Sunday, October 28, 2007

How we celebrated Reformation Festival

Sorry, I don't have any photos. I mislayed my camera. Aside from the sad news in the previous post there was much to rejoice in this weekend. Saturday we held confirmation at Mt. Olive. Amanda and Albert are now ready to examine themselves before the Lord's Supper. So we had a nice Reformation festival, confirmation and meal for everyone after church in celebration.

Saturday afternoon I went over to Dean H.'s to get some flax and check on some wood for making bows. I ran out of paper for printing the calendar. Alyssa had some paper so I didn't have to drive far. Thank you, Alyssa.

Sunday we had church at St. Petri (where one family was already on Daylight saving time--thank you to the Congress for messing that up this year). Then off to Nazareth and then Oak Park. After service at Oak Park we had our Reformation dinner.

One of my members in particular was excessively moved by the sermon today. I'm never sure how to take such a compliment. I feel disarmed. What should I say? I had some very good teachers at seminary, but chief of all is Christ in His Word. I am weak and sinful. I do not deserve my wonderful wife, my children, nor the wonderful congregations I serve. Much less do I deserve to be considered the mouthpiece of Christ. But this is where He has placed me. I hope to God that if I ever speak or preach or act contrary to his word that my wife, children, family and congregations keep me accountable.

This afternoon Nazareth had a wonderful and successful party for grade school aged children. Mary took the younger kids and had a blast with them.

And the Youth Group met at St. Petri for our Reformation costume party this evening. Both parties had games galore--though I couldn't quite imagine stomaching the marshmallow cheeseburgers given as prizes at the Youth group party. At the Youth Group we watched part of the Thrivent movie "Luther" and I helped the kids and parents separate the fiction (of which there is a lot) from the reality (of which there is very little in the movie). The movie should be titled "If Martin Luther were a Methodist." Perhaps I'll post my review of the movie some day on my Wordpress blog.

My thanks to Pr. Stafford for a couple of things. First, for lending us his DVD of the movie. But second, and most of all, for his call to me about Steven. Thanks Shawn. And thank you Joel S. also for your comments and prayers.

Sorry for the delay in the audio on the sermons. I don't have the time right now to work on a solution. Hopefully soon.

Keep us in your prayers. Tomorrow I take Louisa and Clara down to the funeral and to Mom and Dad's. Please keep my former sister-in-law and her living children in your prayers.

Friday, October 26, 2007


My Brother died 4 years ago. My brother's step-son was 18 years old this year. Wednesday my father called me to tell me that he--this young man--had killed himself. When they read this, this will be the first my own children have heard of suicide.

It was a very difficult conversation with my Father. My ex-sister-in-law may not be a Christian. I can't know. Whatever affects her life the most is what seems to demand her most immediate attention. This isn' t unusual among people. But she has struggled with meth addiction and is an outright fornicator. Just saying this on this blog could get me into legal trouble. But I care for her, not for what she might do to me in the courts.

Even with all this crap, I love my sister-in-law. I love her and I love her children.

My brother loved her children and treated them as his own.

That's why Steven's death is hard. Because I do love him so much. Steven chose to have sex with out becoming married. But the tragedy, according to his mother, is that Steven's girlfriend gave birth prematurely. Their baby, named after my brother, died early. Steven's girl friend left him.

So Steven killed himself.

According to my sister-in-law this is what happened.

I don't know. I don't trust her word very much--even though I pray for her salvation.

Heather and Cody (her other two children, whom my brother loved), I hope that you know that I love you. And even better, I hope that you know that Christ loves you and has made you his own brother and sister.

I came over to the office tonight to finish off the Christmas program for my Sunday Schools and to make the parish November Calendar.

But I have to go to Steven's funeral Monday.

I am so sad.

I pray so much that my sister-in-law and her children (who my brother loved so much) could know forgiveness in Christ.

May God break their hearts and give them grace in Christ.

It's late Friday night. I have Church tomorrow, even a confirmation for two wonderful believers in Christ.

Please keep my sister-in-law, Mareesa, and her living children in your prayers. No matter how badly she has offended Chist, we still love her and pray for her, and their salvation.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sorry, It's been a busy week

A few months back I had been invited to attend a conference that is taking place this week. I declined to attend for a number of reasons.

I had also been asked by certain individuals to attend another conference that took place the first week of October. I declined that one also. Also for a number of reasons, some the same, some very different.

Instead I spent time with my family.

Well, Betty's funeral was Saturday. The visitation the night before. That meant three different sermons for this weekend. So, yes, I was a bit busy during the week. I still managed a couple of visits and a movie with Mary.

Betty's funeral is the 16th I've had this calendar year. We all saw this one coming so I had plenty of time to prepare. But it was hard to deliver the sermon without my own emotions messing with my voice. I took my grandparents to visit Henry and Betty last July. They are people so much like each other I wanted them to meet. And it was a wonderful visit. Now Betty is home, resting from her labor in this world. We'll miss her till we meet again. Henry most of all. Please keep him in your prayers.

Bernice O. broke her leg. I just found out at Betty's funeral. Some people don't like to bother the pastor. She spent 3 days dealing with it before she could contact any help to get her to the hospital. (Just think, Scandinavian stubborn, and some of you might understand why 911 didn't occur to Bernice.) But she's doing well and is healing up fine. Please keep her in your prayers also.

Angie and Shannon L. had their baby while we were gone. Nolan was born 10 lbs 12.3 oz and 21.5 inches long!! And he's very cuddly. Please keep them in your prayers.

Some of you may have noticed that the sermons haven't been updated in a while. I've got a software problem with my digital recorder, so the past few sermons haven't been updated yet. I hope to have this figured out this week.

We've got confirmation at Mt. Olive for Albert and Amanda this coming Saturday. We've also got a Harvest Festival party for children at Nazareth on Sunday at 4pm and a Youth Society costume Reformation party at St. Petri on this coming Sunday at 6pm.

This afternoon for family fun we shot clay pigeons and pistol. Clara, Elsie, Matt, and Mary lined up for pistol. Mary, Matt, and I had fun with the clays. Elsie liked throwing them. I only let Clara shoot a few rounds with the pistol. She's small enough where she tires easily of holding a hunk of metal out at arm's length. I tried kneeling posture with her, but she was a bit wobbly. With a pistol you need to take much more care. The barrel is so short that the muzzle can move all over the place. She was sad that I didn't let her shoot any more. But she understood that it was for her own (and my) safety.

I remember the first time I shot clays up here in this parish. It was mother's day in 2002. Darrow and Shirley asked me over for dinner. Mary and the kids had gone down to my folk's place to visit them that weekend. Darrow, Kelley, and Gary got all the stuff together to do some clay shooting. And I missed every one. I hadn't shot a clay since 1989. But with all the Clearwater Shootouts I've improved a bit.

Matt and I learned how to use the Remington single shot hinge action (made in Russia), and the Mossberg 500C pump (made in the U.S.A.). Matt bought the single shot. The Mossberg was a gift. So, not counting Matt's investment in the single shot, our afternoon family entertainment and skill building time cost us about $6 in shells and $2 in clays. Try taking kids to town, a movie, or McDonalds on $8. Ha! All the little ones cheered when targets were hit--and even simply at the bang when a shot was fired. And the little ones also enjoyed running out into the field to pick up all the pieces of clay targets. You gotta love the enthusiasm of youth at times like this.

And Mary made a superbly delicious dinner: Pork roast, baked potatoes, and mixed vegetables. She cut up apples and layered them on the pork roast. Totally melt in your mouth good.

Hey, J.D., I'm reminded that you were going to send me a bow stave. Congratulations on winning Bow of the Month in this last Primitive Archer Magazine. And congratulations to Pappy! Both beautiful bows.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Finishing up the vacation report

Thursday we went down to my parents' place for a few days. Matthew had gone with Mom, Dad, and Jeremy to be with them while the rest of us were camping.

Stella was so glad of being in a house that she decided to use the indoor facilities. Stella is still in diapers. Notice that she doesn't even have her pants down. She's just glad to have a safe place to practice sitting that isn't an open pit.

I'm not sure that fear of an open pit is unreasonable, especially in the case of someone small enough to fit through the seat. It's a horrible thing to contemplate as a parent of one small enough to fit through. It gives me the heebee geebees of total grossness and dread even to consider such a thing. My Mom tells a story of someone going down into the outhouse pit to get a quarter that had fallen into the pit. EEEEEEWWWWWW!!!!!!! Tell me a different story, mom! Tell me the one about someone eating spoonfulls of dirt or something much more pleasant like that.

And, of course, the whole week Jeremy had school at Echo Charter School.

Louisa met him as he came off the school bus one day and they raced up to the house.

We learned that our friends, Linda and Gary, are going through a hard time. Linda's mother is facing a serious illness. I know from looking at my statistics that this blog has several readers in the Rocford, IL/Racine, WI area. (Hopefully you are not at work when you read this). But Linda's mom is not doing well. Her husband, Gary, is very concerned for her and her mom. Please keep them in your prayers.

The weather was much nicer at mom and dads; though still a bit too cold for camping in a tent at night.

The first evening I asked Jeremy, Matt, and Louisa to set the tent up so it could dry. "Do you know how to do it?" "Yes, Dad." "Can you work together? It's a 10 minute job?" "Yes, Dad."

After half an hour and darkness was falling I went out. Total chaos. Everyone knew better than the other. No one cooperated. One of the tent poles was split.

I had them pack it up and put it in the van. None of them read the instruction sheet, no one came for help. They just bickered and fought among themselves and got nowhere.

Two lessons. The first for me: Never assume your kids can do something without sibling rivalry interfering. The second for the kids: It's always ok to ask for help.

I hid in some bushes by the garden so I could get a picture of Jeremy getting off the bus. Most people take this photo when their kid is in kindergarten. I took one last year on Jeremy's first ride to school at Oklee. So I tried to get a nice one of him getting off the bus from Echo.

He runs. He's always running these distances. Just like me at his age. I remember a guy in college when I was attending Bethany Lutheran College telling me, "Hey, man, you run everywhere! You run from the classroom building to the dorms, from the dorms to the gymnasium, don't you get tired?" Well, now I do. I suppose I should run some more again.

I imagine that I'm like a lot of 40+ year old men who wish their bodies could be as resilient and vigorous as they were at 20 or so years. I our youth we couldn't wait, we had to get there in a hurry because we might miss ScoobyDoo. Now, we don't want to hurry. Sometimes it's because we have learned patience, other times it's because we want to avoid responsibility. Well, maybe I'll make a point of running between buildings as a matter of routine. Perhaps that can help with my Downover Syndrome (where the gut hangs "down over" the belt).

We had a very good time with my folks. Jeremy, Matt, Louisa, Elsie, Grandpa K. and I did some shooting. I helped Dad with a bit of concrete work and household electricity trouble shooting. Jeremy and I had a nice night out together in Marshall, MN. And we avoided hitting a farmer's goat that was out on the road by his mailbox. This was near Tyson Swamp just south of Wood Lake.

Mom and Dad had a nice time with their grandchildren, especially getting Donna to smile.

We left for home on Monday morning. When we got home, 7pm, I called Pr. Stafford. He told me that Betty B. had passed away in the morning. So I went over to visit with Henry and Lonny.

Betty's funeral is Saturday. Henry apologized for making me have to go to more work as soon as I got back from vacation. He shouldn't worry so much. It is a great privilege to know and serve him and Betty. I thank God that He has allowed me to know such wonderful Christians in this life.

Please keep Henry and his family in your prayers.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Camping, part 2

The cabins at the MN state parks really are nice. Each has two full sized beds and two twin sized bunk beds. The problem is that when you're in the full sized bed against the wall, you can't do anything without smacking your head against the bottom of the twin sized bunk above you.

The stove is nice.

And the campfire ring is good for cooking.

I really like cooking. I especially like cooking with real fire rather than electric heat.

However, smoke inhalation is a real danger when cooking over a camp fire. Have you ever noticed that camp fire smoke loves every person standing around the fire. And, no matter what direction the wind is blowing, the smoke will come around to caress your sinuses, lungs, brachiae, and tear ducts?

We had several days of cowboy coffee and camp fire food.

There were, of course, various examples of wildlife near our camp. The ubiquitous chipmunk was common enough. And if we'd seen it earlier in the week, we'd probably have cooked a few. But as it turned out we didn't.

Besides, they hardly amount to more than a mouthful.

But, at last it was Thursday and time to go to my folk's home.

The park has these nice carts (with flat tires) to help campers haul their junk in and out of the cabin camp sites. They were very handy. And we still fit in our van.

So, now down to Belview.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Camping, part 1

So, here's a panoramic of the resort before we left. You can see the foundations of all the new "cabins" that are being built. This means that the view in this photo will be gone next spring.

So why pay to stay there?

We went to Glendelough State Park for our camping trip. We were actually a day early compared to our reservations. But we though there probably would be a cabin open. And there was. But it was unheated.

After we got unpacked I made supper around the campfire, and I heated up a big kettle of water to take inside for heat in the cabin.

And, yes, I was still ill. I feel bad for Mary. She worked so hard to make this a nice trip with all her planning, and I had to be sick.

Monday we took a short trip to Fergus Falls to get some groceries.

Tuesday we went to Alexandria to get to some stores that we've wanted to stop at for quite a while. The used book store was great. Kvil's second hand was great (we got a good Yamaha clarinet for $75)

The kids liked walking in the Viking Mall. That's pretty much all we did in that mall- except sit, like Sophie and Stella are in this photo.

So, back at the cabin, after finding some books and such we warm up by the fire. And mostly, it's nice

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Jenni and Jeremy's Wedding

Jenni is my cousin. I remember the first day I saw her. We were at her folk's house when she was brought home for the first time.

I remember a lot of different games and times from our youth. She finally found a man that she wants to marry.

I wish them all the best.

They had music from the Rat Pack playing before and after the wedding service. The wedding service itself was held by a justice of the peace.

Amber was there with her folks. Her brothers couldn't come. Amber is attending the same school that our son, Jeremy, is attending.

Happy birthday, Amber!

Happy auto insurance payment increase, Randy (Her father).

And weddings are times for the mothers to do strange things, like try on fashionable shoes.

There were plenty of shoe photos. This was the only one that I could post without getting into trouble.

Even this one will probably cause me some grief.

But let's just say that some sisters never outgrow the desire to try on funky shoes.

The wedding was at a resort near McGregor, MN. And I have a nice photo of my aunt, Pat, actually looking at the camera.

Jeremy, my son, is in the background and obviously he has become quite tall. I think he is taller than I am now.

The resort where the wedding was held was very pretty with the fall colors. But I don't think any of our family will go there again. They had unfinished cabins and were charged full price.

The cabins were HUGE!!!!! Both ours and the groom's families could (if we really wanted to) fit into two of these "cabins." Here's a shot of people around the dining room table. You can see 10 people in this photo, there were 17 around the table. And there were another 12 in the living room, 4 in the kitchen, and 6 on the deck. We're not counting the upstairs rooms and the lower level rooms.

But, they still charged full price for a half-complete cabin. Too bad. It was a fun wedding, though.

We spent Saturday eve and Sun morning with the family at the resort (some of us stayed in a less expensive motel -but went back to the resort in the morning). Late in the morning we left for our camping trip.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Shut-ins and Vacation

Thursday I visited shut-ins in TRF and picked up a couple of things for our vacation. I had a longish spiritual counseling session Wed eve. Thurs late afternoon and evening I recovered a box spring and got camping items ready. The little kids wrecked the fort, so we burned it up in the evening.

Of course, all the kids wanted to throw things on the fire.

Friday (today) I was illin'. I hope it doesn't last through the vacation. We got the kids stuff packed, most of the camping stuff is ready, in the morning we'll load up the van, pack the food, strap the roof top carrier on and head to McGregor for my cousin's wedding. We'll spend the night there and head to the campground on Sunday.

This will be an extremely low-tech vacation. Think: rubbing sticks together to make fire. Well, maybe not that low tech (unless I forget the matches--which I have done previously).

Mary picked up a .410 Rossini single shot for my dad today. And Matt's 20 gauge Remington single shot came in. He's all excited. I made him break it down and put it together several times before we put it away. I called Dad to let him know, and he's all excited too.

I came over to the office to finish up a bit of church work, grab my batteries and camera. I hope to post again sometime late next week when we're at Mom and Dad's. But they've got dial-up, so don't get your hopes up.

I'll keep a journal of the trip and take lots of pictures, then, like last year, I'll post them on the date of the events.

BTW, Angie L. was due yesterday. No baby yet. Pr. Stafford will be on call. Keep Angie , her husband, Shannon, and their baby in your prayers.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

"Flash" back to August 26th

Jettie posted some video of a storm that rolled through in August. During that same storm I was taking photos and video also. I took the video above and when the lightning struck I realized that I was standing in a lightning storm holding on to an aluminum tripod. Notice how close the lightning is. The sound on the camera is pretty muted because it was all wind noise and thunder.

After this lightning strike I was down on my knees with all the hair on my neck standing up.

I took the tripod inside and took photos from the shelter of our house's eves.

I posted on this in August, with many photos and described this strike. But I thought the video might be enjoyed.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

John Can Frown

Monday I did some fixup work around the house and yard. Clara and Sophie put a couple of blankets out in the garage while I was working in there so they could play and stay out of Mary's hair.

I finished a bow for the kids today. It's ash and pulls about 25 lbs at 28 inches. All the younger kids got outside to shoot it several times. We'll take it along on the camping trip.

And, just so you all know, John may have one of the most expressive faces in our family. Each of the kids is blessed with incredibly elastic faces and control of muscles I didn't know humans have. Sophie and Stella are very good at making these faces.

But Tuesday was John's day to shine. Look at this, he can even create the look of jowls.

I made some Brussel Sprouts for dinner today. I'm not sure what set John off for this, but there weren't any left. The kids loved them. So, this might be his "I wanted more" look or it might be just his "I'm trying to get something from mom" look.

His bottom lip extends almost a half inch outward.