David’s Baptism

Vic, Nate and David after the baptism

Vic, Nate and David after the baptism

On Mother’s Day we were in Dickinson for David’s baptism. I have been meaning to share some of the pictures of the day, but haven’t gotten to it. We have had such a rush of a spring with high school track meets and a few meets of Paulina’s that we have been able to get to, and everything else; it has been crazy. Tonight as I am watching the DVR version of The Voice finale I will try to catch up with a post or two. I have also admitted that I have spring allergies. As I look back to the many years of fighting through illnesses and even bronchitis during track season, I started to look at when the pollen began each year, and my sinus issues match with the blooming of the trees and the flowers and all. And I love gardens. Oh well…. at least since spring was actually early this year, I am healed by now and should be feeling better this Friday and Saturday when we head for the State Meet. It will be much better than sleeping through most of the meet in the tent just trying to wake up for our events. Maybe I will actually see the meet and enjoy it for a change.

David's baptism

David’s baptism

Well, hope you enjoyed the pictures. The baptism was in the UCC Church in Dickinson, ND. Nate’s sister was the sponsor, but Mr. Papa would not let her hold little David until it was over. What a deal! The outfit he had on during the event is a family heirloom handed down from the mid-1800’s. It is still in pretty good condition even for having gone through all three of their children. It was used by Nate and his father and beyond. Pretty neat.

Jaxon and Ana during the service

Jaxon and Ana during the service

The baptism seemed to be a bit of a problem for Ana. I think it was because she was not the center of attention, but how could that be. HaHA!!

To jump or just look? Hmmm

To jump or not to jump??

To jump or not to jump??

I am wondering what the world this squirrel was thinking about when it ran up this electrical post and started causing a racket. I had noticed movement, but when I heard the noise I grabbed the camera to get a picture of what this silly rodent was doing. I am not sure if it was reacting to a dog or cat in the area or just out to see if it could make the climb. We have had a rather large hawk in the area looking for a good supper, so sitting on the edge of a high post might not be the safest place for a husky looking possible morsel of food.

At any rate, I decided to share these picture with you. I also have a few shots of the lilacs in our yard and at my mother’s place on my lucindagardens site. The lilacs are rather lovely this year.

Another view

Another view

As for the squirrel, when they get out of sorts around here is when I miss Tiger (the cat) in her younger days. She was a yard cleaning cat. There weren’t any squirrels digging in the bird feeder when she was outside, and she didn’t let any male cats leave their scent on the side of the house. She wasn’t quite as feisty when she got older, but she was a force to behold when she was young. I sure miss her this spring, but as cats go, she had a pretty good run making it to about 20 years old. Now if anyone knows what that is equivalent to in people years, I would be interested in knowing. Thanks and happy squirrel hunting! HaHA!!

Pentecost Sunday message

The scripture lessons that we used were: Acts 2:1-21, Romans 8:14-17, and John 14:8-17, 25-27.

Pentecost Sunday

Before I start the message today, I need to share something that I have forgotten to mention for a few Sundays. This is actually a bit of a joke on me if you know how I was having a fit about the last Oahe Association meeting. One of the reports we had at that meeting was about how hard it is getting for the nominating committee to find people to fill positions. My answer to that statement has always been, well no one is calling me. Anyway a couple of weeks ago as I was sitting in the office the phone rang and it was a secretary from the conference office and she said she was calling on behalf of the nominating committee. Well, of all things me first thought was: “now which committee are they going to ask me to be on and how many times will I have to drive to Chamberlain?”

So the question was “We were wondering if you would be willing to accept a nomination to be a delegate to the next General Synod?” Well I nearly froze. I wasn’t sure that I had heard correctly. James and I about six months ago had a conversation about if you could go anywhere where would you like to go and General Synod was my first answer. So, I am not sure if there will be more nominees, at the last conference meeting there was a nominee from the floor for that opening, but who knows. On Wednesday, I finally finished up the little bio that had to be turned in for the booklet, hopefully the story I submitted doesn’t make me sound too much like someone who is a babbling fool, and that I am able to represent the conference and this church in a positive way. Anyway, I had to share this story before I forget to mention it again….

As for stories, the lectionary lesson, which we did not read for today, was from the first book of the Old Testament. In Genesis 11:1-19 there is a story about how the many different languages of the world came to be. It is an interesting story about how all of the people were getting so smug and so superior, that they thought they could build a tower to heaven. And because of their attitude, God put a stop to them. You know the story about the Tower of Babel.  As in babbling like talking nonstop. God struck the people as they were building the tower and instead of one language, there were many languages and people no longer could understand each other. And their grand superiority fell apart.

Interesting! What a time those beginning years must have been. To me it seems the more we study about what is written of the beginning of time, and the more archaeologists dig up, the more the mysterious it becomes. Just this past week news was released of a find in Florida that indicates humans were on our continent far longer than we had thought. And so we can only wonder at how things progressed and moved in those days after creation and before Abraham became the father of God’s chosen race.

Our actual scripture story for today comes many years after God picks Abraham to father his chosen people, and an even longer time after the incident when God had to step in and stop the building of the Tower of Babel. Our story today happens in the book of Acts in the town of Jerusalem after the Ascension of Jesus. The story today is what we call Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was given to the disciples, and it is in reality the story of the beginning of the Christian Church.

In chapter 1, it talks about how there were about 120 of the followers of Jesus together at various times, but at the end of that chapter the 11 gathered together to choose the replacement for Judas, so they could be a main group of 12. This group, mostly led by Peter, had been praying and staying together waiting for the day Jesus would send the Holy Spirit to them. When it happened there was a noise like a rush of wind, you can imagine the sound. It makes me think of those days when the wind is going up and down, and just when it seems to be calming, there is a rush and a whirlwind stirs up and sweeps through the area where you are standing and you sometimes wonder if it is going to push you off your feet. Those are always the days I feel fortunate to have a few extra pounds to hold me in place.

Verse 2 of Chapter 2 says: “And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.” Then verse 3 lets us know that wind was not the only indication of the spirit, “Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.” And this is when they were filled with the spirit, and they were able to speak in ways that all those around them could understand in their own languages.

On this day, God made it possible for the many people of very different languages, who were gathered in Jerusalem, to understand the words that these 12 disciples, who were mostly Galileans, were speaking about Jesus and his life and death and resurrection, And in case we didn’t understand it before, the term Galileans is not just in reference to where they are from, but in those days saying someone was from Galilee was pretty close to calling them a backwoods hick. This idea of giving them the gift of speaking all these languages was the complete reverse of what God did to the people who were trying to build a Tower to heaven.

On this day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out on to the 12 disciples so they could share it with everyone around them. This time, this event was different from their private meetings with Jesus following his resurrection. This was different from when they alone witnessed his Ascension, this event was not just for them, this event was for them and for everyone around them, and even for those of us who are reading about it. And more than that, the Holy Spirit was not just for the 12, it was a gift from God to all who believe. But this event was not without its doubters, and we read in verse 13 that some accused them of being drunk.

And it was at this accusation that Peter kicked in quoting the words of the prophet Joel, explaining that it was only 9 in the morning and that the disciples were not drunk with wine, but were filled with the Spirit of God and were proclaiming the truth about Jesus to all who would hear and believe, and if you read to the end of the chapter you learn that there were about 3,000 who believed and accepted baptism that day.

Yes this story in Acts is the story of the beginning of the church, the history of the first Pentecost, but it is also a story for us to look at in terms of what the Holy Spirit means to us. Digging into this spirit stuff is sort of a hard thing for us old stoic Congregationalists to do. This is more something for a new modern Evangelistic or Evangelical Church. We are more about God the Father and Jesus the Son, and we sort of happily like to just forget about the third corner of the trinity. We’re not really Holy Spirit people because that is just so Holy Ghost sort of thinking, and seriously when we do admit to that sort of belief isn’t it more in a “closed door, private kind of setting.”

The scripture in Romans that we read for today assures us that it is through the spirit of God that we are given the ability to become joint heirs with Jesus to the kingdom of God. This doesn’t happen because we are human, it happens because we accept the spirit of God into our beings. Just as Jesus explains to Philip in John 14 that he is one with God, so we become connected to God and Jesus through the gift of the Holy Spirit, who, Jesus in verses 25-27 calls the Advocate. The Holy Spirit is an advocate who becomes part of us and helps us to learn and understand about and build a relationship with God.

Oh, but reading or even studying all of this and knowing all of this spirit stuff doesn’t really make acting on it any easier. This spirit stuff is really still something we would rather just look at like you do a history lesson or a scrap book or a museum piece. You might want to dig it out once a year, dust it off, say something like, “isn’t that nice?” and then wrap it up and put it back in the closet on the shelf for next year.

The presence of the Holy Spirit isn’t supposed to be acknowledged once a year then hidden away. As much as it would be more convenient or easier to think of our beliefs as a set of rules that are mostly do this don’t do that, it isn’t quite that simple. We are spiritual people, and as such we need to be in tune to the moving and the nudging and the teachings of the spirit. We need to open ourselves to the possibilities of perhaps not completely new ways, but maybe some renewed ways that we go about–as we have said before, not just going to church, but being the church. Perhaps as we accept that, we can also accept the Peace that Jesus promised to his disciples, Christ’s peace of no unnecessary worries or troubles, that would be a wonderful peace to claim. Let’s go this week opening ourselves to the workings of the spirit and claiming the peace that working for Christ can give us.

Photo bombing cat

Roger in the tulip/clematis area

Roger in the tulip/clematis area

I mentioned in my lucindagardens post about tulips that I would put up some pictures here that are connected to the tulips in the front garden by the clematis. I think those orange tulips are just so pretty, but not sure that the tulips are the center of attention of this picture because of the photo bomber. Roger loves to pose for pictures unlike Sophia who always has to walk towards the camera and make it impossible to get a decent picture of her without sneaking up on her. Anyway check out Roger in the tulip area.

Here was a real pose by Roger. She loves the camera.

Here was a real pose by Roger. She loves the camera.

This goofball has been bringing in ticks like crazy. I am getting to the point that if the wind blows and my hair falls out of place, I am afraid one is crawling on me. One more reason to get a few chickens in the back yard. But then who would watch them as much as we go chasing around the countryside. Someday, maybe!!!


Saturday was meet and match

On Saturday James and I were in Jamestown (we went up Friday night after school) to watch the college Al Cassel Track and Field Meet. Mr. Cassel was a coach at the college there in the 1950’s and though he didn’t donate enough money back to the school (perhaps due to the wages being low) to get a dorm or building named after him, he spent enough years there to get their annual meet named after him. I am old, but I didn’t actually even meet him. I heard of him from Coach Greeno, who was there enough years to have a football field named for him, that man bled orange and clotted black.

Jaxon wrestling on Saturday

Jaxon wrestling on Saturday in Jamestown.

So, enough of the history lesson of Jamestown College, now known as the University of Jamestown. We were there to watch Paulina in her first ever home meet. We also stopped at the Civic Center to taken in two final matches by Jaxon in his first ever state wrestling competition. He came away with two trophies. The match that is shown in the picture to the side was his first one on Saturday and against a boy who major decisioned Jaxon in the match at Killdeer. Jaxon won this one 13-12. They were tied at the end, but Jaxon was awarded one point because they said the other boy was stalling. This was freestyle and everything has to be really quick. They don’t give you time to crawl around the mat trying to figure out what to do next as they do in the style which is more like high school wrestling. It was exciting and now Nate will have to build a set of shelves to start housing Jaxon’s trophy collection.

Paulina ended up hitting personal records in both the hammer throw and the shot put. Discus seems to have gone by the wayside for now. I think she is so busy learning and focusing on the hammer, that the discus steps are all out of sorts. I didn’t tell her on Saturday, but when I was taking a class at Northern State on testing in Special Education our teacher had an interesting theory. She felt that we each had a certain capacity to learn. She explained it almost like a computer’s memory file, that it could reach a full capacity and then if you want to introduce something new, you end up erasing some of the old. She claimed that she saw some students in her earlier years of teaching when pushed too hard would back up and forget basic bodily functions because they were being challenged too hard academically. Perhaps the memory for the discus steps have dropped out the other end or at the least been compressed to an unreachable place for now.

Oh well, it was a fun day to be with the family and Paulina and see some of the group she throws with again. I wanted to get a picture of the group together as we left, but I was a little shy to ask. There are two seniors and I remember how hard it was to say good-bye to seniors in college because they were often going far away or came from far away. We would tell each other that college friends stay friends for life and maybe with Facebook that is true, but I have lost touch with all of mine. It would be nice if some of them ever showed up at a reunion again. Ah well, I digress.

So, the meet and the match are over and what did James and I take home from  it? Well besides it being a long day, I now have a cold and sore throat. I am pretty sure most of it was from being run down and sitting out in the cold getting super chilled. Part of it might be a little allergy issue too. Hopefully I will be better after a couple of days of Watkins salve and hot lemon and honey and rest. Oh yes about that last one, we have track meets Tues, Thurs, Fri and Saturday. On Wednesday I have Bible Study and on Sunday we are heading to Dickinson to see David be baptized. It never slows down here. Catch you later, have a good one.

Christ’s Rightful Place

The message today was taken from the scripture lessons: Acts 16:9-15, Ephesians 1:15-23 and John 14:23-29. The idea was based on the following title and the weekend we spent with our daughters. Enjoy!!

Christ’s Rightful Place

You may have heard me mention last week that James and I were going to Jamestown yesterday. I am starting to understand why I don’t want to leave the house after the first week in June. April and May are crazy, and I think this year has been way worse than past years. Our initial intent was to watch Paulina in their home track and field meet, but soon we also found out that Jaxon would also be competing in a wrestling competition in Jamestown. We were able to watch him from 9:30-10:30 then head up to the college to spend most of the day with Paulina.

There were a few parents and families at the college meet, but it was nothing like the parents at the wrestling match. Actually it started at the hotel at breakfast. We went up to Jamestown on Friday night, so we were eating at one of those hotel breakfast places in the morning. While James and Jaxon were standing in line waiting for the waffle machine to be available, I had time to watch one poor father trying to coax his son into eating something. I couldn’t quite tell if he was giving him medicine or if it was a piece of banana. I just kept hearing him beg the boy to eat this thing. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but he was saying, “Just try this one time, and I will never ask you anything again.” The kid was probably 8 or 9 years old. I just wanted to say, eat the stuff and get on with life, really this poor guy is in for a long life.

Later when Victoria showed up for breakfast with the two youngest, I mentioned it to her, and she shook her head. She admitted that her generation of parents has this idea that children should be asked to do things. Since opening a day care, she has been taking various day care classes and in one of her last sessions, she read an essay about telling children instead of asking them. Her example was, you are in the Dr office and the child needs his blood drawn, instead of asking if they could please sit still the parent says, you need to sit still for a bit because the nurse is going to take blood from you. The choices might be do you want the chair alone or my lap. Do you want the blue sticker or the red when you are finished? She has been using this on Jaxon, and though he was a bit upset about being told what to do, she said within a week, she has noticed the change in his behavior. Wow.

I sort of have to laugh about it. I think maybe that generation, at least in my house, gets the idea of giving choices because they didn’t have too many in their day. It was here is your breakfast, now eat. This is what you wear to school today. The choice is get dressed now or in the car, and Victoria specifically had at least one of those sessions. I also don’t remember sharing the television too often, so I can see where Victoria might have wanted to allow her son a bit more freedom.

Looking at those parents, I got to thinking about when James and I were first married, and we often went to church in Hull in his home church. It was interesting to see the way those families sat in church. It was quite different from the way I grew up. It our church a few of the younger couples sat together, but the older ones sat pretty strictly men on one side and women on the other and the children all in their particular Sunday School benches. Babies and children too young for Sunday School sat with their mothers. I don’t remember how my parents sat when I was old enough for Sunday School, but before that, we were in between them. I suppose to rein us in, to keep us in control. In James’ church the parents sat side by side and the children sat around them. I was told it was to show that the partnership of the couple was the center of the family, the children were the additions. I guess for those who put the children in the middle maybe that represented that the children were the center of the family. I am not sure on that, maybe it would be an interesting psychological study.

My point and question today is about the center or perhaps the focus. What is it that we focus on? What is the center of our family? What is the main focus or our main thought when we are in church, or when we are out and about for that matter? Certainly our livelihood needs to be somewhat of a focus or all that we have falls apart. So we do need to have at least some sort of “tend to our business” sort of focus. And our family both immediate and perhaps even extended needs to be there someplace near the top if not the top. But what else is there in terms of our focus? Is it friends, clubs, organizations, hobbies? What about Christ? Where do we fit Jesus, and what we are taught about him and by him into our lives?

The story from the book of Acts about the apostle Paul seems to be a little out of place in this message today. There is nothing really in that story about who is our focus, who is our center, or is there? Let’s take a closer look. This story happens after Paul and others were sent by the disciples to the area of the gentiles to spread the news about Jesus. During this trip Paul has a vision telling him to go to the area of Macedonia. He does this and ends up in the city Philippi. During this stay, Paul meets a God fearing woman named Lydia, who is a dealer in purple cloth, which is what that region is known for, and probably means she is a wealthy woman. When she hears about Jesus, she and her whole family, her whole household, which likely means all her servants and slaves too, were baptized and she invites Paul and those with him to come to her home to stay while they are in the city. She opens her home to those who brought the good news of Jesus to her life. She responds to the words of the apostles by accepting salvation by offering herself and her household to be baptized, and then she opens her home to the messengers who brought her this good news. Although she believed in God, she now knows the truth of salvation and she changes her focus; she opens her heart and home to allow the teachings of Jesus to be its center.

Our gospel lesson for today is a passage from John that Jesus told the disciples before he was crucified. He was telling them about how he was about to go away and the Holy Spirit would be sent to them. He also told them that for those who loved him, he would return to live with them, something we may think of as a future thing, but perhaps, we might realize more as a now thing if we really put our focus, on Christ as being the center of our lives. Jesus in this passage as he is talking to the disciples and telling them that he is going away says: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.”

Somehow this sounds much like things we have talked about in bible study. The peace that Jesus gives probably won’t eliminate all the drama and tension and issues that come up in our lives, but with that peace, we have a different way of dealing with those things. With the peace of Christ our focus shifts. We come to the, “not my will but your will be done” type of attitude. We are no longer like the child who wants our own way at all times. As we tune into a loving relationship with Christ, we understand that God’s ways are not unreasonable demands from a dictatorial parent. Instead they are words and nudging and guidance from a point of complete and total love, a love that is so deep it was willing to offer an only begotten son in order to redeem us as an heir to eternity.

Just as parents want what is best for their children, so God wants what is best for us. Sometimes we just need to shift our focus to see what is important. It is when we have Christ as the center of our lives that we are able to embrace the peace that he offers us.

This week on Thursday is the day we celebrate the Ascension of Christ from this earth to join his father in heaven. On Ascension Day, Christ was given his rightful place as ruler of all just as is written in the scripture lesson we heard from Ephesians. According to the author that place is, “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named not only in this age, but also in the age to come.” Christ’s rightful place is above all, and for us should be the center of our lives and our focus. And even though we won’t be having a special service on Thursday, we might just want to take a bit of time to think about what Jesus life and death and Ascension really means to our lives. Let’s go today with that attitude of Christ’s peace going with us. Amen.

More Birthday gifts

In looking back I see that I have been absent from blogging much of the time. It must be an indication of having too much to do in life at this time. On another note it is getting harder and harder to make the transition from story in my head to the actual story on the keyboard. Oh, so much to do and so little time to get it all done. Enough complaining, pretty soon you will be offering to send me some cheese to have with my wine. Ha!!

Peanuts clock

Peanuts clock

I just have to show off the alarm clock that my daughter, Jessica, gave me as a birthday gift. If it wouldn’t be such a perfect addition to my Peanuts  collection, I might have to raze her that it means I don’t get out of bed and do anything (which today I wish were more true than less). Anyhoo, the song is perfect. It is the Peanuts theme, the one they dance to before Charlie Brown gets them organized for the Christmas play practice.

I have set it and used it a few times. I am thinking that the way yesterday went, I will have to use it especially on Wednesdays from now on. I just could not get myself moving. It did not help that my phone was left in the kitchen, so I couldn’t even roll over and check the time. In those cases I turn on the television and hope they say the time on the news every now and then. I do at least know the schedule and so if certain shows are on, I am aware if it is before or after 7 a.m. or 9 a.m. What a life. I was able to finish up what needed doing, I just didn’t get next week’s  finished as I had hoped I would. Now to finish up the message for this week, then take a break. I have Mother’s Day off and boy does that feel good!!

Not much else for here. I took a few pictures of the rain here this morning and will post those on the lucindagardens site.

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