Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring! (400 Mile Marathon)

Spring is here, spring is there, spring is everywhere!!! What a spring it has started out to be on the Great American Desert. We are not living on an island, yet, here in Volga but may well be in the near future. I have been informed that this city since it began has never flooded. 400 miles east the city of BelFouche is under snow. 400 miles north water is besieging the landscape on all sides. 400 miles south the wind tore up homes and property. 400 miles east Wisconsin is getting soaked(much needed after the last few years of drought). What we have at the center of our circle of friends and family is mud up to our-----elbows! The landscaping on our property was nearing completion when the first snows came last October 5th. That left us with living through the winter and surviving for the spring. I thought we had it made on Sunday as I removed the Christmas decorations from our future lawn. Then it hit! Whoosh!!! Wind and rain with a severe tornado warning. Needless to say it was not a good day in donut city where I bake the stuff folks love to eat. We didn't really have a clue about what was going on around us until a local television station called in to see if we had any idea where the flooding was and how bad. We didn't realize until a few hours after opening that the roads were not being traveled as they usually are. Coffee and donuts were not moving. Roads were out to the north, south and west of us here in Volga. You would think someone would have come for the donuts and coffee, but no.....they could not get here. Life is like that sometimes. No matter how badly one desires something ya just can't get to where it's at. We're alright for now, and the new basement is remaining dry. I give thanks to God for allowing us time to get the foundation backfill done before winter hit. And all this rain has provided further confirmation that my choices for runoff areas on the new place were very good. Water is shedding as I had intended and prayed. Sometimes we dismiss the power of prayer concerning the smaller things in our lives. No prayer is too great or too small our loving Creator hears them all and responds in His timing with the answers that we need. I pray your day is a dry one and that God is hearing you pray for life's needs. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Duck Heaven

Titles are sometimes difficult to visualize. This one was not. Duck Heaven is the first thing that entered my mind when I looked back through the pictures we have taken of the ducks in our care these past years. They became very real pets for my wife, Cheryl. In some respects they may have been pets for me as well, although I must admit in my heart of hearts I always wanted to have them in a roasting pan. I did not get to eat them! Some critter out here on the Great American Desert bested me on this one. They passed a week apart. First the white(she was a gimp)was taken, and then the big Mallard. I really did not think he would be killed. He had a nasty disposition and beat up anything that came near him except for my honey. I'm sure he put up a valiant struggle. The tracks left by the predator appeared to me to be fox. The fox is like that! The manner in which the meat was torn from the carcass indicates to me that it was carried away. More than likely she has some young not too far removed from where we live. One day the hide will adorn my loft office as do several others I have. This one will be a killing of revenge and remorse. Remorse for our loss and my wife's many tears. Revenge(only after the pups are grown)for an unwanted set of circumstances. The fox has to live, too. It is very much like that with all of our lives. At the present time our country appears to be feeding on itself from all directions. As the jobless rate continues to rise I can only give thanks that we are both employed and that God has continued to bless our lives in so many wonderful ways. I pray often for our country and it's leaders. I also pray that there is a duck haven somewhere in the eternal scheme of things so that we can once again enjoy the company of the pets that "quacked" us up for so many years. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day

Nine degrees outside, and I'm considering getting back to work on the outdoor end of our "project" this morning. When I write "end" that does not mean to imply that it will come soon but I believe that it is in sight. The outdoor decorations have to be put away(Cheryl reminded me when we got home from town yesterday)in the loft of the garage. I'm way behind and if I did manage to catch up I wouldn't be able to keep up! For instance, I just got the pics of Christmas 2007 started uploading to "My Space" and that was at the old house. I can't really complain too loudly though, I've had an interesting beginning for the new year. Cheryl suffered a broken foot and has been out of work for six weeks. I began a new career with Casey's here in Volga. So I reflect, "Time just seems to slip away when you're having fun." Out here on the Great American Desert I have begun plans for the planting of trees to provide adequate wind breaks for the new home. I hadn't really resided on the plains since leaving the farm 40 odd years ago. The winds are unrelenting on the prairie. All things considered I do have to admit we are getting through the toughest winter we will probably ever experience(from my keyboard to your ear dear Lord)from a strictly survival standpoint. We've almost made it to spring. The Christmas decor will all get stashed away and I will be back in the process of completing this project we began a year and a half ago. Every once in awhile I need to step back and really look at what has been accomplished thus far. When I moved the first of many computers into this home I was sitting in a virtual hole in the ground with an old house sitting on top of it. Back then the stairway led nowhere and the steps down into my hole were not complete. Whoosh! God has been so good to us that it is only in really looking back that we can recognize how far we have come. Perhaps this is true of each of us concerning life. We need to look at where we have come from to truly appreciate and give thanks for where we are today! Then again, maybe I'm just rambling as I am so want to do. I think not when it comes to our personal histories. When we take the time to assess our past and ponder our future it should all be in the context of good!
It does not hurt from time to time to pat yourself on the back and say, "job well done!" For our lives I would pray that none of us ever runs out of time for those we love, tasks that face us, or wisdom to understand our limitations. "Lord, let me continue to accomplish in Your time the designs You have laid before me." That's a short prayer I can keep in my heart. None of us truly takes any portion of this world with us when we depart. Therefore we are simply caregivers of things while we are here. Me in my impatience won't always see it this way(all about me & mine & wants)but it must be true because I've never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul! I pray your Valentine's day is filled with love to, for, and from those you care about. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Fiery Devestation

Mary's daughter, Kat, has a blog which can be found at "Life With The Lesnars" which has more of the pics of the home she and her husband, four children and pets resided in until the fire a few nights ago. Just google and you'll find it. It sounds as though South Dakotans on the Great American Desert are responding as they always do in times of tragedy. In the face of this recent devestation the family is doing much better than they might in other parts of our country. Their home was one of the oldest in Brookings County(if not the oldest). It will more than likely have to be torn down. The family will rebuild with the help of neighbors and friends. That is how these things have always been done out here, even before SD was an official state. We continue to lift them in our prayers. One of my E-buddies sent me a note of encouragement for each of us this morning. "If God brings you to it He will see you through it!" That is so true. It is good to know that there are so many loving, kind, caring, giving and generous people in our community. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Keeping Warm

Temperatures have dropped once again out here on the Great American Desert. Snickers is quite happy staying in the house, with the exception of course, for out door necessities. Heating bills are scary. I suppose all of the folks that live in the northland are suffering the same consequences as we. It would seem that fuel costs are a daily issue here around the coffee urn. Gas is once again fluctuating between the mid-70s to the upper 80s. I would think that will hold true until the spring breaks. Cheryl is cuddled up on the couch watching a movie("Must Love Dogs"), and staying comfy under a blanket. Snickers loves the radiant heat(our addition is heated by electrical coils buried beneath 8 inches of sand and 4 inches of concrete. This was one of my better ideas(just call me Ford-LOL)to keep tootsies warm on wintry days.
I received a call at work on the cell about 3:30 in the am. Mary's daughter's home burned down leaving she and her husband and four children homeless. The immediate need was to share and enlist prayer support. Following that Mary needed to know that all was going to work out. God takes care of each one of His children in very special ways. Before we are even aware that there is a need He has already set in place that which we will be the answer to our prayers. That is my faith perspective writing, but I know it to be sooooo true! I often fail to wait patiently for the answers to my prayers(I get impatient. Imagine that in a human being!). When it seems that we are besieged on every one of life's fronts by insurmountable difficulties and it appears that there is no where to turn, we all need to be reminded that there is One to whom we can always address in a very personal way. God is there. He has always been here! Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, the same always. When others need our comfort the greatest gift we can offer is our love. Love may take many forms. Care, compassion, support, and most of all, prayer for the needs to be met as they appear. Living a life of faith calls each of us to this lofty mountaintop where we look beyond ourselves and see the dawning of a new day and a future that will be brighter by far than the one we are experiencing right now.
Snickers is staying warm. So am I "Thanks Be To God" and life will continue to throw us curves. How we choose to field them is the difference between true 'faith' and mere denominational religiosity. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Winter Sunset

January is coming to an end! Yaaay!!! One more month of winter is ending. Mary has informed me that we are going to have an early spring. She bases that on the gestation period of cats and how the females do not get pregnant in the winter until they are certain that their kittens will have survivable weather in which to be born. I know it makes some sort of sense, who am I to argue with the forces of nature and the instincts of animals. I've seen that in late births on the farm. The cows had a way of knowing when the weather was going to get too tough for birthing. They were not 100% correct all the time but I would venture to say it was in the upper 90th percentile.
As for myself I am just looking forward to temperatures in the upper forties so that the snow will dissipate and the roads will clear enough for me to "clear" my head by riding the highway. I miss that. We all need to clear up our thoughts and take time for communing with our Creator from time to time. This has already been a long winter on the Great American Desert and I fear that we will have at least eight more weeks of it as Mary predicts. Music helps a lot. Then there is the new job to keep a portion of my mind occupied for 5-6 hours a day. These things cannot compete with the feeling of "being in the wind" and listening to the rumble of my engine as miles fall behind. It seems as though the road can stretch on forever in every direction and life is once again filled with options and possibilities. I like the emotions that accompany endless freedom. I don't know how that is going to work out these next four years. I have my concerns for our constitutional freedoms, not to mention the economic freedoms that seem to be slipping away rapidly. The things we could do a few years ago with ease(Disney World, Memphis, Dallas, Mexico just to mention a few favorites)now seem far removed from our experience of "freedom." God will provide answers for the America we used to know and love so well. The jobless rate will diminish and our country shall rise once again from the financial debacle we have all been privy to. I pray for our country and the leaders daily. I also include the populace legal or illegal. We are all stuck in this boat that money cannot bailout.
During WWII folks around these parts grew "victory" gardens. I do believe my wife and I are going to pursue that avenue this coming spring. Victory is a wonderful word. It implies winning and I do love winning as much as anyone can. The greatest prize, however, is the victory I have won in Christ Jesus. And I do believe that is the source of my greatest freedom. So I've got it all right here in my life. I just want more and that is natural, human, and to be expected from baby boomers. Gas really was 19 cents a gallon at the pump during the sixties. Maybe one day we will be able to look back and see the humor in the world we have helped to create. Until then we pray for the world in which we live. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

King Of The Kitchen

My new job is going surprisingly well! Beginning with January 1st I have learned many new and exciting things. Many years ago I did commercial cooking in several places, but never anything quite like this. My wife is presently suffering from a broken foot which may take a long time to heal. My new manager fell in his office yesterday and was rushed to the hospital by a younger sister. He also sustained a foot injury. Surrounded by folks falling has never bothered me a lot but I do pray for their speedy recoveries. One never knows what turns life is going to take.
Here comes the interesting part of yesterday at the pop stand: I was busy making 5 or 6 dozen donuts(can't tell as yet how many are going to come out right with the equipment)when a faint voice was heard calling my name repeatedly. It was the manager and he was flat on his back half in and half out of the office. I didn't try to get him up right away due to a concern for neck or back injury. Ascertaining that those parts were okay I got him into a chair(this is easier when they don't have wheels)and discovered a swelling ankle. His first concern was how to keep the store open when he couldn't stand up to the register. My first priority was to shut down the equipment in the kitchen, and then grab a bag full of snow from a nearby bank to put on the foot and ankle. We got that all going and customers began coming in rapidly. I've never run a completely computerized till, but I managed to muddle through and get things to work. It's all touch screen activated and there are neat little pictures of the items being purchased. 100% automatic if you push the right buttons. I stumbled around some but I did not fall! LOL.....I was supposed to be training on the register this week so I guess it was "on the job" training or more like "trial by fire." Manager made it to the hospital. Emergency manager from another store came to run things for the day shift. As for me I happily returned to the kitchen and retrieved burnt cookies from the oven, half a dozen overdone pastries and cleaned coagulated donut dough from the machine. All in all it was a very eventful day and one which will go down in the book as trama, drama, & oh mama!
Cheryl will get better, although she will be on a walker for a while. My manager is in an air support thing and back at the till as of this morning. The kitchen survived(no longer smells of burnt stuff)and I arrived here to share the tale of how totally awesome God is in providing exactly what we need before we are even aware of the need. Oh, yeah, we got a new president yesterday. He said there was going to be change, but I haven't noticed any as yet out here on the Great American Desert. It is a wonderful day as the sun sets on our prairie vista. I pray yours has been good and life remains a smooth sea upon which to sail the vessel of your being. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Frigid For Sure

This marks the fourteenth day of my newest job. I haven't had a "clock in" job for several years so I'm very happy to have gotten hired considering my advanced years and numerous infirmities. LOL....One would surmise by this that I'm ancient! Not really, although mornings such as we are experiencing on the Great American Desert can certainly make one feel that way. According to the reports on my 'puter the current temperature is -29 degrees! Whoosh! I get up around 2 in the morning to get ready for work. The task of preparing donuts, pastries, and breakfast sandwiches begins at 3:20 or so. Yes, I am now the "King of the Kitchen" at our local Casey's General Store. It's a pop shop not unlike any one of the franchises that have opened across our nation the past few decades. Talk in and around the coffee machine was about the cold. Go Figure!! One retired farmer left his wife waiting in the pickup(only until she honked)to come in and get coffee and donuts. Old farmers love to chat about the weather no matter what it is doing. He reported a reading of -35 out at his place. I don't suppose this is a record for South Dakota but I've got a hunch it is approaching several of them. The pics above were taken from my southern most porch very quickly with the door open just enough to allow the tripod & me to get the pics and avoid freezing. When I did the trash takeout at work my nose drizzled a little and I noticed that it did not drip. It just formed a little bead and froze on the end! I doubt if Snickers will desire to go out and do his business this morning. He doesn't really care for anything below freezing and it is twice that this morning. I'm very thankful this day to have "broken in" to the new position as quickly as I have. It has been years since I cooked commercially. God is really good when it comes to answering our prayers. During the current economic crisis my wife's position has been limited as all of our expenses have escalated. I first applied in October to half a dozen places with no success until the morning four days after Christmas when I was out searching our city(1500 strong)for the garbage truck. The entire back end of the van was filled with Christmas refuse. After finding the truck and emptying the van I decided to stop at Casey's and get some coffee and a donut or two(in another life I think I was a policeman). While talking to the manager I learned that he was looking for someone to work the bakery. Wow, I thought to myself, I can do that. The next thing I knew we had talked for many minutes and he hired me on the spot. I filled out the initial paperwork on the 30th and my first official day was January 1, 2009. I'm soooo blessed, and without a doubt I realize that God always has a plan even when we are unaware of just what it may be. One of these days I'll post some pics of the kitchen I now haunt from the wee hours of the morning until sunrise. I'm praying for our country, and for the president elect. Most of the prayers are geared at helping our leaders find solutions before we plunge headlong into a depression such as we had when my folks were growing up here in South Dakota.
I pray that everyone is staying warm where you are and that God will continue to reveal Himself in new exciting ways throughout this new year. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Anyone For Pancakes?

It seems we are still celebrating Christmas at our house. Another "open house" is coming before we can start the tear down and "pack away" stage. Next year we shall begin the decorating on Christ The King Sunday and continue the celebration throughout the season of Epiphany. That way we may have enough time to fully enjoy the holidays. Not that we have not enjoyed the past few months but it is always difficult to find just the right place for decorations in a new home environment.
Today the furnace went out for 6-8 hours before being discovered. My first clue was the basement dropping to a temp of 53 degrees(brrrr). This is the second time that has happened and I now believe it has something to do with the direction of the wind. we will have to sort that out before we go away for a winter retreat. There is nothing more straining on a relationship than a cold home and frozen pipes. Not to mention the problems between Cheryl and I. I've had homes I enjoyed in the past, some more than others, but this one is the best! Not because of my designing and building on it, but more as a result of the "character" of this home. The fashion in which our visitors have enjoyed this place has opened my eyes to what it is we have created with God's direction. It will probably be another year before everything is really ready to accomplish the goals for which it is intended. That's alright, I can wait and I can complete the project with just a lot of money and time(not to mention the sweat, blood, and tears shed). In the meantime I have a recipe to share with you. Pancakes are a favorite of my honey! I did Sunday brunch for the two of us and found out after stuff got into the bowl that some of the called for ingredients were not to be found anywhere. I did substitution and here it is: Bacon & Cheddar Dollars
Lightly Beat two large eggs
WHISK IN 1 cup bacon & cheddar sour cream chip dip
1\3 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1\2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
Once it is all mixed up spoon onto griddle in
3 inch circles and cook up the way one usually
does pancakes.
We topped them with butter and maple syrup but there are a lot of possibilities. My favorite was the link sausages rolled up in 'em(pigs in a blanket)! Easy to make, fun to eat, and as different as pancakes might be. Enjoy each day. Share something with those you love. Find the peace that is part and parcel of faith. Pray for those in need and for our country. I do believe that this is all of the stuff on my heart this day. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

When To Celebrate

My library filled with books on theology, history, and christianity offer very little concerning the origins of "Christmas" in terms of celebration. Yes, I know the dates have been changed and the order altered to the point where people really don't know what day it is in history(whose)but we know what time it is. Personally I enjoy the manner in which things have been organized. Thank God the world truly is round ie(spherical)as opposed to being flat. Flat is not where it's at!
My thoughts run in the direction of time rather than date. It is the time and events that Christmas embodies that we celebrate. Hence it can be a single moment or it can be a series of moments continuing throughout the year. That is how my thinking has turned this year and will more than likely continue to expand for the remainder of my life.
Our Christmas celebrations have been numerous this year. People's lives are hectic and everyone has schedules. The thing is we don't have to comply with schedules if we are willing to accept that the essence of Christmas enjoyment is in the heart rather than the time table imposed by religiosity, retail, and rigamarole(old term I first heard as a child)surrounding Christ's birth. In our new home we are still celebrating with carols, gifts, laughter, love and warmth. There are portions of the 100 year old house that are very reminiscent of the early years in her history(I have no clue why I refer to the old part of our home in the feminine, that is just how my mind works). One of our artist friends shared that to her it appears we have even made the 1500 square foot new addition appear to be ancient. Not in the architecture, but in the design appearance. That's just Cheryl and I sharing our passion for that which has gone before us. I don't know how one hides a 21st century high tech home media center, but it seems we have done just that! In the Bible one can learn that everything that is old becomes "new" again. So why not have it turn around and enjoy everything that is new becoming old?
The one thing that has not changed throughout all the years of celebration is the wonder of the children. We've all been there(or at least I pray you have), experiencing that Christmas morning. The wonder of the lights and sounds. The gifts that bring such joy, and the laughter that is never forgotten. We are continuing to celebrate Christmas in our home and invite you to do the same. All year through there should be a part of every christian home that is devoted to the ecclesiastical calender.....Advent-Christmas-Epiphany-Lent-Easter-Resurrection-A Pentecost Event. That's a whole little poem thing I learned as a child and it holds true today. We celebrate Christmas every day of every year. In how we converse, the manner in which we treat others, and the love we share for family, friends, and loved ones.
My lineage extends back to America's beginnings, perhaps before, as I am considered by many to be part Native American. WHAT EVER!!! Now if we could just celebrate Thanksgiving a little more often I would be greatly pleased! Our lives are what we make of them. Pray for your country, the leaders, and the people. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

New Year & New Beginnings

A dramatic change has taken place in our lives these past 15 months. The home we are now residing in has gone from the top pic to the bottom with a few changes. The old saying was "getting there is half the fun!" I'm not sure, but I believe that "half" hardly covers where we have been. It took a while to get this blog off the ground for the year. First I had to locate the pics I wanted to use. Four computers hold the various stages of construction with backup in a fifth.
Holidays were wonderful as always! Last evening was the final holiday gathering. We held an open house for folks. People seem to enjoy the new digs. The food was wonderful and the fellowship much needed. God has a wonderful way of bringing all things around to a point where we can actually see the light. The light, of course, true light of the world, is the One whose birthday we just celebrated. After that all else falls into place according to God's plan. As I've stated before "God's schedule is far better than mine." this has been a night of looking back at how things were and then enjoying how they are. We are happy, healthy, and like everyone else(90%)of the country, suffering from the economic downturn. Personally I think if it were not for the government's intervention we would reliving be reliving the crash of '29 and ensuing years of depression.
So, here we are in the season of Epiphany and preparing for the best of future's possibilities. Thankfulness is evident in every prayer we share, and the blessings are so abundant that Cheryl and I can only look in amazement at times on the home God has provided for us and those we love. I pray your New Year is off to a great start and that this year will be a good one for our nation. In Christ's Love, Preacher.