Saturday, November 14, 2009

In all those people, there he stood in front of me

I've been knee deep in planning and stressing about a fundraiser our youth group took on. One of our sponsors has sold Potato dumplings at the annual Crosby Lutefest for years. This year her husband and her took a cruise the weekend of Lutefest, so she offered the booth, and her recipe to the youth group as a fundraiser. The youth agreed this would be something fun and thus began the planning.

I always get so wrapped up in the behind the scenes and trying to make it all perfect. When we found out about a death in the family that would prevent me from being there on Wednesday when the youth would be making the dumplings I began really stressing! With the help of a wonderful youth parent the dumplings were made in record time, and the church kitchen left no traces (other than the smell of slow cooked pork) of the events of the day.

As today approached I realized I knew little to nothing about what would be happening. Having never been to the Lutefest, I had no idea what to expect. And I had not seen the sign up sheet for the youth workers, so I had no idea what I had on my hands. I packed the truck with all the things on the list we would need for selling and said a little prayer that it would all come together in the craziness of no one really knowing what was happening!

The day went off without a hitch. The potato dumplings were a huge success, and we sold out 3 full hours before the festival was supposed to end! Over 100 potato dumplings were sold and enjoyed by a huge crowd enjoying all the Norwegian offerings of the festival.

As I sat alone in the booth waiting for my husband to come pick me up, I counted the money in the cash box. We had almost $500! Wow. How amazing! Of course minus our expenses.

I listened to the music from the Norwegian band and sipped my apple cider behind the big white cooler on the table bearing the sign "Sorry, SOLD OUT, catch us early next year!", and a man from the community came up to chat. He asked how sales went and I told him about selling out, and how much money we had made. He had taken his cash clip out of his pocket, and I figured he wanted one of the bottled water's I was selling. He asked me how much expenses had been. I said "Probably about $150 with everything I figure, maybe a little bit more." He pulled two $100 bills off the clip and laid them on the cash box. He told me "lets call it $200. Now that's just between you and me". I thanked him very much and I put the bills into the cash box. As he walked away I was moved to tears by his generosity. What a simple gesture, to pull two bills out of his pocket and lay them on the counter. And in that simple gesture, there he stood in front of me. I saw Jesus in him, in that man who so generously paid the expenses for our fundraiser.

This whole process has been filled with Jesus. He stepped in and found willing hands when I couldn't be there, he gave strength and smiling faces to our youth who worked the booth, and he gave a generous heart to that man who gave his earnings to us.

In all those simple gestures, there he stood. Jesus stood there in front of me, in all those people. What an amazing sight!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New traditions

The worship committee here at Concordia Lutheran has gone out on a limb... they have agreed to let me bake communion bread, instead of using the traditional (and as far back as anyone can remember) communion wafers. This is a big step for this small town church. They have a great sense of adventure though. Thus far all of Robert's ideas have been embraced and welcomed. Perhaps it's still the honeymoon period... as we have only been here for 3 months. But I am proud to call this place home, and even more proud of my husband for what he is doing in this place. (I still get a bit teary eyed when he sings the communion liturgy. It's just so beautiful to listen to his bass voice sing those words, and such a beautiful gift from God that he can share with this community)

So today as I start a new tradition for Concordia Lutheran Church, I thought I would type it out as a step by step spiritual practice as well as the actual act of making the bread. So if someone else is interested in baking bread, I can pass this along to them, and they can hopefully enjoy the same fulfillment that I do from it. I have previously posted about my bread making when we were at Wartburg.. (April; Given for Me, Given for You post) and am making it more user friendly. Please enjoy and feel free to use this yourself in your congregation if you want.

Communion Bread
2c whole wheat flour
1c white flour
1 1/4 t baking powder
1 1/4 t salt
4t veggie oil
1c hot water (115 degrees)
3T honey
3T molasses

1)As I collect the goods, I thank God for my stocked pantry, for the food I eat daily, and the abundance I have. I pray for those whose pantries are empty this day, and whose tummies will grumble as they lay their heads to rest.
2)I mix the dry ingredients together, flours, salt and baking soda. Moving them about with my fingers, thanking God for the convenience of grocery stores, and a product I didn't have to grow, harvest or mill to use.
3)Working the oil into the dry mix moves my thoughts and prayers to blessings. I thank all those in service to God who anoint the sick, who pray for them, and bring them the message of the risen Christ.
4)I carefully heat the water in the microwave and pray for those who lack clean water to drink and wash with. Being thankful for the faucet in my kitchen that flows with safe water each and every day for me and my family to drink and wash with.
5)As I pour and mix the honey and molasses into the hot water I pray for babies. Honey always makes me think of sick babies, since babies aren't supposed to have honey. I pray for the babies who are in need of medications, and in need of love.
6)I pour the dark, sweet mixture into the dry ingredients while thanking God for diversity on our earth, thanking him for the melting pot of life and praying for tolerance and understanding amongst those who differ from each other. Mixing the light and dry with the dark and wet until it forms one solid ball, which will be a bit sticky, but none the less, is one, as we are all one in Christ.
7)Diving the ball into four sections I pat each one into it's own ball and flatten it, giving it a little flour dusting to prevent sticking. Thanking God for my hands, and my ability to do work, my ability to be a useful and contributing member of society.
8)Each ball finds it's place onto the pan and is scored with a serrated knife. While I score the symbol into the raw dough I think of taking up my cross, the cross to follow Jesus. The cross I bear, but Jesus died on, for my sins.
9)The loaves go into the 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. As the timer ticks I read Matthew 14:13-21. The story of Jesus feeding the 5000. I thank God for the miracles Jesus performed, and the faith I have.
10)The loaves come out after 10 minutes and are brushed with oil, giving them moisture. I pray for rain for the fields, and flowers. I think of the flood victims who have too much moisture, and the drought victims with too little.
11)The bread goes back into the oven for another 8 minutes to complete it's baking time. As they bake I read Luke 11:1-4. I pray the Lords prayer and thank him for giving me this day, my daily bread. And pray that I can be forgiving, and accepting of forgiveness.

As you package and deliver the bread to your church pray for the people in your congregation who will partake of it during service.

Doing this has been such a blessing for me and I hope it will be equally for you as you perhaps start a new tradition for your church!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Crosby, it just feel so right

We are just a few days shy of the two month mark. My days have been filled with emptying boxes, moving stuff around for a better fit, keeping the house clean for those "unexpected" knocks on the door, and running after two, yes two, very mobile children.

A few updates on the kiddos. Brigid is getting so big. She talks like a 4 yr old in sentences and will repeat anything (like shut up Jack)!! Clara is doing everything she can to catch up to big sister including starting to crawl about 2 weeks ago, and getting her first two about 1 week ago. She tries to pull herself up to stand, and is much more of a challenge than Brigid ever was. She is my needy demanding child.

Our time here in Crosby has had it's fair share of ups and downs. Of course you remember the downs... but there are some great ups I also remember.

Recently we had the unfortunate and tragic strike. A young congregation member died of a suspected heart attack while playing basketball at the school. He was a much loved, talented, bright young kid. I had seen him around town but never had the pleasure of meeting him. Which could perhaps have been one small blessing in this horrible deal. I was able to step back and be helpful and supportive as Robert tackled one of the most difficult times that his ministry will probably ever face.

I still struggle with confidentiality, even though Robert has been doing great with it. It's my natural thing to ask him how his day was, what he did, and there is just a whole lot he can't share with me. Which is okay. I just have to remember not to ask! It's a tough part of being a pastor's wife. He can't usually share much of anything with you. Just one more way our lives are a little bit different then everyone else.

Having two small children in the pew with me on Sunday, I struggle to find my spiritual time. I have started using "motivated mommies" check list that has a bible reading for the day, as well as having a spot to check off "quiet time"! This has helped me some, when I make it a priority to sit down and do it. Quiet prayer has never been a special strength of mine. Robert is asking the worship planning committee if they would consider using fresh bread for communion. That is one spiritual practice I enjoy. I have also baked cookies for fellowship coffee time, another spiritual practice of mine. Perhaps I need to find more ways to do some cooking :)

This whole journey thus far has felt so spirit led. I continue to see signs from God affirming our decision to come to this place, and love these people. Even though we are 812 miles (not that I'm counting) from my door step to my mom's door step, I still feel like this is the place we need to be right now. It feels so wonderful to be so loved by this community, and they are so excited we are here. I enjoy walking down the street seeing faces I know, not needing my library card to check out a book, and knowing my buddy Brian down at the hardware store can help me out with whatever project I come up with next!!

I can't put my finger on it, but it just feels so right here in Crosby. Like the Lord led us to this place to grow, be challenged, live, and thrive. Thanks be to God for this place.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Here we are!

Well, we made it. It's been a super long journey. It started on the 16th when we loaded the moving truck, and continued for 3 weeks as we spent time in Nebraska with family. (One of the hardest days of my life driving away from my family knowing it could be a year or better before I'm back in Nebraska with them). And then 3 days with friends in Minnesota, and finally arrival in Crosby.

We are in temporary housing. The parsonage has no carpet in it, and as of right now, no toilets or sinks either! They are making much progress on it, and I'm so excited/thankful for all the work they are putting into it. It's going to be beautiful when it's done. They basically gutted the whole place and starting over top to bottom, carpet to new light fixtures. very cool. All for us.

Which is exciting for us. We are excited to have people be so excited that we are here. I've had so many people tell me they are so excited we are here! So many people it just really blows me away. I've just never had anyone be so outwardly excited about me... little old me. (Although I think it's my kids they are more excited about!)

The community is great, everything from a nice grocery store, to a wellness/work out center, gymnastics for the kiddos, drug store, county court house, to a variety store and theater showing current movies on Friday and Saturday nights. (I even went and saw the new Star Trek movie, and enjoyed it!)

The biggest downfall is my dear sweet babies are having trouble adjusting. Brigid keeps telling me she wants to "go home". And Clara isn't sleeping well at night. Neither of the girls are. So I'm anxiously awaiting the day they tell me I can move my stuff into the parsonage.

We are happy to be here, and already feel like we are making a difference in the life of the community, church, and individuals in the community. Thanks be to God!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Spirit Led

Today has been a busy stressful day. All the last minute packing. Bleh.

But today I had one of thos goose bumps kind of God moments.

I was packing up my stole kit, packing the things I would not need to finish Roberts ordination stole in Omaha. As I was putting all my needed things into my tote I realized I did not have the backings to the stole pieces. Well crap. I dug through the box and they weren't there either. Man, that means I packed them at the other place.

When I went to deiliver a meal to a friend with a new baby I stopped by the house to see if I could find the box. I had no idea what the box looked like, just that they must have gotten put in with my sewing stuff. Robert and I had sorted boxes into small medium and large for the movers. So nothing was where I remembered. I started diggin in the medium box pile. Nothing. I looked at every box. Frustrated I thought either Robert can find it tomorrow, or I will buy new and cut new backs in Omaha.

As I was walking out of the bedroom, instead of flipping the light off and heading out, I closed my eyes and said "please God, show me where it is". I turned my head and saw a box, in the small box pile, that seemed to be calling my name. I didn't recognize it, couldn't say that I remembered packing it. But something told me to go over and dig it out. It was under three other boxes, and behind another stack.

As I dug, I saw my chicken scratch handwriting coming out, sure enough, it said sewing stuff. I carefully peeled the tape back, and below the teddy bear needing a nose job, and the black dress with a loose hem, were the stole pieces.

I can't say what made me look at that box. Why at that moment when I turned my head it seemed to call for me. All I do know is that it was spirit led!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lower your lead!

The levels are coming down since the school moved us out of the old house and into the apartments. Brigid measured 22 last Thursday, which is a huge drop from 37.2. She seems to be doing great, and has an appt with the developmental specialist on Wednesday to make sure she has not had any side effects. Clara, Jack, Robert and I all tested very low, and have not encountered the poisoning Brigid did. Brigid will be tested once a month until she get less than 18, then every 3 months until she is less than 10 twice in a row. Then it will be annually with her regular checkups. Thanks be to God for technology and medical teams! We are lowering her lead!

Our "almost" new home

 We visited Crosby again from May 28-June3rd. Robert interviewed with the council and they voted unanimously to reccomend him to the congregation. The vote will be June 14th. We already have the moving truck in the works (yah for professional movers) and will be loading in Dubuque on the 16th. We will spend some time in Omaha and Lincoln before heading to Crosby on the 6th or 7th of July. They are doing a whole bunch of renovations to the parsonage so it could be as late as the 10th before we get there. 

Crosby feels so right for us. It seems to be just what we've been looking. And Robert seems to be the pastor they have been looking for! I really feel like God's hand has been guiding us through this whole process. Like from the very begining he's been walking with us. From delaying Robert's candidicy for a year becasue of the poky Nebraska synod, all the way through graduation. If we'd of come to seminary a year earlier, all this would be so differnt. I would probably not be in love with a town called Crosby! 

The schools are great, and the elementary and the high school are a short walk from the parsonage. I can see the playground from my front yard. The church is super close, as in Robert is standing on the church sidewalk taking the above picture of the parsonage. Literally right across the street. 50 steps from the backdoor. We love it! The town has 4 resturants to choose from, a nice grocery store, drug store, and hardware store. Crosby also has a book store, a fabric store, and an automotives parts store. Anything you could need. The county building is right next to the church. So we can walk to renew our drivers liceneses and plates. Ironic! 

The people were so warm and inviting. Everyone was so happy to see a young family with two little kiddos! We are excited to live and grow and thrive in the community. They have tons of activites from legion baseball, to gymnastics in the fall/winter, high school football, a great hockey program, curling (I'm so excited to learn to do that!), a swimming pool, and antique tractor threshing bee in the summer, and so much more to do! I'm really in love with this little town and so excited to become a part of the community. 

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Get the lead out... literally!

It started just like any other Friday morning. Chatting with Robert, talking on the net to with my sister, enjoying the calm morning. Then the call came. The nurse informed me Brigid's lead levels were high... and well, not just high... almost toxic. She was measuring 37.5. They admit to the hospital at 45. She said someone from the department of housing would be calling me, and someone from the health department would be calling me to set up appointments for consultations and inspections on our home, our clothes, her toys, the soil, the water. Everything. And the Dr wanted to see her again on Thursday (the day we leave for Crosby, ND). They will do cognitive and physical tests to make sure they is no damage, and draw blood again.

Begin Mommy Panic Mode.

I immediately called our health and human services rep, who refereed me to call the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) or the health department. She gave me phone numbers, but didn't know much. I called the VNA first. The gal who deals with the lead cases (yes, they have a person who that's all she does, is deal with cases of lead poisoning. I imagine in this old of a town, there are quite a few old places that still have lead pipes and paint.) was on the phone, but the gal I talked to gave me the phone number of the housing authority. I wasn't about to wait for people to call me. I was going to get to them first. She took my name and phone number and said Michelle (VNA lead lady) would call me back. I called housing and got the number of the person who works for the state and tracks lead level cases (yes, we are now a "case" with the state) and left her a message.

Michelle from VNA called me back. We talked at length about measured I could take to help prevent Brigid from being further exposed. These included Vacuuming and dusting the entire house once (at least once if not more) a day, and wiping out any open window, sill, frame.. everything. And also wiping down anywhere there was exposed wood or wall. Daily. She is coming on Tuesday to meet with us, help us determine if the paint is lead, or see if Brigid has any toys that are a recall list, or might have lead in them.

Being the Panic Mode Mommy, I called the housing lady again, and found out I had left a message on her supervisors phone and he was out of town.. Good thing I called back. She got on the phone and talked with Michelle, and they coordinated for the people with the sample machine to come out on Tuesday morning also. They will take numerous samples from all over the house from all different kinds of things. Water, soil, paint, wood, dust, toys.... She said it would take a couple of hours.

So all that is happening on Tuesday. And there I sat, knowing there was poison in my home, and not knowing where it was coming from. My friend Lindy called and asked if I had used the home test? What? There is a home test out there for this? I had no idea. So I left the house in search of this home test. After 3 tries, Lowes had them. I bought a couple and preceded home to swab the suspects. My first swab was the window sill next to Robert's chair. The liquid was supposed to turn pink within 30 seconds if lead was present. The pinker it got, the more concentrated the lead. As soon as the liquid touched the under layer of paint next to the exposed wood, it turned bright hot pink. Great. That was all the confirmation I needed.

Robert and I thought what are we going to do? We can't stay here. So Robert got on the phone with the maintenance guy, and he agreed we should probably go somewhere else. He thought some of the apartments were open, but didn't know for sure. He told us to call the housing gal. She wasn't home but the baby sitter gave us her cell, and she was so wonderful and came to the school on a Saturday to see what she had and bring us keys. So we packed up some bags and boxes and moved to the apartments down the hill. We're hanging out in a two bedroom place. It's nice and clean, and lead free :) Hopefully being out of the house will bring Brigid's levels down.

So that is where we sit. Tuesday is meetings and sampling. We will know more then. If levels are extremely high they will advise us to move out and the school will have to make the place lead safe. Not sure what "lead safe" means, but that's what they housing lady told me. If that's the case I doubt we will be moving back in, given our time frame with first call.

We will keep you updated as to our journey with this, and Brigid's health. We are thankful for prayers and all the help and kind words we've received. Even in the mists of this all we can see God walking with us. Praises and thanks to Him. Now let's get the lead out!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Alright. This has been a process, and will continue to be a process. Process, trust the process, flow with the process, know the process, blah blah blah process. Anyways....

On April 30th we embarked on Amtrak from LaCrosse Wisconsin to Stanley North Dakota. Two children and all their "stuff" in tow. We boarded the train. Robert interviewed in Stanley and Crosby North Dakota. Both were wonderful places. The congregation in Crosby seems to be a better fit for Robert's ministry style. After the interview, and careful, prayerful contemplation, we called Crosby and let them know we were with them. Kind fells like we're dating :) Cute!

So on Thursday the 6th of May, the call committee from Crosby recommended Robert to their council. The council would like us to visit again. So we booked another train trip for May 28th. Robert will interview with the council on Saturday the 30th, and if all goes well the council will recommend him to the congregation for a vote. The congregational vote will be June 14th. We don't have a start date. I'm sure that will be talked about on Saturday the 30th. Robert will also preach on Sunday the 31st, and they are having a fellowship coffee between services for people to meet us. It will be a busy weekend!

Ordination is tentatively set for the 30th of June. That's a Tuesday. Bishop Narum wanted to come for it, and that's what works into his, and hopefully everyone else's schedule whom Robert wants to be a part of the service.

Wow, this is all happening so fast. Weren't we just packing up from internship?

This whole process has been a whirlwind. I'm so glad I was able to sit back and just let the process do it's thing. I really think the process (and the humans involved in it) have found a great fit for Robert. We'll let you know how the final steps of the process go.

Trusting the process! Trusting in God's process!

Why I blog.. outlet

Blogging is an outlet for me. My friend Jennifer at Getting Down With Jesus (whom I've known long before blogging times) posed the question "why I blog" to her readers. My blog is kind of a journal I guess. I only have a few readers, or a few who comment. Most of my posts don't get comments, which is okay. I like to just write them down. I vent, I think things out, I talk to God. And I guess maybe, some day, some scared wife will read my blog and see it's not so bad being a pastor's wife, and maybe her husband's calling to seminary is a good thing, and she should trust in the Lord and follow him (him her husband, as well as Him). So I guess I can say I blog to make a difference to the one person who might google "pastor's wife" and get my blog and read it on a day that I post something awesome... or maybe she'll be inspired. Who knows.... so many possibilities on this world wide web!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Time in for mommy

a friend posted this article on facebook, and I realized that it's me. I'm feeling some serious mommy guilt now, as my little one sleeps in my lap as I type this.

So I'm taking some time out. I might not be back, or it might be a long long time. I need to focus on my girls and my mommy role. Time out on blogging and time out on spending endless hours reading other blogs and playing games on facebook. Time to call it quits. Time for a time out online and a time in for mommy.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Given for me, Given for you

That hymn plays through my head as I begin the spiritual journey of making communion bread. (although I only know the chorus... and bits of the verses I still like to hum the tune). The recipe is in my head now, which makes it easier.
2 c whole wheat flour
1 c white flour
1 1/4 t. baking powder
1 1/4 t. salt
4 t oil
1 c hot water (115 degrees)
3 T molasses
3 T honey
Pretty small cast of characters. This is an unleavened bread, so no yeast, making it simple, quick, and fool proof. The lack of yeast also causes no need for kneading, which made me to scrap my original title of this blog "kneading prayer". Catchy, but not applicable here. Maybe another post.

As I collect the goods, I thank God for my stocked pantry, for the food I eat daily, and the abundance I have. I pray for those whose pantries are empty this day, and whose tummies will grumble as they lay their heads to rest.
I mix the dry ingredients together. Moving them about with my fingers, thanking God for the convenience of grocery stores, and a product I didn't have to grow, harvest or mill to use.
Working the oil into the dry mix moves my thoughts and prayers to blessings. I thank all those in service to God who anoint the sick, who pray for them, and bring them the message of the risen Christ.
I carefully heat the water in the microwave and pray for those who lack clean water to drink and wash with. Being thankful for the faucet in my kitchen that flows with safe water each and every day for me and my family to drink and wash with.
As I pour and mix the honey and molasses into the hot water I pray for babies. Honey always makes me think of sick babies, since babies aren't supposed to have honey. I think of my dear sweet girls and am so thankful they are safe and healthy. Honey contains small traces of botulism and causes severe problems in babies whose immune systems can't fight it off like adults can.
I pour the dark, sweet mixture into the dry ingredients while thanking God for diversity on our earth, thanking him for the melting pot of life and praying for tolerance and understanding amongst those who differ from each other. Mixing the light and dry with the dark and wet until it forms one solid ball, which will be a bit sticky, but none the less, is one.
Diving the ball into four sections I pat each one into it's own ball and flatten it, giving it a little flour dusting to prevent sticking. Thanking God for my hands, and my ability to do work, my ability to be a useful and contributing member of society.
Each ball finds it's place on my baking stone and is scored with a serrated knife. While I score the symbol into the raw dough I think of taking up my cross, the cross to follow Jesus. The cross I bear, but Jesus died on, for my sins.
The loaves going into the 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. As the timer ticks I've done different things. Sometime I've read a short chapter in my bible study book, or pulled out the bible. This day, my dear sweet Clara awoke from her nap. As I waited for the oven buzzer, I held her in my arms and fed her. I thanked God for the miracle of her birth, and for bringing her to me happy and healthy. I prayed for her, and her big sister snoozing through her nap time.
I get the dishes to the sink and pray for my husband who is my dishwasher. Lord bless him!
The loaves come out after 10 minutes and are brushed with oil, giving them moisture. I pray for rain for the fields, and flowers. I think of the flood victims who have too much moisture, and the drought victims with too little. I pray for recovery in Fargo and the other areas effected recently.
The bread goes back into the oven for another 8 minutes to complete it's baking time.

Stacked on my table they cool. Usually after nap time the girls and I walk down to Wartburg to put the bread in the chapel. I use the walk to pray for all those who will partake tomorrow and thank God for their forgiven sins and the symbolism of that meal. On this day I will freeze the bread and walk it to Scott's house so he can make sure it gets to Chapel next week when we will be gone in North Dakota interviewing. Thank God for Scott and all the work and coordinating he has done this year for chapel linens and Communion bread making it to the table on Wednesday mornings. What a daunting and logistical task!

Most of all I enjoy making the bread. It's a wonderful spiritual time for me, being thankful for things, remembering to pray, being humble and doing something simple. I enjoyed thinking about how I would write this and present it as I made the bread and photographed my steps. I think it made the experience more fun this time. I hope the congregation we are called to uses fresh baked bread, and perhaps I can even be the baker of that special bread. I would really like that.

I thank God for the bread, given for me, and given for you.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

God will

Below is a link to one of the best pieces of sound engineering work ever seen. It is a composite audio/video of song whereby additional tracks were laid in by different singers and musicians from different places around the world. The finished product is tremendous!
The song itself is that classic standard "Stand By Me" originally released in 1955 by The Staple Singers and released again in 1961 by the Drifters. This composite version is a real toe tapper.
So turn up the speaker volume. Click here to listen
My sister posted this link. It really is an amazing collection and I'm glad she shared it with me. I wanted to share it with you.

When I hear that song.. of course it makes me thing... who's going to stand by me?

And of course I know the answer... God will.

So please listen and watch, and know who will stand by you. God Will.

more cake bites

 So these little bites of Delicious were made last week for a MOPS event I had to bring a dessert that didn't require a fork to. I remembered about 7:30pm on Wed night I needed this dessert, and was home alone with the girls. So there was no way I was going to try and hit the grocery store. I had the cake mix, frosting and candy melts already, and also had lollipop sticks. I had bought all this wanting to make little baseball cake bites for my nephew's birthday while we were in Omaha, but just flat out didn't have time. So these tasty little bites became a treat for the MOPS childcare workers luncheon. 

I did some things differently which I think made them 100 times better tasting and looking. I used yellow cake and chocolate "rich and thick" Betty Crocker frosting as opposed to the whipped stuff. Worked much much better. And I used just enough to make the balls tight, not crumbly. I put the cake balls on sticks, which was a great idea and made for much easier and cleaner coating of the chocolate. Although the balls were maybe a bit to heavy and a few fell off the sticks while I was dipping. there is no way they could have stood the other way, like a sucker, the would have all fallen off. My hubby commented they look a bit like chocolate covered caramel apples. Yes, I guess I see it too. Whatever they look like, I know they tasted AWESOME. I also took some to my friends at Pier One. While I never felt compelled to take food there while I was working over the holidays, for some reason I did this time. I brought donuts and strawberries one day, and these little guys another day. Pretty sure everyone had a heart attack they were so good. I wish I would have brought more and people could have eat more than one each. Oh well. Maybe next time. I absolutely have to make them smaller next time. Once again they were 3-4 biters, and after bite two, they usually fell off the stick, so they sat in your hand melting. I need to make them about half the size so you can just take one bite and eat the whole thing. I think that's how Bakerella does hers. 

So that's the next step in the cakes bites adventure. Don't have anything I can think of coming up that will call for more. But I am going to make communion bread for chapel. Perhaps I will do a spiritual blog about my "routine" I go through when I make it, and photograph it along the way. Good idea. Note to self... do that :) 
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Where my soul is

This is a link to an article a friend of mine posted on Facebook. It's by the one and only Bono, whom I am secretly (no more, I guess) crushing on! Always have been. Yes, Robert knows :)

But more importantly this article made me think. Bono asks the question where is your soul? He talks of aid money congress is giving to help the third world countries, he talks of listening to the sound of praise in a small stone chapel, and he talks of the wonder of the Easter story. He says "Of all the Christian festivals, it is the Easter parade that demands the most faith — pushing you past reverence for creation, through bewilderment at the idea of a virgin birth, and into the far-fetched and far-reaching idea that death is not the end. The cross as crossroads. Whatever your religious or nonreligious views, the chance to begin again is a compelling idea."

He mentions that many Americans are turing to service since they don't have the finacial means to donate cash to charity. I think this is a wonderful thing. In this recession I see many people turing back to Christ. Perhaps that is a trend for recessions. I'm not to sure... but it sure sounds logical. In a time when people can't make sense of a lost job, or not being able to make ends meet on a regular basis, they turn to Christ, they turn to something bigger than themselves. Christ has always been there for us. Always has his arms open wide for us. No, I can't explain why my friends at Pier One lost thier jobs and the store closed, but I know they can find comfort in Christ and in the Easter story, the idea that this life on earth is not the end.

I find comfort in that story. As I awoke the other day from a bad dream (which I've been having a lot of lately) I stood in the shower and worried. What if I was in a bank when it got robbed, what if someone kidnapped my kids, what if someone goes crazy and tries to shoot my husband during a service? I worry a lot. It's kind of my thing. I'm a worrier. But the worry of these things... worry I can't do anything about. Sometimes it overwhelmes me. Makes me cry, makes me sad, makes me scared. And the only comfort I have is the promise that this world is not the end. This is not all I have. When my time comes, it comes, and God has a place for me, and for you, in heaven. To experience something beyond our human comprehension. That promise of my sins forgiven, Jesus on the cross, and then rising again, gives me hope to press on. Hope to not hold up in my house and never let my kids out of my sight. It gives me the hope to live, not in fear, but in the love of Christ. What an amazing gift He has given us to live this way.

So where does my soul go with that? What do I do with that hope? Give it away of course. Share it. Share the news that Christ is risen, we are forgiven, and God reins in Heaven for all of us. Sharing the faith is the best way to begin again, begin again with that hope.

Okay. So now I need to do it. I've never been much of an evangelist. I'm really not even good at living like I should as a christian. A true christian, not those people who claim to be, but are really judgemental jerks, giving us a bad name. So what does that look like? I think I need to change a bit. I need to work on my walk with Christ, and my walk for Christ. Self preservation and focus is an important thing, but I might take it to the extreme. Being more selfless, I used to voulenteer, and use my "busy" life with children as an excuse not to anymore. That's ridiculous. I have all the time in the world if I make a commitment to it. Time for a change. Priorities. That's where my soul needs to be... in service. That's how I can show I am a true christian, how I live my life. Show others that hope in Christ, that he died and rose again, for our forgivness. That they are worth it, and that he loves them. Service, that's where my soul is.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


As some of you know, but most of you don't... we are not going to Western North Dakota for interviews this weekend. Boo! That makes me sad. We got a call on Thursday that our train, which was set to depart in just over 24 hours, had been cancelled with no other service available. We were told Amtrak made the decision for the safety of it's passengers to not continue rail service west of Minneapolis for the time being due to flood waters. They are taking it day by day, and didn't have a date when service would be restored. Great. So after many phone calls, and trying to figure out how we would get there... Robert and the call committee chairs decided to reschedule for the first weekend in May. Driving would have been 14+ hours in the car with the girls, and flying would have cost $1500 for one ticket. Both of those just not an option. The call committees were sad we could not make the trip, but very understanding.

Honestly I was heartbroken, at first. I had my heart set on the train trip, meeting people, seeing the parsonages and churches, and getting this process really going. And I pondered and prayed about this whole thing. I needed reasons. Wondering why I'm in such a hurry, not sure how on earth we would have made this trip work, knowing Robert had lots of homework to finish. That's a good reason. I'm getting sick with a sore throat and nagging cough, Brigid is also sick with the start of what I hope will be a short lived cold. Lots of reasons why this weekend was not a good one to go on a trip. We were all exhausted still from the trip to Nebraska for baptism. More reasons. Boxes need to be packed, I had to work on Friday. Good reasons. The time just wasn't right. Reasons.

While all of these reasons I listed may not be why the trip was cancelled, I know God has a plan of for us. He has his reasons.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

a fast as I can handle.

Well, it's time. We leave on Friday afternoon for interviews in two towns. I'm so very excited about it! It's going to be a terribly busy trip. We leave on Friday afternoon to catch the train in LaCross Wisconsin. We'll board the train around 8pm. We've got the family bedroom, as we are taking the two little ones with us. The logisitics of taking the train are mind boggling. Traveling with two small children, and our destination does not have checked baggage, so everything must be carried on. So much to take. Beds for the kids, suitcases, baby bjorn, diapers, snacks, computer, both car seats... whoa. But I have the feeling God's going to be on our side with this trip. I just know there will be helping hands... more then we can imagine. Robert will be preaching at one of the congregations so I'll be single mommy in the pews. Just so different with two!

I'm so excited for this trip, to see where we might be living, to meet the people. And to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. This whole seminary journey is ending. We're coming so close so fast. Graduation is in a month. Everything is happening so fast now! We started packing a couple of boxes. Packing up the office, so everything can be moved into the office as we pack other rooms. It's coming so fast. We could be moving in two months. Wow. So fast!

God is working in our lives. Bringing us close together as a family. He's been working on our hearts, opening us up to new experiences. He's been working fast. At Christmas time I was thinkng there is no way I'm ready for this. Not ready for graduation and interviews... then Clara came, assignments came, synods came, phone calls from congragations came, and now interviews come. So fast... seems like yesterday we moved back to Dubuque for senior year. Now it's almost time to move out. But God is with us in all this. Even though it's fast, I know I can count on Him. He will only take it as fast as I can handle. Through God all things are possible. Even this!
 My dear sweet baby girls posing for a cute picture. I love them so much!!
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Monday, April 13, 2009


 My little family at Clara Joan's baptism in Lincoln
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Monday, April 6, 2009

Cake Bites Adventure

So I have a particular additction to reading blogs. One of my favorites is Bakerella, which can be found here
She makes beautiful cake pops. Little bites of decorated cake deliciousness on a stick! YUM. So after her blog, okay numerous blogs, about Easter/Spring cake pops, I just had to make some myself. It's super simple (or so I thought) I decided to take a chaper out of her blog book and make a photo essay blog for you during my cake pop/bites endeavor. These cake bites were being made to take to the campus wide baby shower on Sunday. That's why they are decorated the way they are. I was going to try and make them like Bakerella did, the little bunnies and chicks and eggs, but I couldn't find all the decorating pieces she used.. so I went with simple cake bites, which I'm glad I did. I guess she has a food blog with hundreds of thousands of readers for a reason, while my blog is read by one or two people!!

Step one is to bake a cake. I didn't photograph this. We all know how to make a cake! Just a good 'ol regular Betty Crocker out of the box chocolate cake. Then the fun beings! You crumble the cake into a big bowl. I found my hands to be the best use of availible untensils.

Step #2 is to add a tub of frosting. I choose Betty Crocker whipped Butter Cream. Which I must admit may not have been the best choice. I'll talk more about that later. Perhaps choosing a frosting that is the same flavor as your cake with ease some of the problem I experienced with this step.

Then you mix. And mix, and oh yeah... mix
Next you take the wonderful cake mess and turn it into beautiful little balls! It was easier, but messier than I though. I used a cookie scoop to get even sized ball, and since Hubby was actually the one doing the scooping I didn't get even sized, but it's the thought that counds right? Should have just used my hands, but oh well! I did get 42 wonderful cake bites.
Put the cake bites into the freezer so they will harden up a bit and be easier to work with. The heat from my hands made the balls sticky and soft, hard to work with for the next step. So I choose the deep freeze, which Bakerella said for 5 min. I would say for more like 15 minutes. 5 minutes just gave them a little chill, not really any hardening factor.

While the cake bites stiffen up, I moved onto the coating. I used good old candy melts in white and yellow. They melt so nice and easy in the microwave, even stupid microwaves like mine can do it! (although my stupid microwave required that I sit and watch them as they melt and constantly be checking on them.. it dosen't have a 50% power, what it thinks is 50% power to to nuke the food 100% for 10 seconds, then just spin your food for 10 seconds, then nuke it again at 100% for 10 seconds.. you get the picture. Piece of junk.) I also used this time to prep my candy sugar topping. I had bought the pink one, planning on using it on the easter eggs, but didn't have blue. So I made some blue with some plain white sugar and two drops of blue food coloring. While it wasn't the large crystals like the pink, it still did the trick I was looking for. Gotta have pink and blue for the babies!

Bakerella suggests melting your candies in a narrow, deep dish, so that you can submurge your cake bite into the melted goo and not have to be rolling it around. I should have listened. While I did get the desired effect I wanted.. or well sorta (see the next couple pictures and the little bits of chocolate cake that peek out from the candy coating). I also got lots of little pieces of chocolate cake "floaties" in my pure white candy coating. So it turned into not so pure white.. but it still did the trick, it's not like these are gonna be eggs or anything!
So goes the dipping, and the drizzling. I found it easier (as suggested) to submurge the ball, then to take the spoon and spoon more coating over top of it. The less the spoon touches the balls, the less cake came off. Amazing!
And this is a finished, and decorated cake bite! I think it's pretty cute. Who wouldn't want to gobble up this wonderful little bite of delicious?? I admit it does look like a truffle, and I think a lot of people at the party thought that's what they were until they bit into them!
I have to tell you that while I was doing all the baking and coating, my wonderful husband was doing the sugar sprinkling and the pictures. I give him a big thumbs up for this one.. look at the way he captured the grains of sugar falling to thier new home atop a beautifully coated cake bite. The movement... the detail... the wonder. Way to go hunna. Great photography, and even greater sugar sprinkling! You get an A+!
And here they are. Finished product. While they aren't as cute as Bakerella's beautiful little eggs and chicks and bunnies... I think they are cute and I'm happy with them. They were a big hit at the party. And now I know how to make them and can say I have! Yah to me.
I will say that I did a good job. I will also say this. I have some things I would change. First off when I first bit into the cake bite, I guess I was expecting cake... right? Spoungy, soft, tasty chocolate cake. What I got was a cross between grainy frosting and mushy cake. When you mix frosting with little bits of cake, you don't get the texture of a frosted cake. Duh. But after popping a few of these little wonders into my mouth, I found that you get over that and they taste pretty good. It is cake and frosting after all.. I mean, can that be bad? Perhaps using a little less frosting, not the entire can, would ease this situation.
Secondly I would change the size. Maybe a little bit smaller. More of a two bite, or a pop in your mouth kind of deal. These were a little big and little rich for me. It was a 3-4 bite undertaking.
And thirdly I would use the same flavor of cake and frosting. Not that the butter cream and chocolate wouldn't be wonderful is thier own respective traditional cake roles, but as cake bites on a combined effort, butter cream just took over, and chocolate sat in the back seat for the ride. I was disappointed at the lack of choclate taste. I don't eat chocolate often, but when I do, I want CHOCOLATE taste.. in my face taste... not backseat to buttercream taste.

So I have learned some things. I also think it would be much easier to do these on sticks like Bakerella does. Getting an even coat would be easier. Anyways.

This food blog has been fun. Now that I spent 40 miutes trying to figure out how to get pictures in here! So maybe I'll do it again.. perhaps bread :) Yeah right! I'm a mom of 2 children under 2, like I have time to make bread.. maybe someday again.

From me to you, enjoy your cake bites and check out Bakerella here!

Friday, March 27, 2009

No Net!

We got paperwork in the mail yesterday. That's exciting. Two congregations. Both look promising. We have to get the complete binder of information on one of them from another student here who is also looking at that congregation. So we will have more info about it a little later.

After looking through the paperwork I realize, this is real. There is no going back now. I can't decide I want to move back to Nebraska. I guess I've always looked at seminary would end and that we would be going back to "normal" life. Normal life is going to be Western North Dakota. It's kind of sinking in now. Family is 15 hours away. That's so far.

The call is happening now. We feel called as a family to pursue this ministry. We feel called to move where we are needed, and we feel that God has called us to Western North Dakota to serve his people there. For four long years it's been waiting. I felt the call a little stronger on internship, I know Robert will say the same thing. But for the most part it's been four years of questions. I know those questions won't end with graduation, but it just feels like this chapter is our lives is closing. The safety net is being pulled away and here we teeter on the tight rope... no net! The safety of "learning time" is gone, and it's real world here we come! It's just so scary without that net!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Signs of Spring

 For us the signs of spring are the "writing on the wall" or in our case the writing on the sidewalk! Brigid has taken a special love to playing with chalk. The top one is of course my picture, and the bottom one is her very creative and colorful picture. I'll call it "curvy lines" :) We had some great mommy/Brigid time outside yesterday before the rain hit today. It was good for both of us to get out, and spend some time together, just the two of us. 
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Monday, March 23, 2009

It's out of my control... take a deep breath and accept it.

Chapter 2 begins. In my book chapter 2 is all about losing control. Not losing your mind.. although for me, the two seem to go hand in hand. It's about letting go. Realizing that as you wait, usually the things you are waiting on are out of your control. Relinquishing that control to God. Prayerfully knowing that you can't not make things different, and being okay with that. In the back of the chapter there are questions, and one question is "Think of a situation where a forced wait made (or is making you) realize you were (are) not in control."

I've been thinking long and hard about this one. And of course the first situation to pop into my mind is our current status with assignment. Bishop called on Friday and had given our paperwork to two congregations. One of them sounds like a winner, just what we want. And the other is a bit unknown for us. It's not sounding like a good fit for us. But as we wait for paperwork from the congregations, I am trying very very hard to keep an open mind. And it's hard for me to be so out of control. I have been spending time as I feed Clara in the early morning hours with God. I pray and talk to him. I ask him the usual things, keep my family safe, bless my friends. And after reading this chapter, last night, I added something. "God, help me to accept that maybe this first call won't be exactly what we are looking for. Help me to accept that I have no control over this process. Allow me to let the Holy Spirit work through the call committee of these places, and through Robert as he looks over paperwork and possibly interviews. Help me to be open, supportive, and accepting of the decisions made by other people, and Lord guide them to what is best for Robert in his ministry."

Whew. That's a hard one for me. The Martha in me, and we all know that she usually reigns supreme, wants to pray to God for a big parsonage with a fenced in yard and sliding glass for the doggie door. And oh yeah, 3 bedrooms, 2 bath, big kitchen. Good congregation with little to no turmoil, easy first call for Robert. That would be me trying to control it! And I know these places exist. But I have to accept what the Holy Spirit gives us. I have to let what God has planned unfold without my little Martha fingers getting in there at all. It's out of my control, I need to step back, take a deep breath, and accept it! Lord, help me to let your Holy Spirit work in our lives. Amen!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sweet baby girl

 I just love her face in this one and wanted to share it with you all. What a little doll! 
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Assignment waiting

About a month ago we found out we will be moving to Region 3, and then on March 5th, we found out region 3 had been narrowed down to Western North Dakota. And then just one week ago today, we found out, from a meeting with our wonderful new Bishop, Mark Narum, it would most likely be northern and western North Dakota.

The whole thing has been a bit of a whirlwind for me. Since I gave birth to my second daughter on Feb 16th. This assignment journey started on the 18th of Feb, as I still lay in my hospital bed getting to know my new baby girl. And it's been happening so fast. Hard to believe that was all a month ago today. Whew! Perhaps God has been working in my life in all this.

I've been reading a book "Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting". I am horribly impatient. Everything should be done now. That's how I've always lived my life. And well, since my sweet baby girl #2 came into our lives, that has changed. This whole assignment journey has been taking a backseat to midnight feedings and dirty diapers. While it's still important to me, it's just not been my focus. Which has been a blessing. My impatience has come around, and I am happy to just wait and see what unfolds.

The book has a wonderful quote in the first few pages "Do you have the patience to wait till the mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself." I am letting my mud clear. The Bishop told us we would have paperwork for congregations in the next two weeks. That mud is settling. And I am honestly hardly even thinking about it. The water is clearing. But I'm still waiting. Which is okay. Waiting isn't so bad.