Friday, April 30, 2010

Get Back Out There!

It is Friday morning, and I will be off to the tennis court to have another butt kicking administered by the "Posse". That would pretty much sum up Wednesday morning's experience as the combination of my ineptitude and the skill and "rascality" of my regular group put me to great shame. I do have a little inspiration this morning as one member of the group, who will go unnamed, has really got me hacked off. You see John will be celebrating a very significant birthday on Monday, and he is going to be ducking us in order to, as he puts it, celebrate with his family on a trip to Leavenworth. The guys has had 80 years to celebrate with his family! He can't tell them all where to get off and celebrate with his friends?...despicable!

In the past few days I have had some requests for the results of the meeting regarding the sad state of safety affairs on the stretch of US Highway 195 that passes in front of our church. What is very unsettling is the fact that the government authorities and officials can't even come to an agreement to whether it is US Highway 195 or State Route 195. The end result of Tuesday's activities will not be evident until the latter part of this year. This section of highway will be designated a "Traffic Safety Corridor", which means that it will be a priority for "low cost improvements" over the next two years to make it a less dangerous place to drive. There were many ideas bandied about. I brought up the idea of dropping the speed limit, which had the State Patrol salivating but the traffic engineers were cringing. They claim that because it looks like mostly a rural highway many drivers will not obey the lower speed limit creating a greater safety problem. Using my new found friendship with the State Troopers I had them all immediately stopped and cited for failure to yield to my right of way. One thing that the State will be spending a little money on is to educate the deer, elk, moose and coyotes to stay off the roadway during high traffic periods, and they will also be installing railroad style crossing arms that come down across the intersecting roadways anytime a driver of 70 years or older comes to one of the intersections to enter or cross the highway.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cold, Wet & Loud

Rain has once again spread over the Spokane area and there is snow falling in the mountains today. A Winter Storm Warning is up for the I-90 corridor through the Idaho Panhandle. Down here in the bottom lands it is just a cold rain, as temperatures are just in the low to mid 40s. It looks like it will be this way through the rest of the day, and a few showers are going to be lingering into tomorrow. Tomorrow should be a bit milder as well, into the mid to upper 50s. For the weekend it will remain a bit on the cool side for the beginning of May, the best we will do is get to around 60 on Sunday, and the skies will be cloudy a good part of the time, with only periodic breaks in those clouds and sun shining through.

As I was leaving for church this morning I got a call from our secretary that there was this awful noise in the building, and it was worst in the sanctuary. She didn't know what it was, just that it was really LOUD! Be the time I got here it had stopped. I went to investigate, but just like with a car that makes a weird noise when you drive it, if the noise doesn't reoccur it is hard to figure out what might be causing it. Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, the LOUD noise returned briefly about 15 minutes later. It was definitely coming out of the speakers in the church and fellowship hall, and it sounded like the static that you get when you change the channel on the TV away from the one that the cable TV signal comes in on...only LOUDER. I turned the volume down on all of the microphone channels, and muted them all, and since then the LOUD sound has not reared its ugly head again. We do have the programmer and technician from the multimedia company that we bought the system from here today (Media Joe), so he is going to be making a diagnosis and hopefully performing the necessary surgery to amputate these LOUD noises.

As I write this morning I am looking out my window and watching the landscaping company move dirt and gravel for the preschool playground. As mentioned, it is not a lovely day to be playing in the dirt, but they don't seem to mind, as long as they can take frequent cigarette breaks. The only ones who seem put out by today's activity are the marmots who have adopted the playground area as part of their domain.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hold My Calls

I will be tied up in a meeting all day today. I am actually looking forward to it...kind of. Today the Washington Department of Transportation (from now on labeled the DOT) will be convening the first general meeting of the US Highway 195 Safety Action Team. I may not have been taken in the NFL Draft, again, but I was selected to this team due to my persistent complaining to the DOT about the unsafe conditions on the highway the passes by the front door of St. John's Lutheran Church. Just last May, on Mother's Day, a 9 year old girl was killed in an accident at 195 and Meadowlane Road, which is the intersection where the church is located. That was the same day as we held the ground breaking ceremony for our new building. The DOT has a grand plan for that roadway, costing many, many millions of dollars, of which they now have about $13.67. It will be 20 or 30 years before anything "concrete" is done. The purpose of today's meeting is to find low cost (less than $3.52) solutions to the safety issues in this fast growing part of Spokane.

Anyway, I would like to make a motion...actually two! First, I move that the DOT lower the speed limit along the 6 mile stretch of 195 from Hatch Road to I-90 from 55 miles per hour to 45 miles per hour. Do I hear a second? Good, all in favor say "aye"...opposed just be quiet! Motion carried. Now, I move we adjourn. There...wasn't that easy!

I don't think it will be quite that simple. Oh well, it is going to be a rainy day anyway, so I might as well be stuck inside. At least they are feeding us lunch. Actually, I'm is being payed for with tax dollars.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Baby Steps

There is the old saying, "you gotta walk before you can run". That pretty much sums up where I am at this evening. Our church, St. John's Lutheran, has been transplanted to a new location in a brand new building over the course of the past two and a half years. We have a new neighborhood of people that we are here to serve. This neighborhood is full of young families with kids coming out of their ears, and it seems all sorts of other places too. In order to be relevant to folks of Generation X and Millennials we have to do some things in a more "contemporary manner". That effort took a big step forward this evening, with mixed results. We held our first contemporary worship service, and it turned out very well. Our musicians were great, the audio and video production was well done, and I believe that all that were in attendance came away refreshed and rejuvenated. I only wish that there were a few more of us. In our morning worship we had 115, which is about what we have been averaging over the past 5 weeks...discounting the 250+ we had on Easter. This evening we had 30. I have to look at it as a good first step, and if we continue to build it...they will come. Out of humble beginnings God can do great things. The next big step is going to have to be in the area of marketing.

Before I turn in I must say a few words about the weather. Up until the final days of her life, at the age of 91 years (at least I think that is how old she was), my grandmother would not go to bed at night without watching the weather forecast on the 10pm newscast. Even for the last 10 years of her life, when she almost never left the house, she had to know what the weather was going to do tomorrow. Perhaps you are the same, you just gotta know! So here we go...The news is good. After high temperatures only in the middle 50s Saturday and today we are headed for the upper 60s to near 70 degrees tomorrow, with mostly sunny skies. The warmer and sunny weather won't last long though as rain moves in by Tuesday morning, and temperatures take a tumble once again. Through the middle of the week highs will be back down into the 50s once again with mostly cloudy and breezy conditions and a few showers on Wednesday and Thursday. Take heart though, as it looks like the weather will improve again by the next weekend as sunnier days return and the temperatures will rise back into the 60s.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Left Out Again?

The NFL Draft is winding down, and it looks like for the 30th straight year I am on the outside looking in. At this point the phone has not rung, at least not with an NFL General Manager on the other end of the line, but there have been a few people who have called today to find out what time our church service is tomorrow. The day began with a trip across the cul-de-sac to my buddy Brady's family garage sale. Brady wasn't there at the time as he had gone to his "Sissy's" soccer game with dad and grandpa Larry. He did make it back before I headed off to work at the church. I think Brady really likes this garage sale stuff. All of the old toys come out of the closet and its time to play, kind of like Christmas times 10!

Today I am bouncing back and forth between my role as "The Sermonator" and the King of Power Point. The two are very closely inter-related. We are holding our first, of what we hope will be many and regular, contemporary worship service tomorrow evening at 6:00pm. You might want to come, it should be interesting, and bring your friends. Right now we hold one service every Sunday morning at 9:30am, and it is hoped that in the not too distant future we will need to have two services, for the sake of the masses. Our morning service is rather traditional, and a second morning service would allow us to do contemporary type worship in a more traditional time slot. We'll see how that works!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Nice Rain, Nice Day

The day started off with a driving rain. It was nice to hear the pitter-patter-splatter of raindrops off the roof. We picked up almost a half an inch as the rain came pouring down for almost 2 hours. After several days of dry weather, with a stretch of temperatures in the 70s, it was nice to get some moisture on the lawn to make things even greener. By 10:00am the rain had moved to the east, but the clouds hung around through early afternoon. Then the sky cleared off nicely and the temperature jumped to the mid to upper 60s...very nice!

Looking ahead to tomorrow, and I am looking ahead toward tomorrow since I am taking the day off, we will be enjoying the sunshine once again. It will be rather chilly early, near freezing, but in the afternoon the temperatures will climb to the low to mid 60s. I've got tennis in the morning, and yard work to do in the afternoon, and I am looking forward to both of them. I have found that the secret to my success at tennis is eating bacon. Last Friday I cooked bacon and made some scrambled eggs for breakfast, and then went out and hit some incredible shots on the court. The bacon began to wear off in the third set, and things started to go in the dumper, so tomorrow I will be sure to take along a little doggy (or should I say " hoggy") bag with me to ensure my stamina.

Finally tonight (have you ever noticed that at the end of every 11:00 o'clock newscast anywhere in the world they say "Finally tonight"), I want to welcome some newcomers to the neighborhood. In reality, these are not newcomers, but rather "now and them comers". After a long and not so cold winter our friends Larry and Darlene have arrived from Boise to visit my buddy Brady and his family across the street. Larry is Brady's grampa, and Darlene is gramma. To us we just refer to them as good friends. It is great to have them back in the cul-de-sac again!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Great Days!

Today was another beautiful day. The sun was shining all day long and the official high temperature was 74 degrees. As always, it was warmer than that in town. The official temperature is recorded at the airport, and just who lives at the airport? Maybe in places like Denver, Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York...or in the case of volcanic ash...most people in Europe live at airports, but not in Spokane. There is now a big storm system that has been moving in from the Pacific into California, but the effects of it will mostly be remaining to our south. This evening there has been a lot of rain over southern parts of the State of Washington, but most of that has been moving toward the northwest and not advancing much in this direction. This evening was a nice one on the front porch. For tomorrow I expect a few more clouds, and it will be a bit cooler, but I think that the rain will remain south and west of here, and temperatures will be getting close to 70 degrees...not a bad day.

Today was a kind of a special day. 3 years ago we hosted an exchange student from Germany, Anna Lena Sieber. Today marked her 20th birthday. These kids grow up so fast. She is now going to the university in Leipzig, preparing for a career in least that is the last reliable intelligence that I have. I hope that she had a wonderful birthday. It is going to be just a little over 3 weeks until we pick up our daughter Beth from school after completing her freshman year at Concordia University of St. Paul, Minnesota. Again...these kids grow up so fast! Yesterday she officially declared her majors to be music education and music performance. She also informed us that this would keep her occupied for the next 19 years...well maybe she said the next 4 or 5. Anyway, if you would like the make a contribution to the "Keep Brian and Kay Out of the Poor House Fund" please send your checks care of the debtor's prison of Spokane, Washington.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Open For Business

I still don't have any pictures for you from the church Dedication Service yesterday. I had my camera there but I was rather busy. Some of the others in attendance did get pictures, and I will post them as soon as they get them to me. In the place of pictures from Sunday I bring you pictures from Monday. The day was very sunny today, and the temperatures soared to 75 degrees at the airport for the official high, and into the upper 70s in town. That meant that the porch was the place to be this evening to watch the world go by. The first act on the program was Brady, as he was driving the Escalade. Before long we had seven kids out there entertaining us. Along with Brady there was Jillian, Carly, Emma, Ben, Preston and Parker. Parker is the little one in the orange helmet...all of two years old. It was a parade that lasted over an hour. This what we are looking forward to as summer approaches. Summer is still a long ways off though. We have another rather warm day ahead tomorrow, but by Wednesday and Thursday the temperatures will struggle to get to 60. Cool weather will then hang on into the weekend. There is a little rain headed this way too so it may be a while before the front porch is open for business again.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Just a quick note before it is time to head off to bed. The weekend has been absolutely incredible. We had more than 500 people come through the church between the open house on Saturday and the services today. At the Dedication Service alone there were 233...which is just a bit more than the capacity of the room. I will have much more to say about all of the happenings of the weekend tomorrow.

The weather today was also a thing of beauty. The sun was shining almost all day long and the temperatures were very pleasant. The official high at the airport, and of course nobody lives there, was 65 degrees. In town it was close to 70. For Monday we are going to be treated to a beautiful day...sunshine and afternoon temperatures in the middle to upper 70s...ENJOY!

Saturday, April 17, 2010


The pictures here are of some of the members of St. John's who were present this morning to prepare for the Open House today and the Dedication Service tomorrow afternoon. These are the folks that make my job such a joy! They are the most loving and friendly people that I have had the pleasure to know and serve! In the upper right hand corner...getting a cup of Stan. Throughout the building process he has personally put in more than 1000 hours of volunteer work, and always asks what needs to be done tomorrow! That is why I love my job...he is the epitome of all of the folks that I have the priviledge of serving. The rest of the folks exemplify the same spirit!
Our Open House ran from 1 to 4 this afternoon. I was hoping and praying that we might get a couple of hundred people to show up. I thougth that would be an unbelievable number! We haven't counted the guest sign in sheet yet, but I think that we had twice that many. It was fantastic! I got to meet so many new people that I hope will become friends, and there were a whole lot of old friends that came by to say hello. After a little rain this morning the weather turned out to be very nice, and I am sure that helped to bring us such a nice crowd. we are looking forward to our morning service tomorrow at 9:30am, and the Dedication Service at 4:00pm. It is going to be a beautiful day weather-wise...with sunshine and temperatures reaching into the 70s in the afternoon. As I write this post tonight I am totally in awe of what God is doing in the life of St. John's Lutheran, and I humbled by all of the gifts that he has given to me.

Follow the Link!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Baseball Season

With temperatures into the 70s today...the official high was 73 was time to get back out into the cul-de-sac to play a little baseball with my buddy Brady. Now Brady is just a few weeks shy of the tender age of 4, but he has the ability to rip a plastic softball past one's unsuspecting head, which he did on my first pitch late this afternoon. Now he prefers the pitch to come rolling along the ground, but he is plenty adept at hitting a lob from either side of the plate. I think that he generates the most power while batting left handed. The only thing that fascinated him more than playing ball today were the colonies of ants that have appeared in his backyard. He was totally convinced that they were a dangerous menace, and might "get him", until the ant spray that his dad applied to the colonies put them all to an untimely death. Speaking of Brady's dad...Jason had shoulder surgery today to correct a rotator cuff problem. He will have his arm in a sling for at least 6 weeks, so I would like to wish him a speedy recovery so that he can get back out there on the triathlon circuit.

This is going to be a big weekend for all of us at St. John's Lutheran Church. On Saturday from 1 to 4pm we are having a public open house for the community to come in and take a look at our new church and school strings attached! We won't sign you up as a member, unless you want to, we won't preach at you, and we won't try to baptize your kids...again...not unless you want us to. On Sunday we will have our regular morning worship service at 9:30am, and then we will be having a Dedication Service at 4pm. That is a public event too. After the Dedication there will be a reception with plenty of food. That is one thing that Lutherans do very! The weather should be rather agreeable. Saturday is going to be a cloudier day and there will be a few rain showers. The high temperture will be in the middle 60s. Sunday is looking very nice again, with sunshine and temperatures back into the low to mid 70s. I might have to break out the baseball bat and go a few innings with Brady on Sunday evening!

An added note for future reference...we will be holding our first special contemporary worship service in the new building at St John's next Sunday, April 25th, at 6:00pm. We have some wonderful music lined up and it should be an uplifting experience for all who can make it. Why not come on and join us?

Headin' For the Front Porch!

All throughout the fall, winter and early spring we have been longing for the return of the days where we could watch the evening break from the front porch. It is kind of a neighborhood gathering place. A place to chew the fat, and a place for my buddy Brady to entertain. He was out there yesterday afternoon, but alas, I was not. I got home a little to late to discuss the latest and greatest about snakes, Cadillac Escalades and tips on hitting a plastic softball off of a plastic tee with a big plastic bat. No, I was not there. I will not make the same mistake again today!

As a matter of fact, I am going to be out on the front porch for two occasions today. The first will be about an hour from now, 7:30am, when I will be talking to my old friends at NewsTalk 590 radio, Dean and Angela. I used to chat with them on the air every weekday morning back in my TV and radio days. I get another shot at it today so I can tell the world...they're on the web...about the Open House and Dedication Service at St. John's this weekend. I might get in a few words about just how nice and warm the weather is going to be today, up near 75 degrees downtown, and I am hoping that Dean might just play my old theme song...Jerry Reed's (God rest his soul) "When You're Hot, You're Hot! I will be making sure that I arrive at home early enough this afternoon for the Brian and Brady Show on the porch. After a long winter I have much wisdom to impart to him, and I am sure that he has much more to impart to me! Stay tuned to this space for pictures.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spring Has Sprung!

The weather has finally gotten itself straightened out. On Wednesday the sun was shining all day long and the temperature responded by rising to around 60 degrees. Today should be warmer, and tomorrow even more. There will be a few patches of clouds, but sunshine will still be abundant. Highs today will be in the mid to upper 60s, and tomorrow into the low 70s. With the middle atmospheric wind coming from the south there is a transport of moisture coming from that direction. That will show up in a few showers developing this afternoon and evening, but mostly over the mountain areas. The same situation will be in place on Friday. For the weekend the weather will be pretty good, a little bit cooler, and on Saturday there will be a little better shot at seeing some rain over most of the area. Highs Saturday and Sunday will be in the 60s.

Today is tax day...April 15th. To me it seems like the most important part of this is that all of the accountants and tax preparers will get their life back after today. I wish it meant that this was the last day of the year that we would have to pay taxes...yeah...dream on!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Things Are Looking Up

It has been a long time since we have had any really nice weather, but that is about to change. Through the first half of March the weather was very pleasant, dry, mild and rather sunny. Since then we have had to endure a steady diet of cloudy and chilly days with showers of rain, snow and "graupel". Again, that is the meteorological term for snow pellets, which look like mini hailstones but are quite soft and squishy. Squishy is not a meteorological term. At any rate, for the next few days the weather will be drier and warmer. Tomorrow will be mainly sunny with temperatures reaching into the mid to upper 50s, which is just about average for the middle of April. On Thursday we should break into the 60s, and on Friday get close to 70 degrees. There will be more clouds by Friday, and perhaps a sprinkle or two somewhere, but for most of us it will be very nice...for a change. On the weekend we will cool down a bit and the shower chances should pick up again, no...not graupel this time, just plain old rain. On Saturday and Sunday look for high temperatures around 60 degrees.

Today was an interesting day as we continue to settle into our new digs at the church. Since moving the offices on Saturday things are still a bit higgledy piggledy (another very technical term). We are in the final stages of getting the audio and video system installed in the sanctuary, so I am playing with that to determine what is the best way to get pictures on the screens and sound through the speakers. Along the way the bugs are showing up, which hopefully will be squashed by this weekend. It is a big weekend indeed that we are coming up on, with the Open House on Saturday and the Dedication Service on Sunday. Keep a heads up for some media coverage as well, as today I sat down for an interview with Rebecca Nappi of the Spokesman Review and on Friday morning I will be live from "the front porch" with Dean and Angela on the Morning News Express on Newstalk 590 KQNT radio.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Almost Drowned!

For nearly three weeks I have been battling a problem with my right hip. It started with a freak occurrence while refereeing an 8th grade basketball game, and just hasn't seemed to want to go away. The game was at Sacajawea Middle School here on the South Hill of Spokane. While trying to execute a quick change of direction due to a steal of the ball at mid court my rather substantial body continued to travel in one direction while my more spindly right leg turned to head back the other way. The result was not at all a pretty thing to watch, which is usually the case with just about anything that I do. The bottom line is that I now have another piece of evidence that clearly points out that I am getting old at an exponentially accelerating rate. This event has had a debilitating effect on my ability to play if I needed another debilitating effect on my ability to play tennis. Since the guys, Bill, Tuck and John are a year or two older than I (maybe that is 27 or 28 years older) I usually rely on my mobility and quickness to remain competitive. With a balky hip that advantage has been lost. I must say that I have been making slow progress toward recovery, but there is much therapy left before me. That brings me to tonight. After a rousing tennis session this morning, I have been moving rather slowly ever since. I decided to take advantage of the hot tub for a little bit of physical therapy. Upon heading out the back door I was inundated by a steady rain. Undaunted I stepped into the 104 degree water and gutted it out...all in the name of making a full recovery.

That rain is a good thing though, as my lawn and planting beds need the moisture in order to green up and bloom for the spring. The backyard is looking good, but the front yard, which I firmly believe is the coldest spot in the Spokane metro area still needs some help. The weather is finally looking like it will be warming up at the end of the week, with temperatures well into the 60s to near 70 degrees, so I am looking forward to big things.

Speaking of big things...this weekend is going to be HUGE in the life of our church, St. John's Lutheran of Spokane. On Saturday we are going to have a public open house from 1 to 4 in the afternoon, and then on Sunday afternoon at 4 we will be celebrating our Dedication Service. The road we have been traveling to our new home has taken us nearly 5 years to travel, but we have finally made it. If you are in the area why not stop in to see what God has done?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Can You Hear Me Now?

Sunday is just about done with, and it was an eventful day. This morning's church service was another interesting experience, as we try to get accustomed to our new surroundings. The biggest bug-a-boo is the sound system, or in the case of today, the lack thereof. We are still not quite to where we are going to be, and there was only a microphone on the speaker's stand this morning, as all of the wireless mics were unavailable. That means that I had to use my regular voice to be heard throughout the room. With all of the echoes from the hard surfaces I guess that was a bit of a problem. Our readers also need to be reminded that the mic on the speaker's stand is very directional, so they have to get within about 4 inches from it to really be heard. The bottom line is that we still have a ways to go before we are really comfortable with what we are doing. On the positive side, we had another good crowd. The attendance today was 115 which is 30 more than our average from before we moved into the new church.

Upon getting home this afternoon I ventured forth into the yard to finish the spring cleaning. That meant clearing out the pine needles and old dead leaves from the flower beds and around the bushes bordering the house. I had to brave nearly hurricane force winds...well...maybe not quite that order to stay grounded and on task. I did manage to complete my mission without being whisked away into Adams County, and I do believe that we are finally ready for the arrival of spring. That might just happen soon as temperatures are expected to be back into the 60s by the mid to late part of the week. This evening Kay and I went on a spy mission to check out the huge church in town, just to see what it is that they do to attract that huge crowd. I have to admit, I just don't get it. There were a lot of people there but they just didn't seem to be that into what was going on. It was kind of like sitting in a big crowd watching TV. There were some good lessons learned, that can be applied to our church, and the pastor really connects with people, but I guess that I am just too hopelessly old appreciate the entire production. Oh well, to each his own. They are definitely Bible based and are having a positive impact on a lot of lives, so I will thank God for the ministry that they are doing.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Moving Day

Today is the day that we complete the occupancy process of the new church, by moving the offices. I did most of my moving yesterday, with the big stuff coming down from the house this morning. The major part of the effort has been moving the secretarial office and the work room. That involved a lot of very large...and Pictured above are Sharon, one of the administrative assistants, and her husband John wrestling with the main desk. The thing weighs about a ton, with all of the draws packed full, but I assure you that the victory has been won by the humans over some rather balky and bulky furniture. My office is pretty well all put together. I am still waiting on a wooden two drawer file cabinet for the end of the desk, where I can put my printer on the top, and that is about it. I've got a nice comfy area for people to stop in and visit, so perhaps you might stop by and visit.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Its Friday

Another week has whizzed by, and you have probably noticed with not many posts to this blog. That is part due to the pace of the week, and the fact that I am old and boring and have very little of interest to write about. On Tuesday evening we had meetings at church. There are very few things that can take the wind out of your sails faster than meetings at church. Wednesday evening was choir practice, and the breeze began to pick up. Last night we had a gathering of a rather small number of dedicated young people who I am hoping will be the building blocks of a vital youth group at St. John's. After an hour and a half of discussion about what we can and should do there is now a steady wind blowing into the Main sail once again. I am ready for the weekend. In more ways than one.

Speaking of the wind, it was howling yesterday. I will have to spend a substantial amount of the day cleaning up the damage. My Webber Smoker-Cooker grill was toppled in the gale and the top of our outdoor fireplace was dislodged and is now perched in front of the shed. To make matters worse, my nice clean yard, based upon my labors of Easter Sunday afternoon, is now buried under about 7 inches of pine needles. Can you imagine how painful that must be when the dog goes out to do her business?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Life is returning to what little semblance of normal that their typically is after the events of the Easter weekend. Its Tuesday morning, there are snow flurries in the air, and I have 5,427 letters to send out to first time guests of the church who visited on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. That will be my morning...and then it will be time to hit the books for this weeks assignments this afternoon. A couple of meetings to top off the day will be taking place this evening, and then, as usual, dinner will probably be at 9:00pm or after. That's right...we'll will be back to some semblance of abnormal.

Last evening we went to The HoopFest Tipoff Party at the Knitting Factory downtown. It was an opportunity to get together with about 500 other people...sponsors and volunteers for HoopFest in watch the NCAA Championship Game on huge TV's while eating free food and drinking free beer (and Diet Dr. Pepper). It was actually quite fun to watch a very tight game amongst a big crowd. There was a lot of cheering for Butler and a lot of booing at Duke.

Our weather remains an enigma, as it usually is in early April. We had this very easy winter, and most of March was beautiful. Now it is constantly cold and damp with on and off rain and snow. Its like this every year because it is still very cold in the northern latitudes, while warmer air is increasingly coming up from the south. These air masses collide and along the boundary there are huge storms that form. They drag down pools of cold air behind them which tend to linger over the western United States and southwest Canada. That provides us with the "yucky" weather. Hang in there...things will get better later in the month and into May!

Sunday, April 4, 2010


What an Easter this has been...we were up before 5:30 this morning to prepare for the Sunrise Service at 7:00am and the Easter Breakfast that followed. In our first service this morning we had a group of 70 assembled, which was pretty good considering our average Sunday attendance for the past year has been about has been rising lately. It was a real nice service with a trumpet player accompanying the organ for the songs, and I didn't mess anything up too badly. The crowd swelled to about 100 for breakfast. We had 84 seats at tables, and the overflow sat in chairs hastily set out along the walls. There was plenty of food for all, and most importantly, plenty of coffee. In a Lutheran church if you run out of coffee it is "grounds" for running the preacher out of town. I might take that personally. Our second service was set to begin at 10:00am, and the people started pouring through the door at 9:30. The flood continued until we were just about sold out, in both seats and parking. The count for the Festival Service was 186! That makes the total for the two 256. Granted there were a few who stayed from the first service through the second...they must have wanted to hear me talk about football...but still, that is more than 3 times what we would see on a "regular" Sunday. There were many faces that I recognized in the throng of folks, but a whole lot more that I hope I can remember. Oh...I almost forgot...I got to do my first baptism in the 10:00am service. WooHoo! The baptizee was a 1 1/2 year old boy named Braeden. He was the cutest little guy, all dressed in a white suit. Actually, he wasn't all that little...a solid guy of about 38 pounds. That put a little strain on the ol' back when I had to hoist him up, but he was still really cute.

We left the church a little after noon, once everything was cleaned up...first to arrive and last to leave...that's the way it goes. I came home, changed into the yard work attire, and headed to Ace Hardware to procure some fertilizer and weed killer. Have you bought fertilizer and weed killer lately? We could probably refinance the national debt on what they make on fertilizer and weed killer these days! Anyway, with fertilizer and weed killer in hand I returned home to power rake, mow, fertilize and hack out the old dead growth from the bushes, shrubs, herbs and the dog's coat. The latter was probably the most difficult. I have now completed the tasks of the day, and am happy to be done, but I wouldn't trade a one of them! It has been a great day...I am planning for a great evening as well.

Friday, April 2, 2010


It snowed today! Officially, we picked up all of a trace. All of the TV weather dudes in town were screwed into the ceiling about the all of the snow and the windstorm that we were going to have. I think that we had a gust to 25 miles per hour a couple of hours ago...big deal! Today was Good Friday. St. John's had our annual tradition, a service of darkness (Tennebrae). The crowd looked rather sparse, until I realized that 20 of us were up in the chancel area as members of the choir and participants in the drama. The actual count was 77 people, which is more than we had in our regular Sunday services...two of them...a year ago. We had about 20 guests in the group...ON GOOD FRIDAY! I am getting a little nervous, but mostly excited, about the prospects of what the crowd is going to be like on Easter. We may have more than the place can hold. What a nice problem to have. You might want to show up. I will be preaching about football. I gave up watching football for Lent, but now that Lent is over its open season!

As I am writing, we just finished putting together two great big egg casseroles for the Easter Breakfast at church on Sunday morning. A big "pot luck" breakfast is a long standing tradition in the Lutheran Church. I am not really sure where the term "pot luck" came from. I think that it may have been connected with all of the Scandinavian Lute-er-ans back in the 18th century bringing food and stuff (including lutefisk) to church to throw in a pot together to see what turned out. Those who survived were considered to have a great deal of "luck". If you show up for breakfast Sunday morning you will be able to tell which of the 32,345 egg casseroles were made here in the Albrecht house. Ours will be the one with the red tint, as Kay severed 3 fingers an arm and her kiester while slicing proscuttio...that's Italian for ham that has been cured into shoe leather. Proscuttio may not be a Lute-er-an delicacy, but the shedding of blood is apropos for the Holy Week. With all of this to look forward to...I cannot imagine why all of you would not show up on Sunday morning!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Gettin' Down To Business

This evening starts the big push in terms of Holy Week services. In the world of Lutheranism, Catholicism and Episcopalianism (say that three times fast) today is Maundy Thursday. This is the evening that we commemorate the institution of the Lord's Supper by Jesus, and his anguished prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Tomorrow, of course, is Good Friday in which we remember our Lord's sufferings and death on the cross of Calvary. Saturday is the Sabbath rest, we take the day off from services although the tradition was up until about 50 years ago that there was an Easter Vigil service on Saturday Evening. Finally Sunday morning we celebrate Easter, and the resurrection of Christ, which assures us of our own resurrection to eternal life. The services tonight and Friday evening are at 7:0pm, and Sunday we have a Sunrise Service at 7:00am, and a Festival Service at 10:00am. In between will be a breakfast and then an Easter Egg hunt for the little kiddies. My mentor, Pastor Young, was going to lead the service and preach the Good News this evening, but he got sick so I will be driving the bus in his place. That means 4 services in 4 days. Fortunately for me the Good Friday service is a traditional "Tennebrae", or service of darkness. It involves the progressive darkening of the church in seven steps to match the seven statements of Jesus made on the cross. With each statement comes a musical selection and a reading, so there is no message involved. I have pretty much got everything prepared for tonight and Easter Sunday, I just hope that I can keep all of the different services apart in my mind! If you're interested, why not stop in for a service or two...or three?

Our weather continues to be cool and unsettled. each afternoon we see rainshowers dotting the landscape, slowly ending in the evening. Last night there were a few snowflakes at about 9:00pm, and people were freaking out. Everyone seems to forget that it is only the first of April, and we usually see some snowflakes even into big deal! Well, it probably will be a big deal for those who live in the hills and mountains of Washington and Idaho tomorrow into tomorrow night as a good sized, and quite cold, storm system drops in from the northwest. Snow will be stacking up at elevations above about 3,000 feet (the average elevation of Spokane is about 2,000), and in the mountains there will likely be a foot or more by Saturday morning. That's not good news for those traveling mountain passes, but it is good news in terms of water supply, as the mountain snowpack is WAY below normal. In Spokane we will probably see a little snow, but mainly rain tomorrow into tomorrow evening...again, no big deal. The weather will remain cool and at times showery (rain and snow pellets) through the weekend, with high temperatures only in the mid to upper 40s. That is below normal, but very typical for early April.