I am so glad you are willing to give up the time to provide all of us with more information about you.
1. You have commented on the cold and the snow several times in recent blogs. How does this winter compare to other winters in your area?
This winter we've had a lot of snow, totally, but most of it was in December. Since then, we've had only refreshing dustings, to keep up appearances. We were wondering if we'd run out of places to put the snow. The snow in front of the house is all tracked up by the deer and red squirrels, but the back area is virgin snow, waiting for a few snow angels to do their good work.
This year's accumulation is above average, but that is better than the way below average snow cover we had in early 2007, when the frost went so far into the ground that our well pipe broke and the septic mound froze. We were without sewer and water for 3 1/2 months. I was feeling sorry for myself until I met people in the laundry mat who live full time without running water or flush toilets.
We can tell that this year's cold stretch is longer and deeper than usual because we're going through our wood supply at a record clip. We've been using about a wheelbarrow load of split wood each day. But when the sun is bright, we can let the fire go out during the day because the house is designed for passive solar heat collection in winter. Wood heat is cozy but the debris that gets on the floor is messy. We're glad when the wood heat season is over. By the way, if it is above 20 degrees at night, we don't need to have a fire in the wood stove overnight. Good insulation really does reduce the need for heating.
2. I note from your year end report that you " baked a lot of bread". What kind of bread do you bake? Do you have a favorite recipe? I usually make 2 loaves of sour dough and two loaves of cracked wheat bread every week. My husband likes to eat starchy food, and bread is his favorite. And I have to say, my homemade bread is much better than store bread.
I mix the dough in the bread maker, let it rise, shape it, put it into greased bread pans, let it rise, and bake it about 33 minutes at 350 F.
1 3/4 C water; about 1/4 - 3/8 C cracked wheat (Homestead Mills brand); 2 tsp salt; 2 Tbsp Sugar; 1 Tbsp dry milk; 4 Cups Bread Flour. I usually use Dakota Maid. about 2 tsp good quality yeast. When you are mixing it in the bread maker, you need to adjust the amount of flour/water to get the right feel, which should be like the consistency of good bubble gum, not too stiff, not too sticky.
3. Tell us a bit about your involvement with missionaries in Nigeria. I know the parents and brother of Mary Beth, an ELCA missionary in Jos, Nigeria, (click on Nigeria) who went there as a teacher and married a Nigerian man, a pastor, I think. They have two children by birth, and a daughter whom they hope to adopt. Mary Beth's parents moved to my general community after she was an adult, so I only met her when she has been back visiting. Sometimes she is in the states to speak at conferences regarding AIDS. She and her husband founded the Mashiah Foundation, see right side bar. They have taught women sewing and quilting skills so they can be self-supporting. Most of these women have AIDS and are rejected by society, but with the help of AIDS drugs, often provided through programs of the US government, they regain dignity and usefulness in society. The Foundation also has a clinic and a school. These are amazing accomplishments for the short time they have been working in Jos. There are many items for sale, with the income supporting this ministry. I purchased a liturgical stole from the Women of Hope. There is a video out, but I've misplaced the title. A very large quilted piece from the Women of Hope (Mashiah Foundation) was displayed at the Women's convention (see right side bar) last summer in LaCrosse, Wis. Mary Beth's inspirational blog is worth reading. Find it here.
Interestingly, the local Baptist church has taken on the Mashiah Foundation as one of their missions because Mary Beth's parents attend there and because they have spoken there. One can make a tax deductible donation through the First Baptist Church.
4. What is it like to have no one left living at home? I like the freedom this gives me to come and go without considering anybody's needs but my own. Even when I leave town, I don't have to make sure that there is enough food in the refrigerator because my spouse can take care of himself. Of course, I'm introverted, so alone time is treasured like gold.
5. Your daughter is about to be Ordained . As one who has been active in the church what advice do you have for her and other Pastors just starting out? Love the Lord, Love the people. Keep track of what you do with your time, for your own benefit and in case someone on the council starts questioning you. Know your strengths, use them. Know your weaknesses. Either get some help strengthening the weak area or delegate what you won't/can't do. Don't just procrastinate what you have trouble doing. Remember to empower the members of the church by NOT DOING EVERYTHING yourself. It is more time consuming in the short run to get others involved, but it is much better in the long run for the church and for the parishioners.
Remember to offer to interview anybody who leaves a comment asking to be interviewed. If you want to volunteer to be interviewed, just know that I won't get back to you until at least Feb. 19.
Thanks, Dr. John