Friday, July 31, 2009

Even the Wind and the Waves

OK, I'll be perfectly honest... Doing these preparations for seminary without keeping a steady income going feels... weird. And I have my moments when I wonder how things are going to work out financially, time spent with my family, etc., etc.
I came across this sermon today, written by Pastor William Cwirla. A very challenging and encouraging reminder that we can trust our Lord Jesus in all things, no matter how difficult the situation. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Getting started at the sem

Slowly but surely I'm getting things ready for starting classes in the fall. I got my student ID card - at least the photo looks better than the one for my Indiana driver's license. I've completed some additional paperwork, and I bought a few supplies at the bookstore. Bought my Greek textbook back in February, and I have been reviewing vocabulary words for the first 10 chapters, at the recommendation of several "battle hardened" summer Greek students. I am so very grateful for my assistant pastor back home for doing some tutoring with me. It has helped tremendously.

I also bought a new laptop computer, and as my first official act as a student, I logged into the seminary network and took a shot at the Old Testament "Intro" exam, to see if I could quiz out. 100 multiple-choice questions with a 1 hour time limit. I passed on the first attempt! (It wasn't exactly a stellar score, but I passed.) Overall, the exam was a little harder than I expected... About 40 questions were fairly easy, about 25 or so required a little thinking, and the rest were what I would call really tough.
Next up: see if I can quiz out of the New Testament Intro course. Hope to take that next week.
UPDATE: I passed the New Testament exam today, with much rejoycing. I also enjoyed my first "Gemutlichkeit" at the seminary, immediately following the completion of my exam. (That's the "fellowship-with-students-and-professors-to-discuss-theology-over-a-Lutheran-beverage" that happens each Friday afternoon. It's a long-standing tradition at the sem.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Elise Turns 14

Last week on Thursday, July 16, I turned 14! I got cards and a gift from my family, and later that evening we went to the church's ice cream social to eat supper. That evening, Mom and Dad and I watched Hitchcock's Vertigo. It was a good day and I am very blessed to have such a great family!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Several months back Stan announced that when we moved to Indiana, he wanted me to buzz his hair. New career, new haircut. I was relieved that I didn't mess it up. Here he is with his handsome new buzz, handing his (no longer needed) hairbrush over to John.
Besides this change, here are a some others that I find interesting:
1. There is a light pole at the back of our driveway. The back of my van met up with it the first time I went to town alone. Thankfully, the sun popped the small dent out of the back hatch. Whew. I thought light poles were in the grass....
2. We couldn't smile (according to Indiana law) when we had our driver's license pictures taken. I'm glad I can't scan those pictures onto the blog....
3. The announcer on the local radio station reads all the traffic tickets given out in our area...good thing he didn't see me back into the lamp post, or he might have read it on the news.
4. We only have to walk about 50 steps to get to church, which is nice.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

More Pictures of Our Home...

In this batch we have the kids' rooms (we found Elise's comforter set free at the clothing co-op at the seminary. It looks great with her 4 post bed!). We also have Lindsay's desk that she made out of a flat box, complete with drawers, made with no assistance from us. The younger girls have had a blast with the boxes, which are on the side of their room not in the picture. I tried taking pictures of their other creations (such as a clubhouse), but the pictures just didn't do them justice. Lindsay wanted to let everyone know that she made a telescope holder for the clubhouse.
The whole house was repainted a nice neutral color before we moved in, so we are trying to be conservative about how many pictures we hang, since we will only be here a couple of years. We are so thankful to be here, and it feels like home now that the pictures are hung and boxes are either unpacked or stashed away!

The Long-Awaited Pictures of Our Home

One of my favorite things about this house is the kitchen. It is brand new except the stove, which is newer than what we had in our previous house. The cabinets are actually a medium wood tone, but it is cloudy today, so they look darker. Another favorite is the "game room" at the top of the stairs. Enough room for a card table, and the linen closet is big enough for linens AND games, blocks, train set...with the help of a few wire shelves. Also in this batch of pix is our room (we ended up taking a smaller room downstairs, since our queen size box springs wouldn't fit up the staircase-why did we get rid of that antique full-size bed 5 years ago?), dining room, and living room. There is new carpet downstairs, and hardwood floors upstairs. -Dana

Ice Cream...and pie!

We had a great time at the ice cream much that this is the ONLY picture we took. Elise remembered to take a picture right before we left. Bethany was happy because she had such a big bowl of ice cream. The food was delicious (besides the meal and ice cream, they were serving pie!!) We also enjoyed visiting with people, and the church raised $2300 for the African mission.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ice Cream Social... country style!

Today we prepped for the big annual church ice cream social. This church may be small, but when it comes to ice cream socials, they do it up big and do it right! The ladies and gents pooled their talents and made approximately 40 gallons of homemade vanilla ice cream. Stan was helping with manning the ice cream freezers, and Elise helped in the kitchen by keeping talley of the number of the "finished" ice cream containers coming in from outside and the individual quarts that were packed. This, by the way, is going to be a fundraiser for a mission project in Africa.

So how do you make 40 gallons of ice cream in one afternoon? Well, for starters, you start collecting ingredients way in advance and have LOTS of help lined up. Ice cream production started at 2PM and finished at 6 PM, just in time for the Wednesday evening dinner before church service. We had about 16 people working together. It also helps if you have eight electric ice cream freezers going simultaneously. Roughly 67 cups of sugar were used. For those familiar with making homemade ice cream, making one six quart freezer container alone requires a fair amount of crushed ice and salt; we mixed up about 26 of those babies although I didn't keep track how much ice and salt we used.

Stan and Elise worked at the church for approximately 4 hours. But boy, did that work pay off; those ice cream samples were a hit! Pictures to be posted later. :-)

Here are some additional tools that come in handy for making that much ice cream:

- 2 gigantic heavy duty plastic tubs (about 3 ft. in diameter).
- three large (double layer) "canvas" bags (roughly the size of lawn-size trash bags).
- 4' x 8' piece of 1/2" steel plate
- one tractor equipped with a backhoe
- a couple of pairs of welding gloves.

OK... here's the puzzler, folks: What were these tools used for???

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

About the parish here...

This church has been around for a LONG time... It's over 150 years old. Some of the older headstones in the cemetery are dated in the 1850's and 1860's. I'm not sure the exact age of the building, but I'm guessing it was built in the 1880's, and the parsonage was probably built in the 1890's. Despite the age of the facilites, this small congregation has done a very good job in maintaining the building, offices, and parsonage, and adding functions that make a church attractive, such as a nursery with video feed, DVD and audio recordings for shut-ins.
The church has two services each week (Sunday and Wednesday). The pastor along with his assistants (a vicar, plus two student workers), visit four area nursing homes and conduct brief chapel services at each one. The church also has a weekly radio program that airs on a local AM station.
Perhaps the most unique outreach "ministry" the church offers (I don't really like using the term "ministry" in this context, but you get the idea) is an exercise program that is available to anyone in the community. Our church facility has a nicely equipped work-out room, complete with exercise bikes, treadmills, weights, rowing, etc.

With all of the functions the church has going on, you can image that the pastor keeps a rather busy schedule... Indeed he does. In fact, this is not his regular "day job"... He also has an executive position at the seminary. And here's the kicker: he is in his mid 70's!!! I would defy just about anyone half his age to keep up with this guy. He is absolutely amazing.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Welcome to Northern Indiana!

Greetings from Northern Indiana! On July 1, we began on our big moving adventure. For those of you who haven't heard our moving story, here are some highlights:

1. We almost left the piano in KC. After three failed attempts to get it on the truck (can you imagine having to roll a piano back down the moving ramp after moving it halfway up?), we finally loaded it, with the help and intelligence of a neighbor and Dana's brother-in-law.

2. We finally got the truck loaded (top to bottom), about an hour and a half later than our contract said we had to be out of the house. Thankfully, the buyers had stopped by earlier on moving day, and it wasn't a problem. We were loaded and ready to go, and the battery in the van was dead. (It's always something, right? *Sigh*.) We pushed it over by Stan's car, and he gave it a jump. Needless to say, we left KC quite a bit later than planned (2:30 p.m.)

3. Our two parakeets, Bert and Ernie, came along with us on our trip. Elise is the main caretaker of the birds, and so she had the priviledge of keeping the bird cage steady almost the whole way to Indiana. (She wouldn't have let anyone else do it anyway...) They had a pretty good trip, although they were pretty nervous, especially towards the end of the trip.

4. After an eleven hour drive, we reached our destination in Indiana by 2:30 a.m., Eastern Time. We had some very tired troopers! Thankfully, we didn't have to drive all the way to our new house. We spent the night in a dorm at the seminary.

5. At 8:30 a.m. the moving company called and said our truck was a day ahead of schedule (yay!, but Dana would have liked a little more sleep...). We followed the pastor that Stan will be working with out to the parsonage. That evening, our moving truck arrived and the seminary moving committee had it unloaded in less than two hours (too bad loading wasn't that fast!). We were showered with welcome, food, and friendship. We were exhausted, but grateful to be in this beautiful place, in this new chapter of our lives.

And my God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
-Philipians 4:19

Posted by Dana and Elise... peanut gallery comments by Stan