Sunday, September 30, 2007

How We Spent Our 18th Anniversary

Sunday started with worship at St. Petri-Grygla, then Nazareth-Trail, and Oak Park-Oklee.

Then Matthew, Louisa and I went to the Pennington Co. Sportsmen Club for their field day and examination in Firearms Safety.

I took this course in 1978 or 79, something like that, and it sure seems that the course is easier than I remember it.

Of course, then, we could bring our own guns. Now that's a "no no."

They took the written exam first in the clubhouse, then the kids were divided up into three groups, based on who got out of the test first.

Here's Matthew at the fence crossing station with his instructor and partner. Matthew and his partner both got caught up in the barbed wire a bit, but they did well and passed. The important thing was that the person holding the guns didn't fall.

Here's Louisa at the range. The facility is rather nice, but it could use a bit of upkeep. I'm thinking of taking the course to become an instructor. The problem that we've always had is that the courses were most often scheduled when a pastor's family couldn't attend.

Those times happen to be when non-pastors' families could attend, but then, pastors are a bit like vampires, we tend to be awake and working when others sleep, we work on days when others rest and relax, and we work on the days they work too. And lately I spend a lot of time around coffins.

After the out of doors activities and the meal, the students had to clean the firearms. Here's Louisa with her friend and her friend's mother. All of them being very fastidious about how shiny the metal on the gun looked.

Well, we got home. Matthew and Louisa passed their course. They can hunt now.

So I loaded up the car with my Wife and our baby and we were going out to eat at a fancy, schmantsy restaurant for our anniversary!! Prime Rib at the Lantern, here I come!!!

We tried the Lantern--closed. Grr.

We tried the Evergreen--closed. Grrrr.

We tried the Black Cat--closed. Grrrrrr.

We tried the Best Western--closed. GRR.


We went to Handy Farms--They'd changed their menu- nothing was gluten free.


I paid for the ice tea I ordered and we left. We went to the grocery store and bought a couple of expensive steaks and a couple of giant portabella mushrooms.

I made broiled stuffed mushrooms, broiled steak and broiled hash-browns with Iced Jones' Pure Cane Sugar Cream Soda for supper.
We told the kids to go into the basement and not come up until we were done.

The food was good. My wife is great. I was looking forward to some prime-rib, but this was better. I just wish that I'd have known about Pennington Co's pietistic background. It's okay that people have Sunday off. I don't begrudge them that.

It's just...well..

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Saturday Church and Visits

With the moon in the background, I thought these Canada geese made a nice photo. And if you're really clever, you could tell me which direction these geese are flying. Yes, there is enough information in this photo.

Saturday morning we had worship at Mt. Olive, Saturday School, and Confirmation Class.

Pr. Stafford, next week the confirmands (Amanda and Albert) are on Ch. 36 in the 1981 Explanation. They have the parts of the Small Catechism assigned along with Q 316, 317, 319, I Cor. 10:16; 11:28. The rest of the questions they should be able to answer in their own words. Assign them p. 24f Q1-14 and the Apostles' Creed for October 21st. It's review for them. No confirmation class on Oct. 14th. But you might have the kids for Saturday school that day.

After church I went to Crookston to see Alverra and stopped by Erskine for other shut-ins. Then to home.

I messed up the October Calendar for Mt. Olive. Starting in Oct and going to the end of March we have worship at 9am instead of 8:30. OK, I'm a dufus some times.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Grygla and Fosston

Clara enjoyed a nice little tumble with Stella and John today.

I went on shut-in calls by Grygla, came home, and then Mary and I took Donna to Fosston for her 2 month checkup. Yep, she's two months old (yesterday).

While we were in Fosston I visited shut-ins there.

Up at Grygla, Blanch is recovering from her back injury a bit, but she still needs surgery. They plan on the surgery sometime in a week or so. Please keep her in your prayers.

Down in Fosston, Esther seems to be doing pretty well in dealing with her broken pelvis. She does have quite a bit of pain at times. Please keep her in your prayers.

Also in Fosston, Betty is not doing well. For the past couple of days she has rarely been coherent. During devotion she opened her eyes a couple of times and tried to say the Lord's Prayer and the Apostles' Creed with me. But I kept on reading Scripture, and singing some hymns. God's Promise is that His Word is effective. It does not depend on our abilities. Please keep her in your prayers.

I tried to snap a photo of a hummingbird moth. I missed the moth, but the flowers looked nice, sort of. It was dark out. And those little critters are so quick.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Odd Storms, Harvest, and Donna

Well, not exactly in that order. I tried to get some photos of the hail that fell, but they didn't turn out. However, the photos of Donna are pretty good.

I'm busy preparing my sermon for this weekend and the two sermons for the weekends we'll be on vacation.

We're heading to my cousin Jenni's wedding north of Millacs. The wedding is 10/6. Sunday the 7th we'll head to a state park for some camping.

After the camping we'll head down to my parents' place for a few days.

I've got deacons reading the sermon and serving Prime on the three Sunday congregations. Pastor Stafford is taking my Saturday congregation.

This week everyone who planted soybeans is harvesting. And we've had a few strong thunderstorms to mess up the harvest.

So when the crop is dry enough the farmers harvest--as long as they can until it's all in.

It's not unusual to see two or three combine harvesters in a field running non-stop. The tractor pulling the gravity wagon in this photo will drive up alongside a combine so that the combine can keep running while it off-loads. The gravity wagon is hauled to a waiting truck that can hold 4 or 5 loads from a gravity wagon. The truck then takes the beans to storage or to the elevator for sale.

Whether a farmer stores or sells his crop depends on how much storage he has and what the price is.

There was a small breeze this evening. After Matt, Louisa and I got back from Firearms safety class we saw that Greg was harvesting the field next to our parsonage. If there was no breeze then there would be a huge cloud of dust around the combine. Driving the harvester in no wind and in a breeze that travels the same direction and speed as the combine can make seeing the crop a bit difficult. Greg had two combines on this field until very late. They didn't miss anything.

There's a field on the way to TR that has quite a bit of strips of beans that were missed during a night time harvest. My guess is too much dust to see and not enough light. It's kind of sad, because looking over about 160 acres of harvested field there are enough missed little strips that could probably add up to a couple of acres. But going back to get them would be too expensive.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Happy 4th Birthday Johnny!

Wednesday I had a lot of office work to catch up on. Then Wed. School. We had Bible Study scheduled for St. Petri, but with most of the members who would come dealing with hospital visits or on vacation we decided to postpone.

Wed. is also John's birthday. And we had a really nice party for him this evening. 3 different passes at his candles and he didn't get a single one out! Mary rotated the cake so the candle were near him and he blew each one out individually. I guess that makes 15 girl friends. And he's only 4!

Regular readers will know that Johnny is our motor head. He loves Mater and Lightning (well, anything with wheels and an engine really, whether fictional or real).

My aunt Laurie made this quilt for my Mom and Dad to give Johnny today along with the pillow case. John noticed right away that Sally and the other girl cars weren't on the pillow case.

He got his own "laptop computer" so Mary can keep him occupied in learning while she's teaching the older kids. Of course, Stella was quite jealous. After all, her birthday was just last week. And this is a new toy.

And did she ever want to play with it.

That brings up one of the first terms I remember learning in my Child Dev. Psychology courses: sibling rivalry. And, we have plenty of case studies available for any researcher who's interested. Just come for dinner and stay through clean-up. You'll have enough for a paper or two.

John showed exuberant glee at every present, no matter how big, how small, whether bought or hand made.

Maybe that's why he has 15 girl friends. He got a new plastic Mater tow truck. His other one is pretty much worn out.

He can only sleep with his cars and trucks so many times before they start to lose paint and wheels.

Incidentally, John is on the top bunk. So when he rolls over and a car is near the edge, well, Clara and Sophie have developed a defensive sleeping position to avoid falling vehicles.

And here he is bubbling with happiness that his sisters, Clara and Sophie have drawn pictures and written words for him to open on his birthday.

He does pout too. And he puts on an exceptionally good look of sad puppy dog eyes and protruding lower lip when Dad says that he can't go with on a visit or off to Firearms Safety classes with Matthew and Louisa.

Grandpa, Grandma, and Jeremy called this evening to wish John a happy birthday. He talked with them for a good while.

He keeps asking, "When will Jeremy come home?" So, big brother, Jeremy, you've got quite a fan in your little brother. I bet if you write a letter just to him that he'll sleep with it until its tatters and shreds. He's kind of like a crow, filling his nest with all the things he finds valuable.

We're so thankful to have all our children, and we thank God that He has allowed us to have John over these 4 short years. May He grant that we can see him grow up strong in God's grace in Christ.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Snowblower and A New Bow

Monday night, Tuesday night, and this coming Thursday night and Sunday afternoon are Firearms Safety classes for Matthew and Louisa.

Monday was so nice out side. In the evening Stella came out to get me while I went to the garden. As the sun was setting it made her hair look like flames in the wind.

Monday I tore the snowblower apart again.

I did discover why it wouldn't turn over.

There is a technical reason: It was broken.

I had to run over to Darrows to borrow a deep 15/16" socket to get the fly-wheel off. But here, under the fly-wheel you can see that the charger coils were broken and catching on the bottom of the fly-wheel. The broken teeth from the starter got under the fly-wheel and knocked the charger mount off the block.

I don't have any electrical systems on the snowblower that use the charger, so I'll just discard it and put the thing back together.

Before Firearms training this evening I went to a shop in TR to pick up a new magneto for the spark assembly. The old one was also damaged by the cogs from the starter gear.

So, Tuesday morning and here's the new magneto in place.

All I have to do is remember where every piece goes and I'll be fine.

The snowblower started nicely (yes, Dad, I did remember to refill the oil). It's actually running when I took this photo.

Johnny was so happy, "Daddy fixed the snowblower! Daddy fixed the snowblower!" It's his birthday tomorrow, Wednesday. He was so excited when I let him help me turn in some of the bolts on the engine.

In spare time over the past few months I've been working on one of the bow staves that I split from my Dad's windfall ash tree.

I marked out a graph on the garage wall to aid in tillering. Here, Matthew is pulling down so I can take this photo. This graph helps me know where to do the fine tuning of the bow so that it bends equally and smoothly.

I've got to get a hanging scale so I can keep the weight consistent in the tillering.

Right now the stave weighs about 8 oz. and can be braced. At bracing it pulls about 25 lbs. A bit further out it is around 40 lbs.

The stave itself is only about 48 inches long. I hope to keep it between 30 and 40 lbs at a 28 inch draw.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Oscar's signature

Oscar worked drag-line after WWII. He's worked all across the country.

Here's what he did in his own back yard.

View Larger Map

Go ahead, zoom in on it. Check sat photos from any source. He dug this in a long time ago.

Kind of cool, huh? Corella, thanks for bringing this back to mind.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Snow Blower

Friday, Alyssa came to do the bulletin. I helped a small bit, but I had a garage to clean and a snow blower to fix. Grandpa K. left us a lot of lumber on his last visit and I put it away today. I cleaned up the garage a bit so I could work on the snow blower.

The snow blower has been frozen solid since February. Today was a warm day, and it's better to work in warmth than cold.

I got the engine off the snow blower and started dissecting it.

The rotor in the thrower part of the body moved fine without the engine attached.

After a while of dissection I found at least one problem. Whatever had frozen the snow blower had caused the starter gear to strip.

Here you can see some of the missing and broken cogs from the starter gear.

I called Hardware Hank in TRF and Al had a kit for replacing the gear. So I went to TRF, got the kit, made a deposit for Wednesday School offerings, and came home to put the blower back together.

While the engine was detached from the body I could get the shaft to rotate. I replaced the starter gear and shroud, put the engine back together, and put the engine back onto the body of the snow blower.

Now the engine will not turn. My guess is that the problem is in the rotor transmission and break. That will have to be tomorrow's project, or another day.

I had the kids set up the tent today to make sure it wasn't peed on by one of our cats. They had fun all afternoon playing in it while I worked on the snow blower. This evening, after devotion, Louisa, Elsie, Clara, Sophie, and John went out to sleep in the tent overnight. It's probably going to get to 35 degrees tonight. They've got plenty of blankets, and this particular tent is warm. But it might be a bit of a restless night for Mary and me should they start getting cold.

Now, I have to finish memorizing my sermon for tomorrow morning.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Alton's Funeral and Fire Arms Safety Class

The first photo is of a beautiful Maple in Fosston when Mary and I were heading home from our date on Tuesday.

I'm kind of hoping that someday I will get some seeds or saplings from this Maple and put a few in the parsonage yard.

The color really is wonderful.

And on to Wednesday; which was full of office work and Wednesday School, which I held outside since it was so nice. I had the confirmands take a table and chairs out back of Oak Park in the little arbor we have there. Unfortunately, this meant that the kids picked up tiny crab-apples to throw at each other at times they thought I was not looking. But they knew their lesson fairly well. Brieley had to leave early for his grandfather's visitation.

Thursday was more office work, running to Gatzke for Alton's funeral and staying with the Sparby's for a while. Matthew came with me. He and Brieley are good friends. We got home at 1:30 or so, ate dinner and got ready for Firearms Safety Training.

I spent a little time in the Landstad Cemetery because I found the family name of someone who requested some genealogical information from me. I took photos of the gravestones from that family. I hope they are helpful.

Oak Park had Ladies' Aid this evening. Mary went, she's one of the Ladies. I left a devotion from Zorn's "Manna" for the Ladies' Aid to read. I took Matthew and Louisa to their first Firearms Safety Class.

I have to admit, I'd like to help teach these courses. While there was a good syllabus and competent instructors, the teacher in me wanted to add different things that I felt the instructors missed.

Louisa is in this photo working to identify a Ruger .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol with a shrouded hammer.

Matthew, in this photo is working to identify a Baretta GI semi-automatic 9mm with laser sights.

There was a session on weapon identification, muzzle loading safety and skills, archery, and ammunition.

They both seemed to enjoy the class. I liked the refresher.

I talked to the instructors to get information about how to become an instructor myself. Since we have the LYS shootout as an annual event, we might as while make it worth-while to the kids that attend it. Certification might be a benefit to them. I think it will. And the DNR doesn't charge anything to those who want to become instructors. Brent, Brett, Kim, are you interested?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Winkel and Pastoral Calls

Monday we held Winkel at Oak Park. Pastor Stafford came solo. Pr. Thompson brought his wife and four youngest children. Pr. Preus and his wife visited as guests. Pr. Dale had a previous engagement and Pr. Merseth's mother died this past Thursday, so he also couldn't attend. Please keep him and his family in your prayers.

We opened with Matins and muffins. I presented on Smalcald Articles II:IV The Papacy, Pr. Stafford on Walther's 4th Thesis in Law and Gospel, Pr. Thompson presented what he had completed of his General Pastoral Conference paper.

Mary served a wonderful Chicken Currey with rice, salad, and dessert cake with rhubarb or mincemeat topping for 19 people.

The meeting wrapped up around 4:30pm.

Sandy called me this evening to let me know that her mother, Blanche, needs to have surgery early in the morning.

In the late evening I put together some genealogical info from the church records requested by Tracey F. from Vancouver, BC. Tracey, I tried the email you gave me. But it bounced back to me. Please call me again so I can correct the email address and get you the info.

Early Tuesday morning Matthew and I went to Grand Forks to be with Blanche and Ray and the family as she was prepared for her MRI and surgery.

It was very foggy this morning. I had to drive very slowly and the usual hour and 15 minute drive took near 2 hours. We still got there before Blanche and her family. The fog was worse up by Grygla, where they drove from. So we spent some time with Blanche, Ray, Roxanne, Sandy and Wayne. I told Blanche that if she does well with her therapy I'd take her down to Trail for a polka when she's ready. She told me that her husband, Ray, doesn't dance. Ray was sitting right beside me. I said "I didn't invite Ray." We had a good laugh. Blanche has a fractured vertebra and a herniated disk. She's been in a lot of pain for a long time. But a week ago Thursday she fell of a stool while cleaning windows. The pain has been excruciating since then and she's only been able to sit still in bed. Please keep her in your prayers.

Then it was off to the pawn shop to see if they had a reasonably priced shotgun for Matt. No dice. We stopped at Cabellas. Last night I told Matt that he could expect a single shot shotgun to go for around $120. If he wanted a pump he should expect to add $200 to that price.

Cabellas had a nice single shot Remington for $119.99; and a nice Remington pump for $325. My estimation wasn't far off. And as Matt had only $60, we went home empty handed. They did show us a Mossbeck 20 gauge pump for about $230. I'll have to check the reviews on this one. It broke down a bit differently than the Remington, but it looked fairly easy to maintain.

So we left GF and went East through Thief River Falls up to Gatzke to see Jim and Tami and their family. Jim's father died about noon on Sunday. He had suffered a heart attack on Thursday morning and Jim's family wasn't in church on Sunday. That was the first news I had. But up to that time the prognosis seemed good. We had 11am worship at St. Petri. The shootout started at 1pm. Jimmy's brother-in-law, Eldon, came to help with the shoot-out and told me the sad news.

Jimmy's father, Alton, was 92 years old. Even up to a couple of months ago he was out driving around to all the other elderly neighbors and visiting them. Please keep Jim and Tami's family in your prayers.

While we were at Jim and Tami's their domesticated raccoon came out to play with the boys. I tried to get a photo, but the critter was camera shy. But it would bounce around the yard chasing Matt, Brieley, and Levi. They would chase it and play tag. They'd pet it and scratch its tummy. When it gets into their garage it makes a terrible mess of things. It was born this spring, so it's not quite fully grown. It's brother is over at Brieley's cousins' place having fun with the cousins.

160 miles later, Matt and I were home at 1pm.

At 3pm Mary and I left for Fosston. We had a date. We went to the Library, the Hardware store (I was checking on shotgun prices for Matt). And then we went to a movie-The Bourne Ultimatum. I've mentioned the first two Bourne movies previously. It's nice to have a well done action movie that doesn't use pornography or ubiquitous profanity. The plot of this movie was strongly anti-US government, and that left a bad taste in my mouth. But the action, character development, and plot were very well done. The first Bourne movie had extremely well done fight scenes. The second movie had a totally impossible fight scene which spoiled it a bit for me. The fighting was great, but it was more like the World Wide Wrestling Federation, the guys kept getting up after things that would in reality have disabled or killed them. This last Bourne movie had very well choreographed, filmed, and realistically thought out fight scenes. Only in one fight, where Bourne saves the reporter from several gunmen is there a place where the character does the impossible by reacting to a gun he could not have possibly seen based on the position where he was standing. But, hey, it's a movie.

We stopped at the grocery store and got supper for the kids at DQ.

Home at 7pm (another 70 miles round trip).

Supper, family reading time with chapter 11 of Dikens' Great Expectations, devotion, and bed for the kids.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Behind, again, in posting

All the photos in this post are from the Clearwater Parish Lutheran Youth Group's annual "Clearwater Shootout."

I'll fill in from Friday to today around the pictures. In this first picture from today is Pr. Stafford on the pistol range.

Friday, Mary and I had to go to Thief River Falls on business. Part banking, part shopping, part preparing for the shootout.

Afterwards we stopped by at Mildred and Oscar N's for a shut-in visit.

We had Donna with us so Mildred and Oscar could meet her.

This second photo is of the soccer game after the shootout was done.

Mary and I got home at supper time on Friday. A little late for family movie night, especially with everything to prepare for Sunday and Monday.

Here's Jordan with a 45lb fiberglass recurve today. Notice her elbow. Jordan is strong. Proper form is to keep the elbow back. But a strong person can pull the string with her bicep rather than her shoulder. We'll work on her form for drawing the bow. But I pity the boy that gets on her bad side.

Saturday I held worship, Saturday School, and Confirmation Class at Mt. Olive. Afterward I came home to prepare for Sunday and Monday. Sunday, was, of course the LYS shootout. Monday is Winkel, and we'll have a bunch of pastors and their families as guests at Oak Park and the parsonage.

For the shootout today we had an archery range: traditional bows included a wood longbow of 65lbs, and a fiberglass recurve of about 45lbs; compound bows included a child's 30lb teaching bow, a 50lb compound bow and a 75 lb compound bow.

We also had a .22 caliber rifle range and a .22 caliber pistol range. There were three different rifles and two revolvers on these ranges. On revolver was single action the other double or single action.

I held Sunday morning worship at Oak Park at 8am today. So I got to sleep in an extra hour. It was a good thing too. I got to bed very late this morning (3am) and Stella decided she was needing attention at 5am. Mary was busy tending Donna. I was pretty bleary eyed at worship this morning. I hope that I made sense during the sermon.

Second service was at Nazareth and late service at St. Petri. I stayed up at St. Petri for the shootout.

We had a shotgun station with clay pigeons. I had 2 and a half cases of clay pigeons. But those were used up quite quickly.

I fixed up a garbage can stew in the early am hours on Sunday before I went to bed. I use my smoker garbage can as an oven around a 5 gallon stock pot which I filled with ingredients.

I built the campfire at about 4pm to get the stew going so we could eat at 5:30.

Thanks to the parents who made this possible and their kids who worked it all our and enjoyed the day. It was a very beautiful day. Thanks to Brett for supervising Archery. Thanks to Wayne for supervising rifle and shotgun. Thanks to Eldon for supervising shotgun. Thanks to Laura for helping out in so many ways and taking all the pictures. Thanks to Laurie and Brent for the ear plugs. Thanks to Kim for supervising pistol. Thanks to Dawn, Eldon, Jim, and Tami for providing the food. Thanks to Eldon for the bails for the Archery backstop. Thanks to the Clearwater LYS for putting this on. And thanks to the kids, families and pastors from Bagley, Warrod, and Audubon who made the long journey to have fun with us today.

Sadly, I got a bad sunburn on my head, ears, and neck. I was wearing a hat most of the time. But I had used my psoriasis medicine, and that makes me much more sensitive to sunlight.

Of course, around St. Petri is a wonderful woods with several good climbing trees. This tree is in front of the church. And it begs to be climbed. The kids obliged the tree.

One family from our parish couldn't be here today. Jim and Tami S's family had a tragedy. At about noon today Jim's father passed away. Jim, Tami, David, and Brieley were with him in Grand Forks.

At supper time Tami and Brieley stopped by to check in on us and how things were going. Thanks, Brieley and Tami. And everyone, please keep their family in your prayers during this time of loss.

I have more photos at this link. I hope to have them uploaded to a faster server soon. But I've got some other things to do first.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Happy 2nd Birthday Stella!

Today was fairly busy. I have been under the weather since Wed. morning, either with a gluten reaction or with some kind of bug. So I did office work today and made Shut-in appointments for Friday.

I got some arrangements made for the Shoot-out on Sunday and for Winkel on Monday.

Mary took the kids to the library this afternoon.

And our kid's tutor (Laura V.) arrived at 5 this evening. So we invited her to supper and the birthday party.

I don't think she knew really what she was getting herself into when I asked her. I just told her the menu. She accepted.

Stella was enthralled with her candles and cake. She ended up having 1 boy-friend because she only got 1 candle blown out at first. Who the guy is, I'd like to know.

I made honey glazed lime chicken breast, chorizzo corn, and baby potatoes in butter and garlic for supper. The kids all seemed to like it. I made a lot and there wasn't much left.

Mary made a gluten free spice cake that tasted very nice.

I choreographed the clean-up while Mary fed Donna (remember, she's the food source, I'm the entertainment center).

After getting the dishes put away (Thanks, Laura, for the help) we went into the Living Room for gift opening.

"My presents!" Stella is getting pretty good at expressing herself.

Laura stayed for the gift opening. I'm not really sure what kind of impression we left on her as a family through all our supper time antics and such. But she said she'd come back on Monday to continue tutoring. That's a good sign, at least.

Just after the gift opening, Grandma, Grandpa, and Jeremy called to sing happy birthday to Stella.

Louisa, being the socialite of the family, went to get the phone and dominated it for the first few minutes. But eventually she brought it to Stella.

So, Grandpa, Grandma, and Jeremy; here's what you couldn't hear and couldn't see at your end of the phone. Stella might not have said very much. But she gave you a big kiss through the phone.

She loves you, we love you. Thank you for a nice birthday.

Stella took the baby doll you gave her to bed with her tonight. "My Donna" she called it.

And, holding the doll, she smiled at me as I turned out her light.

Donna is Smiling Now

Mary is a bit jealous because Donna started smiling for me this evening. And she did it a lot.

But then, I'm of no practical value to Donna. I'm not her food source. So I'm only of entertainment value.

I'm like a television. Have you noticed how kids laugh and smile at the TV, but when Mom or Dad ask them to do something fun with them all the kids do is roll their eyes, groan, look back to the TV and start laughing?

But I'm glad to be Donna's entertainment and media center. I'll take her smiles anytime.

Why Our Power Went out for 3 Hours this morning

She's stiff as a board and her eyes are open. She has no whiskers left-they're all melted into stinky curly globs on her lip. The bottoms of her feet are charred. She's already cooked. We could eat her right now.

Mary was in the middle of arranging our vacation stay by using the internet and the power went out.

I called the electric company and they said no one else had reported an outage. I called around and had the kids check the church. Only the house was out. But there was no power at our meter.

The electric co. truck came three hours later.

They found the squirrel in a death grip between two wires that it had shorted out at the electric pole, causing the pole's breaker to trip.

Our power is back on now. I don't think we'll have squirrel for supper. After all, it's Stella's Birthday.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Start of Wednesday School

Wednesday School/Confirmation Class began today. We have two classes divided by grade. 3rd-5th grades are taught by Dawn N. 6th-8th grades are taught by me.

These are my students: Louisa, Whitney, Shane, Matthew, Brieley, and Jake.

We begin with a general gathering and evening devotion using Compline or Vespers, singing the hymns they memorize for Sunday School and for Wednesday School. At each of these general worship sessions we go through an entire section of Luther's Small Catechism in responsive reading. I select a section that we will repeat for about 5 weeks. This helps the kids greatly in their memorization and recall of the Small Catechism.

After devotion we go to our two separate classes. The focus of the 3rd through 5th grade classes is to get them to know the Small Catechism so well that when they reach my Confirmation Class they don't have to memorize it but can recite it without any problem. That's a basic requirement for entrance into Confirmation Class. The lower level lessons focus on memorizing each Commandment, Article, Petition, etc. and showing the student where these come from in the Bible through Bible lessons, and having the kids memorize hymn verses where these parts of the Catechism are applied to them in worship.

The upper level, the Confirmation Class, goes into exploring and learning each aspect of the Catechism and where the Bible teaches these things, how they are taught in Luther's Large Catechism, how they are applied through the proper distinction between Law and Gospel (Using "God's No and God's Yes" the condensed version of Walther's "Proper Distinction"), and how the liturgies we use keep them focused in these central articles of the Christian faith. This last goal is accomplished by reading through each of the worship services we use and learning where those parts of the worship services are drawn from Scripture and why they are arranged the way they are.

The whole goal of these classes is to enable the student to know enough and understand enough so that he or she may make the judgment as to whether or not he or she is ready to take up self-examination for the Lord's Supper and become a communicant member of our congregations. We do not want us or our children to fall under God's judgment against those who cannot examine themselves. (I Cor. 11)

Now, consider all that we put ourselves through before we allow ourselves to go to the Lord's Supper. It's ironic that we will occasionally have guests who will be offended that we have closed communion. The guests come with their own preconceived notions of what Communion means, they don't care to ask what Scripture says, and they think we're too harsh or unfriendly for not communing them.

We're not being unfriendly. We are loving them. If we have no idea what faith it is they hold we don't want them to incur God's wrath by abusing the Supper. That's why we work so long and hard with ourselves and our own children. Out of love for them, for God, and out of respect for God's own judgment we desire to prevent harm and sin.

For more information on Closed Communion click this link.

So today's class began with a random examination on the parts of the Catechism. After 20 minutes of going through the Small Catechism we went to our class table and started the new lesson, learning the hymn, and delving into Scripture on the topic of Prayer.

The three new students were a bit taken back by the amount of memorization I assigned. The second and third year students told them that this was a light load for this week. I don't know if that helped the new students much. We'll see how they do.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remember the Jihad

I was working in College Library, the Undergraduate Library for the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Sept. 11, 2001.

My first indication that something was wrong was that it was taking an extremely long time to load a web page from the BBC. It was just after 9am.

My heart melted when the web page finally loaded. My co-workers and I quickly set up the Media Center in College Library to be a place where students could come to watch the news.

Hundreds gathered.

Hundreds stood in utter disbelief.

Islamic extremism had reared its ugly-death dealing-face upon thousands of Americans.

But this is not something new to Islam.

Revisionist Academic Historians in our modern times have painted a grotesquely distorted picture of Christianity's slow and pathetic response to Islam's militant history. Pope Urban II established the Crusades on Nov. 27, 1095. His proclamation was in response to the Islamic Jihad which had left a river of blood from Christians and Jews who would not convert to Islam across northern Africa, into Spain and France and throughout Turkey and Greece.

No, the Crusades were not good. But these modern academic historians want us to think that Islam was bountiful, beautiful, and peaceful in its subjugation of the Near East, Africa, and Europe. In truth it was far from bountiful, beautiful, and peaceful.

In an ironic twist of the 20th century's self-serving fantasy, one great Christian King fought the incursions of Islamic Jihadists in his kingdom only to become labeled in our time as the father of Vampires. Vlad III the Impaler, also known as Vlad Dracul (later as "Dracula") fought against the Islamic Jihadists and left the militant Jihadists' corpses impaled upon pikes to serve as a warning to the Islamic extremists who would threaten his citizens and kingdom.

Even before the American Revolution Islamic extremism had been a problem for our country. See this article. Our Founding Fathers knew this problem and worked to face it "on the shores of Tripoli" as the Marines' Hymn states.

Do you remember what you thought when the Oklahoma Federal building was bombed on April 19, 1995? I remember what I heard a lot of people saying. Nearly everyone assumed it was an Islamic extremist. And to our horror, we discovered that terrorists could be home grown and conservative.

Do you remember the Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski? Terrorists could be liberal and socialist.

Do you remember Columbine or Red Lake? Terrorists could be kids misled by Aryan philosophies.

Do you remember Eric Rudolph, the Abortion clinic bomber? Terrorists could be politically conservative Christians.

I mention these because it is very comfortable for conservative Christians to think that Islamic Jihadists are so very different from us, and we could never do such terrible things. Face it. We can and we could.

But there is a difference. Conservative Christianity does not promote or tolerate such terrible and horrific civil actions. Islam, as a whole, does.

When Christians fight back they get portrayed as grotesque hypocrites. When conservatives fight back they are portrayed as weak, self-serving, hypocrites. When Liberals attack they are portrayed as champions of truth. When Jihadists attack they are portrayed as misunderstood people struggling under the oppression of a capitalistic society like Israel or the U.S.

It's time to cut the crap.

The Islamic Jihadists are simply brutal murderers. They must be fought by a freedom loving society. They must be sought out and brought to light. They must be shown the value of freedom. They must see the blood of the innocent that they have slaughtered.

We pray for their repentance and forgiveness in Christ.

But I, for one, will give my life to prevent them from taking my wife or my children from their faith in Christ or their freedom to worship Christ as we have in this country. And that means fighting against any incursion into our freedom of worship that has been promoted by the many socialist, Stalinists, Marxists, and other liberals in our government--just as much as from any Jihadist.

Drat, I was way too political in this post. A pastor isn't supposed to be very political for his congregation. He's supposed to preach God's Word and let his flock sort it out and make their own mistakes--and then deal with the fallout.

Well, when I was driving home from shut-in calls and Bible study this evening there was a tribute to the victims of 9/11/01 on the radio. I had to stop on the side of the road. It was too emotionally hard to drive safely. And after hearing all those hypocrites questioning General Petraeus today I felt a great sadness for my homeland.

I know that my children are accountable to God on their own. I know that the world they face will be just as different from the one I grew up in as my world is from my own parents. But I do hope that they can live in a country where it is not a crime to abide by the Word of God in the Doctrine and Practice of Christ. But God's will be done. I know He has them in His love and in the safety of His loving arms.

I don't know if this post makes any sense. Mary will have to review it for me. I'm too emotional about this topic as I'm writing. I came over to the office to finish off part of my Wednesday School schedule. I got that done to an acceptable amount, and then I waxed political.

I'm sorry if you're offended. If you want, I'll pray for you. Please keep me in your prayers. But this is just the way I see things.

Monday, September 10, 2007

My Grandparents

These two people holding my new daughter, Donna, are my last living Grandparents.

I'm 40 years old now. This December I'll be 41. Osama bin Laden is only 9 years older than I am. Will Farrel is 7 months younger than I am.

I have two living grandparents while I am 40 years old. I'm thankful to God that I have been able to know them through all these years.

While Grandpa and Grandma have been staying with us this past week I have enjoyed several stories from them both about those who have gone before us.

Tomorrow they will be heading home to Morton, MN. And I will have shut-in visits and Bible Study from the morning until late in the evening.

I put a couple of pictures of them with Donna on this post. Donna's middle name is LouElla. That's my Grandmother's first name. Donna LouElla is the first grandchild named after my Grandmother.

Maybe God will grant us another child to name after my Grandfather. We're not greedy when it comes to children. We just accept whatever God gives to us.

I have several recordings of Grandpa's experiences in WWII on Saipan and Tarawa. He was enlisted in the Marine Corps. during WWII.

Grandpa has talked to my youth groups over the past few years about his experiences during WWII. On Sunday evening Grandpa and Grandma both attended and contributed to our Lutheran Youth Society meeting.

In a few weeks I'll go on vacation. My 4 congregations will deal with life without me. One of the events we will attend during this vacation is my cousin, Jenni's, wedding. Her wedding will be a family reunion of sorts.

I guess that those who read this blog have extended family that they know only through rare visits and reunions. Please keep your own families in your prayers. Pray that they may know the Grace of God in Jesus Christ and have the certain hope of the eternal resurrection.

Sorry, I apologize that this post was rather chaotic and disjointed.

Early Birthdays

Stella's birthday is the 13th (this Thursday) and John's is the 26th (two weeks from this Wednesday). Grandpa and Grandma chose to give them their birthday presents Sunday evening.

Louisa helped Stella open her card.

Of course, John was busting at his seams desiring to open his card as well. But he did wait until Stella was done.

This photo is one of those rare touching-moments that get caught by the camera.

I hope that the kids can remember their Great-Grandparents visiting like this.

I was fortunate enough to know 6 of my Great-Grandparents. My kids only have 2 left alive now. My father's mother died a few years back. And she was the last on the Abrahamson side. Mary doesn't have any grandparents left alive.

And John finally was able to open his card. And the card was funny!

The next morning, when everyone was getting ready for breakfast, John had taken off his jammies, taken off his diaper, and was found looking at the card Great Grandpa and Grandma had given to him.

Of course, John hasn't learned to be shy about his clothing or lack of it yet (One can hope that such conscientiousness will come soon). At least Winter is not too far off. He'll have a bit of a problem going outside in his undies when it's 30 below.

A Craft for Home, Sunday School, or VBS

We did this craft when I was a kid at Vacation Bible School at Rock Dell Ev. Lutheran Church, Belview, Minnesota.

The materials are scrap lumber, a bit of cloth to cover the lumber, a stapler to attach the cloth to the board, 37 small finishing nails or such, a picture hanger (a pop-can pop-top lever can work), and two colors of thread.

This particular example is about 5 inches by 10 inches, the width between the rows of nails is about an inch, and the nails are put in about every half-inch.

I hope that you can see the winding pattern for the thread.

Here's what I remember of doing this project.

The teachers had already cut the boards and cloth to the appropriate size.

We kids had to fold the cloth over the board to make a smooth front and staple the cloth to the board on the back of the board.

Next, the pop-can pop-top for the hanger went on in the top center of the back.

Then we measured and put dots where the nails for the cross should go.

We hammered in the nails so that about 1/2 inch was still sticking out.

Then we wound the lower thread in the zig-zag pattern you see in this example.

After that was done we put on the vertical and horizontal bits of thread. This second thread is a different color in this example.

Do whatever you want.

Mom found this craft in the attic when she and Dad were cleaning it out. When Mary and I took Jeremy down to their place for school at the end of August, Mom sent a lot of stuff home with me. This was one of the things.

I hope some of you can use this for your own VBS or such.

Youth Group Shootout Planned for Next Weekend

Members of the Clearwater Lutheran Youth Society met Sunday evening. We had Bible Study on the book of Judges and resumed our reading of the book where the Angel of the Lord calls Gideon, the least of the least of the tribes of Israel, as His champion.

The business meeting was chiefly concerned with getting the annual Clearwater LYS Shootout up and going.

Because of the complexity of the calendar in our 4 point parish, the LYS determined that the best time for them to host the Shoot out would be next Sunday, Sept. 16th. The Shoot out will be at St. Petri Lutheran Church.

We have previously had guests from Bagley, Audubon, Radium, and Warrod. If you know of interest in your congregations could you please attempt to contact those people today or tomorrow.

We apologize for the extremely short notice for this event and hope that any who are able to attend can receive notice.

The Clearwater LYS Shootout will take place beginning at 1pm Sunday, Sept. 16th and go until a campfire supper. In case of rain the next Sunday, Sept. 23 will be the rain date. If it looks like rain all day on the 16th I will send out an email to this list at 10:15am Sunday the 16th. If it rains on Sunday the 23rd as well, we will probably host the shootout in late October.

A suggested donation for the event is $2 per participant to help defray the cost of ammunition, food, and clay pigeons. But guests will not be turned away if they are unable to pay.

Events at the Clearwater LYS Shootout are:

Clay pigeon shooting,
.22 Rifle range,
.22 Pistol range

Each station will be monitored by an adult who is in charge of weapons, ammunition, and instruction.

No high powered rifles will be allowed at the range.

Guests may bring bows, arrows, .22 caliber rifles, or shotguns. We are providing ammunition for the .22 weapons and 20 gauge shells for the clay pigeon station. No rifles of other calibers are allowed. If a guest wishes to bring his own shotgun the largest gauge allowed is 12. If a guest brings a shotgun that is different from 20 gauge the guest must supply his or her own ammunition. Ear protection will be provided.

All weapons brought by guests must be checked in with Pr. Abrahamson and approved by him before they can be used on the range.

Regarding ADA information, St. Petri does not have running water or bathrooms. We have out-houses. And they are well kept and work fine. One of our LYS members at St. Petri -who will be there- is a quadriplegic, so we have people there who know how to take care of these special needs.

Depending on time, we might have a demonstration on how to build a fire with a bow-drill. This is a primitive fire building technique that can be useful in survival situations or just for fun.

Late in the afternoon we will build a campfire and supply hotdogs and brats and a campfire stew for supper.

Again, we apologize for the short notice for this event, and we hope that you can attend.

Please let us know by Thursday noon how many will plan on attending so we can purchase an appropriate amount of food.