Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday Morning Coffee

Well, most of the Christmas hubbub is past. Things are settling down a bit and I am looking forward to getting a lot done these next two months, especially with regard to my schoolwork. Some thoughts on this Monday morn . . .

+ My Eagles made the playoffs! Quite an exciting game last night as they beat the Cowboys 24-22. They are a fun team to watch and their game against the Saints on Saturday night should be good. Lots of good, young players too. Hopefully that means many more years of success.  :-)

+ New Years Eve tomorrow night. I'm not a party sort of guy. We will have an Evening Prayer for the Close of the Year, and then I am thinking of lighting a fire and doing a puzzle with my wife. A nice, quiet, relaxing evening. (And yes, it will be our first fire in our new house! I've never had a fireplace before and we had a chimney sweep come over to clean it out, check it out, and educate me on its use.)

+ Christmas services were again small and intimate this year. Here in the DC area, most people are from somewhere else, so the place empties out this time of year. I know it, but I don't think I will ever get used to it.

+ We got some good games for Christmas! One is called Telestrations, which is like the game "telephone" (passing a message down a line of people) but with drawing. Hilarious! Produced some really funny interpretations and laughs. The other was called Perpetual Commotion, a card game where everyone is trying to get rid of their cards at the same time. Lots of fun. Can get rough. But you can change the rules slightly here and there to make it even. We played these a lot. Good times.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Good Day

Yesterday was my Christmas shopping day. Apart from the items I had ordered online and which were soon to arrive in the mail, yesterday was spent driving around and looking for the elusive present or two - and to find them at the right price! It was an exhausting day at the end of which I had a raging headache, but I managed to find what I was looking for. So I was pleased. I may need to go out Monday to get a thing or two, but should be mostly set now.

Today, however, is a completely different day! Today I am sitting in my living room, looking at our tree, drinking tea, listening to classical Christmas music, and writing Christmas meditations and sermons. It is relaxing and refreshing, not exhausting, and so much joy in the Word! And if I can get enough done today, the next number of days will be spent with family and church family, rejoicing in the gifts of God with them, and as the gifts of God they are to me.

Perfect!  :-)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Birthday Pictures

This week was my birthday. Yes, I am officially old! Here are a couple of pictures . . .


Beef Stroganoff for dinner! (On special birthday plate)


Grandpa and Pastor Peasant with "Yule Log Ice Cream Cake"
(Yellow cake rolled around peppermint ice cream and covered in chocolate!)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Photos


The Peasant Family Christmas Photo


And this next photo, just because my daughter wanted me to post it . . .


(I'm not angry . . . this is supposed to be my over-the-shoulder, sultry look . . .
Guess I picked the right profession!  :-)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Very Busy Week

Well, one of the busiest weeks of the year is again past for me. Many people think that Holy Week is the hardest week of the year for Pastors with all the extra services, but I actually think this time of the year is tougher. During Lent and Holy Week there are lots of services, but not as many outside activities and obligations. I can focus on the services and sermons and its actually quite enjoyable. But during Advent, there are not only some extra services, but a great many other things that demand attention - from Christmas concerts, Annual Voters Meetings, Caroling, Open House, Decorating, Neighborhood events, Christmas Letters, and more. This past week in particular always seems to be the worst of it. So now, while I still need to buy presents for the family, I can breathe a little easier and focus on the last days until Christmas.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I Hate Misinformation

I hate misinformation. I hate it when a web site tells you one price, but when you try to purchase that, you get a different price. The latest example is Staples, whose web site tells you that you can get 501 color copies for 0.34 per copy. However, when you try to upload a file and actually place such an order, the price is 0.44 per copy - a 33% difference. If you go to the store, the price is even higher. If you ask the personnel at the store, they will tell you the web site will give you the discount. NO, NO IT WON'T! But they won't believe a poor schlub like me. What do I know anyway? Argh! I don't want to pay more, so they lost my business and I can't get what I want done. Very frustrating.

Thanks for listening to me vent!  :-)

Would Anyone Notice?

Would anyone notice if you just disappeared? Would anyone care? Of course, your family and friends would notice and care, but most of us are quite unknown outside of this. There are only a few folks like Nelson Mandela, whose death a world mourns. Many people come and go every day quietly and anonymously.

So it is also in the cyber-sphere. Web Sites, Blogs, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds come and go and few notice. They disappear into the ether and we go on with our lives. For (perhaps) all the work that went into them, they were hardly noticed.

So I was greatly encouraged and gratified that when our church web site went away for a time, people noticed. I received quite a number of e-mails asking about the sermon archive in particular, from pastors, vicars, and laymen, asking when it might be restored. It was missed. That's nice to know! For all the work that goes into creating and then maintaining a web site, you have to wonder: Is anyone looking at it? Is anyone using it? Does anyone care? It's nice to know that the answer is yes.

I started archiving my sermons like this - and there are now some 11 years of sermons on the site - not because I consider myself such a great preacher, but because I greatly appreciated other pastors who did this. Some weeks sermons come easily and writing them is a joy. Other weeks sermons are quite difficult and writing them is quite arduous. Those weeks, I was (and still am!) truly blessed to be able to go and read how other pastors have preached the text and get ideas from them. These often kick-start my mind and get my thoughts flowing. My hope was that by posting my sermons in the same way, I could do so for others as well.

I am still working on rebuilding the archive - 11 years is a lot of sermons to have to convert into the right formats and upload! - but its coming along. Advent and Christmas is complete, and hopefully Epiphany will be soon too. Little by little. But at least I know it's worth it.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Thanksgiving

It's been a while since I last posted. This is hands down the busiest time of the year for me. But I'll get caught up on a few things . . .


Here is Thanksgiving dinner at my house. My older daughter Sarah (foreground) in the one taking the picture for us. The woman in the Fordham Law sweatshirt is my sister Cindy, and you can see my father at the head of the table. It was a very good feast!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Dad

Well, my father is now officially moved in with us. My brother, sister, and I moved him down last Friday. I am pleased with how cozy and comfortable his room is with his things in it. I think it turned out nice. And he is getting used to being here. The first day or two he was confused and kept talking about going home, but now is understanding that this is home now . . . even though its going to take some getting used to and adjusting. (Click here for my brother's post on this, with some pictures.)

Yesterday we put a lot of his pictures up on the walls, which I think will help too. Yesterday was also a bit surreal as I drilled and screwed to hang his "picture rack" on his wall. That's what my Dad always did for us! He was the handyman, the carpenter. He taught me how to do all these things. But now I do them for him. He isn't very steady on his feet anymore and so cannot do what he used to. That's why we moved him down. It must be frustrating for him.

One of the adjustments we're going to be figuring out for a while is how he can help us around the house. He wants to help, to stay busy, but we have to figure out what he is still able to do. But I think he is enjoying being around people more. He still has his privacy when he wants it - he can go into his "suite" and shut the door. But the other night he also sat at the piano with my youngest and sang Christmas songs with her.  :-)  Good for both of them. I am glad my children will be able to spend a lot of time with their grandfather like this. It's something I never got to do - both my grandfathers died when I was just a baby.

And hopefully now I will be able to spend a little more time on my school stuff. I have to get my exams done and move on to my dissertation! But all this moving stuff has set me back a bit. Now, maybe . . . ?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Warming Your Pastor's Heart

In confirmation class with people, I tell them point blank, straight up, when we study the Ten Commandments: "I am trying to crush your self esteem." (If you don't think this is the purpose of the Ten Commandments, see Romans 3:19-20.) For their self-esteem should not come from themselves or what they do, but from Christ and the fact that He died for them. That makes them worth far more than anything they could ever do! I tell them this so much, in fact, that they begin to joke about it. But the point is made, and they get it.

So, one of the young ladies in my confirmation class found a self-esteem exercise for girls on the web. As you can see from the picture (sorry the scan didn't turn out better, but if you click on the picture you can view a larger image of it) you're supposed to write inside the letters "ME" what makes you special.


So, she writes at the bottom right "Turn for the truth ->" and on the next page instead is the following (notice in small print above the letter "M" the word "Law" and above the letter "E" the word "Gospel"):


Awesome. I did not ask her to do this. She just brought it in one day. Warms a pastors heart! :-)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

How to Do a Church Budget

Last night was our regularly scheduled church budget meeting. For the past number of years now, instead of trying to hash out the budget in a meeting after church when everyone is eager to go home and watch the football game, I invite the Executive Board over to my house for a dinner meeting. My wife cooks up a great feast, we enjoy some beer and wine with the meal and enjoy each other's company, and then after a wonderful dessert, get started on the budget. And you know what? It goes really smoothly! I am happy to say that our missions budget is now well over ten percent of our total budget. That is a goal I've been working toward. In the past years we have given more than ten percent because we've given away some of our budget surpluses, but this is the first year we've actually budgeted over ten percent. A lot of that is going to our seminarians, for we have both a pastoral ministry student and a deaconess student, and the seminary asks for a lot of support for each of them, but we are happy to do so. Now, we aren't the biggest church and we don't have the most complicated budget, but I never dread these meetings. They are always high on collaboration and we're all on the same page. And yes, it is a deficit budget, but less than previous years. And I applaud my leaders for not cutting missions just to make the budget balance. We just go forward in trust that the Lord will provide. He always has, and we believe He always will. So well done, Executive Board!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Conference, Day 2

The topic of day 2 of my conference was Disaster preparedness and response. There were many presentations, some good, some too long, but overall not a bad day. I did find out some things I did not know - like, who knew we had "LERTs" (Lutheran Early Response Teams)? We were also told of how we can be certified to be involved in future disasters and needs. But the best thing was that instead of having the scheduled 4:30-5:30 block of reports on synod and district matters, we got an extended break before dinner! We needed it.

Divine Service was after dinner. Unfortunately, we couldn't just use the Divine Service, it had to be made "more meaningful" by changing things up. So, we had to have ten minutes of explanation before we even started about what we were doing and why. Don't you think that's a big red flag that something's off? After that, we used a confession that was four pages long! And I learned that "fear of anything new" was a sin - who knew? Next two readings from Scripture, but the "explanation" of the first was longer than the reading itself! (Again, isn't that a big red flag that something is amiss?) President Harrison preached, and I appreciated his sermon. Sadly, the only liturgy for the Sacrament were the Lord's Words - nothing else! Not even a pax domini or an agnus Dei. Sigh. Can't we just use the service we all know and are familiar with and so feed your pastors who rarely get to sit and be fed?

Today we have President Harrison present on things and I guess have a Q&A. We'll hear about the Health Plan stuff after that, which should be interesting given all the changes to the laws of late. The DP promised those guys who didn't present about their mission trips yet the time to do so, so it will be a full morning. The conference ends at noon, and then off to the airport for the flight home. If all goes well, I think I will be home for dinner.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Cleveland

No, not the president (as in Grover, I know that's what you were thinking, right?) but the city. That's where I am for a Pastoral Conference. Got here Monday night and leaving Thursday. In between they have the days packed completely full with presentations. We leave the hotel for a local church at 7 am and get back sometime after dinner. Yesterday, the first morning session was by development people, so I got some sermon thinking done and some thoughts done on my computer.  :-)  After that, we had two sessions from a pastor who has a new book on demons and spiritual warfare. He was very good and consistent in his theology and the power of the Word of God being our only power and weapon. He was worth listening to. I got to sit down with him during lunch and talk a bit, which was nice. Later in the afternoon got kind of preachy - we had guys presenting about missions trips they were organizing and leading to different countries. Good stuff, but a bit too long and as I said, preachy. Got tiresome.

It is good (always) to reconnect with guys I haven't seen in a while. Have had some nice conversations. I'm not sure how today will be. We'll see, I guess. Perhaps I will get some sermon writing done!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Web.Site.BACK!

Thanks to the tech guys in the congregation, our web site is up and running again . . . mostly. We will have to rebuild some things, which will take time, but at least it is mostly up and running again, and on a new and faster host. Thanks guys!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Web. Site. Gone.

We lost our church web site rather unexpectedly yesterday. If you were looking for it, hopefully it will be mostly up and functional soon. Part of it (the sermon archive) I think we will have to rebuild. I was worried that this day was coming (I won't go into the reasons) and had some folks at church looking into it, but it came sooner and more suddenly than expected. Thankfully I have good guys who got right on it and so the downtime should not be long.  :-)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Children's Choir

Yesterday our Sunday School children sang in our Divine Service. They have been learning the hymn The Gifts Christ Freely Gives (LSB #602). It's a great hymn for kids to learn and to teach them our theology. They have the first three verses learned so far, so yesterday, as we sang it for the office hymn, they sang verse 2 alone. They did great! And no, we did not line them up in the front of the church for show - they sang from the back. Hopefully we can continue to teach them hymns to keep singing in church. And learning them as children, they learn to love and cherish them, and they stay a part of them. So good job kids!

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Week in Review

Been some time since I've written, mainly because I'm tired. This new house has proven to be a LOT of work. But more on that in a moment.

First, the 12th anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks was this week. I wove that into my sermon on Wednesday night. My wife mentioned to me that it seems like just yesterday that it all happened. But my oldest, Robbie, was in kindergarten then! We still have the stuffed animal he got at school, donated by some folks in Columbus, OH, to comfort the kids. (It is a gorilla which we named Columbus.) We were still in New York then. I still have vivid memories of it all. Not just that day, but all the days, weeks, and months after that day. Much of the country moved on, but in New York, it just kept going and going. The clean-up was so massive, and casualties (or pieces thereof) were being found in "the pile" months later. I remember traveling to Ft. Wayne in November and being away made such a difference! I hadn't realize what living with that constantly did to me.

I remember being at the pile (that's what the workers called it) and counseling the workers. Their stories were horrifying and sad, yet they returned everyday. Their stamina was amazing, and they were very appreciative of us pastors being there to support them. When I went back to see the memorial last year, it wasn't the memorial or the giant holes in the ground that got me, it was being back at the little church where I helped. For that's where I was. That's what made the memories come flooding back.

But now, we are fixing up our new house. When we actually moved in, we found out that the place was really pretty dirty and needed more work than we thought it would. So we've been cleaning (deep cleaning!) everything and doing a lot of painting. The floors were all very creaky and squeaky, so I've also been busy peeling up the carpets and reattaching the wood. I needed to get all this done now because we are getting new carpet installed on Tuesday and I don't want to pull up the new stuff once they put it down.  :-)  That should make a big difference! We also found out that the former owners had painted right over all the switches and outlets.  :-(  So in addition to repainting, we've been replacing all of them. Then there's been the work we've had contractors in to do - they're still coming. Electrician next week to fix some problems and install a lot more lighting in the basement which will be my study/office. And there's still a lot to do - but after next week, I believe all the major work will be done. Then we'll begin taking things out of our storage unit and settling in all the way.

My brother and sister came to help us move and they did a LOT of work! Not only did they help with the actually moving, but did a lot of patching, sanding, cleaning, and painting while they were here. I don't know how long it would have taken us without them!

The basement which will be my study/office is what needs the most work now. It has an old and not very nice wet bar of sorts in one corner that needs to be torn out. Some brick around it will need to be chiseled out too. Then some drywalling and painting, and with the new lighting, it should be pretty good. I want to put some carpeting down also, but I think that may need to wait a while - I think we've pretty much used up our improvements budget with everything else we've done! There's other stuff that will have to wait as well, like a new basement door and some new windows in the basement, new light fixtures in various places, too.


What we'll do little by little after this major stuff is done is the painting of all the trim in the house, as well as the wainscoting in some of the hallways and rooms. I would like to try something like this picture, except with the color above the rail light and the color below the rail and in the squares dark - maybe a dark green. I think the contrast would be nice, but we'll see. As I said, we can take some time with that.

But what I also need to get moving on is my school work! I've always tried to place church and family before school, and with all this happening, the school work has slid a bit. But I still need to get it done, so I need to carve out some good time to make sure I do.

Finally, here's a picture of the whole gang around my father. We are making plans to move him down in November. It will be nice to have him with us.



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New House. Done.

Well, the settlements all went through today, but not without a lot of drama. Our mortgage company was late getting us the final paperwork, so things got held up a bit. But finally around 2 pm it was all finished.

We met the folks buying our house. A very nice couple with twin 5 year old boys. He is in the military. They were very excited about the house and we're happy they're the ones who got it. We also met the folks selling us their house. He bought a gas station in Las Vegas and is going out to run that business. They did not want to sell to someone who was just going to flip their home, so were happy someone was buying it that really wanted it and appreciated it. So in the end, all was well.

But the drama with our mortgage company really got hard to take. Things that should have been done just weren't getting done. I found out from my agent that they have experienced that with this bank quite a bit - so much so that they are cutting ties with them. But it's done. Finally.

This afternoon after closing we went over and started working on the house. We had a lot of cleaning to do, taking mirrors off walls, washing the walls and getting them ready to paint. We want to try to get that done quickly before we have too much stuff in the house. So that's the task the next couple of days. Should be tiring!  :-)

Incompetence

Incompetence really burns my butt. We are supposed to settle on our houses this morning, and the NEITHER the mortgage or settlement companies are ready. Really? Is this the first house you guys ever sold? It's going to take a mighty effort today to hold my tongue and just get everything signed . . .

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Wrapping a Lot of Things Up

Well, another busy week has flown by. I was down in Florida most of the week for my Lutheran Haven Board of Trustees meetings. Left early Tuesday morning and returned late Friday night. The meetings weren't bad - we actually have an exciting building project just beginning, so lots to consider and think about. If all goes well, I think this will be an good addition to the campus and help turn the place around. Our new CEO has been doing a good job of that on the operations side, now we need to do so on the long range planning and facilities. The only bad part of the trip was that my flight was delayed 3 hours coming home. but JetBlue surprised me with a $50 rebate the next day, so that says something.

We settle on our housing this week - Tuesday. So this will be another busy week! At 11 am we sell our current house, and at Noon we buy the new house! Then we get to work cleaning and fixing and moving. My father, brother, and sister are all coming to help, and it will be nice to all be together again. That doesn't happen too often these days.

School is starting back up for the semester as well. This summer of moving has set me back a little. I am hoping to take my French exam in the not too distant future, and then try to buckle down on my reading. I was hoping to have all my exams done this fall, but as I said, this summer has set me back a little and now it looks like Spring.

I'll try to post some stuff a little more often now that most of the summer's upset is winding down. We'll see, right?  :-)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Churches Burned in Egypt

Here is a list of the churches the have been burned in Egypt (HT: Father Z). Please keep the Christians of Egypt in your prayers.

Alexandria
  1. Father Maximus Church
Arish
  1. St George Church | Burned | Source
Assiut
  1. Good Shepherds Monastery |  Nuns attacked
  2. Angel Michael Church | Surrounded
  3. St George Coptic Orthodox Church | PhotoPhotoPhotoYouTube
  4. Al-Eslah Church| Burned | Source
  5. Adventist Church | Pastor and his wife kidnapped | Photo
  6. St Therese Church | Photo
  7. Apostles Church | Burning | Source
  8. Holy Revival Church | Burning | Source
  9. Qusiya Diocese | MCN
Beni Suef
  1. The Nuns School | Photo
  2. St George Church | al-Wasta
Cairo
  1. St Fatima Basilica | Heliopolis | Attempted Attack
  2. Virgin Mary’s Church | Hakim Village | Burned | Photo
Fayoum (Five churches)
  1. St Mary Church | El Nazlah | Gallery
  2. St Damiana Church | Robbed and burned
  3. Amir Tawadros (St Theodore) Church | EgyNews (Arabic), Twitter
  4. Evangelical Church | al-Zorby Village | Looting and destruction
  5. Church of Joseph | Burned | Source
  6. Franciscan School | Burned | Source
Gharbiya
  1. Diocese of St Paul | Burned | Source
Giza
  1. Father Antonios
  2. Atfeeh Bishopric
  1. Church of the Virgin Mary and Father Abram | Delga, Deir Mawas | Source
  2. St Mina Church | Abu Hilal Kebly, Beni Hilal | Sourcephoto
  3. Baptist Church | Beni Mazar | Source
  4. Monastery | Deir Mawas  | Ahram (Arabic)
  5. Delga Church | Attacked (Previously attacked with fire)
  6. The Jesuit Fathers Church | Abu Hilal district
  7. St Mark Church | Abu Hilal district
  8. St Joseph Nunnery | Photophoto
  9. Amir Tadros Church | Photophotophotoalbumphotophoto
  10. Evangelical Church | Photo
  11. Anba Moussa al-Aswad Church | Photo
  12. Apostles Church | Source
Qena
  1. St Mary’s Church | Attempted Burning
Sohag
  1. St George Church |Photo albumphotophotovideosourcesourcevideo
  2. St Damiana | Attacked and burned | Source
  3. Virgin Mary | Attacked and burned | Source
  4. St Mark Church & Community Center
  5. Anba Abram Church | Destroyed and burned | Source
Suez
  1. St Saviours Anglican Church | Source
  2. Franciscan Church and School | Street 23 | Burned |Photophotosource/photosphotos
  3. Holy Shepherd Monastery and Hospital | Photo
  4. Good Shepherd Church (molotov cocktail thrown)- Relationship with Holy Shepherd Monastery unknown.
  5. Greek Orthodox Church | PhotoPhoto
Christian Institutions
  • House of Father Angelos (Pastor of Church of the Virgin Mary and Father Abram) | Delga, Minya | Burned | CBN NewsAhram (Arabic)
  • Properties and Markets of Copts | al-Gomhorreya Street, Assiut
  • Seventeen Coptic homes | Delga, Minya | Burned | SourceSource
  • YMCA | Minya| Burned | Photo
  • Coptic Homes | Qulta Street, Assiut | Attacked
  • Offices of the Evangelical Foundation & Oum al-Nour | Minya
  • Coptic-owned shops, pharmacy, and hotels | Karnak and Cleopatra Streets, Luxor | Attacked and Looted
  • Dahabeya Nile Boat | Minya| Church-owned | Source,PhotoPhoto
  • Bible Society bookshop | Cairo | Burned | Photo
  • Bible Society | Fayoum | Photo
  • Bible Society | al-Gomohoreya Street, Assiut | PhotoPhoto
  • Ezbet el Nekhl | Sourcesourcesource (Arabic)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Good Thought

Saw this posted on another blog:
Those who have abortions are "not willing to sacrifice their comfort or convenience for a child, but they have no problem sacrificing a child for their comfort and convenience."
That's a great quote.

Yet lest I get all "holier than thou," I recognize how I am often the same way. Not with abortion, but other "inconveniences of life." How I hate to be inconvenienced or interrupted when other need me, but expect others to be so for me when I need them.

I am not better, just a different kind of sinner, and just as much in need of a Saviour.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Back to Work

Well, my vacation is now officially over. It was quite a different vacation this year as we did not go away and get our usual two weeks with no computer, no internet, no email - two weeks of complete break. Had to stay home much of the time to take care of house stuff. In a way, that made it both easier and harder. Easier, for we did not have the worry of travel and being away from the familiar, but also harder as was harder to get away from work, which did encroach a time or two. But it was still a good two weeks. We got up to my Dad's for a few days and did some fun stuff in Philly. We also did some stuff here too. Yesterday we went to a State Park and spent the last day doing things there. I also got out to play golf with my son a couple of times, which is always nice.

The house selling and buying is coming together. Mostly we are now waiting for the mortgage company, settlement company, realtor, and seller to all get their work done. We've done what we've had to do and are anxious to get into our new home and start settling in. Settlements date is August 27. Yes, settlementS. We are scheduled to close on our sale at 11 AM and to close on our purchase at 12 Noon! I'm sure I'll have writer's cramp after signing all those papers.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hoops, Hoops, and More Hoops!

Buying a house means jumping through a lot of hoops. Selling a house means jumping through a lot of hoops. Both buying and selling a house means . . . well, you know: a lot of hoops times two! But how blessed we are to be in such a position, so I shouldn't complain too much. Slowly but surely we are plowing through conditions, inspections, contingencies, negotiations, financing, forms, and all the back and forth. It can get dizzying! And so long to wait as well. We are ready to begin doing things to our new home that need to be done and getting going, but have to wait until our expected closing on August 27.

Later today we go up to visit my Dad for a few days. It will be good to both see him and get away. It is my vacation after all, even if we're staying home for most of it and doing housing stuff. More later . . .

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ratified

The offer we placed on a house was accepted, so now we have ratified contracts to both sell our current home and buy a new home. So as long as everything goes smoothly and the home inspection doesn't reveal a money pit, we go to closing on both houses on August 27th. Then we just have to move and fix up the place we got! But it is good to know things are moving in the right direction and that hopefully we will be in our new home by the time school starts.


Front of house


Front porch


My favorite room! Sun room in the back.


Back yard


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

VBS Classes

Here are a couple pictures of the classes for our VBS. Thanks to our teachers for their love and dedication!


Seminarian Fields teaching about Pentecost - God the Holy Spirit coming down to us from above.


Mrs. Cassell's class looking up a passage in the Scriptures.


Group photo!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Housing News

Well, it has been a very full week, which is why I did not post a VBS day 3, 4, or 5! (We did, in fact, have them.) But in addition to VBS, we did receive, negotiate (a little) and accept an offer on our house, then found a house that we like and will be putting an offer on tomorrow. And during all this leaving our house with some frequency to allow realtors to show it. So it was a very hectic week.

The house we found (actual picture to the left) needs a little work- some really ugly wallpaper, paint and rug colors, and a few other updates - but overall is nice and would fit our needs well. Finding a "grandpa suite" on the main floor isn't easy, but this one has a nice one. It is also only about 1 mile from our current home, which means none of our kids have to change schools, we get (I believe) to keep our phone numbers (home and church), and already know the neighborhood and where everything is. There are many positives. So, tomorrow we'll meet with our agent and submit an offer, and hopefully get it and put a lot of this behind us.

I'll write more soon about VBS and our Kid's Fitness Fair which we had on Saturday as well. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

VBS Day 2

VBS is rolling right along. The kids are a lot of fun and learning well and quickly! Some pictures from day two:


Looking at the baptismal font, where we are born from above.


Making bronze serpents.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

VBS Day 1 and Housing News

Well, the first day of Vacation Bible School is in the books. It was a good day. In the past, the kids are usually very calm and mild mannered the first couple of days, and then when they get used to things and get warmed up, the last few days are much more raucous. But this year, they started right in! So it was a fun day.

We're using the Higher Things package "From Above." It is affordable (only $75 and reproducible) and well done. The kids can easily understand the different directions - we can't go up to God, God comes down to us from above. So I'd recommend it to others, especially if you have a small VBS. Here's a couple of pictures from day 1 of the kids building their "Tower of Babels" from sugar wafers, graham crackers, and chocolate icing!



In other news, our realtor made our house listing "active" Saturday around 1 pm. That same day we had three folks come to look at the house! Sunday we had 6-7, and Monday a couple more. Today, one is scheduled so far. Last night we received one offer, which we'll talk over with the realtor today. So things are moving, at least on the selling side. Now we just need to find one to buy that is big enough and suits our needs. We'll be looking at one today right after VBS . . .

Saturday, July 6, 2013

New LCMS President?

I'm sure this will be fixed by the time you read this, but when I went to the LCMS web site and clicked on the link to read about the announcement of the presidential election, I was taken to the page entitled "Who is Jesus?"  :-)  And I didn't even know he was on the ballot!

Anyhow, here's the evidence . . .


If you click on this picture to make it bigger and then look at the bottom left of the window, you can see where clicking the link will take you: "lcms.org/jesus"! Not sure if this was intentional or not, but gotta love it! (Well, the "missionals" won't, but that's another story . . .)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dog

No, we didn't get one.  :-(  But if we do, my daughter and I decided this week we should name him Meatloaf. What a great name for a dog!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Higher Things "From Above" Day 4

Well, the last day of a Higher Things gathering is both the easiest and the hardest. The easiest for it is the shortest and the least "full;" the hardest because it is the hardest to wake up and get going! :-) However, up we got, and the day started with Matins, at which I had the privilege of preaching. Here is our group after the service:


After Matins was the final plenary session, followed by lunch and the closing Divine Service. Everything went very well and the kids had a great time of learning and fun. The drive home was uneventful. Dinner at Cracker Barrel was good, as usual. Home was dirtier than we had hoped. Why? We had painters in while we were gone and while they did a good job of painting, they didn't do such a good job of cleaning up. I'm not sure if my expectations were too high or not, but I expected to come back to the house and find it exactly as we left it, except with nice, newly painted walls! But we'll have to spend a good deal of today cleaning stuff up. Sigh.

My only complaint about Higher Things this year was that they juggled and changed (without always announcing very well) the times and locations of so many of the breakout sessions that it was very confusing to know what was offered when and where. As a result, some were missed and some were not so well attended. That's too bad. Hopefully it will be a bit better next year . . .

And yes, we're excited for next year! We'll either be going to Mequon, WI or Gainesville, FL. A bigger trip with probably two days of travel. My vote is for Mequon, but we'll see what the kids want to do. It's for them, after all.