Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The magic of flying, NOT!

In the past, I've always thought of flying as a sort of magic carpet ride. I would leave my house when snow was on the ground or at least when I still had to wear a jacket and, after only several hours, descend into the land of palm trees. Well, that would include flying for a winter vacation, of which I haven't had enough to make them routine.

However, leaving hot, humid northern Minnesota and flying via NWA to Philadelphia in July, means not even packing a jacket. In the past, I've told people in northern Minnesota that the don't even know what humid means. I spent summers when I grew up next to one of the Great Lakes, literally, so I know humid. But there the lake breeze usually was the prevailing wind, so it could be cool. In Philly, humidity rules.

I haven't heard any news since Friday, but apparently NWA made the news for having so many cancelled flights this past weekend. My trip, including the long drive to the airport, the wait there, the layover, the next flight, and the drive after being picked up should have taken about 12 hours. I'd still consider that a magic carpet ride. But I was already en route to the airport when I received a call from my daughter telling me that my flight had been cancelled. She managed to get me booked on some alternate flights, so that the whole trip took 30 hours, including the drive back to her place from an alternate airport. If I had gone with NWA's rebooking, I would have still been in Atlanta then, and still flying about 8 hours later.

So I enjoyed being a tourist in Duluth for the day. It is a wonderful tourist spot. And I was able to stay overnight at my best friend's house. It is a good thing I have a best friend because as far as I could tell, there was one hotel room open in town with a price to match that circumstances.

I had been looking forward to attending my daughter's church on Sunday, but I was flying then. I got to see it this evening when there was an event. It is in an old town, now a suburb, with changing demographics and all the challenges that go along with that. It is a different world for me, even though I grew up in a big city. In those days there was more segregation of cultural groups. It was just a fact. These days, the churches at least try to reach out to the people of the communities, but the old ways don't appeal to many of the young people of various groups. I can see why some churches go to the seeker sensitive models, although I don't know if that appeals to those groups that aren't financially successful.

Certainly there are large mission fields in this country, whether rural or urban. I'm not sure which side of the stained glass is the mission field.

I'm also on Grandma duty this week. We're working on opposites: up and down, in and out. So I have, fittingly, the duty of both ends: kisses and diapers.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Bible School

Our church along with a very small church in town are again combining for Bible School, which is next week. I've been attending the planning meetings even though I will be out of town for the Bible School week because I like to do the behind the scenes work best. I help with the posters advertising the week and I make posters about our mission project.

20 people attended the planning meeting this week and many more were mentioned as helping next week who didn't need to be at this meeting. The last day of Bible School (next Friday) a number of people are lined up to take the older children out on pontoon boats fishing. 6 boats with "captains" have been lined up. After they return to the church, lunch is served to all, including any parents who come. While the older kids are out on the lake, the younger kids will visit the nursing home.

The rest of the week is high energy, with worship, Bible Lessons, drama, art, outdoor activities, and food. It is tiring! My daughter's church has a 5 week program. I can't imagine sustaining the energy for that.

Our mission project (collection) will be split between the nursing home's activity department and a school in Africa. Since that is the school I will be visiting in November, I'm sorry I won't be there to present the information to the children.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Water, Yeah! River Nay!

I am very happy to report that we finally got a clean official report, so that we once again, have potable water coming out of our tap. We went over three months without running water, and then had to wait and wait for the water to clear up and pass the health department testing.

Unfortunately, we are having a second summer of drought. The river is lower than we've seen it in 30 years. We did have some rain in early June, but since then, well, it hasn't added up.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Four Cups!

AFTER I baked the pie, four cups of wild blue berries were left over!

Tip of the hat to Ross for letting me know that they were ripe.

We drove for an hour, put our canoe in the water, paddled a long time until we found a lunch spot and we were rewarded with these provisions. Oh glorious July day!

Church Banner for 125th Anniversary

Check out this beautiful church banner made by cyber friend Julaine Lofquist-Birch.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Missing the Boat (news item)

Well, actually, it was the boat that DIDN'T MISS the island....

I heard a news report on TV this morning about a boating accident. A small boat with four people on board hit some rocks and an island. They all had to be taken to the hospital (including being airlifted) to treat their injuries. They were using a GPS navigational device at the time of the accident.

This is the fourth boating accident this month in the northern part of our county during which the accident participants were using a GPS device.

Seems like there should be spiritual lessons in this somewhere, if you'll excuse the mote in my eye/speck in other's eye aspects of the lessons.

Someone spending more time in Bible Study than in living out the Gospel.

Someone depending on exact knowledge of doctrine to save them instead of looking at the Cross.

Someone being adamant about using elaborate liturgy but missing the joy of worship and the Peace that Passes Understanding.

Someone insisting that the Bible is the literal Word of God but missing the living Word of God.

Look up People. See where you are going!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Working Mother....

Or perhaps, Working Father.

This robin and spouse were taking turns feeding the babies in the nest in the small oak tree near the garage. They would land and pause on the roof of the garage between flights. If they saw that we were nearby, they wouldn't fly to the nest.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Why wear a stole?

A blog musing by a fiber artist/stole maker and a link to a contest to win a stole.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

At last, a politician whose word we can trust.

PM: Iraqis can keep peace without U.S.

By BUSHRA JUHI, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 45 minutes ago

BAGHDAD - Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saturday that the Iraqi army and police are capable of keeping security in the country when American troops leave "any time they want," though he acknowledged the forces need further weapons and training.

The embattled prime minister sought to show confidence at a time when pressure in the U.S. Congress is growing for a withdrawal and the Bush administration reported little progress had been made on the most vital of a series of political reforms it wants al-Maliki to carry out.

The rest here.

The whole situation over there is so sad, no matter what we do or don't do. How can we blame them for the mess after we did so much to stir up the pot??? Pray for God's wisdom to prevail and for all leaders to be humble enough to look to God for guidance.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Taking things for Granted (Yep, lights and water)

During the 3 ½ months that we were without running water this winter/spring, I learned how much I take that for granted. We learned to get along alright. It wasn’t such a hardship once we got some alternative accommodations in place. The best part about getting the water back on, after drilling a new well and getting a new pump was that I can take a hot shower anytime I want to, just turn on the faucet. What a luxury!

I reflected often on the fact that it isn’t all that far in the past when my ancestors didn’t have automatic running hot water, or any kind of tap water. And not having easy access to water is a fact of life in many parts of the world. We’ve all seen the photos of people, usually women, carrying large jars of water on their heads. In some communities, the people are fortunate if they have to only walk a few miles to obtain clean water.

Yesterday we had a big wind storm. The electricity was out for about 12 hours. Apparently the outage was here and there over a fairly large area.

This again made me think about what I usually take for granted. I made a list of the things I couldn’t do:


Read blogs

Listen to a radio that plugs in. [Do we even have batteries for the old portable radio?]

Watch TV



Sew by machine

Cook and Bake

Wash dishes in warm water

Clean out a closet in the basement (too dark)

Wash and dry clothes by machine

Things I now hav
e no excuse not to do:


Read Bible

Visit people

Read long neglected magazines


Hem pants (hand sewing)

Write letters


Wash inside windows

Clean bedroom closet

What I did do was read, a bit of exercise, and walk outside when the weather improved.

We went to bed when it was still a bit light out, at about 9:50 pm. It wasn’t hot, so we were glad not to need the fan on.

This is all good preparation for my upcoming trip to Uganda where they don’t have reliable electricity in the city because of the low depth of Lake Victoria. Electricity isn’t even an option in many villages. Water is drawn from wells. The school we will visit has had a well for only a little over a year. I don’t know how they managed before the well was drilled.

This picture was taken in 2003. Can you pick out my daughter from the rest of the students?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Dealing with corrupt government officials.........

China Admits Executing Former Food Safety Chief

10 July 2007

China's drug watchdog has admitted food and drug safety supervision in the country is poor and in need of improvement. The comments came as China executed the former head of its food and drug administration for allowing unsafe drugs to enter the market in exchange for bribes. Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing. article here.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Am I in the Zoo?

This was a busy week. First we went "out to the lake." This was actually our first time on the lake this summer. I was pretty fixated on using sun screen since I don't often wear shorts. The sunscreen came with me on our hike in the woods. Unfortunately, the bug spray was still in the canoe. I help feed some of God's wild creatures, namely the black flies and mosquitoes. For some reason, my skin feels especially sensitive to bug bites this year, although I'm still being stubborn: I haven't sprayed with bug spray even one time in 2007.

The next day, we went to the bear sanctuary,
which is quite out in the middle of nowhere, miles even from any tiny towns. We were quite surprised to see a very full parking lot and many people standing around waiting. Waiting for what? We all had to board a school bus and ride a mile to the bear viewing platform. There, we climbed the steps and walked around on a large deck-like structure, with a chance, of course, to buy souvenirs, and looked down and around for bears. I think I saw about 8 bears total.

This is a place where bears have been fed for years and it is now set aside as a sanctuary to study bears and for the viewing of bears by the public. The volunteers and interns that work there walk on the ground level, carrying food, and are close to the bears. They claim that if you understand bears, they are not dangerous. We even saw bears running past the worker's parked cars.

I called it the anti-zoo because the hundred or more people there were behind the "bars" along the sides of the deck.

The next day, I set out on my familiar 1000 mile round trip, to Cheesehead land, to visit my relative. It was a good visit, relaxing, but somewhat of a challenge, because her health problems include aphasia, a speech deficit. I realized how spoiled I have been when I tried to sleep there. The town is what is often referred to as "sleepy" but that word doesn't apply to the patrons, on July 3 and 4, of the next building up the street, a tavern. That is a world I don't know, even though that business has been up the street from my family's home for maybe 100 years. I haven't been in there since the previous owner died when she was almost 80. Different crowd in those days.

The State Patrol had blocked off the scenic road I usually drive on in Cheesehead land when I'm visiting there. There was a major national golf tournament; I saw aerial views of my home are on ESPN after I got home. The link has some nice pictures and works even on my slow internet connection.

Once back home, we were into the usual summer work and play. We're trying to grow some new grass even though we haven't had rain in almost a month. We've been enjoying the birds. We went to a Native American museum and canoes at a state park and went to the Canoe Capital of the world for an anniversary dinner. Ahhhh, summer. It's been hot, some days, but we feel safe enough to open all the doors and windows at night, so we can cool off the house. It may have been almost 90 yesterday, but it was 49 when I awoke this morning.

Ahhhh summer.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Lincoln's words, plus a prayer

Blog friend Singing Owl posted a very meaningful quote from President Lincoln about the blessings God had given our country, plus a prayer. Has our country changed at all? Yes, we still need to acknowledge where our bounty comes from and repent of our sins.