Friday, September 30, 2011

Campfire Kids

Now there was a few weeks back in the not so distant past that I didn't post anything.  I bet you have been wondering what I was doing.  Yeah...I bet!  Well, here is the explanation.
Back in August when we spent some time at my brother Dave's lake place in northern Wisconsin we discovered this little beauty, and discovered that they were available at your local Fleet Farm store for the paltry fee of just $25.  On our way south we stopped in Antigo, Wisconsin and picked one up.  It has afforded us hours and hours of enjoyment, as our backyard has been converted to a vacation paradise sitting around the campfire each evening.  Once again tonight we made our dinner on our campfire grill...a whole chicken butterflied and roasted.  Since taking possession of this little beauty we have had enjoyed the finest of roasted and grilled cuisine, and not a single entree has been overcooked or dried out.  It all turns out absolutely delicious!  Everything is cooked over a wood fire, which burns much cleaner than charcoal.  It is my sincere desire to invite all of you over to enjoy the bounty of this beauty, but we know a lot of people, so don't hold your breath...we'll get to everyone before 2020.  Now you can certainly understand why I found it hard to tear myself away from the grill to write in this space.

For the first time in 3 weeks I managed to take a day off today.  Things got off to a good start with hot coffee and a breakfast burrito at McDonald's, and then a trip to the tennis club.  I had a lot of aggression to work through this morning as I missed out on playing on Wednesday.  The Hammer (Mark) had a friend in town so I graciously gave up my spot.  Aggression is not always the best thing to have on a tennis court though, as it tends to make your shots fly well past the baseline and put holes in the back wall.  I also managed to nail Bill in the back with one of my serves, but that might have been a payback from him hitting John in the back with a forehand ground stroke.

Tomorrow morning we have our monthly Men's Breakfast at church.  We get together in the Man Cave for lots of food, fellowship and a Bible study.  Things get underway at 8:30am, in case you want to stop by.

The weather today was warm and sunny, about 80 this afternoon.  I have marveled at the fact that the maple trees in my backyard have yet to take on any fall color.  In the past few years they have pretty much dropped their leaves by the first of October.  Things will be getting a bit cooler over the next few days, closer to 70.  By Tuesday and Wednesday of next week we will probably be in the 50s with clouds and a little rain.  There is still no sign of a freeze in the next week, which is a real good thing as we have lots of tomatoes out there on the vine.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Back in the Saddle

In our past episode, it was a gray, cool and damp day in Fort Rain, Windiana.  As I look out my office window it is another gray, cool and damp day, this time in Spokane, WA.  It seems as if the only thing that has changed has been my location...about 2000 miles and 3 time zones farther west.

I made my return trip to the Great Northwest on Saturday morning.  On Friday night my friend and cohort Rich and I were in Chicago, visiting with members of his family, and didn't get back to the hotel until about 11:30pm.  Sleep happened by about midnight, but it was rudely interrupted by the alarm clock at 4:00am.  We checked out of the hotel...ah, no we didn't, as there was no one at the front desk at that hour.  We drove to Midway Airport and checked in the rental car...ah, no we didn't, as there was no one at the rental return desk at that hour, and we checked in for our flight...ah, no we didn't as we had both done that the morning before.  Anyway, we board our Frontier flight to Denver for a 6:00am departure,  and parted company in Denver as Rich headed back for the Sacramento area and I to Spokane.  My flight hit the ground at Spokane International Airport at 9:00am PDT, a full 38 minutes ahead of schedule.  Since we were early I made the decision to call home to alert my bride of that fact.  As I announced to her that we were on the ground the response that I got was "Oh crap!"  How's that for a welcome home after being away from home for a week.

I once I got back home I quickly turned things around so that I could head for the church to get things prepared for Sunday.  I must have looked like death warmed over that day as everybody that stopped by said, "You look like death warmed over!"  After getting little sleep for a week at the seminary, a very short night in Chicago, and being crammed into a space the size of a watermelon on two different airplanes for 4 hours Saturday morning I really didn't care what I looked like.

Sunday morning came and I was told that I looked better...not good, mind you, but better.  We had a baptism in the morning worship service, little Tommy.  He's about a year and a half old and the cutest little guy that you could imagine.  Sunday afternoon was spent getting caught up on all of the usual stuff that didn't get done around the house all week.  Kay got plenty done last week but for some reason I was a bit remiss in my duties.

I am still having issues adjusting back to Pacific Time.  All last week I was waking up between 6:30 and 7:00am.  I am still waking up between 6:30 and 7:00am, but the problem is that it's Eastern Time, which makes it between 3:30 and 4:00am here.  On Monday morning I did manage to get back to sleep and was out cold when Kay's alarm went of at 7:55.  Have you ever had that experience where you have no idea where you are, who's clock is making all that noise and what day it is?  "Is that my alarm?  What day is it!  Is it Sunday, do we have church this morning?  Am I preaching  Monday, you say?  What do I do on Monday?   What I do on Monday is reconnect with the tennis posse for my regular butt-whoopin'!  It was somewhere in the second set that I finally regained full consciousness.

Now I am back behind my desk, once again trying to figure out just what I do around here.  I've got some reading to do and a paper to write for the class that I am taking this quarter, but motivation seems to be an issue.  (That's why it has taken since Friday morning for me to write again)  We'll

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Last Day

It's Friday morning, the first day of fall.  The season is certainly in the air here in Fort Rain, Windiana.  It rained all night and there is a lingering mist, and the temperature is near 50.  This the last day of our pilgrimage to the seminary here, and later this afternoon Rich (my trusted sidekick) and I will be motoring our way back toward Chicago in order to wing our way westward early (very early) tomorrow morning.  We head for Denver at 6:00am, and then Rich will head for Sacramento and I to Spokane.  Once I get home it will be back to summer again as temperatures on Saturday will be in the low 90s.

I will miss the camaraderie and fellowship of all the guys, but I will NOT miss the short little bed.  What I will miss the most is the food, and that will certainly show for the next couple of weeks.  It's not that it is as good as home, but is pretty tasty, and extremely abundant.

We still have a couple of guys that are still to undergo the Theological Interview (TI).  At this point all but one of us, the very first, has passed it.  One of the guys is not taking the exam at this time, as he doesn't feel he is ready, but with the two this morning very likely to get through successfully our percentage of success will be above 90%.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I Know the Secret Handshake!

Today was a rather nerve racking one.  It was warm last night, so I kept the window open, and my neighbor’s alarm went off at 6:00am…then again at 6:05am…once more at 6:10am…until 6:20.  Since I could have used a little extra sleep due to my “Holy Roller” routine from about 11pm to 1am, and since class wasn’t set to start until 9, I was a little miffed.  Being that this is a Christian institution I figured that it might be bad form to go next door and strangle the poor fool until dead, so I didn’t.  Well, I thought I might as well just get up and get back at the studying for the TI…remember?  That stands for Theological Interview…that I had scheduled for 3 this afternoon.  As I began looking over the material once again it seemed to be appearing in foreign languages, not just one, but a whole bunch of them.  As that didn’t seem to be too fruitful, I went to breakfast.  If I could only get them to talk about food in the “TI” I would be home free.  I am becoming a real expert at consuming the cuisine here!

Once class got started the day began quickly.  I’ve got to tell you, my professor, Dr. Schulz, is a real hoot.  He is of German heritage, and was born in South Africa to a missionary family, so his mixture of a German and South African English accent, along with his incredible “dry” sense of humor, and even his appearance, reminds me of Craig Ferguson from the Late Show on CBS.  He’s a brilliant man, incredibly funny, and a very good teacher so class is extremely enjoyable and enlightening.

Now a good share of my classmates had their “TI” today, with the first being at 11:00am.  Remember yesterday?  The first of the lambs that was led to the slaughter (Rich) didn’t make it through, so we were all on edge today.  Well, we found out at lunch that Frank nailed it, and passed with flying colors, and then Aaron did the same in the early afternoon.  A whole bunch of us had TIs between 2 and 5 this afternoon, and all of the other guys passed theirs as well.

That leaves me.  I went into battle at 3:00pm and didn’t stop talking for an hour, at least it seemed that way.  Some of the questions were rather tough, but I knew the answers, and when the two professors wanted to me to delve more deeply into a subject, I was pretty much able to stand my ground.  After the hour was up I was told to wait in the reception area while they deliberated by fate.  Should I be passed?  Or should I be fed to the lions?  After about two of the longest minutes of my life the door to the office opened and I was shown the secret handshake and given the password needed to enter the secret room with the stash of communion wine under the catacombs…I PASSED!

One of the things that Prof. Schulz continues to tell us is that a pastor needs to work hard, and should not drink his beer until 8 in the evening, not at 3 in the afternoon.  At 8:00pm I cracked open a beer, a Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest…Prosit!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Oh No!

As we were eating dinner (we do an awful lot of eating here it the seminary...but then again...we are Lutheran!) the first of our group, my posse, returned from his Theological Interview (from this point forward I will refer to it as a "TI").  It was two and a half hours after his appointed time.  Well, the results in his case were not favorable, which prompted all of the rest of us to extreme nervousness.  His hang-up was not being able to cite sufficient Bible texts to support his answers.  Time for the rest of us to do some additional memory work!

The bottom line though is that none of the rest of us still know what to expect in our TI, as we all have different professors who will be us.  To our knowledge there is no set list of questions that they are given, they just go wherever they seem to want.  Oh well, not a lot of sleep tonight.

Let's see...what did it say in Hezekiah 14:6?

Where In The World Are You?

In our last episode, I was sitting in the public library in Reedsburg, WI.  Well...I'm not there anymore.  I am now sitting in room number 2 at Loehe Hall at the Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  How did I get here? That's a long story.  I guess you would know all about it if I had posted a little bit more frequently in the past month...or posted at all!

The bottom line is that I am here as part of my one week pilgrimage each year to the seminary.  I am hanging out with my church posse, learning all sorts of things about the Holy Trinity.  I can fill you in on the details when I get back.  As part of this week's fun and frolic I will be undergoing my "Theological Interview" tomorrow afternoon at 3:00pm.  That's Eastern Daylight Time, so if you want to engage in earnest prayer for my success all of you in eastern Washington should be on the prayer horn by no later than noon.  If I pass the interview I will be on the fast track (so to speak) to being ordained as a Lutheran pastor.  I say fast track since if all goes well the process should run its course by the first of December.

In terms of the class that I am currently taking our professor is of German origin and has spent a great deal of time in Africa as a missionary.  His German accent is fun to listen too, and he has quite the sense of humor.  He has taught us all about Lutheran doctrine, Roman Catholic errors, Elton John and Rosie O'Donnell.  Who knows where this afternoon is going to take us?

Yesterday was a day of rain...they call this place "Fort Rain, Windiana...and it was stinking humid.  At least I was stinking by the end of the day.  Today dawned foggy, which lifted to a low cloud deck and is now finally burning off.  Temperatures should reach the 70s this afternoon.  Tomorrow more rain is headed this way, and then it is going to get rather chilly through the end of the week.  Back home in Spokane the weather will be getting hot again, and remaining sunny into and through the weekend.

That's all I got for now, as class is about to start again.  I'll try to check in again tomorrow evening.  To those of you complaining about the lack of posting here in the past really need to get a life!