Post on Psalm 121

Every so many weeks the clergy in our town are asked to write an article for the local newspaper. Today was my turn and being pretty much caught off guard about it because I have been running hither and yon with too much on the schedule and a few unexpected events, I was a bit abrupt when the lady from the paper called to remind me about it. After our board meeting, I got home and managed to put together the following article. The hardest part about writing this for me is keeping it to a mere 450 words. I know every college student wishes their professors had that as a requirement for their papers. Anyway, below is the article with a couple of pictures thrown in for good measure.

My help comes from the Lord!

The Psalm I most like to use during a family service for the passing of a loved one is Psalm 121. It opens with one of the most comforting verses in the Bible. “I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” This verse was also appropriate to use this last Sunday as our congregation celebrated Earth Sunday. I always enjoy that Sunday because we deviate a little from the same-old, same-old pattern of sing songs, read the scriptures and me delivering a message.

Looking for food at the base of the stalks.

Snuggled in bed with me.

On Earth Sunday and again at the end of the year, I supplement the message with a power point of pictures. Our final Sunday’s pictures are of all the things we have accomplished as a church, the fellowship we have had and the special services and special events in which we have participated. But on Earth Sunday, the pictures are from nature. Usually I include flowers and trees and pictures of the garden at harvest. This year I had some shots of the Blue Jays and squirrels munching on the tall sunflowers we let grow wild in the middle of the garden. There were lots of pictures of migrating birds and even some of the family cats. It was fun to work on that message. It was easy to place the pictures and figure out the background and tweak the details. Working on details like that keeps my mind busy and away from the things that are weighing it down.

Marshall and Lily together in the crib.

In so many ways April should be one of the happiest months of the year. I should like it for no other reason than I was born in April. It is also the time of year for watching the trees bud, the grass turn green, and getting ready for planting. It is baby calves in the pasture and all things new. But this year we lost my mother’s younger brother to a heart attack, and the day I was returning home from visiting his family in Arizona, I realized it was the 28th anniversary of my father’s passing and somehow April no longer was about new life. “From where will my help come?” God is there for us in all things—the bad and the good. On the day after my birthday, my oldest daughter’s twins decided to enter this world. We didn’t expect them until May, but they had other plans. It will likely be May before they are released from the hospital, but for now we are rejoicing and knowing, “my help comes from the Lord.” May you enjoy this spring.

Easter weekend

I started this post on the Saturday before Easter, as in four days ago. I just can’t seem to get myself to take the time to sit by the computer and posting from my iPad is just not so easy or appealing. My age is beginning to show when it comes to technology. I frankly don’t enjoy watching television or movies on a 5×7 screen and I don’t like listening to music from my phone. I am not saying that the quality is bad, but when you grew up in the 70’s where everyone was into giant sized speakers hanging from the wall in perfect balance, and you tried like the dickens to afford a larger television because you were so happy to finally get away from black and white and have color, well…it is just different.

I always talk about being from the generation who touch the generation that survived the Dirty Thirty’s. My children can talk about being from the generation who touch the generation who began life with a black and white television. My has life changed. So below is what I was going to post last Saturday.

“What a weekend! I have been trying to put together a message for Easter Sunday and I can’t get past the second page. This afternoon, I couldn’t get past the first page without falling asleep in my chair. Good grief, you would think I had been up all night and that I was over worked. I admit it has been a long two weeks and there has been some stress, but I have really not been in the direct recipient of  any of it. In some ways, I feel more like one on the fringes, and I feel like it is selfish of me to feel stressed about any of it.”

For those of you who need a short recap, I was in Phoenix for a two short days at the beginning of the month because my uncle died, then we were running here and there after track meets both those we coach and one for our youngest daughter. The night of her meet, we all gathered to celebrate my big 60th birthday (a tish early) at a nephew’s pizza shop, Fire Flour Pizza, in Bismarck. Then we were back to track meet status until our oldest daughter called to say the twins were on the way. It was an unscheduled C-section the day after my actual birthday. The twins are a bit early, but it was a good decision and now they are able to grow and finish off their development with some pretty good eyes watching them.

Raja sitting at my feet today.

James and I spent one over night in Bismarck and then headed back to our home and all the things that entails. Vic and Nate and that set of grandkids was here for the weekend as was Paulina who brought Jessica’s dog, Raja. She had quite a trip too. They had a track and field meet in Aberdeen which from Jamestown to Aberdeen to here is a triangular sort of issue and would have made for lots of driving had she gone on the team bus. So, she opted for the drive herself with the dog in the car version, then she was able to come straight home from the meet. She got to Eureka in time to meet us at The Stop after Maundy Thursday services, which technically is a no-no. The jist of that service is to go home alone in silence and think about your life until Sunday. As you can tell, it is one of my least favorite days of the church year.

So Good Friday was wait for the Dickinson crew and Saturday was dye eggs with Jaxon and hang out with the family. We dug a ham and a bag of frozen potatoes that I picked up hither and yon from the freezer and that was our delicious Easter dinner after a church service that was like no other. We had several visitors as we do each year, but we also had two families that no one knew come in and join us. It was wonderful, and hopefully we didn’t scare them off from never coming back. James said at least one of them seemed to be enjoying the message, so hopefully….! I have resigned myself to the idea that we will not be adding members, so you never know.

Well, in a nut shell that is what we have been doing as of late. Hopefully, I can get to some of my work in the house and a few posts that have been on the back burner. I am not sure how far I will get before June. We have a full schedule of track and field meets as long as the weather cooperates. We have a wonderful set of junior high athletes and I just hope we do right for them. Paulina has some meets we might get to attend and this Saturday, we are planning to make a trip to Bismarck and hope to peek on the new grandchildren. Jessica started a Caring Bridges site, so we are able to keep up with their progress from afar. But, nothing like the first hand version.

Well, enough for now. I really need to get to the church office sometime today. We have a board meeting tonight and I should maybe get a report ready for it…. Yikes!!

Sharing baby pictures

Not much time to post today. I have been in church since before 10 am and have barely done anything except get songs ready for tonight. Here are two pictures which show more of grandma and grandpa and mom and dad than babies, but we will get there.

Lily

Mom and Lily, Dad and Marshal I think?

Babies are here!!

I don’t have pictures and am not authorized to post any yet, haha! But this is my version of the story. Yesterday as James and I and sister Kathy were on the way to a track meet in Hazen when Jessica called from her ultrasound that they would need to take the babies because one was not getting full nutrition anymore. Bottom line is we have two new grandchildren. Lily Patricia was 5# 12 oz. and Marshall Anthony was 3# 10 oz. more when we know more.

Babies’ Shower

Long ago, or today it seems like so long ago, we had a shower for Jessica, our oldest daughter. Those two weeks would have probably been a season of a reality show if we would be a family of any importance, or self importance as some of them are. We could have titled the episodes, “wedding,” “shower,”,” birthday,” “track meet,” “trip” and “Lent begins.” O yes, and I forgot the little kids wrestling meet thrown in the middle. We could have been up and down Interstate 94 several times with footage of the landscape, but I am getting off track. I found the pictures of the shower decorations and want to post them.

Victoria planned the event and created the decorations, though she left them for us to sort through and put up while she was at her son’s wrestling tourney. It was a logistics nightmare for a short time, and I felt like I was a Maypole with the rest of the workers spinning around me while I stood still observing. I did manage to get these pictures taken and a little of the food prepared, but as for setting up anything, especially tables, I can take no responsibility. I did, though, save the majority of the table cloths and some of the plastic utensils which I will stock up to my frugal living plan. Now I have more clutter for my house, but there was less contributions to the land fill, so I feel better. We also emptied out most of the paper plates and plenty of cups from my stash of picnic items, so that helped with eliminating clutter, which leads me to a wash out in that department.

I should give a shout out to Paulina and my sisters and the others who were there helping set up, they did a wonderful job, and in fact when we finally showed Melissa, the librarian some of the items that confused us, she knew exactly what they were and what to do. I must have skipped a few of the Dr. Seuss books and so I was rather out to lunch about what things were. Also it was great that we were able to use the area of North Dakota Farmers Union. It is where Jessica works and they have a great area for things such as this.

Back to the shower: Since this was a shower about baby twins without a gender identity at this time, Victoria used the theme of “Thing One and Thing Two” from Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat.  The invitations also suggested that guests could give a book and there were many of those. Victoria had a stash to put with the center pieces. It was great. She should have been the elementary teacher with all of her creative ideas. I suppose owning a Day Care she is using her talent, but she should be designing items on the side. Scattered throughout this post, you see the different center pieces she put together for the even. To the side here is a shot of Jessica, the mother to be, with the cake that she ordered from someone she knows in the area. Now that was a creation of wonder also. How do people do these things amazes me.

cake

candy bar

And don’t ask me for the how, I am clueless. There was also a “candy bar” beside the cake table. Victoria had labels to match some of the candy. We left that for Aunt Alvina to coordinate. As a Head Start Supervisor, we figured she would get the connections better than we did. O yes, no one wanted the center pieces and they were almost headed to the garbage when my sister the librarian saved them to use in her library for Dr. Seuss Day. Hurrah!! Hopefully she is able to use them for more than one time, but I have been afraid to ask if they were destroyed or saved. I was just grateful that I didn’t have to step in and salvage them.

Friday in Johnson City

Today was the day of the track and field meet. We were there by noon and saw the men’s weight throw and then Paulina threw. We still don’t have the complete results so we are not sure where she finished. We know that of the 8 placewinners 4 of them were from Hastings and two were from Concordia both of them are in Nebraska. One was from Ottawa in Kansas and that coach is a Jamestown graduate. The other was from St. Francis in Illinois.

We got to watch the men’s miler from UJ who just missed the finals, and the women’s 600 runner who did make the finals.

Inside

Inside

It was a good day and after for a fun time we went to eat at a place recommended to us by a fellow passenger on our flight into Knoxville. It is a BBQ spot and has been around for a long time. It is called the Firehouse and dummy me did not take a picture of the outside.

Paulina's meal

Paulina’s meal

Paulina and James had the half rack, Adie did to but she had chicken too and I just had a burger but it sure was good. The service was fantastic and everyone was super friendly and oh so fast.

Arrived in Tennessee

The pool has ice on it.

The pool has ice on it.

The room with James in the background.

The room with James in the background.

Ironic is what you can call the title beside the category of this post. We touched down in Knoxville about 8:30 pm picked up a rental car and made it to Johnson City around 11 pm. The hotel was a surprise because the doors are on the outside. That is not something we see very much in large hotels in either South or North Dakota. Well not much else to mention. The flights were good, the layover was ok, and the car was fine. The worst was trying to check in and the lobby was locked. We all so do  not get the side by side rooms we were promised. Then when we opened our suitcase we found an inspection notice and the worst was that neither of us put the toothpaste in.  I also knew ahead of time that I had forgotten my hairbrush. Long day, but wouldn’t change it, and through the whole thing I remembered to live in the moment. More later!

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