At NNU, the Freshman Orientation experience was a three-day process for the parents and a four-day event for the kids. These days were filled with student/parent meetings, departmental receptions, technology meetings for the kids, department head meetings for the adults, special family meal gatherings, a presidential scholarship recognition gathering and worship.
One of the most memorable things that was spoken at the Freshman Orientation weekend was something the president said. His caution went something like this, “Listen to your children’s voices as they call home. Listen for any difference in their tone. Do you remember back when they were children and how you could tell the difference between the cry over a scraped knee versus the cry of a broken bone? Listen to your children as they call home. Listen for the difference in their voice. When the cry sounds more like a broken bone, that’s when we want you to call us and fill us in on what’s going on so we can help.” The message: some change isn’t for the best.
We found a lot of comfort in that. It also became a helpful tool for us sooner than we expected. (more…)
This song was written for our God-daughter, Maria, who lives in Norway with her parents, Katie & Kjell Møgster, and three big brothers. Back in 2006, the Møgsters called us from Mali, Africa (during their missionary years) and asked us to be her God-Family. They invited us to meet them in Norway to attend Maria’s baptism. Well, of course, we said “yes!” with great enthusiasm and immediately started the process of obtaining tickets that would eventually have us arrive in Ålesund, Norway.
Now, a baptism is always a special event. But in Norway, it is a HUGE event. Many hours of preparation were put into decorating the house, setting up tables, making centerpieces, organizing name tags, and preparing group games. Oh yes, then there is the never-ending supply of food!
The morning of the baptism was spent preparing for the special baptismal worship service. The worship experience was amazing! I couldn’t understand a word of it, but the rhythm of the liturgy and prayers felt familiar, especially the Lord’s Prayer.
There was only one part of the service that was in English, the part when I got up and sang. The Møgsters had informed me that it is often a tradition for the God-parents to have one of their gifts be a poem or song. So, I happily wrote Maria a song, in the weeks before our Norwegian odyssey. The words of the chorus were projected onto the screen and I invited everyone to sing along during the last time through…which they did, in their conservative Norwegian way of doing things.
After worship, we drove back to Kjell’s mothers home with the family. Immediately, their friends and family started arriving for the festivities. There must have been about 40 people there, each with a name tag showing them where they were going to sit. We heard Norwegian songs, ate Norwegian food, played group games and learned a lot about … Norwegians!! The last visitors (who weren’t going to be sleeping at the house) finally left around 8pm that night. Finally, it was down to just the…15 of us. This included 7 children, 5 of them young elementary school boys!
The whole trip was an amazing adventure. Being immersed in another culture for 2 1/2 weeks gave me a much bigger understanding of our world. My family and I didn’t want to leave!
In June, 2011, during one of our reunions with the Møgsters, here in the States, Maria asked me to sing her song. I happily agreed. Maria was 5 at this time, so I could look her in the eyes as I sang. She would blush and turn away, but soon I found her looking at me again. It was a precious moment. Clearly she felt very special about having her own song.
I am so glad that my song touched Maria’s heart. It clearly made her feel loved and cherished.
Has anyone done something extra special in your life while growing up? Have you ever told them what it meant to you? If not, think about doing that. It would mean a lot to them.