Roger is found

Most of today we knew that all of the cats were inside. It was really too hot for them to be out, except maybe Tigee as she lays in the grass in the shade and enjoys the warmth over the air conditioning. Roger was not around but I figured she was on Paulina’s bed so I didn’t bother to look. Sure enough Paulina found her when she came home at five, but she was in a different bed, Ana’s.


After she posed for the last picture she decided it was time to get out of the play pen bed. Tonight she will tear around the house keeping me up. I don’t want to let them out at night lately as we keep hearing coyotes. I am not sure how far the cats might roam when out hunting. I would hate for a coyote to opt for a little change in menu. Stay cool!

Movie complete

Tonight we actually held a full length movie. We started the cartoons about 9:30 and the light was ok, but improved as the cartoon went on. We really only ran the cartoon as a filler until everyone was able to get situated.

The Flinstones

The Flintstones

Who had to ask what the cartoon would be? I didn’t think there was any other cartoon except maybe the Jetsons. Ha!!

The full length feature is a movie that I have been thinking of for years, and in fact the first time I started looking for the DVD, all information indicated that it had never been made into a DVD from the movie. I was so disappointed. I have read the book about three times. It is written by Richard Bradford. The movie was made in 1971 and is such a typical 1970’s movie where anything was allowed, enough said. The summary of it goes something like: A coming of age movie set in New Mexico during WWII. It even has some racist issues. The name comes from the saying: “Red sky at night, sailors delight; Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.”

Red Sky at Morning

Red Sky at Morning

The main character is played by Richard Thomas who was later known for playing John Boy Walton in the television series, The Waltons. In this movie there was a cousin, a leech sort of, who comes to visit and they call him Jim Bob. I thought it was hilarious because in The Waltons, John Boy has a brother whose name is Jim Bob. I am not sure if it was intentional or what, but it almost seems like too much of a coincidence.

Anyway, I sure loved the movie and the company, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes humor and serious and can handle some history and even a few “off color” remarks and also a little “skin.” I had forgotten about some of that, but the three major funny parts and the serious nature of the WWII setting are what stuck in my memories. So, enough rambling. Hoping to have another movie next Friday. Glenda has chosen the next movie. I forget the name, but am looking forward to it.

Movie Night

Last night we were hoping to finally have an outdoor movie night. I had everything set up. We didn’t want to push it too far and stay long because of having to get up this morning. We were planning to watch an episode of the old Carol Burnett Show, but in the end we had to ditch the idea after all. Just as we got outside and got ready to sit down, it started to rain. I checked the rain gauge this afternoon and there was just a trace of moisture. Anyway, it was enough to put us upstairs in front of the television watching old episodes of Jeopardy. We only have 44 on the DVR at this time. Good thing there isn’t a limit on how many we can store. We erase them as soon as we watch them, but we are a bit behind. We can sort of tell how old they are by the commercials. We are finally past the Christmas episodes.

Screen in the background

Screen in the background

From this shot you can see the rain on the concrete and the white sheet behind the swing. We had that out on the lawn and the table where I was standing to take the picture. We were going to look at the movie under the canopy and sit out on the patio area. I even had my popcorn popped and a dish of ice cream ready to slurp up. Maybe tonight. Below are some pictures that I took in the dark trying to show off the solar lights. I will let you know tomorrow if we ever did movie night. I am thinking we will give up on Carol Burnett to watch an episode or two of Numbers.

Pond in the background

Pond in the background

Smaller lights

Smaller lights

New lights in new flower bed

New lights in new flower bed

Father’s Day message

The following message was given on Father’s Day, June 21, 2015. The scriptures used were: Mark 4:35-41, II Corinthians 6:1-2 & 16b-18 and I Samuel 17. The scriptures from I Samuel were given as the Children’s message through an explanation and flannel board presentation. Jaxon helped me with the flannel board. When we were finished we all sang the old Vacation Bible School and Sunday School favorite, “Only a Boy Named David.” It was fun!!

Father’s Day

You may remember that last Sunday I mentioned we would be “out of town” yesterday and Friday for a family reunion. It was the Haak family gathering in the little town of Hague. By family reunion standards, it was a small group. It was the descendants of Rensie and Anna Haak, which are the children of James’ father and his siblings. James’ father, Albertus, was the oldest, so it was their family that put together this first reunion. The weekend was filled with plenty of visiting and activities including a very warm bus ride around the area that the Haaks lived back in the early 1900s, and it will feel really good to be at home in a cool house this afternoon.

In the family department, James not only looks like his father, but he is like him in many other ways, not the least of which is always wanting to be places more than just a little bit early. I have worked for over 30 years to cure that issue, and I am not quite sure who is winning. The other characteristic that is very similar between James and his father is how he always wants to “fix” things, and I don’t mean car engines or broken toys or such. It is more in terms of trying to fix situations or events or issues that are upsetting the family, especially the children. The girls and I never used to understand what he was doing, but as we are catching on, we often have to stop and say, “don’t fix this, we have to learn by doing.” I have had to “learn” him that we can’t raise strong independent children if you are constantly trying to “fix” their problems for them. Maybe that is the sign of a good dad. As a pushy mother, I have always felt that to turn a baby into a toddler you have to let them take a few bumps and scrapes along the way. It is the same when they get older; the trick is knowing when to hold their hand and knowing when to let them go. I guess in some ways we are still in the learning phase.

Thinking about a good definition for Dad or Father, I dug around until I found a poem that fit the topic. It was written by one of my favorite humorists, who could be serious when she had to, Erma Bombeck. I would like to share that poem with you. Now this poem isn’t just for those in the audience who are biological fathers. Some of you are probably Father figures to nephews and nieces or others in your life and if nothing else I am guessing everyone here had a father, so you might like to relate to it that way, too. Read: “When God Created Fathers” I found the poem on and it was submitted by blueridgegrandma, thanks to all for making it available. We all enjoyed it very much!!

When God created Fathers
by Erma Bombeck

When the good Lord was creating fathers, He started with a tall frame.
A female angel nearby said, “What kind of father is that? If you’re going to make children so close to the ground, why have you put fathers up so high? He won’t be able to shoot marbles without kneeling, tuck a child in bed without bending or even kiss a child without a lot of stooping.”
…And God smiled and said, “Yes, but if I make him child-size, who would children have to look up to?”
And when God made a father’s hands, they were large and sinewy.
The angel shook her head sadly and said, “Do you know what you’re doing? Large hands are clumsy. They can’t manage diaper pins, small buttons, rubber bands on ponytails or even remove splinters caused by baseball bats.”
And God smiled and said, “I know, but they’re large enough to hold everything a small boy empties from pockets at the end of a day, yet small enough to cup a child’s face.”
And then God molded long, slim legs and broad shoulders.
The angel nearly had a heart attack. “Boy, this is the end of the week, all right.” she clucked. “Do you realize you just made a father without a lap? How is he going to pull a child close to him with the kid falling between his legs?”
And God smiled and said, ” A mother needs a lap. A father needs strong shoulders to pull a sled, balance a boy on a bicycle or hold a sleepy head on the way home from the circus.”
God was in the middle of creating two of the largest feet anyone had ever seen when the angel could contain herself no longer. “That’s not fair. Do you honestly think those large boats are going to dig out of bed early in the morning when the baby cries? Or walk through a small birthday party without crushing at least three of the guests?”
And God smiled and said, “They’ll work. You’ll see. They’ll support a small child who wants to ride a horse to Banbury Cross or scare off mice at the summer cabin or display shoes that will be a challenge to fill.”
God worked throughout the night, giving the father few words but a firm, authoritative voice and eyes that saw everything but remained calm and tolerant.
Finally, almost as an afterthought, He added tears. Then He turned to the angel and said,
“Now, are you satisfied that he can love as much as a mother?”
The angel shutteth up.

The story in chapter 17 of I Samuel, the one you watched being pictured out on the flannel board, is a story of a young boy who takes on a big, mean bully. The bully is a leader in his army. He is looked up to for his stature and strength. He is a soldier who we could almost believe wins more of his battles through his ability to intimidate his opponents than because of his actual actions. Goliath has the super star ability to take over many situations that, we must admit, we would love to have on all sorts of occasions. I know I would have loved that ability a few times when I walked into a room of noisy middle-school students. But Goliath is not our focus today. The scripture points us in the opposite direction, to the story of David a brave young shepherd boy who is willing to take on the world for what he believes is right.

We look at this story as a great example of how the underdog wins out. Now those are the stories we like to watch. Face it, those are the stories that so many of us can relate to. This is the story that we all want to be the hero of. This is a story of how God supports the meek and the mild. David, the innocent young shepherd boy, who seems to be invincible, is the youngest of his family, sensitive and obedient to the orders of his father. Yet he is also the young man, who with God’s help, fights the wild animals in order to protect the sheep, and he grows up to be the strong king who rules all of Israel and becomes the Patriarchal father of the human family that God uses to send his Son Jesus to earth.

But those are later chapters. The chapter we talked of today is the boy who with God’s wisdom overcomes the evil that is threatening the whole race of Israel, the people whom God has chosen. David, the boy-man, the future king and Father of the Savior stops the giant Goliath along with the entire Philistine army with one little stone and a sling shot. The confidence of David up against Goliath is almost a complete opposite of the situation the disciples find themselves surrounded by in the fourth chapter of Mark.

This gospel passage is another of those familiar stories. It happens when the disciples and Jesus are on one of their many crossings of a body of water. It has been a long day for all of them. The crowds at the edge of the sea were so great that Jesus sat in a boat so they couldn’t press on him and he taught while they listened at the water’s edge. He was tired, the disciples were tired, (sort of like we felt yesterday after our bus ride around the homesteads) and he said, “Let’s go over to the other side.” He was likely looking for rest for all of them, and then while he slept in the boat, the storm came up. Many of the disciples were experienced fishermen; they knew how to handle a boat, but this storm was bad and when they didn’t know what else to do, they woke Jesus so he at least would be alert when they capsized and ended up in the water. And when Jesus woke up he simply told the storm to be still.

How many times in life are we going along thinking that things are just fine, and then a “storm” of some king shows up and disrupts all that we are doing? All of our plans and dreams are just out the door with one fell swoop. Maybe it is a real storm in nature, hail that takes out a crop, a blizzard or even an illness that kills off most of a herd of cattle or like for some this summer, the bird flu that wiped out entire flocks of chickens and turkeys. Or maybe it is a storm that causes a barn to collapse, or a fire that takes a home. Maybe it is an accident or mechanical failure that takes out our main vehicle or a piece of equipment that is vital to our livelihood. Maybe it is someone or something at work that makes life miserable, or perhaps it is a situation in the family, or worse yet an illness that seems incurable. What about a death, or an issue with a birth, or a child who has gone astray, or any situation that is so over whelming that we just can’t seem to focus or recover or… We could go on and on in any number of directions, any number of issues. I am sure you can all add your own list to the mix. Storms hit us all the time, some perhaps of a manageable type and some more of an impossible type. All are storms, and as we face them, we need to realize that we are no different from the disciples were that evening in the boat with Jesus. In fact those are the times we find ourselves praying the hardest that Jesus will be sure to join us in our boat. Those are the times we try so hard to be in tune with him to ensure that he is there to stand up and look at whatever that storm is so he can utter those same words, “Peace Be Still.”

Yes, the days that we face the storms in our lives are the days that we usually are just like the disciples who were able to turn to the back of the boat and yell, “Help! to Jesus.” Those are the days we find a way to turn to Christ with our whole being. The interesting thing, the contrasting thing about our two stories is the way David handled those storms. David as a young boy had a confidence, a self-assurance that far outweighed that of the grown disciples. David went into his storms with the knowledge that God, his Father was with him through it all. David didn’t flinch about facing the big, bragging Goliath. David knew that God was on his side, and that was all he needed. God would not only calm the seas, but end the conflict.

David had that confidence because David had a relationship with God just as we have relationships with our human fathers. David built that relationship on a day-to-day basis. Just as a father takes his son and teaches him to throw a ball, or wrestles on the floor, or shows him how to operate a piece of farm machinery, David was in communication with God his Father on a daily basis. That is how we weather the storms of life. We need a relationship with God on the good days, and then when we face the storms in life, we are able to do it with confidence and know that God the Father, through the Holy Spirit that is sent by Jesus the Son is there to say for us, Peace be still. It is because of that daily relationship walking with God, we can be confident that during the worst storms, those are the times that we will be carried safely in his arms. Amen.


So it has been a few days since I have even had time to think about the blog. On Friday and Saturday we were at the Haak Reunion in Hague. Prior to that we were busy getting the house ready for the daughters to come home to attend the reunion. We were also working on the garden and in the meantime, James was doing some mowing and Paulina was at the pool and I was in church on Wednesday. I am wondering why we call it summer vacation.

So on Friday night we gathered in Hague to prepare the snacks and registration tables and welcome signs for the reunion.

Welcome sign.

Welcome sign.

Victoria and Nate with Jaxon and Ana made it to Herreid on Friday night. I had wondered why they were driving the pickup, but when Victoria said they were bringing their dog, Audrey I just took it at that. They were also bringing the swing and table and chairs set that all of the girls purchased for us as a joint Mother’s Day/Father’s Day gift. Silly me, as happy as we should be and grateful that our children are willing to do that for us, I was devastated that they would spend so much for us when they all have their own bills and things the need more than we need this. I mean really, we have been making do for so long, we really don’t know the difference that our old swing is unusable. We can still sit and look at it and remember the days that it worked. As they left on Sunday, Victoria and Nate offered to load it up and drop it in a dump. I declined. I am still certain that someday I will repaint it and get the backing stitched and sew new material on the old cushions. My children laugh and say, ya right! So before I show you anymore reunion pictures, here is what they purchased, and the best part is Nate spent most of Saturday while we were riding on buses and such, at our house putting it together. He said it might need some prayers because there were lots of other words said over it as he put it together. It took until the last two chairs (there are six) before the directions made sense according to Victoria.

New table and chairs

New table and chairs

James on the swing after we put it out of the wind.

James on the swing after we put it out of the wind.

So back to the reunion. Paulina was in charge of taking pictures. We still have to put them all on a disk and send them to the people who ordered them. I can probably do that tomorrow after we finish cleaning at Patsy’s house. The older I get, the less I like that job. I don’t even like cleaning at my house.

Anywhoose…. the pictures I will share with you here are mostly just Jaxon, Ana, Jessica and maybe a few random ones.

Jessica and Jaxon

Jessica and Jaxon

Jaxon and Ana

Jaxon and Ana

Ana posing for Aunt Paulina

Ana posing for Aunt Paulina

Jaxon on Great Uncle Gary's antique Farmall A tractor.

Jaxon on Great Uncle Gary’s antique Farmall A tractor.

Gary Haaks’ antique tractor collection was on display at his former home, the farmstead of Steve Haak.

James with his uncle Gary Haak

James with his uncle Gary Haak

James’ father, Albertus,  was the oldest child of Anna and Rensie Haak. It was the reunion of that family. Gary was the youngest of that family and the only child still living. James, twice, drove a school bus filled with reunion attendees through the countryside to tour all of the places where the various members of the family lived. We also stopped at the Hull cemetery to see where several are resting. Gary was the main tour guide during the trip. Many stories were added by various riders.

Ana and Vivian were given prizes for being the two youngest there. They both celebrate their first birthdays in August. Ana on the 5th and Vivian on the 4th.

Ana and Vivian were given prizes for being the two youngest there. They both celebrate their first birthdays in August. Ana on the 5th and Vivian on the 4th.

Jaxon playing games with Jessica

Jaxon playing games with Jessica

All in all it was a very fun celebration. There was a fun run/walk in the morning with the proceeds going to cancer research. There were kiddie games in the morning, a noon lunch followed by bus tours, with a very quick group picture and capped off by a great mean and entertainment by the Wannabees, a male quartet from Eureka, SD. Here is the goofy version of the group picture. Actually it is the shot of me trying to get them to line up. I swear they weren’t as bad as a high school track team, but close.

Line up, line up, everybody line up.

Line up, line up, everybody line up.

More porch details and cats

Yesterday when I posted about cleaning the porch, I failed to mention the extra table. We normally use this for the food or the plants or something. We bought it several years ago at an auction sale in our own neighborhood. I believe it was an extra table that wasn’t used much anymore because one of the legs wobbled. Last summer James went to work on it. It secured the leg and scrapped all the peeling paint and repainted it white on the side boards. It is the cutest table with the sides up. It is a great size for four people and with the sides down you can use it for two quite well. It would be a great apartment table, or for our purposes here on the porch as you could see in the next to last picture yesterday. Check out the underside to see how the leaves flip up and are held in place.

Old white table

Old white table



The piece of wood in the middle pivots and allows the leaf to fold down. The board closest to the viewer then is the buffer as the leaf goes down. So clever. The top of the table is metal and the sides and legs are wooden. It has just a hint of a distressed look and as we continue to use it and clean it each year, it will become a little more “in-style” each year.

I spent Tuesday in Bismarck with my Aunt Glenda. She had to see the dentist then we had the day to shop and all sorts of things. We ate out and Jessica joined us. She just happened to be in town for one final day of legislature work. I didn’t even ask what the bill was about. James said it was something to do with the retirement for public employees. Hopefully I will get a more detailed account this weekend when she is here for the big Rensie and Anna (Droog) Haak family reunion in Hague, ND. It should be a fun time.

The day was great, not counting that we were drenched each time we exited the car. When Glenda dropped me off I noticed 2.25 inches of rain in the gauge, but knowing how James trust it, he may have tampered with it, not sure. I knitted on the way up and back and have a finished beanie for the as well as a new one just started on the needles. Rah!.

I was upset all the way home because I thought that the new brush I purchased for my purse was gone. My hair looked horrible because I didn’t “sleek” it down or blow dry it before we left. With this rain I didn’t see the point. I have mostly straight hair, but in a rain or a humid day it tends to grow as if it has a permanent and well, it just fuzzes up. I sounded just like my mother today [that is another post–where I trash the youngest sister] when I said something about my hair being wooly.

Anyway, I bought the brush because I forgot mine today, but I also wanted a smaller lighter weight one for the purse. I unpacked my purse on Saturday night and if I would have done a weigh in on a before and after, I bet I dropped about 10 pounds out of it, and I don’t know for sure what the weight was other than the brush and some nail polish. So, brush was no where to be found on the way home. I was so upset. I thought I dropped it out when I got out of the car, and we didn’t stop to look. After we unloaded and unpacked all of the bags, there it was inside the bag that it came in. I guess after I used it, I put it back. Good Grief Charlie Brown.

Errant brush.

Errant brush.

Sophia was so upset about the rain. She kept trying different doors to go out hoping it was only raining on the other side of the house. Eventually she just laid on the towel to sleep. I think that is a good plan, but I will find my couch with a good television show to go with it. Happy rain day!!

Sophia was watching me unpack.

Sophia was watching me unpack.

She was curling up to say "pet me."

She was curling up to say “pet me.”


Cleaning the porch

Today I woke to find James with his hands in the bucket working on the porch walls. We had agreed to do that this morning, but I decided to sleep in a little. If I would go to bed at night before 1:30 a.m., I could probably get up at 6 a.m. like he does. I was able to help with the lower area where the really bad male cat markings were. Between the soapy water, the scrub brush and the Magic Eraser, we were able to clean the area up a bit. There are no before pictures, just middle and after. Here is what the place looked like while we were working away.

Cleaning under the canopy.

Cleaning under the canopy.

Above actually shows after the washing. The ladder is there because James was working on hanging some lights on the little ladder decoration thing just under the roof. Can’t wait until the sun goes down to see what it looks like.

All in order.

All in order.

Below you see where James and I set the old swing. I need to stitch that up so it holds people again. Any suggestions on what sort of thread would work would really be welcome. I was thinking of using plastic fishing line. We have the cushions in the basement just need to clean them and get them in place. I always like the yard best in mid June. It must be the peonies.

Swing in the yard

Swing in the yard

I spent a few minutes while supper was cooking to rearrange all of the plants and toys setting on the concrete. I also fit in the round table with the lawn chairs and the bikes under the canopy just at the edge by the rain tub. I guess if it storms, we will be scrambling everything against the wall and trying to remember where it goes the next day. Maybe I should take a picture from the other angle so I know how I had it arrange. Yikes!

The porch, empty and scrubbed.

The porch, empty and scrubbed.

Above we have the little table on the porch and everything is clean and waiting for the furniture to come back. Below we have everything in place. There is even a little sitting area with the couch and some chairs. Paulina is on the couch reading the Herreid Centennial History Book. We were trying to remember when the pool opened in Herreid. I thought I was about 6 when it opened, and when we looked it up, yes I was. It opened in June of 1963, and the cost was just over $18,000 to build. Try putting in a Kidde pool for that amount now days and you might struggle.

The porch with the table in place and some old chairs.

The porch with the table in place and some old chairs.

Last but not least, we finally moved the grill to the east steps where it will stay. James was against doing it until he realized how nice it was to just step outside and then back inside with the finished burgers. I might even start cooking on it if I have access. Wow, just in time for company this weekend. Now to set up the croquet game.

Grill, opps almost forgot the picture.

Grill, opps almost forgot the picture.

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