Monday, January 24, 2011


Today I was busy working most of the day. I was on the computer and my phone most of the day, as Michelle’s Mom was quick to point out. Michelle spent most of the day with her sister Tracy who lives next door to her Mom. We had dinner at Michelle’s Moms house. We had a Mexican soup. We later played cards again. I had to chuckle at a comment by Michelle’s Mom. She said “Grandpa Spencer put it best when he said that fish and company have something in common; after 4 days they both stink, and no offense Brian but you have been here for 4 days” We laughed and couldn’t help but to compare her to her mother, who she so much doesn’t want to be like. I thought, wow she has no filter … I later scrubbed the dinner dishes and wiped all the countertops and stove top down. Michelle’s Mom told me I had done enough. Being quick on my feet I quickly reverted with “I am only trying to scrub the stink out a little bit."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Football and steak

Sunday night Hendrick made steak for dinner. Football was on and we watched the Packers beat the bears in the NFC championships. Later it was the Steelers over the Jets for the AFC championship. We discussed fixing Tracy’s flag pole, and what was the best way to replace the broken rope, 18 feet in the air. Fears of starring in the Darwin awards kept us from putting a ladder in the back of the tuck and balancing it on the flag pole. Michelle’s Mom was quick to point out I shouldn’t be the one to back the truck into place. Tracy and Hendrick like eating late so dinner was after 8PM. After a perfectly cooked steak dinner, we played a card game called screw your neighbor. 

Eaton Congressional Church

Sunday we went to church at Eaton Congressional Church. The sermon was “A walk on the West side: Understanding God’s elusive will” This was part 3 of a 3 part series. 1 and 2 were Perspective and Price and today’s sermon was Revelation. It was really centered around service, serving those less fortunate. The basis of his sermon was Ephesians 5:5-17
For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
   "Awake, O sleeper,
   and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you."
  Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
He also quoted 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 which I really enjoyed: 
 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you
After church we stayed and talked with some that we only see at church. Michelle’s Aunt Lela was there. I said hello to her and she stopped to see who it was saying hello. Daryl, the guy carrying her oxygen tank, didn't stop, so when her face was jerked in his direction, I couldn't help but to chuckle. Luckily she too found it amusing. Michelle’s Aunt Tina and her husband Harlow were there. The saw the same accident we did the night before. They went to Denver for an annual Cowboy Poetry presentation. After Church we went to see Michelle’s cousin’s Barb and Barry‘s new house. It was still under construction so the yard was not landscaped yet and there was plastic all over the house. Their daughter Amy was mentally handicapped about 20 years ago after she stopped to help someone who had hit an electric pole. She was electrocuted and now needs 24/7 care. Barb and Barry are very patient and have been blessed to be able to build this more accommodating house. After a tour, we headed back to the house. As I was backing out of the driveway, I backed right over some large landscaping rocks. It will be years before I live that one down. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dinner with Rader then back to Nana's

Saturday night we drove to Denver to meet old friends of ours, Joe and Tracy Rader. We met at a sports bar in a North Denver suburb. We were a little late because there was an accident on IH 25. Someone was hauling a pickup truck on an 18’ car hauler using a half ton Ram pickup. Common sense explains what happened there. The car hauler was wheels up and the cab of the pickup was crunched. On the way home we stopped by the Greeley Place, where Nana lives, to drop off some much needed Motrin. The arthritis in Nana’s jaw was bothering her. It was nice spending more time with Nana. She complained about moving soon. Her concerns were that she couldn’t find the address for the new place. I asked the name and she didn’t know it. “Point something or another” she said. I used my smart phone to not only find the name, but also the address of the new place. I told her the address and she said “Yea that’s it” I was surprised by this response because she led me to believe nobody would give her the address of the place. “I called the chamber of commerce” was her answer. We laughed and later figured out that her compulsive buying problem was probably the reason she wanted the address. She wanted the shopping magazines and things mailed to her. I told her how many beds the new place had and rattled off a few of the fun activities she could join in on. “How do you know all that stuff” she asked. “Well Michelle’s Mom Jeneane has a phone” Nana barked. Michelle’s mom promised a special phone call to me when Nana brings this up to her the next time she wants information on something. “My phone doesn’t have all these things” she will say.

Nana ... ornery? hahaha

Saturday was the day we planned to help Nana clean her apartment. Michelle inherited some of Nana’s bells. She took several of her favorite bells and grabbed a bell for Jennifer as well. There was a really cool cast iron mechanical bank, but Michelle’s Aunt Tina put her dibs on that. We also saw a flag that had flown over the Capitol of the United States. Tina took the US flag also. This gave me the idea to see how I could obtain a flag for myself. After some online research I found that for a small fee to Texas Congresswoman Kay Bailey Hutchinson, we could purchase a flag and have it flown over the US Capitol on a day of our choice. We decided to buy one and have it flown on my birthday April 3rd. After finishing up at Nana’s apartment we headed back to the house. It was entertaining to listen to the complaining about Nana’s disposition. Nana can have quite the ornery tone at times. I thought it was cute how Nana’s mood would always change when Michelle would talk to her and report how all the kids and grandkids are doing. Both Tina and Michelle’s Mom said “Shoot me if I ever get that way” Bang? Nah not just yet.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Denver to Eaton

Michelle and I met at the airport in Denver. Michelle’s flight was delayed so we got there at the same time. We had a nice drive to Eaton Co. I drove because Michelle’s Mom was not in the mood to drive. I think I had more sweat dripping from me than a Sumo wrestler at an HVAC conference though. Michelle’s Mom had the heater in the car cranked up high and I was happy when we got to the house in Eaton. Friday we hung out with Family. Hendrick made an Indian dish that I enjoyed, but it was too hot for Michelle and her Mom. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Spirit of St. Stevens Loaves and Fish

I flew in late Thursday after some meetings in Tampa. I spent the night at Mom and Dad’s house. I woke up to a busy Friday morning. My Mom was getting ready to go to the Loaves and Fishes headquarters. She was preparing the ingredients for the meatloaf which was the planned dinner for the homeless. Dad I left before Mom did and we went to Cosco to shop for the food for that night. We met Ed Flahavan (Flav) there. Flav is a retired priest who left his ordination. Long story better left for a future blog maybe. It was fun spending time with Flav and Dad. I found it amusing to watch them get their lunch from the sample carts set out by Cosco. My Dad would even return if there was a new person manning a station we had already visited. I may have embarrassed them by my outgoing nature, but Dad is used to that from me.
Dad and I went dropped off the groceries at the church, and then took off to get my sister’s daughter Kelly. Kelly wanted to come to put in some community service hours needed for the National Honors Society. We got half way to Kelly’s house and decided the traffic was too bad because of the snow and saw it best to head back to the church. We were glad we did, traffic was slower than the traffic on the most crooked road in San Francisco at the peak of the tourist season. Once at the church, we saw the homeless already lined up waiting for the free meal inside. Meatloaf was on the menu and this was much better than some nights, when there were peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I had fun mingling with the homeless and always enjoy hearing their stories. We were done after about 3 hours. My Dad left in one car and took a former homeless friend home to his house 20 or so miles south while Mom and I headed north to the house. The plan was to go to the lake that evening, but with all the snow and traffic we decided to wait. It was a fulfilling evening. 

Isaiah 58:7
Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
The Spirit of St. Stevens social justice outreach accomplished that on this snowy night. Their loaves and fishes ministry fed about 150 hungry people and kept them warm during a snowy evening in January, downtown Minneapolis.