The Pastor Challenge


The Pastor Challenge

The Assist Pregnancy Center's Walk-Run-Ride for Life is coming up in May and this year I am challenging myself in order to challenge all of you! I am challenging myself to ride a "Metric Century" (100 kilometers) in four hours, and if I can ride farther than I ever have at one time before, I challenge all of you to support me more than ever before. I set my goal this year at $5,000, and our team (Lutherans for Life) at $7,500! If I can do it, you can do it. Assist helps so many mothers and babies, and they are expanding their facility to help even more - and so need our help more than ever, especially coming out of this pandemic. So please help! CLICK HERE to go to my sponsor page to sponsor me, or you can sponsor anyone else who joins the team, or the team as a whole.

Will you step up to the challenge??

Monday, March 29, 2021

Palms

I wish I had taken a picture of our chancel at church yesterday. I love how it looks decorated with special palms. But here are a couple of other pictures from the ol' blogosphere. I am just amazed at what people are able to do with palms!





 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Two Good Quotes

Two good quotes for you this morning. First, from a book I am currently reading . . .

"In the liturgy, Christ's words are not mere quotations - He is present and speaks directly to us!"

And second, from the old blogosphere . . .

"Politicians want to speak on moral issues and bishops (read: church leaders) want to speak on political ones."


Sunday, March 21, 2021

My Ride Yesterday

Went for a long bike ride yesterday, getting ready for my "Metric Century" at the beginning of May. Here's the results:


I was hoping for 3 hours, so a little slower than I wanted. But I didn't want to push myself too hard yet. If I can add 11 more miles at this same pace, I'll meet my goal of 4 hours. Can I? I don't know. It'll be tough! But I'm going to try. And if you'd like to sponsor my ride to help the Assist Pregnancy Center, click on the link at the top of my blog and do so! :-)  Thanks!


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Happy Birthday

Today would have been my father's 97th birthday, although the last few years of his life, he never believed he was that old. I guess that's good - he didn't feel old. We would sometimes talk about him making it to 100. Sometimes he thought he would like to live that long, other times he thought not. We would usually look for cards that mentioned both St. Patrick's Day and birthday together. There are a few! He especially liked the Peanuts cards. They always made him smile. And he loved his Irish Potatoes! They were a nice dessert treat for his birthday. He had a niece that would always send him some. I remember when we first moved here that I went looking for Irish Potatoes in the stores, and no one knew what they were! I guess they are more regional, though you can find them here and there in the stores here now. Anyway, here's to my father on what will always be his day. The picture below is from the 90th birthday party we had for him when he moved down to live with us. :-)



Tuesday, March 16, 2021

40 Days Is a Long Time . . .

How you doing with you Lenten discipline? 40 days doesn't seem that long really, but it is! At least for me, it is hard to maintain my discipline and focus every year. Last year as part of my discipline, I wrote a devotion based on a hymn verse each day. I published those on this blog and people were expecting one each day, so that was good to keep me going. This year, it is not writing but some extra reading and study that I determined to do. No one would know if I miss and fall away from that, so hard to keep going! I've been doing pretty well so far. But it's not easy.

What got me thinking about this is a reading I did today which talked about Moses on Mt. Sinai for 40 days and nights, and the people of Israel getting tired of waiting for him. So, sometime into those forty days - we're not told how long - they gave up on him (the discipline of waiting for him) and got Aaron to build them the golden calf. I think I appreciate that more now. How hard 40 days is! But it is good at the same time. Basil the Great wrote about being "fortified by fasting" - which seems like an oxymoron! How can fasting strengthen and fortify you? Doesn't it weaken you? But there is a fortifying aspect to this, and to the 40 days of Lenten discipline.

So, a note of encouragement to you. Keep it up. Don't give up. Easter is coming! Passiontide starts this Sunday. Our joy is not far away . . .


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Reading

So, what I've been reading lately (besides theology!) . . .

I have always loved American History. I stumbled across a series on Ulysses S. Grant on the history channel some time ago and became interested in him. I have read a lot about the Civil War in the East, but didn't know much about the Western campaign, or Grant. So I asked for this biography for Christmas and finished it up right before Lent.

It is a large book, over 1000 pages and the print is small, but some of that is notes. Overall, I really enjoyed the book. Chernow is a good writer. The sections on the western campaign during the war were good, but what I learned the most about was southern reconstruction after the War. This was one of Chernow's stated goals - to educate about that oft neglected area of history. It actually helped me not only to understand that era of our history, but to understand some of what is happening today in our country. Another thing I was struck by was how trusting a soul Grant was, and how that often got him into trouble - not militarily, but with his personal life, businesses he tried to run, and with his presidency. So, if you like American History or want to learn more about Grant and/or the Civil War, I would recommend this book.

One of the next books I read was quite different than that - a fun little novel, The Haunted Bookshop. I noticed it on our bookshelf. It was my mother's book and had her bookplate on the inside cover. It is an old book, so fun to read for the style of writing and the vocabulary. It's not long, so a quick read too. However, While I enjoyed most of it, I was disappointed by the ending - not so much how it ended, but that the ending was so abrupt. It reminded me of books that my children would read in elementary school, like the Magic Tree House books. You'd get to the end and everything would be explained, and to a pre-teen mind, it was probably all good. But for this book, I wish he had added about 75-100 pages at least, fleshed out the plot some more, and finished it up better. So not bad. A nice diversion while riding my bike. I don't read a lot of fiction, so it was a good change for me.

So then I decided to read some more fiction! This is the book I am currently reading, The Decameron, by Boccaccio. I bought this book some time ago and had read part of it before, but never the whole thing. Why did I think of this book now? Because the dog in The Haunted Bookshop was named Bock after Boccaccio! 

The premise of the book is that there is an epidemic - a highly contagious disease killing people in great numbers. (Sound familiar?) So ten young people (seven young women and four young men) get out of the city and cloister themselves in the country, away from the death and sadness to enjoy life. While they are there, they decide to tell stories to entertain themselves. This book is ten stories told per day for ten days - each person telling one story per day. I am not too far into the book yet - I've only finished the first day. But the stories are short and amusing. It is an old book, from 14th century Italy, so the times were quite different than today. But really, our human nature is not so different. I'm looking forward to reading the next 90 stories told!

 Finally, the last book I'll include here is Plato's Republic. Yeah, that's a bit of a change from the other books, huh! I had never read it before, but did now because we are probably going to enroll my daughter in a private Lutheran Classical education school and this is an important text for that. This is a difficult read (at least it was for me), but the general premise of the book is easy to grasp. It probably would have been easier for me if I wasn't exercising while reading it, but one only has so much time in the day! So now that I've read through it once, I'll probably go read some explanations of it and then read it again to digest it a bit more. But not right away - I'm reading my fun Decameron first, and then who knows what I'll feel like delving into after that?