Posted by: mstrohman | September 30, 2018

Last Time

I noticed today that I haven’t seen the hummingbirds in a while. They are gone for the season. I guess it’s time to take down the feeders. I wonder, when was the last time I saw them? I think I saw them Friday, or was it Thursday?

There are so many things that happen that you just don’t realize that it’s your last time. When was the last time I got out of bed and didn’t hurt?

Sometimes you do get to know it’s your last time doing something and you are able to plan that memory accordingly. Such as your child’s last band concert, or last high school football game, or your last day in your home before you sell it.

Alas, there are some you just can’t plan ahead for. Some innocuous last times, such as, I wistfully think, when was the last time I weighed that. I sure wish I would’ve realized then that I wasn’t fat.

Then there are some life changing last times; I wish I would’ve known that was the last time I would speak to my brother before he passed away.

It really makes me think how much we need to cherish every minute of every day because you just don’t always know that it’s the last time of something!

Posted by: mstrohman | December 2, 2017

Reflection in the Northwoods

My first winter living in the Northwoods is just beginning. It’s December 1st, and I have developed a fascination with the forming ice.  I know most people’s opinions on this is “you can have it”, but I can’t help but love yet another one of God’s miracles of our earth.
3934E6F6-8595-44BD-ABA8-8BA143C49CD4I was convinced that the lake we live on only had a small bit of ice along the shore but upon closer investigation, with binoculars, I found that a little further out, what appeared to the novice to be open water, was simply ice formed with the ripples of the waves. Even farther out, on the other shore I could see the movement of open water.

Well, we have had several inches of snow so far, but it is all melted with our unseasonably warm temperatures (yes, unseasonably warm would be low to mid 40s). Therefore while the ice is forming we still have falling leaves, and it is mesmerizing to watch them fall upon the ice, expecting them to sink, but instead seeing them skitter across for several feet. We comically refer to our outdoors as “the frozen tundra”. I am still shocked at myself that someone who deplores being cold could possibly love it in the Northwoods at this time of year. We shall see if it lasts.9AF6FDA5-F4A0-4B5B-AE11-280AD6F4DE89

I spent some time today traveling to a much larger lake, Lake Minocqua . It was an incredibly windy day, and the white capped waves tore apart the forming ice, already several inches thick in areas. The ice stacked along the shore creating a tinkling sound as the waves continue to crash against them. Next week will likely be a different story as the temperatures are expected to be in single digits. While the thought of bone chilling cold makes me want to cozy up to the fire, the intriguing forming ice will pull me outdoors for a closer view, for a short while anyway.


Posted by: mstrohman | December 27, 2014

Going outside the box

In the spring of 2008 we began going to a new church.

Our daughter Amy had started getting up early every Sunday and going to church with a friend. Since we had fallen out of going to church the prior year, in part due to Amy’s lack of interest, we were somewhat curious / concerned of what she had gotten into. After many weeks of this non typical teenage behavior we decided it was time to check it out, so one Sunday we joined her.

The church, a nondenominational with a Baptist background, was very different than what our Catholic / Lutheran educations had taught us about what going to church should be. The lesson that morning was the first in a 3 part series titled ’20 questions’. The morning flew and instead of the typical timing of the sermon, counting the minutes until the end (not proud of it) we were more like ‘”it’s over already?” It was informative and fun with great music, and oh did I mention we got to bring our coffee into worship (sometimes it’s the little things). Well we were hooked, and we haven’t missed a Sunday since unless we are out of town.

A few months later in the fall of 2008 the church decided to move. They sold the building and already had land in Channahon to build on, but the bottom dropped out of the economy and the decision was made to meet instead in the Channahon Junior High School. This meant setting up & tearing down every Sunday. I am not going to lie my first thoughts were eww how’s that going to work and it’s kind of weird to meet in a school but it will only be for a little while, right? The church asked for volunteers to help in many areas, not having a building would be a challenge no-one here had faced before. Every week the ‘church’ would be unpacked & repacked from trailers in very meticulously labeled rolling boxes.

The Coffee Cart

The Coffee Cart

So we signed up to help; I volunteered to make coffee; I figured that would be an easy job and keep me on my own. Well, the weekly set up & tear down became a well-oiled machine. Everyone knew what needed to be done and each week the school cafeteria was transformed.

Fast forward to the present, December of 2014. Three days ago our new church was christened with its first service. Christmas Eve. After a little over a year of planning, building, and then once vacated by the builder, a final 2 week push from so many in the congregation pulling together, painting, cleaning & decorating we were in – and WOW – how wonderful!

After 6 years of making coffee out of that box tomorrow morning I will make coffee for church, not in the school art room but in our new building with a new set up / tear down plan… but no box.

The last few weeks has been a whirlwind getting the church ready and there has been a lot of reflection while painting, sawing, sanding & scrubbing.

I learned a few things while hanging around those boxes.

  • A church is not about the building, people make the church.
  • Sometimes you gotta put yourself out there. Yeah, get out of your box! You might get hurt, it happens, but chances are you will probably find someone facing the same thing & can help you through.
  • Sometimes doing something that is a little different for you can make all the difference in you!

Truth be told, I’m going to miss that box, but going outside the box has so many possibilities in store for me and my church.

Come join us won’t you?

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