Monday, August 31, 2009

Highlights From Our Time in Iowa

#9. A Jet Ski Ride

#8. Playing on the dock after Dekalb Days.

#7. Iowa Sunset

#6. A ride to the River

#5. A Family Picture

#4. Throwing Rocks in the Des Moines River

#3. Devotions around the campfire:
The King Who Forgot to Say Thank You (that would be Hezekiah)

#2. A Ride in the Fire Truck!

#1. Swimming in the pond on a hot August day.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Elliot is Three Months Old

Elliot watched me make home made pizza this weekend. He looked so smart in his bibs I had to snap some photos. (Thank you Joel and Allison for the bib overalls!)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Iowa State Fair

Everything is bigger in Iowa. At least that's what we learned last week at the Iowa State Fair. We enjoyed a day of celebrating everything Iowa. The folks at the Iowa State Fair (1 million visitors a year) come not just to peak at this year's tallest corn stalk or record breaking "big bull," but to celebrate things that are becoming harder to find these days - rural mid west farm communities.

Garrison Keillor writes about these rare fairs of the Midwest,

The state fair is a ritual carnival marking the end of summer and gardens and apple orchards and the start of school and higher algebra and the imposition of strict rules and what we in the north call the Long Dark Time. Like gardening, the fair doesn't change all that much.

See his Top Ten State Fair Joys

Also read his interview on NPR

I explained to Brian about all the youngsters showing off their livestock, and how it was important that you scrubbed them up well (think Charlotte's Web), kept the animal between you and the judge as you led it around the pin, how the judge looks for sound feet, wide bodies, high weight gain, etc., etc.

Each day they have varying contests in horticulture, culinary arts, baking, pig calling, watermelon seed spitting, tractor-pull, banjo tournament, Queen contest...and many others. Brian asked a good question, "What do you get in the end?" Most of the time you get a ribbon, and maybe a few dollars, if your lucky.

Except the Cinnamon Rolls contest. First place takes home $3,000, and is highly competitive, sought after title.

But pride is what most people are after. Who wouldn't want to be known as the winner of the Outhouse Races? Or the Senior Spelldown? Or the Mullet Contest?

Brian learned I had some history with fair contests too (Southern Iowa Fair)- the Pedal Tractor Pull, Homemade Ice-Cream (second place), a science fair project on growing soybeans (second place), the Fair Queen (third place), Bill Riley Talent show (third place) and Bible Bowl (second place). I entered pigs at the fair starting at the age of 10 years, until I was 18 (I never won that one).

Here are a few highlights of Ezra's second year at the Iowa State Fair, and Brian and Elliot's first...

(pictures of the contest winners taken from

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Hidden Face of God

The Hidden Face of God, is an album from Michael Card that I ran across while looking for worship ideas for dealing with mental and physical dissability. You can listen to it here:

The songs offer words for our prayers when we struggle to find God. His website says this about the CD,

When David laments in the psalms or Job complains to God, more often than not they accuse God of hiding His face. They know what we have forgotten; the answer to our suffering is never the specific solution for which we cry out. It is not some cure or provision that we really need. We never ask for what we really need, and so it is no wonder that we are so often disappointed in our prayers. Because what we need is Presence. We need to see the Face of God.This is a collection of songs about the dilemma of finding that hidden Face.

When visiting Dordt College in 2004, Michael Card said that he sometimes regrets packing so many words into his music, being "wordy" especially early on in his career. He is gifted at writing, and has a gift of putting biblical text to music in a very meaningful way. My favorite on this album is, "Come Lift up your Sorrows," a song that gives us the words of wilderness and despair and allows us to bring them to God - a God that was wounded too.