Monday, July 28, 2008

Laura's Father died

Please keep Laura D. and her family in your prayers. Laura's father passed away on Monday, July 28. We stopped by their place Wed. evening.

Thursday is when vacation starts.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Donna's Birthday

Donna has been with us for a year now. We are thankful to God for her.

She ate her first birthday cake a whole lot neater than any of the other kids.

After the birthday cake we had gift opening.

Yes these posts are a bit behind. We're on vacation now. I'll try to catch up soon.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Thursday Mary, Sophie, and I went to Oklee to get our van's windshield washer hoses repaired.

The van is old (1995) and the hoses broke when we had the transmission replaced last winter to spring.

We ended up spending a few hours in town, going from the lumber yard to the few merchants in town.

We ended up at the playground so Sophie could have fun and we could sit, read, and wait.

I took a few bizzarre photos of the playground equipment. I thought they were kind of "artsy". (which rhymes with....)

But both Mary and I thought the merry go round was wonderfully painted, aged and worn. Sophie loved it.

Jonie B. saw us at the playground and stopped by for a nice conversation. I can't remember if I've mentioned my daughter, Louisa's, fascination with hunting. She wants to hunt alligator. We have three predators in our area. The least is the dog (coyote or wolf). Next is the she-bear. The baddest is the cougar. We have CRP land next to our home. So very often I'll carry a handgun simply because there are cougar in our area. Cougar hunt. Maybe it's just my own paranoia and affection towards hand guns. But I don't want to be caught at a disadvantage if one of these predators happens upon my children.

So when Louisa told me that she wanted to hunt alligators I was both pleased and scared. A few days later Louisa and I were washing dishes and a news report on the radio mentioned a young man who lost his arm to an alligator. After shooting 20 alligators they found his arm, but it was too messed up to be reattached. After the new report Louisa and I looked at each other. She said, "I still want to hunt alligators, Dad."

Well, that was in the past few days. We talked with Joni about the bear hunting on their property and many other things. Thank you, Joni, for stopping to spend time with us.

The van was done. Here's the irony. Cost for repairs $6. Cost for filling the fuel tank $105. Thank you, Scott, for fixing the wiper tubes.

In the evening I was working on sermons for the coming five weeks. The kids knocked frantically at my office door.

The reason they knocked was that a horse and carriage was coming down the road. Uff-da. The traffic on this road by our home has increased dramatically since they remade the road into a 9 ton roadbed.

Tandem gravel trucks, large semi-tractors with freight, and now horse-drawn wagons. What next?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fun, Pork, and Pictures of #10

Monday I went to Red Lake Falls to drop off the Marriage License, stop at the Library to drop off and pick up books and videos. On the way home I stopped by for a home visit with Elaine G. She's doing well but lacks transportation at this time. Elaine and I both have worked at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, MN. We exchanged news from each of our last correspondence and contacts with our friends at BLC.

When I got home I worked on a netting tent for our raspberries. Mary was a great help in this. It looks like we could have a big crop of raspberries this year. But the birds always get at them. That's why I concocted this idea of a netting tent. We got it mostly done before we ran out of netting. When we finish it, I hope to include a photo.

Susan G. does a great job at putting together fun times for area families in our township. We meet at the Deer Park Town hall on Tuesday where there are swing-sets, teeter-totters, basketball and volleyball courts and a green area for whatever games one could imagine. Usually Mary takes the kids to these events. But today (Tuesday 6/22) Mary and Matthew went to the doctor. Matt, to see what is causing his persistent cough; Mary, to have an ultrasound taken of the new baby.

Jeremy stayed at home and did laundry and read. The rest of the kids (7 of them) I took to the Town hall for fun. John and Stella were happy to have climbed the rocks. And we all had a great time. Thank you, Susan.

We also had the first portion of our 1/2 hog from Jaime and Laura. I grilled it on real red oak charcoal with salt, pepper, paprika, and home grown citronella. Yum.

I want to tell you that the flavor difference between this hog, which was organically grown, and what we get at the supermarket and the butcher shop was tremendous. We ended up paying about $2 per pound for the 1/2 hog. I'm not sure what the open market would cost. I'm sure we got our half fairly inexpensively. But, wow. What a great meal. Thanks, Jaime.

So, Wednesday, here are the first photos of #10. We haven't talked about names yet. We don't know the gender. We prefer not to know. We're all excited to meet this person, to know, and to raise this child.

I hope it doesn't sound to maudlin when I say this, but I love my children and I love raising them and getting to know them. Of course, like any parent, I am, at times, distraught and saddened by the need to discipline. But what a wonderful and enjoyable thing it is to be a father. To have the baby, utterly dependent upon me, nestling in my arms; to have the toddler, also dependent, expressing love-smiles-laughter-and tears; to have the child holding out her arms for a hug; to have the teenager eager to talk about their dreams, imaginations, and plans; to have them all together in the morning and evening singing, dancing, and gathered around God's Word of Salvation and everlasting life in Christ.

Yes, being a parent is sometimes horrible. It eats away at time you want to spend on other things. Lack of cooperation or obedience can sometimes lead a father or mother to want to despair.

But simply knowing that through the Gospel of Christ these people under our care will have eternal life, and knowing and feeling their tender love through their childhood--no words can express the joy.

Please keep our children and especially #10, who is in the oven at this time, in your prayers.

Wow, that was pretty sappy.

And, it's July 23rd, my dad's birthday. I love you, Dad. May God grant us many happy returns of this day.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hospital, Home, Church, and Family

We're still waiting for Al Gore's Global Warming to take place. What a wonderful idea. Mostly we've had nights in the low to mid 50s F.

I'm trying to get some ginger root to grow, but we've been too cold for it to want to do much. And the pathetic thing is that when it gets into the 80s during the day, we sweat and think it's soooo hot.

The corn disagrees. It hasn't been hot. If it had been hot the corn would be much taller.

But the weather is pretty.

We tried out a couple of canopies in preparation for our vacation. This is the one we chose. We found out that it needs the anchor cords tied down to withstand a 10mph or higher wind. But it works very well to allow us to cook in a moderate rain.

As we were setting up our canopy tents so were Becky and Nate's families.

Thursday, Nancy didn't get home. She didn't get home 'til the weekend. I worked on sermons for a wedding, the weekend, and the three Sundays we'll be on vacation in August.

Friday, more sermon work a wedding rehearsal at Jim and Lori's farm for Nate and Becky's wedding. We went through the flow of the service 4 times. I think everyone understands what happens when. Then home to pick up Mary for the Groom's dinner.

The Groom's dinner was a nice night out at the Evergreen in TR. The cook, Jane, did an excellent job preparing gluten free food for me. We got home fairly late, and the older kids did a great job taking care of the younger.

Saturday we had Worship and Sat. School at Mt. Olive. I had to cancel one home visit because there was too much going on and I was fatigued. Sat. Evening we had Nate and Becky's wedding outside, in the only sunshine during a gloomy rainy day.

Kelly, the wine you made for the wedding was excellent. I was pleasantly surprised by the different fruits and flavors you mixed.

There's another wedding coming up the weekend after Labor Day at Nazareth. That one is for Aric and Erica. Please keep Becky and Nate, and Aric and Erica in your prayers.

I went home before Mary and the kids came home. I have to preach in the morning.

Nancy came home Saturday afternoon. She's recuperating from her chemotherapy. As anyone who has had chemo or knows someone who has had chemo, it really takes a toll on a person. Please keep Nancy in your prayers.

Sunday, Worship at St. Petri, Nazareth, and Oak Park. After church at Oak Park a girl rode by on horseback as church was getting out.

Of course, Clara, my daughter, is out there talking to the girl on the horse. Clara love's horses. Sophie was out there asking questions too.

We don't have any property. So we can't really keep horses as pets or work-animals. But Clara keeps asking.

Sunday afternoon I stopped by at Nancy's for Communion and a visit. Talking with her and Gene as they go through this, as with Darrow and Shirley, and Alan and Yvonne, and others, is always humbling. Knowing and facing the ultimate consequence of the Fall of Adam and Eve they have resolute hope in Christ as the Savior and the Resurrection. But more than that, they know that whatever happens, Christ is in control and will use them for their benefit and the benefit of others by their testimony in these times of trial.

May God grant us all such faith and wisdom.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

First, the Bows

The cedar stave broke at the third knot from the top. I should have been more careful bracing the bow because of the knots.

I'll try to rescue the good part by gluing another limb from the same stave. I've never done that before either. The wood was free. So it's time to learn.

This really is a beautiful piece of wood. I hope that I can learn enough to make it a serviceable bow.

I've also been working on other bows. This one has red oak limbs from a door-jamb; a walnut handle; and cedar knocks.

This was also an experiment to see if I could make something from pre-cut lumber.

The tiller is nice. I discovered that Tightbond II is a much better glue than Gorilla glue.

The bow pulls about 20# at 28". With the home-made jute fiber string it casts pretty well for a kid's bow.

It's a little large for the smaller framed, like John. But the proportions of the bow to his body aren't dissimilar to those of some archers in the Amazon.

And since John doesn't have big enough lungs to use our blow-guns, perhaps he'll be happy with this and the other lower poundage bows I've made.

It seems that whenever I go out to practice with my bows a quick report of it goes out to the kids and they want to shoot too.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

More Visits and a new Bow

Tuesday morning Mary went off with 4 of the kids to GF for a Homeschool curricula exhibition and to take the kids shopping for clothes.

In the morning I worked on a bow I'm making out of cedar from my dad's farm. There are a lot of knots in the wood. It's tricky and I'm not that experienced to do well yet. But if you don't try you don't learn on something like this.

Joel S. yes, you read right and thank you.

I took Stella with me in the afternoon on rural shut-in visits. I picked up a couple of our kids who had gone over to Alyssa's to play with their kids. We brought back two kittens. If they survive the little kids and the fox in our area they should be good mousers.

When I got home I got a roast prepared and baking.

Matt got home from work. Mary and the kids got home sometime around 6pm.

I called Dan T. to inquire about his mom.

Wednesday morning I went to GF to see Nancy T. When I got there she was having a bone scan. Nancy has had cancer two times previously. Most recently in 2003. This is what we think we know: She has cancerous nodes throughout her liver, it looks like it has gotten into her bones, and is affecting her peritoneal cavity. She started chemo-therapy today. Her hemoglobin is low, so she will have a transfusion to build that up. Gene, Dan, and Debbie were there and we had good conversation and a devotion for Nancy and her family.

What is her prognosis? I think the phrase "cautiously optimistic" covers what the doctors were saying. They might be able to diminish the cancer effectively, but what Dan said is that they don't think it's curable. She will have three weeks of chemo with a week off, then more chemo. They will evaluate the effectiveness of the chemo in 4-6 weeks. Nancy may come home tomorrow (Thursday), but she'll continue to go to GF for her treatments every week.

I got home after noon. Did some work on the wedding sermon for this Saturday and the regular worship sermon for Saturday and Sunday.

Please keep Nancy, her family, and the rest of our members in your prayers.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

To eat or not to eat

These grow in our yard. the gills are pink to brown. In every way they fit the description of the Meadow Mushroom, one that's supposed to be not only safe to eat, but delicious.

They smell good.

If any of you would be willing to take a bite of one before me, you're welcome to part of our crop this year.

But you have to do it soon. They'll stop growing when it gets warm and dry in August.

GF Donuts

1 c. sour cream
1 tsp salt
1 c. sugar
1 tsp soda
2 eggs
about 4 c rice flour

Beat sugar and eggs together. Add cream and soda, salt and any spice desired. We used 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Roll on a floured surface the dough out flat to 3/8 or 1/2 inch thick. Cut to the shape you want.

These could be kosher for Passover if you use the right kind of fat.

However, we like lard. Not kosher.

They come out flat, but tasty.

They were all gobbled up.

I'll try other recipes in the future.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Just Curious

Who's reading from these locations:


Australia (Mark? Andy? that you?)

South Africa

Germany (Ryan? that you?)


If you're from these places (or anywhere else for that matter) I'd like to hear from you. The address is


Just get rid of the underscores, replace at with the at sign and dot with a period (full stop).

Lyle and Muriel, and Nancy

Lyle and Muriel have faced a great many medical challenges over the years that I've known them. And they faced several before I came into this parish. I'm sure that Muriel wouldn't want a big expose on the problems that they faced plastered all over the web. So I won't go into any details except to say that Lyle was having some more problems and was at a hospital in Bemidji where they were working on getting him the right medication.

Muriel called me in the afternoon on Wednesday. Lyle passed away. He ate a good dinner, sat down in an easy-chair and then a while later passed away peacefully. I went over to Muriel's home right away. Some family and life-long friends were gathering. I came back later in the evening and stayed until I was sure her daughter had arrived safely.

Thursday we met at the funeral home in Oklee to make arrangements.

Friday we had wild thunderstorms while we waited for the camp children to come home. The mortician brought Lyle to the church for visitation that evening, just before the hail and rain started to fall. It wasn't a lot of hail, but the stones were large and they hurt while we were unloading things for the visitation.

The campers got home safely. Mary picked them up at Battle Lake, MN and brought them all the way up US59 through the thunderstorms and the tornado at Mahnomen.

It was a large gathering for the visitation. Full house at Oak Park.

I made 350 bulletins for the service on Saturday.

Saturday we had no church at Mt. Olive. The second Saturday in July is the Gonvick rodeo. Mt. Olive hosts a bake sale at the Rodeo. Our family still hasn't made it to the Rodeo. Last year I had hospital calls that took precedence-plus a very pregnant wife who was about to pop any time.

By the way, all you who really care but haven't heard yet: Number 10 is in the oven. Mary seems to be doing ok. The baby is due in December, some time. That reminds me, we've been changing diapers now for 15 years. Most of that with at least 2 kids in diapers. I'm pretty good at it now. But I didn't learn that skill in Seminary or Graduate School.

So, we held the Funeral at Oak Park Saturday morning. We ran out of bulletins a half-an-hour before the service. My kids sang "Children of the Heavenly Father." Nancy T. played for the hymns, Gene A. sang the Lord's Prayer, with Gillene L. accompanying. (Obituary)

It was a really nice family reunion for the Mandts, Lundeens, Magnells and all the rest. I was glad to see Scott S., with whom I went to school at Bethany. I hope that he and his family can enjoy the rest of their vacation. The reunion after the funeral went into the late afternoon.

My parents arrived for a weekend visit in the afternoon. It was really good to have them here.

I got dad to try out the .44 Magnum. He shot it once. That was enough. Oh, yes, he hit the target neatly.

Saturday evening I got a phone call from Dan T. His mother, Nancy T (the organist) was admitted to the hospital in Grand Forks for gall bladder problems. She wouldn't be able to play in the morning.

Sunday, Service at St. Petri (Tami S. plays organ at St. Petri), but services at Nazareth and Oak Park were without organist. I brought my recorder flute to play the melodies then we sang a capella. Holly V. played during the offering and postlude music. Thank you, Holly. Holly's 11 years old, I think.

I called the hospital after church. Gene (Nancy's husband) said that it might not be gall stones or the like. The doctors were planning a biopsy for Monday afternoon. Would I come Monday morning? Yes.

Sunday evening Dean H. dropped off some garden radishes and the Naz. Ladies' Aid schedule for the year (from his wife, Naomi). Thanks Dean and Naomi.

Monday morning Mom and Dad went home. I went to GF.

When I got to GF they were getting Nancy ready for the Biopsy. They moved her surgery up because of a cancellation. We had a short devotion and I waited with Gene, Dan, and her daughter Debbie.

The results won't be ready for 2 days. We are concerned. Nancy had cancer 3 years ago. This March her oncologist had checked her out and she tested fine. But from April to the present she seems to have gotten weaker and to have been having considerable pain.

Please keep Muriel and her family in your prayers. And please keep Nancy and her family in your prayers.

I left GF, went to TR to deposit the paycheck, then to Oklee to pick up a 1/2 of a hog from the meat locker (thanks, Jaime).

I kind of fizzled the rest of the evening.

Mary goes to GF in the morning for a Home School curriculum show. She'll stop by to visit Nancy with some of our kids. Since tomorrow is a long day waiting for results, which probably won't be ready until Wed morning, the visit might be a fun distraction for her.

I've got shut-in visits in the morning too, and possibly a hospital visit in the evening.

I'm really glad my 93 Ford Escort gets 40mpg.

I'm doing a count here for my own purposes (a blog is a useful place for my own memory).

In the past three weeks we've had a triple bypass, congestive heart failure, a heart attack, surgery to remove infection, and two deaths. That's not counting three different eye surgeries (which I didn't go to) and three home visits for pastoral reasons, several shut-in visits, and the fourth of July festivities.

Pastoring, It ain't the slow life. And it sure ain't boring.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Forest's Toys

During my visit last night with Forest and Betty, Forest took me out to see his gun collection. The prise item, a 32 pound single shot .50 BMG. "Hardly kicks at all," Forest said. I don't remember the model, but it looks like this one from East Ridge.

Then he opened the bottom drawer and said, "You like pistols." "Yes," said I. Forest said, "Why don't you take these with you to try them out. I haven't even fired them. I'm not crazy about pistols. And here's some ammunition."

"er, um, sputter,... Are you sure?"

"Yah. They might as well get some use."

So what did he lend me?

Here's Mary firing the Desert Eagle .357 Magnum. It's fun to shoot and the recoil is very smooth. It's kind of a pain to clean. There are a lot of parts, and since it is gas operated the powder and smoke tend to stick in the recoil mechanism.

At first I couldn't even rack the slide back. The man who gave it to Forest hadn't cleaned it. I cleaned the action up nicely and it works very well.

Handgun #2 is a Smith and Wesson Model 60 .357 Magnum. [Really a Model 66]. This fires double or single action. Magnum Revolvers feel quite a bit different than the high power semi-automatics. The semi-automatics, like the Desert Eagle, have recoil springs that absorb a percentage of the kick. The revolvers have no recoil springs, your hand and arm have to take the jolt. And the jolt is considerable. But not as much as in the third handgun.

This is a Smith and Wesson Model 29-4 .44 Magnum.

Man does it kick. Dirty Harry liked this gun, though his had a longer barrel.

So Mary says to the paper plate target, "I know what you're thinking. "Did she fire six shots or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"

Yes, I think we can have these at the Clearwater Shootout. Ammo is a bit pricey. We'll have to decide what to do about that.

Thank you, Forest, for the loan. We'll use them well.


Monday I had a visit in the afternoon, another in the evening after supper. Tuesday I did visits in TR during the morning. I also had a couple of phone calls to make Tuesday morning and afternoon. Those took some time also.

Tues afternoon worked on sermon and planning for sunday school. Later in the afternoon off to a hospital visit in Bagley, then another visit on the way home to Forest and Betty.

After the kids were in bed, Mary and I watched "Bride and Prejudice" it's a Bollywood style interpretation of Jane Austin's "Pride and Prejudice."

While we were watching it we both started to groan each time a new song would start. It is pretty anti-western in its outlook. But several aspects of the movie grew on us. The next day we were giggling thinking about the movie.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Dinner Guests

We've been trying to get together for a couple of years, but for whatever reason, we've not done it, until today.

Sunday morning three worship services on the July-Dec schedule. Get home, season the brisket and start it baking. (It took 4 hours and 40 minutes at 350: about 40 minutes per pound)

Dean and Naomi brought their kids over around 4:30 or so. We had a great evening. We broke out the pistols and shot holes in paper plates. We got the bows out and stuck arrows in hay. Good company, good conversation, and good grief, we ate too much. Beef Brisket, Grill fried potato steaks, fresh picked asparagus, grilled onions. Yum.

Late bedtime again. Thanks for coming over, Dean and Naomi. We hope you had a good visit.

I forgot to take photos.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Fifth

We had worship at Mt. Olive this morning. I burned myself pretty bad at the parade yesterday. Yes, I forgot to put the sunscreen on myself. Duh. I even burned my eyeballs.

The city of Trail will have their fireworks tonight.

We worked through the afternoon on garden and household stuff. In the evening we were too tired to get out to Trail. We set off some of our own fireworks at home with the kids. Shirley L. was over and got to see the three big ones. OOHH, AAAHHH, clap, clap, clap.

Jonny burned his fingers on a sparkler. OOOOH! AAAAH! ouch, ouch, ouch.

Trail and Fosston set off their fireworks at dark. The land is so flat we can watch them from our porch or from the bedrooms on the south side of the house. Then, Gundersons set off their fireworks, and all the kids were in our bedroom watching the closer, and nicer show.

Get to bed kids, I've got church in the morning.

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Fourth (evening)

Backdating again. Thursday we went to Lengby so Louisa could practice swimming for camp. We met up with the Staffords and had a good time.

Amy Stafford has been keeping a blog about their adoption of a little girl from India. Things are looking good so far.

We came home for supper.

On the Fourth when the sun went down we went over to Jaime and Laura's family fireworks.

I wish my batteries hadn't been lame. I only got a few photos. But thanks to Jaime and their whole family for a wonderful time. The mosquitoes weren't so bad if you stayed in the smoke.

We got home very late. And I had church in the morning.

I know I did several visits that week too, but I'd have to dig out my pocket calendar to get the right names and dates. The calendar is up at the house.

The Fourth of July Parade

Today we went to Plummer for their Fourth of July Parade. (more pics here)

I made sure to put sunscreen on all the little ones. We sat between the two Lutheran Churches.

And the kids took home about 3 gallons of candy.

There was a lot of candy thrown to the viewers.

Then, after the parade, we meandered around town to take in the different antique shows. There were old tractors, old threshers, old horse carts, old cars, old trucks, old people reminiscing about when these old things were the newest and best. There was old candy still on the hot tar in the hot sun. There was my John picking up and unwrapping a sticky, tar covered specimen and about to put it in his mouth.

We meandered around trying to find Matthew and Louisa. It was a while before we found the flea-market. We saw a lot of people.

Finally we met up with the kids. Louisa was going over to Jaime and Laura's, later wed go over to their place for the fireworks.

I bought a high-chair at the flea-market. Hey, Shawn, they had this action figure of "The Rock" I thought that $3 was a bit steep. So I didn't get it for you.

Yep, they had free rides for the kids. This is what the midway looks like in Plummer.

Can't beat that, can you?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Hilda's Funeral

Backdating another post.

June 30th we had visitation for Hilda's family and friends in Fosston. July 1st we held her funeral at Vernes Lutheran Church. Thank you to the congregation for letting us use their facility.

Just after the committal service, during which I sunburned my scalp, we saw a large white-tail buck with velveted antlers run through the field across the road from the cemetery.

I took some of my kids with to the funeral. At the church they spotted a lot of gophers.

Of course, they wanted me to take a picture.

We went to Hilda's house after the funeral to visit with the family for a while. The kids liked the farm a lot. Lots to explore. We went down to the dock; saw a big bullhead looking for a meal.

Please keep Hilda's family in your prayers. I posted her obit on the wordpress blog. The link is over on the left side of the page.