Sunday, June 30, 2013


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.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Higher Things "From Above" Day 3

Day Three is always the busiest day at these gatherings. In addition to the plenary speaker, there are three breakout sessions instead of the usual two. I taught two and went to one. Then there was the "Iron Chef" competition! You were given a pound of bacon and had to cook something up in 1.5 hours for the judges. There were three teams who entered and all the food looked very good. One team made carmel bacon donuts, one made a hamburger steak with cheese and bacon filling and a cold broccoli and bacon salad, and we made bacon-pineapple pinwheels (think Hawaiian pizza) and banana bacon chocolate chip muffins with a chocolate bacon ganache icing. I thought our dishes were the most unique and interesting, but the judges went with the traditional bacon and cheese hamburger steak as the winner. Oh well, it was fun anyway. Some pictures:

"Team Bacon" (Notice the way cool bacon t-shirts!)

Our food - nice presentation, yes?

Today, Rob and Sarah also played violin for the services. They will again tomorrow too. Very nice. Another picture:

It also was pouring rain late this afternoon and into the evening. Flash flood warning kept popping up on everyone's cell phones. I think the worst of it is over. Now there is just tiredness. Very, very tired. Time to get some sleep and preach for Matins. Not much conference left . . .

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Higher Things "From Above" Day 2

Eating. We do a lot of eating! :-) So there's breakfast, then Matins, followed by the plenary speaker, then lunch! After lunch, a breakout session, Vespers, a second breakout, then dinner! The food is good, too, as I said yesterday. So I'm sure I'm eating too much. I taught my presentation on Private Absolution during the first breakout, then got to sit in on one during the second. The one I really wanted to listen to got moved to a time I couldn't go. :-( Tomorrow I will teach two - another session on Private Absolution, and then a study on the baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch.

Tonight after Evening Prayer we got to go to a local water park. It was fun and a little cold. We didn't have enough time, really, to do all we wanted there. But it was still fun. The giant water slide was great. They made you go down head first, which I really didn't want to do since I don't especially like heights, but it was great. Then at 11 pm we met as a group on the hillside and sang Compline there to end the night. Then the drive back and bed.

So a good day. My kids will get to play their violins for one of the service tomorrow - I'm not really sure which one. And then tomorrow night is the "Iron Chef" bacon cooking competition! That should be fun.

PS - I DID get a new room! At first they told me no; they couldn't switch anyone anymore, it was too late. But then they did find me a room, so I should be able to get some better sleep tonight. Yea!

Higher Things "From Above" Day 1

Things went fine the first day of Higher Things. We arrived around noon after about a 5 hour drive in the morning, checked in, and had lunch. The opening service was at 2, followed by the first plenary session, then dinner. They said the food here was good, and indeed it is! I had steak and potatoes, a salad, and a slice of chocolate cream pie for dessert. Very good. After dinner was Evening Prayer liturgy and then the first breakout session - which I skipped to do some of my own preparation. (I will teach one breakout session today and two tomorrow.) After that I hung out with the kids a little, played some Skip-Bo, and called it a night about 11. Missed praying Compline at 11:30 - just couldn't make it last night. Too long a day.

The unfortunate thing of the day was my roommate. Oh, a nice enough guy, but a snorer. No, really, I mean a SNORER! About 1:30 he woke me up. I tried putting the pillow over one ear with the other against the mattress, but to no avail. Finally I had to go out to a common area of the dorm and find a couch. It was not full sized, but it was quiet. Got a little fitful sleep. I'll see later if they can switch me to a different room.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Yes, I Am Still Alive!

Haven't blogged in a while . . . very tired from all the activity here of getting our house ready to list, entertaining visitors, and getting ready to leave for Higher Things - Scranton early tomorrow morning. While we are gone the painters will come and re-paint the whole interior of our house. Got to do that if you want to sell well here. It's nice they can do it while we're away - that will make things much, much easier. So today, final preparations for Higher Things (teaching and preaching) and for the painters.

I am looking forward to Higher Things and being away for a few days. A change of pace will be nice. It's always busy and hectic - so much going on there! - but I'll get to sit and listen and be fed too, and talk to some brother pastors, and spend good time with my kids. So it'll be a good week.

We had a good Fathers Day weekend. My sister brought my father down to spend it with us. Then my in-laws came later that week and we got to play lots of cards with them. That's always nice.

What has been falling to the side with all this activity is my school stuff. I am still working on my French, but I haven't been able to do any exam reading. That's not good. We'll see how the next few weeks go. Once our house lists, the realtor expects it to be contracted pretty fast. We'll have a contingency on the contract of our finding a new house, so either things will get really hectic (if we find a place) or things will slow down as we just keep looking.

And then there's VBS in two weeks too . . .  :-)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Many folks have missed the Lutheran Hymnal web site ( as it has been down for a little while. It looks like it is back up and going now. Thanks to those who worked to make this happen!