Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas to You!

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them. Luke 2:14-20

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Norwegian Fruit Soup Recipe (Sut Suppe)

Becoming a working mom has been an adjustment in my life.  Since September, I have been teaching Title I Math and Reading, teaching a 3-4th grade Social Studies Class, and am now working on my artwork for sale.  This leaves much less time for the homemaking treats I enjoyed working on in my spare time.  Today Amy and I have the day off from school for Christmas Vacation!  After our shopping we decided to bake some more goodies for Christmas.  Amy mixed up a delicious Scandinavian Almond Cake recipe, and my project included boiling potatoes for lefse and mixing up some Christmas Sut Suppe (my husband's favorite Christmas treat).  I am recording the recipe for your enjoyment and for posterity's sake.

Cutting up Prunes for Sut Suppe recipe

Sut Suppe / Frukt Suppe Recipe
Dictated in the exact words of my father-in-law, Luther

1-2 lb. prunes
1 lb. raisins
dried fruit (apricots, apples, pears)
1.3 c. tapioca
red hots, opt.
red food coloring, opt.

"Cut dried fruit into smaller pieces and soak in water for a while before adding to the other stuff.  To the dried fruit mexture, add water enough to cover the fruit. Gradually heat so it comes to a boil (watch so it doesn't burn).  When it gets toward the boiling point add ⅓ cup tapioca.  This serves as a thickening agent.  Let it cook slowly for a while - perhaps 15 minutes.  Add some cinnamon and nutmeg to suit your taste.  If you have cinnamon candies, they can be used (provide red color and flavor).  Add red food coloring if you wish to give it a nicer color.  Keep stirring quite regularly as the tapioca will settle to bottom and burn if not watched.  The put in jars like for canning or otherwise store in fridge and enjoy!  A blob of true whipped cream on top is very becoming to this delectable dish that surely was developed in the kitchen of King Harold the Holy."

Friday, October 28, 2016

Hymn of the Week: All Your Works Are Good

All Your Works Are Good (Psalm 104) by Sandra McCracken

Here is a modern hymn for y'all:

All Your Works Are Good
Written by Sandra McCracken, Jill Phillips and Julie Lee
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The moon it marks the seasons The sun knows when to go down The ocean holds its creatures The river knows its bounds
The birds, the trees, the cattle And all things great and small We find our place in creation Your hand sustains it all
All your works are good
All your works are good
From everlasting, to everlasting All your works are good

He makes the clouds his chariot He wraps himself in light
He stretches out the heavens, like a tent across the sky

He knows our every burden When darkness veils our eyes He comes with spring returning, Bringing death to life (Chorus)
As we labor until evening There’s a message on the wind Be still and know your maker Be satisfied in Him (Chorus) 

© 2015 Drink Your Tea (ASCAP) / Sill House Road Music (SESAC) / The Gullahorns Music (ASCAP)

Friday, September 2, 2016

Happy Harvest Day

Cosmos, Zinnias, and Marigolds

Three types of tomatoes

the BIGGEST tomato!

The tomatoes are starting to come in from our garden.  Though summer is winding down, the garden keeps on giving with lots of harvest coming in the fall.  Today I picked beets and pickled them as well as many tomatoes that are beginning to ripen.  The deer are awful, so I thought I would pick some of them before the deer eat them.  They ripen just fine indoors.  One tomato was half the size of Amy's head!

One of the greatest pleasures I have enjoyed this year from the garden are the annual flowers I included amongst the vegetables.  Marigolds, zinnias, cosmos, gladiolas, and sunflowers (we never saw them grow very much since the deer ate them off the stem) brightened our senses.  Glory to God, our Creator - a creative Genius!

Lots of Love,

Monday, August 22, 2016

Psalm of Praise by Lizzy

I'm Never Alone
words by Elizabeth Larson

When I fall You pick me up
When I thirst You fill my cup
You always are near...Jesus
You will comfort in the troubled times
You will calm my restless mind
You always will hear...Jesus

I'm never alone
With You I'm at home
God I follow You
You'll see me through
When I need You You'll come
You are God's only Son
I'm never alone

When I call You'll come to me
You washed my sins and I am set free
I thank You God...

When I call You'll hear my cry
You're worth more than what I can buy
I will praise You all my days
You're prefect in all Your ways
You're more than enough

Tuesday, July 26, 2016



by Elysia Larson
A poem for Ethan Larson on the occasion of his 49th birthday
Big Springs, Island Park, Idaho

Loving God, You formed this man,
     Chosen, steadfast heart;
Created through You, for You,
     A life set apart.

We don't go looking for God
     You came down to us;
Complete in Him, Head of all,
     Making Christ our trust.

Gripped on the mountain alone,
     Lewis book in hand,
Your glory, truth, purpose first,
     Creator 'fore land.

"Two things, my son, last in life:
     Word of God and man,"
His mother spoke.  O what joy!
     A clear purpose, plan.

Steadfast heart, redeemed, chosen,
     Appointed to bear,
Holy fruit that will remain.
     Help him persevere.

O Lord, You are our Father;
     You made him Your clay.
You are the Potter, forming
     This man till that Day.

Glory, Savior comes again
     Speaking to His clay,
"Well done, my good, steadfast heart.
     Enter into joy."

-Amen. Come Lord Jesus.
Love to Ethan,

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Representing God

When God created men in His own image, he fashioned them to reflect the Father heart of God.  I do not understand this, but I trust that one day we will bow our knees to God and see God as He truly is. As we celebrate fathers today, we can truly honor them as Scripture tells us because in honoring our fathers, we are honoring God Himself, the Father of all.

Bible Verses which teach about God as Father:

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named... Ephesians 4:14-15

Pray then like this: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Matthew 6:6-15

My father is a representative of God in my family on earth.  I praise God for giving me a believing father and mother.  Without God's grace in their lives giving them faith in Jesus, I probably would have never known true freedom and peace.  I honor my dad today. Dad is a truly creative man who has endured a lot of adversity in his life.  He never gave up on our family.  He always worked hard to provide, and he despite his failures and sins, always runs to God's grace and mercy.  I will never forget dad coming to me (as a junior high teenager, mind you) and apologizing for losing his temper with me.  What dad does that?  Very few.  Happy Father's Day.

Dad had four daughters and later adopted another daughter.

Dad grew up an only child in Montana and Wyoming. His own godly father passed away at age 27 from cancer.
Dad was always reading books, newspapers, and periodicals. You should see his pile of books next to his chair and bed!

Dad is a father to the fatherless. He adopted one child, but had many foster children beginning when mom and dad were newly married.  He has also been appointed a guardian to other young people without fathers.

Dad loves his grandchildren.  Do you see the resemblance?

Saturday, May 14, 2016

He Drank All The Bitter

Several years ago out of obedience to what I believed God was telling me, I walked to the house of a neighbor for our planned meeting to talk about Jesus.  She and her children had prayed with my pastor and me to receive the Savior a few months before.  I tried to meet with her weekly in the chaos of her life and my life intersecting.  I often felt inadequate, but armed with the Word of God and prayer, God somehow helped me to love her.

The morning I arrived at her house was different from our previous meetings.  The female extended family had showed up at her house, and in the chaos of her three children, her nieces and nephews, mother, and sister, the noisy tv, and cigarette smoke, I tried to pray with her and talk, but my friend was obviously embarrassed by my presence.  I eventually realized it wasn't working and decided to leave.  Though I know I must go with the flow and trust God completely for circumstances, I felt the unloving sting of rejection. "And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved." the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:15.  When the love of God and the Gospel of Jesus is rejected by unbelievers, I am not surprised, but it is much more difficult to be rejected by brothers or sisters in Christ.  Though I must remember it is for Jesus' sake that I love, not for my own benefit.

Recently I made another move out of obedience to what I felt God wanted me to do to love someone.  I felt nervous, and I prayed fervently beforehand.  Because of circumstances, I was rejected again.  I had to pray over and over to God about the circumstances and trust Him in them.  I had to lean on Jesus to help me see my needy friend, and not my own sad sense of rejection.  The scene has been playing out in my head, and I remembered the wise words from Jim Wilson in his booklet, "How To Be Free From Bitterness." He wrote:
Before we can get rid of bitterness, we have to realize that we are bitter. How can we tell if we are bitter?  One good rule of thumb is this: Bitterness remembers details. You have had thousands of conversations in your life, most of which you have forgotten.  But this one took place five years ago, and you remember every single word, his intonation and the inflection of every part of his voice.  You know exactly what happened--which means you are bitter.  Someone might object and say that it is also possible to have a good memory of a wonderful conversation.  Is this possible?  Yes, but not likely.  Why is this? Because memory is helped by review, review, and more review.

Am I bitter when I am reviewing these troublesome details in my memory?  Probably.  This morning I prayed out loud: Lord, I choose to forgive __________.  Help me to forgive _______. I pray that you will break Satan's attempt to tear apart relationships in Your Body (the Church).  And I tell Satan, "Be gone, in Jesus' name. You have no power over me to destroy me. I am bought with the blood of Jesus, who has defeated you."  Thank You, Lord. Lord, have mercy. Amen.

That prayer shone the light into the darkness and sin of my heart.  Jesus took every sin and every bitter word and action upon Himself when He died on that cross.  He defeated sin and death and the devil when He rose again from death and walked around after the Resurrection.   By Jesus' power, we can walk in newness of life, and in forgiveness.

Sing to the Lord. Sing of His marvelous deeds.  Sing of His forgiveness. Sing praises to God.

Fear not, little flock, He goeth ahead,
your Shepherd selected the path you must tread;
the waters of Marah He'll sweeten for thee,
He drank all the bitter in Gethsemane.
Only believe, only believe;
all things are possible, only believe.
-Paul Rader, 1921.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Biking on May Day

Cherry Blossoms, Easter 2005

We just got back from a bike ride in our little town.  The sun was in the west and the air was still a Springtime warm.  We saw friends who are building a house about a mile from us while we were biking, and we enjoyed some "Grounders" and "Shocking each other after sliding down the nylon slide" games with neighborhood kids at a local park.  Another great blessing of this ride was discovering a little park just south of us about a half mile tucked into the sloughs and trees, that I had never realized was there until tonight.  It was a beauty, and a refreshing ride after a whirlwind week.  Ethan took off Thursday for a 17 day teaching trip to Uganda at Africa Renewal University. His class will be for pastors in the region, and they will be studying Christian Leadership with him.  We meet regularly with some people from our church in order to study the Bible and pray together.  This week, a friend mentioned that while we were praying for Ethan last Sunday, God gave her the words "Abundant Peace" in regard to this trip and the kids and I staying here at home.  The fact that trusting in God, almighty, eternal, and sovereign, yet loving and holy, brings about a close relationship with God and a deep heartfelt peace that allows us to go about every circumstance with assurance in the bigness of God.  Abundance means beyond what we need and overflowing.

God is giving us that peace....after needing to return three times in one day to the Driver's License office in Anoka to attempt to apply for G's driver's permit (we kept messing up the documents we needed and had to go back home over and over again), after broken eyeglasses that needed replacing, after our hot water heater broke down and plenty of cold showers (eeeeek!) but a plumber friend was able to diagnose the problem and fix it for a low cost this afternoon, after the death of a favorite pet, after remembering the painful past and the shame of wrongs I have done and the trespasses against me yet finding comfort in one another and in God's Word that brings life, after a surprise overnight visit from my sister and her daughters, and after hearing the Gospel preached again in our home church this morning during communion and throughout the service.   
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7

By the way, Xhristos Voskress to all our friends in Eastern Europe and Asia celebrating Easter today!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Hymn of the Week + O Sacred Head Now Wounded

O Sacred Head Now Wounded
English Translation by J.W. Alexander, 1830

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
How pale Thou art with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish, which once was bright as morn!
What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.
Men mock and taunt and jeer Thee, Thou noble countenance,
Though mighty worlds shall fear Thee and flee before Thy glance.
How art thou pale with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How doth Thy visage languish that once was bright as morn!
Now from Thy cheeks has vanished their color once so fair;
From Thy red lips is banished the splendor that was there.
Grim death, with cruel rigor, hath robbed Thee of Thy life;
Thus Thou hast lost Thy vigor, Thy strength in this sad strife.
My burden in Thy Passion, Lord, Thou hast borne for me,
For it was my transgression which brought this woe on Thee.
I cast me down before Thee, wrath were my rightful lot;
Have mercy, I implore Thee; Redeemer, spurn me not!
What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.
My Shepherd, now receive me; my Guardian, own me Thine.
Great blessings Thou didst give me, O source of gifts divine.
Thy lips have often fed me with words of truth and love;
Thy Spirit oft hath led me to heavenly joys above.
Here I will stand beside Thee, from Thee I will not part;
O Savior, do not chide me! When breaks Thy loving heart,
When soul and body languish in death’s cold, cruel grasp,
Then, in Thy deepest anguish, Thee in mine arms I’ll clasp.
The joy can never be spoken, above all joys beside,
When in Thy body broken I thus with safety hide.
O Lord of Life, desiring Thy glory now to see,
Beside Thy cross expiring, I’d breathe my soul to Thee.
My Savior, be Thou near me when death is at my door;
Then let Thy presence cheer me, forsake me nevermore!
When soul and body languish, oh, leave me not alone,
But take away mine anguish by virtue of Thine own!
Be Thou my consolation, my shield when I must die;
Remind me of Thy passion when my last hour draws nigh.
Mine eyes shall then behold Thee, upon Thy cross shall dwell,
My heart by faith enfolds Thee. Who dieth thus dies well.

I chose this hymn because the words and music from Rene Clausen's "O Vos Omnes" for 8-part Choir have been going through my head today.  Dr. Clausen was my college choir director, and we sang this piece on our Eastern European tour in 1996.  Here the song is performed by a concert choir from Cuba, a completely different country, but the power of Jesus suffering and glory speak through clearly.  The passionate singing of the soprano soloist quotes Psalm 22: "How long, o Lord, whilst Thou forget me forever? How long shall my enemies be exalted over me. My heart shall rejoice in Thee." O Vos Omnes translated into English is written: 
O all you who walk by on the road, pay attention and see:
if there be any sorrow like my sorrow.
Pay attention, all people, and look at my sorrow:
if there be any sorrow like my sorrow.