Friday, March 25, 2011

Working together

My dad made a surprise visit this weekend and we asked him to take a look at the old truck. Jeremy discovered a few weeks ago that the brakes were not working. He had been planning to take a look, but between schedules and weather, we just didn't get it done. Since this was the first repair of this kind, we didn't really know here the brake fluid was – on the engine, behind the seat, or some other place…it sounds strange, but on this old truck, not everything is under the hood.

Dad helped us narrow in on the problem and add some brake fluid. Now, we seem to be set.

I loved watching my husband and dad work together on the truck. Seeing the two of them problem-solve side by side was really sweet.

Another cool find

American Pickers is one of our favorite shows. We love to follow Mike and Frank as they go around the country digging in attics, sheds, barns, overgrown yards and any other place that has rusty junk. We feel like we are kindred spirits and often wonder what it would be like if we turned them loose on my dad’s farm.

On a recent episode, Mike and Frank were sent to find some unique decorations for William Shatner’s home. They sought many things, but the most intriguing was an antique mill stone. We loved learning about the history and value of mill stones.

A short time later, Jeremy sent me a message saying that someone had listed a millstone and he wanted to take a look. I responded and told him to get it!

We are now the proud owners of one intact millstone and several pieces of another. Made of granite, these stones were used to grind grain at a mill in Enterprise or were manufactured at the J.B. Ehrsam and Sons Manufacturing Company located in Enterprise. The building that housed these operations was razed around the holidays this year.

The stones came to live with us and we will soon place them in an area where we are reinstalling a flower garden. We are proud to have a piece of Kansas history!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spiritual moments

Spiritual moments happen in big and grand celebrations and quiet moments. This week marked two special happenings that left me feeling connected to the universe. One was the chance to observe Tibetan Lamas layout and construct a mandala sand painting in our student union.

The platform is a simple wooden square that is elevated. The process of laying out the design is completed from memory and uses chalk lines on the black surface. The colored sand is applied with a metal funnel and another tool that is used to create a vibration on the funnel that moves the sand onto the platform.

The process is amazing to observe. It is even more incredible to realize that when the mandala is complete, it is destroyed to represent the impermanence of life. A portion of the mandala is given to those who attend the closing ceremony while the rest is released into a moving body of water.

The second experience was at the funeral of a friend's mother. Her funeral mass was held at St. Mary's Catholic Church in St. Benedict, Kansas near Seneca. The church is constructed of limestone and looks like many rural Kansas churches. However, the interior will amaze you! The murals on the ceiling, painted patterns on the columns and walls, gorgeous stained glass, and statuary are intricate, colorful, and awe inspiring.

The church was constructed in 1894 and the interior dates to 1901. An extensive restoration was conducted from 1980-1983.

Recognized as one of the Eight Wonders of Kansas Art, this spiritual place is something to see. The service was beautiful and the sense of spirit and peace was so strong in the beautiful surroundings. It sounds silly, but the hymns seemed to mean more and the graceful beauty of the art helped create calm.

If you are driving in northeast Kansas and have the chance to find tiny St. Benedict, you cannot miss the church and you will not regret stopping to have a quiet moment in this beautiful space.