Woodlawn CC

Woodlawn CC

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

ELM, Fathers Day and One out and one in.... (college that is)

This past Friday & Saturday (June 14 & 15) was our last regular Educating Lay Ministry Class.  The last topic covered in our May & June Class was Church Planning.  Unfortunately, I'd have to rank this as one of the weaker classes of the program, likely right up there with the Racism Class in which the Instructor insisted that only white men can be racists.  A position which sad to say she was taught by a US Government funded program.  It's also a position that I honestly think weakens and cheapens the whole problem with racism in our world.

It was unfortunate that we ended our regular classes on such a note but we do still have a Polity class left in August at Schuyler.  There however we'll be divided into two classes with most of the class in the United Church of Christ Polity Class and a few of us in the Presbyterian Polity Class.  I took in the UCC class in our first year of ELM and thus I'll now take the Presbyterian class.  Next year they will offer the Disciples of Christ class along with the American Baptist Polity class, and I am planning on taking the DOC class then even though I only need 3 of the 4 classes to graduate.  Since I have a strong sense that I could end up in the DOC down the road, I'd like to learn more about their extensive and interesting history.

After that class we will have September off and then the graduation ceremony will be in October.  That will take place at the UCC Church in Grand Island.  So this month was our last visit to the Campus of Hastings College.  I'll miss their campus as it's such a beautiful little college with some beautiful old buildings.  After spending so much time in Hastings for the ELM program I've become quite fond of the town.  They have a great many beautiful old homes and they have some incredibly beautiful church buildings.  Hastings is definitely a place I wouldn't mind spending sometime serving our Lord.

With that, let me backup in time a bit, as I'd like to mention a big event in my son's life.  The Sunday before last (June 9th) we moved Creath from the campus on the 'University of Sioux Falls' and into his very first real apartment.  He found a basement apartment not too far from campus and luckily it's in the house right next door to where two friends of his also rent the basement of a home.  It's a pretty Spartan apartment but perfect actually for a single 21 year old young man.  He has everything he needs there and seemed quite tickled with it.  The day before we moved him Gail was running all over town hitting Garage & Church Rummage Sales picking up items for her boy's first apartment. Afterwards I took a trailer and went back and picked up some of the items she had found like a glider chair, end table, coffee table, bookshelf and some other items.  She was definitely having a good time finding things for her little boy, Mother's have such an interesting bond to their sons and it's always fascinating to watch.

Watching Gail running around finding things for Creath's first apartment I couldn't help but think of this photo of her gazing on her little baby boy with such devotion and love.  In the photo is Gail, her mom Mary Alice (feeding Creath) and Creath.
WmRoy Karlen photo

That night I had to unload everything and reload the trailer as these items along with all the other things we had here for him like a desk, his bed, another chair, a refrigerator, a small freezer and other items, barely all fit into the trailer.  I had to channel back to my old days of moving (we haven't moved in over 20 years) and my talents in visualizing and manipulating shapes in order to get everything into the trailer or the back seat & trunk of the car.  Incredibly enough it all fit and even though my poor car was riding pretty low from all the weight it was packed for the early morning drive to Sioux Falls.

We woke up very early (I'm awful but we skipped Church, God forgive me!) and headed north.  Once in Sioux Falls we met Creath at his dorm on the USF campus and helped him pack a few things into his car.  Then we followed him to his apartment.  Luckily his friend Jeff was there to help unload as in order to get into his apartment you first have to go up stairs to the house (it's on an elevated lot) around the corner of the house to the side door and then down the stairs into the basement.  So everything got to go up, around and down.  A good leg workout for sure.

Gail started cleaning and organizing as the three of us guys were carrying things into the apartment.  Even though it's a fairly small place everything seemed to fit into the space well for Creath.  He did put his refrigerator and small freezer into his bedroom's walk-in closet (the kitchen in the house is shared with the woman who he rents from and is just upstairs at the top of the stairs).  I also picked up a used crock-pot for him so he could cook somethings in his apartment and not always have to go upstairs.

So Creath is all moved in and settled for the time being.  Hopefully it will work out to be a good experience for him and as it is for all of us a right of passage in his life.

Moving back to this past weekend, Sunday (6/16) Gail, Maddie and I went to Church at Benson Baptist and then drove down to spend Fathers Day looking around the 'Junk Juant' and Antique Shops in Lincoln.  It was a fun day though I didn't find anything I wanted, Gail found a wire basket to hold some of her old mason jars and a necklace made out of an old fork.  We had lunch in the Haymarket and had a nice relaxing day just puttering around the town.  It was also a time to help familiarize Maddie with the layout of Lincoln.

Yesterday (6/17) Maddie and I got up early and drove to Lincoln for her 'New Student Enrollment' day.  We arrived on campus at 7am and her first official day of being a Husker began.  It was a very long and intense day starting at 7am and going until 5pm.  But by the end she had enrolled in her classes for first semester, had met her adviser, had another tour of the campus, and gone over many of the skills and tactics that she'll need in order to be successful in completing her degree.  Maddie had great news in that as a Psychology Major she will only have to complete one math course which is 'Statistics'.  Maddie absolutely hates and struggles with math so she was very excited to not have to take College Algebra or any other math classes.

She is very much looking forward to school but she was very tired and a bit stressed after the long day.  Lincoln is really amazing in their processing of new students and families.  They definitely have it down to a science and they have so many support programs set up and built in for the kids that if one has the desire there is simply no way one should fail down there.  I cannot tell you how impressed I have been with UNL, it is extremely impressive.

Being around colleges, especially this year with both Creath and Maddie one cannot avoid being taken back to their own years in school.  I hope that for Creath it was and for Maddie it will be as great a part of their lives as my college years were for me.  It would be so wonderful to be able to go back and take in one more day with all those friends that I loved back then.  Unfortunately after all these years there are only two of my old friends that I still have close relationships with, John Forman and Greg Powell.  John I've known since the first day of college at SDSU and Greg of course was a High School buddy as well as a friend in college.  Perhaps my children will be wiser than their father and not burn so many bridges traveling from the past into the future.  I certainly hope so...

I am a bit frustrated that I have not had much opportunity lately to preach and I haven't had any luck finding a permanent pulpit.  Of course in that regard I am extremely limited in that I need to find something that is close enough to Omaha in order to commute.  Unfortunately with Maddie in college and Creath now planning to go on for his PhD, there is no way we can afford to close the Gallery and move on to the next phase of our lives.  I will trust in God's timing and just wait hoping that some opportunity to serve will arise close enough to Omaha for us to keep the Gallery going for the next few years. The day will come at some point in the future that the store will either be sold or liquidated and we'll then move out into the country and find a small town congregation or two to serve.

Again, I'll just have to trust the Lord and his timing.  Patience isn't my strong suite and perhaps that is the lesson he is trying to beat into me right now.

God's undying Grace to you all,

I'll close this post with this lovely little country church.
WmRoy Karlen

Sunday, June 2, 2013


The Karlen Family.  Gail, Creath, Maddie and Roy Karlen.
WmRoy Karlen photo

Well it's been a busy month for the Karlen's.  The weekend before last, Creath graduated from the 'University of Sioux Falls'.  Last weekend Madeline graduated from 'Millard West High School' and yesterday she had her graduation party here at the house.

Creath graduated with his Bachelors degree in Philosophy/Theology. He plans to take a year off of school and to then pursue his Masters and Doctorate in Philosophy.  His future plans are to teach Philosophy on the college level.  At this time he's not sure what school he's going to enroll in for his Masters but he's investigating several options.  One of his favorite Professors has moved from USF onto an Ivy League School (Princeton) and he's going to look into their program and any scholarships or other financial aid that he might be able to find.  He feels strongly that his old Professor could help him get into the program.

Madeline has enrolled at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and is registered in their Psychology program.  Her intent is to pursue a major in Psychology and a minor in Nutrition.  At this time she's thinking she'd like to work with women and girls with eating disorders.  She is also thinking about working with the elderly as she has always had a great love for elderly people.

My brother Merrill and his wife Karen came to both of the kid's graduation ceremonies.  My brother Merrill has always been a great support to me in my life and it meant a great deal to all of us that he and his lovely wife were there with us to celebrate these milestones in our family.

Merrill and Karen brought their daughter Jordan and their grand-daughter Kayleigh with them when they came down for Madeline's graduation.  On Sunday we all went to the Zoo.  Omaha now has the number one ranked zoo in the Nation and it had been a couple of years since either Gail or I had gone.  It was a lot of fun but a whole lot of walking!  Definitely got in my cardio for the day!

Creath Karlen, graduating from the University of Sioux Falls.
They had an exhibit of Dr. Suess going on at the time, note the light poles.
WmRoy Karlen photo

Creath Karlen and Madeline Karlen
WmRoy Karlen photo

Merrill Karlen, Karen Karlen and Creath Karlen
WmRoy Karlen photo

Creath Karlen with his graduation gift.  A new 6 string Bass Guitar.
WmRoy Karlen photo

Maddie Karlen, she's the long haired blonde beside the empty chair and looking over her left shoulder.
WmRoy Karlen photo

Maddie Karlen on the far right with her friends Danielle and Makayla.
WmRoy Karlen photo

Maddie Karlen showing off the ring she was given as a graduation gift.
WmRoy Karlen photo

Maddie Karlen and her friend Danielle showing off the cake for Maddie's party.
WmRoy Karlen photo

Today we attended services at Sunset Hills Baptist, since it's graduation time and both Creath and Maddie were being recognized among the graduates today we had to make sure and attend our home churches service today.  It has been a while since we've attended a service at our home church and it was great to see all of our church family again.

On another note, it's been a very sad last few weeks as well.  Lately I've learned of three friends that are suffering through having cancer diagnosed and the subsequent treatment.  One has throat cancer, one ovarian, and another pancreatic cancer.  I'll be praying earnestly for all three.  One of the tragedies of getting farther into one's life is that one has more and more friends that become ill and suffer health concerns.  In addition we had a family member who had a scare as to a potential tumor which thank the Lord turned out to be nothing.

This last week I picked up again and started re-reading the book "If Grace is True" by Gulley & Mulholland.  I've mentioned this book before and it's just simply one of the most wonderful books I've ever read.  I honestly feel an overwhelming sense of joy with each page I read.  It's very similar in that regard to Rob Bell's book "Love Wins".  I've been thinking about blogging about the book and in fact I just might start doing that this week.  If you've never read Gulley & Mulholland's book, get a hold of a copy and read it!

Well it's late and I need to get to bed, so....

God's Blessing, Love & Grace to you ALL!