Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

We remembered many of the relatives from Ethan's Mom's family this Memorial Day. We visited Bethel Lutheran Church in Little Sauk, Minnesota today for their annual Memorial Day gathering. Around 50-60 people were there to remember the saints who have gone before them, and to remind themselves of the reason for this gathering, Jesus Christ and the Word of God that guides us throughout the generations. Rick Klukken was the main speaker who shared once again the reason for the hope that we have, and Wayne Larson, who is the chairman for the Bethel organization, led the meetings. It was quite an honor to be there. We also got to take part in a good old Minnesota pot luck with great food from lots of different folks who came out. There was quite a spread!

Bethel church was one of the first Lutheran Brethren churches and was founded in 1901. It no longer has a weekly congregation that meets but this organization of relatives from past members continues to support the building and cemetery where many of their relatives were buried. The kids along with Ethan and I planted some geraniums on the grave site of Andrew and Sarah Johnson, Ethan's great-grandparents. Down the road we planted flowers at Ole and Beret Johnson's grave site, who were Ethan's great-great-grandparents. Ole was a Civil War veteran so that has particular meaning on this Memorial Day.

On the way home we stopped by Kvam church in Dalton, MN to remember the Overgaard family buried there and Knollwood Memorial Gardens to plant flowers for Gustav and Ella Overgaard, Ethan's maternal grandparents. One theme that stands out as we remember each of these grandparents is the faithfulness to God and His word, the Bible. These people lived and died for Jesus and depended on His word for their very lives. We honor them today.

Seminary Graduation

My camera does not do this picture justice, but here is Ethan receiving his Master's Degree at Bethel Lutheran Church in Fergus Falls, MN.
Our two supportive dads are above: Mel in the background and Luther in the foreground with Amy. Luther was the Commencement Speaker which explains his garb.
The four graduates with some of their professors. Ethan is fourth from the left.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Latest

So much has happened in the last few weeks. Ethan graduated with an M.T.S. a week ago. The ceremony and Open House all went very well. We were especially blessed to have Ethan's dad, Luther, give the Commencement Address. He gave the graduates much practical wisdom from his experience of almost fifty years of ministry as a pastor. Luther also showed the graduates the importance of showing people Jesus Christ rather than pointing to themselves as ministers. Ethan's mom and Uncle Laverne and Aunt Kathy were at the graduation. We also had Ethan's sister, Sharon, come all the way from Colorado to celebrate. I enjoyed her company so much after almost two years have passed since seeing her. We will see all of the siblings in July to celebrate Ethan's mom and dad's fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration. That will be a joyous day. My parents, my sister, Melissa, and brother-in-law, Erik, were all at the ceremony. It was so fun to visit with friends and family at the Open House afterwards. Two of Ethan's uncles came to the Open House, and several friends. All in all, the day went very smoothly, and we are so amazed that it is finished! God sustained us and helped us through that entire two year process. Every need was provided for and every class finished. Soli Deo Gloria!

Less than one month ago we had snow and freezing weather, and now as of yesterday, I have 99% of the garden planted for the summer! It has been quite a dramatic transition since last month. We went from snow and ice to summer shorts and flip-flops in a matter of a few short weeks. The kids have been begging me to get their summer clothes out, and finally, this past weekend, I got all the clothing switched out. The hand-me-downs came out of the boxes, and I was able to find some great buys at the garage sale last weekend for Amy and Lizzy. I finished planting the garden yesterday! It has been such a long winter/spring that I was not able to get anything planted early, but we now have radishes and lettuce growing, as well as rhubarb. All the other seeds and plantings are in the ground and we hope will grow. I let each of the kids plant some things in a space about 2 feet by 4 feet per child. I hope they are happy with the results. It was so fun to see which seeds and plantings they chose.

Today was our last day of homeschool and tomorrow the kids will have their last day at School of Choice. We made it! All in all, I am happy we chose this option. It has been a challenging year, but we all feel much better than last year's schooling. I am seeing a lot of growth in character in the kids, as well as academic advances. Praise God for growth! It has been a work of grace. At school, they each received a certificate called "Recognition of Character" from Mrs. T and Mrs. H. Gretchen was recognized for "Initiative" and "Orderliness." Peter John received an award for "Creativity" and "Boldness." Lizzy was recognized for the characteristics "Truthfulness" and "Decisiveness." I must say I am quite impressed at the time their teachers took to identify these qualities in each of the children and then write a certificate for each one. We are blessed with some awesome teachers.

Things are busy, busy around here. This weekend is full with Ethan preaching for our pastor who will be taking a break, I am accompanying the service on piano, and we have a big garage sale planned for my Grandma who has moved in with my parents recently. We decided to start the garage sale one day early because they are forecasting rain for Friday, so tomorrow will be very full. I also have a sister who is moving this week into my Grandma's house, and my other sister is super busy remodeling their house. We are running around trying to get our mower and the garage door fixed in the meantime. Ethan is working several part-time/temporary jobs, so it will be a very busy summer for him, but I am happy for God's provision.

Lizzy reminded us of a wonderful verse today they she had memorized:
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I Thessalonians 5:16-18

and also the verse we memorized this week:
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Psalm 100:1-2

I was so grateful for that refreshing word from God from the mouth of a little child. God is so faithful to show us His truth. Amen.