a drive to think my sermon through. Sometimes it works well that way. Tonight was one of those nights it worked well. But the roads iced up so I'm back in the office.

Now, I want to note that I am not complaining about the paper work today-not by any means. Alyssa has been having some problems with high blood pressure and headaches with this pregnancy at a stage where it is of serious concern. Please keep her, Quinten, the baby and their kids in your prayers.

My reason for writing about all the office stuff is to help my parishoners appreciate what the secretary does, as did Connie before her. It is a great help and allows me more time for visits, sermon prep, and other pastoral duties. Though, I do prefer folding paper to hitting deer any day.

Alyssa got home this afternoon and is doing well. Tomorrow is Oak Park's Sunday School Christmas Catechization practice. Alyssa is one of the teachers. She probably needs to rest and someone else may take over her part in the program prep.

In the end I want to thank the parish for providing a secretary and encourage the parish to thank her for her work.

Thanks, Alyssa, I hope you can rest up.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Stupid deer

Thursday started pretty early. 2:00am or so Stella was crying. Somehow the furnace was adjusted too low. I can think of 3 possible reasons, but it would be impolite to name them. Anyway, I cranked the furnace back up to the mid 60s. We were sitting at 58 or so. I warmed and comforted Stella. Put her back in bed.

And she cried again.

She finally settled down around 4:30 or so.

Now, some fathers would ask, "Hey, why didn't your wife take care of it."

I answer, "Because she needed sleep. And I'm willing to do this. Besides, I love snuggling Stella."

So, I also had insomnia and as long as I was up after the first wake, I might as well be the one to take care. At least then one of us could be well rested.

I did fall asleep in the recliner. I'm not sure when. I remember NPR's morning show starting, but that was before Stella went to bed. I fixed myself breakfast after she went to bed and ate it before I fell asleep in the recliner.

After Mary and the kids got up I woke up enough to go to bed and catch a couple of hours sleep.

Then it was off to TR for shut-in calls.

Ruby and Evelyn were doing well. Verner was mostly non responsive, though he seemed to acknowledge me when I said, "Verner, hvordan stor de til?" It looked like he tried to say, "Bare bra." Check this Norskie phrase book or this one. Gertrude was quiet. Last night for caroling she started singing along a bit. Today she was tired. Marlow was doing well. She had a bout with the flu last month but is over it now.

Dinner at Johnnies cafe, they have Gluten Free chili. Bruce and Denise will clean the grill special (that's Northern Minnesotan for "especially") for me if I ask them to as well. They have a couple of Celiacs that come in to eat there. One guy even knows when they put in the new french fry oil so he can get GF fries.

[By the way, if there is any good grammar in this post it is because Mary, my beloved, is standing over my shoulder offering suggestions every few keystrokes or so.]

[she just walked away]

[notice, no capitals in that last sentence not even punctuation what would i do without her]

I got home early afternoon, read some, and got ready for this evening.

After it got dark all that misty rain froze on the roads and walkways. I didn't know this 'til (I put that apostrophe there because Mary is back behind my shoulder now) I stepped out the door to go up to St. Petri for Christmas program practice.

It took a while to get there.

It took a long while.

Did I mention how long it took to get there?

5:25-6:20 transit time. Usually its about 30 minutes.

Practice went nicely. Three kids memorizing the whole schlameal (that's for Mike Jindra, if he ever reads this, for the rest, "the whole works"). Then to the outhouse and off to home.

I saw a wolf at the 9 mile corner. (family in Warshington-don't worry about geography) He was HUGE and looked mean. Well, actually, he ran across the road in front of me and off into the ditch.

4 miles further south I saw a deer on the left side of the road.

Now, mind you, I was driving between 40 and 45 because of the patchy ice. It was already dark, we had a strong wind and there was blowing snow.

7 seconds later (that's 1 and 1/2 electric poles) the deer decided to make a break for my side of the road.

She hit her head on my left rear-view mirror and knocked it off.

I turned around, shooed the deer off the road. She was a bit dazed and confused, had a bloody nose, but she got up ok and after wobbling a bit, ran off. (that's a run-on sentence for Mary, who is still standing over my shoulder.)

I picked up my mirror. Rats, the glass is cracked.

Well, no other harm done to the vehicle. It was still a long way home on the ice yet.

Jeremy still had to finish some math after I got home. He's done now. I'm done now. I'm hungry again. I think I'll get something that chipotle sauce goes well on.

Good night.

[p.s., Mary got me the chipotle sauce today. She is a very considerate and wonderful woman. And those are only three of her great attributes--Yes, she's still reading this as I type.

Good night]

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Caroling

Wednesday morning I worked on sermon prep for a while then some prep for Wednesday School.

Upper Level confirmation class, your assignment is to memorize and explain the parts of the Nicene Creed in the wording of the Hymnary. Then, read and study God's No and God's Yes, pages 41-50, ending at the top of page 50 with the words "plucks them out of the devil's kingdom."

The subject at hand is CFW Walther's Thesis IX.
"In the fifth place, the Word of God is not rightly divided when sinners who have been struck down and terrified by the Law are directed, not to the Word and the Sacraments, but to their own prayers and wrestlings with god in order that they may win their way into a state of grace; in other words, when they are told to keep on praying and struggling until they feel that God has received them into grace."

After Wed. School we saddled up and went Christmas Caroling in TRF.

Our adventure consisted of two vans of kids coming from Wed School and one van coming from Grygla. We met at Oakland Park nursing home and sang for Ruby, Evelyn, Gertrude, and Verner.

Tomorrow's my day to visit them with the regular shut-in visits.

Next we stopped at Marlow's while Tami drove to the CNC to get David unloaded there.

Dawn and I went to Marlow's with the kids we had. We almost didn't fit in at her apartment.
After Marlow's we went to the CNC and sang to Annie B and Mavis. The staff asked us to sing while we walked through the halls.

The kids thought that singing Jeg er saa glad would be good for some of the old Norskies in the home.

From there Tami took David home. Dawn took her van to Louella's and I took my load of kids to Adeline's. We met at Mickey D's dinner club for a snack before heading home. Thanks to Dawn, Jordan, Brooke, Amy, Shane, Todd, Tylor, Trisha, Matt, Jeremy, Tami, and David for a good evening caroling.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tuesday

I should have mentioned last week that I took Mary out to a movie. We saw the new James Bond "Casino Royale." Being a monday night it was pretty much a private showing. I like this actor as Bond. I liked that there were less of Q's gimmicks and more painful consequences to the hero. It's a movie that doesn't leave you wishing you could be a secret agent like Bond and in a way, gives a bit more of an appreciation for what covert agents give of themselves.

Tuesday I spent writing sermons and working on hymn planning. I've got a couple of news items that tripped me up. Mind if I babble and blather?

First: NASA announced that it is planning on building a base on the moon. That's news. Ha! It's supposed to be built on the lunar south pole because it gets more sunlight. Lunar Santa will have a longer way to go, but since the moon is only 1/6th the size of earth it should still be a picnic for him. NASA has a page explaining why there should be a moon base.

Their first reason is "to settle the moon" that means to put people on the moon permanently. Forget the problems with low gravity and degenerative bone disease; Forget that the moon doesn't protect against the radiation of solar flares; Forget that there is no atmosphere and that they don't even know if there is water available. I hear a chorus starting "We shall overcome." Swing your hands in the air. Hold up those cigarette lighters--oops, no smoking, use your cell phones instead.

Their second reason is to "Pursue scientific activities that address fundamental questions about the history of Earth, the solar system and the universe - and about our place in them." In other words, they haven't found any solid evidence of evolution on earth, perhaps they might find it on the moon. Or they may manufacture it on the moon.

Their third reason is to "Test technologies, systems, flight operations and exploration techniques to reduce the risks and increase the productivity of future missions to Mars and beyond." That begs the question "Why go to Mars?" NASA's answer? "Robotic missions have found evidence of a watery past, suggesting that simple life forms may have developed long ago and may persist beneath the surface today. Human exploration could provide answers to some profound questions." In other words, they don't know anything, but they hope that evolution is true and that they can prove it by going to Mars.

Yes, I'm more than a bit cynical when it comes to NASA and their reasons for doing things. Most of their reasons are not basic "see what we can find" but rather "see what we can find to prove evolution." Don't get me wrong. I love the idea of space exploration. I love the idea of settling new worlds. I'm a big fan of science fiction. But I remember that the key word is "fiction." There's a lot of it being made to justify some humungous expense. I think private industry is going to pass NASA in the next decade or so. The only problem is governmental regulation and NASA's monopoly. But the Chinese and Japanese will end that in a few years.

Why go to space? What's a legitimate reason? Well, if you are an entrepeneur the reason is simple: to do or make something there that people here would be willing to pay so they could do or get whatever it is. Some medicines can be refined much better in zero gravity. Some products can be done better in low/zero gravity. And tourism. If it were inexpensive enough, I'd love to go to the moon for a vacation. But I ain't (it is in the dictionary, I checked) riding on no death trap space shuttle. And as far as "discovering our origins" I'd rather trust Genesis than the designers of the NASA programs.

Second News Item: It looks like the Seattle Airport can put it's Christmas Tree back up. It is hard for me to take seriously any of those people who defame Christianity or anything to do with Christianity in the name of "Tolerance." Many of them say that there are too many hypocrites in organized Christian congregations. I say that there is no shortage of hypocrites outside of Christianity either.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Sunday Monday

Sunday:
Church St. Petri, Nazareth, Oak Park. Holly and Laura played during the offering at OP. They play piano so wonderfully. I had a few personal visits after church at OP.

One of these two days Mary made shepherd pie. YUM. Sophie calls it "leopard pie." I spent some time working on sermon prep for next weekend.

Dean H is working to coordinate some help for Ryan B's family. They've been able to move into an open house just a couple of miles away from their home (which burned down friday). Local businesses have helped quite a bit. Wal-Mart and others are donating clothing. Ryan's boss got him furniture.

I haven't found out yet what kind of assistance Keith and Darlene's surviving children need. I let you know when I find out.

We got the Christmas tree up at home. Louisa finished her second machine sewn skirt. This one matches hers and was made for Elsie. Great job, Louisa!

For evening devotion we've been working on the Christmas program with the kids. We gather in the living room and sing the hymns. When it comes to their recitation parts we send them running down the hall to the end so they can talk loud and clearly enough for us to hear and understand them.

Pr. Schmid, whom many of my parishoners have met, is selling Maltese puppies to Chicagoans for Christmas. This was one of the photos in his advertisement. I though it should be titled: "Redneck Kleenex." What do you do with the wet spot on your nose when they're done? What do you think they have fur for?

Monday: This is very often my day off during the week. Today I was able to take the whole day. That means I was able to work on some Christmas presents, do some cleaning in the house, and trim my bow stave a bit more. As the wood gets dryer and dryer it becomes harder and harder to trim. I'm going to try shaping the next one all in green, then do the final trimming after it cures a bit.