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.

Home from the wedding and the Shower

All I can say is that I am tired. It was a crazy busy weekend, yet we knew it would go way too fast. James and I actually talked about how crazy it was as we were in middle of it, yet we knew that we wanted to enjoy it as much as possible, and that it would all end too quickly without us being able to do it all, which is how most things go. For instances some of the little ones were in the pool with Adie while we were at the reception, which made them happy, and made it easier for us to visit.

So here is how it went: I left home on Thursday about 1 p.m. then stopped in Linton to pick up James. He had scheduled a track sign up meeting in Hazelton for a little after 2 p.m., which was a little clever because it got us farther up the road a bit more quickly. When we hit town, we stopped off at the Civic Center to see the end of the UJ men’s basketball game. It was their final game there as next year they will be in the new complex on campus.

Afterwards we went to check in which was interesting because we had so much stuff to drag up the steps, and then I really needed to have some time alone to get things ready for the rehearsal. James ended up going to Jessica’s for a quick visit and some pizza. We met at the chapel later and went through how things should go. After that we went out to grab a few more needed items and went back to the room so I could get the rest of the vow on paper and the message finished. Thankfully I had the ending written and the beginning in my book in long hand. We did our shower shopping on Friday morning, and so glad we did.

My rose

My rose

The wedding was likely the most interesting that many have attended. Tony wound up with a nosebleed at the end of the message and Kenlee’s necklace would not open. There were no attendants other than Tony’s daughters and before Jess and Tony exchanged rings they gave the girls necklaces. At the point of the pledges when they said the “I do’s” we had a part for the girls to say “I will” and Jess and Tony did the same to pledge to join together as a family. It was sort of interesting. I found that in our Book of Worship. Also Jaxon as ringbearer threw way more flowers than Ana as flower girl.

The only part that had me in a panic was when the mic did not work at the beginning. It was working fine earlier, and in fact a few people were messing around with it as we were setting up, so I was afraid someone had wrecked it. The issue was that when Lindsey stopped the music, she did it by fading the volume. Thankfully on about my third “welcome” she caught on and we were good to go. I have no pictures yet, so I will share the rose that I got as the mother of the bride. There were some really special moments, and I will always cherish the little time that Tony and I had together before the ceremony started. My mother always said you don’t need sons if you have daughters, sons will eventually appear. She was right.

working on the shower

working on the shower

The reception afterwards was just right and we spent time visiting and telling stories and laughing. It was good. I was so tired and when I finally went back to the room I found Victoria and Paulina working on the center pieces and decorations for the baby shower the next day. They had decided on a Dr. Seuss theme and Victoria went all out. I at one point told her to quit and go to bed. She and Nate and Jaxon and David were heading to Bismarck by 6 a.m. to go to a little kids wrestling tourney and I wanted to sleep. More on that shower later.

Saturday we were at the shower from 10 a.m. until later in the afternoon. We stayed overnight and hung out around the pool then on Sunday we went to Jessica’s for a bit and up to the campus for a bit then some shopping and headed for home. We walked in the house about 4:30 p.m. and spent the evening unpacking and putting away. I did a couple of loads of laundry, which was great because I got a call to sub today and that is why I am writing now. Hopefully I will have time to do more tomorrow, but at some point I need to finish the message for Ash Wednesday, so not sure when I will catch up here. Have a Happy Fat Tuesday tomorrow.

Packing for the wedding/baby shower

I don’t know why, it might be learned behavior from my mother, but traveling always seems more fun in the early stages of planning than on the day of leaving. I can’t remember a specific, but there were so many times when I thought as a child we were going to go some place or do something fun or exciting, and in the end we stayed home. She was even worse as she aged and getting out and about started being hard for her. Today I wish that we had taken better care of her and helped her more, but in our defense, she never wanted to be in a place that didn’t allow smoking. Now I fully understand her attitude about wanting to be at home with your own comforts (though no smoking here) because I have that same attitude.

It is ok to think about travel and trips and say maybe or yes I will, but when it comes right down to packing and leaving, I just want to stay home and have them tell me about it. So my issue today is really more than we will be spending three days in the hotel two weekends in a row. I am starting to realize my angst is for that trip to Baltimore to go to General Synod that is looming on the horizon. I also don’t want to have to think past these next two weeks, I want to focus on them and enjoy them. What was that in my New Year’s Resolution post, something about being in the moment, Just Live, I think is what I titled one post.

But maybe all this running around will turn out for the best so then we will be content to sit and rest for a bit. Ha!! Fat chance of that. As soon as we return from Tenn. the track season starts up and Jaxon will be in the middle of his second wrestling season which could involve some Friday night or Saturdays, and then we have meets and Paulina has outdoors and some time in there I suspect there will be a set of twins dropping in on the family. Maybe the trip in June will be our rest. At the least I feel that James and I have become the poster children for day trips around either the state of North or South Dakota. Our poor van is at 209,000 miles and going. Maybe that is what our next trip should be, to a dealership for another vehicle. Yikes!!

Ana in dress

Ana posing in old dress. Only she would get to stand barefoot on the kitchen table.

I think my biggest worry today is that I will leave something behind, though not a problem because there are two sisters coming later and they could maybe go to my house and dig until they find what I need, if I even have what I need. Thankfully two things will be allowed to stay home and that is really a blessing. I dug out the flower girl dress that Victoria wore when she was young, and though it fit Ana, it is not the best fit on the sleeves. I washed it, hung it outside to dry but because there was no breeze to fluff it out I was going to need to do a little pressing of it, groan! Well yesterday Victoria finally mentioned that she found a new dress on line that was very reasonable and is pretty and so great relief because I was able to take that headache off my to do list. I also found a clear bowl that will work for one of the activities and now I don’t have to clean up the old pretzel container that was in the garage. Through this whole endeavor, I keep finding more and more things that have been deemed clutter in our house, but actually are of use here. Not something that a pack-rat/near hoarder should be learning.

What I am most excited about in this whole wild weekend is that in digging out things to take along or to give away or to use in the endeavor, we ended up doing some cleaning and sorting out. I have that useable cupboard beside my bed which I wrote about a couple of posts back. Then last night as we were digging in the cleaning cupboard looking for some extra table cloths, we ended up sorting and tossing and organizing all the cleaning rags and containers. This was one place we ended up with the most thrown out items of all the de-cluttering we have done. We finally tossed shoe polish from the 1980s and some old vinyl car cleaner along with lots of worn out rags and empty bottles. It was great because with the room we cleaned out, we were able to move some containers from under the sink to a more secure area in this cabinet. I am bothered by this area each time the grand children come, so now that is eliminated.

Well, time to get on the road to Linton. I have a few stops down town, so catch you later maybe with a few wedding picks, or shower or both or maybe just by the pool. At least I am not on duty on Sunday morning. Yikes……  Oh yes, “Yippeee, going to the wedding!!”

Ana time

Last night I shared several of the Ana pictures, but not the full business of what I took. She is currently tucked in bed sleeping away. Now there is a rule in our house about never waking a sleeping baby, which we followed sort of, but my personal rule about never wake a sleeping two-year old is super firm. The only way we do that is if we need to leave the house to be someplace at a specific time. Today, she is in bed until she wakes up.

Shark towel

Shark towel

Last night at 3 a.m. she was “hunry” I am not sure if that is how she said it, but I got the point. After a talk with Vic this morning, I found out that it is usually more thirsty than anything. She was also coughing so a little medicine and she was good. Sophia wanted to come and sleep beside us, but was not real sure if it was safe, so she went to the edge of the bed and watched the television cartoon movie with us and we relaxed back to sleep.

Playing

Playing

I know, I know, You are not supposed to use tv to fall asleep, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. For me it relaxes all the anxiety and makes that part of my mind work in a different way so it stops focusing on all the things that make me worried. In other words, “it keeps the boogiemen away!”

Feeding Kelly

Feeding Kelly

Before bedtime, which was before 10 p.m. because we were all tired from our trips, she was playing with all those things that we drug out of the basement. [More information on the post of yesterday] I have a couple of pictures of her feeding dolls and such that I have shared here.

Today I hope to drag out the camera again. I was thinking that we could bake up some cookies or something. Paulina is off throwing today, so we won’t be going to see her throw tomorrow. Hopefully it all works out well, and she will be in the car early tomorrow to get here to spend a couple of days with us. Ana will love that because “Pean” is her favorite. In fact she used to call her grandma because she was confused about which name went where.

kitty pillow sewed again!!

kitty pillow sewed again!!

So, I have broken the ultimate grandmother rule. I am washing the blanket. Here is the thing. The blanket is a match for this pillow that is a cat. The pillow is stuffed and has a head and feet, and well, as things go, the one foot came off and the stuffing came out, so guess who is invited to sew it back together. I should have taken a video of her helping to stuff that pillow. We were tearing off pieces of stuffing from a bag I found in the closet. Hurrah, hurrah!

Another partial clutter removal. It is happening small steps at a time, and being used in a good way, not just tossed out. By the way, have you ever checked on the places where you donate? Not all can use everything they receive and for some there are innumerable hours of man power taken to sort and decided what to keep and what to toss, so when you donate, make sure it isn’t something you should have tossed. Ok, so that was my advertisement for this post.

On the Giraffe

On the Giraffe

After we finished the stuffing and I started on the sewing it back together part, Ana decided to play “horsey riding” with Paulina’s giraffe. Fortunately we had prior permission for this, or we would not be sharing this picture. Ha!! So far we have not heard from Paulina. Ana and I have not done much besides the pillow and eating. We are tired from being up last night, and most of our day has been spent in play and when she asked if she could sit on my lap, there was no way I could be too busy just hold her and watch her play. Also her nap was really just a short one while I was holding her on the rocking chair. We both may have zoned out for a short time, but that was ok. Now to get some supper ready for when Grandpa comes home.

Ana Invasion, such fun!!

Today we met Nate and Vic in Bismarck. Victoria needed to have her wisdom teeth removed and she went to the jaw and face or whatever you call it place there to have it done. Attached to that surgical dentist place is the dentist that James goes to when he needs a deep teeth cleaning to keep his gums in check. I know, I know it is TMI for me too, but those are the facts. So, because Victoria called for help with the children far enough in advance, James scheduled his cleaning that he missed last October for this day too, and he was able to get away from school on a “sick” day, and we were there.

First off, I am not sure why Vic thought we were needed to help Nate, he was more than capable on his own. In fact, he was much nicer to the snippy receptionist than I was, that is for sure. So here are the facts, as I say then be they real or alternative, you decide. Vic checks in, and I am standing beside her to hand off her birthday card so it does not get lost in the shuffle. She is asked for her Drivers license and as she goes to pull it out, I reach for David. You would have thought I was pinching the tyke. He does NOT let me say again with capital letters, does NOT like strangers, and I am in that department now. I quickly handed him over to Nate and stayed with Vic. The lady asked who would be the one to contact and then if he was staying in the waiting room. She said yes. In the meantime, the place was filling up, like majorly. The lobby is split in half by this cozy fireplace and a tv above it on each side. There are about 10 chairs in the back area and six or seven in the front. He went to the back area. Some people back there moved closer to make more room. James was in his appointment at the time. As soon as Vic was called back, Nate told me he was going to McDonalds with the kids to eat and would be right back. Vamoose, out the door. Actually, he took David out then came back for Ana. I went to wait for James. Pretty soon there was a phone call from Nate, he was coming back ASAP. Apparently he had gotten a call from the receptionist saying that he needed to be there, and asking who was going to pay because they could not do the surgery without the money.

Well EXCUSE me all to pieces for trying to get out of your stinking little place with two hungry kids. I probably would not have been as nice as Nate was. Ha!! So, my initial intent was to share about how Ana is playing and having fun with us on this first night of her 2017 winter vacation with Grandparents Haak. Hopefully it will be one of many in the future. I am thinking we will be good for the 2, 3 or 4 year old winter vacations and then the school age summer ones.

Ana showing off Piglet.

Ana showing off Piglet.

When we got home, we let her open her Christmas presents. We have not seen that family since Thanksgiving, so we brought their gifts to the dentist place and exchanged to the back of their car, then realized we needed to take Ana’s back with us. We also picked up a bag of items that need some mending. That will be its own post. I understand there is a doll in that bag who was mutilated by a dog. Poor little doll!

Some toys!

Some toys!

After the gift opening and a little snack of a supper, Ana was allowed a trip to the basement with Grandpa where they dug up a few toys that were Paulina’s and she  said Ana should get to play with them including the Kelly doll and her high chair/school desk, the Choo Choo baby in a car seat and the Panda. We also dug out the big stuffed giraffe later, but that was supposed to be more for help getting to sleep. On the other hand maybe she and I should just stay up so we can really ruin her sleep pattern before she goes home again.

Singing/dancing bear

Singing/dancing bear

Duck and bunny puppet

Duck and bunny puppet

Anyway, back to the toys, none of them were worth anything after Grandpa dug up a box of toy dishes. She was so busy pouring coffee there was no distracting her, that is until I took her to the Valentine display in the living room and she found my singing bear. She kept that going for a half hour straight. Next is was the puppets that she found upstairs. I left them out when I dug in the trunk a few nights ago. It has been great entertainment so far. I am guessing Grandma and Grandpa will be the ones able to sleep through the night to night. HA. More tomorrow.

Advent: Dec. 5, 2016

Grandchildren with Santa.

Grandchildren with Santa.

Apparently Victoria and Nate took their family to see Santa this weekend. What fun! Hopefully we can figure out a time for all of us to gather for Christmas even if it isn’t on the right day. Maybe we will need to begin adopting that old fashioned Dutch idea that my cousin’s family observed where they exchanged gifts on the day the wise men came.

A day at Story Book Land

Grandma and Ana with Glinda the good witch from The Wizard of Oz

Grandma and Ana with Glinda the good witch from The Wizard of Oz

The day after Ana’s birthday, we headed to Aberdeen to give the grandchildren a look at Story Book Land. This place has been around since James and I were first married and is a wonderful place for families and anyone who is a child at heart. I remember going to Story Book Island in Rapid City, South Dakota when I was a youngsters. For those who are not from this area, both places are theme parks (without major rides) in a sense based on children’s stories.

Ana with a Munchkin

Ana with a Munchkin

The park in Aberdeen did not start out to be centered around The Wizard of Oz, but it was eventually added and is a big part of the park. This story by Frank Baum, who once lived in the city of Aberdeen is set in Kansas, though according to many is really about the area of South Dakota where he grew up. Another interesting picture of Ana is of her coming out of a Munchkin house. She thought those were just the best even though she bumped her head a few times coming out of this particular house. I think this is one of the newer pieces. I don’t have a picture of it, but she went through the tornado house with me and wasn’t even scared.

Ana with Papa on the merry-go-round.

Ana with Papa on the merry-go-round.

I guess as long as I am on a role, I will continue with another picture of Ana. I have some pictures of David and Jaxon, but I will save them for tomorrow and their own post. This particular picture is of Ana and Nate as he stands with her on the Merry-go-round. Jaxon rode one of the horses, but she refused to get on one of them and instead opted to ride the lion that doesn’t move other than to go around and around. She was so busy waving to us each time that she went around, I am not so sure she saw much else on the trip. It was pretty hot that day, and by the time we hit the aquatic center, we were ready to get into the water.  I have no pictures from that stop, but I don’t think that is really a bad thing. Ha! I sure would not have wanted myself in any of those shots. Well, not much else to add to this post. It was a fun trip and something a bit different. Perhaps next year we can venture a bit farther away, but really as long as the children are this size something of this nature is just about right. For a look at the garden and some of our time outside together check out the posts on my other site, lucindagardens.

 

 

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