Thursday, October 12, 2017

"Love... without fear"

“... May I love without fear...”  
The desire of a man... led to this experience.

  “God led experiences.”

Shannon Bauer recalls:”Years ago when I was completing a Master’s of Counseling degree through Sioux Falls Seminary, I had a busy schedule.  My family lived in Spencer, IA which was a two hour drive from Sioux Falls and I was preaching at two Presbyterian churches near Worthington, MN one hour from Sioux Falls.  
“A typical week for me was seminary from Monday through Friday, then head home Friday night through Sunday morning.  Sunday morning, I would lead the worship services and then head to Sioux Falls to begin the week again.  
“One Sunday afternoon, while on my way, I was filling up with gas in Worthington.  When doing this I would use my credit card at the pump for convenience. 
“On this particular day I noticed a man outside the gas station.  While I was pumping gas I had an overwhelming desire to see if this man needed help.  He did not have a sign nor did he seem to be in stress.  

Yet God prodded me 
   to reach out to him.”  

“I had already paid for my gas at the pump and had no need to go towards the station.  I was ready to make an excuse to God and continue my journey.  Then I felt a bit thirsty.  
“I looked over the man’s shoulder and noticed a sign for bottled water: “Two bottles of water for $2.’”  
“Okay God. I will go into the store and buy two bottles of water and offer the man one.  As I was leaving the store the man was still there.  I went over to him and said, ‘Do you need some water? Is there anything I can do for you sir?’"

“Why did those words 
    come out of my mouth?”  

“Before I could make sense of my own statement he replied, “Yes, I would really appreciate a ride to my home in Sioux Falls.”  (About 60+ miles.)

Well... it would only be a few miles 
out of Shannon’s way!

“I agreed to give him a ride.  As we drove to Sioux Falls, I learned that he was a bull fighter.  He and his girlfriend were at a competition in Duluth when his truck broke down.  
“He did not carry a credit card nor did he have a cell phone.  He only had enough cash to pay the mechanic there to order the needed part to fix his truck.  Yet the truck was not to be fixed till the following week and he needed to get back to Sioux Falls for work.
 “He had enough cash left over to 1) purchase a bus ticket to Albert Lea for his girlfriend to get home and 2) buy a ticket for him to get to Worthington.  
“He had no idea how he was going to get from Worthington to Sioux Falls until I showed up.  I had showed up less than 5 minutes after the bus dropped him off at the gas station in Worthington.  
“I did not see or hear from this man after I dropped him off at his home.  
"I do thank God that He gave me 
an opportunity to be a blessing.”

"May I love... without fear."

This is the morning prayer of Shannon Bauer, pastor at Wangen Prairie Lutheran Church, southwest of Cannon Falls.  And each evening Shannon reflects on the ways God has used him... “and when my stubborness kept me
 from being used by God.”

Friday, October 6, 2017

Scary stories... crime novels!

The invitation to the crime novelist’s book release party at his home up in the cities sounded interesting.
But I was pretty scared.  
Not because of the novel or the author.
I just didn’t know how I would get through the busy traffic.
But all went pretty well.  In fact, the author was delayed coming from his previous book launch gathering because of traffic!
Am I in the right house?
We had been told to park on a side street and enter the house on the lower level through the back patio for easier access. I was all alone and with no numbers on the back sides of the houses I wasn’t sure if I was going into the right one!  I hoped I wouldn’t be arrested for unlawful entry or possibly surprising someone coming out of the shower!
I heard voices upstairs and headed that way.  Among the crowd I finally found the hostess. Then she had her friend from New York City visit with me while she retrieved a surprise for me!
It was a small replica of a Colombian saddle for a horse - that I could hang from the mirror in my car.  Yes, I realize that might not be legal to do that in Minnesota but it’s really cute and I’ll find someplace in the car for it.
I was still recuperating from my fear of driving to the party so I got a half cup of coffee and checked out all the folks talking to each other in the crowd.  
My next thought was: I might just leave right now!
How to “mingle”?
But then I thought... I drove all the way up here... there must be some way to “mingle”.   
Surveying the crowd I finally found two couples who had left a space open that I could quietly shift into.   
And it was an interesting conversation.
Then I found another group that had left an empty space - just for me, right?
The guests appeared to be mainly close friends of the hosts.  But I was probably the only one who had had a part in one of his novels!  
Well, kind of anyway.  
“Assassins... drugs... bring your shovel?”
A couple of years ago I wrote about it in my column:  “Assassins... drugs... bring your shovel?” Or you can find it on my blog: Along the way by Rosie.
It’s the novel where the drug lord’s assassin was burying bodies on a Paso Fino horse farm outside of Cannon Falls, MN!  I didn’t know about this when the book was published.  I found it out when I was interviewing several crime novelists from the twin cities!
ACKKKKKK!  Not my sweet little farm!
When I told a Cannon Falls Police Officer what I had discovered in my interview he just shook his head and said, “Now I suppose we’ll have to get a shovel and come out and dig.”
Later on at the party another thought worried me.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have mentioned this episode to the guests because who knows if they believed that I was innocent!
Hazardous driving?
Soon I began wondering if the drive home would be as hazardous as coming up and I decided to leave.  It wasn’t.   
When I got home I decided that because of my concerns about driving in the cities, I would like to let other drivers know I’m not purposely trying to irritate them.  I’m just trying to be “careful”!
So I wanted to make a bumper sticker to express this.
I decided that it probably would not be appropriate to make one saying:  “F.... YOU TOO!”

So I decided on:

(Thanks to Christopher Valen and his wife Martha. Chris’ latest book was just released: St. Paul Homicide Detective John Santana in “Speak for the Dead”.)

Friday, September 29, 2017

                SURPRISE!  (OH NO!!!!!!!)

It was the opportunity to experience a different culture.  The 79 year old white-haired Grandma had just had her hair styled and hoped she looked pretty while enjoying a quiet birthday lunch.  Her grown-up children wanted her to cultivate new customs, they explained.
They found a restaurant during a trip to Minnesota and the food was delicious even though grandma had no idea what to expect!

The staff had been told that it was her birthday - although she would have preferred to be anonymous.
So when the servers showed up after the meal with a rather silly looking “birthday hat”, she gamely put it on and smiled.  And a large glass goblet with dessert was put in front of her while the staff sang “Happy Birthday”.
This sounds as if it’s going well... right?
                                        Oh Oh!
When the song was finished, one member of the staff quickly reached over the table and shoved a large slab of foamy substance onto her face! (It turned out to be whipping cream.)

Her immediate reaction was:  Is something bad happening?  Do I need to protect someone?

A cultural tradition?
Although shocked, grandma had to wonder if this was part of this culture’s tradition?
She accepted the pile of napkins the staff was giving her to clean off her face.
In confusion she tried to decide how to react.  
Apparently she was supposed to like this experience and laugh.
Instead, her daughter watched concernedly as grandma’s hand was inching toward the large glass goblet... with the possible intention of throwing it!
But instead, grandma decided to simply taste the sweet dessert... although feeling quiet desperation.

And why do this?
After leaving a nice tip - the original meal was good - grandma waited until her children had left the restaurant and quietly asked to talk with the manager.
Her idea was to find out if this was a tradition in their culture?  Because it wasn’t in hers.  This could be part of learning to know each other.  There are many new things they learn when coming to the U.S.
And maybe they could accept that this was not something everyone enjoys!
The manager said it wasn’t their culture’s tradition and he thought they could ask people next time.  

And so...
So how did I get this story?
I am the grandma.
I’m not mentioning the name of the restaurant because it’s really good and it looks like they will change their policy.  
I’ve probably done things I thought were fun that someone else might not have enjoyed as much as me!  And now my friends will probably keep whipping cream ready to spray me!
But I would still like to protect other “grandmas” who don’t want this surprise!  So if you run into a similar situation, please let me know.
And Happy Birthday to you too!  
(Yes, my son captured the whole scene on my iphone!  No...I don’t plan to put it on Youtube!)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

We can’t save them all... 
 but we can show them love”

            “We teach them how it is to be loved.”
“Nobody was their voice... they had nobody to protect them." 
This is the heart’s desire of three women whose mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome slaughter bound horses and also horses in situations involving abuse, neglect or the inability of the owner to provide needed care.
The gals are: from L-R:  Madeline (Maddy) Snyder, Apple Valley, Kat Rohl, Cannon Falls and Kathy Peterson, North Branch.  Kat has turned her home stables south of Cannon Falls into Resthaven Horse Rescue.

The business acumen of the three who also work full-time resulted in getting legal recognition of their tax exempt status with a 501c3.  And they have the enthusiasm to organize fundraisers to help with their project.

Their years of experience with horses has provided them with the understanding of the amount of work involved and the dedication needed.
Kat explained:  “All we do is work hard.”
Maddy added: “We can’t give up now!”

Why do this?
Kat explained how they got into this project.  A few years ago they knew they wanted to save horses from slaughter but decided they would focus on helping horses who were in life threatening situations.
Their plan is to get the horses healthy and then find homes for them.
Where do they find them?
They find the horses they rescue in various ways.  Some are seen online where it is explained that if they aren’t sold by a certain date they will go to slaughter.
Or someone gets a horse out of a slaughter pen and then finds it’s too much for them and they need the help of these gals.
Or authorities call them.
Where the horses come from...
It’s not always the fault of bad owners, Kat explained.  There may be circumstances that led to the problem.  They have a strict privacy policy and do not release the names of the owners.
In one case no one knew what the problem was.  The horse was deteriorating. They had tests done that showed an intestinal cancer that was difficult to diagnose or treat.  This horse didn’t make it.  To this day they miss her, Kat explained.   
“We cannot save them all, but we can show them respect, compassion and love.”

Some of the success stories...
The horses reflect a variety of breeds... quarter horse, mustang, mini and then there’s Erica, a “Jenny” mini mule. 

Kat explained, when Erica came she would not eat, she had a heart murmur, stomach ulcers, fluid buildup on her belly, open sores from her jaw to her tail and was so skinny her bones stuck out.  She was very sick.”
Here she is today.

Another horse, Sable, was missing one-third of her tongue.  And Kitchi is a mustang from North Dakota that had had no food or water over the winter and was severely malnourished.
Resthaven Horse Rescue is full at the present time.  Like Kat explained:  “We are responsible for the animals we have now.”
More stories and examples of ways to help are listed on their website:

Friday, September 15, 2017

“God’s work. Our hands.”

  “Share God’s love with our neighbors”…  as shown by various activities at First English Lutheran Church.  

          Pictured are some of their activities from last year followed by a list of opportunities that any of us can join in this year!

Photos from Melissa Thomas.

  A “Thank You” to all first responders.  
Homemade greeting cards with notes in them were sent to Cannon Falls Police, Fire, EMT, etc.  Judy Holt led the activity.  All ages participated. 

  Around the table: William and Nicole Holz, Jeanette Sutherland, Donna Kimmes,  Judy Holt, Bev Stedman and Jim Magnuson.
School kit assembly.  
These kits were to be sent through Lutheran World Relief to youngsters around the world.  Some students cannot attend school unless they can show that they have the proper supplies.  Over 30 kits were created and sent.
Donna Miller, Lorraine Moorhouse, Meredith Barker, Jeanette Sutherland, Melissa Thomas, Jamie, Karsyn and Jaci Winchell and Elizabeth Yarbrough in front.
Caring for the ages...

  In the Cannon Falls cemetery, all ages cleaned gravestones with mold and debris.  They started in the older area of the cemetery.  Led by Steve Gesme. 
       In front are Brian McDonald and Gary Thomas.

Following is a list of opportunities this year for “neighbors being neighborly”.  

* Putting finishing touches on the Habitat for Humanity House.
* Hope Through a Bar of Soap: assembling personal care kits to share with those in need after a natural disaster or life-ghreatening violence.
* Kindness Stations - a “round robin” of short activities and crafts at church.
* Cemetery Cleanup:  Clearing moss and weeds from headstones at the Cannon Falls cemetery.
* Interacting with residents at the Gardens of Cannon Falls and Twin Rivers.
* Cannon Valley Trail: working with grasses and natural plants.
* Visiting with special needs residents at the adult Lutheran Social Services Falls House.
* Making cards and writing notes to show care for first responders, inmates, veterans and others.

Like Ripples... 
acts of kindness reach the farthest shore.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017


 A Ripple of Kindness... 
reaches the farthest shore

Gender... religion... politics... we ALL belong

Angella Rechtzigel wrote: Today I was on the receiving end of a random act of kindness. A dear friend made me cookies, for no special reason. They are beautiful...and made me cry a bit. 
One thing I have learned this year ~ it doesn't matter what our gender, religious beliefs or political affiliation may the end, we ALL belong to each other. 
Taking care of one another, loving each other and spreading kindness makes this world a better place.
Watch out for flying balls!
Sue Josephson was touched by the concern and kindness she saw while driving past some girls playing volleyball on the court on 4th Street North.
It’s a busy thoroughfare.
All of a sudden a ball flew out into the street.
No worry!
Every car going in both directions stopped!
Until the girls got their ball back.
Everyone safe!
Sing along: “Show me the way to go home!”  
Cannon Falls Police Officer Paul Larson saw a man stumbling along the drive to homes in a residential area.  When questioned, the man explained he was walking home from the bars and admitted to drinking quite a bit.  
He explained he had just moved to town and his roommate was at their residence.  He was very friendly and asked the officers’ name several times and told him it was nice to meet him.  Officer Larson saw that he got home safely.
Give aways...
Folks around here like giving away stuff they no longer need.  But how to let people know?  
The Shepherd’s Center, Life Church and Wangen Prairie Church have started a “Sharing” bulletin board.  Here folks can put a note or picture of whatever they would like to give away along with a contact phone number.  
Items have ranged from a new cat collar to hand lotions to a couch to a Wurlitzer organ, a lot of chocolate-mint plants, etc.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Your "Heart's Message"...


Sharing your “heart’s message”...
singer-songwriter Paisley Bishop
records at Pachyderm Studio

Driving through the large entry gates you navigate through dense woods and listen to the singing waters of little Pine Creek as you come upon the picturesque house built in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright that now creates a refuge for talented and celebrated musicians expressing their “heart’s message”.
This gem of a “working retreat” on the outskirts of Cannon Falls includes the world famous recording center, Pachyderm Studio.   It has been host to many of these musical “hearts”.     Like the band, Live, going platinum eight times with their album: Throwing Copper and Nirvana recording In Utero, their final studio album with Kurt Cobain.

Paisley Bishop of the Cannon Falls area 
is now one of those “hearts”.

Paisley and her family settled in a valley south of Cannon Falls after moving from California.  While out west she had started a band and within two years recorded her first album, “Take One”.  
Now she was ready for her second one, “Seasons”.  This project was funded by a grant awarded by the South Eastern Minnesota Arts Council funded by a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Paisley performs Country, Pop, Classic Rock and Christian (worship) as well as her own songs which she describes as “Folk Rock”.
Trevor Marty of Rochester signed on and they tested their musical combinations at weekly public gatherings for several months.    
At the end of May they stopped these performances and started preparing their final approach to recording at Pachyderm Studio.

Paisley wrote the songs... some from back in 2012 and some about a month before their recording.
“Music is what feelings sound like” is Paisley’s belief.  She continued,  “Music shouldn't be written to fit an A-B-C formula. It should be crafted to express our selves...”
Paisley has the additional responsibility of being her own business manager which means she must copyright and register the album and songs, create a promotional photo shoot, and much more.

Following hours of recording in the separate studio building at Pachyderm, the artists and friends relax and enjoy the evening in the nearby Frank Lloyd Wright styled home. 

Paisley plans to pursue other public performances and also connect with local musicians with the hope that Cannon Falls can become the newest hotspot for live entertainment.