Time with Jessica

What a day. I have not really done much in terms of work. I think I slept until nearly 10, but I am not even sure anymore. It seems that I do most of everything after 10 p.m. lately. Wednesday it was quite late when I finally finished packing and settled to sleep. On Thursday, James drove me to Sterling and we met Jessica on the off ramp of the interstate instead of at the truck stop because they were paving the driveway there and James didn’t want to get tar all over the Durango that he bought on Wednesday. This will be his vehicle and we will just have to cut back on a few things here and there in order to make the payments and still do some of the fun stuff and the running that we like to do.

The purpose of meeting Jess was to spend some time at her place with the twins. Thursday they happened to have a Dr. appt. in Bismarck, so Tony was allowed to rest and I went along. Report is that things are going well, they are continuing to grow and develop. The Dr. was explaining to Jess where they are fitting on the growth charts and though they are at the low end for now, the good news is they are improving, and as far as Grandma is concerned that is all that counts.

After the poor things had been poked and prodded and looked over two nurses came in and stabbed them with shots. It was sort of a dirty rotten thing to do to them, and when we got back to Jessica’s house, I was sure to tell each of them how very awful it was that they were not informed that this was coming. Of course Jess was listening and laughing. The fact is she had forgotten they were scheduled for the shots. It was a rather quiet evening. They were exhausted from the day, and after a little feeding and some attention time, they were ready for bed, as I was too.

This morning Jessica got up and fed them and when I finally appeared, she left to pick up Lindsey’s dress for her and head for the wedding venue out of town. This will be the fifth time Jessica has been the maid of honor (well now matron of honor) in a friend’s wedding. Boy, I never had even one friend who wanted me to do that, let alone 5.

Marshal and Lily

Anyway, the fun part is that I was able to spend the morning with the twins all by myself. At first I let them sleep while I ate and worked on the computer, and then I finally realized that I wasn’t going to have many days like this. So, the minute they were making a noise, I took them both out of their rockers and put them on the floor together and we just looked at each other and talked. Mostly I let them lay close to each other and look at each other. Lily was busy on her tummy trying to move, but I had Marshall on his side and he kept reaching out and touching Lily. It was great.

Later after Tony got up, he took the two to his parents and Jess came home and got me and we went to the rehearsal. I will be officiating the wedding tomorrow. Thankfully I have the message for the service finished. It will be quite short, but actually plenty long. It could be warm and windy tomorrow, so short will be good. Paulina and James are coming up in the morning and so hopefully we can print out the message and get my hair into some braids to keep it out of my eyes so I can read tomorrow. Let you know how it all turns out…..

Update June 5, 2017

I see it has been nearly a week since I last posted. We have been recovering from the close of the track season, final awards picnic and on and on. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to pack up the uniforms and set the big containers away until next March. I know there are a few “missing” as a slight few (3) of the athletes claim to have turned them in, but they are nowhere to be found in the mix, but that is normal and actually pretty good as things go.

We also had my uncle Gene’s memorial service on Saturday. It was nice with family and people from town, and lots of his friends, teammates and classmates from this area and even some from rather far away, college and high school buddies. It sure showed what they all thought of him. It was good to hear everyone’s stories and I hope that gave those who are having a hard time dealing with it a little comfort. One of his friends choked up twice as he was talking and for lack of a better way to end his speech, he concluded with, “And then the sucker just up and died on me.”

Garden dry and bare waiting to be planted.

Today is another day of regular laundry and hopefully by the time James gets finished with his summer school for the day, it will be time to head outside to get to digging into the dirt. As hot as it has been lately, I am not really looking forward to the outside. Maybe we will clean the freezer instead and we can postpone the garden work until the sun starts to fade for the day.

Well so much for the garden issue. I finished the laundry, Paulina–the walking tomato–came home from the pool a little before James pulled in from Bowdle. After coming home from summer school in Linton and Strasburg, he stopped at the house long enough to grab a sandwich and trade the Neon for the van then head to the service station in Bowdle where we bought it because it smelled hot yesterday and there is a weird rattle in the back end. Results: there is a hose out on the heater that caused the anti-freeze to leak and there is a bearing going out in something, and they needed to order a part for one of them and so he couldn’t just wait for it and come home. When he called to tell me, I was afraid I would have to drive there to get him. Thankfully not.

In the mean time he checked out what was on their lot and found this 5-year-old, low mileage Durango. He convinced them to let him take it as a loaner to see what my reaction would be about purchasing it. I already have my counter offer in mind, but I don’t think they will budge because they already made somewhat of a deal with James. We have two ideas how to get this accomplished, but I reminded James that we need enough left in the bank to cover the trip and some updates on the house. So much for my list of priorities. A different vehicle was towards the bottom. When the owner of the dealership clued in that we had bought our van there and it is a 2009 model with almost 213,000 miles on it, he thought we should be the advertisement. Maybe we could line up all three of the cars we own for the end of the ad. Two of them are 1995 (original) Neons. They don’t even make them anymore.

Well everyone has left for work or meetings, the wind has died back a little, but it is still pretty hot outside. I don’t think that I will try to plant anything today, maybe just get a few things set up in my mind or on paper, or maybe I will get out the gloves and trim the dead stuff off the spirea bushes. They did not winter all that well. Why is it that I just don’t have the energy for any of it this year. I just would rather order take out. Perhaps I need to take a picture of that Durango. We might be eating garden spinach all summer in order to afford that thing even at the reduced used-vehicle price. Hmmmm. What was it my uncle always said, “If you need more money, no need to cut back, just make more.” Ya right easy for him to say, he owned a business. Maybe I better grow more garden and join the Farmer’s Market again.

Message the Sunday following the State Track Meet

Following is the message that was heard in our church the day after the State Track Meet, on May 28, 2017. The scriptures used were: John 17:1-11, I Peter 4:12-14 & 5:6-11 and Acts 1:6-14. The title was “That They May Be One.”

Today it is really the beginning of summer in our house. The track season is over, and we are as some would say, finally free of meets and practices. I am thinking that it might even be time to put out the garden one day this week. As I said in the newsletter, it is my favorite time and my least favorite time. I have so enjoyed this season even for as tightly crammed as it was and even for the way I felt so tired sometimes. As I sat down on Friday night to put together this message, I couldn’t help but think of the scriptures a few weeks ago that pointed us to the message of “Life Here, too,” which was based off a podcast from the National website called “Enjoy this life.”

I have tried to use that whole concept of enjoying the life you are given as a jumping off board, a focus of a way to think of things, and to that I have been trying to add the idea of living in the moment. That thought of being present in what is happening in your life at the time and enjoying it has really been gnawing on me. I tried hard to put that into play this weekend, and for the most part it seemed to work. Maybe we will take a little time out here to give you the grumps of the weekend, just to get them out of the way so that the rest of this message will really have a turned up, happy note to it.

Ok, so the down side was really limited to a couple of things and mainly it boils down to only one thing and that is the attitude of entitlement. In North Dakota we only have a Class A and a Class B, and it gets really tiresome to learn that rules are being changed because certain things don’t seem to suit the important people in Class A. It is also annoying to have certain people on the team end up always doing the heavy lifting, and I do mean heavy in terms of setting up and taking down while others seem to skate by, always, even when duties have been assigned. And mostly working with youngsters is emotionally draining because they have this awful tendency to grow up and graduate and move on, and that is just way too hard for some of us. So, my warning to you is that no one here is allowed to move away, even if you get some notion that you want to be closer to children or other family or whatever the excuse is. I just won’t have it.

The entire group heading to state.

Ok, grumpy piece over, now for the good part. I ended up driving a mini-van on our trip, and instead of putting the older students in it, we left them with Mr. Haak on the mini-bus where there was more leg room, and I took the youngest group, the 7th graders. Let me just say that I have not heard so much giggling in a very long time, and I think that a few of them might have had stomach aches from laughing. It was a wonderful sound even somewhat musical and as I listened to them, I could feel their complete, absolute and pure joy. There was nothing better, even when they were giggling because they were making fun of my driving. So understand that it was this last story, this young childlike joy that was in my mind as I did a reread of the scripture lessons for this week.

As we start with the lesson in Acts, we find a story very similar to the one at the end of Luke in terms of the ascension of Jesus. Although in Luke it flat out uses the phrase “great joy,” I also get the impression of joy from the accounting of the event in this passage in Acts. We don’t see the word joy or exultation or anything on that line, but we also do not read anything that might indicate fear or alarm or sadness or gloom. These verses tell about how Jesus talks to his disciple, basically giving them their final instructions before he leaves them. In some of the other gospels we are told that this is when he is taken to his rightful place at the right hand of God. To me that idea alone should give us the image of an unimaginable joy that Christ is able to experience.

The other joy and the part I want us to concentrate on is the feelings of the disciples and what feelings that should give us. When Christ is taken away, according to the story in Acts, the disciples are visited by two men in white, two angels we presume. They tell the disciples to stop looking, or staring up looking for Jesus, because he will come again. Now the disciples had been told earlier to return to Jerusalem. They know he wants them to stay there waiting for the Holy Spirit to come to them, and so they go, and I will bet it wasn’t with dread or sadness over the past, but with joyful anticipation for what is next. Of course they were grown men, so it might not have been with giggles, but I kind of believe that they were on their way with smiles, even though Jesus had just left them.

If we look at the words from I Peter we read that Peter told the early Christians to rejoice that they were sharing in the suffering of Christ because they would then be able to shout for joy when he returns. Nothing could be truer than that statement. Think about it, no matter how bad things get, and I suppose the worse they get, the more we will shout in for the return of Christ to end the suffering and the agony. And this is true if we actually live to the age of his return or if it is the day that he comes for us alone. In truth, that day will be one of great joy for us as Christians.

The remaining verses in Peter give us some advice for the in-between time. Two things stand out for me. The first is the idea that we should cast all of our cares, all of our anxieties on Christ, and the second is that we should keep ourselves alert for the evil powers which exist in that world that would keep us from what is right, from what Christ wants of us. I love that image of the devil prowling the earth around looking for someone to devour, as if he were some giant swamp creature or the abominable snowman. Maybe it is those sorts of images that make us think there is no such evil power in the world. Perhaps if we thought more of a cunning and conniving con-artist sort of creature, maybe then we would be more likely to believe that there is a power that works to perpetuate evil in the world. Peter’s point in essence is that we need to keep our faith and trust in Christ and God will take care of us.

Exactly! For God to take care of us is just what Jesus prays for in the verses that we read in John 17. This passage is known as Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer. It is his prayer for the disciples and his prayer for us. He offers it to God shortly before he is betrayed and crucified. In it, Jesus asks for God to take care of his disciples and give them the task of completing the work he has started so that his work will not have been in vain. I know we can all understand that concept of hoping that what we do is not in vain, I can’t imagine how much Jesus felt the need to make sure his work would be finished by faithful disciples. And in many ways that means us as much as the original 12.

Tomorrow many of the communities in our country will be celebrating Memorial Day. We will gather to honor the men and women who served in our military and especially those who died while in service to secure and protect the freedoms that we have. As much as some of us might disagree about which freedoms we should embrace or exercise and how much we should value any or all of them, if we were to give up any bit of those freedoms, we would be essentially telling those who served and sacrificed especially those who died that what they gave up was not important. We would be telling them that their sacrifice no matter how big or small was really all in vain. I know that I couldn’t do it, and I am pretty sure none of you would be able to do it either, to tell a Veteran that their service was worthless.

I know that what Christ did for all of us was so much more than any of us could do for another, yet isn’t it written that the greatest love a person can have is to lay down their life for another? Each Memorial Day as we gather to honor our country’s fallen soldiers, we do that to ensure that none of them died in vain, that none of them sacrificed their lives or physical or mental well being or even their time without it being worth something.

Jesus in his final prayer to his Father in heaven, as he is about to leave his human existence, asks that his work, his time on earth not be without meaning. His prayer is that God look after the disciples that were given to him, so that they will be able not just to fulfill the work Jesus started, but that they will complete it and in doing that they will also experience the joy that Jesus knew while being about that work.

Of course we also read this to refer to us as believers and disciples in our own way and time. Jesus wants us to continue his mission of spreading his gospel, his love all the way to the ends of the earth, and while we do that he wants us to have the same rewards of knowing him and knowing the joy of eternity that he asked God to give to the original disciples.

At the end of the gospel lesson we read for today, we come across the words: “that they may be one.” A bit further into the chapter in verse 21, we see those words again with just a little twist. In verse 21 it is written, “That they may all be one.” That is the verse picked to be the motto of our wider church. Jesus wants that for us, that we would be one with each other as he and the Father are one, united and working together as soldiers in the trenches, and perhaps to put it in language I understand better, as members of a team, who all have the same goal. That they may all be one.

Jesus asks God to protect his disciples, the 12 that were closest to him, and all who have come to believe in him. He also asks that all his disciples could be one as he and the father are one. To me that means we should learn to love each other in a deep, intensely joyful, Christian love. This love is not restricted by family or gender or skin color or culture or economic status, but it is a love as Christ loves. Christ wants us to be one, to be open and accepting and caring for each other in the same way that Christ and God love each other.

I really believe that when we are willing to open ourselves up to that attitude and when we are willing to take up the task of helping the gospel to spread to the ends of the earth, we will know the love and peace and joy of Christ, and when we do, we will also be able to experience the kind of happiness that makes our sides hurt from laughing. Go this week living in the moment and experiencing the joy of Christ. Amen!

Holding the twins

James and me with the twins.

After the State Track Meet was over and we were back in Linton with the bus and van unloaded and all the athletes safely with their parents, James and I changed our clothes, at least some of them, and headed to Wishek to attend Elisabeth’s graduation reception. We didn’t make the actual graduation, and we missed her speech, which I was told was the best of the night. It ended up that we were there just as people were leaving the school. James was able to help Bruce set up some of the tables at the reception area, and I may have opened the bag with the plates and some of the utensils, but that is about all we did besides eat some of the Knepfla soup that was fantastic.

Jessica was there with the twins, and I spent part of the night holding one or the other. We were able to get this picture of me with Lily and James holding Marshall. I must have had a grumpy thought or something, not real sure, but boy does my sunburn show on this picture. I was hoping for a shower before we headed out, but that was not to be had until we got home at 11:30 p.m. after which I still had to finish the message for Sunday morning. Yikes no wonder I spent Sunday and Monday vegetating on the couch. Well, that and on Monday washing up the uniforms that were turned in on Saturday after the meet. Again not trying to gain sympathy or brag, just stating the facts. Hopefully this next weekend will be more of a slow down, but not so sure…..

Season Over

Team by the mini bus their mothers decorated for the state meet!! We took 16, 13 competed, and 4 placed, 1 won 4 plaques.

Well everything about this year’s track season is over except the awards gathering and the inventory. It was a pretty good year, all and all. As we always say, it went too fast. It seems that in this part of the country, you barely get started and then it is over. We began practice indoors sometime in March. It was just early enough for us to have 9 practices before we went to the one Indoor Meet in Fargo. We started just after we came back from the trip to Tennessee to watch Paulina. And that was only a week after we had Jessica’s wedding and shower.

Then in early April my siblings and I were in Phoenix for my uncle’s passing just before the first outdoor meet, which was at home. The first away meet was the day the twins were born and that was a wild day, too. We stayed over night at James’ brother’s place then borrowed a car from Jess and Tony to go back to Linton for well there was no practice, it was the day the pizza’s were delivered, so we were in on that. After all was said and done, we stashed our pizza’s and grabbed our van so we could take the borrowed car back to Bismarck and come home to get ready for the next day. Needless to say, I missed a Wednesday at church, which meant rescheduling of a Minister’s Meeting. Yikes. And we are trying to understand why we are so worn out this year.

Parade of Athletes on Friday morning.

I feel like I am carrying on about this like I am whining and complaining. In truth it is more of an on paper accounting to make me look at it and understand what really happened. In truth if I were to recount what is listed in the calendar it would sound like I am bragging about how super busy we are. Mostly it is just normal life. I will bet nearly everyone around does twice as much as we do, but they just don’t think about it all that much. We are starting to understand that at this age our metabolism is not what it was when we were 50 let alone when we were 4o. James keeps wishing he could eat something or take something to make him less tired. I told him it is called a little rest now and then, and maybe some sleep other than on the couch in front of the TV. I think most of the problem is the traveling. In order to do anything or see anyone, we drive 100 miles if not more.

These were my relay girls. They placed the 800 and 1600 relays. The girl two from my right is our jumper.

So the end of the season was great, as in really great. We had 2 relays both place 6th and it was the same 4 girls in each one just a slightly different order and length of race. Our jumper who was in both relays was 7th in the long jump and 2nd in the triple jump, and she was leading the entire competition until the girl who jumped right before her beat her by 1 1/2 inches. Crazy! It was a good meet and the young ones who also came and participated were very good spectators when their events were finished. Hopefully they learned what it is all about and will come out again next year and be hungry for their turn to take some places. I have a few pictures to share. Hope your opening weekend to summer was as fun as mine!!

Another season is nearly over

Girls’ team at the end of the regional.

Another year of track and field is nearly in the books at our house. James and I have been traveling to school this past week for the practices for all who qualified for state. With the various injuries and near injuries that we have, he decided that we should bring along the next two best sprinters to help out in case of a dire emergency. The bottom line is the real qualifiers will run unless, as said before, a dire emergency. The issue is that we had a few other young ones qualify and the more we can take this year and get the first year jitters out, the better next year will be, or so we hope. I insisted that we take a picture of the group at the end of the regional meet. I am proud of how hard this group worded and I just wanted a picture for myself of this crew. I didn’t get one of the professional group ones, so this is mine and the mish-mash of shirts makes it a little extra special for me. Also we have a girl from Norway on the team. Don’t suppose anyone could guess which one she is. My only hint is that she is standing. HA!

washing the uniforms

So other than going to practice and trying like the dickens to clean out and clear out some of the junk around the house, I have been washing up the uniforms and sweats that were turned in at the end of the regional. It is my contribution to the efforts of the parents by not making them wash the items for the final meet. It is also easier to collect them into large garbage bags on the bus and take them home and sort them out and wash them. I have several sweat tops that need their pockets mended. I guess that is part of buying a grade less than the best. My only problem this year is that the weather has not been as cooperative as in the past. It has been cold and windy and not really drying weather, just rip things off the line weather. I will also give a shout out to the new clothes pins that were all I could find. No wonder they are always found in craft pins. They are not fit to use pinning clothes to the line. I need to try to find some like my old ones, but so far that has not worked for me.

Oh seems I forgot to mention what athletes and events we have going with us. James was pouting most of the season, and especially after the girls started qualifying the relays. He was good when our girl jumper made it in the long and triple jumps, but when the relays made it, he began to fret because no boys were qualified. I told him to buck up and realize that girls have value too. In the end we have all 4 of the girls’ relays qualified. The 400M, 800M and 1600 Meter all with the same 4 girls and the 3200 Meter with four different girls. The jumper was on the three shorter relays, but will be out of the 400 because of the 4 event limit. We have a young substitute for that one. Also our girl and boy javelin thrower made it on Saturday. Our boy 400 runner and 300 Hurdler qualified Saturday and our girl 400 runner made it by time earlier in the year. All in all we have 16 running with 2 alternates and a student manager in 11 events. It should keep us really busy this weekend. All that and trying to make it to our nieces graduation reception, we are pretty sure the actual event will be impossible. Hope they video so we can watch the speech later.

May track updates

Today is an exciting day and a sad day. It is the last regular season meet for this season. On Saturday we will have our regional meet which is the last opportunity for any of our athletes to make the state meet. Today is called the Last Chance Meet, which means it is the last chance to qualify by time or distance. We have hope for a few more to make it in today, but mostly it is a fingers crossed sort of day. We are fighting a few injuries and so hoping for the best.

Shot put

Getting award for 3rd in Hammer.

Last week, I left after the Thursday meet and headed for Jamestown to watch the second day of Paulina’s conference meet. I didn’t get to see the hammer throw in which she set a personal record of 46.40 meters which is 152′ 3.” It was good enough to land her at second place on the all time list of throwers. She said her PR of shot put was 10.56 meters which is 34′ 7.75″

OK, James just came in from loading the bus and I need to head out. Check back later.

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