Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Seek and find clues to the Hackbart-Morlock-Wright adventures of 2006
A minivan:
We drove cross-country in January from New York to Minnesota
Knight in a Wheelchair: Peter loves his new call as Chaplain at two nursing homes, parts of the Cerenity Senior Care system. He works at Dellwood Place and Humbolt.
Bear at a table: Kris started a new call as Pastor at Zion Lutheran in Chisago City, MN. She's working part-time mostly in Education. It's a medium sized congregation in the exurbs of St. Paul. Looks Rural, but is really a bedroom community. Great people and wonderful old church.
Castle: We moved into a new house in Lino Lakes, MN. It's not that big, but it is our castle now.
Tractor: The kids had a great time visiting the “Hackbart Ranch” this spring and summer. The kids planted potatoes on St. Patrick's day, which Granpa watered and weeded. Then they boys dug up the potatoes in July and took them to the county fair where they won blue and purple ribbons. Noah got to compete in the tractor pull, and Jonah and Miriam discovered cotton candy!
White Bear: Miriam was baptized at Easter with lots of family in attendance. The Chapel at The Hackbart Ranch was utilized for this happy occasion. It was built a few years ago for a memorial service for all the grandparents, so it was fun to gather around the theme of new birth.
Three kids in summer clothes: Everyone enjoyed the Morlock Cabins this summer. We did lots of swimming at Crosby, MN and watched the Fourth of July Parade. We were able to spend a weekend up there with Peter's cousins Paul and Carl who were great buddies. Uncle John taught Noah how to fish. We also traveled to Hayward WI for a quieter time at the other cabin. Grandma and Grandpa Hackbart went to see too, and enjoyed the forest and friends.
2 Baby Jesus’ in a Manger: Noah started Second Grade and turned 7 on September 23. He's doing really well in school in New York and spent the entire summer with us. Noah's good at Karate, all his school work and singing. He had a big solo in the Christmas Musical again this year. He'll be home for Chistmas.
3 Wise Men: Jonah turned Three on May 5th and started pre-school this fall. He's becoming quite the artist and tells stories all the time. Like his brother he sings almost non-stop, when he's not talking about how he painted the lines on the road.
1 Pink Hat: Miriam turned one on September 20th. She's going to be large and in charge, and her brothers better watch out! Miriam is already joining the choir, and adds her Hey! in the right place in "Jingle bells".

Otherwise, things are putting along! The Hackbart Ranch is a day's drive away, so we've seen Kris' folks quite a bit this year. Peter's parents live in St. Paul and Grandma Lynda tries to kidnap the kids about once every other week or so.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Gingerbread Christmas

This year I was able to help the students at Zion's Kindervillage create Christmas Pagaent centerpieces.
In case you are wondering, this is what I did with the kids.

I made the stables ahead of time using Grahm Crackers and Royal Icing. They dried at least overnight. I used scraps of cracker to prop the roof up a little, it helps with the next step.

Then I gathered the pieces for the inside: Elf Cookies, Animal Crackers, Shredded Mini-Wheats, Pretzl Stars, candy canes and gummy bears.

Use what you can find, I was lucky on the pretzel stars. I used the candy canes for Joseph's staff, and thought about wrapping Mary in a piece of blue fruit roll-up.

I helped each pair of students by squirting more royal icing on the cardboard, as I told the story of Mary and Joseph going to Bethlehem, and laying Baby Jesus in the Manger. They placed the figures in the frosting; animals in the stable, Joseph and Mary, the Manger and the Baby, and finally the star on top of the Stable.

This young man laid everyone down, but they all stand up very nicely in the icing!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


My mentor, Chuck Schwartz, just challenged me (and all his blog readers) to list what they are thankful for this year.

Turkey day was part of a busy weekend filled with family and fellowship and food. For my Thanksgiving Eve service I made a pan of seven layer bars, giving thanks for God's faith in us "Cracked Pots", the Oil of blessings we recieve, and the Darkness that we walk through that help us see the Light in a life flowing with Milk and honey. For Nutty thank-offerings and the Manna that God gives us every day.

I'm grateful for three kids who call me mom and one who calls me honey. I'm thankful for family, santa's sleigh arriving from Kansas a month early, and good weather for Christmas lights. I grateful for three-year olds singing "Gloria in eggshells-ies Deo!", retired marines setting up Nativity Stables and a huge box of cookies in my office. For weddings and baptisms and all the celebrations people get together for throughout the year. For the Reason of the Season sleeping in the manger small, and spreading out his arms for us upon the cross so tall.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Re-formation. Con-formation. A-formation

This Sunday at Zion was Reformation Sunday, when we recall Martin Luther's attempt to re-form the Catholic church from the inside out, and ended up forming his own group of followers from the outside. My question of the day is whether the Lutheran Church is still a re-forming church or have we become petrified in some ways. What would Luther say about the church today? Where can Grace, Faith, Christ and the Word lead us in an ever-changing world?

This Sunday we also celebrated the Affirmation of Baptism of 7 young adults. We call the process leading to this day CONFIRMATION.
CONFIRM:1 : to give approval to 2 : to make firm or firmer
4 : to give new assurance of the validity of : remove doubt about by authoritative act or indisputable fact.

It is our prayer that these young people have spent some time making their faith stronger, and giving new assurance of the validity of thier salvation. It is also our prayer that this is not a graduation from the church education process and worship, and that we will see them in the next 10 years!

What will confirm your faith today? Is it the ability of people to change in the face of adversity? Is it God's ability to remain steadfast in the face of our inability to trust? Or is it the smile on the face of the Goblin with a Unicef box when you donate a whole $5.00 bill?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

See Miriam Dancing!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Three Beautiful Things

I was just cruising through the "dashboard" from my blog when I ran across a wonderful blog called Three Beautiful Things. A british page listing three beautiful things a day. It's a good way to start your day, finding three beautiful things in your world.

Here's todays:
1. Sunrise over Zion: a pic sent by a member that I hope forshadows the future of this place. I pray that Pastor Mike and I can see the beginning of a new day in Chisago City, not the end of an era.

2. Dry pants; Jonah's been dry all day for a week now! Only one child in diapers will be a beautiful thing!

3. Apples! It's fall and the HoneyCrisps are delicious

What three beautiful things can you find today?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

What I did this summer

It's September again, and time for the annual first assignment: What I did on my Summer Vacation. Noah started second grade on Wednesday and the only work he has reported doing was journaling, so I'm guessing that's what he did!

Here's a short review:
The boys played t-ball

Jonah had fun just learning which way to run. Noah's a pretty good batter and really ready for a pitched game.

Everyone went to Kansas and picked
potatoes and took them to the fair.
Jonah and Miriam helped to plant the potatoes on St. Patric's Day, they grew all summer and were ready for picking when everyone came back.

Miriam liked the wagon rides with her cousin Katie.

Then we got to go to the cabin in Minnesota and play in the lake.
Miriam and Noah are fish, Jonah likes the water sometimes.

We went to another cabin, a water park and the Minnesota State fair.

It was a busy, fun summer!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Taking GOD outside the box

Those who know me well know that I am a tactile and visual learner, I like to touch and see things in order to understand them. And here I am, a pastor, trying to teach things that can't be seen or touched or tasted in the manner in which, perhaps, one could teach baking. (Pie anyone?)

So when confronted with Paul's prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21 that we should be empowered to know the breadth and depth and height and width of Christ's Love (which surpasses knowledge) I thought about a box.

I hope this isn't because I'm obsessed with getting boxes unpacked at the house.

But I do like to put things in a box. Packing is almost fun, it's the unpacking that is becoming a problem. It's easy to put things into a box, providing that the box is big enough.

One of the first boxes mentioned in the bible is the Ark, according to the New Living Translation, the Ark was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. That's a pretty big box, and it didn't hold God, it held Noah and the animals.

Another God Box of the bible is the Ark of the Covenant. It was 3 3/4 feet long, 2 1/4 feet wide, and 2 1/4 feet high. That's not a very big box. Surely not big enough to contain God.

With a little work I discovered that Zion Lutheran's sanctuary, (another God Box) is 92 feet long by 56 feet wide and about 18 feet high. Somewhere in the middle between Ark of Noah and Ark of the Covenant.

Still, not big enough to contain God, or as Paul is really looking for, God's love.

God's love is bigger than the new boat, Freedom of the Seas, which is 1,112 feet long, 184 feet wide and drafts 24 feet. You get the picture, I hope that there is no Box for God's love. We as humans, my try to put God in a box, but God won't stay there. (unlike my paring knives which are staying in whatever lost box they are hiding in)

We try to put God in our favorite box; the one that contains a God that looks like us and acts like us. The box that we'd like to be in, even if we can't quite get there. Small boxes are sometimes better because there is not so much room to rattle around and get lost and confused. Big God Boxes are scary, because they may contain a God that confronts us and challenges us. God may want us to step outside our box and into someone else' box that doesn't look like ours.

How big is your God Box? How long is God's love? Does it go all the way back to Adam, or even futher back to before humans were created? Cand you imagine a love that extends forward to eternity?
How deep is God's love? Psalm 139 reminds us that if we go to the depths of hell, God is still there. So if we feel like we've descended into the depths, God is with us.
How wide is God's love? It may be harder for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than a rich man to get to heaven, but God's love cuts a wide swath though human history.
What is the breadth of God's love? What is the fourth dimention to a love that knows no bounds?

Big enough to love you when you doubt or turn the other way?
Big enough to see your tears and wipe them dry?
Big enough to laugh with you when you trip over your own feet?
Big enough to open up the box of your heart and dwell within?

What if you really believed that God loved you as much and Christ says? More than can be understood, asked or imagined? How would you act? What would you do?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

On Vacation

It’s summer time! Time to relax, refresh, and get all those chores done around the house that you have put off all winter. And time to take that long awaited Vacation.

As a kid my parents took us on two kinds of vacations. Sometimes we went to visit family, and places that were familiar. Grandma’s house in Kansas was familiar and fun, and we were comfortable and well-fed (body and soul) on those vacations. We got to know our cousins, aunts and uncles, and learned about the history and traditions of our family. How else do you learn to make home-made ice cream or taffy? The drive was long, but we knew when it would end, because we had made the trip before. Family vacations were safe and predictable, but important to the building of relationships that make a family.

Other times we went out to see the world: I think my folks tried to get to all the National Parks and National Monuments in the Western States. We would pile into the Suburban at 6:00 in the morning, and promptly fall back asleep. Every once in a while dad would yell, “Wake up and look at something!” We would look out the window and look at the sand, or the trees, or the mountains, and wonder what it was we were looking at. Dad wanted us to experience the journey, to see this beautiful country that God has made. And while I know we whined the whole time, I still remember seeing the stone bridges at Arches National Monument, the vastness of the Grand Canyon, the stark beauty of White Sands. I know more about my country, and tend to think the whole thing is beautiful and important because of those vacations.

Which vacation are you taking this summer? Are you visiting family and friends, staying in your comfort zone, and being personally well-fed? Or are you going out to see the world? Are you ready to experience all that God has made, even if the journey is arduous and the food is different? Both vacations are important. Wherever your go, take time to experience God’s world and the people God has placed in your path.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Just the Box, Mom!

We're getting settled in our new house, it's never just a matter of moving the stuff into the house and living, there's so many little things to do! But the kids are transitioning well. They don't need much, a box, a swingset, and someone to go running through the sprinklers with and they are happy.

Moving is such sweet sorrow. The excitement of finding a new place is mixed with the loss of an old one. The joy of meeting new people is balanced by the holes left from leaving old friends. We are really enjoying being close to family, Grandma can keep Jonah one afternoon a week, and come watch both kids one night a week. We really miss the community in Clifton Park, knowing where everything is, know who everyone is at work. This getting to know another 1000 people is hard work!

Noah was here for the big move, as soon as his bike came off the truck he was happy! I guess the neighbors down the street at the dead end know all about us, and we've never been down the street! It won't take long for him to get connected in July.

  • Pics from top to bottom:
  • Jonah and Miriam in their little house in front of the big one.
  • Jonah and Grandma Lynda in the sprinklers.
  • Noah and Jonah in the fort.
  • Miriam and Grandpa Hackbart


Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Don't curse the Road!

"'tis better to keep walking, than to curse the road" African proverb sighted in St. Paul.

Sometimes the road we are on isn't the road we wish we were on. But it is better to keep going, than to curse our situation, whine and moan and get nowhere! Lent begins tomorro, March 1st, in the Lutheran Calendar. So tonight we are having a friend over for pancakes, with all the gooey toppings we can find; syrup, chocolate, strawberries, pineapple, peanut butter. Maybe not all at once, but they will all be on the table. Then we begin in ernest the walk to the cross that is the season of lent.

In New Orleans and all over people will be celebrating "Fat Tuesday" with much more vigor and "fat" than we are. It is a way to keep walking in the face of a more somber road. We head into the season of Lent with singing and dancing and enjoying the gifts of God. Then we spend forty days contemplating and reflecting on those gifts, especially God's greatest gift, that of the life of his Son. It is a road to be cursed, the road to the cross, but as Christians, we know that at the end of that cursed road is the empty grave of Easter. To keep walking is to walk towards a goal greater than the road.

Friday, February 17, 2006

All things are made new

How long has it been since you were awed by a carrot peeler? My 2-year old son Jonah watched me peel carrots yesterday and exclaimed "Wow!" He was overjoyed at the news that the cleaners would come to Grandma's house today saying "That's very nice of them!" We get older and more jaded by life and forget that carrot peels are really cool! If you are only 4 months old, even toes are new!
Reminds me that "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17.
All things can be new again: carrot peelings, the cleaners coming, the trash truck. Or in our daily routine; a new e-mail from an old friend, a different shadow out the window, a new word out of our child's mouth. We are constantly being reborn in Christ, as the waters of baptism pour through our lives, not just once but every day, renewing our strength, our passions and our lives.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

A whole new world

We've anchored for the moment in St. Anthony Park, MN. A self-proclaimed small village in a big city, it is a far cry from the suburbs that we came from. There are wonderful old homes with character and too many steps. There are detached garages and steep driveways, and back alleys. There are SIDEWALKS! There are even places to walk to! From my inlaw's home we can walk to a corner grocery, hardware store, post office, two churches, several cafes and the library. And that's just the beginning. It's hard to see in the photo, but you can see downtown Minneapolis from our front porch!

It's been wonderful to put the kids in the stroller and go check the mail. This usually isn't an easy task in January, but it's been really warm, 45 degrees one day last week! I am stiffer than I have been in a long time, some combination of the weather and the walking.

Another difference between MN and NY are the shoes. I fell in love with clogs and slip-ons when I came to visit a few years ago, but then never could find much in the way of selection "back home". Now I come here, and every other woman is wearing clogs. The selections in the stores seem bigger too!

Maybe it's for real. Maybe it's just the stores my Mother in Law takes me to!! But either way, it's a whole new world here, and I'm getting used to it, even as I miss the people back east!


Sunday, January 22, 2006

We're Here!

After 1200 plus miles and 28 hours we have arrived in St. Paul Minnesota! It is good to be in our new "home". Right now we are living with Peter's parents until our house sells and we find a new one here.

The Dads drove the big 26' truck, and Peter and I drove Miriam in the minivan. It was a rather uneventful trip, especially for mid-January. We hit the road about 6:30 AM after saying goodbye to Noah, and just kept driving.

We had lunch south of Buffalo, and finally stopped for dinner in Sturgis. ( I'm not sure how we got to South Dakota without going through Chicago!)

Tuesday we got rained on as we drove around Chicago, but no ice. It dried up during our long stretch through Wisconsin, and we arrived in St. Paul by supper time.

All is cold here, not much snow. Jonah got new hair!

More later!


Friday, January 06, 2006

On the Road Again

Jonah went on a cross country trip with Grandma and Grandpa Morlock. They drove from Clifton Park, NY to St. Paul, NM in two days. Our Cat, Misty, got to ride along as well. Apparently Jonah was a wonderful passenger, and the cat was silent the whole trip. Jonah got to see a truck stop and a rock shaped like a duck. He's home with his Daddy now!

Grandma and Grandpa Hackbart are finally off the road! They are home from California and their Petal Pusher trip to the Rose Parade. It rained on their parade, but they had fun gluing stuff on floats.

Miriam and I will be all alone tonight, as Noah gets to go see his Father who just returned from a trip to Columbia. How quiet it will be!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Happy New Year!

It's the third day of 2006, and my house looks empty. We've taken down all the pictures, the shelves, and emptied most of the shelves. It's full of boxes. Boxes of books and pictures and pots and pans. There are bits and pieces left floating around, and we need to get into the bedrooms and pack them, but we're still wearing our clothes! My Mother-in-law has spent two days packing the kitchen and dining room. My Father-in-law keeps plugging away at the big stuff and the downstairs. We have taken one load to recycling and the dump and there is a big pile to take tomorro.

How much of this do we really use? We've left the plates and bowls and a few pots and pans, as well as the silverware. There are clothes in our closet, and a few toys and books for the boys. The beds won't go until the 14th. I've tossed lots of things that have not seen the light of day in 4 years. I hope I'll use the rest next time around. The computer will be the last box packed as we load the van!

Our lives are not as simple as we'd like, unless they have to be. What would happen if the truck got stolen from the driveway after it was packed? Not much, really. I'd really miss the photos in the photo albums, but the important things would be in the house with me, Peter, Noah, Jonah and Miriam. ( and Fritz and my dad) Maybe the next time around we'd just get what we really used, and really keep it simple.

It's a new year! Clean out, clear out, and don't buy so much stuff!