National S’mores Day

Fire pit

Full moon

This morning on the Today Show, I learned that it is National S’mores Day. Hurrah!! I think. I am now wondering if it is also National Fire Pit night because to celebrate and to have S’mores you certainly need a fire pit or a bonfire or something with fire. Of course the news show this morning showed lots of ways to eat the graham cracker/chocolate/melted marshmallow mess in all sorts of ways including in your kitchen with the marshmallows melted over candles. I would not recommend that unless you have the fire department and your insurance on speed dial, and then I might not confess what caused the trouble. They also showed examples of how some fancy restaurants are now creating desserts with those flavors in mind.

Well here in our town just south of the North Dakota/South Dakota border we tend to eat them outside huddled around a fir pit of some sort. We sit on lawn chairs, drink pop (no soda around here) or coffee or even some have a beer now and then. We put our marshmallows on long forks with wooden handles that we bought at some large department store, and we compare our preferred methods of cooking them. Some of us let the buggers start on fire and peel off the charcoal and eat the goo. Others toast it carefully until it is just a bubbly brown, and a few throw the burned up mess in the fire and start over. We watch the moon rise over the dike and comment on the breeze that often blows the smoke in our face. We notice things like the bats flying overhead eating up the mosquitos as they go. We listen for the sound of the owls hooting in the dusk, and we complain about the cars and pickup trucks that speed past the intersection with mufflers that would have gotten them pulled over in the middle 1970’s when we were teenagers.

That is life in our small town. Some days I want to run away to a bigger city to live close to the grandchildren. Sometimes I want to blare the Simon and Garfunkel song: “Nothing but the dead and dying back in my little town” out the window. And sometimes I want to ask the people who appoint themselves in charge of this and that exactly from where do they get their ideas. And I realize that if you want to win the war you have to be very strategic about picking your battles. I believe I have chosen mine, now I just need to get to work on it, and when I am finished, I will share it with you here, but until that time, I will keep it to myself, and just sit in my yard, especially today on National Day of celebrating S’Mores, and I will enjoy what is right here in front of me at this time. Enjoy your day!!

The getting organized bug

Now that the big sale is over, and we have taken two of the left over boxes out of the house, I have the “bug” to start digging out more and more, but I am not really willing to live in the midst of junk like we had to last week when we were setting up for the sale. I would like to do the rest of the clearing away in a more methodical and organized way. I stopped in at an antique store in Eureka today and mentioned that I have the old wedding dress of a former resident and I would be willing to give it to them if they would take it. The owner said she would take it and check if the museum would like it and if not they would be happy to have it in their store. One more item gone. Now where to start with the rest. I think the first thing I need to do is begin with an itinerary and a list and mostly a deadline. And, I need to just keep picking at it.

Stack of projects in progress

One exciting issue is that James and I have decided to turn the small back bedroom into my sewing/crafting room. We actually discussed taking out the wall between that room and the office, but neither one of us has carried the sledge-hammer up the steps yet. On the other hand, we have agreed that it won’t happen until there is a replacement bedroom in the basement area, so it will probably be about a year before I get that room. My real motivation for switching out that room is so that no one ever has to sleep on those old beds ever again. I found out the hard way this week that they are terrible. They have served their purpose, but really need to go.

Bag of Vic’s material

In the meantime, I will need to do a little better job of organizing the space in my bedroom to house the stuff I have. Actually I am starting to see the best idea would be to get started at completing a few of the projects and moving them on, as in out of the house. The other thing that I need to stop doing is allowing new items in. Since I still have Victoria’s sewing machine, she decided it would be a good idea to bring me her material for me to use in the projects she had planned. Like I need anymore ideas. Perhaps the best place to start would be a totally complete list of everything here. Yikes, that alone could take two months to complete.

Perhaps my plans for tomorrow after laundry, dishes, start the Sunday message and weed in the garden will be an inventory of material and items in progress. Right after that I will map out a plan for world peace because if I can get that list finished, I should be able to accomplish anything.

More Birthday: Ana is 3

David

According to big brother Jaxon all the pictures are always about Ana. In this post he is pretty much correct. These were some of the other pictures I took on Saturday that were just of her or her antics. We had hung some string to section off the “not for sale” area, and she got a hold of the scissors. In the picture here, she is trying to cut up an ant. She was having some trouble with that idea since she is pretty much a lefty and the scissors is for the right hand. David did sneak in on one picture, but the way he was trying to fix that toy lawn mower just begged for a picture. My sister Melissa had set up a sale on the north side of my house with lots of Carson’s toys. Of course Ana and David kept sneaking over and raiding that sale. Their parents so conveniently left the lawn mower here with grandma and grandpa. I suppose they think it is the only one I can use. David did get a bit upset that the grass was not disappearing when he was going over it. What a goofball!!

Opening the doll.

A couple of posts back, I have the picture of Ana with her birthday cake which apparently has something to do with the Trolls movie. I have not seen that one, though when we were digging up items in the basement, we ran into a treasure trove of original troll dolls. I think I have some of the really small ones that you could get in those old machines that were like bubble gum or candy machines. I probably had to put in a dime or a quarter to get some toy in a plastic container. I used to have a whole row of those things sitting on my dresser. Anyway. The picture to the right is Ana opening her doll from Paulina. It is a baby doll that you can play doctor with. There was a toy stethoscope and hypodermic needle and medicine dispenser and such items with it. The stethoscope makes a heart beat noise, but it took David all of three seconds to pull the rubber tube off. Ana let out a beller on that one. The picture off to the left here is Ana with her favorite of all things she received on Saturday. It was the singing card from Jessica. I know there were other gifts, but I lost track of them in the mix of the day. She is being silly as she shows off her card, but she made me listen to that card so often that we both could sing along with those creatures, lalalalalalala!!!

 

Happy Anniversary???

So today is our 35th wedding anniversary. It is a much cooler and far more pleasant day today than it was on that day. I swear it was the hottest day of the year. We got out of the car at the church and it felt like we walked into a furnace. Well, I am not sure if it was that bad, but it sounds good. I really wasn’t all that hot, but the photographer kept going off about how the men in tux’s needed a fan going. Having the fan going caused the candles to burn faster and since they were purple and not a standard color they were not dripless and so I am thinking that there just might be some residue of that wax left in the carpet on that stage. Good grief!!

I really was not intending to take any trips down memory lane today. I brought it up because from the way the day is going, I am not sure how many more anniversaries there will be. Yesterday we went to a gathering for James’ oldest sister and her husband as they were celebrating their 50th anniversary, which technically is a bit later this month. This morning James was all out of sorts to the fact that Paulina asked if he had slept well last night. We finally dug out of him that he wanted to get out and do something, as in mow the lawn, but it was damp and foggy outside and he couldn’t get started at 6 a.m. as he would have liked. (Not sure if that was a serious comment or a dry joke.) He is mowing now at 2 p.m.

Cutting in the tree

So in the meantime, he decided the tree branch that has been hanging by a bit of bark way up near the top of the tree just must come down today. He called the local electrician/plumber/appliance salesman and begged to use his boom truck. I had told him to lay off because he does not rent out that truck for all sorts of reasons, but somehow James always gets his way. Well I started off watching this process then quit then finally stepped back in to call it off. Even after he had cleared several branches to get to the one he needed to cut, he continued to diddle around up in the air with a chain saw. As soon as I heard a break I gave a yell to let him know to quit. It went something like, “as long as you haven’t killed yourself yet, you should quit, it is enough.” Myron had been teasing him if he wanted the tree shaped like a bear or a porpoise. I think we were all ready for him to get down. The picture to the right shows him on the broken branch. It was damaged in December in the ice storm and the poor thing has been hanging ever since. It took three cuts to get it out of where it was wedged in.

Now that he is on the mower, I waited for him to mow under the clothes line so I could hang out the one small basket of items that should not go in the dryer. I had said I would not do laundry and hang it out today just to give my back and hip a break. Well I waited and waited and finally I went outside and stood on the other part of the lawn so he would have to mow under the clothes line. He stopped and said I should move because he will use the hand mower there not the rider. Why is it that some days you just want to beat them?

Well he did take the broken branches to the dump and he cut up some of the trunks. Perhaps it would be a good night for a fire pit. Maybe if we do that some of the bugs will leave the yard. Some time we will be able to do that with the grand kids here and they can eat hot dogs and marshmallows straight off the sticks cooked over the fire and they too will have great memories of being at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. We were hoping to do that this weekend but we were all too tired and it was a little too wet. That’s all for now, catch you later with more on the sale and the birthday.

Message on Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017

Here is the message the people heard today, well at least this is the script of what was out there for today. I may just have gone off script a few times today, but that is how it goes and I am not going to try to replicate the real words here. This is what was intended and this is what you get in print. The scriptures used were: Isaiah 55:1-5, Romans 9:1-5 and Matthew 14:13-21. The title was, “God’s food.”

This weekend was the big city-wide rummage sale in Herreid. As we were getting items ready, which involved dragging boxes of mostly clothing out of nooks and crannies and sorting them then washing, hanging on the line and folding up everything that was deemed sellable, I finally looked at James and asked, “Why do people have children?” You might think this question has nothing to do with a rummage sale, but for me it is a central issue. At that point of the week, I came to realize that I have saved almost every item of clothing that my children ever owned. Seriously, if it didn’t wear out it is probably some place in my house, and let’s not even talk about their toys. I am not quite that far yet. It is no wonder there isn’t any room to live in our house!

Probably one of the most revealing things about me is something I remembered as I was going through the boxes and sorting and trying to figure out how I got to this hoarding life-style. I remembered back to a day when we still lived on the farm and I was some place in that older childhood, pre-teenage existence. It was a day when my mother was “cleaning house.” I remember having to take a box out to the burn barrel and seeing several of my dolls on the ground beside it about to be burned up. Now I did not see that dolls for the broken, hair cut, unclothed used up toys that they were. I only saw the beautiful gift they had once been.

That day, I wanted so badly to pick them up and take them back into the house and hold them and fix them, but there was nothing I could do, there was no undoing the damage that was done, and they were gone. Mostly I try not to think about those sort of days, but sometimes, like on Thursday when I was cranky from being over tired from doing something you I don’t really enjoy and probably would not have to do in the first place if I had just gotten rid of things when I should have, then maybe those memories would not rise to the top of the play list and I would not feel all those old emotions.

Yet for me as I considered those emotions and pondered the message that we were about to consider for this week, I tried to imagine what Jesus must have felt like in the story that we are dealing with today. The opening line of that story seems to me to be the key for today’s message those words of verse 13: “Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place.” Hold that thought—that emotion for a bit.

The gospel lesson for today has to be one of the top 10 most recognized Bible stories. It is in all four gospels, and I can remember back to teaching Sunday School that even at the youngest levels there were lessons about the little boy who offered his loaves and the fishes to the disciples who then gave them to Jesus who multiplied them in such quantity that all were fed and there was plenty left over.

I don’t know exactly how many times I have done a message on this text in the past, but I know we have talked about it here, and I remember speaking on it in both Jamestown and Mobridge. If we look at it alone, just in terms of the story of the miracle of feeding so many people, 5,000 not counting women and children according to Matthew, with only two loaves and five fish it is an amazing story of the divinity of Christ. And that is a wonderful story. It is a great message, but after hearing that often enough and speaking that often enough, we have to ask if there is more to the meaning of this lesson. We have to ask if there could possibly be something else in this scripture besides this historical account of what Jesus did in that remote area on that day when all those people came hungry for the words of Jesus and then were satisfied with the food that God provided in that remote area? Are you starting to get ahead of me a little? I hope so.

Well, of course there is more to the story. All we have to do to find out the more is look back a few verses to see what was going on before this story. The opening verse of today, Vs. 13 when it says “when Jesus heard this…” the word this refers to the death of John the Baptist. It was after Jesus learned of his death: the prophet who pointed the way of his coming, the man who baptized him, the one that was chosen in the womb to proclaim “repent for the time of God is at hand” when Jesus learned of John’s death, he took some time to go away to a deserted place presumably in hopes of being on his own.

In our lectionary cycle for this year, we don’t read that story of John’s death, yet if we listen to those words from Matthew 13, it is a big part of what was going on with Jesus. It is such a big deal that he leaves the city for a remote area to be alone with his closest disciples. But he can’t get away because the crowds follow him. They just can’t get enough of him. These crowds of ordinary, everyday people, people like you and me were hungering and thirsting for more lessons from the young itinerant religious leader who seemed to have something new, something amazing, something that would fill them to the brim with knowledge about God and God’s kingdom that no one else had ever shared with them, and they just couldn’t get enough.

And I wonder how much different are we than the people of Jesus’ time? Think about this, we, too, look for leadership in the times of our state and national elections. We long for someone to rise up locally and help our communities grow in amazing ways. We want someone to come to where we are and tell us which direction to go, to lead us into something new and fulfilling and yes maybe profiting, but mostly exciting and satisfying. Yes, we too are hungering and thirsting for something good, something new, something wonderful to follow, and for some of us the new is right in front of us, right in our pews in our hands when we open the words that God—that Christ left for us. We just need to listen to it, maybe in new ways.

Jesus didn’t send the people away when they followed him to the deserted place. He understood their need for his word and he took the time to talk to them, and to heal their sick. When it was late and time to eat, he didn’t tell the disciples to send them off to find their own food, he saw the need and he filled it. He had compassion on the crowd, he realized their need, and he fulfilled it. That might be all we need to know about the love of Christ.

If we look at the words from Isaiah and the opening line says: come to the waters…come buy and eat. It feels to me like those words are being spoken by Christ directly to us. Come buy wine and milk without money and without price…Listen carefully to me and eat what is good food. I know that I am only picking certain lines from the passage, but essentially these are the words from Christ to us… He is calling us to come and be fed, come and be satisfied with his teachings and his love.

Everyone who thirsts, we are all thirsty for the love and the teaching, for the healing and the compassion of Christ. Imagine where we would be if Christ just took his sad emotions and went to the deserted place and stayed alone. Christ didn’t come to earth for that. Christ came to have compassion on the crowds, on all of the crowds, those of his day and those of us right here today. Christ didn’t look at the situation in front of him with no idea where to turn like that sad 10 year old who was standing beside the burn barrel wondering how to reconcile the idea of knowing her dolls were being burned.

Fortunately for us all, Christ looked at this world created by God and corrupted by sin and he said, “Yes I will, pick me, and I will do what is needed to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to be reconciled to God.” With that as our example, I don’t know how we can do anything less than have compassion on the crowds of humanity who are hungering and thirsting to hear God’s word and feel Christ’s love. Let’s be sure we take the time to share what we know about that with those around us this week and in all weeks to come. Amen

Sale over/birthday cake

Sale set up!!

So the sale is over. The tags of all left over items have been removed. The left overs have been resorted and boxed into: give to Good Will, give shoes to Nicole for her fund-raiser, take upstairs to the cut up for t-shirt rug pile, stack in the garage for cut up jeans for quilt pile, and the send to the cousins to pick through then donate box. Sounds like we have too much left, but all in all I think we sold far more than expected. I really like that the bag of knee highs in the Free box disappeared. I love how nonchalantly that lady walked off with that bag. We also are free of those two old video chairs that we have toyed with selling for years. The funny thing is the one without a tag drew attraction, but when the young man picked it up, I said it was free only if he took both. The grin on his face was worth all the work we put in to the sale. There was even one Tupperware item and two books from the free box that found their way into the garbage when it was all said and done. Hurrah! Hurrah!

About the time that we were closing up shop it started to rain. We ended up dragging the tables into the garage with some of the boxes still on them then finished packing inside. Eventually everything was packed up, all the tables were folded up and put in place and even the vehicles were back in their stalls. As we were finishing up the sales, Paulina baked the cake for the birthday girl (Ana turned 3 today). Later Nate and Victoria decorated it and by that time everyone was ready for a nap, except for David who was just getting up from his. As soon as he was up, I headed to the computer room to finish the sermon. While I worked on that James got to grilling up another batch of hamburgers and hot dogs. We had German fry sausage and Knepfla soup for lunch, not the healthiest of meals, but good for a summer picnic.

Trolls cake

I will probably share more about the birthday girl and the rest of the family gathering tomorrow. For now here is Ana with that cake her parents, mostly her father decorated. I was out of blue food coloring when they started, and apparently now the red is empty. Yipee! One less container of something in the cupboard. I was only to happy to contribute to the cause. And let me just say that if I had a cake pan made to order, I would never have been able to come up with a cake that looked like that. To say they are creative is pretty much an understatement. So, how was your first Saturday in August???

More organizing, Cleaning, preparing for company

Sophia asleep under the table. She doesn’t get why all of this stuff is on the table she normally claims to look out the window.

Racks waiting to be marked

Today was day two of getting ready for this crazy rummage sale. It is always an excuse for me to drag boxes after boxes of crap out of the basement and closets and corners of the house to try to remove them. Mostly it doesn’t work, and I pack things back up for the next year. Time to stop that part of the scenario and get serious about removing all of it from our house permanently. This time I dug out some things that the two oldest will have to say, “Mine or don’t want this anymore.” At that point I will feel off the hook in terms of keeping it any longer. I don’t want to be the mother who burns her daughters dolls and forbids said daughter to even notice that they are being destroyed. Some days a bad memory would be a good thing.

I finished up the laundry that goes with the sale and James and I stripped the beds for the families coming home then washed, dried and remade the beds. In the meantime, I dusted my room and cleaned the bathroom counters and James did all the floors of the upstairs. We also did some rearranging and vacuumed the computer area so there will be a place for David to sleep. From the looks of it, we will have someone in every room possible. I am hoping that by the time we hit Thanksgiving or Christmas, whichever one is our holiday, we are able to have an additional bathroom and a fully functional basement pad. Perhaps I am just dreaming.

I should scour the rest of the house for some misc. items to add to the sale as that is what I mainly advertised. Thankfully I did not advertise plants. I had a few to put out, but the storm of the other night toasted most of them out.

I tried to keep a list of what we had cleaned out. I took a piece of paper and put three columns on it: eliminated, rummage sale, save. So far the lists are even with saved lagging behind a bit (hurrah)!!!

A few points of reference that I have to throw in here about what to keep and what to toss. I have been reading these posts and pins of how to contain clutter. So many of them list 25, 50 60, 100 thing to throw out. Well let me tell you if I have to put: old papers, broken electronics, torn clothing on the list then I might as well put on, well ok, I am not out to insult anyone, but I was looking for ideas that I had not considered before. I enjoy the lists of what not to toss. They make sense. Throwing just to throw must mean you have had enough of everything and out it all goes.

I told James this morning if I were really serious about cleaning out this house, we would back a truck up to the east deck, open the door and throw every box in the house inside. I can guarantee that if we did that, the very next morning we would be out in the area where it was unloaded looking for a particular piece of important paper or some gadget that we needed right now. In our major closet renovation, we took down the rod near the floor that was for our pants. I wanted to put it on the sale along with the holders, and James reminded me that the minute we sell it, we will figure out where we need exactly that, and the brackets alone are $5. each.

What I am looking forward to removing from the house after or with all of the items that are leaving either via the sale or the trip to Good Will, is the boxes they were in. If the boxes do not go with the items, they will be headed to the recycling center the very next chance we get. I began to realize that reusing anything that I can recycle such as cardboard boxes makes them not such a great idea to use for storage in the future. On the other hand, it is much cheaper than purchasing loads of tubs. Going forward, I will try to reuse only the items that have no chance of being recycled, so that will be my way of keeping them from the landfills. The center we go to currently does not take glass, so that will be a thought when I go to purchase items. I either figure out how to reuse it, or how to purchase something in a different container. Mostly I would like to see less in terms of containers and packaging, but I realize that mostly it is about safety in terms of packaging.

Well, I am getting off task, and it is time to clean out the garage, meaning back out the vehicles, sweep and set up the tables. We can then drag all of this clean stuff out there and begin the long task of marking the items for the sale. I may wait to do some until Victoria is home. She has promised to help decide what is worth putting out and what goes into give away, and what just might go straight to junk. In that vein, I have a pile of old t-shirts that were already set aside to cut up for crochet rugs, and a few jeans that went straight to the “cut me up for a lap quilt” pile. Enough for now, update later or tomorrow after the sale.

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