Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bad-but-Good News for Abigail, Gift for Me

This afternoon featured two major events: one bad and one good.  First, the bad: Abigail had another incident that resulted in a trip to the emergency room.  Abigail was more "out of it" this time than last, necessitating assistance from the principal to help her out of the building and to drive her and Susan to the hospital, where I met them.  In the end, however, we may have received the insight we were hoping for from the ER doctor on duty; for details, read Susan's synopsis here.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Whole Lotta Churchin' Goin' On, Part IV

He is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

(First read this, this, and this.)  Happy Easter, everybody!  Today was our fourth consecutive day of attending church services.  Suzanna was assigned to serve during the 9:00 A.M. service, so that's the one we attended.  It included familiar Easter hymns, songs from the choir with trumpets playing along, and extra "stations" for communion to accommodate the bigger-than-normal crowd (due to many congregants' visiting family members and the "C & E Lutherans"--those church members who attend only on Christmas and Easter) (which explains, too, why we had three services this morning instead of the usual two).

Before church the girls searched for their Easter baskets (which the Easter Bunny had hidden around the house but which were full of goodies to enjoy once found).  After church we enjoyed a delicious Easter dinner, courtesy of Susan.  And I have photos to share!  (Remember to click a pic to enlarge it for a better view.)

our three beauties: Hillary, Suzanna, and Abigail

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Whole Lotta Churchin' Goin' On, Part III

(First, read this and this.)  Tonight we attended an Easter vigil at our church.  It was a bit different from the vigil services that we attended at our last church (recall this and this).  Unlike last night's service, which started in light and ended in darkness, tonight's service started with dim lighting but ended with full lighting to symbolize the journey from death to resurrection, from sorrow to hope and rejoicing.  The pastor enlisted 12 more volunteers again tonight, this time to light and hold their own candles while standing in a V formation in front of the altar as he read about the 12 disciples.  Hillary, Abigail, and Suzanna each volunteered for that!

Laboring for Her Room and Board

My sister Sandy was my helper for this week's Scandinavian Saturday meal!  Earlier in the week, she realized she'd be able to make a quick Easter weekend trip to ND from her home in NE.  She left after work yesterday and arrived at our house around 1:00 A.M. today.  She got a little shut-eye and then sneaked downstairs to wake her nieces (whom Susan and I hadn't told that Sandy was coming)!  Then Sandy spent part of the morning in the kitchen with me, helping me to make an ethnic dinner.  This afternoon we'll play a game of Norwegian whist (a card game from our childhood, thanks to our aunt and uncle Shirley and Lawrence), and then Sandy will leave before suppertime (which is why we had our "Scandinavian Saturday supper" at noon today) to go to our dad's home a few hours north of here.

Sandy's visit, like Sandy herself, is short but sweet.

Faithful Reader, I know that you're here for the photos.  In addition to the usual tantalizing pics of the tasty food, this post features photos of Sandy and the girls (and me), too!  Remember that you can click on any of them to enlarge them.  Check 'em out:

Friday, April 22, 2011

Whole Lotta Churchin' Goin' On, Part II

(First, read this.)  Tonight we attended a tenebrae service at our church for Good Friday.  The altar was still stripped from last night, but there were 12 tea light candles on it with one pillar candle in the middle.  The pastor enlisted 12 volunteers, each to come and light one of the tea light candles as he read aloud several verses about Jesus' disciples.  A little later, as he read about the disciples' departure from Jesus after the last supper, the volunteers took turns snuffing out their candles.  By the end of the service, the pastor had gradually shut off all the lights in the church, save for whatever back light keeps the stained glass window glowing even at night.  We sat in silence, listened to a soloist sing "Were You There," prayed together The Lord's Prayer, and then left the church in silence.

Some additional elements from the service for your edification:
P.S.  Afterward Susan and I stopped by our friends Michelle and Paul's house for a gathering in honor of many events: Good Friday, spring, belated Mardi Gras, recent birthdays, etc.  Suzanna babysat her sisters for a couple hours (they watched a Disney movie) while Susan and I enjoyed the company of adults (and some tasty snacks) on a Friday night--a rare treat.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Whole Lotta Churchin' Goin' On, Part I

In our church, the students in confirmation classes (grades 7 and 8) take turns assisting the pastors.  On a rotating schedule, they are assigned to particular church services.  The pastors are always joined by several adults who serve as deacons and assisting ministers (to read the lessons, help distribute communion, and read prayers) and by two confirmation students who serve as crucifers (the people who carry the cross to the front of the church as the worship team processes in from the back of the church at the start of the service), hand the offering plates to the ushers, and collect empty communion cups from congregants during communion.

Suzanna has been assigned to serve for 9:00 A.M. church on Easter morning, so we'll be spending the weekend here rather than driving to any family member's home for the holiday.  And because we'll be here, we plan to attend all the special church services this weekend: Maundy Thursday service tonight, a tenebrae service for Good Friday tomorrow, an Easter vigil service Saturday night, and an Easter morning celebration on Sunday.

Tonight's service focused on Jesus' last supper with his disciplines and his service to them (i.e., washing their feet--see John 13).  One memorable aspect of the service was at the beginning, when we were invited to come forward for a laying-on-of-hands pastoral blessing ("In obedience to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins").  Another was at the end, when members of the altar guild stripped the altar to prepare for the solemnity of tomorrow's tenebrae worship.  The church's two choir directors (of the adult choir and the children's choirs) chanted Psalm 22 from the balcony as guild members, dressed all in black and wearing black gloves, removed the Bible, liturgical books, candles, communication dishes, and  cloths from the pulpit and altar, piece by piece.  As they did so, the lights over the altar area were dimmed one by one.  After everything was bare and dark at the front of the church, we all departed in silence.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Job Fair

Today I drove to Bismarck to join some of my students at an Education Networking Fair.  It was co-sponsored by several entities, including participation by faculty in the education programs of the University of Mary and Dickinson State University (we have a campus in Bismarck).  It was held at Bismarck State College on the top floor of the National Energy Center of Excellence building, an impressive structure with a south-facing view of the mighty Missouri River, of several bridges that connect Bismarck and Mandan, and of all the buttes and hills lying beyond the cities . . . I'm jealous of everyone with an office on that side of that building!

All the university students in attendance are just completing a semester of pre-service teaching (often referred to as "student-teaching") and are now looking for their first teaching jobs.  Principals, superintendents, and human resource directors from about a dozen area school districts were there to say a bit about their schools, to announce what job openings they have and anticipate having, and to sit and make themselves available to meet with any students interested in those jobs.  My students looked very professional and came with cover letters and résumés prepared to share.  They were also unsure and nervous, which brought me back to the same point in my life: getting ready to graduate and looking for my first teaching job.  It's exciting but nerve-racking.  I hope they all get good jobs soon!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Eating Like Norske Royalty

After a busy morning, I was on my own to make this week's Scandinavian Saturday supper.  (My helpers didn't abandon me, mind you; it was my turn to cook solo this week.)  I purposely selected recipes that I thought wouldn't be overly complicated and, thus, would be relatively quick for me to make alone.  Well, everything still took me a while, but I was able to make one thing at a time to decrease the stress of tending to several dishes simultaneously and trying to get them all to be ready at the same time.  I made the dessert in the morning, and late this afternoon I got the main dish ready and into the oven before preparing the salad.  Here's what I served:

Moberg Models

Last night Hillary went to a friend's house to spend the night, so she wasn't with us as we went to Spaghetti Western for supper.  We chose that place because the university student who gives Suzanna's private lessons on trombone was performing there as a lounge singer with a friend of his on the piano.  It was fun to hear them perform American standards and light jazz songs (and he even played muted trombone on a few of them).  We were all in a good end-of-the-week, delicious-food-and-fun-background-music kind of mood, so of course I had to take some photos:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Child Is Born

In November we got news from Susan's sister Cassie that she and her husband Nick were expecting a second child.  Well, their son Davis is now a big brother to a sweet little girl: Marly Sue!  "Marly" is a family name on Nick's side, and "Sue" was Susan and Cassie's (and Jerrett's) mom's name.  Sue passed away 12 years ago; we think Marly's middle name is a wonderful tribute to her memory.

Wanna see some photos of our beautiful new niece?  (She was born over a week ago, but I'm just now getting around to sharing photos . . .)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Banding Together

Tonight was the public schools' All-City Band Concert, held in the main gym of the high school.  Here are details of how the annual event works.  Essentially, a couple songs are performed by each of the bands by grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9-10, and 11-12.  The night ends with all the grades taking the floor to perform one or two pep band songs together.  (This year the high school jazz band performed a few more songs after that.)  With a 6th-grader and a 7th-grader in  our family, we had to attend to hear how Abigail and Suzanna's bands sounded.  Here is photographic evidence:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Our Songbirds

Yesterday morning our family walked up the street to Trinity High School so that Abigail and Suzanna could perform in the 2011 Trinity Junior High and Elementary Solo and Ensemble Music Festival.  Suzanna first performed in the festival two years ago (remember?); and when Abigail was old enough last year, she joined her (remember?).  Hillary is still one year away from being old enough (one must be at least in fifth grade), so it was just Abigail and Suzanna again this year.  And, again, we have audiovisual evidence of their participation!  Wanna hear?

Saturday, April 09, 2011

You Put WHAT in This Apple Pie?!

Suzanna was my helper for this week's Scandinavian Saturday supper.  I asked her what kind of food she thought we should make, and her only opinion was that it should be chicken.  We decided to consult Scandinavian Food, Kari Diehl's online compendium of Nordic recipes, to see what we could find there.  This is the meal we put together as a result:

As you continue reading to find out all the juicy details, recall that you can click any photo to enlarge it.

Friday, April 08, 2011


Today was my first time attending a conference in Bismarck for pre-service teachers (what many universities call "student-teachers"), cooperating teachers (the K-12 teachers who host pre-service teachers in their classrooms to learn how to teach with them there as mentors), and the university supervisors and professors who train future teachers.  It was held at the University of Mary and consisted of informational sessions in the morning and afternoon and a lunch and awards ceremony at noon.  That awards ceremony was supposed to be an opportunity for me to surprise someone . . . but it turns out that I was the one who received a surprise!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Mentor Group Finale, Year One

At our church, the confirmation program (that prepares junior high school-aged students to become fully participating members of the church rather than merely other members' children) includes a component referred to as mentor groups.  For example, I am the mentor for a specific group of 7th-grade boys.  Once a month we meet at the church on a Wednesday night for discussion, prayer, and activities that support what they're learning in their confirmation classes with the pastors.  Tonight was our last formal meeting of the school year, and on the agenda was writing a "faith statement"--a sentence expressing what we believe about God and the church, based on words that we jotted down following each monthly meeting ever since last autumn (i.e., we were to synthesize the main ideas from each mentor group meeting into one statement of our group's faith).

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Pie and Cake in the Same Meal

Hillary was my helper for this week's Scandinavian Saturday supper.  The recipes came from the InterWebs (the pie), from Food Network Magazine (the fish and carrots), and from a colleague of mine (the dessert)--various sources but, surprisingly, a unified meal with very tasty elements.

You know you want to know more about the meal, so read on!  (And remember to click on any photo to enlarge it for maximum drooling.)