Archive | April, 2010

blog shout-out.

29 Apr
There’s no place like gnome received a blog shout-out on Our Little Slice of Happy, a blog I just discovered tonight. (I’m glad you commented on my post, Sabrina, so as to lead me into your blog world! And I have clothespins for you, as promised!) The blog is the humorous and sweet tale of C.’s family, written by his parents, Aaron and Sabrina. You’ll remember that C. is my good four year-old friend. We shake hands together. Play together. Generally have fun together. The whole family is wonderful! And remember how a few weeks ago I mentioned that I would miss the season of Lent? I loved reading that I wasn’t alone here and being reminded that Grace is a great church family!

Harland gnome.

29 Apr
Remember this from last week? Police recover Gnome. It was the breaking news on page nine in the Dawson Sentinal.
Harland, the gnome that has been missing for the last four years, has been restored to his original home, next to the feet of his gnome wife, Gladys. (Don’t you feel relieved to know this? Have you breathed a sigh of relief?) Harland and Gladys are both members of Grace, living together in the care center in Dawson. Harland was the manager of the grain elevator in town for many years, hence the prices in his hand. Oh happy day when a gnome has been returned to its gnome home! Now if we could just figure out where the hooligan teenagers put Gladys, all while hoping it wasn’t a velociraptor that took the heart-on-her-sleeve garden dweller … then all would be happy and well in gnome park.


28 Apr

Why WOULDN’T you want colorful clothespins and what COULDN’T you use these for?
I went a bit overboard – the clothespins came in bags of 50 – so why not cover, tape, and modpodge all of them? I’ll find uses for them, probably never all 50 at once but a few at different times. Comment on this post and tell me how you would use colorful clothespins and maybe you’ll find a few in your mailbox! (For serious! What am I going to do with fifty of these?)

rhubarb and spring.

28 Apr
I learned today of a mysterious rhubarb patch that is near my apartment building, apparently available and there for anyone in the apartment building. I hadn’t the slightest clue that this rhubarb existed until a congregation member, someone who doesn’t even live in my apartment building, told me about it.
Thus I came home and went on a rhubarb hunt with my kitchen knife.
I’ve always thought it was a small tragedy that when growing up on the farm, we had the largest rhubarb and asparagus patch, neither of which we ever ate in our house. Now I know that I love BOTH of the vegetables – apparently, I read that rhubarb is a vegetable? true? conspiracy? – and don’t have it so readily available as we did on the farm.
I found the illusive rhubarb patch … but was slightly disappointed. The stems are quite small … short … and I would need to pick an entire plant before I had much substantial to show for it. I still picked some and roasted the rhubarb so I can put it on yogurt. Maybe a rhubarb coffee cake for next week’s staff meeting?
On my little jaunt around the apartment building, I was struck by the different flowering trees which have suddenly came to light in the recent weeks – pink, red, and white – and was reminded how I love spring. The weather here has been so agreeable, so perfect. I’ve taken to walking to and from the gym and love the fifteen minute walk there and back in the cool night air. I wish the temperatures would remain in this range; I can do without 80 degrees and humid, which I’m sure is just around the corner.

my garden grows.

28 Apr

My garden is growing … somewhat miraculously.
The flowers are farther along than the herbs but there is finally a bit of green showing through with the chives and oregano.

handshake helper.

26 Apr
C. and I have spent a bit of time together lately. He likes it when I come over to his house to play and the feeling is mutual. I enjoy it when his parents invite me over to hang out. I’ve been over a couple of times for dinner and after-dinner games of car racing, I Spy, and Guess Who. C. and I, we’re pretty good friends now.
So on Sunday, the minute the closing hymn was over and “Go in peace; serve the Lord!” was proclaimed, C. left his parents and sister in the pew and ran out to the narthex to greet me. He threw his hands around me in a hug and then still wanted my attention as the rest of the congregation was leaving and trying to shake my hand – my hand that had a four year-old attached to it. I asked C. if he wanted to help shake hands with me. He nodded yes enthusiastically.
He stood next to me and shook every hand I did until the last congregation members had exited the sanctuary. I think the congregation members enjoyed it. “Oh, you have a helper this morning!” Apparently, C. tells his parents that he wants to be a pastor when he grows up. And a policeman. And a doctor. And a fireman.

a gnome-tastic surprise!

25 Apr
Knowledge of my gnome fetish is spreading –
– which means my gnome collection is growing.
And today is a gnew gnome day! People are apparently on the gnome hunt for me and this one was discovered accidentally and conveniently at a Herberger’s home store. Thanks to Serena for delivering this guy to my gnome home!
Let me introduce you to the gnew gnome :
blue hat. old man mustache. piercing eyes. cutest button nose ever.
What’s that? A baseball?
It’s a MLB team gnome – Minnesota Twins! Not only does the gnome represent and celebrate my life in Dawson – the town that has a gnome park and gnome-decorating contests (which, yes, I’m considering entering) – but it also geographically signifies the state in which I have resided for the past four years – Minnesota! Do you think when I attend a Twins game at the new Target Field this summer I can bring him along without buying a second ticket? Totally going to smuggle him in with my purse. (So excited!)
Maybe this gnew gnome can interest my other gnomes in a friendly game of baseball. He makes gnome number six so they can play three on three. Maybe use some ghost runners. I’ll keep score.

lock-in #1

24 Apr
Reason: First Communion instruction
Attendees : five awesome fourth graders and two pretty cool pastors
The fourth graders came over after school on Friday and got settled in – unloading snacks, ditching sleeping bags, and generally running around. Our schedule for the night was pretty relaxed. We were working our way through the new Augsburg Fortress curriculum, Fed and Forgiven (which I give two thumbs up), along with baking communion bread, eating pizza, watching a few videos, and staying up a bit too late with HSM2.
While it was unfortunate that not all the fourth graders in the class could attend, the small group we had was great. They were a TON of fun as we discussed what Holy Communion means for us and as they got excited about joining the church at the table. Kendall did most of the teaching; I enjoyed my spot at the “school” table with the kids. I learned a lot through the instruction, whether a new way of thinking or many new resources that will serve me well in teaching and in a more practical way than some seminary classes.
Baking the bread was a cool thing for the fourth graders to do. At Grace, we’re wafer people; our body of Christ tastes a bit like cardboard. But next week, on first communion Sunday, we will use the bread that the fourth graders baked last night.

The other highlight of the lock-in for me was listening to the fourth graders recite their memory work. I’m not always a huge fan of memory work from an educational standpoint but I thoroughly enjoyed listening to all five of them at once say the Words of Institution and I think they found value in doing it as they learned what the words mean :
[On the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took break, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying “Take and eat. This is my body, given FOR YOU. Do this for remembrance of me.” Again after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks and gave it for all to drink, saying “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed FOR YOU and for all people for the forgiveness of sins. Do this for the remembrance of me.”]

I spy green …

24 Apr


24 Apr

[The local pastors have a meditation column in the Dawson paper each week. Last week was my week to contribute so I wrote about one of my favorite events of late – taffy making with some of my favorite kids!]

I made taffy with fourteen third graders. I thought it would be a fun adventure, something a bit out of the ordinary. Have you pulled taffy before? I never had so I put on my brave face and decided we would try it together.

It was sticky. It was messy. It got really noisy. At some points I heard at least five kids calling my name. “I need help!” “Mine is stuck to the table!” There were times when I needed to collect myself or else I risked responding, in true fashion like my own mother, “One person at a time!” [Note: Sorry, Mom. Just a funny anecdote for humor purposes, not really a comment on your temper. I love you.] Over and over, I heard, “I need more butter!” Oh my goodness – the butter. To pull taffy, you have to butter your hands really well, otherwise the taffy sticks. It gets slimy, drippy, and slippery.

Taffy is a lot like life. Life gets sticky. Sometimes, life is a mess. We have five different projects calling for our attention at once. Or five different people – children, spouses, parents, bosses, teachers. Sometimes we want to scream for silence, for relief from what’s going on outside of ourselves. It’s chaotic. There are slippery situations. Just as the taffy can fall to the floor and get stomped into the carpet, so our lives feel like they fall apart at the death of someone we love, the surprise diagnosis, or the knowledge of an affair that comes to light.

When we finished pulling and packaging our taffy, I sent the third graders off with bags of their own taffy and a sheet of paper. It reminded them that when life gets sticky to remember this:

“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.” (1 John 4:9-11)

God loves us. God loves you and is with you when things get sticky and messy. God asks us to love others when their lives are sticky and icky. God is love. Eat some taffy (or make some and share it!) and be reminded that God is love even (and especially!) when things are sticky and messy and chaotic!

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