Happy New Year! I probably should have posted these way before now, but …. I forgot about them. Driving past this scene made me think about the old American dream, with a little house and a picket fence. And wide open space to roam and be free.
On our way to a wedding, we took the slightly longer route driving through the Badlands. They will never look like this again! Although it had snowed all morning, the skies cleared up just before we got to the Badlands! All the vibrant colors made this sun-starved Minnesota girl so happy.
It’s been a month since these two were married. I can’t imagine a happier wedding to attend. The long drive, the pain, and the snow were well worth it to celebrate with Kayla and Zach.
I went to South Dakota just because. I was taken on a tour of local farmland. The town of Sisseton from a few miles away. Trying to stay cool on a boiling hot day.
The drive to Kraków was long and beautiful, with a KFC every few miles! The bridges were fantastic and the forests dark and mysterious. Clouds kept the drive from getting too hot and added interest to the drive. We spent the weekend in Kraków. There was so much to see there we didn’t explore anything else. Our host’s dogs, Onyx and Amber, like to play soccer with their ball! Onyx is good keeping the ball going and Amber is good at chasing Onyx and cheering her on. Lori took us into Kraków for a short tour the evening we arrived. Kraków started as a hamlet on Wawel Hill and is the second largest, and one of the oldest city in Poland. It dates back to sometime int he 7th century! By 965 it was reported as a busy trading center in Europe.Following the invasion of Poland in September 1939 by Nazi Germany, Kraków became part of the Nazi’s General Government and eventually its capital. It was headed by Hans Frank who was based in Wawel Castle. The Nazis envisioned turning Kraków into a completely German city after removing all Jews and Poles. Legend says women saved this portion of old city walls from being destroyed by the men. They told the men that if this wall were taken down, the wind would gust through the market square and lift the ladies’ skirts on their way to church, thus embarrassing the women and making the men think badly of them. So the men did not tear down this wall. This is how the women saved the wall of Kraków. There are roughly 120 churches registered in Kraków. We walked by many, and went into only two (St. Mary’s Basilica and the other were a wedding was taking place, so no pictures were allowed). Cloth Hall was originally designed in the 14th century as a center for international trade. The ground floor is continually used for commerce with its many souvenir shops and cafés; upstairs houses the Gallery of the National Museum. It has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978.We did not spend much time at Wawel Castle because we had so many other things to see, but it was lovely! And the other tourists were a HOOT to watch!Legend tells about a dragon, Smok Wawelski, who was terrorizing Kraków during the reign of King Krakus, the city’s legendary founder. Each day the evil dragon would reign down destruction across the countryside, killing the civilians and devouring their livestock. The king wanted to put an end to the dragon, but his bravest knights failed. In desperation, the King promised his beautiful daughter Wanda’s hand in marriage to anyone who could defeat the dragon. Great warriors from near and far fought for the prize and failed. One day a poor cobbler grew tired of the ongoing terror. He stuffed a lamb with sulfur and set it outside the dragon’s cave. The dragon ate it and became incredibly thirsty. He turned to the Vistula River for relief and drank and drank, but no amount of water could quench his aching stomach and after swelling up from drinking half the Vistula river, he exploded. The cobbler refused the princess’s hand in marriage because his wife would not be happy. Read more legend versions about the dragon here. During the reign of Casimir III the Great (1333 to 1370), St. Mary’s Basilica was rebuilt on the remaining foundation of an earlier church destroyed in the Mongol invasion. Vicar Jacek Augustyn Łopacki had the interior rebuilt in the late Baroque style in the 18th century.Legend says two brothers were hired to design and build St. Mary’s Basilica towers, but they wouldn’t work together. This is why each tower is different. The brother who built the shorter tower was jealous of the other’s tower so killed him. The knife hangs in an arch in the Cloth Market across the square.
Every hour a fire fighter climbs to the top of the main tower to sound a trumpet call, the Hejnał mariacki. The melody is plaintive and historically was played to signal the open and close of the city gates. It stops unexpectedly mid-stream to salute the famous 13th century guard who was shot in the throat by an arrow while playing the tune to warn the city of the coming Tatar invasion.
The extravagant Altarpiece is the largest Gothic altar piece and a national Polish treasure. It was designed and carved out of lime (linden), oak, and larch wood by Veit Stoss (Wit Stwosz) between 1477 and 1484. During the German occupation, the altarpiece was dismantled and shipped to the Third Reich on order of Hans Frank. It was sent to Nuremberg Castle in Bavaria, where it survived heavy bombing to be recovered and returned to Poland in 1946. It underwent major restoration and was put back in its place at the Basilica 10 years later.
Julia took us to the Jewish Quarter where we saw a few Synagogues and an ancient Jewish cemetery. I learned how in the Jewish culture, stones are left on the headstones to tell the family that someone stopped by to pay respects. And thus ended our tour through Kraków. The next day we went back to do our tourist-ly duty of shopping and souvenir buying before we drove to Auschwitz, which I am posting about next week.
My church’s band, Vested Worship, played at Miracles Happen Fest at Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch in Stewartville, MN. They opened for Tenth Avenue North on Saturday.The Camp Director, Bob Badwell, was incredibly generous and provided church members with tickets to come to the Festival. This was exciting news for a friend and I because we weren’t going to be going due to finances. We carpooled with some friends and had a fun road trip to Stewartville.
The drive was hilarious and went by quickly. The sky was clear until we reached Rochester. Then a deluge hit and we all got a shower with lunch. But we dried off before we reached Ironwood Springs; so did the skies.Painted rocks inscribed with verses graced various places throughout the camp, which was a favorite features at Ironwood Springs. There was so much to see so Val, Katelyn, Michelle, and I set off to explore. We walked through the art and craft fair, checked out the food and had some treats. There were many activities including tree climbing, petting zoo, laser tag, mini golf, a Ferris wheel, zip lines, paint ball and more. Val was excited about the pony rides, which had sadly ended before we arrived.We saw Clyde the Camel, who seemed to love Michelle. He walked over to her, ignoring everyone else. Another fun stop was at the Ole Red Barn for Western photos complete with costumes and all sorts of props! This isn’t normally something I do, but it was pretty fun! After seeing the festival events, the four of us walked through the grounds taking in the beauty. Even with all the activity, the grounds felt peaceful. There were sweet little touches of love throughout the ranch including little gnomes and a bridge over the river that runs through the property. The volunteers were all helpful and friendly, adding to the peaceful atmosphere. Finally it was time for the evening’s music to start! Vested Worship started the evening of music with some worship to draw people in. After Vested Worship completed their set, Jeff Deyo, formerly of Sonicflood, took the stage. He was very energetic and more people trickled to the stage. After Jeff Deyo came Sarah Reeves. She kept her set low key with a keyboard and guitarist; her songs were calming. Something about her seems to familiar, but I haven’t figured out why yet. She reminds me of Ellie Holcomb.As Sarah ended, the promise of chicken and ice cream and ice cold water lured Michelle and I away from the stage and we were caught in a downpour of rain. It rained long and hard, completing our second shower for the day. Thankfully, many tents were set up and we were able to stay under one for the worst of the rain. We made it back to the stage in time for Tenth Avenue North at 9pm. While the whole day at Ironwood Springs was fun, Tenth Avenue North was the highlight. The message they bring to the audience is so needed. The lead singer, Mike, is funny (hello, prom queen disciples!). Their message rings true and was refreshing. Really, it was more like hanging out with friends and singing loud than attending a concert. “We’re not here to sing TO you, but to sing WITH you.”
Here are some of the songs they sang with links to the music videos. I hope they encourage you as much as they have encouraged me.
You Are More – The labels we create for ourselves and others should not define us, unless we use Child of God – the one true label. Mike said as Tenth Avenue North, they are not Musicians (with the labels of famous, special, etc.) but Children of God who happen to play music.
Struggle – As children raising our hands meant we wanted our parent to come pick us up. Mike compared this to us raising our hands in worship to the King of kings. Think to how quickly a parent runs to pick up their child when those precious little hands are raised. How much more does our Heavenly Father run to us when we lift our hands to him?
Worn – Life is messy. Often we do not receive resolution of events in the world or in personal life. Life doesn’t turn out perfectly all the time, many things are not resolved, but God redeems those times. He uses them for His glory. They are not a waste, but a time to lean even closer on God and trust him and his plan for my life. God is not a God of resolution, but a God of Redemption.
I Have This Hope – When life slams me against the wall, how am I going to respond? “So I have this hope in the depth of my soul. In the flood or the fire. You’re with me. You won’t let go.” Yes and amen!
Driving home was a hoot (exploding salad, extra burger, and frostys thankyouverymuch). It was so late and I was so tired. But it was worth it.