October 31, 2008

Halloween and Reformation Day

Everyone knows that today is Halloween and it has its pros and cons. In my adulthood, I've heard moreso the cons. It is the one time a year one could dress up to be what one might wish to be, though I think we wear plenty of masks throughout the year.

As kids, we used to plan way ahead as to what we wanted to be. We did it as a neighborhood, community thing, and often tended to coordinate a theme, which always included our wagon. It's nostalgic, primarily remembering the freedom to roam, because our parents felt it safe. And we did roam!

My kids always costumed up for Family Fun Night at our old church, planning as a family. Throughout the years we've often won the costume contest in some category. Before Monte and me were married we won with our cave men costumes. In fact, it was the only picture my mom had to send to distant relatives, and when we were married, visiting the relatives they said, "you DO look different from your picture!" ;^)

In all we do, God looks at the intentions of our heart.

 With God-in-our-midst we can enjoy fall decor and apples and pumpkins and corn and scarecrows! ... and love the candy and costumed people!
Jesus said "I am the light of the world" and as believers in Him, we know the end of the story: He's already won the victory over darkness. "Hallow" means "to make holy." Halloween is the eve of All Hallows Day or All Saints Day.

I remember that October 31st is Reformation Day - when Martin Luther nailed the 95 thesis on the castle door. The thesis were asking the church to reform. The castle door was used as a bulletin board and he was asking people to debate. There's more to this story that's not usually told related to the castle door (tomorrow: the rest of the story).

Luther wasn't the 1st asking for reform. It had been asked for ages by various peoples, including many female "saints". The time was ripe for him to hatch the egg that had been laid.

The Muslim Turks were on the rampage. Many people in the Middle East were escaping into Europe - bringing ancient manuscripts. The Religious and Secular Enlightenment was a result of these manuscripts. People for the first time in Europe were seeing the original Greek and Hebrew writings (and art). There was a surge of language study. Also, the printing press was invented, with the Bible being the first book printed in the mid 1400's.

So people were finally able to read the Bible for themselves. Erasmus actually gave the Pope a Bible he had translated from the original languages and the Vulgate
side-by-side (remember I told you about Jerome?) along with his personal notes about where the church was wrong. (Erasmus and Luther debated a lot. Erasmus never left the Church, whereas Luther did, marrying a nun - Katharine.)

There's tons leading up to Martin Luther along with his own story that's too much to tell here. All I'll say is that with the Muslims pressing into Europe from Spain and the East - kings, Popes, and Lords were so preoccupied with keeping alliances for potential battle at their borders, that Luther was not burned at the stake for being a heretic.
 His Prince Frederick whisked him off after his trial to a hidden place. During that time Luther translated the Bible.
 (I love the movie "Luther".)

October 29, 2008

In History today

The Statue of Liberty, a gift from the people of France, was dedicated in New York Harbor in 1886. And then was rededicated by Roosevelt on it's 50th anniversary (Political cartoon 1919).

A Michael Servetus was condemned to death by the Church in 1553, for the crimes of subversion of the public morality, blasphemy, and heresy - executed in Geneva. Interestingly John Calvin pleaded for mercy in his case. 

Servetus had a gifted mind, was trained by the Dominicans, and went to university in Spain. He had to flee to France assuming another identity and studied math and the sciences and gained fame as a physician discovering pulmonary circulation of the blood, and the use of syrups in medicine. Then fled to Geneva.

Why the heresy? His gifted, fanciful mind while studying the Bible brought him into conflict with the Church when he published several books, like: Errors of the Trinity. He said the gods of the Trinitarians were like three-headed monsters and a deception of the devil. So for over 20 years he'd publish and flee and republish and flee and was finally caught.

Then, there's an era referred to as the twelfth-century literary renaissance, sometimes called the Age of John of Salisbury. He was an English philosopher and humanist, and died on this day in 1180. He was intimate friends with the Pope and Bernard of Clairvaux, was trained by the infamous scholar Peter Abelard, and his close association with Thomas a Becket, who was hacked to death by 4 knights, cost him dearly. John a champion of Aristotelian logic, wrote extensively on principals of free government, history, and education (the trivium), and commonsense works on the foolishness of superstitions, etc.

And too, today in 1965, the tallest monument (is it still?), the St Louis Arch, called "The Gateway to the West", was completed (630 ft x 630 ft). I still can't believe we've driven by it and never taken the time to go inside.

For Fun !?!

Monte emailed me this -

Dorothy got lost in OZ because she had three men giving her directions!

I had forwarded a fun email to him earlier about all the dumb things guys do that would shorten their lives. He then added to the list by telling me a story of what his grandpa did ...

They were driving down the country road in Ogema and the ladder didn't fit in the vehicle. So Monte's grandpa drove with the ladder out the passenger window and the young Monte was sitting in the passenger seat with his head above the ladder, through a rung. They did hit a mailbox ...


When we were in GreenBay, Monte's brother Mike told of this burning log thing they did at campfires, and Dawson was going to be having an event with the college group at our house - frisbee golf and then a campfire. So we emailed him pics and instructions and he did it and took pics.

Mike calls it a Tiki man. Dawson called it something else on his photoblog.

October 28, 2008

Amazing Grace Cello

Go to the link below to hear Dawson play his metal cello he forged/welded. He doesn't even play the cello, but he did play the violin as a young boy. And it does sound better in person.

And yes, he's been told he's playing backwards - that's how it pictorally recorded and he couldn't rotate it.


October 27, 2008


What does the word liturgy mean?
What has it, or can it look like?

October 26, 2008


I finished my scarecrows yesterday, and last evening was great lighting from the sunset, so I ran out and took pics. Dawson ran out, along with his pretty much finished cello, and took pics too, and posted them on his photoblog (I'm the one at the end silhouetted holding the cello in the sunset).

I just posted on Facebook that I "told Monte this is the best Fall ever"! And it has/is. The weather's been beautiful, I've seen my plants mature to their designed beauty without the elk and deer destroying them (The Joy of the Electric Fence, I ought to compose), and I've seen the color changes in New England, Wisconsin, and here.

Calendarwise today? - Hillary Clinton's birthday and Mahalia Jackson. I grew up listening to Mahalia Jackson since my mom liked her. When I hear Gospel and Christmas songs, I often hear Mahalia singing them and do a comparison.

My scarecrows will stay up all winter. I read that some people put them up in October and burn them November 5 on Guy Fawkes' day, which I'll post about on that day (another need-to-know event for literacy since it's mentioned in books and movies). The only thing that I'm remembering always happens when I have a scarecrow in a window's vision is that it catches me off guard for a bit, thinking someone's there.

October 25, 2008

Pablo Picasso Quote

I've quoted him in posts before, but Pablo Picasso was born today in Malaga, Spain (1881). He said, "I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it."

I may even have posted this quote, I don't remember, and haven't looked. But I could say the same thing of myself too.


I've been wanting to write, but haven't. Like I've often said, I wish there could be a way to just transfer the brain's thoughts into print! - the laying in bed time could accomplish a lot!! And yesterday our internet went out and Dawson spent several hours with our DSL provider getting it solved.

Last night was another Show & Tell us artists at church and any body valuing creativity (wouldn't that be everyone, if they realize that creativity is one of the traits we share, being made in God's image?!) have had once a month. I didn't bring anything to share other than bringing my son Dawson (and a couple of his friends), who brought his metal cello he's creating (and I've posted pics of).

I've gone to second-hand stores and have my stuff for making scarecrows. When they're done, I'll post pics. I was remembering I wanted to mention how before Halloween is a great time to look at second-hand stores for fun stuff. We still have a barrel that's labeled "Dress Up", and it's got wigs, shiny material that's been used for all sorts of creations from royalty to ... gloves, hats, bags, bolas, and varieties of clothes ... Also over the years I've made Big Bad Wolf, Lion, Dragon, Dwarf, and Elephant head-covering masks.

We've got some nice days to finish cleaning up the out-of-doors stuff, getting ready for winter. My last things to plant are tulip bulbs. We've been harvesting last stuff from garden and cooking up or storing in garage, reshuffling compost ... An electrician friend is coming this afternoon to finish up some stuff too (like I'm afraid to show him what I've got rigged up with several heavy duty extension cords going through windows into the room we call our 'Parlor', but is now the piano, weaving loom, treadmill room).

Yesterday I had read a news article about Jews sneaking into Palestine to visit what's believed to be Joseph's burial site, and I asked myself "Why?" and did some research. Israel/Palestine are having to figure out how to deal with this place, with so many pilgrims wanting to come. There's been lots of desecrating and deaths. 

Apparently especially during the High Holy Days through Sukkot, Jews do what's called Selichot which has to do with penitential poems and prayers. Between midnight and dawn the oral speaking, singing and dancing, is done communally (never done individually). People take turns voicing the 13 Attributes of God (of Mercy) they get from Exodus 34:6-7 - all methods of God's activities; His divine governance as seen by us; ways of God which Moses prayed to know.

They pray "We have sinned, our Rock, our Creator ..." 

October 22, 2008

Simchat Torah - the end of Sukkot

So, for one week each year, Jews build and live, even if only eating suppers in it, a shaky temporary dwelling. They leave their solid homes, where warmth and comfort have been created, with spaces filled and decorated with nostalgic mementos, and reflections of our daily living. Our homes are our castle, where we can pull up the drawbridge at times of darkness, where we are in control, where we return each day to eat and sleep, to talk, to love, and to share.

The sukkah helps in realizing that there can be a kind of idolatry lurking within our homes. We would do well to have a yearly celebration as reminder to not rely solely on the works of our hands, nor trust in our home's size and strength or our possessions. And Sukkat follows Yom Kippur's once a year cleansing, a clean slate leading into a week of remembrance of God's providing in the desert and the good remembrance of God seeking us and desiring to know us. Sukkot is celebrated with lots of joy, and celebrates the end of the year with its final harvest and at the same time the beginning of a new year.
The booths are decorated with harvest produce.

Sukkah is a reminder not to become entombed in our homes, a reminder of a different kind of shelter made of openness and faith - following God wherever led, even into the desert, and learning to trust. It evokes opposing sets of images: rootlessness and home, wandering and return, exposure and shelter. God's sukkah is open to all, a house of prayer for all nations, the promised land.

In temple time, there was a daily ritual: Simhat beit ha-sho'eivah - "the rejoicing at the place of the water-drawing", a water libation. Water was poured symbolizing gratitude for rain and more for the year to come. Jesus risked his life as a 'wanted man' coming into Jerusalem for this festival in John 7. It is here that he said, "If any man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, from his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water." The surrounding Jews were thinking water in relation to the festival. Jesus knew the drought of their hearts.

The last day, the eighth day, God asked that the people tarry for one more day in Jerusalem (this being the last of the three pilgrim trips to Jerusalem in the year). Simhat Torah is a day when the cycle of reading the Torah through in a year ends and begins anew. Singing and dancing, the people parade about the synagogue with the Torah scrolls. They end the year with reading Deuteronomy 33 and 34, where Moses blesses the people of Israel, reminding them who they are, before entering into the promised land. And God buries Moses, the prophet whom God knew face-to-face!

I so loved and craved that image of face-to-face with God when I fell in love with Him when I was 18. And so today, a favorite passage in scripture is II Corinthians 3:7-4:1, where I read of the living God getting rid of the veil, nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of His face!

So celebrate! Remember the stories of God-in-our-midst.

October 21, 2008

Calendar Stories

Round about today, but in 1555, two protestants, Ridley and Latimer, were burned at the stake in England, hoping to quash the protestant church that was trying to take hold. Bloody Mary, the daughter of Henry VIII, is called bloody for her intense persectutions of protestants. Men, women, and children, were put to death for their faith. She was determined to make a public spectacle of the two's executions, but the martyrdoms only intensified Protestant zeal, having the opposite effect.

Today is the 8th day, the last day, of the Feast of Tabernacles, Succot(h)/Sukkot, or Tabernacle of Booths. I'll say it again, I highly recommend you watch the movie "Ushpizin". The Galileo quote I just posted would be a hard one to 'practice' with the two rascals who show up expecting hospitality! I love seeing how Jerusalem streets get filled up with temporary 'forts'.

Forty years the Israelites wandered, living in tents, and God was faithful. Sukkot reminds us of the temporary nature of this life. The movie's themes are universal.

The end of Sukkot is called Simkhat Torah. I'll post about it tomorrow.

Galileo Galilei Quote

"I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him."

I agree with this quote, but do I "have the eyes to see ... ears to hear ... patience ..." Oh that I live believing this so that all I meet I take the time with ... without first making a judgment ...like "live in the present moment", so that I'm present with people I encounter ...

October 20, 2008

Early American Missionary Martyrs

Home Sweet Home, or as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz said, as she tapped her ruby slippers together, "There's no place like home" (actually, in the book, they're shiny silver slippers). I went through my mountain of mail this morning, put together laundry piles, exercised ... cleaned the guest bathroom, since we have a guest, Stan, coming tomorrow for a few days ...

I looked to see if I posted last year the calendar day's remembrance for the 19th, and 'no'. It was the Feast of The Jesuit Martyrs. I posted about what Protestant Europe thought about missionaries under 'William Carey' - mainly, they didn't believe in missions. And so often I think we think Protestants are the main ones who send missionaries, but 'No'. I've posted of other early Catholic missionaries who did amazing mileage and fetes for the times. This feast recognizes another of those stories.

Brave missionary priests from old France came to 'New France' in 1608, and were called by the Indians, "Blackrobes". Starting with the Hurons, seven Blackrobes were flayed, mutilated, scalded, dismembered ... and/or eaten by the Iroquois.

Isaac Jogues survived, escaping to Europe, and then returned to the Iroquois with a helper. But when a sickness came upon the tribe, the missionaries were blamed and tortured to death, probably around 1649. The Indians marveled at their courage, so they drank the martyrs blood and ate their hearts, hoping to gain some of their courage.

This is a piece, seeds, of Christianity in America.

October 19, 2008

Happenings like a Cello

I am awake and anxiously awaiting going home tonight - to our own food habits, to our own bed. And I feel I need to do my treadmill everyday, and probably pilates. One more day of visiting some more relatives: Mike a Linda's married son, Daniel, and another daughter, Rachel. Sally and her husband Greg are living with Mike and Linda since newly married and mice and rats destroyed all their worldly possessions in a storage shed.

Dawson did a new posting on his photoblog (It showed me he's watering my tomatoes in their plastic greenhouse - still trying to imagine how he captured his reflection in a water droplet), but his pretty much done metal cello pictures are there. Pretty impressive. He said, when driving around with the body on his vehicle back seat, it would musically resonate with his radio. So I'm anxious to see this creation in 'person', and hear it's sound. So go to his blog and see more cello details.

October 18, 2008

Luke, etc

We're still in Green Bay and drove around Door County, the finger of Wisconsin, today. Across 'Death's Door', a water channel, is Washington Island. My sister-in-law Linda grew up on that 6 mile diameter island, never leaving it till college. Monte's brother Mike came home one day from college and told his family about meeting two sisters who sang and yodeled in harmony. Monte told him he had to marry one of them! You can only get to the island by ferry boat and during winter it rarely totally ices over and the ferry boat has an ice breaker on the front of it. But when it does ice over, vehicles will drive over. Between stories of vehicles, including a bus of their basketball team going through the ice, and the storms that can come up, many have died in that channel, thus the nickname. Door's county is very Scandinavian and touristy. It was beautiful. We ate so much stuff, stopping at special ice cream or Sweetie Pie shops or smoked fish and Door County cherries coated in dark chocolate and apples ...

Today, the 18th, is the apostle Luke's remembrance day. Most of us know him to be the author of the Gospel of Luke and Acts. But do we ever really sit and think about who he was. Today's the day!

He was a well-educated gentile Christian physician who became a companion of Paul. What inspired him to give up his career and become a follower of a zealous Jew right into jail? Luke was an outsider in an all-Jewish cast and he wrote for an audience of outsiders - gentiles. He shows Jesus as inclusive of those the religious establishment treated as outsiders. Luke is the compassionate Gospel full of human interest and sympathy. He shows Jesus as gentle, a king and merciful. Luke is often called the "Christmas Evangelist" as the season of Advent's story is told more in his Gospel.

It's believed he was also a painter and painted mother Mary. I imagine her sitting for a portrait and talking all about her and Joseph's engagement, and then the situation that society couldn't understand - how do you explain a virgin birth? In her society Mary should have been stoned to death. Luke heard about the angel's visit. Luke probably felt her 'ponderings' with her reminiscing, like visiting her cousin Elizabeth, and then having an old woman and man in the temple euphoric over baby Jesus, recognizing the Messiah, "the light to the gentiles".

Then Luke alone of the four Gospel writers continues the story, as the apostles and disciples live it into the next generation. Jesus' story didn't end with Jesus, but lives on in the lives of us believers. The power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us. Devoted Luke helped show us that Jesus is always available to those who turn to Him. A prayerful man himself he depicts day-to-day praying, like Jesus praying before every important step of his ministry. Luke showed the joy of salvation and how the Holy Spirit guided the emerging church through prayerful lives surrendered to Jesus.

(Much artwork depicting Luke have a winged ox--it's his 'emblem'. Only one writing mentions it, to say an ox or calf are symbols of sacrifice--the sacrifice Jesus made for all. But why connected with Luke I don't know.)

Saints are human people who lived EXTRAordinary lives. Each saint the church honors responded to God's invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint.

So need I go on with what this means to us?! The Gospel writers give us eyewitness accounts of God incarnate. Jesus is the pure reflection of the invisible God and He showed us what human life in its spiritual fullness looks like. We are called to reflect God's image - 'image bearers' (though tarnished), created in the image of God. If turned in on ourselves, in a state of self-absorption, we cannot reflect the light of God's image.

I simply ask the Holy Spirit to guide me, as with the first disciples; to give me an open heart to do whatever called to do. And continue helping me to pray.


I didn't post about Matthew, the other Gospel writer, who's calendar feast day was September 21. He was a Jew, but one of those lowly "sinners" since he was a "tax-farmer". Sitting in his booth he had to be listening to Jesus. He probably saw the men carrying a paraplegic on a stretcher to Jesus.

The spying pharisees saw Jesus walk by and tell Levi/Matthew to "Follow me". Despicable!! Yet Jesus turned to them and said "Those who are well have no need of a doctor! So go figure out what this scripture means: 'I'm after mercy, not religion.' I came to call the outsiders, not indulge the pious."

Everyone who touched Jesus and everyone whom Jesus touched were healed. God's love and power went out from him. When a friend touches us with free, non-possessive love, it is God's incarnated love that touches us and God's power that heals us.

-Henri Nouwen Bread for the Journey

October 17, 2008

On the Road in Wisconsin

Monte drove northeast Wisconsin today to do some muskie fishing with some cousins he didn't know (knows but doesn't know, cuz never spent time with). Since we're on our way to Green Bay, I was in tow. I stayed in their cabin knitting, watching the one existing channel: Martha Stewart was ok; Days of Our Lives - wasn't that on 30 some years ago?; People's Court, and some news. When a skin care program came on, I shut the thing off and read one of the books I brought on this trip. How do people watch TV?! and all those commercials, campaign adds ...

So we're on the road to Green Bay right now. Internet is slow, but I'm going to try and post what I wrote yesterday -

We’re in Ogema (name of an Indian chief)(Monte was born in Tomahawk) Wisconsin visiting Monte’s parents, Em and Betty. I often feel we live out in the country, but whenever we come here, I realize what real country is. Years ago when Monte needed to get some things for doing his geology or even mail something Federal Express, we’d have to drive for a couple hours. And now with cell phones and internet, we’re really feeling out of it. We are on vacation, but we still want to check emails, Monte still needs to do some editing from attachments, and me write my blog….

My iPhone is AT&T and it’s working here, but who wants to type much on a phone! Monte has to go to a high hill (in the Swan family it’s called Lawrence’s Hill) to get his phone messages and make calls and take my Apple laptop to email his editings and check his emails. I took a picture of him last Sunday talking on his phone sitting in his dad’s John Deere ‘Gator’. We rode all over in that thing, lots of logging roads and back-roads; lots of fallen leaves blanketing everywhere – so beautiful and peaceful.

All of Monte’s great grandparents homesteaded here and much of the land is still in the Swan family. It used to be Ogema was filled with Swan’s (they had 13 kids, so lots of grandkids) (Swan was Swanson in Sweden), Bergesons, and Blombergs, and Monte’s mom’s family were Kranz and Halstrands. Her parents owned the Ogema hotel. (Betty had to make 5 pies in a woodstove oven every morning before going to school. My competition when 1st married?! ☺) So many married amongst these families that it feels as if everyone is a relative when you go to church or anywhere.

Geologist Monte will tell the story of the days of the glacier, moving down from Canada and stopping in Ogema, dumping, and leaving behind lots of rocks - northern Wisconsin is pretty flat, whereas the southern part of the state is hilly. Ogema does have the highest point in Wisconsin – Tim’s Hill, and tourists come to climb the tower (it’s not quite 2000 ft! I put an exclamation mark because we live at 8000ft, so it’s like a mound to us). Ogema’s homesteaders could not farm, and with lots of trials, the Swan family name is known as producing the best christmas trees in the country. They did ginsing as one of their trials. Logging and pulp for paper products is another industry here. Their woods recover almost overnight, which amazes me!

When homesteading, the main sweetener they had was maple syrup, so Em got sick of it, but is using it again now. We’ve come and helped him make maple syrup in the past, tapping the trees, riding around on a 4-wheeler, and cooking the 40 gallons of sap down to one gallon of syrup outside over a wood fire. Berries are abundant around here, but that means you could connect with a bear eating berries too (and then there’s the mosquitoes all summer! (another exclamation mark since I didn’t grow up with mosquitoes, black flies, or ticks - and my scorpions, tarantulas and rattlesnakes don’t count since you hardly ever saw them!) I can’t get over how they hardly have to water with so much moisture in the ground (and it rains more). They get more sun here than Milwaukee, where Monte was raised.

Monte was going to do a lot of fishing – like in Albert’s lake. (I asked if these were the names on maps, “No, that’s just what they’ve been called for years and locals use these names”.) Instead, Monte helped his dad make a ‘tree’ stand for the next deer-hunting season. Because of his age, all the brothers were adamant about him having a safer place on the ground, so they’re calling it his ‘lemonade’ stand.

Monte’s mom had a project ready for us to do – we washed the walls and painted the kitchen – from a light blue to a cream color. So now they’ve got a clean kitchen. His parents took us to see a log home being built by a distant relative. I took 48 pictures! It’s a Scandinavian building style that Monte’s always wanted to do. The impressiveness with this one is the size of the logs – mainly white and red pine. Think about it … 6 logs are the entire one-story level height, and then there’s the length!

In hearing of local news, I was reminded of how years ago Monte and me were a part of the local news: the Ogema bank had been robbed and the get-away vehicle was said to look like a white blazer. Monte and me were stopped in Tomahawk for some said little something (in our white blazer), but the officer was back and forth to his car a lot, and we found out in the end he was checking us out as to possibilities with being the bank robbers. So when returning to his parents, they were anxious to tell us of the exciting local news and we were able to add to the gossip-line, of being the suspects for a bit!

We leave here tomorrow, Friday, and head to Green Bay and visit Monte’s brother Mike’s family (we fly out Sunday). I’m typing this in Word since the time to write on my blog site would take too long. We did take my laptop along – Monte's parents ‘day on the town’ Tuesday. Sitting in parking lots and Monte on a bench at the grocer, Monte was able to catch up on business. (Monte hurt his back out in the woods with his dad, so a day of rest was good.) While on the road tomorrow I’ll try and post this.

Remember me posting about being in the mood to make a scarecrow? I did get a couple books from the library I’ll look at more when home. But there’s been a lot as we’ve driven all over. I had to take a picture of the three we saw when we went for ice cream.

We’ve passed Columbus Day, and Sukkot is happening now. Click on the links to read what I wrote a year ago. If you’ve not seen the movie Ushpizin, it’s a great movie showing current Jerusalem celebrating Sukkot and what it means to truly take in the ‘stranger’, and being gracious.

October 10, 2008


We are now in Fennimore, Wisconsin. Monte's youngest brother lives here in an old farmhouse they've refurbished. If we weren't flying, we'd be making apple cider and bringing a bunch home to freeze. Scott teaches in a tech school and designed and built an apple press.

Monte and Scott are currently muskee fishing but the weather's not cooperating, so they're quitting.

The couple days in New Hampshire (sparse internet connection), while the mad scientists, Norwegians, and an attorney were having meetings, Nill's wife Kathy took me to crafting and art places and we ate in historic buildings and walked around the campus of Dartmouth.

One place she took me was Woodstock. Are you thinking 'thee Woodstock'? Don't. New England has more than one Woodstock, and Concord, and Salem ... confusing!

Watching a potter, he asked me how I'm finding New England. I said, "I'm amazed at how old stuff is here". His response was, "ah, New England is Old, and yet I'm from the true Old England (across the pond)." We watched glass blowers too. I can imagine Dawson wanting to do this as well.

Dawson is home holding down the homestead. He's got a four day weekend ahead and is going to do more of his melting of metal. He wants to finish his metal cello he's doing for an honor's project in his music appreciation class. He finally posted the beginnings of his cello on his photoblog, so I'm posting some here. (I see he posted a bunch of pics from around our house - it shows me how his interests overflow from our lifestyle of 'sculpting' a home. I'm going to post our guest bathroom tub we sculpted years ago.)

I've been posting about the current calendar events with the Jewish calendar's High Holy Days which will culminate in a week with Succoth - the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths (our Thanksgiving came from the Pilgrims wanting to celebrate this Leviticus Festival as the 'New Israel', which they believed themselves to be).

Once we leave here tomorrow we'll be in Ogema for a week at Monte's parents and I don't know if we'll get internet connection, so I don't know when next I'll post.

Tashlich- casting sins upon the water

I periodically look at childrens books and any related to the calendar days. We can learn so much from these stories (I love pastor Aram's children sermons at our church, for this same learning from 'becoming as a child'!). I've found stories for the Jewish celebrations that are very meaningful (and adding Christianity along with the Jewish festivals adds greater depth).

One story had a pretty cantankerous, nasty man, open a door all the time and sweep his dirt into the basement. And then once a year, he'd go down into the basement and bag up all the dirt, garbage and junk. He's shown carrying these bulky large bags out to the beach where he deposits everything into the sea.

There's a ritual the Jews have added beyond what's in Leviticus 23, doing sometime during the 10 High Holy Days. It's called Tashlich, which means "casting off", and it consists of a symbolic casting of one's sins into a river or body of water. It most likely comes from Micah 7:18-19--"where is the god who can compare with you - wiping the slate clean of guilt ... mercy is what you love most ... you'll cast all our sins into the depths of the sea."

Go for a walk with family and friends. Wear something with pockets and gather stones as you walk. You could even give the stones some specific names of things you'd like cleaned up in your life. Then turn the pockets inside-out, tossing the stones into the water.

I've always noticed rocks and have collected some since I was a kid. I can imagine finding a pretty one and not wanting to throw it away. Isn't that much like things in our life? "I don't want to give this up yet!" Once thrown into the water, we couldn't find that rock again. "As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our sins from us" says Psalms 103:12.

Have fun throwing stones into the water. Skip some stones across the water. Wanting to get rid of sins can be just as enjoyable.

Yom Kippur

Today all over the world Jews are fasting. Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement--a once a year time for forgiveness of sins.

I don't know what's done today, but in scripture it's the once a year time of the high priest entering the Holy of Holies--like when Zacharias went in in Luke 1:8-23 and was told by an angel him and old barren Elizabeth will have a baby. I think they tie a rope around the priest's ankle so if he doesn't come out, the priest can be pulled out.

I posted earlier about Rosh Hashanah and the 10 High Holy Days leading to Yom Kippur. These days are not so much external 'celebrations' as internal reflection. The yearly awakening of the conscience for putting things in order in homes and relationships.

Atonement means at-one-ment with God. In scripture God told Jeremiah, "I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it...I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." Jesus became our high priest and through him we may walk into the Holy of Holies into the presence of God.

Remember at Jesus' crucifixion, the veil in the temple, the dividing wall into the Holy of Holies, was ripped in two from top to bottom?! We have this at-one-ment- with God, not just once a year, but at any time we desire.
It's a great once-a-year time to remind ourselves of God's grace.

October 6, 2008

Lyme, New Hampshire

After walking again all over downtown Boston again this morning, we got a vehicle and drove to New Hampshire. I wanted to see the oldest neighborhood which is on Beacon Hill, to see the narrow brick and cobblestone streets and sidewalks. Then we walked through the Boston Common's garden to the cool shopping district, with old architecture - where shops and residences co-mingle closely with beautiful churches! And ate lunch at Legals Seafood restaurant where so many people told us to eat - and it was delic!

Monte took lots of pictures and the Trinity Church was reflected in the tall John Hancock building. He kept taking pictures of serpentenite everywhere. He's in love with the rock and is seeing it everywhere in buildings (it usually is green and looks like marble, but the hotel had an oxidized version that was red). It's the source rock of life and oil.

If we'd had time, we would have taken the subway to MIT and Harvard Square.

Now we're in Lyme and I 'nested' (removing clothes from our bags) and am sitting relaxing before supper - waiting for Monte's geology partner in crime, Stan, some other geologists and Norwegians. They'll be doing business for a couple days while I spend time with Nels's wife Kathy. I took pictures of the view from our bedroom window.

October 5, 2008

Boston's Freedom Trail

We are sleeping tonight in a downtown Boston Hotel that's been around since 1855, Parker House - which blows my mind - the oldness! It was suggested we not try and drive in downtown Boston, and after walking all over today, even to the Boston harbor, I can see why.

Streets are not necessarily straight or running NEWS (did you ever realize that's where the word 'news' came from?). And some streets are brick. In fact, in one place we were walking on large brick/stones, and I told Monte it was really hard to walk on without full concentration or you'd turn your ankle - it was where the Boston Massacre took place - right in the heart of Marketplace Center.

Out the hotel's front door we are on the Freedom Trail. It's a red brick trail (sometimes red paint) in the sidewalk and crosswalks. There's 16 historic sites from Boston Common, the 1634 militia training field, and now the oldest American park, to the Bunker Hill Monument. Seeing the old brick buildings and staircases, like the Old State House, imagining John and Samuel Adams and others debating; seeing so many famous, historic people's gravestones; and imagining Paul Revere's ride ... I remember reading about all this!

Tomorrow we'll walk around some more. Monte wants more fresh fish! The swordfish kabobs we had for supper were SO good! Then we get a rental car and drive to friend's home in New Hampshire. The guy next to me on the plane said the Fall colors are at their best!

October 4, 2008


Monte and me are getting ready to leave town, flying out tomorrow early for Boston. We'll be walking the Freedom Trail. Then we're driving to stay with some new friends building a home in New Hampshire for a few days. I'm hoping the Fall colors will be happening! Then we're off to Wisconsin to visit two of Monte's brothers and his parents in Ogema, Wisconsin (He was born in Tamahawk, WI - lots of Indian names). I'm taking my MacBook, so we'll see where I post from, and post pictures too.

Seasonal changes require me to think of freezing while we're gone - so thinking hoses, what do I want to protect or save. And then the clothes to take, when you could have hot to cold (and the airlines charge for checked baggage, and we've got several airline check-ins). And what to write down for reminder for Dawson to take care of (like the birds, besides our old dog Rocky, and what to water, how to mail my Hearth&Home book if orders come in from Amazon ...).

We have to visit close friends having a party this afternoon, even though we're not liking the driving time amounting to wasting two hours of our day. SO WHY am I wasting my time writing?!! There's something in me that has to write. And I like the daily exercise of it.

Dawson is forging/welding an all metal cello for an Honor's project for his Music Appreciation class. I'll be posting a picture of it. And I want to post his pics (so much better than mine I posted awhile back) of the giraffe he made his girlfriend for her birthday and Splarah holding it.

So be checking in to see where we are!

Francis of Assisi

Ah, today is the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi - what to post? Everyone's heard of him. There's pages and pages on Google of things named after him, including animal rescue centers. There's always garden statues of Francis with birds. And I am tempted to get one. Most people have seen the art piece of him preaching to the birds. I read a novel on Francis, I think by Richard Rohr, that I liked.

San Francisco is named for Francis of Assisi. And as I think of this, we've had some angel remembrance days lately, and California's Los Angeles means 'the angels'. The Franciscans were very instrumental in the beginnings of the United State's southwest.

Therese of Lisieux ("The Little Flower") Day was October 1, and I read her little book, The Story of a Soul. I don't care for her story, she just seems too silly to me, and nothing there for me to hold onto that would help me live better. Many saint stories bug me in their 'literal living'.

I could say that about Francis too, but he does have more depth, and he is the founder (though he wasn't wanting to found anything) of the Franciscan Order of monks. He lived scripture so literally that I get frustrated with him, yet he lived so closely like Jesus, I can't really say anything against him.

I spent some time skimming web sites for a specific story I had read about him and Claire somewhere long ago, but didn't find it. Claire was of Assisi too and inspired by Francis' change in life to follow Christ, she too followed, and lived out the rest of her life cloistered away. But supposedly the two met for a meal and talked on and on and there was such a glow over the building the townspeople came running, thinking there was a fire. There are books and a movie about them called "Brother Sun, Sister Moon".

If you don't know about Francis of Assisi you should read about him. There's lots of web sites. I found a unique one that the guy wrote in a history class using 200 year old books for reference. It really is a good place to read a 'realistic' view, I really like it.

Then too, there's a good site describing the famous painting of Francis and the birds by Giotto. I have this painting. I have an easel that I change the pictures on regularly. I like to become 'friends' with works of art. This site finally explained why so much spiritual art has people with a hand raised, with the last two fingers curled under.

One piece of his story is his love for all creatures, so he's the patron saint of animals, and ecologists like to claim him. The live nativity is attributed to Francis of Assisi - the involvement of all the senses with live animals, and him using the manger as the altar for mass. He did preach to the birds the Matthew 6 text about God caring for flowers and birds - Do not be anxious, because God will take care of us to!

Most people too know
Francis's Prayer/Poem that's even been put to music:
Make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
Where there is discord, harmony.
Where there is error, truth.
Where there is wrong, the spirit of forgiveness.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console.
To be understood as to understand.
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

As one who loves the Trinitarian God, s
houldn't I desire to live closely like Jesus too? What would it look like in our culture?

October 2, 2008

Guardian Angels

Do you believe in angels? Do you live as if they exist?

I've seen this quote on wall plaques: "Don't drive faster than your guardian angel can fly!" Some of us by our lifestyle choices might be overworking our guardian angels.

Typical popular art depicts angles as chubby cherubim ... and then there's comments like, "the face of an angel"... and then there's lovable Clarence in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" ... but what do angels really look like? I'm betting there's something awfully unusual about them since every time they show up in scripture they're saying, "Fear not".

In our cynical, self-sufficiency of adulthood, do we forget about angels? This might be a good time to remember and thank God for his loving protection in having angels guard over us. Pray yourself through Psalm 91.

We're told to be hospitable to strangers as they may be angels!

Anyone have an angel story?

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