Thursday, May 31, 2007

Updated photos

Strand, I updated the photos for the entry when you were here. Take a look.

Friday May 25th I made it to TR for shut-in calls. Hilda was doing very poorly. Her family was there.

Saturday morning at 6 the nursing home called to tell me Hilda had passed away. We had church at Mt. Olive with confirmation class. I had my second confirmation class later that morning. I talked to Hilda's family, getting some preparation for her funeral done. Her obituary is at our wordpress site. God gave her an extra 7 years with her family and friends. Those years were difficult with her health the way it was. But we are grateful. Please keep her family in your prayers.

The girls took Mary to Pirates 3 this afternoon. Thanks, girls.

Our crab apple tree blossomed last week. This is the kind of thing the Samurai would write poems about. Though they had a fondness for cherry blossoms.

Sunday the 27th, three worship services. Betty B. is not doing well. I went to visit her and Henry in the evening. I took Jeremy with. Mary and the others went down to Pr. Thompsons to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his ordination and his eldest daughter's graduation.

Monday (Memorial Day) I got the three oldest kids up early (6:30) and showed them they could get the entire lawn mowed by 9am. Later in the morning was funeral planning for Hilda in TR. Jeremy came with for that too. We did some gardening and clean up at home. I worked on sermon prep and a paper I'm supposed to deliver next week.

Tuesday Betty is back in the hospital. Matthew came with me to visit her. She has congestive heart failure and they are trying to use drugs to get rid of some of the extra fluid around her heart. We went to tell Pr. Stafford about Betty, but he wasn't home. So we fished for 20 minutes at the dock in Lengby and caught 15 pan fish. We didn't keep any, though. The rest of the day was spent writing two different sermons and a paper.

Here are a couple of Sandhill Cranes in the rice field east of our place. They live between Henry and Betty's place and ours.

Wednesday, writing, phone calls, more writing. more phone calls. In the evening we went to Lengby for a picnic at the park. The kids fished. Four of them managed to fall into the lake "by accident." I forgot to take any pictures. Duh, dad.

Thursday, May 31, gave us a "blue moon." The boys were off to Grygla today to do the LYS carwash. Mary is so good to me. A household of 8 kids to manage, 8 months pregnant, and she still enjoys and makes time to proofread my papers. Thanks, Mary. In the afternoon I had shut-in calls, a pastoral meeting at supper, and devotion at Hilda's visitation.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Tired of the Caribbean

Wednesday evening Matthew and Jeremy took me to the "early" showing of Pirates 3. When I write that they "took me" I mean that they paid for my ticket and the gas. Thanks, boys.

The showing was supposed to have started at 9:45 pm. We got there half an hour early so as to be sure to get in. The line went all the way down the block. At 9:30 the sign was switched to say the showing started at 10pm. We still had almost half a block to go. At 10pm we got in, found three seats. And more people kept coming.

The ushers scooted everyone over so open seats could be made available. We didn't get any treats. Any parent should be able to do the math: 2 boys + 64 oz of caffeinated sugar-water X 2hours and 47 minutes of movie = a minimum of 3 bathroom trips.

At 10:20pm the previews started. At 10:32pm the actual movie started. At 1:20 am we were able to stand and get the blood back into our lower extremeties. The Fosston theater is about 35 miles from home. So, just after 2am we crawled into our beds.

I was a little cranky Thursday. I took some extra vitamin B and some Advil. I did enjoy the movie. Though I kind of hoped Jack the undead monkey would become the next captain of the Flying Dutchman. But I won't go to a late evening opener again. It gets my biorhythms all out of whack.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Clearwater LYS Halloween Video

Last Halloween I took some video clips of the youthgoup with my Vivitar digital camera. The lighting was poor. But here's what I cobbed together with the video clips. This is preliminary. I'd like to put in those word cards that the silent movies had.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Creative Dave

Mathemeticians, Physicists, and many, many others celebrate a holiday that puts Festivus to shame. It's called "Pi Day" and is celebrated March 14th, (i.e., 3.14). Pi moment would probably be at 1:59, thus 3.14159.

Our good friend Dave did something special for his physics class.

This was recorded by one of his students. You know, Dave, you kind of remind me of Jack Black in School of Rock, 'cause three is a magic number.

Great Job, Dave.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

My Sweater was inside-out today

I know. I haven't posted in a while. Actually, I just realized this the night before last. I've had a bit going on.

Last Friday-Sat I had a couple of hospital calls, and a hard drive crash.

Saturday we went to Brett C's graduation party. Sunday we went to Tylor C's and Trisha B's confirmation parties.

Sunday, after attending the parties, I took Jeremy down to Grandpa and Grandma A's.
Monday Jeremy and I went to Hydropolis (Watertown), SD to look at Great Plains Lutheran High School. We got home about supper time, and I had another hospital call. Also, Evelyn M. died today.

Tuesday was funeral planning and writing. I also fixed the computer.

Wed I wrote a lot, had the last Wed school and the closing supper.

Thursday was Evelyn's funeral and weekend sermon prep.

Friday a thunderstorm killed the computer I just fixed. Yes, it was on a surge protector. But it's dead. Hopefully I can get the data off the drive.

Saturday, Church at Mt. Olive. Confirmation Class, home. Go get a new computer. Get it home, (Sophie and John helped to bring it home) find out that someone else had owned it and left all his photos, email, and documents on it. (Thanks a lot, Wal-Mart).

Sunday, three services, as usual. Matt and I counted the number of regular services I've done since coming here. 4 per weekend at 50 weeks per year. 22 Lenten/year, 30 wed school vespers/year, 6-10 VBS services/year, and 4 special Christmas servies/year. It averages out to about 260 regular services per year not counting weddings, funerals, shut-ins, baptisms, and such. I was installed here Dec 2, 2001. That's 6 years and 5 months. 6x260=1380 + this lent and 5 months' regular weekend services (22 lenten+ {[5 months x 4weeks] + 2weeks} x 4 services)=110. So that makes about 1490 or about 1500 regular services since I came here.

And today I accidentally put my sweater on inside out. Nobody commented on it. I didn't know until I got home and my wife pointed it out. True, most of the time I was in a robe, so people wouldn't notice. But, well, after services I don't wear my robe. Evidently the people didn't notice, or they were too polite to comment, or they just accept that I might do something dumb like that once in a while.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Guitars and Cadillacs, Hillbilly Music

Well, I haven't ever owned a Cadillac. But I did like this tune from Dwight Yoakam. Some of you know that I mess around at playing guitar.

I've been working on several different pieces for the past few years. I can do a reasonable job on Isaac Albeniz' Asturias (Leyenda) and the prelude to Bach's Cello Suite No. 1 (BWV 1007). Both of these are very calming. I can play the whole of this Bach Suite, but I like the Prelude the best. There are a few of Luis Milan's Pavanes that I enjoy playing. Francisco Tarrega's Caprichio Arabe is wonderful. Though I can't really do the third part very well yet. I know a few pieces by Gaspar Sanz and have the first part of Sonata K. 1 by Domenico Scarlatti pretty well in hand.

But at this time I enjoy learning Baroque pieces. Bach, of course, is the master: Sleepers Awake, Jesu Joy, the Prelude and Bouree to Lute Suite No. 1 (BWV 996), and Sheep May Safely Graze.

I have some suggestions for books for beginning and intermediate classical guitarists.

Masterworks for Guitar, compiled and edited by John Hill, Hal Leonard Co. 2002. I just love this volume.

Hal Leonard's performance license is a bit restrictive. So, after finding out how a piece is put together, I find another transcription that has looser copyright protection and learn that, or do my own.

50 Baroque Solos for Classical Guitar, arranged by Mark Phillips, Cherry Lane Music Co, 2004. This is designed for the beginner and does a nice job building skills through the body of the work.

Chopin for the Guitar, arranged by Leon Block, Hal Leonard Co. 1960.
This doesn't appear to be available anymore. But there is one by Richard Yates that looks good for the beginner/intermediate guitarist.

Mel Bay Presents 30 Sonatas for Guitar by Domenico Scarlatti, Mel Bay Pub. Inc. 1997. Scarlatti is, well, wonderful.

Happy playing.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A Tragedy

Evelyn M. had a massive cerebral hemorrhage last night. During the doctors' examination they discovered that she also has a tumor in her brain. My understanding (which could be wrong) is that this tumor is in an inoperable location in her hypothalamus. She has been having increasing memory troubles and motor skills troubles over the past 2 years. The doctors believe she is going to die soon. I went to Grand Forks to be with her and her family. She is a great-grandmother. All of her children were there and some other close friends and family. I spent a few hours with them in devotion and just listening to family stories. Please keep them all in your prayers.

Matt kept me company on the visit. He couldn't go into the ICU, but he was good company on the drive. When we got home all the kids were in their swimsuits running through the sprinkler and building forts.

Clara, Sophie, and John had a rather nice little construction out by our campfire pit.

For supper we had venison chops and steaks. In case you weren't forewarned, this is not a vegan or vegetarian family. And, oooooh we love grilling meat and veggies. Even my citygirl wife liked the venison chops the way I'd prepare them.

And here is Stella. She kept coming back to me with more flowers from the mock-almond bush pictured in the first photo above. She wanted me to take her picture with the flowers. So, here she is with one blossom behind her ear.

I wonder what kind of attention she'll want when she's all grown up. Uffda, a father should worry. But I hope.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Grygla Area Visits

The major part of this day was spent on visits to shut-ins and others in the Grygla area.

First was Oscar and Mildred N. Mildred recently lost a sister and a niece. For those who don't know. Mildred has had a leg amputated and part of her remaining foot. She is confined to a chair most of the time. Several years ago she also lost two of her three children. She tends to worry. Please keep her in your prayers.

Next I stopped at Jim and Tami's. Briley caught a rabbit today. David was doing well. Levi was a bit mischievous.

After that I went to see Hilda, Norris, Mavis, and Marlene. Hilda is confined to bed at home. She is weak. But she is doing better than when she was in intensive care a week ago. Please keep her in your prayers also.

I got home around 4pm.
On the way I stopped to take this photo of the burned up DNR land south of Grygla. I don't know if the DNR set the fire, but it follows the fence posts very nicely.

Also, I know that a burning like this is a smart thing to do. Just after the fire it looks like total devastation and all that rot. But the plants really are fine. And so is the wildlife.

I also got some pics of sandhill cranes soaring above, but they're a bit grainy. After a few days sun and a bit of rain this will be a beautiful green wild garden.

Speaking of gardens. Here's the first luscious edible tidbit to grow. It's only 2 inches (5cm) tall right now. Give it a couple of days and it will be flame roasted on the grill in butter, lemon, and Chipotle sauce. Yum. Yum.

I forgot to mention that on Monday, when the kids and I were coming back from the movie we stopped at a cemetery and harvested 2 pounds of wild asparagus. I was lucky to get a few stalks for myself. They gobbled it up like candy. Stella cried for more.

In the evenings, as regular readers know, we have read aloud time and devotion. The main chapter book we are reading at this time is The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbitt. It is a thoroughly enjoyable short novel. Sophie (age 4) on up hate it when we stop reading this in the evening and say "we'll read more tomorrow night." They all look forward to learning more of the main character's quest. It's really a good read. Try it out.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Last Lawnmower

Another back-post. This one also written on Thrusday.

Monday I went to get back the last of our 3 lawn mowers. I took some of the kids with me.

Once we got home we were able to have all of the mowers going. When the kids really are interested, it only takes about 4 or 5 hours total to get the whole lawn mowed.

Anyway, this picture is of a type of plant in our pasture. I think it's rather pretty. Some of you might recognize it right away.

The scale of the photo might be deceptive, go by morphology, not size.

I took the oldest 4 kids to see Spidey 3. I did enjoy it a second time. This time I noticed Stan Lee's cameo appearance. Again, thank you, Stan.

And Stan, I'm a student, co-worker, and friend of Bill Bukowski. If that helps in any way to get your autograph. Well, anyway, thanks for the movie.

I've got some more "identify the plant" posts coming up. Hope you enjoy. (I know that there are a couple of readers out there who get just a little miffed if I don't post something every day, or every other day. To those I say, get your own life back. I'll post here when I have time. Sometimes even my own family takes priority. Anyway, I update this when I have time.)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Sunday Muddled Sunday

OK, I'm backdating posts again. I didn't really get to this post untlil 20 minutes to 11pm Thursday eve. This is what archaeologists might call "back fill."

Why was Sunday muddled? Well, because I put the wrong times for church services in the calendar, but Aly got the right ones in the bulletin. I apologize to everyone at Nazareth. Service was supposed to be at 11am. I got there at 11, and there were still a few people there.

At least it doesn't happen as often as it used to when I first arrived here. I think this is the first time I've messed up the service times on the calendar in about 3 years. Hopefully I won't do it again. But, I'm a sinful human. And I don't keep track of everything all the time. And I'm not Dr. Who to travel back in time and fix the problem.

Also, Sunday was muddled because I asked the Youthgroup to meet that evening. But I had forgotten that that very evening was my own children's piano recital. AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!

Calender stuff can drive me into catatonia.

I postponed Youthgroup because I was the one who made the mess in the first place. We got to the recital. Actually, several other members of our parish were there. And a few kids from our parish participated: Austin, Holly, Jeremy, Matt, Louisa, and Elsie.

They all did wonderfully. Louisa was one of the few students who went outside the normal course repitoir and did a very nice job on the Starlight Waltz.

Here is a nice shot of our performers for that evening: Matt, Louisa, Elsie, and Jeremy.

Well, done, Kids. Very well done.

We helped clean up a bit after the recital and got home about bedtime.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Seasons in life

Last Sunday, as I was driving home there were many tractors in the fields. To those who read this blog and live their whole lives in large cities, there is no way I can describe this pleasure to you. It is it pleasure of smelling freshly tilled earth.

I have lived in several geographically different places in the United States. This includes living in the inner city of Chicago, the sub-urban areas of Atlanta, in smaller cities, and in a hand-full of rural farming areas in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The ground smells a bit different in each area. But freshly tilled earth is wonderful. Yes, the grit gets in your eyes and under your finger nails. But we were created to "till the ground." Technology, advances in farming equipment, and even satellite based computer navigation for farming can't change the fact. We were created from the soil. We are stewards of the soil. Satan's infection has not removed that basic nature of our race.

When the ground is broken to receive the seed. I inhale deeply. I love it.

One of my best friends is loosing his grandfather this week. Another good friend is loosing her father. The corruption of sin means that this shell of a body will die. But we have God's own promise, purchased by the blood of His own Son that when we are planted in the ground, we will arise again.

The lightning is flashing now. There's a thunderstorm out tonight. And the seed will be watered. Do not neglect the watering of the Holy Spirit through His means of grace.

We celebrated Tyler's confirmation this morning. Pr. Stafford has been so good to work with Tyler through the last few years. And Tyler has been good to study so hard, to learn what the Word of God teaches about the forgiveness given to us by Christ. I pray that Tyler outlives me in this world. I pray that Tyler and his whole family, as torn by Satan as it has been, can be steadfast in the grace of Jesus Christ.

I pray this for all the members of my 4 congregations. And I pray this for my family, and all our friends and neighbors.

Because, what counts is not how great we are, but how much Christ has given to us through His life, death, and resurrection.

God bless you all.

By the way, Pr. Stafford, Mary and I went to see Spiderman 3. It is very violent. After all, it's a comic book with super heros and super villians. It is a bit too much on the chick-flick scale, but it does get wrestling with moral choices in life. And it gets one very important issue better than even the Luther movie: forgiveness. The closing scenes with Venom, the Sandman and Spiderman is worth so many profitable discussions on evil, grace, and forgiveness.

Of course the movie is not as good as learning the same from the lives of King David, Samuel, Peter, Paul, and Judas in Scripture. But we live in a biblically illiterate society here in the U.S. Most people look to their own hearts for illumination and truth. The idea of personal culpability and forgiveness is lost on most people here. The petition "Forgive us our tresspasses as we forgive those who tresspass against us" is lost in the pride of self-esteem=self-worship.

I'm sure that many don't care for Marvel superheros, but this movie is a useful tool for Confessional Lutherans. So much of the petty selfish sinful garbage which we dwell in is put out for consideration and discussion in this movie.

I hope that Captain Jack Sparrow, the Silver Surfer, and other characters in (what looks like a good movie summer) these new movies can measure up.

Kudos to Stan Lee and all those working on the Spiderman movies. Thank you.

Fire by full moon

The fire picture I took last Saturday night has a follow up here. This is the same direction on Tuesday evening. There was a beautiful full moon and a bit of a fire over in the same direction.

Tuesday I spent doing household things most of the day. I ran up to Thief River Falls to pick up two lawn mowers and drop off our third.

Three lawn mowers may seem excessive to some readers. We have two small push mowers and one riding mower. Our yard is, oh, I don't know for sure, and I'm not good at guessing, but I think, I think our yard is about 1.5 acres of grass surrounded by CRP on two sides and a field on the south.

What kind of physical activity can we give the older kids to keep them in shape. Push mowers. We've got plenty of space for walking, roller-blading, running, soccer, football, baseball, taekwondo, and whatever else. But lawn mowing and gardening are good physical activities as well.

Our family is by no means "rich" as far as standards used by western media. In fact, it irks me to no end that political pundits would consider our family poor when looking at our taxable income. But we are rich.

First, we are rich spiritually. We have been adopted by God the Father through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. And so we have learned contentment no matter what our circumstances. And as our Father has promised, we have never been left begging for bread.

Second, we are rich as a family. God has blessed us with 9 wonderful children. Of course, number 9 is still in the oven, and we won't meet that child face to face until late July, God wiling. I grew up in a home with both parents, and one brother. I had the privilege of knowing 6 of my Great-grandparents. I have many cousins on both sides of the family. So, knowing and loving a lot of family is not strange or new to me. But having a house full like we have, I tell you, it's a new adventure every day. Mary comes from a large family. She's 2nd of 8. She is very familiar with the dynamics of a family the size of ours. For the regular readers, you've seen me brag in my own off-handed way about each of my kids. Thank God for each one of them. And may He preserve them in faith in Christ to heaven.

Third, we are actually quite rich materially. Think. What king in medieval Europe, Africa, or Asia wouldn't launch a war to get a refrigerator, air conditioning, natural gas heat for his castle, easy and inexpensive access to the produce and meats at any one of our grocery stores.

Yeah, we may not have much compared to many people in the U.S. or Europe. But our congregations take care of us better than any royalty of the past.

Well, this has been a weird digression.

Tues eve I worked a while on sermon for this coming weekend. Wed I worked on Wed. school and quite a bit of other pastoral office stuff.

Incidentally, it might interest some readers to know that the ground itself is flammable up here. Yes, you can set the ground on fire. The dirt of the fields around us is what is left of a large peat bog. Peat burns rather well. I read someplace that in Ireland they cut up peat blocks to use them to heat houses. I don't know if they still do this.

One of my congregational members had a peat fire run through one of his woods. The ground caught fire and the whole woods tipped over and fell down dead. The roots were burned up with the soil.

Where I grew up, my brother and I would put smoke bombs down gopher holes to smoke them out and then shoot them with our pneumatic rifles. Where Mary and I live now, if our kids did that, they could ignite the ground itself and burn up several acres of someone's cropland.

Every year up here in Northwestern MN there are peat fires. And when they happen the farmers get out large water wagons and back-hoes (can I say "hoe"? I wonder if that word will be blocked since the Imus incident). One member of one of my congregations related a story about falling into a "burnout." The burnout is a pocket of peat that burned underground, leaving a hollow spot under the top. The hollow filled with water. And, as he was walking across the ground the top gave way, held together only by the roots of the hay above it. He fell into the wet and muddy hollowed out spot. Thankfully, he was able to get out.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

She Hung up on me!

Today Louisa answered the phone and brought it to me.

"Hello, I'm Dawn from Northsomethingorother Lending."

"Who?" I replied.


"What buisiness is it you are calling for?"

"Northsomethingorother Lending," says she.

"Well, how did you get my number?"

"Well, we checked your credit score and it looks like you are preparing for some refinancing, so we thought...."

I interrupted, "I didn't give you permission to check my credit score. There were no papers sent to me for that."

She tried to recover, "Well, actually we work with Exelbigcreditratingcompany and they gave us your name as a person of interest."

"So you lied to me and now you hope to do business with me." I replied.

"We just noticed that you might be wanting to refinance...."

I cut her off again. "I do not have any loans."

She hung up.

I don't know exactly why, but getting a telemarketer to hang up on me gave me a great sense of satisfaction.