"Only one life, 'twill soon be past
Only what's done for Christ will last."

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Day the Eagles Came

Some of you might remember the eagle story I told about my son and his Eagle Award from Boy Scouts. To re-cap: The deadline was down to the last day. My son was turning 18, and he still had a few items to accomplish. I do not remember why, but my husband had the day off, and the two of them raced from one place to another getting signatures and filing forms.

About midway through the day I was on the phone with my husband while he and my son were en-route. As I absentmindedly gazed out the east dining room window, talking, a massive eagle swept toward the house, swooped over the back yard through the trees, and off to the west.

I couldn't believe it! The significance was not lost on me.

I am a bird watcher. I look for birds. They are worth watching.  Eagles were not seen in this yard before that day!

We live not far from the Mississippi. Perhaps it's 2 miles, as the eagle flies. Eagles have been in our area since we moved here. But their range has increased, and now we see them every day. Just this morning one was preening in a tree across the street, looking down on the world as we watched it. It stayed half an hour.

About two months ago we were driving the US Highway between our home and the river. I spotted an eyrie just north of the road, high up in a cottonwood tree. It sits not far from a Lowe's home improvement store.

There, where thousands of vehicles pass daily, an eagle pair has decided to nest!

They like waterfront property, and a creek runs below the tree.

On Saturday both male and female were sitting on the nest, gazing southward, toward the highway.  What a sight!

Sometimes wildlife just makes you feel privileged. The eagles deign to share their lives with you!

Here's hoping for some eaglets this spring!  

Monday, January 30, 2012

Dr. Charles Aling

Our church has been privileged to host Dr. Charles Aling on occasion for a lecture series. He is a professor of history, and his great love is Egyptian history.

He has given us several lectures on church history, archeology, and now the history of missions.

Yesterday was a little different, and every bit as fascinating.

His father, a medical doctor, general practice and surgery, served during the Second World War, as a field station doctor. He arrived in the European Theater shortly before the assault on Omaha and Utah beaches. He was assigned to Utah beach. His unit traveled inland, following the Second Armored Division.

Dr. Aling told of his father's experiences treating soldiers; American, French, and German. The unit found itself treating casualties from the Battle of the Bulge, in Belgium.

The vignettes that Dr. Aling shared were all interesting, and it wouldn't be my place to tell them all, but he told one story that brought tears to my eyes.

The senior Dr. Aling was treating dozens of soldiers each day. A National Guard Unit from Wisconsin was bearing the brunt of the German onslaught.  One young private peered up at Dr. Aling through his pain and began to smile.

Dr. Aling asked, "Do I know you?"

The young soldier replied, "Are you Dr. Aling?"

"Yes, I am."

"I was your paper boy in Minneapolis!"

Dr. Aling had a successful medical practice in Minneapolis years after the war. My mother, a nurse from Swedish Hospital, remembers him.  He became the head of the medical missions department at Northwestern College, Roseville, MN.

The well-known Roger Youderian was a product of that program. He lost his life in Ecuador in the 1950's.

Isn't history interesting?


It really is a joy to live in the Twin Cities.

Yesterday four of us attended the 30th birthday party of the radio program "Pipedreams."

Michael Barone has hosted this organ program since 1972, and I've been listening (not every Sunday, of course) for that long.

It used to be on late Sunday evenings, but recently moved to Sunday morning here on our classical radio station. We'd go to sleep with it before, now we wake up to it.

Pipe organs have always been one of my favorite things. I took a year of pipe organ lessons at Wheaton College, playing the big chapel organ once a week, the old Pierce chapel organ 2×/wk, and the room sized pipe organs the rest of the time. I was privileged to pull all the stops and make those instruments produce SOUND!

That's one of my definitions of fun.

Playing the organ is cathartic for me. It cleansed my mind. It's rather like the feeling you get when you quickly solve a Sudoku puzzle --brain clearing and satisfying.

Living in Wiesbaden was heaven for an organ lover. Every Saturday at St. Stephens Church there was an organ concert, 11:00 am, with artists from all over the world. The concert was never long, but wonderful. I attended as often as I could!

Yesterday's concert was a perfect combination of organ splendor. Old stuff, but not the things you always hear. Beautiful arrangements of "A Mighty Fortress" and "Clair de lune" -- also two versions of "Sleigh Ride."

There were five organists, and it was fun to observe each one.

Michael Barone has always been my favorite radio announcer (probably because of Pipedreams) but it was fun to see him having fun with this concert.

When my husband and I began married life in Louisiana I was often homesick for Minnesota. Thankfully "Pipedreams" was on the local public radio station, and Mr. Barone's comforting narrative brought me a little closer to home every week. I wonder how many other Minnesota "expatriates" have felt as I did?

I procured my first full-pedaled organ down there in Louisiana, so I could practice my neglected organ skills.  Time passed. Kids came along. Organ playing became low on my list of priorities.

Yet, we wonder at patterns of our lives, and how they replicate in our children. (There's a rather sappy song about our faces rising in our children that the Northern Lights Chorale will sing this spring concert -- but there is some truth to it!)

My third son has a current obsession. You guessed it.

His passion has driven him to read pipe organ books explaining all the stops, the famous organs around the world, and other organ trivia. He has memorized most of Bach's famous work, Toccata and Fugue. He peruses Craig's List in search of abandoned pipe organs, dreaming of the day he can set one up in his own space!

He LOVED the concert yesterday, especially the details given about the organ itself.  (It is a 4 Manual, 108 Rank Casavant Organ from 1927)

You know, it is a joy to see a passion transferred, if even for a season.

Tune into "Pipedreams" soon. You can share the concert too!

UPDATE: Thank you to Michael Barone, for linking to Corgi Hollows from the fb "Pipedreams" page. Welcome to you organ fans. Also thanks for the tips for young organists! We plan to be participating! 

Monday, January 23, 2012

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Snow Stories

Misty is unwell. She sports a lovely purple collar with all her identification jewelry at times. In the summer I noticed it must only be worn on walks, because it chafed at her ruff and caused a sore on the underside of her neck. Sweat, we supposed.

We let her keep it on this January, and it appeared to be well and fine, but two nights ago we discovered she was suffering from the same problem! Sweat can't be an issue (even with this being a "warm" winter) so we are assuming her ruff is just too sensitive!

She is having Hydrogen Peroxide sponge baths for now. We'll see how she responds. Poor creature!

I have been unwell myself. I won't bore you with the details. The only advantage of being unwell is that it gives so much time to process Happenings! The mind just doesn't check out as quickly as the stuffed sinuses and the sore-throat.

I am reading several interesting books, "The Tehran Initiative," by Joel Rosenberg, "Until They Bring the Streetcars Back" (a Minneapolis book), "Confidence Men," by Ron Suskind, and I am slowly working through "Out of Africa," by Isak Dineson. I'm savoring the last one. It is beautifully written, and I imagine Africa as I read.

I've never desired to go to Africa.

Perhaps this book will change me.

We are reading about otters in school right now, so Wednesday we plan a trip to the Minnesota Zoo, in Apple Valley to see the darling otters. (And the other creatures). What amazing animals they are! So full of fun, so clever, and such caring parents! They actually teach their babies to swim, sweetly and gently.

Nothing can beat the inquisitive beady dark eyes that meet your own from behind the glass.

We are working through Jobe Martin's "Creatures That Defy Evolution" series. This is a fascinating portrait of animals. Recommend!

A note of gratitude to God today: We have icy roads, as a sleet-snowstorm came through since yesterday afternoon. My eldest was home for a class he was taking, and had to drive the Minneapolis-Fargo Interstate 94 section (4 hours) through the storm last night to get back to class and be at Physical Training at 6:00 this morning. He made it by 10:30 last night, with much prayer and a few cell phone checks. (Thank you, Lord!)

My second son had to leave at 5:00 this morning and navigate the slippery roads to the University of Minnesota, also to be on time for Physical Training. No news is GOOD news, and I thank the Lord that he must have made it.

I took Margaret to school, slipping the whole way, noticing that traffic was crawling on the highway toward Downtown. She arrived safely, and I arrived back home!

Living in Minnesota gives so many opportunities to cry out for the Lord's help, and thanking Him every time a scary trip in the weather is accomplished.

My husband made it to work too! The snow is still falling, and it looks beautiful.

Last week's challenge was the low temperatures! Below 0 several mornings.

Why do we LIVE HERE?

We really do love it. Life is never boring. The snow is gorgeous, the cozy homes are so inviting! Most of the time the highway department gets things in shape before long.  It isn't so bad.

Snow stories are always so exciting too!

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My Birthday Cake

A little snowman for my cake, since this January hasn't been the snowiest.
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cold Day Notions

After having a week of fun events celebrating special occasions in my family I am registering "sick" again. Nasty cold! It's a January pain.

There's always a let-down after a time of frenzy, and sometimes the body just lets down a bit too far.

This is a good month to be holed up, though. New books acquired for Christmas beg to be read, games should be played at least every other night.

Errands take on an "expedition" feeling----you really have to get everything together before heading out!

The weather is freakishly warm for this area this winter. Tomorrow we'll get our first 0 or below, at least it's predicted.

The sun has been out, and we've enjoyed the lengthening days.

School is back in full force, and schedules are adjusted for the new semester.

One thing we gave up for the "unemployment faze" was music lessons. With thankful hearts we started up the piano and violin sessions again. Our beloved teacher was happy to see us today!

As events of 2012 begin to unfold, some surprising (politics), some tragic (a ship sunk), the natural joy of life can be the drive that powers our days.

I hear the scorn of non-believers, their incessant rant against Christ-followers, and I am only more deeply aware of my place within Christ's embrace. The spiritual life given by the Holy Spirit permeates our existence. Who can deny it? Only one who has never met the ONE.

January. Time to reflect on our life in Christ. Time to plan, to set goals, to do the best we can, but all for the Lord's sake.

Because He IS all that matters.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Light is mentioned in the Bible so often, it seems the imagery is really hard to miss. God wants us to be light, to be seen, to be witnesses, to be transparent.

Transparent? But isn't that revealing? Isn't that ......scary?

No human being on earth is capable of understanding our Heavenly Father. We must seek Him, learn of Him, and follow His commands. We must believe, repent, and obey.

Living a transparent life is your best take on following Christ. Everyone will fail to meet God's standard, but He calls us to obedience. Obedience is desired.

I think the world is noticing some light from a young man who seems to be astonishingly transparent. You've heard of him, a young quarterback who grew up the son of missionaries.

He's human. He will make mistakes. He will fail.

But isn't it refreshing to see someone so clearly in love with Jesus?

There is nothing wrong with seeking to be open, to be light in this ever darkening world.

Dare to be transparent, to live a life worth being open about.

Let your light shine!

Monday, January 9, 2012