Monday, January 20, 2014

Dr. Bessie Rehwinkel- Hero of Faith

This young adult biography published by Concordia Publishing House in 2012 
was written by A. Trevor Sutton. It tells the faith story of Bessie Efner (1873-1962)
 a young women who lived out her dream in a time of limited opportunities. 
She was born in Galesburg, Iowas on March 28, 1873.

Her father was a Doctor and Bessie grew up by his side 
and watched and learned all along and lived in Pierson, Iowa. 
She was the kerosene lamp holder for her father to see in a time in the late 1880's
 when they worked without electricity.

Though her parents wanted her to marry the son of the town banker
 and be a wife and mother. 
Bessie could tie up her dream of medicine. 
Even in a time when no one knew a female Doctor.  
A long time friend- Mrs. Benson encouraged her to go to college and study medicine. 
Eventually she decided to attend the Sioux City School of Medicine in Sioux City, Iowa. 
She was delighted to find there was one other female in her class- Clara McManus. 
Clara could memorize anything and Bessie had to work very hard with the schoolwork.
 But, they studied together and Psalm 139 were her favorite verses in the Bible.

After graduation she moved to Hinton, Iowa and started her practice.
She quickly won the confidence of the people she served. 
Tragedy struck in her first year of her practice and her older bother and his wife died- 
and they left three young girls.
 After much prayer and a dose of courage she committed to take on their care. 
She brought them to live with her. 

 Then the Panic of 1907 hit and banks closed and it was very difficult time for all. 
People moved, no patients and no money. 
A family friend told her about moving West and farmsteading there.
 He even gave her the money to make the move.
 So they packed up and went to Carpenter, Wyoming.

Life was hard there, but Bessie's practice grew. 
One patient was a kind pastor- Rev. Alfred Rehwinkel.
They began conversations and became friends.
 Then Alfred had to move back to St. louis and continued to write to Bessie.
 Finally they were married in September 1912. 
They then moved to northwestern Canada to serve several frontier churches.
  Life kept changing. She ws kept must in parish life and didn't work full time as a doctor. 
 They then moved to Edmonton, Alberta where they served for 14 years. 
They also aded to their family with three children of their own. 

Later they moved to St. John's college in Winfield, Kansas
 where Alfred served as President. 
Bessie returned to medicine and helped out doctors wherever she lived. 
After 8 years they moved to St. Louis, Missouri, 
where he became a professor at Concordia Seminary.
Bessie always thanked God for the ways He took care of her
 and she always saw His hand in guiding her decisions.
 She died on May 26, 1962.

Sometimes we plan out our lives and God
 sends detours and sometimes it may feel like roadblocks.
He is always working out the best for those who trust in Him.
What a wonderful blessing to live this way as a believer in Christ.

If you liked the story of Dr. Bessie, 
you can also find a more detailed recounting of this women in the book -
 Dr. Bessie- written by her husband- Alfred M. Rehwinkel.  It can be purchased on Amazon.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Dorothea Craemer- Hero of Faith

Part 2 in the series of Women of Faith by Concordia Publishing House.

This young adult book was written by Julie Stiegemeyer in 2012.
It tells the story of this woman of faith who lived from 1818-1884.

The story starts as Dorothy Benthien crossed the Atlantic on the ship- Caroline-
 with her five year old son, Henry.
A Challenging trip that was rocked with illness and then smallpox.
 She was traveling with a group of Lutherans from Germany to Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
Between 1845 and 1860 millions of immigrants had landed in America to find a better life.

Traveling with a group of adults was a single pastor- Rev. August Craemer,
 who was headed to Michigan to begin ministry to the Chippewa Indians.

By the end of the journey,
 Dorothea was befriended by Pastor Craemer and they were pledged to be married.
On day 51 of the journey, June 8, 1845, they landed in New York City.
On June 10, 1845 at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, August and Dorothea were married.

They took a train to Albany and then to Buffalo.
They began their trip to southern Michigan.
The train trip was delayed with a crash, but they escaped unharmed.
Finally on July 10, 1845 they arrived in Saginaw, Michigan.
The men went ahead to clear land and build shelter
and then send for the women and children two months later.
With faith and prayer they moved into the unknown.

The settlement was near the Cass River in eastern Michigan.
There was much to do in surviving the wilderness.
Christmas 1845 was celebrated in a newly built little church.
The Craemers ministered to the Chippewa in the region,
making friends with many of the children and telling them about Jesus.
Pastor Craemer traveled about bringing the Good News of Jesus
 to many villages, traveling mostly by foot.

After a few years the Craemers left Michigan and moved to Fort Wayne,
 where Pastor Craemer became the president of the seminary
 located there and trained students to become pastors.

Dorothea kept busy caring for students and her own children.
August and Dorothea had eight children of their own.

 The work of the Craemers flourished in Michigan
 and the settlement became  the town of Frankenmuth.
It became one of the founding congregations
 of The Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod.

Dorothea died on November 11, 1884,
 while knelling by her bed saying her prayers.
A humble life of courageous service to her loving God.

Other readings show much information about her husband August,
and just small bits here and there of her story.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have some of her thoughts
 and the stories as an early missionary in Michigan?

Most of this story comes form the telling of August's life.
These other writings tell that Rev. Craemer was a primary person
 in the history of St. Louis Seminaary and also at Springfield, Illinois
There is Kramer Chapel in Ft. Wayne- spelled differently-
I am working to discover if this was named after Rev. Craemer with a new spelling.

Perhaps, the stories you write today of neighborhood ministry
 and God's faithfulness in YOUR life
 will be shared in 150 years to the faithful serving in God's Kingdom.

Next in the series-   Dr. Bessie Rehwinkel

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Katharina von Bora- Hero of Faith

 About five years ago I read the book
  The Top 100 Women of the Christian Faith by Jewell Johnson.
 The stories of wonderful faith-filled women of all denominations
 and thoughout hundreds years of history. 
Katharina von Bora was among the women included in the stories. 
One Lutheran woman. 
I began to think about the names of other Lutheran women
that I could name in our heritage of faith.
Almost 500 years of history.
I know a lot of women of faith that are contemporaries of mine.
But, what about the faith stories of other Lutheran women ?
50 years ago?
100 years ago?
300 years ago?
It made me think.

This summer at the LCMS Synodical convention in St. Louis,
 I found a series of books called Hero of Faith.
The Hero of Faith biography series for young readers
 features the stories of 4 men and 4 women.

One of the books is Katharina von Bora
by Jane L. Fryar and illustrated by Deborah White.
Written in 2011, and published by Concordia Publishing House.

Katharina was born on January 29, 1499 in Germany near Hirschfeld,
and grew up in a Benedictine convent in Brehna.
Later, her father paid a fee to have her
transferred to a Cistercian cloister in Nimbschen.
It was rough and strict in this "silent" cloister.
After her postulate, (a trial period) her took her vows at age 16.

Even in this secluded life,
 news of the outside seeped in
 and they began to hear of the writings of a man named Martin Luther.

They read the smuggled in writings about a God of grace and freedom.
A group of 12 nuns came up with a bold plan
and wrote to Martin Luther for help in escaping the convent-
a serious act punishable by death.
Martin prayed about this situation and finally on Easter Sunday-1523, and
 with the help of his friend Leonhard Koppe, they escaped into the new world.
  Some of the nuns returned to family and some married friends of Martin Luther.
Only Katharina remained in Wittenberg.
Luther proposed and they were married in 1525 and moved into the Black Cloister.
Katie- as Luther called her, worked hard to cook, clean and manage Lutherhaus.
Katie ran everything as Martin focused on his work- teaching and writing.
The Luthers had six children of their own and raised 4 orphaned children.
Martin and Katie had the sad loss of two of their children-
Elizabeth at 8 months and Magdalene at age 13.

Katie was a capable and creative wife, mother and caregiver.
She was welcomed at the Table Talk conversations
 in her home and her opinion was valued and appreciated by Martin and others.

Martin died in 1546, and she was left with no income or provision.
 Wars swept the country,
 some friends helped out,
 and then they fled because of the Black Plague.
In a cart accident, Katie was hurt and became worse in the months to follow.
Katie died on Dec 20, 1552, at the age of 53.
Her legacy?
Katie allowed the Holy Spirit to shape her life to serve Him.
Her life and marriage became the model
 for many people seeking to live faith-filled lives of service.

Katharina's life was an example of loving Jesus
 and serving Him.
A story that inspires us yet today- 500 years later.

This easy to read story is great for your family faith library.

The next Lutheran woman - Hero of Faith: Dorothea Benthien Craemer

The book referred to at the beginning of this post.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Soul Tending Reading- 2013

It is always good to go back and see the stack of the books
 read for soul-tending reading each year.
Sometimes there is a planned out theme. 
Other times it is interesting to see what comes along in a year's time.
Much of this year was a focus on social media Gospel
 and the interaction of faith and family life living.
Working on that Capstone project and the research that went with it.

This is part of the stack- some of the social media books are out on loan.
So collecting what I have around right now.Seems to fall into these categories:

Living Life as Prayer

Women of Faith-
 in the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod

Living Life as Art

Women in Leadership

Faith Formation

Social Media Gospel

Kind of keep landing in the same spot.

And that can be very good.

Will take a look in the next post at the Heroes of Faith Series.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Epiphany Blessings

We worshipped at St. John's Lutheran Church
 in Alexandria this past weekend.
Loved this beautiful Nativity set
 they have in the chancel area.

This banner hangs as a reminder of the journey-
 the Epiphany worship -
 the twelfth day of Christmas.

A bit of history-
In Colonial Virginia Epiphany, or 12th Night, was an occasion of great merriment, and was considered especially appropriate as a date for balls and dancing, as well as for weddings. On 12th Night, Great Cake was prepared, consisting in two giant layers of fruitcake, coated and filled with royal icing. Custom dictated that the youngest child present cut and serve the cake and whoever found the bean or prize in the Twelfth Night cake was crowned "King of the Bean" similar to the European king cake custom.

In Christianity, the Epiphany refers to a realization that Christ is the son of God. 
Western churches generally celebrate the Visit of the Magi as the revelation of the Incarnation of the infant Christ, and commemorate the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6.

I have this Epiphany Home Blessing from Abby Press to share.

For a family or anyone to bless the place where they live.

Reader:  Peace be to this house and to all who enter here, in the name of the lORD.


Reader: There, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the plea where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  Matthew 2:9-11

Using chalk, write above the doorway to your home: 
[first two digits of the year]+ CMB+{second two digits of the year}

("CMB" stands for Christus Mansionem Benedicat,
 Latin for "May Christ Bless This Home."
It also represents the initials of the wise men- Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar.)

ALL: Lord God Almighty, you revealed Your only begotten Son to all nations by the guidance of a star. Bless this home and all who live here. 
May we be graced with health, goodness,
forgiveness and obedience to Your commandments.
 Fill us with the light of Christ, that we may go out into the world
 and share Your love with all. 
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

May this new year bring many gifts of grace into your life-
for the sake of others.


Friday, January 3, 2014

Gratitude Note a Day Project

Oldest daughter - Jessica was crafting in the studio
 over Christmas break
 and making a gift for her classroom assistant's birthday.

We found a small ceramic loaf pan that looked just the right size to hold the mini-journal calendar pages.

some hand lettering
some washi tape decoration

Cut multi- colored and white 3 x 5 lined
index cards to fit the little container

366 cards
Labeled each one with the month and day

Added one simple note of encouragement
 at the end of each month's stack of cards.

Keeping it simple.
Write down one thing a day in 
a heart of gratitude.
For a number of years- 
together on each card.

Holding together the blessings of 
Living Well
each and every day.

(p.s. - just saw that Michael's will have these
 cute berry baskets that could work for this project
 and will be in the stores by 1/24/14- 
the small size looks like it is the closest 
to what we used for our project)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year's Greetings- 2014

Greetings to you and Happy New Year 2014!

 Looking at the New Year dawning,

and giving thanks for many blessings,

continuing to learn the practice of 

Giving Thanks in all things,

Counting Gifts.


Chaplain Glen Krans talked in his sermon last night at a 

New Year's Eve worship- about our inability in our fallen sinful state, to even do resolutions- we must be reminded that we must approach all of life in the "I can't" state. But, we are given the grace gifts to do all that Christ desires to form and shape in us. I must be ready and formable for the Holy Spirit to work within me in 2014.

 Watching, Ready and Moving Toward these gifts.

As we sang this song in worship last evening-

 I believe that these words could be the alignment of

LIVING WELL in 2014-
Tell the story of God's glory with
 hearts and voices.

In Thee Is Gladness

Text: Johann Lindemann; trans. by Catherine Winkworth 
Cantor Johann Lindemann (b. Gotha, Thuringia, Germany, 1549; d. Gotha, 1631)
 wrote this text to fit the tune IN DIR IST FREUDE
1. In thee is gladness, amid all sadness
 Jesus, sunshine of my heart.
 By thee are given the gifts of heaven, 
 thou the true Redeemer art.
 Our souls thou makest, our bonds thou breakest; 
 who trusts thee surely hath built securely, 
 and stands forever.  Alleluia!  
 Our hearts are pining to see thy shining; 
 dying or living, to thee are cleaving; 
 naught can us sever.  Alleluia!

2. If God be ours, we fear no powers, 
 not of earth or sin or death.  
 God sees and blesses in worst distresses, 
 and can change them in a breath.  
 Wherefore the story tell of God's glory 
 with heart and voices; all heaven rejoices, 
 singing forever; Alleluia!  
 We shout for gladness, triumph o'er sadness, 
 loving and praising, voices still raising 
 glad hymns forever:  Alleluia!

Chaplain Krans talked about images associated with the
 New Year - the Old Man Reaper and the New Year infant- 
(often with wings-as time flies)
It is a time of repentance that forms the
new page opening in the year.

So I approach 2014 knowing that whatever
distress awaits, God can change them in a breath,
for God is mine and I am His.

For each and every breath is gift- and grace.

"It is by grace you have been saved through faith- and this
 not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by work, so
 that no on can boost." Ephesians 2: 8-9