Monday, July 27, 2009

On the bus home....

It took us about 10 minutes short of 24 hours to get home. Yup. A LOT longer than we had thought. Unfortunately, we ran out of gas in rural Arkansas. Fortunately, the bus driver managed to get us off the Interstate and onto a road, coming to a stop right in front of a school! We knew God was at work, was there with us. With one exception, all the vehicles that went by stopped to see if we needed help. One of those vehicles contained someone who had a key to the school. He let us in there, started up one of those big fans since there was no air conditioning on at the time, and let us stay there even after he and his wife and grandson left. It was a consolidated school located literally in the middle of farmland -- fields all around it. We did find out that it was moderately near Wilson, AR. I haven't looked that up yet. I was thankful to be in there since the bus was VERY warm and the mosquitos were out in full force.

We were brought some fuel and we made it to Blythesburg (Blythesville?), which was our destination at that point anyway. Most of us ate at the McDonald's there. As we were finishing, they were closing up. I went back to thank them for serving us. I found out that we were the 10th bus they served yesterday!

We made it back shortly before noon today. The kids were great. They weren't fighting, they weren't overly loud. They were interacting with each other, smiling and laughing. I think we were all glad to finally get off the bus for the last time. Our drivers were fun but we were ready to go home.....

Saying good-bye to the kids and the adult leaders took a bit of time. It seems like we really 'bonded' with the folks from Mobridge. I hope we can continue in relationship with each of the churches with whom we traveled!

Again, I thank you for all your support on this trip. We will be sharing things with you over the next couple of months. We have each had our lives impacted by this trip. Thank you for making it possible for us to go. Talk to you soon!

Sunday morning worship

Hard to believe that it has been over 24 hours since we were at worship with over 37,000 other people. What an experience! To think that we all had communion together. What a fitting end to an amazing youth gathering.

The ELCA's Presiding Bishop, Mark Hanson, was the preacher and presider for the service. At the beginning of worship, he told us that the night before Mayor Nagin had told him that Nagin wished the whole city of New Orleans could have been asked to gather at the Dome with us. You see, the Dome has been a place of bad memories, a place where unhealthy things happened during and after Hurrican Katrina. But when he saw the enthusiasm, love, and happiness of those in the Dome on Saturday night, he knew that if the residents of the city could see and hear that, they might be healed. After telling us this story, Bishop Hanson prayed for the healing of the city of New Orleans, along with prayers for those of us there, that we might continue in service in our home cities and that we might be granted safe travel.

Bishop Hanson's sermon centered on the promises of God in baptism: that we are loved and belong to God forever. Every day when we wash our faces, when we look in the mirror, we can say "I am baptized." What we have done as a result of being baptized is phenomenal: the Change4Change offering for the World Hunger Appeal was at $129,591.93 as the service was about to begin, with over $7000 more in the red bucket in the Dome itself. The work that 36,000+ people did in 3 days would have taken 1 person, working 4 hours a day and 7 days a week, about 98.5 years!!!! THAT was awesome!

So I ask you, as you go about your daily work: What can you do to make a difference in 1 person's life? The power of 1 is compelling. Our "power of one" moment took place after the Bishop's prayer for the healing of New Orleans - we did (possibly) the world's largest wave! It started with one person at the front bending down while saying and continuing to say 'Jesus'. When it got to the top of the highest balcony, they stood up with arms raised high and began saying 'Justice' over and over. The sound as 'Jesus' resounded through the hall, then as both words came over us, and finally as only'Justice' was heard was unlike anything I had heard before. With that many people, the sound literally washes over you!

Let's all think of one thing we can do each day that will impact the life of at least one other person -- and then let's put that thought into action! Then we can talk later....

Sunday, July 26, 2009

2 things

I forgot to tell you two things last night:
  1. Don Miller, our first speaker, is the founder of The Mentoring Project, whose purpose is to bring positive male role models to boys without fathers in the home. As other creative projects grow quickly, he noticed that his did not. The reason? They were all based on giving money towards something. It makes people feel good. But his project requires the giving of ones self, which is something else indeed. It is not that one is better than the other -- it is just that both are needed. Let's try to find projects that require them!
  2. Venice Williams of Chicago talked to us about going green. Plant those gardens, change those bulbs, do whatever it is one can do to help sustain the earth. But the statement of hers that caught me most was this: Going green is honoring God's imagination.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday evening

Our congregation is truly blessed to have such amazing young people - the ones with us in New Orleans as well as the ones who are still in Vermillion. The kids here have been outstanding on this trip. They have learned to help others, they have thought about the way they treat others, they have participated in praising God with 36,000 of their peers! It has been an incredible experience for all of us. Where has the time gone? We only have our worship service tomorrow and then we will already be on our way home.

The first picture is so that you can get an idea of the sheer number of kids who are here. Tonight we got a greeting from New Orleans mayor, Ray Nagin, and then Bishop Hanson read a letter to the Gathering from President Obama. Those were wonderful moments -- the kids erupted into cheers at the conclusion of each. (Sorry -- my pictures are blurry....)

One of the musicians tonight was Guyland Leday, an under-ten-year-old self-taught zydeco artist. Here you see him along with his brother playing the washboard. I think that accordion is probably heavier than Guy!

At the end of the evening, we lit the Dome with our cell phones. It was just like Christmas Eve, when we light the candles -- starting from the front with one person and going all the way to the top of the Dome. It was beautiful and moving to watch -- as each row opened its phones, the people stood. Here is a picture, which really doesn't capture the moment in its glory. But hopefully you can get an idea. If you look carefully, you can see all those thousand points of light.

The Katinas closed the evening. They began with a lovely song about waiting for the Lord. As you can see in these pictures, the kids felt that music. They put their arms around each other and swayed back and forth in time with the music. It was beautiful to behold. Aren't they beautiful?


Sorry! I didn't get a chance to post last night.

Yesterday we had our ServantLife day. Here we are at our training session -- a sea of orange shirts.

We went to McDonogh26 Elementary School and read to students there. It was an amazing project. I think that most of us were kind of disappointed that that was our project, but it turned out to be SO rewarding. I read to Ayanna, who is 6. She was so cute and very talkative, once she warmed up. When we reflected on the day, I think that most of us were in agreement that this was our favorite experience to this point.

This was our whole group of 40 who went to that school. Never mind the wheelchair -- I was just having a bad day, after having walked a lot the day before.....

And here is the front of the school.

And then, here OUR kids.... funny thing was, the kids from Mobridge were also at our school! That was fun, too!

We were in the 9th Ward, where the levees first broke. A lot of work has been done, but as you can see from the picture below on the left, there is still much work to be done. This city is a city of contradictions. This morning my daughter came from Baton Rouge and took me to the Garden District (where Loyola University is). The houses there are incredibly huge, ornate, and well loved (see the picture on the right below). This is an extremely wealthy area, where there was virtually no damage during the hurricane. When I contrasted this with where we were yesterday -- and with some places she took me that were closer to the river -- it seems that they could not possibly be part of the same city.

I know that I, for one, am SO glad that we live where we do. I am thankful that we have been able to be here and I wouldn't even mind coming again. It is just that I now realize it is easy to take for granted what we already have.

Keep praying for us -- we are only here for one more day and then will be on our way home. We have felt your prayers and are very thankful for your support.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


So first thing today, guess who we see? Bishop Mark Hanson, the presiding bishop of the ELCA! He is such a gracious man. He will be with all of us through the closing worship on Sunday. Here is a picture of him with the kids.

Then he spoke to us a bit about wealth and poverty. After him was another gentleman, who talked about what poverty is and how it affects us, especially as children. Then we went into the interaction center and spent some time there.

We had a free afternoon then went to the Dome again tonight. Tomorrow is our ServantLife Day!

Tayler and Christie, just before the meeting at the Dome started. Aren't they beautiful???

We're Here!

Entering Six Flags

On the bus

But now we are in New Orleans! It was interesting driving into the city. We drove across a 23-mile bridge over the bayous.

This is an intersection of the bayous, where it runs alongside (and under) the roadway as well as out into somewhere....

It seemed a little strange riding over this long bridge. We looked for alligators but I didn't see any. We saw houseboats that were like nothing I had ever seen before. I certainly would not have wanted to live on one! And the houses along the banks were quite dilapidated.

Coming into the city was exciting:
All the roadways! It was interesting to see how the drivers managed all the interchanges. I was glad it wasn't me driving!

We got through our first night at the Superdome too. That was simply AMAZING! The music was excellent -- the technology was pretty cool -- and the speakers were exciting! It was great to look out over the audience and see just a sea of people. We will spend every night from 6:30-8:30 at the Dome. We can't wait to get back and tell you all about it!

Imagine all these people cheering and singing -- and doing the Wave!!!!

Have a great day -- we are going to do so!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

On the way!

We left Vermillion just before 10 PM on Sunday, the 19th. We are traveling with kids from Viborg, Harrisburg, and Mobridge. It is quite an experience! The kids have been great. It is a long trip....

Our first stop was Six Flags St Louis. It was a fun day! It was Monday, when the attendance was pretty low so that there wasn't a long wait for the rides and everybody got to do what they wanted. The kids have been pretty excited talking about what they did and what they saw. We did have some exciting moments when it came time to leave the park and 2 of the kids were missing. We had been calling and texting them, knowing that one phone was out of juice. They found us, about a half hour late. As we said though, all is well that ends well!

But you know, sleeping on the bus wasn't the easiest thing. Some of our kids have pretty long legs and there wasn't much room in the seats..... We did stop every 2 hours along the way, which was both good and bad. So last night they slept pretty well -- and we adult leaders did too! It was a much easier day today.

Of course, all was not smooth. We got going and barely left when it started to rain. A few times it was really quite a downpour! We saw a couple of accidents. Then we lost about a half hour going through construction. So getting to our hotel in Ridgeland, MS took longer than we expected! The kids were really ready to get off the bus.

We have all eaten now and it is past our curfew time. I will try to put up some pictures later. We will get to New Orleans a little past noon tomorrow. Our first session starts at 6 PM! Pray for us as we travel and as we begin our adventure in New Orleans.

Until later....

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Job 1

So did you notice a couple of things right away in the book of Job? First of all, although he had 10 children, he was a wealthy man. Second, his children met together for feasting and such and Job always followed it up with burnt offerings and such on their behalf, in case they had sinned. Always the parent, I guess....

And then there are those servants who all came to Job and said, "I alone...." and brought bad tidings. So with all of his children, his animals, and his servants (except the 4) gone, Job still did not blame God for his misfortune. How often are we like that? Do we not wonder how God can let various misfortunes happen around the world, around our town, in our families? Is is really God doing those things? Are they things we or they deserved? Sometimes I think we really like to have someone to blame. And it seems that it would be very easy to blame God. Have you ever blamed God? I don't think I have. I have questioned God about why something was happening, but I don't think I ever blamed God. It is just part of our human condition, I guess. There was that book 20 or so years ago, When Bad Things Happen to Good People. I have never read it but I remember hearing from various people that it was about time someone wrote a book like that, to prove that God only wanted good for us. Maybe I should read it.... I guess I have just felt that really Job shows us how to be faithful without being a doormat kind of person who just expects the worst....

Monday, February 16, 2009


We are just waiting for the paperwork at the hospital and then we will be on our way home. Avery's oxygen was hanging at 87-91%, which was on the low side, when she was napping. But awake she was easily at 95% or above. The funny thing is that as soon as they took all the stuff off her - oxygen sensor, canula, and PICC line - she absolutely pinked right up. Sarah is beyond happy about going home. I will stay in the background as they are back together as family. Abby will go to daycare again tomorrow so that will make it easy on Sarah to concentrate on taking care of Avery. I will mostly be able to help out as needed -- and be home again. It is good in ever so many ways....

Thank you for all your prayers and support. Please remember all those other little ones with this RSV. Their little lungs just can't handle it so let's remember them all.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Avery is completely off the ventilator and the tube is out. She is breathing on her own and doing well. Last night she was also given a pacifier and she could both breathe and suck, which is a requirement for release. She is still on oxygen, but that is a small price. I am SO happy! I am going out there today. It will be good to see all of them with my own eyes.

Keep praying, as we want Avery to be strong when she comes home. Thank you!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The rollercoaster

Seems like it is 2 steps forward, 1 step back. Yesterday Avery's chest x-ray showed that her right lung was completely filled with fluid. As if that were not enough, she now has H flu, which is something that kids at daycare can get but they are vaccinated against it. She is too young for the vaccination, so they are giving her antiobiotics for 2 days. Sarah says the drs are not too worried about it.

But then the morning report was better again. The BIG news is that Avery is off the ventilator. She is breathing on her own, which is AWESOME! Apparently they are going to remove the tube this afternoon. She will have some steroids first so that it won't be so hard on her. She has had one dose already. There is some thought that the tube may be exacerbating her lung problem.

And the other BIG news is that Sarah got to hold her last night. It was a precious time for both of them. Her heart rate just leveled off when she was in Sarah's arms. There is truth to that theory of the connection between a mother and a child....

Again, I thank all of you for your prayers and words of support. We are thankful for this morning's good news and ask for your continued prayers for the family, as Avery heals.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Avery is doing better! The ventilator is set at 30 breaths per minute and she is doing 50, which is good. Apparently she had a lung infection AND part of her right lung collapsed. It is healing. They will be coming home sometime. In the meantime, I will be there by the weekend, to help with Abby -- and to do the laundry.... Thank you for all the prayers and support. She, and all the other little ones who have this virus, need your continued prayers as they heal and get stronger.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Good News!!

Ah, yes, the power of hundreds and hundreds of people remembering other people in prayer....

As of a couple of hours ago, the doctors have said that Avery no longer has the stiffening and they are no longer worried about the possible brain damage. They have just placed a new feeding tube in her, bypassing the stomach? I think that is what Sarah said. And they have also place a PICC line in -- an IV that goes directly into the heart. They expect that she will need the IV for another week. So, from this end, I will just wait until we know more about when she will go home before I make plans to go back out there.

Thank you for your prayers and support. I know we will all keep on praying. Please also remember all the other little littles who are suffering from this virus this year.

Avery update

It is hard being this far away from family, especially when they are in distress. The good news is that yesterday they cut Avery's oxygen level from 100% to 55%. This means that part of the breathing is being done by Avery. I am sure that over the next few days they will be weaning her off the ventilator. That will mean she will be less sedated too. She did open her eyes yesterday.

Abby was able to go and see Avery yesterday. She was a little frightened by all the apparatus, but said, "Shh, baby sleeping. Hi baby!" Sarah said the staff was fabulous with her, even giving her a beanie baby and a couple of other toys that she can keep. We will certainly be giving back to the hospital after Avery comes home.

Avery is still being suctioned. She is so little that I have no idea where all the junk is coming from! The most frightening thing, for me, is that she has some of what the doctors call stiffening, which is a sign of possible brain damage. We are hoping and praying that all will be well but sometimes things seem bleak.

Another good thing is that George does not have to go back to work today. He got word from the owner of the company for which he works that he can take the time he needs. I wish all employers were like this! I, for one, am SO thankful. I know that it takes a lot of pressure off of both of them.

So, while our little Avery is not really out of the woods yet, she is still fighting. And we are still praying mightily.....

Sunday, February 8, 2009

more on avery

I wonder how many tears a person can produce. Seems like I have spent a lot of time crying in the last twelve hours. Ever since Avery went into the hospital on Wednesday, she has been on oxygen. The oxygen monitors kept going off because her oxygen saturation went down below the safe zone. We found out she has apnea, which is (hopefully) a treatable thing at this point. Avery got transferred to an infant ICU at about 4 PM our time yesterday. She just could not breathe. She went downhill in a matter of moments - she turned blue. She was intubated and then the doctors asked Sarah for permission to do some blood work and a lumbar puncture. They think she has a secondary infection. I do not know the results of this at this time. What I do know is that she is now quite heavily sedated. And maybe, between the ventilator and the sedation, her little body will get a chance to rest and heal. One positive: Thursday and Friday she had taken the bottle from Sarah, who has been pumping to provide for Avery, and was up to 7 lbs 9 oz. So that little bit of weight gain should help her too. Please pray for all of them and the doctors and nurses too, as they work to help our little girl heal.

I will be going back out there to help them. We are just going to take things day by day, as to when I will go. Sarah said that her condition seems to just change so quickly. Yesterday morning she was doing so well and then suddenly she wasn't. So, we don't know how it is that these things work exactly but we do know that God is in control.

Meanwhile, if you want to know a little more about this disease Avery has, check out this website:

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Back home, but...

We made it home on Wednesday, Feb. 4th. But that day, shortly after we left Sarah and George's, Avery was admitted to the hospital with bronchiolitis, caused by RSV, a respiratory virus. She couldn't breathe, she couldn't eat -- her lips were purple. Tuesday she had a stuffy nose and had been at the dr; 24 hours later she had lost 7 oz. It is tough. Thursday she was moved to Oregon Health Sciences University Hospital for a higher level of care. She was on oxygen, IV, and had mega-suctioning going on. As of now, as far as I know, the IV has been removed. They can go home when she has gone 24 hours without IV, oxygen, or suctioning. So the time is not yet... Sarah is tired and wants to go home but won't leave Avery. Abby has come to the hospital but they have not let her see Avery. She gives her mommy LONG hugs every time they come up. She has been staying with George's folks, who live just a couple of miles away from Sarah and George. It is hard to be here, so far from what is happening. But we are confident that each day Avery is stronger and more able to cope. We look forward to hearing that they can go home. In the meantime, we are praying like crazy!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My girls

Well, we have been here for a day and a half now. How great this is! Avery Rose is SUCH a good baby. She sleeps for hours at a time, including at night. This is very different from her big sister, Abby, who is 19 months now. This picture is of Sarah, Abby, and you can just barely see Avery's head poking out of her blanket.

This picture is of Avery last night. She was so alert for quite some time, after sleeping fo
r almost 5 hours and then being fed. Not much crying either......

And this is Grandpa giving Avery a kiss. It was just so precious I had to share it.

I hope this finds you all well and enjoying YOUR families!


A short 3 chapters. How bad can it be, right?

Oh ug!!!! The whole first chapter is the word of the Lord to the people. And it is not a good word. The harvest has failed. Nothing is good. The priest mourn. The trees are all dried up. "
Come, pass the night in sackcloth, you ministers of my God! Grain offering and drink offering are withheld from the house of your God."

Then Joel goes on to say that the people should sanctify a feast and call a solemn assembly. Everyone should come, for the day of the Lord draws near.

Chapter 2 is even worse than chapter 1, at least in the beginning. A great and powerful army comes, laying waste to all it travels over. Imagine this sight: "
Before them the land is like the garden of Eden, but after them a desolate wilderness, and nothing escapes them." How frightening is that picture. And still, God says that if the people would turn from their wicked ways, with all their hearts, and with fasting, weeping, and mourning, God would show mercy. God says: "...rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing." They should gather all the people - young, old, newly married, just born - that they might pray that God would spare them.

And then the good news does come! God has pity on them: chases all the foreign armies away, brings back the grain, the water, the wealth of the people. And promises that never again shall his people be put to shame: "And my people shall never again be put to shame. You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other. And my people shall never again be put to shame." Then come the wonderful words we read every year at Pentecost: "Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and the old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions." I LOVE this text! It continues on and is GREAT reading for us, because "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

In chapter 3, it seems that God is now calling down desolation for those who have scattered Israel. Remember back in Genesis, when God gave Jacob a new name, Israel? In that moment, God also made a promise that this would be a great people. God keeps coming back to that promise, that these are God's people whom God will love without fail. So in these short chapters, the Word is that God is loving, steadfast, and merciful, and remembers the promises God has given in times past.

You go, God!

A final word on Genesis...

Did you finish reading Genesis? If you did, you will know that Bible reading is not for the faint of heart! Such things we find there. The overwhelming concept for me, though, is that these people are completely human, yet God uses them. They are not perfect or somehow more able than other people. They would likely be our friends.

The other thing is that it is God who judges, not the people. That was a good reminder to me. God IS merciful. God IS steadfast (can you believe that, after all the things those people did???). God LOVES them without question, without strings attached -- we call that unconditional. So, I think God is AMAZING for being willing to love them and, by extension, us.

Look at chapter 50, when Jacob is blessing his sons. Jacob knew each of them in his heart and was willing to bless them according to their talents. I am sure that God gave Jacob the words to know how to bless them. Made me think a bit: how is it that we do not give blessings to our children today? Do we listen for the words of blessing God gives us? Maybe we need to open our ears, as well as our eyes and our hearts. I am sure God has a word for us today....

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Avery Rose

Avery Rose Dimeo arrived on Tuesday, Jan 20th, at 12:17 pm Pacific time. She was 7 lbs 5 oz and 19 and a quarter inches long. She is beautiful and doing well (note the piano fingers....). Mama Sarah is tired but happy. Big sister Abby (19 mos) came in, saw Avery in the bassinette, said, "Oh! Baby!" and walked away to do some other stuff. We will leave to see them after the annual meeting on Sunday. We are very much looking forward to that!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Genesis VII

Did it surprise you to find that Abraham remarried -- and had SIX more sons? First he didn't have any children until he was about 100... Well, one just never knows how all this works. It sure is a good thing that God is in control of it all because it sure seems unfathomable to me...

Chapter 25 has the story of Jacob and Esau, when Esau sold his birthright. I am stunned! In my memory banks, this is a BIG story. But it only takes up a few sentences. I know it is not finished until the blessing, when Jacob deceives his father, but it just surprises me. Hmmm. Makes me wonder -- after all, as I said before, I just read Genesis last summer!

The deceiving of Isaac happens in chapter 27. I cannot believe that Rebekah was so unwilling for Esau to get Isaac's blessing! And then when Esau comes, right after Jacob has received the blessing, he is such a pitiful specimen, at least in some ways. He begs his father for a blessing -- any blessing! When at first he doesn't get one, he weeps. Finally, Isaac gives him a blessing, but it is a blessing that has spikes.

But you know, we are only human. How many of us would have cherished the blessing of Isaac? What would we have done to get it? That's the thing -- we don't really know. What we do know is that God uses us, with all our follies and foibles. Pretty cool!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

news flash!!!

did you know Abraham had 2 nephews named Uz and Buz? It's true! Genesis 22 has it.....

Friday, January 16, 2009

Genesis VI

Oh ick! There are such goings on! I tell you what, God is extremely patient, as we can see reading about Abraham. I mean, I can't believe it! After he had tried to tell Pharaoh that Sarah was his sister and how that all turned out, now he gives her to another King. Fortunately, God warns the king so that he doesn't call on her. And then, the king gives Abraham some slaves, some flocks and herds, AND 1,000 pieces of silver (as an exoneration of Sarah) AND tells Abraham to settle where he pleases! Unbelievable! I can't believe Abraham would do that. Didn't he learn from his previous mistake? Hmmm.... he must have been like we are....

And then that whole thing with Sodom and Gomorrah in the previous chapters. God loved Abraham because he made sure that Lot and his family made it out of Sodom to safety. Of course, that story doesn't end that well.... I guess the Bible really does just tell it like it is. It doesn't gloss over the icky parts of life. Is there something in that for us to learn? Maybe that we need to face all the "junk" of life too? Another thing to think about....

Thursday, January 15, 2009

real ramblings...

well, I really was going to let the day go by and not add anything. But I just couldn't. I haven't read any more of Genesis. But I did enjoy reminding myself of the fun time we had making ice cream pie. I hope you had a fun day too....

I don't know -- there are 50 chapters in Genesis and I've only finished chapter 17. I suppose there is a chance I might finish it... How about you? Will you finish it?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ice Cream Pie

So, we made ice cream pie at youth group tonight. Well, at least some of us did. As you can see, it was mostly the guys who were making the pies -- except for Sarah, of course.

Others were reading or in the computer room or whatever.....

It seems that when they were telling me what they needed for ingredients, they left out a few things.... One of those things was brownies. By happy coincidence, I had made some lovely chocolate chip bars for Golden Voices today and had some leftovers. And I also tend to keep Oreos in my office, so I had those to help them. Apparently, you have either a graham cracker or an Oreo crust (we had one of each). Then you put a layer of whipped ice cream with some cinnamon in it, a layer of brownie/cookie stuff, some fudge topping, some mini M&Ms and/or mini chocolate chips, another layer of ice cream, a layer of whipped topping, then decorate it with the fudge topping, mini M&Ms, and mini chocolate chips. Freeze until it is not easy to cut. Cut. Eat. We, of course had limited time, so it wasn't that frozen. But oh, so good! Naturally, I was eating mine, so didn't have time to take pictures..... We ate the Oreo crust one, so only the graham crust one is left. Will have to see if it will keep until next week!

Looks good enough to eat, doesn't it???

Genesis V

Whew!!! Reading the Bible is TOUGH! So, when God told Abram to count the stars and so should his descendants be, it was when Abram was very weary. He had just had to go win back Lot (his nephew) and all his goods after he was taken captive in a war. Abram and 318 of his own men - they were born his slaves - went to fight for Lot. So Abram was tired and probably cranky. The next thing you know, Sarai figures she is too old to bear a child so she gives her slave, Hagar, to Abram. Low and behold, she gets pregnant -- and what does Sarai do? Throws her out!!! I guess maybe sometimes we women can be a bit irrational... So anyway, God comes to Hagar and tells her she will have many descendants. But then, I really have to hand it to Hagar. She doesn't get mad at God. I tell you I would. God told her that her son, whom she would name Ishmael, would be at odds with the whole rest of the world -- "He will be a wild ass of a man, with his hand against everyone, and everyone's hand against him; and he shall live at odds with all his kin." Well, there now. Doesn't that just warm the cockles of your heart? Not really. God just lays it all out there. Hagar must have been quite the woman, since she doesn't really scream out at God. She must have gone back to Sarai because Ishmael and all the other slaves were circumcised along with Isaac, after he was born.

I don't know -- gives me a different sense of who God is. I think maybe we can't just put God in a box and say that God will always act in a certain way. I mean, the Bible shows that God is multi-faceted! Hmmm, now I have another thing to think about!

Genesis IV

Well, well, well. As I am reading now the story of Abram (he isn't yet Abraham), I am seeing that God simply uses people as they are - we don't have to be perfect. I mean, really, going into Egypt because there is a famine, but telling Sarai, his wife, to say she was his sister. Then Pharaoh took a liking to her and all of a sudden plagues come upon his household! So God up and tells Pharaoh that Abram didn't tell him the truth so he kicks Abram and Sarai (and all their stuff) right out of Egypt! But God continues to use Abram anyway..... So maybe we are "good enough" to be used by God too.

But I also got to thinking. Wherever Abram settled, he built "an altar to the Lord." What does that mean for me - for us? I don't think I have an altar to the Lord in my house. Is this really just more a place to go to remember all that God has done? Hmmm.... I wonder if there is something to this creating a space for God.... I am just thinking here, you realize. Would it have to be a formal place? Could it just be that I keep my Bible with my recliner? Is it enough to just pray before I go to bed? I don't know. Seems like maybe I could think about this some more, for myself....

Have a GREAT day!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Genesis III

So I finished the story of Noah and the ark. Imagine being cooped up with all those animals for a little more than a year....

Anyway, in chapter 11, the descendants of Noah start to build this tower to "make a name for [them]selves, otherwise we shall be scattered..." Okay, I guess. But the Lord sees it and decides to go down to earth to shake things up. I have read the book of Genesis several times in my life, but I don't recall reading this portion in quite this way: "Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there...." And then the Lord scattered them abroad in the earth anyway! So why did the people think if they built a tower they would not be scattered? Who warned them that such a thing might happen? And did you notice the plural way that God spoke of God: let us go down. Kind of interesting, I must admit....

And now you know that I have a fascination with words, which I am sure you did not know before...

Genesis II

Good morning!

Here I am in chapter 7, with Noah and the ark. Did you notice that Noah was 500 before his sons were born? And they were married adults before Noah built the ark. Whew! Not something I would enjoy....

Happy reading to you!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Genesis I

Here it is, a little after 4, and I have finally started reading Genesis. So did you guys know there were 2 creation stories? We go through all the first day, second day, etc, stuff in chapter one. Then the beginning of chapter two is the resting on the 7th day. All of a sudden we read "These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created. In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being."

Here we have human beings created first. Can't you just see that steam rising? I envision it like a great fog and suddenly out of this thick veil comes a living, breathing human being! Pretty awesome....

So I am now in chapter three -- when Adam and Eve sinned. We are not so different - we want to blame stuff on the 'other' person. Must be human nature....

If you are wondering, you certainly can find online resources for reading the Bible. My favorite is You can choose your version of the Bible and everything! So the Bible is available to you wherever you are. I also use the NRSV that I have on my Palm. But, when I really want to cross-reference and really study the Bible, I hold it in my hand. I use the Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha.

Happy reading to you!

Reading Genesis....

So yesterday, as Publicist, I challenged the congregation to read the book of Genesis this week. Now, I know it is really a pretty easy read -- cuz I just read it last summer! However, I will attempt to read it in this one week. It is now 11:24 am on Monday and I have not read any of it. Hmmm.... might be harder to get it done than I think. But, I guess I'll try a little later today. So what about you? Are you making any progress?