Sunday, October 31, 2010

New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music training

Early Monday morning, two staff members and one volunteer from Roseau County headed south to St.Paul for training on a Smithsonian Museum on Main Street New Harmonies exhibit we are hosting at the Roseau Co. Museum beginning November 12. This will be our third MOMS exhibit in 4 years. We are very excited about hosting this exhibit as it is all about music and almost everyone is interested in music.

Group sessions like this for training are always excellent.Ideas flow, creative juices mix, and we work with one another to make it the best exhibit each of us has presented.

Minnesota Humanities Center

Roseau County Historical Society crew
Rlou Specher,  Britt Dahl, and Charleen Haugen

Smithsonian and MN Humanities trainers
David Gabitske - Minnesota Historical Society, right
Nicollet County Historical Society

Drummers at the Anishinaabe Cultural Center

Dining out in Minneapolis

One of my favorite folk singers - Charlie Maguire entertaining us.

Rlou relaxing in the common area at the humanities center

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Church Employment Specialist

About a year ago I received the calling as our employment specialist at church. It has been a challenge and I keep working on trying to get the hang of the position and seek areas that I can help those who are unemployed in our branch. At the present time I am working on an upcoming Career Workshop that I will be presenting as soon as I receive some posters that were purchased through the church distribution center in Salt Lake City.

I use the Internet to become more familiar with this calling. Today I happened to connect with the Linked In site for Church Employment Specialists. This is just what I was looking for! I was able to register and received a quick reply accepting my request to join and was send an excellent website link. After a quick glance through the site, I pounced on an area called Sticky Ideas, which are for church bulletins. One of the ideas struck me immediately. Often people will say "No problem" when someone gives them a work assignment. I never  thought of this as negative until I read this Sticky Idea,
Career guidance – Don’t introduce negatives, if someone asks you for additional information; respond that “It would be your pleasure” or “I would be happy to”, do not respond with “no problem”. No problem raises the question of “I didn’t know there was a problem, is there a problem?”How true that is. No problem could indicate there was a problem but I will do it anyway.

There were many more of these Sticky Ideas which I plan to use in our church bulletin. Now I have to get back to studying for the upcoming workshop.

I read an online blog   almost daily. I believe the person who authors this blog gives great thought to scriptural meaning. Today the blog was on charity and I had to refer back to their last Saturday blog due to a reference to it. A comment by the author was:
 "Thus, the truly charitable are the people who are most likely to be open to being taught by those with whom others reactively disagree - since they are the ones most likely to seek for ways to understand without judgment and reflexive rejection.How often does someone bring up a point and others reactive in disagreement with their suggestion relating to a scripture? I have never considered that perhaps ONLY charity believeth all things, but I really like the way my mind is being led."

I have seen this happen every once in a while and will now look at the comment the person makes without reaction and hopefully with a more open mind.The main focus in the blogger interpretation was that we must be open minded to gospel teaching and only then will we be able to recognize what is truly of God and what is of Satan. I hope I am open minded enough to understand this concept and to recognize truth for what it is.

Six things I am thankful for this week:
  1. A wonderful sunny day
  2. Completing a grant so it can be checked by MHS
  3. Meeting with my companion to organize next Friday's archive workshop.
  4. How beautiful my outside geraniums still look.
  5. Finding time to read something enjoyable each day.
  6. Knowing that Heavenly Father answers my prayers in ways that I recognize only He could.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chile miners recued

Today is a memorable day for 33 miners and the country of Chile. For 69 days, thirty-three miners were trapped in an underground mine in the San Jose Mine in Chile after a cave in. For seventeen days the men rationed their food and finally the world learned of their survival. Through the efforts of their foreman, the men managed to keep themselves sane and eventually even spoke to family members. One man became a father and another discovered he was going to be a father for the first time. Tonight after a 22 hour rescue the men are all out of the confinement and in a local hospital undergoing tests. It took 12 countries including the US to come together to assist in this miraculous feat. The NASA assisted the Chilean army in preparing a capsule to bring the miners out. A Pennsylvanian drill bit company assisted by supply special drilling to reach the men who were 2,000 feet below ground. A 36 inch hole was drilled down to the men and the capsule lower and brought back to the surface. A medic and five other men went down in the capsule to assist in the rescue.These men have been in the prayers on people across the world as we were periodically kept up to date on what was going on down below and on top regarding the rescue attempt. Now they can sing praises to a merciful Father who gave them and their country hope and in the end happiness.

I have been busy working on a grant for lights and UV filters in the museum. Today I spent many hours writing and working through the grant form. I have the bid quotes and all I have to do is submit it now. I am almost ready to write the final report on the Oral History grant Aaron Nelson and I received. Lots to do and not much time to accomplish it. I will look for someone to do our publicity.

At home we have been completing the farm work. The geraniums look the nicest they have for months. It is too bad that within a week and a half we will be down to 15 above F if the forecast is correct.

Well I need to do some studying for the upcoming employment class, I'm teaching at church. I will need lots of prayers as I teach this class so if you are praying, pray for me!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Come listen to a Prophet's voice

This morning we had two excellent talks in sacrament on prophets, especially the blessing of having a living prophet on earth in these latter days. Knowing there is a prophet who has direct revelation from Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is such a blessing in our lives.

Last week during our church general conference we had the opportunity to listen to the prophet, Thomas S. Monson on the BYU television channel. In his Sunday morning talk he spoke about the Divine Gift of Gratitude. Using  Luke chapter 17, he reminded us of what gratitude is and is not.
“And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
“And as he entered into a certain village, there [he met] ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
“And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
“And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
“And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
“And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
“And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
“There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
“And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.”2

He went on to say, "Through divine intervention those who were lepers were spared from a cruel, lingering death and given a new lease on life. The expressed gratitude by one merited the Master’s blessing; the ingratitude shown by the nine, His disappointment.

"My brothers and sisters, do we remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive? Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love."

We live in a country  of plenty, a country that meets our every need. Another story our prophet told was "an account of one family which was able to find blessings in the midst of serious challenges. This is an account I read many years ago and have kept because of the message it conveys. It was written by Gordon Green and appeared in an American magazine over 50 years ago.
"Gordon tells how he grew up on a farm in Canada, where he and his siblings had to hurry home from school while the other children played ball and went swimming. Their father, however, had the capacity to help them understand that their work amounted to something. This was especially true after harvest time when the family celebrated Thanksgiving, for on that day their father gave them a great gift. He took an inventory of everything they had.

"On Thanksgiving morning he would take them to the cellar with its barrels of apples, bins of beets, carrots packed in sand, and mountains of sacked potatoes as well as peas, corn, string beans, jellies, strawberries, and other preserves which filled their shelves. He had the children count everything carefully. Then they went out to the barn and figured how many tons of hay there were and how many bushels of grain in the granary. They counted the cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and geese. Their father said he wanted to see how they stood, but they knew he really wanted them to realize on that feast day how richly God had blessed them and had smiled upon all their hours of work. Finally, when they sat down to the feast their mother had prepared, the blessings were something they felt.

"Gordon indicated, however, that the Thanksgiving he remembered most thankfully was the year they seemed to have nothing for which to be grateful.

"The year started off well: they had leftover hay, lots of seed, four litters of pigs, and their father had a little money set aside so that someday he could afford to buy a hay loader—a wonderful machine most farmers just dreamed of owning. It was also the year that electricity came to their town—although not to them because they couldn’t afford it.

"One night when Gordon’s mother was doing her big wash, his father stepped in and took his turn over the washboard and asked his wife to rest and do her knitting. He said, “You spend more time doing the wash than sleeping. Do you think we should break down and get electricity?” Although elated at the prospect, she shed a tear or two as she thought of the hay loader that wouldn’t be bought.

"So the electrical line went up their lane that year. Although it was nothing fancy, they acquired a washing machine that worked all day by itself and brilliant light bulbs that dangled from each ceiling. There were no more lamps to fill with oil, no more wicks to cut, no more sooty chimneys to wash. The lamps went quietly off to the attic.

"Then it was Thanksgiving again. Their mother said, “Maybe we’d better forget it this year. We haven’t even got a goose left.”

"On Thanksgiving morning, however, Gordon’s father showed up with a jackrabbit and asked his wife to cook it. Grudgingly she started the job, indicating it would take a long time to cook that tough old thing. When it was finally on the table with some of the turnips that had survived, the children refused to eat. Gordon’s mother cried, and then his father did a strange thing. He went up to the attic, got an oil lamp, took it back to the table, and lighted it. He told the children to turn out the electric lights. When there was only the lamp again, they could hardly believe that it had been that dark before. They wondered how they had ever seen anything without the bright lights made possible by electricity.

"The food was blessed, and everyone ate. When dinner was over, they all sat quietly. Wrote Gordon:
'In the humble dimness of the old lamp we were beginning to see clearly again. . . .
'It [was] a lovely meal. The jack rabbit tasted like turkey and the turnips were the mildest we could recall. . . .
' . . . [Our] home . . . , for all its want, was so rich [to] us.”13

President Monson reiterated, "My brothers and sisters, to express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven."

I know I don't express enough gratitude for all that is so precious in life. Our warm home, electricity 24 and 7, the ability to  call our children and talk to them face to face on the computer or at any time and anywhere on the cell phone or just to climb on a plane without much hassle or drive a car across country to visit them. Wonderful friends who add joy to my life. My wonderful companion who has supply our home with so many wonderful not so necessary "things." Our young people who so willingly step to the plate without a draft to protect our country, often even giving life or limb to do so and their parents who are aware of the sacrifices these young people make each day.

Yes, I need to have an attitude of gratitude at all times.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fall Harvest

Fall has many meanings. It comes at the end of summer with vibrant colors on the trees, rusty gold, amber, scarlet,  and brilliant orange. It means harvest to the farmer and gardener; leaves to rake, the end of mowing the lawn, flowers in their last glory, and Indian Summer.

We are in the midst of harvest.

Unloading soybeans

The mixture of the wind noise and the tractor noise is overwhelming.

From the truck to the bin
We have had fabulous weather since last Friday and our harvest is fast coming to an end. Hubby started chisel plowing this morning and is now about ready to head out to combine again.

One of the other things harvest brings to our farm is a crop of small apples that are not crabs from a tree in our back yard. Our apple tree stands as a sentinel to three oaks in the back yard. It now stands bare with only a few apples clinging to the branches that are too high to reach. When Brian was home, he pulled out the ladder and headed out with a pail and filled it full of apples.

Remains of the apples

 The ones that Brian picked are now made into a delicious apple filling for pies and apple crisp. It’s a recipe I received from my friend Becca.

Apple Pie Mix
4 ½ cups sugar
10 cups water
1 cup corn starch
3 Tbsp lemon juice (Real works)
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
Mix together and cook until thick and then cool
2 gallons of apples
If you use small apples just remove the seeds, slice in a food processor. No not cook apples.
Mix the apples and the mixture and fill large peanut butter jars, if you use the real large one you will make a 9/13 pan or a pie, the next size down makes an 8/8 pan. Be sure to make sure you use the amount of mixture necessary for the apples.
Freeze and thaw as needed.

Completed jar of apple mixture for 8/8 pan
For a 9/13 inch pan use the following recipe, use 2/3 of recipe for 8/8 pan

Apple Crisp Topping
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
2/3 cup cold butter
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Place all ingredients in a food processor and mix
Spay 9/13 inch pan with Pam, add the large jar of thawed apples to the pan and spread evenly.
Top with topping and spread evenly. Bake 350 for 1 hour.

It is so tasty with pecan ice cream!

Oh, so tasty!
I think I will have to get a larger ladder and pick the rest of the apples so when winter is here we will enjoy this recipe even more. Thanks Becca for sharing!