Saturday, May 31, 2008

Jeremy comes home

Friday, May 30th, my parents came bringing my eldest son, Jeremy, home. It was great to see him get to know his sister, Donna.

It was wonderful to have Mom and Dad here this weekend.

They played together in so many ways.

I asked some of the kids to gather Dandelion blossoms. I've got a batch of Dandelion wine setting in the basement. This was for Dandelion pop/soda.

So most of the kids went out to gather a bunch of blossoms in the hope that they could taste something good.

I've never made an old fashioned soda before, so this was a bit of an experiment for me.

I followed a recipe that I found.

The kids helped me pick, cook, and bottle the Dandelion pollen for the soda.

Here's how it works. I did one gallon. I took the gallon of Dandelion flowers and washed them in one gallon of water. I put this through a strainer to remove the leaves and bugs. What remained was a yellowish water with the pollen. I warmed this to 180 degrees F. and added 1 pound of sugar. When this had cooled to about 95 degrees F. I put in the yeast. I stirred this until it was well mixed and then put the brew into bottles and sealed the bottles. The bottles sat on their sides in on top of our refrigerator for 2 days (so they could stay warm). The yeast grew and put out CO2. Then I refrigerated the bottles standing up for 5 days. We drank the soda at Jeremy's and Audrey DeR.'s birthday party at Audrey's home. I thought it tasted a bit yeasty, but everyone else seemed to like it.

Saturday I had worship with Communion and Saturday School at Mt. Olive. My parents attended Mt. Olive because they wanted to go home early Sunday morning.

In the afternoon our younger children were playing with dominoes. The wanted me to take a photo of the Church they had made with the dominoes.

I was amazed at their skill.

Somehow they had been able to learn how to create a dome that would support extra weight. How is this for a physics class for home schooled children.

It was also necessary to mow the lawn on Saturday. Since Jeremy has been out-of-the-loop in household chores during the school year, we needed to get him in to the groove for our family.

I was able to fix the broken push mower and the broken rider. Jeremy and Matthew worked together pretty well as a team to finish off the front yard.

And then we came to celebrating birthdays.

We have quite a few birthdays in June. My brother, who died 4 years ago, was born on June 1. Jeremy was born on June 6. My mom was born on June 7. My maternal grandfather was born on June 7. And my wife, Mary, was born on June 13. There are other June birthdays, but this is more than enough. so we had a gift exchange while my folks were here. It was a nice day outside.

It was wonderful to have Mom and Dad here. And I am so glad the Jeremy is home now.

I have to wean him from his computer over the summer and teach him how to make his own way in work.

That might need more than a bit of prayer. Thanks for keeping us in yours.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Chocolat is soooo good

OK, these pictures are a couple of weeks old, but Stella does love chocolate.

And I like this photo of her loving her chocolate.

Stella is old enough to know how to chew her food well. She even does better than some of the older kids with using her silver-ware.

But chocolate treats? She has tastebuds all over her face for chocolate.

Clara got a gift of a game called Horse-Opoly from Clara DeR.
The kids love the game. Matthew tends to dominate as the banker. They all still need to learn 2 things: play fair, and help the littler kids enjoy the game.

They are working on it.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Busy week ending with a VBS Meeting

Sorry for being so late with this post. I've had a lot of driving to do. Monday we held Rose M's Memorial Service at Oak Park. After the service I went to Grand Forks to see Brad N. At that time he was recovering, but they weren't quite sure what was causing the heart attack. They think he had a blood clot in an artery in his heart. They think there is some damage but need to assess that with a stress test when Brad is able to do one.

I took Matthew with me for the visit. Lana, Brad's wife, was there. We had a good visit and I served them Communion.

Tuesday I tried to take a day off, but had some VBS prep to do. Wed. morning I took Brad's mother to GF so she could see him. This was the first visit that we could arrange for her. I got home late-afternoon and did some clean-up in the garage. Brad had an MRI that lasted through the morning. He had another heart attack, I think it was Monday night. The doctors put a stint in one artery in his heart that was partially blocked. But they didn't think that this explained the heart attack. Thus they wanted an MRI.

I don't know what the results of the MRI are at this point.

Kim, Barb, and Todd C. stopped by and dropped off a generous gift of wild asparagus. Thank you so much. We grilled it. It was way yummy. (Maybe this was the night before. At this point in the week when I'm writing it's kind of hard to sort out when some things happened.)

Thursday morning Stella climbed in bed with Mary and me and I woke up with a bad neck-ache at 4:30; put her back in her bed; and wrestled with inability to sleep until 5:30. I got up and commenced to fixing lawn mowers.

I tore our inoperative push mower completely apart, cleaned the parts, put it together, and it worked. "Yea me!" (London Tipton). 8am breakfast with the family. 8:30, Matt was off to the neighbor to help out with yard work. I set to finishing up work on the riding mower. Around 10:00: Success! I cut up some rebar for a garden project Mary was doing for my asparagus patch. And Noon meal.

In the afternoon Mary and I went to get groceries.

This evening Laura and Ione came for the Vacation Bible School teachers' meeting. Thank you both.

VBS starts Monday. Keep Brad and his family, and our VBS kids in your prayers.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Weekend Sunday

It was warm this morning, near 70 degrees F by 7am. Wearing a Geneva gown was a bit much. But we had our three worship services this morning. I worked this afternoon on a nap and on the sermon and bulletin for the memorial service for Rose M tomorrow (Monday).

This evening, after we had the kids in bed, Mary and I sat down to watch a movie. Alyssa called sometime after 10pm. Brad N. had a heart attack this evening. Louisa rode with me for company on the drive to and fro. Lana, Quinten, and Alyssa were there. Brad seemed to be in pretty good shape, but they were taking him to Grand Forks. Lana was riding with in the ambulance. Quinten and his brothers were going to follow. Please keep them all in your prayers.

Sorry if the humor and references to "O Brother, Where Art Thou" were obscure in the last post.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Down to the River to Play

Friday, yesterday, we went to RLF to the library. I mailed out a paper I'm doing for some other pastors to review. Then we went down to the RL Sportsmen's Park. We looked around at the ranges and then;

"Oh, sisters, let's go down. Let's go down, Come on down. Oh, sisters, let's go down, down to the river to play."

Yes, I changed the last word.

It really was a nice location to let the kids splash around. I had forgotten my camera, but Louisa had brought hers. So while she played and helped the little ones, I took photos.

John and Sophie pointing out minnows.

So this movie scene has been going through my head from the time we got to the river...

"go to sleep little babe
go to sleep little babe

your momma's gone away and your daddy's gonna stay
didn't leave nobody but the baby

go to sleep little babe
go to sleep little babe

everybody's gone in the cotton and the corn
didn't leave nobody but the baby

you're a sweet little babe
you're a sweet little babe

honey in the rock and the sugar don't stop
gonna bring a bottle to the baby

don't you weep pretty babe
don't you weep pretty babe

she's long gone with her red shoes on
gonna need another loving babe

go to sleep little babe
go to sleep little babe

you and me and the devil makes three
don't need no other lovin' babe

go to sleep little babe
go to sleep little babe

come lay bones on the alabaster stones
and be my everlovin baby

Delmar: "(Screams at the top of his lungs.)"

Everett: "What ... Delmar, what the heck's got into you?"

Delmar: "Can't you see it, Everett? Them Sireens did this to Pete. They loved him up and turned him into a... horny toad."

Delmar: "What are we gonna do?"

Everett: "I'm not sure that's Pete."

Delmar: "Of course it's Pete. Look at him. We got to find some kind of wizard can change him back."

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Week Ago, Friday, being careful

Last Friday I began a few lessons in being careful. First was the haircut I had Clara give to me. Yep, a mowhawk. She evened out the haircut after I took the picture. She was really proud of the mowhawk and wanted the world to see it.

Typically I keep my hair short. The little kids can't pull it if they can't grab it. I suppose some of you would rejoice to see my hair long like it was in college, whether buffed up with mousse like Duran-Duran or hanging greasily down to my shoulder blades in a pony-tail. Maybe some day I will scan these photos in.

But last Friday we went fishing. We caught nothing. There was a dust storm going on. The wind was strong. Most of us had colds. Louisa, Matthew, Elsie and I did have an enjoyable time. We tried the Red Lake River at the River Valley Bridge.

I even managed to get a fairly decent shot of Matt and Elsie fishing. But back to being careful. The wind was 30 mph and gusting up towards 45 mph. Several times we were nearly blown into the river.

I didn't mention in the last post, but we had Worship and Sat. School at Mt. Olive. Three worship services on Sunday were held at St. Petri, Oak Park, and Nazareth.

It's been cold in the morning. And I can't remember if it was last Sunday or the Sunday before, but we had record low temperatures. My car door was frozen shut.

Bernice O. was at church in Naz. She's recovering from her shoulder replacement surgery. Thank you to all who have prayed for her, and please continue to keep her in mind when you pray, along with the rest of our recuperating and shut-ins.

Skip to Monday, we had Winkel at Lengby. All but one of the Circuit's pastors were there. I presented a lengthy paper in the afternoon. I benefited from the papers presented by the other pastors in the morning and the discussion of my paper in the afternoon.

After Winkel, Mary, the kids, and I stayed at Pr. and Mrs. Staffords' for some family together time.

Pr. Stafford and I went fishing down at Spring Lake Park. Then we went up to their house to grill chicken (no, we didn't catch any fish).

I use a shallow, square, grill; Pr. Stafford has a deep round Webber grill. After starting the charcoal we went out to check. The wind was just wrong. When I opened the grill there was a plume of hot smoke that hit me in the face. No, I was not close to the grill. It was just an accident. My eyelashes were caramelized. My left eye was a bit stuck shut from the eyelashes becoming entangled.

So, beware of grills you're not used to.

The chicken was good. But, Amy, your dinner was great.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Family Fun at the Forge

I suppose this post has no relevancy whatsoever to the Pastoral Ministry. Here is my $7 anvil. It's a chunk of railroad track secured to a stump-log.

It works.

It works well.

Here is the forge that J.C. gave me this past week. We hooked up the shop vac for a blower and it worked very well. I need to figure out a way to shroud the forge from the wind so that we don't loose so much heat.

Here's the set-up for another forge. Water, tools, spent ammo casings in a coffee can, a clay flowerpot in a 3 gallon popcorn tin filled with charcoal and a small steel crucible. The crucible is a toothbrush holder that I found on sale at Wal-Mart.

I put a hole in the popcorn tin and put a pipe in it into which I put the shop vac.

It gets pretty hot in there. This morning we melted Aluminum, that's about 1200 degrees F.

We had fun watching the metal slag out.

I did shut-in visits this afternoon in TR. After supper we went out and melted brass ammo casings. This took a bit more time. And I'm not sure about how toxic the fumes could be from the zinc in the brass, so I kept everyone up-wind.

But we melted the brass.

Here you can see the crucible in the forge, filled with liquid brass, thats about 1600 degrees F.

I think this is waaaayyy cool.

I've had a notion to make gifts for my confirmands by pouring brass in green sand molds. I've had this notion for several years. Now it starts to become a reality.

So here's our aluminum and brass next to the crucible.

I noticed some separation of metals in the brass cast. I think this will add some character to the molds that I might be able to make.

So, this is what you can do with a popcorn tin, a shop vac, a flower pot, a steel pot, some spare aluminum or brass, some charcoal, and a little caution.

Here's the aluminum cast next to the crucible in which it was formed. This is about 2 pounds of aluminum. It could make 3 or four Nativity set decorations for Christmas trees.

Next I'll try some green sand (wet sand) casting of simple forms.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Thursday Morning CBS Early Show

My son, Jeremy, my Mother and Father, and my Aunt Laurie and Uncle Frank went on a school trip with Echo Charter School to Boston and New York.

Thursday morning they were on the CBS Early Show.

Arlan Tivoed the show for us, thanks, Arlan.

That's Anna F. holding the Echo Charter School sign. And that's my Mom in the middle!

One of the commercials just before this segment was for Crest teeth whitening strips.

And it looks like they've got a package on the set for someone.

So they introduce Echo Charter School. And who do they interview? My Mom!

Reporter: "How many people live in Echo?"
Mom: "Around 300."
Reporter: "How many are here?"
Mom: "I think it's about 77."
Reporter mumbles "300 minus... that's half the town here!"
Remember, his field is journalism, not mathematics.
Reporter asks some more things,

and then he gives my Mom the Crest Teeth Whitening Strips.

Then the reporter tries to grab my Mom's chin, almost ends up picking her nose. And both the reporters say what a nice smile she has, and how she doesn't really need the Crest product.

Be grateful, Mom. The commercial after this segment was for laxatives.

They're all supposed to be home now this Friday afternoon. It sounds like they had a good time. I'll have to get them to write about it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

More Piano Recital Pieces

I should say that it has been extremely cold this week. Extreme means below 50 degrees F. Today, as we went to TRF there were a few snow-flakes in the air. So much for Global Warming. We've had some record cold temps for lows this week.

Well, to the subject.

First we have Clara's Recital Piece:

Next we have Elsie:

Then we have Louisa:

More Catching-up

Friday morning I went to Bemidji, Bernice O. had shoulder replacement surgery. I'm finding that my congregations have quite a few members with John-Deere parts in them. I tease them about being Steve Austin or Jamie Sommers. But those Hollywood shows showed no concept of rehabilitation after such traumatic surgery. Bernice was doing well after surgery. The Morphine helped. Her daughter, Cheryl, was there. After a devotion and prayers I went to see Ruby. But Ruby T. was not home. GRRR. Actually, I'm glad that Ruby has a son-in-law who visits her and takes her out to eat so often. It's just that with a parishoner who has memory problems, phone calls to plan visits don't work too well.

I found out from Bernice and Cheryl that Bernice's brother Forest is facing some new serious medical issues. He has fluid around his heart and possibly a spot on his lung. Please keep all our shut-ins in your prayers. I'll try to get to Forest and his wife, Betty, this next week.

I got home in the afternoon on Friday and did some work on sermon prep and preparing and planning for VBS.

Saturday was the Mt. Olive Bake Sale. I took Louisa and Elsie there to help out. I took Clara and Sophie with me for shut-in visits down in Fosston. We saw Esther R., two other residents Myrtle and Myrtle (yeah, that's for real) decided to listen to the sermon and devotion. Clara and Sophie found a few new fans, since I had them sing two hymns from memory.

We got home Sat afternoon. The kids had me play a couple of games of "Capture the Flag."

Sunday we had worship at St. Petri, Oak Park, and Nazareth. It was Pentecost Sunday and Mothers' Day. I included an emphasis thankfulness for God's providence through Mothers in the prayers. As well as prayer that all mothers, as sinners, need the forgiveness of Christ. But I preached on Pentecost and the Gift of the Holy Spirit.

Monday I took most of the day off. But I needed to work on a paper for Winkel for a while.

Tuesday I had shut-in visits in Thief River Falls. Matt and Louisa wanted to be dropped off at their friends' place. So I dropped them off on the way to TRF and picked them up on the way back.

Since last Friday my son, Jeremy, and my parents have been on a trip to New England. Jeremy's school organizes a trip to teach about the Revolutionary War. They take the kids to the locations and such. So Mary sent my mother's Mothers' Day card to her at the hotel where she would be. We hope she got it. And we hope that they and Laurie and Frank are having a great trip.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Wed. School and Visits

Wednesday was full of pastoral writings and fatherly attention. We held our second to last Wed. School. Next week we have a picnic. But the kids still have to show understanding of their memorization assignments.

I have to say that it has been a lovely week: especially considering the blizzard during the last weekend of April. Mary and I have extended our distance and speed on our daily (or nearly so) walks. We keep reciting to each other "Keep your tummy tucked." "Keep your shoulders back." "Keep it quick." But we stop at badger holes, geese, and funny little tracks in our path.

Thursday I did shut-in visits in Thief River Falls. 2 of my shut-ins weren't home. Evelyn was so deeply asleep I couldn't rouse her. The others were fine. Cora, who has severe memory problems, was doing very well today.

I got home in the afternoon and spent time with the family. This evening I've been working on a paper for Winkel.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Monday and Tuesday

Monday I took as a day of rest, well, most of it, anyway. Bernice O. will have shoulder replacement surgery this coming Friday in Bemidji. Please keep her in your prayers. I spent a great deal of time cleaning yard, garage, and office on Monday. The results of which might not be so apparant to outside observers. But what matters is how the results apply to me and mine, right?

I've also got one of these new dumb ideas about building an adobe or brick wood oven outside. All Mary can do is roll her eyes. Well, really, she's not that sarcastic. She really is quite supportive in all my wing-ding experiments. So I also had the kids help me gathering rocks from the field. Matthew, Louisa and I shot clay pigeons on Monday. That was fun. Louisa is starting to get the feel of the shotgun. She'd been begging to do this for a couple of weeks and was very disappointed when the snowstorm hit last weekend. I had said that we could shoot clays when Jeremy was here. But even Louisa didn't think it was a good idea to try such a thing when a snow storm was raging.

But we got to do it Monday. And the farmers were out tilling the earth. Fresh cut ground. I know that those who've grown up in towns and cities can't relate to this. But the smell of fresh cut earth is so remarkable and wonderful in the spring. All of you who are displaced farm kids can probably relate. I can imagine that some of you drive out to the country side this time of year just to sniff the air.

And with that comes allergies!

The Poplar trees have been blooming the past couple of days. That's nothing much to look at, just some fuzz in the bare upper branches. But it is a harbinger of warmer days to come. So, allergies to anything sending out pollen this soon after snow will cause some problems to many people.

Tuesday I did shut-in calls to Erskine and Crookston. Lyle was very sleepy. Gerhard was doing very well. Alvera had a difficult time today. Total mileage for the trips was around 140 miles. Maybe you readers down in Southern Texas have further to go for a few shut-ins, I wish you the best at them. Each of these shut-ins I visited today have some serious memory problems. I think that Lyle and Alvera have Alzheimer's disease. I don't know what Gerhard has, but sometimes his memory is very poor. Please keep them in your prayers.

I got home in the afternoon and spent a lot of time with the kids. Mary was feeling ill today and needed to rest. I had some of the kids help me move some clay over to the fire-pit and work on making a small wood oven. Yeah, I'm pathetic when I have an interest. And that reminds me, Juul and Anabelle, I'm coming over this week to pick up the forge you have. I cleaned, tilled, and re-stoned the fire-pit today. What amazes me is that I am so lethargic. Yes, I am over 40 years old, but I think that I should still be able to do much more work than my body wants to do.

Mary made a very good chorizo/venison supper with hash-browns and green beans. She had to go back to bed because she's still feeling sick. I played with the kids through the evening. Now that they're all in bed I'm posting this and working on two papers for our Winkel on May 19 and for our Circuit conference on June 1.

Incidentally, I got a bit of tooth in my supper tonight. I thought at first that maybe one of my teeth had broken. But no, it was a bit of tooth that came in the chorizo. I love chorizo. My family likes it quite a bit as well. The tooth fragment hurt quite a bit when I bit into it. It all goes to show that when you don't make your own sausage, you eat what someone you don't know put together. I'll still get the same brand of gluten-free chorizo. But I'll bite down a little less hard in the future.

A few piano recital pieces

Here are the first three of the several pieces I recorded at the kids' piano recital. I realize this isn't for everyone. Tough. It's my blog.

I'm sorry my camera isn't very good at low light video. And the audio is pretty bad too. But, come on folks, this is mostly for sentimental family and friends. So just skip this post if it's too much.

First is Mary and Clara playing "We Three Kings" as a duet.

Second is Matthew and I playing "Rockytop" as a duet. Sorry I messed up a bit there, Matt.

Third is Elsie and Holly V. playing "She'll Be Coming 'Round The Mountain."

Editing these videos and uploading them takes some time. And that's only when I have some time to put toward this rather than Family or Parish work. I have more edited now. I'll upload them as time permits.

Again, I'm sorry for the low quality of the recordings. But I hope the sentimentally interested don't mind.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

What I also do not preach

So I've got another video from the same place as "Mr. Really, Really Bad Preacher."

Perhaps the citizens of Oklee, MN are hoping for a mega-church with Starbucks. Too bad. But at leas in our Parish they will have God's Law applied directly to them every Sunday and have the Forgiveness of sins given.

Catostomus commersoni; Sexing the White Sucker

Sexing the species Catostomus commersoni-the White Sucker can be a helpful tool for the many Northwestern Minnesotans who go out after this fish on opening day (currently May 1).

There are quite a few families in our area that head out every year when Sucker season opens. All of them hope to net their limit. The limit currently is 50 per person. Each fish is between 3 to 8 pounds.

The advantage in sexing the fish before they are netted is that the female has more meat for the same body length. In the first photo the female is on top, the male on the bottom.

Color is the first important signal. The females are darker on the top of the head and on the back.

These next two photos are of the head and shoulders of the White Sucker. This first is of the Female. Notice the dark brown/green coloring from the top of the head down to the mouth. The dark brown/green color emphatically outlines the gill area and continues down the back.

The male is quite a bit more pale than the female. The head is nearly ivory. And while the area behind the gills is somewhat darker, this area is much lighter than that of the female.

The whole back of the female is darker than that of the male. But you can tell immediately which is female or male based upon the signs manifested in the lower part of the tail and the anal fin. There's a useful diagram for the terminology of fish parts on this link so that you can identify the parts of a fish according to the current system.

The Female White Sucker has no markings (or very few markings) on the lower part of the tail fin and the anal fin.

The Male White Sucker has several bumps on each ray of the lower tail fin and the anal fin. In my photo you can see a wound that this male had some time in the past in his right rear above the anal fin. The wound is not useful in sexing the fish.

Genitalia: the female's genitalia tend to protrude more than the males at this time of year. Notice in both the photos above that the Female protrudes and the male does not.

So, now, you will be able to sex the species Catostomus commersoni. Perhaps the same features apply to suckers in Beijing, Iraq, Ireland, or the Canary Islands. I have no idea about that.

Here's what I want to find out. Does the meat of the Male or the Female taste better? There is more meat on the Female, but if there is a significant difference in the quality of the meat I would be willing to let my back hurt a bit more to clean several more males.

Gene and Vincent brought over about 5 gallons of White Suckers yesterday. I cleaned them last night. I got over a gallon of meat from them. I brined them in salt water from that evening until after worship services today (around 1:30pm).

I cut the meat and mixed in peppercorns, whole mustard seed, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, a strong white onion, 1 cup of sugar. 1 cup or so of red wine, a cup of whey with some curd, and a cup of cider vinegar.

I hope the batch turns out well. It's in an ice-cream bucket in our basement refrigerator. I think I'll give it 2 weeks to ferment before trying it out.

What's the worst that could happen? I could get a parasite that eats up all my innards before the doctors could diagnose the problem. This situation doesn't appeal to me at all. That's why I'll be extremely cautious when tasting the result in a couple of weeks. If the meat isn't sour I'll spit it out.

Jaime and Laura, thank you for your nice comments about my sauerkraut and kimchi. I did try to lacto-ferment some beans a few months ago. But I didn't know what I was doing well enough to eat what I made. The beans stank so much. Not in a bad way, necessarily. But I don't know what to expect.

Sunday, yes, I suppose some of you were wondering what happened today. We had worship at St. Petri, Oak Park, and Nazareth. Oak Park asked that when I'm on vacation and the deacons have to read the sermon that I select hymns that are much more easy for them to sing than what I selected last vacation. Sure. I can do that. I'm sorry that I didn't think about that before hand.

Sunday afternoon we got ready for our children's piano recital. Both Mary and I were playing duets with a couple of our children. Mary played the bass with Clara on "We Three Kings," and they did a great job. I played bass for Matthew on "Rocky Top." What a blast. All of the students did a great job. I took several videos of the event with my pathetic camera. I'll try to get them up on my google video or youtube video accounts for any family/friends that might want to look at them.

(Really, how pathetic does someone's life have to be to be willing to watch a piano recital piece of someone they are not related to) But you know what, some of these kids are great in their performances. I just hope that my camera caught this.

Have a good night.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Laura's Birthday at our place

Saturday started with worship at Mt. Olive and sat. school following. Only one student today. But she did very well. We had a visitor from Miles City, Montana today. Shirley V's. sister, Gloria. I've only seen her once before at Alan B's funeral in Gully, MN a few years ago. All of us had so much to talk about after service that it took a while to get to Sat. School. Katie was patient. And she did very well. I introduced her to Luther's Small Catechism on the Creed, focusing on the First Article. Her mom stayed through the class, and I hope that she, Judy, enjoyed the time and found it helpful.

Judy's cousin was found to have stage 4 non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma this week. Her cousin is only 39 years old. She and her husband have two teen-aged children. Her prognosis is not good at this point. She has 6 chemo sessions scheduled with three weeks between each one. Please keep her in your prayers. I know that I haven't told you her name. The thing is that I haven't asked her if I can post her information. That's why this is a kind-of anonymous request. But God knows who you'd be praying for.

After talking to Judy about her cousin, I went home. We had company coming today. Laura and Jaime, with their kids, were going to visit.

The kids did a really good job cleaning up. Of course, we had to remind them to keep on task from time to time. But kids, you did very well.

Laura, Jaime, and their children came in time for noon Dinner. Now, you other readers should understand that Laura and Jaime are regular readers of this blog. And they look really closely at the times when I post about our visits together. So in my own twisted way I kind-of enjoy bringing them to attention to readers all over the world--though it remains fairly anonymous for their sakes. Some of you locals might know them. Good.

So it is Laura's Birthday today.

Mary made an excellent Orange Chicken with a variety of side dishes. Laura brought a wonderful crab-dip. Jaime brought some truly delightful wines he made.

Their kids and ours played together very happily throughout the afternoon.

Jaime brought a gun. (actually he brought 3, but I liked the similarity to the Van Halen lyrics) So we went out to our little target range and shot paper plates this aftenoon.

Jaime brought a Beretta Tomcat .32, a Walther P22, and his favorite-a Beretta 96 .40 caliber. Mary took out her Bersa Thunder .380. I got my Sprinfield XD-9. Matt got his Remminton 20 gague.

We all had a blast!

Gene A. called this morning wondering if we wanted any Suckers for pickling. "Yes!" I said.

Later on....
Gene and Vincent brought us 5 gallons of Suckers. The kids had fun playing with them for a while. But they were kind of freaked out by the fact that the fish were still alive.

Jaime and Laura had to leave late in the afternoon to see Laura's folks. Her father is seriously ill. We had a wonderful time with you today Jaime and Laura. Please know that we are keeping you and your family in our prayers

Gene and Vincent, I cleaned the fish. They're brining overnight. I hope to finish them tomorrow after church and before the kids' piano recital in Plummer.

Matt and I are playing "Rocky Top". You gotta be there!

Well, I didn't tell Mary when I'd be home tonight, but its almost 11:30. I'm going to go to bed so I can preach in the morning.

Good night everyone and God bless.

Friday, May 02, 2008

From Sunday to Friday, with all the cold.

You know, Global Warming advocates are pooping their pants right now. The problem is that this winter has been soooo cold throughout the world. If you're interested in the political mumbo jumbo for the southern hemisphere during their last winter look here. For a bigger picture including the northern hemisphere look here.

This is what I know. This photo was taken yesterday, May 1.

I know from talking to my old-timers that there has been snow in July. And just two years ago we had a killing frost in August.

All I want you to know that I care about is that whenever a government official proposes some new regulation or tax based somehow on "Climate Change" is that this particular official thinks that elected politicians who depend on popularity can somehow get more money for their campaigns and more government control. If you want to know how Hitler got into power, look closely at the idea that Government can somehow solve your problems.

Anyway (how I hate using that word in a post), this week was very busy: both with obligations to home and parish. I tried to take Monday off, but ended up working for quite a while. Arlan gave me a new computer to use for the parish. It didn't have hard drives, but I had those. Tues. I went to Thief River for some pastoral and family obligations. Wed. Dawn and I held Wed. School. Thurs I did shut-in visits in TR. I caught LouElla A at supper with her son, daughter-in-law, and sister-in-law. Her sister-in-law is grieving the passing of her husband. Please keep Alvera O. in your prayers.

Another shut-in wasn't home. I know that's ironic. But it happens quite a bit.

I took Matt and Sophie with me on the visits. We went to pick some things up at WalMart and met the grand daughter of one of the shut-ins I'd tried to visit.

Friday I worked on sermon and the new computer. Then I went on visits. Mildred N. is home now. She got home Thursday. She and Oscar are doing well. I couldn't catch Norris H. at home. But Ernest L. was doing fine-but for a sore hip. Please keep my shut-ins in your prayers.

The forecast is for snow tomorrow. We've company coming after worship at Mt. Olive.

God bless you all, and Good night.

Yeah, it's been several days. Go ahead, complain....

I'm going to start back last Saturday, with the snowstorm. Some of you got some jollies out of the "Really, Really Bad Preacher" video. There are more where that came from. Maybe I'll put up the video on the church growth guy some time.

So church was canceled at Mt. Olive. Randy M. called on Sat. to tell me that it was pretty apparent to everyone that Nazareth couldn't have worship on Sunday. The reason being that the road Naz. is on is one of the last roads plowed ever. EVER! in this county.

So Sunday I have only 2 worship services at which I need to officiate. Really, this is kind of a vacation without being able to go anywhere. St. Petri did not cancel. So I drove there through the drifts. Kyle N. (who plows out the Oak Park parking lot--and does a great job clearing our driveway as well) said that this is the most snow in one storm that we've had all winter. I believe him. There are drifts 4' and 5' deep. But it's supposed to be spring!

My parents and my oldest son got here safely on Friday, though with a bit of trial on the road. Through the drifts I went and held worship at St. Petri up in Grygla, MN. The snow seemed to be a little bit less north of county ditch 20. There were a lot of deer walking around on the road that morning. Does any one remember the game "Frogger"?

I got to Oak Park a bit late because the roads were so icy. I left for St. Petri at 7:10 am for a 8am service. The drive usually takes 35 minutes. Today it took almost an hour because of the ice.

After St. Petri's worship service the roads were good down to Goodridge. But Pennington County doesn't seem to want to send anyone out to salt or plow the roads in our area. Perhaps they are concerned about the safety of their drivers. I hope that's the reason.

At Oak Park we had a confirmation service for Nitro C. and my son, Matthew.

Of course, we had to put together a family photo on the occasion.

I'm so glad that Jeremy could be here, and we could get a family picture. Yes, these are all Mary's and my kids. Jeremy, the oldest, is off at school; staying with his grandparents. The rest are here at home.

Could you cook a meal for them? Mary and I can. Of course my mom can. But so can Matthew and Louisa!

Each time I look at and hold one of my kids my heart prays a prayer of thanks that I am so privileged to have these wonderful people as my children.

My parents, Matt's grandpa and grandma are two of my three favorite persons. Matt might like to think that he is one of the three. But he's not. I like his Mom more than him. I hope that he understands why that is so important.

Congratulations on your confirmation, Matt and Nitro. God bless you both. And may you both come to the Table of the Lord often.