Monday, March 02, 2015

I Love/Hate Snow



This is what it looked like at 5:00 pm tonight as I left work. Soon, there were flakes falling that were so big they almost qualified as snowballs. Really! It was a very wet snow and now and then I big cluster of flakes would plop down near me as I cleaned it off my vehicle. 

It was slow going on the way home. I saw people sliding around and as I entered our neighborhood the fire truck was heading out to help someone, probably someone who couldn't stop when they wanted to. I hope everyone is ok. I was glad to know "my people" were all safely tucked in at home.

I hate how ice and snow can make it so difficult (and scary) to travel, but I have to admit, It makes everything look so fresh and pretty. It is a kind of beauty many people in this world will never see. I'm going to focus on the beauty for now, because tomorrow we get to throw winds into the mix!

How is the weather where you are?

Sunday, March 01, 2015

A Word From Pastor Mike

My computer is not healthy and it sometimes takes a lot of patience for me to type out a post on it. Today it is working fine, though, so I want to share an excerpt from Mike's Ash Wednesday Sermon. Lent is a time when we examine ourselves and it serves as a time to remind ourselves that we are sinners. His sermon also reminded us that there is HOPE!


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Lutherans teach that the Word of God is divided into two parts - Law and Gospel.

  •      The Law tells us that we have sinned and our sin means a penalty must be paid. The wages of sin is      death.
  •      The Gospel tells us that Jesus paid the penalty for our sin when we died on the cross. By grace you      have been saved, through faith, and this is not your own doing. It's the gift of God.

Christians live with tension. We are saints - We are sinners. We are capable of the greatest dreams and the worst nightmares. The Christian life is a balancing act. We need both law and gospel to keep us on the tightrope.

The Law has two uses.                                    

  •    To restrain us from wrong doing such as you shall not kill.
  •    The law is a mirror to show us that we have sinned. It also shows our need for a savior.

The Gospel is all about God acting for us. God forgives repentant sinners through Christ's death on the cross. Jesus opens the way to eternal life for all who will believe.

A new word that is being used quite a bit now is compartmentalize. That is, we have different compartments, or rooms of our lives. Some of the rooms in our lives need cleaning. Some of the rooms contain bitterness or gossip. In other rooms of our lives there is unforgiveness or selfishness. In still other rooms there is pride and arrogance. Who's going to clean up that mess? Or, are we just going to shut the door and pretend it isn't there?

Thank goodness we have a good maid. His name is Jesus. he can make the rooms of our lives clean and we can have a fresh start. Daily repentance, daily turning from sin, daily confession are all ways to stay in right relationship with God.

But, then we need to believe the Gospel.

  •    Believe that God forgives your sins for Jesus' sake.
  •    Believe that you are a believer.
  •    Believe that heaven is your home.
  •    Believe that God is not mad at you. Believe that God loves you.
  •    Believe that you are God's good creation.
  •    Believe that you can begin again even though you've sinned today.
  •    Believe that you are not bound by your past, your weaknesses, your failures, your negative thoughts.
  •    Believe that God is working in your life right now. God is making a new creation. God has good     plans for your life. You are forgiven and when your life here is done, you are going to live a new life with God and your loved ones in heaven forever.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Visiting Vision Beyond Borders


Yesterday Mike and I joined others for a tour of the newest Vision Beyond Borders facility. I am excited that it is right here in our town. I look forward to learning more about their work and having opportunities to volunteer on occasion. I am just so impressed wth this group and their "can do" attitude.  

I thought it quite appropriate that they had this huge map in their warehouse. There doesn't seem to be any place they won't go to be of service.


Yesterday we saw volunteers helping sort donated clothing that will be going to various countries to help people in need. They check for stains or missing buttons. I learned they have to sort in ways I would not have considered. For instance, they deliver clothing to Burma (Myanmar). There, the Karen people and other tribes face a military leaders who intend to exterminate them. Click on the link to learn more. This is a place where children have to hide in the forest for their own safety. They do not take bright colored clothing there because that would make them easier targets for bullets.  I am telling you, they are serving those in dire situations.


Their main focus is providing Bibles, free of charge, in the language of the recipients. That certainly isn't the end of it, though. Besides clothing, we saw them packaging health and hygiene kits. I know they do things for orphanages as well as helping women get out of sex trafficking.


Patrick, in the blue shirt, was telling us a story of answered prayer. He is often approached regarding unmet needs. Someone asked him if he could acquire 1,000 cassette tapes. That is an unusual request now days!  About 3 hours later he received a call from a woman in another town. She had 1,500 cassette tapes and wondered if he had any use for them!  I don't know, I just feel God is watching over these caring people.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

It's Coming!

We have been having lots of snow and ice and WIND, always wind. Last night it was difficult even to get around town because of the ice and the emergency vehicles aiding those who slid into each other. But, there is hope. I saw it in my flower bed this week between snow storms.



Yes! Spring will come soon!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Vision beyond borders - Seeds!

If you didn't already watch the YouTube video I posted yesterday, I hope you will go back and do that. It is about Vision Beyond Borders, a remarkable organization.

Our congregation has become increasingly active this year and many of the things we do, we do as a group of all ages. It has been really quite wonderful! I love it most when we are doing something for the good of others. Our congregation helps many organizations and our last project was to help Vision Beyond Borders.



Vision Beyond Border's main mission  is to deliver Bibles to countries around the world where people do not have access to Bibles. They deliver Bibles in the native language and in some instances that means hand-wind tape players to deliver the Gospel message to those who can not read.  They are often putting themselves in danger in order to do this! They have already delivered over 1 million Bibles!

They are often witness to many great needs and because of this, they have taken on other tasks as well. They partner along side Christians in other countries to accomplish many goals. One is to help women and children escape from the slave trade. Patrick Klein, founder, was telling me yesterday about an owner of a large brothel becoming a Christian and freeing those enslaved under her. They help provide safe houses as well as training for other ways to earn money.

One of their projects that we were able to be a part of this week-end is their seed project.



They have found that many are in need of seeds to use to grow things for their own food as well as to sell. When I went to church Saturday to package seeds, I really didn't understand what a big deal this is. Our church had stacks and stacks of boxes (54 of them) and each box was loaded with unsold seeds donated by seed companies.  Each box was stuffed with seed packets...80,000 of them!  Due to customs restrictions they are not able to take those packets into all countries. Our seeds were bound for Cuba. So, we had to repackage them into baggies.







Here's how that is accomplished...



We each had a cup and we'd line it with a baggie. We'd then open 10 matching seed packets and cut out the label from one of those packets to include in the baggie, seal and repeat. They were then grouped with like seeds and boxed up for delivery to Cubans in need. A large group of us worked on that all day Saturday and still did not quite complete our task!









Sunday after church Patrick Klein was telling me a story
about visiting a man some time after he'd received seeds
from Vision Beyond Borders. The man was standing proudly by his rows of carrots that were just coming up and he was
so happy, he was crying.

I can go to the store and buy seeds anytime I want.  It was
a good reminder to appreciate all that we have.

Vision Beyond Borders is an amazing organization. If you are interested in learning more, maybe even want to be a small part of it, please click here.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Vision Beyond Borders

We've been doing something important this week-end. It was not a big thing, really, but we felt we were a part of something huge. Actually, we were! I will tell you more about it tomorrow but for now, watch this video and you'll learn more about Vision Beyond Borders. Check back tomorrow to hear our small part in helping this group.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ballet With Elise


Our local rec center offers ballet classes for Cordelia's age, 5 year olds.  They do NOT offer ballet classes for 2 year olds but don't tell Elise. She is actually in a class that is about movement and tumbling and music. Parents are actively involved as well. Elise loves it and today I got to slip out of work to attend. Maria sat this one out and let me participate with Elise.  It was a sweet time with my youngest granddaughter!



On a side note, the teacher referred to me as Elise's mom... Twice.  I didn't correct her... Twice. Was that wrong?

When Eric arrived Elise called out, "Look, Daddy, I'm doing ballet!" She followed up with some little girl twirls.

Like I said, don't tell Elise there are no ballet classes for two year olds!



Thank you, Maria, for the photos.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sunday Dinner


How was your day yesterday? We had a lot to be thankful for, including a dinner out with family from out of town.  Having people to love and who love us is not something we should ever take for granted. 


















Sunday, February 15, 2015

Made Alive



I like this song and this group. The drummer, Adam Skatula, was the drummer at our church when he was in high school. He's very talented and a nice person as well! If you like this song, please share it on Facebook or other sites to let others get to know this young group.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Door Joke


I am still putting a joke of the day on my office door at work. Healthcare can be a tough field and my work friends often deal with difficult situations and pressures. I love it when I hear someone chuckling at my door. Everyone needs a daily laugh, don't you think?


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Groundhog Day 2015


The day we returned from the beach to Sara and Ben's house was Groundhog's Day... and my birthday. Because of that, I got to choose where we stopped for lunch. I didn't want to eat at an ordinary fast food chain so Sara used her phone to see what was around. We stopped at a sweet little restaurant in some little town. The restaurant where we ate was in a building that was probably a department store or something in the past. We sat at a table that was maybe in an area that used to be for the window displays. We were the window display for a bit.

It was decorated in a very eclectic manner. Along the front in the window was a whole little Christmas scene, complete with fake snow.  I guess they weren't in a hurry to take it down. On another wall they had framed pictures that had Winnie-the-Pooh quotes on them. A few of the walls had words from old hymns painted on them. It was kind of sweet. Our waitress had on a t-shirt that said, "I'm not perfect but I'm forgiven." 




That may look like a tender moment between me and Mike but do you know why my hand is on his? I was holding it down because he kept grabbing my nose!

For dinner that night we were at Sara and Ben's and they cooked a delicious dinner for us. What was really sweet was that Sara went and changed into a pretty dress. The reason that was so touching was the dress had been made by and belonged to my Grandma Rose. It looked beautiful on Sara and I thought it was a sweet gesture to wear it for my birthday.





We completed the day by playing a game that was new to us, TICKET TO RIDE. Have you played it? I really enjoyed it and look forward to our next time to play it. 

My birthday was quite memorable and it just made me so happy to spend it with Ben and Sara.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Beach Photo Shoot

Our daughter-in-law, Sara, was photographer for this strange, spontaneous photo shoot involving Ben, Mike and me.






























Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Nights in Rodanthe - Or Afternoon in Rodanthe

Did you ever see Richard Gere and Diane Lane in "Nights in Rodanthe" based on a Nicolas Sparks book? I saw it some time ago and although I can't say it was a favorite movie or anything, I DO remember loving the scenery. I remember thinking I'd sure love to see a place like that.



Well, last week-end we were in Rodanthe! It is part of the Outer Banks (OBX) and we were actually there. I mean...right there! Sara and Ben and Mike were helping me look for the house from the movie. It wasn't hard to find.  What I didn't know was that we could have rented it for our vacation! Of course, I don't know what that would have cost.


The ocean is just over that pile of sand on the right but you may notice that it isn't quite as close as it was in the movie. Click here to see how it once looked and where it once sat.

I read more about the house and learned that the house was originally built in the 1980's and had over 400 feet between it and the Atlantic Ocean. Over the years all the storms, including hurricanes, put the house in jeopardy. After the movie it was further damaged and actually condemned. It became a hazard as movie fans were going to see it and were in danger of being injured just climbing up the damaged stairs. It was going to be torn down.

A couple ended up purchasing the house and had it moved back from the ocean. They worked to bring it back to code and to replicate the way it looked in the movie. I read that the interior shots of the movie were actually shot at a sound stage, not inside the house. However, the new owners used some of the actual props and made it as close to what we all saw in the movie as they could.

This place was not actually an inn but was just named the Inn at Rodanthe for the movie. They have that sign on it still and now rent it out as a whole house for vacationers. Actually, there were many, many houses quite like it all up and down the 200 miles of the Outer Banks. Most were empty this time of year and most are available for rent, just in case you need to plan a vacation.




I still have more to tell about our North Carolina trip but it'll have to wait.


Monday, February 09, 2015

OBX Lighthouses

After church last Sunday Mike and I met up with Ben and Sara and we took off to explore more of the Outer Banks. We weren't going to be there long enough to fully explore the area so we decided to head South and climb a lighthouse. There are four lighthouses along the OBX (remember, that is the cool way to write "Outer Banks") and two of them were advertised as open to the public for climbing. We all wanted to do that. It seemed interesting and we knew the view from the top would be fantastic!

Well, even on a fantastic day such as that one, disappointments could still occur.

As it turned out, the lighthouses were NOT open for public climbing because it was still the off season. Bummer. Still, we were able to walk around outside two of them.

This first lighthouse is the Bodie Island Lighthouse. There was a lot of water around it (well, duh?!) and a lot of birds. There were also a lot of birdwatchers hauling around giant cameras and tripods.  Close enough for the birdwatchers to hear him, Ben said to Sara something like this, "This is why I can't go anywhere! The Paparazzi are always there." Funny guy.


Bodie Island Lighthouse


Sara and Ben must have outrun the paparrazi.


We continued on down the skinny piece of land called the Outer Banks/OBX.  The road looked to have been plowed as sand was piled high on each sand. Some places the highway was this skinny...


No, we didn't get a helicopter ride. This photo is public domain, compliments of Wikipedia. The crazy thing about driving along that highway was that, although we knew that we had ocean on both sides of us, much of the time we couldn't see it because of those piles of sand on each side of the highway. Not to worry, we parked from time to time and filled our shoes up with sand as we climbed over the sand to play on the beach. It was worth filling our shoes! 

These beaches just go on and on and on.


Mike Skipping Stones - Hard to Do With Waves Coming In


Sara and Ben
(I love this photo)


We stopped at another bird reserve and followed an interesting path that had been 
tunneled through the scruffy brush. It was pretty cool.


Aaaah, Ben and His Ladies


I was going to tell you what was going on with me here but I actually can't remember.


From there, we moved on to Hattaras Lighthouse. It is known for its diagonal stripes. Actually, all 4 lighthouses along the OBX are painted differently. That way, ships at sea would know where they were by recognizing the designs on the lighthouses. Although the gift shop was open, the doors to climb up inside were locked until April 1.


But, Ben wanted to climb a lighthouse. We didn't let him. That kid has been climbing things since he was 8 months old!


There were deer all around the grounds there. We see deer all the time in 
Wyoming but these seemed different, more petite.


Speaking of wildlife...

I am not sure which little village we ate at as they kind of ran together. It was a little seafood place but after I sat down Mike pointed out this guy behind us.


I am not a big fan of animal heads hanging over my meal but this one was just weird. Here we were, out in the ocean, far from Wyoming. There hung a Pronghorn. Many people may not know this but 80% of the world's pronghorn live within a 200 mile radius of our town in Wyoming. Many live right in our town. Some of them hang out on the lawn of our church! I asked the waitress about it and she said her boss had gone hunting in Wisconsin or Wyoming or somewhere. I guess it was one of those "W" states, huh?  

Well, I'm going to stop for now but check back tomorrow because I have a photo of a special house to show to you.