Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Full Week After Easter

Candy and Norm packed a lot of productive activity into the week after Easter.
·         Two visits to Norm’s Mom in Batavia, IL, one of which celebrated her 93rd birthday (a day early) that included their son, David’s family from Milwaukee, IL and Norm’s nephew Tom Williams and his family from Virginia Beach, VA as well as Norm’s sister, Elaine, and brother-in-law, Max.

·         While in Milwaukee with Rachel and David, Sam and Elizabeth, Candy’s Dad drove down from Minneapolis for some family time and to work on coordinating our plans for the next couple of years.

·         Saturday was the celebration of “Gotcha Day” – the 5th anniversary of Elizabeth’s adoption into the Stolpe family through Rachel, David and Sam.

·         Norm preached at Milwaukee Mennonite Church (Rachel and David’s congregation) on “Doubting Thomas.” The script of that message is available at

·         Thanks to the generous hospitality of John and Susan Ritland (parents of Rebecca Ritland Keiser of Milwaukee Mennonite Church) Norm and Candy had wonderful accommodations, breakfast and made wonderful new friends in St. Louis, MO both ways of an almost 2,000 mile round trip.
Chinese Clothes for "Gotcha" Party
Norm has been the interim pastor for First Christian Church of Midwest City, OK since August, and if all goes well, he will finish there the end of May and the new pastor will come in June. The Elders graciously allow Norm a week’s vacation to make this trip. Thanks to Rev. Julia Jordan Gillett, Associate Pastor, for preaching on April 7. The other Associate Pastor, Andy Beck, will be leading the youth as they present worship on Youth Sunday, April 14. Andy will graduate from Phillips Theological Seminary and be ordained in May. Norm will get to be “host pastor” for Andy’s ordination, a rare opportunity for an interim pastor. On April 21, the worship service will be the choir’s presentation of Faure’s Requiem. This preaching break has given Norm the opportunity to prepare his last five messages designed to get the congregation ready to welcome a new pastor.
Sam played "Happy Birthday" for Great Grandma Stolpe

Tom (right) and his wife Tricia (left)




Birthday supper with Norm's Mom (left)

While a welcome vacation, the purpose of this trip was practical: to get together with Candy’s Dad and with David and Rachel to coordinate our planning for the next couple of years so Candy’s Dad can have family support and backup should an emergency occur and to map out what will happen as Norm continues his interim ministry journey with the expectation of finishing that around 2016. A real bonus was to spend time with Norm’s Mom both coming and going. The first leg of the trip allowed for birthday dinner with her the evening before her birthday.

Three Stolpe Gilrs Enjoy Breakfast Together
Norm’s nephew Tom and his family happened to be there at that time as well. He will have 20 years in the US Navy in January, and the whole family is headed to Guam for 30 months for his next assignment. David and Rachel came with their family too. Making these extended family connections doesn’t happen all that often.

Candy and Norm visited Norm’s Mom on the return trip as well. While celebrating her birthday with 6 kids and 7 adults was fun, the second visit was calmer and more conducive to conversation.

David explains digital technology to Grandpa Miller
Sam's portrait of his favorite bacon breakfast
Though there was planning work to be done with Candy’s Dad, it was also a time for just being together and having some fun that included a day at the Milwaukee Art Museum (on free Thursday). Norm enjoyed the Georgia O’Keefe exhibit, but the kids had the most fun in the studio where they could paint their own pictures.

After Candy’s Dad returned to Minneapolis, Norm and Candy helped Rachel and David get ready for the “Gotcha” party. In between chores, they enjoyed fun with their grandchildren, Sam and Elizabeth: girls together lunch and guys together lunch. David and Sam went with Norm to take Gus to the dog park. Sam tried to teach Grandma and Grandpa how to play Wii Bowling. The house was full for the party that celebrated Elizabeth’s adoption and featured a variety of Chinese foods, decorations and clothes. Rachel’s parents, Kent and Fran Hadley, and her brother Nigel and his fiancée Amanda were also at the party.


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