Images from Summer 2020 – Books, Boats, Bullheads, and Bogies

A sunrise with a doe and her fawns at the entrance to seminary last month.

I have been waiting (and wanting!) to do a post with various photos taken this summer. I thought of going with one theme and then decided to make it a variety show. So, tonight is a good time to show you some pictures I have been taking of my little world with all the simple pleasures of summer. I hope you enjoy.

Family fun in one of the waterfall pools we hiked to in the UP of Michigan.

The end of a beautiful night of boating with friends on the big lake and Spring Lake.

When you want the grandkids to help you put the furniture back in place at seminary after the annual carpet cleaning, you bribe them with ice cream and slushies. 🙂

A couple of neighborhood girls have been leaving Bible messages on the path leading into the park at the end of our street. During the “stay-at-home” order, they were very especially meaningful.

What could be better than a Free Little Library at the golf course?! Discovered at Gracewil course a few weeks ago. A few good books, but lots of bogies on that course ):


The cap to an afternoon on Lake Michigan – sailing and picnicking.

Catching bullhead (“suckers”) at Fair Haven Church pond with grandson Trey, my fishing buddy

Grandson Gale trying to throw the ball for Luna, our son’s dog. She’s one patient dog.

20200812_19575720200721_193004 The glory of summer flowers – zinnia and lilies.

And another round of golf with dad, brother, and son – so much weekly fun – bogies and all!


And traces of Fall are in the air – and on the ground.

Hope the end of your summer is great!


Published in: on September 1, 2020 at 10:40 PM  Leave a Comment  

Potato Salad (Lake Wobegon Tales)

Yes, it is winter in West Michigan and a big storm is bearing down on us, but shall we just forget about that for a bit and focus on celebrating the Fourth of July and enjoying a great picnic – with homemade potato salad? Our location is Lake Wobegon, the fictional town of Garrison Keillor filled with Nordic Lutherans and tales that resonate with us Hollanders, Germans, and pretty much every other kind of nationality, as long as you are Americans.

Here is part of a great story Keillor weaves involving the town’s Fourth of July celebration and the need for simple pleasures – like good potato salad, fried chicken, and sparklers. Listen on and laugh away – it’s good therapy at the end of the week.

Potato salad. Don’t get me started. People are asked to bring potato salad to the picnic and instead stop at a convenience store and get some plastic tubs full of mushy potatoes, salad dressing, and mustard to give it that eerie yellow color. Why insult us? Do you think we’ve never had real potato salad and we can’t tell the difference? Do you think we’re not Americans and don’t know potato salad? Do we look Canadian to you? Is there something Icelandic about us? Potato salad. No big mystery about it. It has hard-boiled eggs, fresh chopped celery, chives, green onions, real mayonnaise, maybe a little sour cream, plenty of dill, and on top you spread some sliced boiled eggs with a sprinkling of paprika. [that was my mom’s version!] The great potato salad makers of the world are passing from the world, and you and I should emulate their art lest this country slide into barbarism and ignorance and decay. Standards must be upheld.

…Every child has the right to real potato salad and to hold a sparkler in his or her little hand and wave it around. What magic, to trace your little arc of light against the dark. Surely there have been thousands of men and women who gave their lives to art, to music, to the gaiety of language, who felt the first stirrings of artistry when they helped Grandma make potato salad, a great potato salad that had texture, had some crunch, had the green onions working with the egg yolks and the paprika and dill and the richness of mayonnaise, which cries out for accompaniment with a fried drumstick, still warm with crackly skin and flaky meat. Oh, this is art, to take the humble potato salad and the stupid chicken and ennoble them with the craft of cooking – and is this not the meaning of our country, to take what is common and make something beautiful of it? To stand on the lawn in the twilight and wave your torch and draw big loops of light and slashes and make bold, brilliant strokes? Happy Fourth of July, everybody.

Taken from chapter 25, “Potato Salad, in Garrison Keillor’s Life Among the Lutherans, pp.156-57.

Church Organist (at Lake Wobegon Lutheran)

For a little “Friday fun” for once in a long time, I share a snippet from Garrison Keillor’s Life Among the Lutherans, a collection of his Lake Wobegon stories involving the Lutherans of his fictional (but often realistic) town. I have been reading a chapter an evening at end of day for a little lighter end to my day.

This part is taken from the chapter “Church Organist” and involves an incident where the Lutheran Church had to find a substitute organist for a Sunday while their regular one tended to his dying father. In typical Keillor style, he injects both humor and serious jabs at some parts of American church life. See if you can catch both in these paragraphs:

Tibby Marklund [Lake Wobegon Lutheran’s regular organist] is an ideal organist. She’s a violinist by training, had a little piano, taught herself to play the organ, can’t play very well and is aware of it. That’s the best organist you could hope for. A one-handed organist would be good, too. A one-handed legless organist even better. The organ is the enemy of worship, as most Christians know. Scripture says, “Be still and know that I am God.” This is not the organist’s philosophy. Organists despise stillness. They’re sitting there with the organ equivalent of a 300 hp Ferrari and they want to put the pedal to the metal and make that baby fly. This dude [the substitute organist] came up from the Cities early Sunday morning – he’d sent up an anthem and a motet for the offertory, sent them up for the choir to rehearse Tuesday night, and they couldn’t make head or tail of it – the motet was in French, for crying out loud, and the anthem was piece of fifteenth-century plainsong with odd little square notes – so instead they practiced “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation” for the anthem and “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” for the offertory.

He arrived Sunday morning, this pale, thin man with colorless hair and no chin and wire-rimmed glasses, got out of his big boat of a car with an armload of music, came trudging into church, looked at the organ with barely disguised contempt, and heaved a big sigh and settled in to endure the humiliation of subjecting his vast talent to this throng of Philistines. He warmed up for half an hour, with five or six incredibly virtuosic pieces, all of which he knew by heart – it was like the artillery barrage before the invasion, to stun them into submission. For the prelude he chose a big heroic French piece that showed off his footwork. People arriving in church thinking they were coming to meet God found themselves at an organ concert, and the music was not about contrition or humility. It was about triumph.

…The opening hymn was a sort of musical hair shirt, something in  a minor key with weird intervals, and it sounded like there should have been bagpipes, and …it was basically unsingable, so the first verse was the most pitiful sound that can come out of a congregation. It sounded like a fishing village keening for its dead. There were eight verses. He meant the choir to sing all of them. A sort of torture. And he played louder and louder, evidently thinking this would inspire them, but it had the opposite effect. Like most organ playing, it made you lose your interest in music; it made you sit up resolute and brave and try to think back to a happy time in your life and meditate on that, as you do in the dentist’s chair. During the sixth verse, Cindy Hedlund in the alto section leaned over and said to Marilyn Hedlund, “He’s not the organist; he’s the Enforcer.”

Published in: on December 20, 2019 at 10:15 PM  Comments (3)  

Recent PRC Seminary Images (Inside and Out!) – November/December 2019


Since our last PRC Seminary update in pictures, much more has happened that has been captured in photos. So, in this post we bring you up to date with a selection of images from the last month.


Yes, we did have an early snow in the middle of November – always pretty and exciting, especially for those of our number from Mexico and Australia who don’t get exposed to a lot of this white wonder. 🙂 But then things returned to normal – gray skies and green grass!


As usual, our friendly turkey and deer neighbors make their appearance, including a nice buck – a little unusual.


On the plant side of things, Mrs. Judi Doezema’s Thanksgiving cactus broke out in full bloom just in time again – always a treat in our entry way.


Our Friday brat/burger lunches are always special, especially when wives, children (including new babies!), and friends join us. And sometimes we have a guest give a talk on something, as Mr. Rick Noorman did recently on PR Christian School teacher training.





On Wednesdays during devotion times we often have area PRC ministers give a chapel talk, as Rev. N. Decker (Grandville PRC) did this past week.


In other exciting news, we recently had our final building inspection on the new addition and were approved, so we could finally start moving the PRC archives into their new home upstairs. Over the last two weeks about 2/3rds of the boxes have been moved into the new room. Kevin Rau has been my willing and ready moving partner!

Out of the old room downstairs…


Around the outside with our carts…


And into the new room!


And due to the extra space at this point, we have a better home for our rare books and Dutch titles as well as lesser used magazine boxes from the library.


And our other archivist assistant, Mr. Bob Drnek, has also moved upstairs into the archives “research room” to continue his work of organizing and cataloging.


So grateful for the new archive room(s)! We have plenty of room to grow (tripled our size with the Spacesaver shelving)!


Finally, in the physical education department, our ping pong team continues to practice for the seminary winter olympics. 🙂


Bookworm Problems



Your home is a disaster except for your bookshelves, which are immaculate. Your house is a disaster because books cover every surface. Your house is a disaster because a clean house is a sign of a misspent life, and you spend yours reading.

You’re at a killer used book sale and can’t remember if you already own a certain title. You decide you do and come home. You were wrong and regret your lost chance. You decide you don’t and come home and shelve your newly purchased third copy. You accidentally buy two of the same book at the book sale.

You have more books than shoes [Keep in mind this is a female author.]. You have more books than bookshelves. You do some quick math and realize how much money is tied up in your book collection. You suspect your books equal the gross domestic product of a small nation.

You accept that it’s time to cull your personal library. You lovingly handle each book, determining if it brings you joy. It does. They all do. You are full of bookish joy, but still woefully short on shelf space.

Taken from a new summer read I recently bought at Baker Book House. In I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life, lifetime reader Anne Bogel reflects on the paradoxes of readers and bibliophiles like herself. The chapters are short and packed with great insights and encouragements about the literary life – the highs and lows, the tears and triumphs of reading.

The above quotation is taken from her third chapter, “Bookworm Problems” (pp.66-71).

Yes, these are photos of my home office and den. Bookworm problems here too.

Published in: on August 15, 2019 at 11:06 PM  Leave a Comment  

A Week in Photos, Personal and Seminary – April/May 2019


It has been a cool, rainy week in our parts, but we have now turned the calendar to May, and we hope that we have also turned the corner on our cool, wet weather (including snow! The picture above is my backyard this past Sunday morning – perhaps the last of the season for that white stuff!).


But, just to show you that we have had Spring in West Michigan and enjoyed some nice warm days, we include these shots – a grandson (Carson T) who plays freshman baseball for the Chargers – and a grandson (Trey D) who turned 6 on the same warm day, a day that beckoned us to enjoy our first ice cream cones!


There is also much to report on in the PRC seminary sector of life.


Last weekend, of course, was the seminary’s Dordt400 conference, and while there is much that can be reported on and many photos I could post, I will limit myself to a few here. (Others may be found on the PRC website and on the seminary website blog.)


Yes, there were books on display – I set up an assortment of books and magazines from the seminary library devoted to the subject of Dordt and her 400th anniversary…


and, with Trinity PRC’s great help, a fine display of Dordt artifacts – including woodcuts of the synod and its work, and first editions of the Canons of Dordt, the Acts of the Synod of Dordt, and the Statenbijbel. It seems people were truly interested in these 400 year items! Warmed my heart. 🙂


Of course, the heart of the conference was the people – the speakers and the attendees, including the brothers and sisters from afar – from 8 foreign countries! That included dear pastor-friend V. Ibe from the Philippines, whom I had not seen since he left seminary 6 years ago (to the far right – that’s Dan Pastoor to the far left and Rev. L. Trinidad in the middle, another Filipino pastor).


And another special pastor-friend – B.J. Kwon from South Korea, whom I got to know when he took classes at our seminary (and SE-GR PRC) while attending Calvin Seminary. It was wonderful to connect with him and his wife again.


Our two Asian students couldn’t resist celebrating with amazement the “celebrity” status of Rev. Kwon (note the large photo in the back – one of a collection of specially made photos of all the foreign visitors).


And perhaps you saw this picture already, but one of our professors/speakers was still promoting the conference when he left the church parking lot on Saturday afternoon!



Related to this is a very special gift the seminary received today from the saints in Kolkata, India – thank you cards for having Rev. E. Singh attend the conference. What a beautiful, colorful treasure – and precious words! We too thank God he could be there!


The seminary also had special guests this week. Yesterday (Thursday) about 25 students (plus the parent chaperones and Mrs. K. Van Baren, their teacher) from Heritage Christian HS in Dyer, IN came up for a morning visit, before embarking on a church history tour in the afternoon. They joined us for devotions…


and sat in on a couple of classes – Prof. Cammenga’s OT History class and Prof. Dykstra’s medieval church history class.


And together we enjoyed a Jets pizza lunch!


We are grateful for their encouraging visit – thanks for coming Heritage CHS!


We had another special guest this week: Rev. D. Kleyn, PRC missionary-pastor in Manila, the Philippines (who is here on leave while pursuing advanced studies in preparation for setting up and teaching in a new seminary in that part of the world). For his foreign missions/world religions course Prof. Gritters had Rev. Kleyn give two presentations on the life and work of a missionary in that foreign culture.


And finally, we may add this too – the addition of a new piece of art work to the seminary’s walls. Prof. B. Gritters can relate the full story, but he has often used John Calvin’s words to the saints in Geneva concerning the church’s need for pastors: “Send us wood, and we will send you arrows.”


Well, now, thanks to the wood-working skills of his brother Mike and the fine lettering and design of a couple of ladies (sorry, I don’t remember who now!), these words have been etched in wood and by symbol on a beautifully framed piece. Yesterday afternoon it was hung at the entrance to the library.

Thanks Prof. for not losing the vision of such a work of art. And, thanks Mike and ladies for the excellent work. It is a Gritters’ masterpiece – with a wonderful message stating and summarizing the labors of the PRC seminary!

All in all, it was a busy and blessed week. Now you see why.

The End of Another Seminary Semester (Dec. 2018), a New PRT Journal Issue, and Updated Addition Work Pics!

Sem sunrise - front

(Today was the official beginning of the winter season (Dec.21), though it is not quite this wintery looking currently. This was taken during last year’s winter.)


Today marked the last official day of the first semester at the PRC Seminary. It was exam week, and while no exams were actually held today (Friday), students had papers to finish and turn in today. And thus, another semester comes to a close.

Although, it may be noted that one specially blessed student still has a Hebrew grammar exam to take Christmas Eve morning. It seems a certain registrar forgot to put that on the schedule (which, in his [own flimsy] defense, was full at the time! [as if he couldn’t have moved things around if he had thought of it!]), and a certain Hebrew professor is now in Singapore, far from the very Singaporean student he taught! So now said registrar must administer the exam to the student Monday morning (as if the latter deserves to be “punished” for the miscue of the former!). No worries, as we say, all are happy and content. Or should we say, will be happy and content Monday around 11 AM. 🙂


The end of another semester is always a bit sobering. We stand amazed at how quickly 15 weeks of classes go by. And yet there was marvelous Reformed instruction given again by the faculty, and growth in grace and knowledge and gifts on the part of the students. Our two seniors (Jacob M. and Matt K.) were mostly absent from us (and yet they mysteriously seemed to appear in time for our “Friday brat/burger” lunch), busily engaged in the work of their internships, getting a taste of the “real” life and labors of a church pastor. It was obvious they loved the experience and are being made ready for the grand goal. Soon they will return for their final semester (where did those four years go?!). Humbling, all of it.


Our new professor (D. Kuiper) is working quickly toward the goal of his advanced learning too, starting to write his main thesis for his ThM degree through Calvin Seminary. Next fall, Lord willing, he will begin teaching some of his courses.

sem-secr-sharonk-fall-2018-2.jpgA new secretary moved in mid-semester (Sharon K.), to take the place of our beloved Mrs. J. Doezema, who has only “retired” to less work (“just” the manifold denominational labors she is involved with, and the Standard Bearer). But grace was given to both ladies to take up and to carry on, and the transition has been as smooth as it could be. We praise God.


We were also able to produce our 103rd PR Theological Journal – Volume 52, No.1 (Fall 2018). As you will see from the cover, it is  another fine blend of Reformed scholarship and practical theology, with articles and book reviews to benefit preachers, teachers, students, and laymen. The pdf may be found here; the print copies came in today and will be mailed out or delivered next week. If you would like to be added to our mailing list to receive the PRTJ (free!), contact the seminary at 616-531-1490 or

God is good. His grace is abundant, and therefore amazing. We see His hand guiding us for good in all things, and we give humble thanks to Him for another semester. Remember us in prayer, even as we remember you.

I include here a few other pictures taken throughout the semester, with a few notes for each. Enjoy!

We are blessed by many visitors during the semester, sometimes from faraway places, such as Singapore.

Our final Friday lunch was delicious burgers from Sheldon Meats (Tim B., who keeps us well supplied – thank you, Tim and Kate!)

Once again, I was personally blessed by the help of Kevin R. and Elijah R. in the library.

Once again the sem (and pre-sem) student ping-pong team showed itself highly competitive, winning 50% of its games.


And in the animal realm, a red fox made a rare appearance one night when our janitor was here. He was able to capture a quick shot of it for all of us to enjoy.


Finally, we note that, while Pres. D. Trump is having trouble getting his border wall built, the new seminary addition’s walls made good progress this week, thanks to some mild weather and Bouwkamp Masonry. The new archives and offices are taking shape!



Merry Christmas from all of us at the seminary! May the joy and peace of our sovereign Savior be yours in this season of the year.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)


Time for Cubs Baseball! A Tough April So Far


Now that college basketball season is over, we can turn our attention to American’s great pastime – baseball! Specifically, Chicago Cubs baseball!

After starting the season with away games (Florida, among other places – good idea!), the Cubs returned to Wrigley Field for the first time in the new season this week. Monday was supposed to be their home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates, but conditions were not so great, as you can see.


April baseball in the northern cities can be brutal, but that doesn’t mean the players and fans can’t have fun, as the next two images prove (also taken at Wrigley on Monday.



But Tuesday, April 10, the Cubs opener went on! But the Bucs (Pirates) spoiled that by winning 8-5. The Cubbies rebounded the next day, winning big, 13-5. On Thursday, the Pirates triumphed again, 6-1, a game played in 70 degree (F) weather. Crazy, I know, but that’s baseball in April.

Today the 2016 World champions (who can forget?!) lost again, this time to the Atlanta Braves 4-0, ending the day with a 6-7 record so far in the young season. We will not lose hope so early in the year; we have great expectations for this team once again. So, on we go.

And in spite of the slow start and poor hitting, we did have a bright spot this week. Young second baseman Javier Baez had two two-homer games, prompting a fine bullpen dance for the first time in 2018. Enjoy the video of the belt and the jig!

Published in: on April 13, 2018 at 10:17 PM  Leave a Comment  

Practical Punctuation: That Pertinent Period

well-tempered-sentence-gordon-1983Back in February we started to take a look at the importance of punctuation, using Karen E. Gordon’s fun little book The Well-Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed (New York: Ticknor & Fields, 1983).

Let’s continue by considering part of her first section on the period – yes, that little dot (.) at the end of sentences and other significant parts of words and writings.

Most of what she includes here is obvious and already known. But there are two aspects to the use of the period that we (I include myself) often forget and misuse.

For our benefit, I post those here today, along with her helpful examples (the main points are in bold). I cannot, however, duplicate her fancy stem with leaves at the beginning of these points. You will simply have to picture them where the bullets are.

  • Do not use a period at the end of a sentence that is part of another sentence.
    The rage and irony in his voice (I could hardly fail to notice the scorn with which he addressed me) alternated with a solicitous smile.

    Le Beau’s remonstrance, ‘You are always late and unwelcome besides,’ made her apologize and cry.


  • Periods belong inside parentheses or brackets enclosing an independent sentence. If the enclosure is part of a larger sentence, the period is placed outside the parentheses or brackets. Periods go within quotation marks except when single quotation marks set off special terms.

    They were curled up beside their radio listening to Gustav Mahler’s “I’m Gonna Lock My Heart.”

    We were hard at work on the second revision when Samuel slapped my face. (He had shown such irrational devotion to his own opinions before.)

    She said, “I have just finished writing ‘The Treacherous Bend in the Rainbow.'”


These points and examples are found on pages 16-17.


Published in: on April 3, 2018 at 10:22 PM  Leave a Comment  

The Best Things Found Between the Pages of Old Books – Atlas Obscura

Time for our “Friday Fun” item for this week, and for that we turn once more to Atlas Obscura, that global geographical gem that often features things library and bookish.

Back on February 19 of this year they listed the above-titled item. Having asked their readers to share their best stories about things they had found between the pages of books, hundreds responded with tales of their odd, strange, and amazing findings. What followed was an entertaining list of their “surprising discoveries.”

I have picked out a few of them to highlight, but be sure to visit the link at the end and find out many more. Here are a few to get you started:

Not just money … really old money

An old family Bible contained an envelope with a note on the outside saying, “Grandfather’s revolutionary war pay.” Inside was a colonial currency bill and a signed receipt for its payment for service in the Connecticut 2nd Continental line. —W. Kevin Dougherty, Brackney, Pennsylvania

Forgotten tickets

A 1967 Red Sox World Series Ticket, unused in mint condition. —Robert Bolduc, Boston, Massachusetts

Lost pets

I was about eight years old and had a small goldfish bowl with one goldfish in it on top of a small bookcase in my room. One day he just disappeared and we couldn’t figure out where he went, until the day I was reading one of those books and found a petrified goldfish between the pages. —Rebecca MacLeod

Secret devices

A World War II hidden radio —Ron G. Woering


Found in an old hardcover book about the siege of Fort Sumter, on the discount rack outside of Second Story Books in Dupont Circle. A faded tan piece of construction paper, torn along the bottom edge, as if hastily ripped out of a notebook. Yet the text is carefully typed and dripping with the hope and excitement you’d expect from the title at the top: “MY TRIP AROUND THE WORLD.” It spans from 1970 to 1982, and has our unknown adventurer deep-sea fishing, hunting tigers, sailing distant seas, touring Europe and Asia, and ultimately arriving in San Francisco, where the plan is to, “Sell boat buy land and start cattle ranch.” —Bruce Falconer, Washington, D.C.

So what have you found inside (used) books you had purchased? I can report that what I have mostly found is bookmarks and newspaper clippings. But I am always on the lookout for those truly unusual and special items!

If you have a story to tell, please do!

Source: The Best Things Found Between the Pages of Old Books – Atlas Obscura

Published in: on March 16, 2018 at 9:35 PM  Leave a Comment