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a most excellent week.

8 Jan
As written about previously, my Christmas was … eh. Okay. I was snowed in. I went a bit crazy. It didn’t really even feel like Christmas. I was very thankful that the next week totally redeemed the holiday for me – I had a week of visitors, familiar faces, and lots of friends. Here’s a quick recap:
Sara Stenstrom (a bestest friend, former housemate and coworker from my days in Stillwater) journeyed to Dawson to meet the gnomes and no two feet of snow was going to stop us. We got very cold and very snowy on our visit to gnome park.
My seminary friend, wonderful Ms.Kate, came to Dawson to spend New Year’s Eve with me. We drank a bottle of wine and quilted! These were our fabric accomplishments that evening —
I drove to Willmar (one hour northeast of Dawson) to enjoy the Gieseke family Christmas. The Gieseke family – another Stillwater connection – has basically adopted me into their family since I’ve lived in MN and I love them for that! (Note to self: take family photo + Lindsay with Gieseke’s to include in blog.)
From Willmar, I traveled to St.Paul to meet up with my long lost buddy, Adam Teske, who was in town from Iowa! I have known Adam since my days in Decorah and my fingers are crossed that he will be joining me on the Luther Sem campus next fall.
I spent the night at my college roommate and her husband’s new place (sleepover!), we had a lovely breakfast together, and then it was time to journey back to gnome-town for me. But my, oh, my, the whirlwind week of wonderful people was just what I needed after too much isolation!

Mrs. Zulu

22 Oct

Lori, Mrs. Zulu, and I
Grace Lutheran Church is a part of the Lac Qui Parle (say it with me: lack-a-par-ul) conference in the larger southwestern Minnesota synod of the ELCA who partners with a region of the Lutheran church in South Africa. For the past two weeks, we have welcomed two representatives of that region to stay with us in our conference. I had the joy of getting to know and spending much time with Mrs. Zulu, a member of the Lutheran church in South Africa, a mom to three, and a police officer by trade.
Mrs. Zulu, and the gentleman, B.M. from South Africa, spent time in various congregations and towns within the Lac Qui Parle conference. Mrs. Zulu came to Dawson for a weekend and I was her ride. We had some generally awkward conversation in the half hour drive. She came to church to Grace last Sunday and spoke, sang, and answered questions from the children.
Last Sunday was crazy for me. I preached at the early service. Schmoozed at the pastor’s appreciation coffee hour. Assisted at the second service. Led an early afternoon service at the care center in town. THEN, Mrs. Zulu, Lori, and I made our way to St. Cloud to attend a theological conference for three days.
In the two hour car ride, we bonded. Lori and I learned a lot about Mrs. Zulu and her life in South Africa. We heard about how she met her husband and how her children begged her to bring home “USA clothes.” I’ll admit, I was tired and in the back seat of a moving vehicle. I nodded off a few times but if Mrs. Zulu sensed I wasn’t listening, she would say, “Linze! Linze!” until I responded, assuring her I was still listening and awake.
From that point on, Mrs. Zulu stayed close to Lori and I for the remainder of the conference. She liked us. 😉 It was great to hang out with her and get to know her in the short time we were together. As of early this afternoon, Mrs. Zulu and B.M. were on a plane, returning to South Africa after a successful trip, sharing their lives and how the partnership of our churches enriches all of us, on each side of the ocean.

a tour of area statuary

12 Oct

Last Friday, I welcomed three friends from seminary to bunk and play with me for the weekend. James drove, Justin took pictures, and Kate slept on the three hour journey from St.Paul to Dawson. They arrived bearing hugs, apples, cookies, and sleeping necessities for the weekend away. We spent our time watching movies, playing games, catching up, and touring the area statuary, including :
The gnomes in Dawson. Of course. We discovered that the gnome chapel is open and we could walk inside and worship in the tiny pews at our own will! Pastor Lori said that the chapel has actually held wedding services before. For normal sized people and not pint sized people. Not quite sure how that works.
A dude from Uruguay who resides in Montevideo and a viking in Milan.
Then, of course, there is Lou T. Fisk in Madison.
We had a wonderful time exploring the vast western Minnesotan landscape in the freshly fallen snow on October 10. Snow. October 10. Oh. I think I also failed to mention – we found Gladys, the missing gnome. Case closed.

Visitors!

5 Oct
I had my first visitors to Dawson this past weekend and it was awesome to see Grandpa Sid, Aunt Janice, and Uncle Bill. They made a weekend of it and joined me after a short jaunt to Brookings. I gave them the royal tour of Dawson – it takes about five minutes – and then we went in search of a place to eat dinner. This is more difficult than it sounds because we ended up at Dairy Queen. It seemed every other venue was packed to the brim with an event or Saturday night diners and there aren’t that many venues to pick from to begin with!
They stayed at a guest house here in Dawson (wonderful accommodations!) and then came to 8:30 worship at Grace. They met many people before service who approached them, knowing they were new faces, and Lori, the interim pastor, introduced them before she preached her sermon! (I’m not sure Grandpa liked that or the applause that followed!) They sadly had to leave right after the service, but had a long drive ahead of them that day.
Word travels and even the people who weren’t at 8:30 worship kept asking me about my family that visited! Have they left yet? Did they like it? Where are they from? When is your mom coming to visit? It’s a small town … and they’re perhaps a bit nosey but with good intentions.

Touchdown Jesus

5 Oct

I drove one and a half hours to Brookings, SD one night after work to meet up with my dear friend, Kari, who lives in Seattle but happened to be in South Dakota for a family wedding. Since we are rarely in the same region of the United States, we met up for burgers at Nick’s and spent some time together in the big city of Brookings. Well, big compared to Dawson – they have stoplights. (Grandma – Nick’s is the hamburger place that you gave me that article about from Midwest Living. It was a pretty cool place!) While in Brookings, I decided to visit? stalk? egg? the congregation where I was originally assigned to do my internship. On the outside of the church, there is a large mosaic of Jesus and this Jesus appears to be signaling one thing – a touchdown.
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