Sunday, July 18, 2010

5 Ways to Make a Crappy Camping Experience Awesome

This weekend, my bride and I went camping at Myre/Big Island State Park near Albert Lea, MN. Our second night (of two) we were caught in the middle of a severe thunderstorm warning. The tent lost some of its stakes and the awning sprung some leaks, while we tried to sleep under the leak.

With all that, we still had fun. Why? I don’t know, but we did have a blast. Here are some thoughts as to why.

  1. Choose your companions carefully. The weather only put a damper on the weekend, had we been there alone or with people we didn’t like, it would have been awful.
  2. Make the most of the good time you have. We had a great Saturday. We went biking, canoeing and napping, all of us, in the shade of a tree. It was great. It made the crappy night we were about to have more manageable.
  3. Realize that “this too shall pass.” The whole night, I was telling B that she and I were going to have a great story to tell when the storm was over. Unfortunately, the story is boring, but we were making the end of the storm the focus during the storm.
  4. Have lots of treats. We ate a ton of food… really good food. B made desserts on the grill and all was great. Food makes the foul weather seem insignificant.
  5. Have a back-up plan. When the tent started to lift off the ground and the trees started swaying and bending in half, we moved to the car. Our back-up plan made us feel safe.

This is my best guess at why we had fun. It was a great trip…B and I need to learn how to canoe, though.

Have a great week, friends!

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Apologies, friends

Hey, all. I apologize if you’ve received some blank emails that I updated my blog. I am now using Windows Live Writer which downloads the website so that as I edit, I can tell what it will look like. Along with this, there are some neat features that I am learning how to use….like the ability to upload photos easily, with watermarks and other effects. See?

Pirate's Cove, Brainerd, MN

And putting in tags:

By the way, it’s B’s birthday. Wish her a happy birthday.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Greeks, Orthodoxy, Icons and Music

Last weekend, I went to Rochester, MN for a handbell festival for Area VII of the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers. It was a great event, I learned quite a bit about handbells and handbell conducting. However, the highlight of the weekend was really on Monday morning and had nothing to do with handbells.

Monday morning, all the board members and conference committee members were leaving to head back to their respective homes and one of board members needed a ride back to her car parked a mile away at a church. I obliged.

After dropping her off, I saw the gold dome of a Greek Orthodox church. Seeing as I had nowhere to be for many hours, and I have been fascinated with both church architecture and all things Greek for many years, I drove towards it. When I saw that there were cars in the parking lot, I pulled in and walked towards the doors…all were locked up tight. Defeated, I turned to walk towards my car, but then I saw the “Office” door and a doorbell, so I rang it.

The church secretary gave me a personal tour of the sanctuary, but unfortunately the sanctuary was under renovation and there was scaffolding covering the dome of the room. The dome, she said, was where the best icons were. After she gave me a description of Orthodox worship and a little about her past life (recovering Catholic), I was going to leave when the pastor/priest/Father came in.

The Father asked me a couple of questions, but then said, “Wanna go up?” I stammered, “Uh, what?” He then repeated himself and in a few moments we were running up the rickety ladders, 100 feet in the air. Just a few feet from icons of the prophets and of Jesus, a dozen dozen feet in the air, we discussed theology, music, Greek and Church history, and translating the Bible. He was fascinating and then he sang some of their settings of the Liturgy for me, showing their notation (WAY different from Western notation). As I left, he handed me their hymnal (in Western notation) and asked me to come back for worship.

While I may never convert to Orthodoxy (I don’t get praying to pictures), but I will definitely find an Orthodox church some Sunday. I can’t wait. If you happen to find an Orthodox church, stop by… definitely the highlight of last weekend!