Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

Pastor Joan has finished her sermon for today. Here is part of it:
“One of the sad things in life is there are people who almost make the leap from unfaith to faith but something causes them to pull back.. They almost laid their sins on Jesus. They were almost set free.
It was so with the congregation at Nazareth they had heard Kjesus say he was the Messiah. They could almost see the Kingdom of God breaking in through Him. They were ready to make the leap. But ! Somebody said “ Isn’t this Joseph’s Son?” Now if He is Joseph’s son then he can’t be the Messiah. They watched Him grow up. Thus they lost this chance to step into faith. They lost the opportunity to make the journey to the cross with Jesus. They could have learned so much. They could have seen so many miracles.
The He is Joseph’s Son moments come in many forms in this age.
One hears something about the evangelist that shared Jesus with you. Perhaps, he cheats on his wife. But then you can’t trust his message. You back off.
Perhaps you went to a new church and the Pastor touched you in the sermon your ready to make the leap of faith but then you see sitting one row over a person you know to be corrupt . If he belongs then you can’t trust the message of this church. You back off.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Once you have seen Jesus set your eyes on Him and make the jump from unfaith to faith. Then forget how you got there. Forget the fallible clay vessels the message came in. Forget that He is Joseph’s son. Go with Him and experience the Kingdom of God breaking in.
This is the time to make the leap. Feel the joy. Know the freedom.

In the liturgical churches using the Common Lectionary today is celebrated as the fourth Sunday after the Epiphany. The Gospel is Lube 4:21-30.
21and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
22All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. "Isn't this Joseph's son?" they asked.
23Jesus said to them, "Surely you will quote this proverb to me: 'Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.' "
24"I tell you the truth," he continued, "no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27And there were many in Israel with leprosy[a] in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian."
28All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. 30But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way
It is the last half of the story of Jesus at the Synagogue at Nazareth which we read last week. But last week things were going well. It even looked like they might believe Him. But then somebody points out that He is Joseph’s son.. He can’t be the Messiah but he owes them as his people some kind of miracle. Jesus explains using two Old Testament stories but this just enraged them. They wanted to throw Him off a cliff.
That still happens in the group that follow Jesus today. We often end up thinking God owes us because we believe and others don’t.
When I was a kid I prayed really hard that God wouldn’t let my brother Robert die but He did. I was so angry I threw God , not over a cliff but out of my life. I became an atheist for a time.
I heard somebody on TV the other day say that if God had a house here on earth she would go there are throw rocks through the windows.
But in truth God owes us nothing. In fact we owe God because day after day he4 fills our life with joy, grace, and peace.
W#e have to accept the fact that He will not always give us what we want.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Raven's Challenge 97

My Grandsons are Visiting! I'm happy!

The fairy Godmother of Pigeon Falls continued to wave her magic wand over the weekend . The Queen and her court each received a brand new snowmobile and a marvelous snow mobile suit. They were the best dressed Snow Court ever.
In addition Norman Larson who thought he was out of the races because of some problem with his engine came in on Friday to find the problem gone and the snowmobile better than ever. So far today he has the best time out to the Lake of the Loons and back. He has a substantial lead but the big name company teams have yet to run. In any case he thinks he stands a good chance in tomorrows races.
There is a runor that a romance may be developing between Norman and Samantha.

It is Saturday and time to play with words supplied by Raven's Wordzzle
This Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: teflon, idealistic, marshmallow, opportunistic, kittens, beef, sawing logs, slapped, tickled, scissors
For the mini: ripen, shelve, laminate, goofy, Siamese
The Mega Challenge as
The Ongoing Adventures of Agent 012

Agent 012 grabbed the microphone at the party and announced that there was a bomb and that they should leave the building immediately. The people reacted differently. One grabbed a bag of marshmallows and ran out, another took a beef sandwich but a third just stayed in place and started screaming “ We are all going to die”. Agent 012 slapped him and pushed him toward the door. In the process Agent 012 thought “ If I had the time tickled would have worked as well”.
With the party leaving Agent 012 contacted Building Security and had them quickly go floor to floor and get everyone out and as far away from the building as possible. Then he asked to be directed to the office of the most important executive in the building. He was told it was on the top floor , the far right corner.. Agent 012 hastened to the office. There beside the door was the usual mandala showing that the bomber had been here . The question is when is the bomb set to go off? Quickly he entered and scanned the room. There was a scissors shelved above two green tomatoes , probably left to ripen and on that set of shelves a half wrapped , very expensive, Teflon frying pan , probably a gift for some lucky person. Then he saw the kid’s backpack. It had a goofy laminated picture of two Siamese kittens sawing logs. He picked up a chair and threw it through the window. He followed it with the backpack which exploded halfway to the ground. The building was unhurt except for a few broken windows.
Coming out of the office Agent 012 saw a man coming out of the room at the other end of the hall.
“Who are you and why are you still in the building”, Agent 012 asked.
“I’m the janitor and being somewhat opportunistic I had taken the party downstairs as a time to take a nap in the supply room. I just came out to see what the explosion was all about.”, he said.
Agent 012 pulled his gun an an placed him under arrest. “ I can tell from the paint on your hands that you’re the idealistic mandala bomber.” he said. Agent 012 called in support from the Agency. When they checked out the room there was the case with all of the paints needed for the mandala.
Some days things go well for Agent 012

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Flash 55 Friday-The Carp

Because it is Flash 55 Friday Pigeon Falls for the Day is written in 55 words.

Sally broke the silence after the judges left and said “ Of all the girls in town we are cursed with scaevity. That tramp Samantha did it to us and she will pay."
Nancy said " I think we did it to ourselves and I think we need to change."
The other girls thought she was insane.

Friday 55 Flash Fiction is brought to you by G-man (Mr Knowitall). The idea is you write a story in exactly 55 words. If you want to take part pop over and let G-man know when you've posted your 55. Here is my first story:
The fisherman's wallet slipped out of his back pocket into the lake. When he tried to grab it a carp leaped up and flipped the wallet to another carp .
The wallet was tossed from one carp to another carp for several minutes.
This was of course,

the first known example of

Carp to Carp Walleting.

Since I discovered it was okay I am writing a second flash 55 which will be a continuous story but a complete story every week. Here then is the Fourty First chapter in the exciting ongoing adventures of Sir Laughsalot and Robberhood.

The entire story to date is HERE
The most recent chapters are HERE

King underwear stood in his underwear.
He wasn't going anywhere.
Less people stop and stare.
He had no clothes or crown
All he could do was frown
They even took his nightgown
Heads will roll he roared
As dragons overhead soared
At least he wasn't bored.
Then Sir Laughsalot returned
the king his ears burned.

Thursday-Quilly Day

After much deliberation the judges asked to see all seven girls in private. This was definitely not the way things were usually done. Usually they announced the second runner up, the first runner up, and then the Snow Queen.They never met in private with the candidates. The girls knew something was wrong.
The head judge read from a prepared statement:
“ WE paid close attention all day and it was clear to us that Sally Johnson should have been second runner up, Nancy Pemberthy would have been first runner up, and
Samantha Westcott would have been Queen. That would have made for a nice court for the festivities. But then we read your ballots and discovered something we did not want to know. Every single one of you accept , of course, Samantha, put Samantha in last place, every single one of you. Now we can understand putting your vest friend as Queen. That makes a certain kind of sense but to put Samantha on the bottom is something else. It says to all of the judges that the six of you are social bigots and not worthy of this competition. So we are disqualifying all six of you and naming Samantha Queen. Further she will pick two girls to serve as her court and they will receive the prizes that would have gone to the first and second runner up. One last thing. We want you to know who Samantha named as Queen. It was Nancy Pemberthy , the girl that threw ashes on her. Now that is class.”
The judges then took Samantha out to announce her as Snow Queen.
The girls sat in stunned silence.

It is a Quilly day. Time to take Quilly’s three words for the day and write a story
scaevity n = unluckiness; left-handedness
gnathonize v =to flatter
roblet to lead astray

Jonathan R. Causistry made millions with his seminars on ending scaevity. Thousands of unlucky people attended his seminars believing the scaevity they thought they were stuck with for the rest of their lives could be cured. He always started the seminar with words meant to gnathonize the audience. He would tell them they were the smartest audience he had ever had and that if anyone could lick scaevity they were the group. Then he would little by little roblet then from real science to his made up supposedly scientific methodology. At the end he sold his five DVD course for $150 with a thirty day guarantee. Over half of the group always bought .
At age fourty he decided to take his millions and retire. That was the day he was hit by the buss and killed . One could say he really suffered from scaevity.

Of course the dragons were busy today you can see them HERE.
If you want far better stories written with these words go HERE

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Samantha Westcott rather enjoyed having the in group look at her with awe instead of disdain. She enjoyed even more their reaction when they realized who she was. She had come from being the poor girl on the other side of the tracks whose prime feature was scaevity to the most beautiful girl in the Pageant and it felt good.
The rest of the day went just as well. In the talent competition she stood head and shoulders above the others. She sang an old English Ballad entitled “The Fisherman's Girl”. It was the story of a sad poor girl and she did such a good job singing it it would have brought tears to Simon Cowell's eyes.
The answer she gave to her question in that part of the Pageant was insightful and clear.
In the beauty walk it was obvious she stood head and shoulder above the others.
So it all came down to the last event which was unique to this Pageant. They were each given a ballot containing the names of the six other contestants and asked to rank them from Queen to least likely to be Queen. They were told that in the past this voting had a great impact upon the judges letting them see things they had missed. Each girl filled hers out and turned it in. It took Samantha the longest.
Then the judges deliberated.

I wanted a meme that was a little different so I cobled one together from questions on “ That’s My Answer”

John's own little ten question meme.

1. When was the last time you tried something new? What was it?
Just last night. I tried some toenail softener.

2. What is the last thing you bought online? Did it work?
Toenail softener. Don’t know as I haven’t tried cutting them yet.

3. Are you a hoarder? If you aren’t, how close to being a hoarder are you?
Betty and I are both hoarders that’s why the basement and the garage are full.

4. Would you ever allow This Old House to film your home remodel?
No! Our house isn’t old enough to begin with and I don’t want to be on TV with my hair looking like this.

5. How good are you at keeping secrets?
No good at all. I’m a regular sieve. I was much better at it when I was an active Pastor.

6. Are you a grown-up? How do you know?
No! When I was young I got sprinkled with Pixie dust so I will never grow up.

7. It’s fantasy tea-party time … you can invite any three people for cakes and sandwiches and scones and tea! Of course this is different from fantasy dinner party because it’s tea and is such it’ll need to be more refined and you’ll probably need to wear a frock So, tell us, who are you inviting to our very British fantasy tea party?
I have two lists.
On my internet list are Melli, Quilly, and Aims ( Very hard to narrow that list to three)
On my everyday list are Lori, Bree and Dawn ( Betty is going to help me serve)

8. Do you freak out at the sight of a blemish?
I have so many old age bruises that if I did I would be freaking out all the time.

9. If you could go to the land of make-believe for one day, what would you most want to experience?
The yellow brick road and the Emerald City but in second place is Pigeon Falls.

10. What is your soda of choice these days? Could you give it up?
What ever is on sale. Obviously.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Samantha Westcott opened the door to find a uniformed man holding a fancy hat standing in the doorway.
“ Your Limo has arrived , Mam:, the driver said.” Your fairy Godmother said to tell you that she couldn’t find a pumpkin and besides it’s too cold for pumpkin coaches. So she has sent you the very best Limo you can make out of two tin cans”
There in front of the house was the most beautiful Limo Samantha had ever seen and she was going to ride in it to the Pageant.
“ One last word from your fairy Godmother”, said the chauffeur.” Unlike pumpkin coaches there is no time limit on the Limo.
As the chauffeur helped her into the Limo Samantha thought” Last week when Nancy Pemberthy dumped ashes on me I thought I was cursed with scaevity but this week I’m the luckiest girl on the planet.” Then she sat back and enjoyed the ride.
The Chauffeur drove past the theater to the end of main street, turned around and drove back to the Westcott house and then back to the theater. This gave Samantha a chance to enjoy the ride and it gave some of the girls a chance to see the Limousine.
Everybody who saw it was impressed . It was far fancier than any Limo in Pigeon Falls ( there are only two).
When the chauffeur helped her out of the Limo and stood at attention people were impressed. Nobody recognized Samantha in her beautiful dress and with her new hairdo and make up. In fact they wondered who the rich girl was and decided she must be a relative of a contestant.

As if there was not enough depression in the world a new form is emerging. Let us call it righteous depression.
It strikes people who know they are right but who can’t convince others to join them. It is operative across the board coming from religious righteousness, political righteousness, environmental righteousness, or any activity where people feel they are right and others wrong.
What you need to trigger righteous depression is:
1. To be sure you are right
2. To try to convince others
3. To see the wrong come out ahead because people are too stupid or stubborn to listen.
4. You give up trying and just feel bad.
Let’s say for example that you are a true believer in the Democratic health bill. You know the system needs fixing. You push the bill on your blog.
Then those idiots in Massachusetts vote in a Republican Senator and it looks like the bill is dead. You know that’s all wrong and there is nothing you can do about it. But one recourse seems to be to feel bad.
Or lets say that you’re sure the Democratic health bill will destroy the greatest health system in the world and break the federal budget. And lets say it passed. You have pointed out the dangers on your blog but the Democrats wouldn’t listen. They ignored what is right and the will of the people and now there is nothing you can do. But one recourse is to feel bad.
Lets move to religion. You know that Jesus saves. You really want your relatives to know but they won’t listen. In your rightness you know they are going to hell but you can’t get through to them. One recourse is to feel bad.
But suppose you’re an atheist. You know the world would be a far better place if people just stopped believing the God nonsense. You write. You give lectures but the fools keep believing. One recourse is to give up on them and just feel bad.
Or lets say you believe in Global Warming. You know it is going to cause massive destruction. You know what needs to be done to stop it but people won’t listen. They are stupid and stubborn. One recourse is to give up on them and just feel bad.
Or perhaps you know there is no such thing as Global Warming. You blog about it. The stubborn believers insult you. Nobody changes. The same silly programs stay in place. One recourse is to give up and just feel bad.
Now, before I am attacked by all the true believers of every kind out there I’m not saying it’s wrong to be right.
What I am saying is that rightness carries some dangers and depression is one of them.
It is a choice that doesn’t help your cause.
Your need to pick a different option. Perhaps, you need to keep trying to change others. Nothing is gained by quitting.
If your going to see yourself as right then fight for the right.
Of course another choice would be to consider the possibility that your not right. Then you could enter into dialogue with the those who disagree with you. You would no longer have to see them as evil or stupid or stubborn.
In the dialogue truth might even emerge.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Samantha Westcott called her mother and asked where the beautiful new dress had come from but her mother didn’t seem to know. She pointed out that the door was unlocked and anybody could have come in and left it.
“ I thought Bowser was supposed to wake us up if their was an intruder” Samantha said being by that point very confused.
At that point the doorbell rang and there stood two ladies.
“ A lady who said she was your fairy Godmother paid us to come and do your hair and make up for the Pageant because she had to be somewhere else.. She also said that she hoped you would like the dress she left earlier. You were sleeping and she didn’t want to wake you because you have a big day in front of you.” the older of the two ladies told Samantha.
Then they went to work and when they finished and she was in her new dress there was no question she was the prettiest girl in Pigeon Falls.
“There is snow and dirt out there on the way to the theater. If I walk I will get my beautiful dress all wet and dirty. Do you think you could give me a ride?” Samantha asked the ladies.
“Sorry”, the head lady said,” The car is full of beauty supplies and there is no room for you.”
Samantha thought “ Where is the pumpkin coach when you need one. What kind of fairy Godmother fails to provide a pumpkin coach.?”
Just then the doorbell rang.

We are about to start on a new adventure and if I didn’t suffer from advanced scaevity I would feel much better about it.
I am asking a lot you. I want you to help bring a word back from near death.
Here are the rules for the new game.
1. On Monday I will pick one of Quilly’s three words for the week.
2. I will give you the definition for the word.
3. During the week you will use the word in at least three different blog entries.
4. In today’s comment tell me your playing.
5. The dragons will read your blogs ( that’s a good thing).
6. The following Monday they will award to those who did well the following ugly internet award.

That’s all there is to it.
Now here is this week’s word.
(noun ) used from 1623 -1658
It means unluckiness;

I know that unless you are one of those suffering from scaevity you will do well.
Good luck.

If you forget the word or the meaning. It will be featured in the upper corner of this blog all week.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Third Sunday After Epiphany

Here is part of Pastor Joan’s sermon for today”
“ Back when I went to Bible Camp we used to gather round the campfire in the evening and sing what we called Bible Camp songs. As I read these words in today’s gospel I thought of one of those choruses.:
“And the eyes of all those who were in the synagogue were fastened on Him.”
We used to sing “ Turn your eyes upon Jesus”
I found the chorus on U-tube and I will share it with you this morning through the magic of power point.

That morning in the Synagogue people turned their eyes to Jesus . They looked intently at Him. He had just read a Scripture about the Messiah and then all but said that he was the fulfillment of that text. One has to wonder what those people saw when they turned their eyes upon Jesus. Some , I’m sure, saw the Messiah , some saw a hint of God breaking into this world and some saw a man who they did not understand and had just said something weird. That look would bring some into the early Church as it came into existence after the Resurrection. But some walked away and forgot they ever saw Him.
Every Sunday I call on you to look into the face of Jesus. Some of you looked and you saw God. You were set free from the oppression of guilt and sin. You were able to see God’s love for you and the old blindness dropped away. Your life was changed forever.
Some of you will yet have that experience because God doesn’t give up on us.
But a few will walk away and forget you ever saw Him. Others will be bothered enough to deny that He is God. You will convince yourself and as many others as you can that it is all nonsense and there is no God. The Good News is God will keep loving you and reaching out to you.
Today is a great day for you to:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

In the liturgical churches following the Common Lectionsary today is celebrated as the Thrird Sunday after the Epiphany. The Gospel for the day is Luke 4:14-21
Luke 4:14-24 (New International Version)
14Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
16He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."[a]
20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
There were no poor that had good news preached to them that Sabbath, no prisoners set free, no blind people given sight, and nobody was released from oppression but Jesus says to the congregation “ Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ How could that be.
The scripture is not about the events described but about the one who would be sent to do them, the Messiah. In effect Jesus is saying I am the Messiah. He is the anointed one promised by Isaiah.
The congregation had to decide if he was or wasn’t.
We have to decide in our own life if he is our Messiah.
He would set us free from the oppression of guilt and shame.
He would lift the blindness tat keeps us from seeing God.
He will if we let Him be our Messiah.
Give it some thought.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Raven's Challenge 96

Sometimes my sister can be nice.

Samantha Westcott sat in her room crying. Tomorrow she would have to face the judges in the beauty pageant and she was not really ready. Her dress was not as nice as the in girls. She didn‘t know how to walk like them. She should have quit. Everybody will laugh at her. She is not sure she wants to be laughed at but they had dumped ashes on her and called her names so she wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of quitting. She was just too stubborn.
If only she had some mice to talk to like Disney’s Cinderella it would be easier. If only she had a fairy Godmother that could give her the most beautiful gown in the world and turn something into a beautiful black limousine to take her to the judging. But that was the stuff of fairy tales.
Finally she went to sleep. When she got up in the morning this beautiful lady with wings and a wand was standing there . She waved the wand and Samantha was dressed in the most beautiful gown in the world, Then she took an apple and created a big black limousine. Samantha was driven in style to the theater where she made a grand entrance. As she walked out on stage the dress suddenly changed to rags and everybody pointed and laughed. She ran to the limousne but it turned into a roten apple.
At that point she woke up crying.
She looked around and decided she was still dreaming because on the chair next to her bed was the most beautiful gown she had ever seen.

It is Saturday and time to play with words supplied by Raven's Wordzzle
This Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: Badger, roll out the barrel, amazing, a lovely cup of tea, pressure, frozen, gandalf, pixies, top gear
And for the mini: smelly, politician, favourite, token gesture, garden

The Mega Challenge as
The Ongoing Adventures of Agent 012

Sometimes the work of an Agency Agent was not very exciting. Despite all the amazing things you see in the movies a lot of time was spent doing very boring things. At this moment Agent 012 was in the Agency Garden having a lovely cup of tea and reading the threatening letters sent to the executives of AIG.. People promised to pour smelly stuff on them, shoot them, stab them, run them over with a car, and beat them to a pulp. But nobody threatened to blow them up. He was fairly certain that none of these letter writers were the Mandala Bomber. Agent 012’s favourite letter was the one where the man promised if he caught the executive alone to sic his pet badger on him. Agent 012 tried to picture that in his mind and the harder he tried the funnier it got.
Finally he put the letters down and decided to drive to what he thought would be the bomber’s next target, the central AIG office. He drove up the fancy driveway lined with cute little frozen porcelain pixies that looked like they were guarding the place.He hoped they could do a better job here then they had in the other offices.
Ashe entered the building he could hear them singing roll out the barrel and the singing was coming from the Gandalf Room. Here the wizards of Wall Street were celebrating there very large end of the year bonuses. One of the men was very loudly toasting the Board of Directors for ignoring the pressure from the politicians to give no bonuses this year. Instead the Board in some token gesture had given some money to charity.
Agent 012 ignored the party and went up to the next floor of the building. There in the hallway a glint of metal caught his eye. He picked up the top gear of a clock. “How”, he wondered, “ would that end up here and why would you take the top gear from a clock. The only reason he could think of he didn’t like. What was left could be used as a timing device for a bomb. That , probably, meant there was a bomb in this building set to go off but he didn’t know where it was or when it would go off.
This was not going to be his day.

The Maxi Challenge

The Badgers of Horatio Clam University had finally won a football game and were celebrating with an amazing victory party. They had girls dressed like pixies serving them and what they were being served was not a lovely cup of tea. Horatio Clam , the founder of the University may have been anti alcohol but this team certainly wasn’t. Somebody from the Science Department had created a top gear fountain of Gandalf Whiskey running over a frozen bust of old Horatio himself. As they sang Roll Out the Barrel and filled their cups in the fountain they felt no pressure from the no drinking on campus rule.
They were after all the football team. They had won a game. They were and always would be above the rules.

The Mini Challenge Touchable

The local newspaper ran front page pictures of the team’s drinking party which made it almost impossible for the Board to ignore it. Even worse the pictures clearly showed the party was in the Garden Room of the P.E. Building. University rules required that a student , caught drinking on campus be expelled.. This was such a flagrant breaking of the rules that the usual token gesture or minor penalty would not suffice. The Board could not be seen as having one group as a favourite that was above the rules. The local newspaper would pounce on such an action as quickly as it had on the smelly politician caught sleeping with somebody else's wife.
So it called the Football Team in. The Captain pointed out they had a game coming up this Saturday so the meeting should be short.
It was short. In ten minutes the entire team was expelled
“You can’t do that” the Captain said ,” We are the football team. We can’t be expelled. We won a game.”
“ You aren’t the football tean anymore. You are expelled. You lose. “the Chairman of the Board said.” The students from the P.E. Program that have been acting as your practice squad will finish the season.”
At the rally for the team protest meeting four people showed up. Two of them had “ Save our Football Team “ signs , one had a “Save our Fotbal Tem”sign, and one had a sign that said “ Keep Conan O’Brian”
They were all ignored.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


On Saturday at the theater Pigeon Falls will hold the Snow Queen Beauty Pageant. The winner will be Queen of the Snowmobile Days celebrations. All the important girls are entered. You know the ones. They are the center of everything. They are the Cheer Leaders, Class officers, Prom Queens, etc. Every beauty contest has them as the only entrants. Everybody knows how important they are. Their parents are on the Town Council, business owners, relatively rich people. They have the money to buy beautiful dresses , a new one for each contest. So nobody else even bothers to try.
But this time somebody, for a joke, entered Samantha Westcott. She lives literally on the other side of the tracks. She and her mother live in an old three room house just before the railroad crossing. Her father died in a Iraq and her mother does the best she can to keep things together for the two of them. She hasn’t had a new dress in years. In fact all the clothes she owns have come from St. Vincent De Paul.
Since her name was entered the in girls have been making fun of her. Nancy Pemberthy dumped ashes on her in the lunch room and said “ Look! It’s Cinderella”.
When she first discovered that somebody had put her name in she was going to withdraw but when the insults started she decided that staying in, even though she couldn’t win, would drive the in group nuts. She was a Wescott and she was both proud and stubborn.
She and her mother went to St. Vincent De Paul and got the fanciest dress they had. Her mother made some adjustments to it. It wasn’t half as nice as the others but she was going ahead anyway.

Friday 55 Flash Fiction is brought to you by G-man (Mr Knowitall). The idea is you write a story in exactly 55 words. If you want to take part pop over and let G-man know when you've posted your 55. Here is my first story:

A mother skunk gave birth to twins, whom she named In and Out.

One day she asked Out to find In who was out.

"What?" said Out.

" Go find In", the mother said

Very soon Out was back with In.

"How did you find In so quickly? asked his mother.

(here it comes....)

"In stinkt."

Since I discovered it was okay I am writing a second flash 55 which will be a continuous story but a complete story every week. Here then is the fortieth chapter in the exciting ongoing adventures of Sir Laughsalot and Robberhood.

The entire story to date is HERE
The most recent chapters are HERE

Sir Laughsalot was coming back with a dragon head.
Shining Knight was out on a quest.
It was night so Day Knight was not a Knight
Nite Kinght was sleeping soundly.
Robberhood's men broke into the Castle and took the King's crown, jewels, and clothes .
Left the King in his underwear.
He was so embarrassed.

Word Saving

Town Council met last night to begin finalizing the annual snowmobile races which are set to begin Saturday February 13. As usual the first race will begin at the town hall and then take the Bullfrog Juppola trail out to the Lake of the Loon’s and back. Snowmobiles will be sent out at ten minute intervals. Winning will depend on total elapsed time out and back. Then on Sunday the excitement will move to the Lake of the Loons and a fifty lap traditional head to head race. Mrs. Trumble has arranged for two great trophies to be presented to the winner and there is a cash prize of $500 also donated by Mrs. Trumble.
Eino was asked if he thought a local person had a chance of winning this year and he answered “ A local person will win when the devil rides to work on a snowmobile”. Then he reminded people that the snowmobile makers send in teams of highly trained people with souped up power machines and one of those always wins.
Neil Larson’s boy Norman thinks Eino is wrong. This year he will win one or the other of the races and possibly both. He has been busy all year upgrading his machine and is convinced it can go head to head with anything out there. He even has a lace in his room for the trophy. His dad believes in him and is putting up the $50 entry fee.

This is the day I usually do a story with Quilly’s words. But Quilly is busy with her move from Hawaii to Washington State and hasn’t said when or if Quilly’s words will return.
( This post was entered by auto post. I had such trouble with my computer yesterday that I didn't get to do much blog visiting. It seems Quilly is back and next Thursday her word game starts again. Sorry I missed that information)
The whole idea of bringing back old words seems to me like a good one. I’m not sure we accomplished that with Quilly’s words. We did our day of stories and then they went back on the historical trash pile.
But at least we gave them a moment in the sun.
So no matter what Quilly does. I intend to try another approach.
Every Monday I will reach into the past and pull forward one word. I will then use that word somewhere in my blog every day until the following Monday.
I will invite you to use it as well. If your willing just leave a comment on that Monday saying “ I’m in” The dragons will then monitor your blog all week long and they have a special award for the person they think did the best.

So if your interested check in on Monday and as Jackie Gleason used to say “ Away we go”

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pigeon Falls and My Life

Poor Chief Ican sits in his office and goes over and over in his mind how he lost Vanbderbolt. The more he goes over it the more impossible it seems. The prisoner was in the little bathroom on the train. The door was locked from the inside. Chief Ican watched the door and finally kicked it in only to find nobody in the room. He has gone over the walls with great care. There were no windows. The roof seemed solid. There was no way out but he was gone. Did this crazy man somehow hypnotize him? That made even less sense. He had no chance to drug the Chief. The only conclusion Chief Ican could come up with is that what happened couldn’t have happened. But it did.
“ Perhaps”, he thought” it is time for me to retire. What good is a police chief that can be outfoxed by a crazy person?
What made it even worse is they were trying to help the guy. Instead of just dumping him back on the road which was standard procedure in UP towns, they had fed him, gotten new clothes for him, and made arrangements to get him Psychiatric help. So Ican felt like he had failed Vanderbolt as well.
( This is a reprint from my March 26, 2006 blog.)

I read where somebody in Las Vegas found a body under the bed in his hotel room. It reminded me of the time in my ministry I thought I found a body in the closet of the church.
When the Intern, the Secretary, and I came in that morning we found that someone had gone through the nursing home Christmas gifts. We felt that it was probably one of the Confirmands. We blamed them for everything.
That’s when I decided I needed a book from the corner closet.
Now our church didn’t have a lot of storage so the closet was used for books, quilts, junk, and an old carpet. When I went to get the book I first tried to kick the carpet out of my way ( I was in a hurry).
Suddenly a leg popped out of the carpet.
Now seminary had not prepared me for this. (Not that it prepared me for much of anything in the parish)
So I did what any reasonable brave pastor would do.
I went and got the intern from the office. I told him I thought there was a body in the closet and would he check it out. What are interns for if not to check on bodies?
He came running back saying that the body was sitting up and it had a knife. The secretary called the police.
The intern and I watched the closet door (The closet was on the other end of the fellowship hall). Suddenly the door opened and out came this wild apparition. He had on several suit coats, an overcoat, a wing tipped shoe, and a swamper.(a boot) He was holding a very large knife.
That’s when the policeman arrived. Then I really got scared. He had trouble getting his gun out of his holster. I thought he was going to shoot himself in the foot. But eventually he got it out and ordered our guest to put down his knife. Which he promptly did.
It seems he had spent the night in the church using the carpet for a bed. He had opened an eaten all the candy in the Christmas packages. He had also lifted a few pair of socks and some powder.
If he had checked in the office we would have put him up at a motel and paid for a good meal at the local restaurant. We would have arranged for St. Vincent De Paul to provide some new boots that matched. So we didn’t press charges. The policeman took him to the edge of town and turned him loose.
We kept the knife.
I always was a little nervous about that closet after that.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Portrait of Words

Poor Nancy has now heard at least ten different versions of the incident at Last Lutheran and what happened afterward. In one Pastor Joan is stabed and taken to the Clinic. In another she karate chops the knife out of the hand of the intruder and holds him while Chief Ican is called.
Her favorite is where the secretary shoots the man in the face with the fire extinguisher causing him to drop the knife.
Small town have a way of enlarging events in their retelling. They add just a little to make it more exciting in the telling.
The story of Chief Ican losing the guy on the train hasn’t had much time to circulate and already the facts have changed a bit. In the latest version Chief Ican was looking right at the criminal when there was a puff of smoke and he was gone. All that was left was a little pile of ash. Chief Ican, according to this version, thinks it was spontaneous combustion.
Nancy likes all the stories and is a good listener. She knows stories sell a lot of coffee and saffron buns. People would feel guilty coming to tell her the story without buying something.

Clown University

This is Horatio Clam University
It has a huge football field and a mediocre team.
It would like to have a nationally ranked team but that will never happen because it is located way back in the woods of Upper Michigan.
Despite plenty of recruiting money they just can't attract quality players. One of the coaches commented the other day that "the day one our quarterbacks makes it to the NFL the Devil will ride to work on a snow mobile. We haven't even had a victory parade in years"

So good old Horatio Clam will never be known as a producer of great football players. It does have one distinction though. The top clowns in the country have come from Horatio.
They don't put that in their brochures but its true. THe top clowns in the three top circuses in the country graduated from Horatio. That funny clown that is the center of the "Little Red Car TV show graduated from there.
They don't have a school for clowns and their drama department is at best mediocre so the only reason anyone can give for this phenomenon is that there is so little to do in the town where the University is located that the students spend a lot of time clowning around.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Devil Rides

This morning everything was ready to send Gerald Vanderbolt III to the Psychiatric Facility in Texas.
Chief Ican had all the documents he needed for the committal.
Mrs. Trumble had arranged with a friend to have a private plane ready at the Iron Mountain airport to fly them to the private airport of the center.
Chief Ican took Gerald on the morning milk train and they left for Iron Mountain.
That’s when it happened. Gerald said he had to go to the bathroom. Chief Ican stationed himself outside the door and waited for him to come out but he didn’t. After fifteen minutes Ican knocked on the door and there was no response. . Now he was afraid Gerald might be trying to kill himself .
There being no conductor and Ican having no key he kicked the door open. There was nobody in the little room. Gerald had vanished.
A careful examination of the rest room clearly showed there was no other way out and no window. There was no way he could have gotten out of that rest room except through the door and he didn’t come through there. He had simply vanished.
Chief Ican was bewildered but he thought “ At least we don’t have to worry about Vanderbolt again. He won’t be back.”
Every once in a while I get a real crazy idea.
Something just seems to lodge in my head.
This time it’s a new phrase that Argent's last wordzzle created in my head.

When the Devil rides to work on a snow mobile.

It would replace the old “ When hell freezes over”.

It’s new. Its lighter. It has a better feel but it means the same thing.

Suppose, for example, you were a liberal Democrat and somebody asked are you going to vote for Sarah Palin in the next Presidential election?
You could respond “ Ya sure when the devil rides to work on a snow mobile.”

Or if you were a conservative Republican and somebody asked if you intended to vote for Obama the next time around.
You could respond “ Ya sure when the devil rides to work on a snow mobile.”

What I want to do is get the phrase out into general usage.
I need you to put it on your blog with a call to replace “ When Hell freezes over with it”
This is our chance to create an idiom.

Come join me.

Don't wait until " The Devil rides to work on a snow mobile."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

2nd after Epiphany

Pastor Joan has finished her sermon for the day. Here is part of that sermon.
“ When I was a little girl we would have big family gatherings at the holidays. There was lots of eating and drinking and all the cousins got to play with each other. It was great.
At every gathering just before we ate my Aunt Doris would remind us we needed to say table grace. Then she would pray that God would bless our food and bless our gathering by his presence. Several times I heard my uncle Fred say that the celebrations were more fun before his sister Doris got religion and put a damper on everything with this God talk.
Some time ago I was at a wedding reception in which I was asked to open the celebration with prayer. It felt right. Most of the time, however, I am invited to the reception but expected to stay out of the way. The God stuff was for the wedding but the reception didn’t need God nor I suspect want Him.
This is sad because as seen in today’s gospel God wants to add to te joy of our good times. He wants to fill them with extra joy. More joy than we have a right to expect.
But we invite God only into our troubled times , sickness, death, family problems. We want God when something needs fixing but otherwise He should leave us alone.
So we lose out.
We miss the really great abundant joy that could be ours.
Think of that at your next celebration.
Invite God in.

Today liturgical churches that use the common lectionary are celebrating the Second Sunday after the Epiphany. The gospel for the Sunday is John is John 2:1-11.
In that time in Church History when theologians and preachers looked at every text in terms of the symbols, open and hidden, it contained this text was a gold mine .It had
The number 6 which was a number for incompleteness.
The phrase “ On the third day” mirroring the Resurrection
The phrase “ my hour” pointing to Jesus death on the cross.
The wedding feast itself , a symbol for the relationship between God and man.
And the list could go on.
I have read some pretty fantastic sermons from that period. Like sermons today they pointed to Jesus as the one who save us but today’s congregation might not understand them because they are not steeped in historic symbolism as were the congregations at the time they were preached.
Today we aren’t so much interested in the symbols as we are in the story.
This little bit of Jesus history is so real and gives us a chance to see the love of God in action.
Jesus was baptized just a short time before this event. With the coming of the Holy Spirit he has a clear vision of the mission the Father has given Him. He has been busy gathering disciples. He had to be eager to get going.
I know that when I was in seminary I could hardly wait to get out and begin real ministry.
So what is he doing at the wedding? Why isn’t he out training disciples or preaching?
The text said he was called. But first it says his mother was there.
Can’t you just hear Mary. “ These are our oldest friends. The least you can do is come to their daughter’s wedding.”
So he came. It was not where he wanted to be.
Then she tells him they have run out of wine. He responds “ Mom, it isn’t time for me to do miracles”
She, of course ignores what he says and tells the servants to do what he says.
I really understand this. When I did my summer internship in a parish near home I was having coffee one morning with my mother when my grandmother called. Mom said Gram wanted me to visit Mr Pemberthy who was dying in the hospital. I told her I wasn’t a real pastor yet. I told her I hadn’t taken the course on counseling dieing people yet. She told Gram I would visit. I did.
Such is the power of mothers.
Jesus then works a miracle and creates six big jugs of wine enough to carry to the end of the wedding and beyond. But it is not just wine it is the best wine.
I love this text because here God tells us he cares about the good times in life as well as the bad. He wants to be part of our joy as well as our sorrow. But in the good times we tend to forget God or put Him on the back burner.
This is too bad because when we invited God to share our good times they become even better. It is not just a good time it is the best good time.
Think of that at your next celebration.