Christmas, 2006

Arise, Shine; for your Light has come, 
and the Glory of the Lord has risen upon you.  
Isaiah 60:1

Williston, Ohio

Dear Friends,

May the promise of that special star shine it's blessing in your heart this Christmas season and always.

"How are you doing?" - the question is asked so often these days. I hope all is well with you!  Praise the Lord, God has filled my time with many things since that fateful day, June 1, when Bill collapsed and died! (Bill's obituary)

So, what am I doing ---

Springtime activities - My chapter co-leader and I taught 4 classes on various facets of "Cooking for Health," with food demonstrations in the 577 Foundation Cottage kitchen. I also taught a class "Gardening for Maximum Nutrition."  Have been working to improve the soil fertility of my garden and quality of my garden produce. The reward has been tastier vegetables. I was amazed this fall to taste how sweet my collard greens are. I always thought of them as being bitter - but that's what happens when you load them up with too much nitrogen, as commercial farmers are wont to do. Unfortunately not all organic gardeners/farmers understand this.

Also active with the raw milk issue here in Ohio, including testifying before the Ohio House committee considering a bill to legalize the sale of "Real Milk" directly from the farm.

June 11-14 - Attended the ELCA Tanzania Consultation in Plymouth, Michigan, with representatives of all the synods with companion dioceses in Tanzania, along with 4 bishops from Tanzania.

June 25 - Scandinavian Club picnic at my house - a gorgeous day to enjoy the garden.

July 17 - Organized a potluck picnic of our Weston A. Price Foundation Toledo Chapter, with a program about Vitamin B12 by a doctor who is also a chapter leader.

July 27-30 - Attended the ELCA Global Mission Event in Amherst, Massachusetts, three lively and stimulating days, at which I focused on Sustainable Development.

July 30 - August 7 - visited my sister-in-law, Eleanor Gravdahl, in Jamestown, Rhode Island, where we celebrated the marriage of her step grandson, with a spectacular reception at El's home, 'Birdview,' with the view of Newport across the bay. This was in happy juxtaposition to the sad event in April that had brought us to Jamestown for the funeral of El's husband, John, who had been disabled and in a nursing home for many months.

September 17-18 - A very welcome visit from Tanzania missionary friends, Stan & Marie Benson.

September 25 - My chapter co-leader, Lisa, and I taught another nutrition class - "Shopping for Health - the Grocery Store Blues" at the 577 Foundation cottage kitchen, complete with food demonstration.  Lisa, who is also now single, has become a very special friend, as we share our deep interest in all things nutritional. She is a Holistic Health Counselor.

September 30 - Attended 'Growing Connections' (sponsored by the Detroit Chapter of WAPF) Conference north of Pontiac, with a new friend from our farm club, where I met friends from Pontiac days who also have a special interest in nutrition. As farm club coordinator I gather the orders every other week and welcome new members.

Late August thru early October - spent many days with Dot in Lansing helping her get her house and garden back in order after considerable neglect. She hopes to start a career as landscaping. 

October 12-14 and 21-24 - Hosted 3 ladies from the Dodoma (Tanzania) Evangelism Team that visited our synod and inspired us with their lively singing and dancing. Attended several events associated with their 3 week visit here in northwest Ohio.

I have to stop and tell you a story. I knew one of the ladies I hosted, Mastidia, because she is a member of our companion congregation and Bill and I stayed with her and her husband in 2000 when we visited Dodoma. She brought a letter from her pastor, Josephine, who lost her arm in a nasty bus accident last year. She complains of having a great deal of phantom pain in that missing arm, and the doctors don't know what to do. A thought flashed into my mind as I remembered having read about treating phantom pain in a book I have called "Energy Medicine" by Donna Eden I looked in the index, and sure enough, there it was. It is a simple, non-invasive, no-cost technique that I thought Mastidia, who is a nurse, might learn. I showed the book to her and my second visitor, who is also a nurse, and speaks English well. They were excited. I pulled some more info off the Internet and gave them the book to take home and study. About the same day I got a letter addressed to Bill and me from one of his classmates, leading me to realize that his classmates hadn't be notified of his death. I have gotten to know several of them because of their class reunions. So I got busy and emailed and snail mailed several of them with Bill's obituary. Right away I got an email back from one of his classmates who is a psychologist. Remembering that he had told us at the last reunion about a simple technique he and a team of healers were using in Uganda to heal people suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome, I told him about Pastor Josephine's problem and the book I had given them. He wrote back that I was on the right track and that he know the author of that book personally! Now I'm eagerly waiting to hear if Mastidia has mastered the technique and relieved Josephine’s pain. God works in mysterious ways!

October 18-20 - Participated in the Region 6 Global Mission Consultation in Bluffton, Ohio. As chair of our synod GM committee, leading our monthly meetings keeps me busy. Missed the monthly Scandinavian meeting because of this, and in my absence they drafted me as co-vice president to replace Bill. That puts me in charge of finding places for those monthly dinner meetings. 

November 10-13 - Attended the Weston A Price Foundation 'Wise Traditions' Conference
(The Health Equation: Healthy Soil = Healthy Grass = Healthy Animals = Healthy Meat and Milk = Healthy People), in Washington, DC, along with my chapter co-leader, Lisa. We were stimulated by over 30 expert speakers and spent Monday with nearly 100 other WAPF chapter leaders.

November 20 - Presented, with Lisa, a class and food demo on "Thanksgiving Dinner, the Way It's Meant to Be"

November 23 - Thanksgiving dinner with all the family at Mark's house in Cleveland Heights, followed by dinner here with everyone on Sunday. The family is all well, the grandchildren growing strong and bright.

December 2 - Gave a presentation on "Why We Need a Local Sustainable Food System" at our 'Local Food Works' conference here in Toledo.

December 8-9 - As chair of our congregation evangelism committee, I and another committee member attended an exciting Evangelism Conference in Perrysburg that simulated some new thinking about how to do evangelism, thanks to a keynote speaker, Reggie McNeal, who is a renegade Baptist!

December 14-18 - Hosted more visitors from Tanzania - this time two members of the Bukoba Cathedral Choir who were here for a brief visit, spreading the  Gospel of Peace, after performing in Washington, D.C., Minneapolis and Chicago. They are from the home church of one of our Global Mission board members who is from that church. Bukoba is on the west shore of Lake Victoria.

I’m back to singing in the church choir now - though they've had to call and remind me to come to rehearsal. One gets out of the habit!

Our season tickets to the symphony concerts and Village Players, purchased last spring, have provided an interesting opportunity to invite other 'singles' to share the performances and dinner with me here in Williston beforehand. Knowing the problems with our commercial food system, I don’'t eat out more than I have to, and Take great joy in cooking simple but flavorful meals, with butter, pasture raised meat, home grown vegetables, and my latest - Swedish limpa made from fresh ground grains (see the easy recipe at my Website, under 'Snacks'). Come and join me!

Wishing you Peace & Joy as we celebrate Christ's birth!