Monday, December 31, 2018

Reflecting . . .

Well, in my last post, I was looking forward to the week before Christmas and enjoying the days leading up to Christmas. That bubble got burst! I got some kind of head/throat malady that I am just now getting over. Uff-dah! I am really thankful I was a little ahead in my work, for I really needed it! Everything got done, all the services went well, but my nice, few, peaceful days will have to wait until next year!

But it was a very nice Christmas anyway. Having the whole family home and together was a blessing. My older daughter had her wisdom teeth taken out the week before Christmas, and so we were invalids together. :-)  Sadly, my father didn't really "get" Christmas this year. His sense of time is gone and he didn't realize it was Christmas. We had a couple of gifts for him, but he only opened one. That's okay, of course. Just a bit sad for us. He's slipping away. He still knows us. We still have good visits with him (most of the time). He'll be 95 this year! What a blessing to have this extra time with him.



His real Christmas gift this year was my children playing Christmas hymns on violin for him. We sat around on Christmas afternoon singing all the hymns he knew so well. He really liked that! Here's a picture of my two daughters playing for him . . .


Even my son played for him! He hadn't picked up a violin since he went off to college four years ago, but it came back to him pretty quickly. He did well! (No picture, though.)


Peasant family Christmas picture.

My sister was also able to come down from Connecticut and spend some time with us after Christmas. Like after Thanksgiving, we went to another Escape Room for a little fun. We went to a different place this time. It was quite different, we had less time, and this time, we did not get it done in the allotted time. We did pretty well, just not good enough. I think that given a little more time we would have gotten more of it figured out, but there was one thing at the end that just didn't seem fair to me that I don't know if we would have gotten or not. But anyway, we had fun.

I am also most grateful that in early December I had been contacted by Rev. Robert Rahn of the Lutheran Heritage Foundation to see if we would be interested in having him at our congregation the Sunday after Christmas. He would lead Bible class and preach and tell the story of the LHF and the work they are doing around the world to spread good Lutheran theology. Given my sickness and the fact that I was still recuperating after Christmas, what a help that was! And his presentations were well received by the congregation. A big thanks to him!

Now, time to ramp back up and get things going for 2019 . . .  :-)

Monday, December 17, 2018

Twas the Week Before Christmas . . .

One week until Christmas. Now, things calm down a bit for me! Is that backwards? I don't know. Yes, I still have Christmas shopping to do, but I don't worry about that too much. Most of the extra stuff I have to do is now done: annual report, annual meeting, open house, newsletter, cards, decorating, bulletins . . .  From Thanksgiving through the first half of Advent it is quite hectic. But now, things slow down and I really enjoy this part of Advent. A few sermons to write, but mostly, for me the stress is now off. Now, time to enjoy. :-)

A couple of other comments . . .

My prayer list is getting rather long! It always varies in size as people are added and removed, but it seems as if these days there is an unusual amount of people with troubles to pray for. I am glad to do so, but my heart breaks for them.

And two verses that jumped out at me this morning in Morning Prayer, both from Isaiah:

The fear of the Lord is Zion treasure. (Isaiah 33:6b)

For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our king; he will save us. (Isaiah 33:22)

That first one is just plain cool. But that second one, think about it. We usually connect judge and lawgiving with condemnation, but here Isaiah is connecting them with saving. Hmmm . . .

Thursday, December 6, 2018

I wonder . . .

I watched a few minutes of George H.W. Bush's funeral today while I was eating lunch. The story was told of his service in World War II and the time he was shot down in the Pacific during a bombing run in 1944. Well . . . in 1944 my father was serving in the Pacific also, in a rescue squadron that would go out and look for downed airmen! So it is possible (although I do not have any evidence for it), that my father was looking for the pilot who had been shot down who later became the 41st president of the United States. How about that? Bush was eventually rescued by a submarine and taken to safety, but interesting to think of what might have been . . .  :-)


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Good Quote

My Elders and I have been reading through Grace Upon Grace: Spirituality for Today by John Kleinig. I had read this book before, but am enjoying reading it again and discussing it with my Elders. Here's a quote/thought I came across again that I really like, considering the communal aspect of prayer:
In our supplications, we, like Jesus, identify ourselves with others and stand together with them. With Christ we stand in for them by our petitions to God for them in their need. We are to act as if their needs are, in fact, our needs . . . as if their welfare is ours . . . as if their sins are ours . . . [and thank God] as if their blessings are ours. . . . This is an aspect of intercession that has received scant attention in recent times, but it was prominent both in Judaism and the Early Church. They believed that the Church was appointed to serve, together with the angels, as a single choir that voiced thanks and praise to God on behalf of the whole human race.

Escape Room

So I'm a little slow posting this . . . but the Friday after Thanksgiving my sister took us to an "escape room" in Alexandria. This is where you are locked in a room and have to find and figure out clues to escape. In our room there were a bunch of locked boxes that we had to figure out the clues to get the combinations to unlock them, and then find the pirate's gold. We needed a couple of hints (the people there said most groups need a little help) but then we started to get the hang of it and got it done with 3 minutes to spare! (They give you one hour to do it.) It was fun. I think she's going to try to find us another one to try after Christmas, since my wife was working and couldn't join us for this one.

Anyway, a couple of pictures . . .


The name of the place we went to.


Us with the opened chest of pirate's gold.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Catching Up

I know, I know, it's been a while since I posted. Life has been quite busy. Currently I have:

5 different catechism classes
2 campus ministries
3 Bible studies
A Mission Church start
A Doctoral dissertation
Circuit Visitor duties
And the regular church duties of meetings, visitations, web site updating, email devotions, newsletters, oh, and yeah, some sermons to write!
And might as well throw in yard work, house work . . .

So yeah, a little busy these days. :-)  But all good stuff! (Well, mostly good. Circuit Visitor has to deal with some not good stuff.)

But I do have a few pictures for you . . .


My youngest turned 13 this year! Instead of a cake, she got a cheesecake with blueberries and raspberries baked in. Yum!


The local squirrel enjoying our Halloween pumpkin.

And finally . . .



Our first snowfall of the year! It's not going to amount to much, and when the temps go up a bit it's going to turn to rain and wash away, but it's pretty now.  :-)

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Oops! She Did It Again!

Went to my daughter's symphony concert in Richmond last night . . .


She was Concertmaster last year for one of their concerts and was sure she'd never get it again! We made a bet: she said no, I said yes. Now lookin' forward to the pay off . . .  :-)