"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Pastypalooza

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Inspired by ijumped, I baked up a passel of pasties today, both steak and chicken. The steak ones are for a friend we are visiting tonight. Although he speaks and breathes Finn, he hasn't had a pasty "in years." The chicken ones are what my mom calls a "must go" meal (the chicken was getting any younger). But hey, they aren't bad at all!

Here is my recipe. I quadrupled everything, and had enough pastry left over for a batch of joulutorttu. The whole affair took hours, and my kitchen looks like a flour bomb exploded in the middle of it. After a "sampling" of pasties and joulutorttu, my grateful hubby has offered to do the dishes while I take a bath. I call that a good deal.


2 c flour
1/3 c Crisco, diced
1/3 c unsalted butter, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup ice cold water
1/4 cup half and half, for brushing

Mix flour and salt, cut in shortening and butter, add water. Mix until well blended. Form into log, cut in 4 rounds, and chill in the refrigerator while preparing filling. Roll into 8" circles.

3/4 pound steak (I used eye of round) or chicken breast, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup red wine
2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
1/2 cup rutabaga, diced
3 cups potatoes, diced
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup fresh parsley

Marinate meat in wine and garlic salt while preparing vegetables, then drain. Mix with veggies and seasoning in a large bowl. Roll out dough in 8" circles, trim. Brush edges with half and half. Place 1 cup filling on half of pasty, and fold over other half. Seal edges firmly and and flute, or press with fork. Place on cookie sheet. Cut 3 tiny slits in each for steam, and brush top of pasty with milk.

Bake at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Serve with ketchup and, unless you are a Yooper purist, Thai rooster sauce.

Please share your recipes for pasties or anything else you like.


  1. Cvow's posting yesterday made me nostalgic for pulla. I made 4 pullas and one pulla-cinnamon wreath tonight. Two will go for church services this evening, one will go for Monday coffee at work, and my son and I will eat the rest at home. Mmmmmmmm. I've found that the cardamom that comes from Europe is much better quality than that we get from the grocery store, so my Finnish-Swede "sweetie" buys me some packets every time he comes to visit. They last a long time because their flavor is so intense. I don't really have a recipe, otherwise I'd post it. Even though I was born the summer of love, I've been making bread and "biscuit" as family up north calls pulla or cinnamon rolls since I was a teen, and I basically eyeball the ingredients and add flour to touch.

    Free, we also always have a bottle of rooster sauce at home, but with pastie? Hmmmm...I honestly don't know. A couple of summers ago my fiance and our respective sons went up to Copper Country for a little trip, and we especially loved the breakfast pasties, which were made with breakfast sausage, onions and diced potatoes. I'm a bit of a pasty purist, and I enjoy mine with ground beef, onions, potatoes and a hint of rutabaga and carrot, and I eat either alone or with ketchup. There was a bakery called Sheldon's in Houghton in a strip mall that was owned by LLL'ers and staffed by long-haired, skirt and jean-skirt clad hyvee-headed young women. We stopped by the window of a thrift shop, and looking inside, my fiance said, "Oh, there are the Laestadian women--I'd recognize them anywhere! Of course, he recognized them by their long skirts and buns and their Finno-Urgic faces and the little tow-head children clutching onto their skirts. He had lived in Gellivare, the Bethlehem of the OALC, for a few years. I smiled at him and reminded him gently, "You're holding the hand of a Laestadian woman, did you recognize me, too?" He laughed. He reminded me again that I am, as he calls me, "Laestadie-Light." Just as flavorful but apparently less filling.

    We're getting married this spring! Woo hoo!

    --Stranger in a Strange Land

  2. Pasty on the fly (AKA, in a hurry)
    1 medium chopped spud
    1 medium chopped carrot
    1 slice rutabaga chopped
    some fine chopped onion
    1/4 to 1/2 pound ground sirloin or round (depends on your ticker and appetite)
    salt & pepper
    mix well
    cut one Pillsbury pie roll in 1/2 and put 1/2 of mixture on each unrolled crust
    dot with butter
    seal, cut slit in top
    bake about 3/4 to 1 hour at 375 you know, 'till they look "right"
    grab the ketchup and an ice cold glass of chocolate milk (like fine wine with pasty)
    Let your mouth smile as you take that first bite!
    Its so easy its almost a crime. I used to think of pasty as this big chore. But now I often just make these two small ones and its perfect for this empty nest house. If I have a few minutes I might make more and freeze the rest. But fresh out of the oven is so much better.

    Now my bunny trail:
    Last night in bible class we discussed Christian love (out of 1 John 4:16-21 area)
    We have a very open and discussion encouraged bible class. The discussion moved to how God in picking his people to use as lessons for the later ages, and Christ in picking who to surround himself by, picked a colorful cast of characters. Not a sinless "perfectly righteous" one in the whole bunch. But yet they were used. Then here we come along in this century and sometimes expect those that lead us to do our righteous living for us. In other words, they who lead should have no warts. The problem being, we all have warts.
    We then went on to discussing how every Christian is a messenger for Christ and we need to try and keep our "ugly" in check as we go about our daily lives. It is very hard for anyone to see Christ in us as we snarl at the checkout person for being too slow or the store being out of a sale item. The song "They will know that we are Christians by our walk" often is not true. Often we go along rudely, speeding through life, and not stopping to help out our fellow brothers and sisters. It can be hard to get involved.
    This got me thinking, (I know, that can be dangerous)
    We that visit Free’s blog are a diverse bunch with a shared ancestral history. Our forefathers actually had a pretty good system for looking out for each other, albeit in their own congregations. Let’s continue that trend. We may be disconnected from our childhood communities, but we are still part of a great society. When we go to the grocery store each week, let’s pick up a few extra sale items of food and drop them off at a food pantry in your area. If you can only afford one extra can of corn, then do that! Collectively, we can make a difference to someone! Then we can strive to make this a habit, not just during the Christmas season but all year. Save your sample size toiletry items you get at hotels or as samples in the mail and bring them too. If the food pantry doesn't want them, a community senior center or a group that ministers to the homeless will be happy to receive them. Right now, the need is so great in America. As in Matthew 25:31-40, we are to look out for our fellow man with compassion and caring. I'm not going to post the reading here but you can look it up if your bible is not handy. http://www.biblegateway.com/

    So maybe our little community of believers can decide that we want to make a little difference and help our fellow man. Here is a nice site that lists many food pantries. If there are none listed for your state and you know of some, see if you can get them listed. http://pantrynet.org

    Be a secret Santa and buy a less fortunate child a toy and a new set of clothes. Many churches, community organizations, businesses, schools etc. have giving trees this time of the year. Hand a homeless person a pair of new gloves. Let’s just get out there and spread some Christian love.

    How’s this for a change of topic CVOW?


  3. Congratulations on your engagement, Stranger!

    These recipes and the photo look wonderful. I've not been much of a pasty maker, but often made "pasty without a crust" in a dark roaster for the family.. it was fast, and they loved it.

    I also like your holiday suggestions, Ijumped.. very good ideas. Practical and doable, and can make a difference on a personal level.

  4. A few years ago I made some pasties for my daughter, but since I have never had any luck with pie crust, I bought frozen ones and cut them into quarters. The dough was WAY too sweet. I never asked her if she ate them!


  5. Try Pappy's frozen pie crust if your grocer carries it. It comes in frozen clumps that you can roll out to your prefered size. I made pasties for a dinner with a foodie friend and she wanted my piecrust recipe! I had to confess I was short of time and used a cheater crust, which made me wonder if it was better than my own!


  6. Congratulations, Stranger!

    The topic of pulla -- and then all of you talking about making made me think perhaps I ought to try it instead of just depending on the generosity of friends and family -- but then my far better half said something like "Puhleeze!" and brought me back to earth. I guess Joulutorttut will have to be the extent of it, but I may have to try some pasties. The LLL ladies always just do hamburger in theirs, and I want to do some other things. When we were living in England weused to go down to Cornwall and get Cornish pasties, and I was especially fond of minted lamb. I think the Cornish pasties are actually the root of what we think of as a Finnish food, because I suspect it was something passed from the Cornish miners and their families to the Finns. What do you think? I know my Mother never made pasties, but the relatives from the U.P. introduced me to them -- and there were a lot of Cornish miners up there in the copper mines.

    ijumped, that is a great idea for both discussion and action! I do try to give to lots of different charities, but I think this year I will give myself a challenge and try even harder to not turn down anyone in need. So how do we do that, as obviously we cannot give to every needy organization? How do you select between the Salvation Army, Red Cross, various Gospel Missions, Habitat for Humanity, Women's Shelters, etc. The aforementioned are my favorites that I support, but I end up turning many others away.

    One thing I've found a bit annoying -- I recently gave a donation to a local charity, and within two weeks I received three more solicitations from the same charity for more. Hmmmm....

    ...and what about the people on the side of the road. You know the stories about how some of them drive to a corner in their not too old car, and actually take shifts "working a corner". You have heard the stories about how some of them just spend the money on booze and drugs. How od you know what to do? You'd like to give to the truly needy, but...

  7. I would say its their conscience if they are using the money for drugs and alcohol. Its something they will have to answer to. I guess we don't know for sure if they truly are needy or not, but I think God would look at your heart in that situation, that you are willing to give. God loves a cheerful giver.

  8. I've also heard the same story about the origin of the Finnish American pasty as cvow. Pasties are not eaten in Finland, so that sounds like a reasonable explanation. There are some similar pastries that are part of the traditional Finnish cuisine but there's always some difference to the yooper pasties.

    There's for example something that is called 'kalakukko', which is about the same size as a pasty, maybe slightly bigger though. But the crust is made of rye flour and the filling consists of small whitefish, often also with some meat. A variant of the same dish is called 'lanttukukko', the only difference is that the filling is rutabaga. Both are usually eaten cold and often as a side dish (typically there's only one kalakukko/lanttukukko for the entire table party).

    Another Finnish specialty is called 'lihapasteija', a puff pastry with minced meat and rice filling (the meat is sometimes replaced by cooked and minced egg), seasoned with black pepper and salt. In the East, a variant of this pastry is made by mixing wheat flour and mashed potato, and the filling consists only of cooked rice, mixed with some butter, this kind is called 'vatruska'.

    Cabbage and salmon are also popular fillings. In this case the pastry is called either 'kaalipiirakka' (for cabbage) or 'lohipiirakka' (for salmon). The pastry can be either of the puff pastry type or of the bread dough type (wheat flour, yeast, water, salt), I think the puff pastry kind is more common in the West, while the bread dough kind is more typical for the East. There's a lot of variation in the shapes and the sizes.

  9. I had read of a pasty like concoction made with fish, that in the old days when people walked everywhere, was dropped into the coat pocket and was known as a traveling man's lunch, as it would take him a long way. I asked a cousin of mine in Finland about it and he guessed at what it was -- although he said the reason it took you a long way was that it tasted so bad you were willing to walk a long way before stopping for lunch! I don't recall anymore what name he had for it though.

    I think the Finns are not nearly as bad as their Scandinavian neighbors in doing terrible things to innocent fish! :-)

  10. Apparently all Finns are not like cvow's cousin because the tradition of making kalakukkos is still well alive. :) It doesn't have much culinary value for me either, but I sometimes eat it just because it's a traditional Finnish specialty.

    The Finns definitely eat less fish than the Norwegians but more than the Swedes. Most Finns live close to the water, be it a sea or a lake, which makes it natural to eat fish. In fact, it's very uncommon to meet Finns who categorically refuse to eat fish, while I've met quite a few Americans who do. Many Finns maybe prefer meat to fish, but only very few take the step to refusing to eat it. Actually I think most Finns really don't have any preference, fish is not better or worse than meat, it's just different. Finns also don't have the traditional Norwegian distinction of meat being Sunday food and fish everyday food. Both fish and meat can be eaten on any day, it's the way of preparing the meal and the other components of the meal that make it a festive meal or an everyday meal.

  11. Okay, I came here to 'fess up. I think there's something wrong w/Sarah Palin. I just watched an interview she did while turkeys were being slaughtered in the background. She seems so clueless that people might be bothered by it, or else she just doesn't care! Yikes, I don't like it.

    On another note Free, about gardens and such.. Here are a couple of websites you might be interested in, if you haven't found them already.. www.homesteadingtoday.com and www.pathtofreedom.com. I think this is the future whether we like it or not. At any rate, it's good to have the information!

    And yes, the pasty is of Cornish heritage, not Finnish. Miners took them into the mines tucked into their jackets or shirts. A good portable meal.

  12. Norah, you said something is wrong with Sarah Palin? Apparenly you were not raised on a farm or been exposed to people who hunt and eat the resulting meat.
    Unless you are a vegetarian, why criticize the killing of animals for food. I was raised around farms and have killed countless chickens and turkeys that were all eaten for food. To people like me that is a normal thing.
    I don't think that means there is something wrong with me!
    If you are a meat eater and are offended by the killing of animals for human food then perhaps there is something wrong with you!

  13. To Helena,
    I notice that your web site is still down. Have you decided not to re-do it?
    Many, many people have benefitted from it and many more would if it were still available!

    At any rate, many blessings to you.

  14. :-) Actually, I have to try and reconcile several different things within myself here. I supported Sarah Palin, I'm a country gal and very familiar with farming and hunting, I'm not a vegetarian. I think the problem is her judgment in certain areas, and this setting was poor judgment. There is a certain 'hardness' to her character - a lack of sensitivity perhaps? And I hate to say it, but I see this same hard attitude toward her children - "they'll be fine". The thing is, I know several women like her - very accomplished, ambitious, competitive, hardworking, can do anything a man can do, entrepreneurial. That's fine. But there's something that makes me think she's not ready for primetime (the national scene). There is something lacking in social sensitivities, as with the women I know. Maybe I'm wrong, but politics takes a certain finesse, and I just don't think she has it. I'd like to see a strong and principled woman who can also be gentle and sensitive when the situation warrants it. Just my opinion, and my hubby doesn't agree w/me either 4eyes. lol

  15. If I saw it, I'd think it was a turkey slasher movie. lol

    I agree with you, Norah. I'm fully aware that animals are slaughtered for humans to eat, but if I had to watch it happen, I'd be a vegetarian. It makes my stomach turn to think about it. People who are not raised seeing animals butchered on a regular basis are more likely to react negatively to it.

    Sarah Palin reminded me a little of a bull in a china shop...finesse not included. Jump in with both feet and don't worry much about where they land. But I'm sure it has been an asset to her as well. It's taken her quite a way already.

    A certain amount of assertiveness is necessary. Some sensitivity is helpful to balance it out.

    And my hubby is a deer hunter. I call it a successful season when he doesn't get a thing except cold. :)

  16. Well said, Daisy! When I was growing up, us kids weren't allowed outside early in the morning on butchering day. We knew what was going on, but were spared the details.

  17. Oh, hi 4eyes... I haven't been here in quite some time.
    Yeah, I kind of needed a breather from all things Laestadian for awhile. And everyone's opinions and critiques. I'm not sure if others have had the same experience.
    I'm not sure if and when it will go back up. Love to you all.

  18. Norah,

    I went back and re-read my post to you and I must admit I sounded a little blunt. I have read your posts over time and know you to be a class act and if my post offended you , I am sorry.

    My intention was not to attack you, but to remind everyone who is offended by animals being killed for food, that perhaps they should stop eating meat.

    Best wishes to you, Norah!

  19. Thank you 4eyes.. I understand what you're saying and I agree with you in principle, it was the setting that was disturbing to me. Who knows, maybe she was set up!? At any rate, you're a class act yourself! There are any number of places I could have vented, but I like coming here because when all is said and done, people are honest, thoughtful and fairminded, such as yourself!

  20. I don't think its that people are offended by animals being killed for food, I just don't think people care to watch them being slaughtered. I too eat meat but would rather not watch. I think its just being sensitive to others.

  21. I just watched the Sarah Palin interview on youtube with the turkeys being killed behind her. Are you kidding me? That was a complete setup! Why was Palin off to one side, to allow a perfect shot of the killing behind her? Obviously the interviewer and cameraman new what was going on out of Palin's view and they continued to film. Why not do a close up so as not to show the stuff behind her. It was an obvious attempt to make her look stupid. Outrageous!

  22. Did anyone else noticew the site went over 100,000 hits! WooHoo!

  23. I wonder how many people are reading the site, but not posting or if the same people keep coming back every day. Are you able to tell, Free, how many different people are coming here?

  24. Traffic fluctuates between 40 and 90 hits a day, but I don't know how many of those are from the same people checking back.

  25. If it was an obvious attempt to make her look stupid, it was successful.

    I am not sure she needs much help, though. Have you SEEN the interviews????!!!

  26. Oh c'mon now Helena! The lady lost, we all know she wasn't the brightest bulb on the porch, but she wasn't all bad either -- even though we know 2012 is only in her dreams.

    Pasties! Pasties! Back to pasties. I'm gonna have some this week! With ketchup. Which is the same color as turkey blood. And Sarah Palin was recently photgraphed...Stop! All of this subject jumping is getting surreal. :-)

  27. LLLreader sez: We went to hear a a group at Nancy's Farm in Bellingham this weekend called the Karelian Folk Music Ensemble There is something about Finnish music that always brings a tear to my eye and an ache to my heart. I suppose I could wax poetic and say it's a yearning for my roots or something like that--or I could just recognize that much of the music I enjoy is sort of melancholy. I wanted to comment on something Norah said. She mentioned a sort of "hardness" about Sarah P. Among the people I know there are a few "born again" folks. I don't know what it is, but some of them are the most judgmental, mean people I know. I'm not talking OALC here--I'm talking evangelical.

  28. LLLreader sez: We went to hear a a group at Nancy's Farm in Bellingham this weekend called the Karelian Folk Music Ensemble There is something about Finnish music that always brings a tear to my eye and an ache to my heart. I suppose I could wax poetic and say it's a yearning for my roots or something like that--or I could just recognize that much of the music I enjoy is sort of melancholy. I wanted to comment on something Norah said. She mentioned a sort of "hardness" about Sarah P. Among the people I know there are a few "born again" folks. I don't know what it is, but some of them are the most judgmental, mean people I know. I'm not talking OALC here--I'm talking evangelical.

  29. LLLreader sez: We went to hear a a group at Nancy's Farm in Bellingham this weekend called the Karelian Folk Music Ensemble There is something about Finnish music that always brings a tear to my eye and an ache to my heart. I suppose I could wax poetic and say it's a yearning for my roots or something like that--or I could just recognize that much of the music I enjoy is sort of melancholy. I wanted to comment on something Norah said. She mentioned a sort of "hardness" about Sarah P. Among the people I know there are a few "born again" folks. I don't know what it is, but some of them are the most judgmental, mean people I know. I'm not talking OALC here--I'm talking evangelical.

  30. LLLreader: To add to what I said about the hardness of most of the "born again" people I know--some of their kids are subject to serious physical punishments. There was a nut case that came through Portland a few years ago who even told about what size stick to use. He also said to hit kids until they are just whimpering instead of yelling because then you know you are reaching their spirit. Crowds ate it up. Recently had a heated discussion with a guy who seriously believes that people should pull themselves up by their boot straps--never mind that he is where he is because of a sizeable trust fund "those people on the street are there because that's what they choose"--and never mind that the majority of street people have mental illness. There is a kind of black and white thinking going on with that "born again" guy. "I am right, and God is on my side". Bush has the same attitude. I was taking my grandson to a Baptist Sunday school for awhile. His teacher said that the kids need to memorize verses in case we are forced to give our Bibles up. I asked a couple of Evangelical friends about it, and sure enough, they had the same fear. Seems to me that some of people operate best if there is an enemy out there. The OALC doesn't have a lock on that thinking. Before someone jumps on me for lumping all of them together--I know full well that not everyone is like that. I guess I just happen to know some people that make my butt tired. I recognized Sarah P. right away as one of those people.

  31. Hi LLLreader,
    Yes, there can be that hardness with some of the evangelicals. I bought into a lot of that for quite awhile. I wish I wouldn't have. As far as memorizing Bible verses, it seems like that's a really distorted view. The reason to memorize Bible verses is for ourselves, to know the Bible as a help and comfort and as a spiritual exercise.

    It seems as though there are two aspects to this though - there is the religious or spiritual, and then there is the political. I'm not sure that the political necessarily spills over into our own personal spiritual lives. It can, but not necessarily. I don't think President Bush is an extemist who would spank his children til they whimper. But conservative policies do emphasize individual responsibility and not government involvement in every social problem. Not jumping on you..

    I've been more interested lately in the topic of personal spirituality, especially in terms of dealing with grief and suffering. (Don't tell anyone, especially cvow, but I've been watching EWTN and kinda like Fr Benedict Groeschel.) There is this 'modern' idea that to be happy we should not experience these things, and if we do then we should be medicated so as not to 'feel' them, or that we pray for God to take them away. But Fr Groeschel and others have a very different outlook. Anyway, it's a far cry from the evangelical focus on these external things..

  32. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Hopefully all of you will find time today to slow down and remember friends and family, and thank God for all of the wonderful gifts he gives us, each and every day, without fail. I recently read something, written by an Orthodox priest whose writings I really admire, that made me really pause to think. The writer suggested that we do not always remember to thank God as we should -- to which I thought "sure, I agree with that. I know I do not remember to thank God enough. I'm really good at remembering God when things aren't going so well, but the flip side of the coin? No, I know that except in times of -- let's call it "formal" prayer -- I don't think to do that often enough."

    I know of Paul's instruction in his first letter to the Thessalonians (5:17) to "Pray without ceasing." However, I think I too often forget the continuation of that passage that we should "In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus."

    Think about that. It's pretty easy to thank God when things are really going well. However, do we also remember to thank God when things are headed straight south with a strong tailwind -- when hard times are upon us, whether they be sickness or death, personal loss, fear, economic hardship, abuse, or any of the myriad things that can befall us. Do we really thank God in those circumstances, or do we just ask for help instead? I know that I do not -- yet the instruction of Paul is clear -- "in ALL circumstances give thanks..."

    How do we or can we do that, friends? According to the writer, if you are able to do this, then you are filled with the grace of God. That resonated with me.

    Let's thank God today for everything -- for the good things and the not so good things, for the treasure and wisdom and grace he gives us, and also for the trials and tribulations that make us grow in understanding -- as we all muddle along on our paths, and let's all try to do the best we can with the gifts God has given us! When it gets tough, think of Mother Teresa's words -- "I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I only wish He didn't trust me so much." ...and then thank God for even those times, as you know she did.

    May the grace and peace of Jesus, the Christ, be with you and yours today and always.

  33. LLLreader to Norah--In this time of Thanksgiving I probably shouldn't be complaining about people who don't behave the way I think they should. Nothing judgemental there on my part!! The word "hardness" got me going in thinking about some people who (I think)give Christanity a bad name. The responsibility on my part is to stay away from folks who push my buttons. There isn't going to be any common ground or resolution, since black and whie thinkers can't acknowledge gray. By the way, I don't put McCaine in that camp. On the grief issue, we know that grief and suffering will inevitably come to us all at some point. By just accepting that fact, I have been able to get through painful periods of my life. In fact, I'm not feeling so great today! I have several things going on that do bring sorrow. This is the way it is today for me--it will be different tomorrow and the next day. Emotions change, sorrow ebbs and flows. I don't expect God to take away my sorrow--I do ask him to give me strength to deal with it. He does do that for me. Back to one of my hapless "born agains"--a women I know lost her husband after a long marraige. She told me she didn't shed a tear because as a Christian she knew he was with God. Another time after something devestating had happened to me she told me to buy a red dress and put a big smile on my face. Oh please! Just because we are Christian doesn't mean that we are expected to be emotionless, and if we don't express those emotions they will just come out in other ways. Life is a mixed bag. Somewhere I heard a story about how Eskimo hunters were able to withstand extreme physical misery. It was said that they just didn't expect to be physically comfortable at all times. Somewhere in my ramblings here I want to interject my thankfulness for this blog, for our main Blog Lady Free, and for the posters. Many times while reading I have come face to face with myself. Someone else was able to put into words what I was trying to get to jell in my thinking. Anyway, God's Blessings to you all.

  34. LLLreader, I must apologize for taking so long to respond to your post. I didn't know why it seemed to overwhelm me at the time, but I think I know now. You touched on several things that maybe were too close to home. Yes, there may be a purpose for this 'hardness', but there are also times that God breaks through the hardness and touches us very deeply. I have a friend who lost two children as young adults, and I watched her seem to deal with the pain in the way you describe. She was from that same background you are mentioning. It didn't seem grounded in reality.

    This is a very deep and complex subject and it's hard to put into words what I'm thinking - and probably don't even know myself. Fact is, we've just gone through several losses ourselves in the last several weeks - elderly friends who were close to us. Do you ever feel like you're going through a time of transition, and nothing is going to be quite the same again? That's what's happening here.

    You are right - stay away from people who push your buttons. Absolutely. I hope you are feeling better. I'm not going to tell you to smile and put on a red dress - BAH! There is NO empathy in that kind of thinking. Sometimes we just have to 'be', and we know that when the time comes (and it will), we will be better.

    You said: "This is the way it is today for me--it will be different tomorrow and the next day. Emotions change, sorrow ebbs and flows. I don't expect God to take away my sorrow--I do ask him to give me strength to deal with it. He does do that for me."

    So true!

    I am thankful too, for life - all of it, even though there are days that are so sorrowful or even just plain unproductive.

    I ordered a couple of books by Fr Groeschel and can't wait to get into them. A friend also loaned me a book called "Isaac Polvi".. have you ever heard of it? It was written by an elderly Finnish man in which he tells his life story, starting with his youth in Finland in the late 1800's. I'm about half way through...

    The Christmas holiday has my attention now (finally), so I must occupy myself with it before it gets any closer! lol

  35. Yesterday I was driving down the highway about 30 miles from my home when a driver emerged from a side road and lost control of her truck on a patch of ice. As I approached her, I could see she was trying to regain control but the truck was swerving and swaying, eventually coming toward me sideways on the highway. There was no time to do anything, the road was icy, and I could do nothing but hit her. Neither of us was seriously hurt, and thankfully I hit toward the back of her truck and not the cab. I'm wearing a neck brace for a few days but she just had a little bump on her head. Just goes to show how quickly things can change... and thankful that it wasn't worse. Both trucks were totalled, and it is just amazing to me how the front of my truck crumpled up almost to the windshield, but the interior was nearly untouched. Kind strangers stood with me until the ambulance came.

    And so it goes....

  36. So glad you are okay, Norah. A good reminder to us to live as if death could come at any time.

    Yesterday I attended a funeral of a dear woman who lived long and well, and died peacefully at 87. Afterward many of us who hadn't seen each other for awhile got reacquainted, ate salmon and salad and pulla, and marvelled at the many connections this friend had facilitated.

    At one point I was stuck in a conversation with one of her relatives who is a real bore, someone I normally avoid. She is not only tedious but physically repellent, both skeletal and ashen, due to a decades of anorexia. As I found myself looking for an escape, I had a flash of self-awareness (and shame) and turned my full attention to this unfortunate woman, looking at her for the lesson she surely had to offer.

    I'm not sure what it was, frankly. But I suspect our departed friend inspired BOTH of us to be tolerant of one another, if only for ten minutes in a church basement.

    Sometimes the best we can do is to not act badly.

  37. Close call! What a blessing you made it through okay.

  38. Whew! Glad you're okay, Norah. Just a twist more this way or that, and the outcome could have been so different. We don't know when those random things can happen, and I agree, Free. We need to live each day in such a way so we don't regret our actions, as if it could be our last day, and sometimes, not acting badly is something to celebrate.

  39. Thank you everyone.. yes, the more I think about it I realize how different things could have been.. what a difference just a few seconds or minutes could have made. I don't have the inclination to think about it too much right now (as I usually might do), but maybe some day there will be some perspective to what happened, why it happened, or maybe just realize the randomness of it all.

    It seems as though I'm the worst person to have negative feelings toward people I don't like.. I tend to be impatient, critical and even angry, disguised as being so "right" whereas others are 'wrong'. It's good to get to that place as you spoke of, Free, where you just live and let live, not taking responsibility for other people on yourself. That is really a feeling of peace, and maybe even a type of love.

    I wanted to mention a bit about being 'born again', as I noticed it was mentioned on another thread. I don't want to imply that I don't believe in being born again.. It's more the idea, which maybe has been more prevalent in the last 40-50 years or so, that Christians are immune from sorrow, pain or difficulty. As if the Christian life is devoid of those things, and if you experience difficulties then you might not be a very sincere or devout believer, or Christian. That is such an alienating concept, and totally unBiblical. We are not promised that our lives will be easy, but that we will not be alone. Our blessings are spiritual, even though we may be very blessed in other ways also. But feeling safe to be open about our pain and our struggles opens the way to true fellowship, where we aren't lifing ourselves higher than others, (which irritates me to no end), but insead walking alongside as equals on this journey of life.

    wow, this got long - maybe too many meds lol. Take care everyone.

  40. Glad your okay Norah! I hate driving on icy roads. The joys of winter. Have a blessed Christmas.

  41. I,too hope you are well, Norah.

    Your comment about things are not guaranteed to be easy in this life is so true.

    I remember being told by an OALC member some years ago that when people leave that church that "things don't go well" with them! Rubbish!!!

    I know of many still in the church, and things aren't going especially well with many of them!

    Oh well, enough of that.

    Many blessings to all this Christmas season!

  42. Thank you, Pretzel and 4eyes..I appreciate your kind thoughts! Things aren't going too bad here, kind of stiff and sore but trying to move around and get things done.

    4eyes, I can see where they (OALC) would be right in a sense.. that is, that if you 'live right' you are going to have fewer problems.. wrong living brings about all kinds of (mostly) self-inflicted problems..addictions, problems w/the law, financial, etc..

    But think of Hebrews 11 - the heroes of the faith. They lived for the promise of a better land, but did not see it here in this life.

    Have a Blessed Christmas also, you and yours..

  43. Right Norah, in THEIR eyes one living outside the OALC is wrong living. For me I got into lots of things I shouldn't have when I left the LLC because I wasn't living right. I wasn't following the Lord, I can see that now.I had alot of inner turmoil and insecurities. My heart became hard and bitter, lots of sins became acceptable. I do follow him now and while I still have trials and problems, there is a peace I've never had, a joy beyond description. He has changed SO many things in my life. He has to power still today to heal! I live my life for the Lord, not people. I want to live my life that is pleasing to HIM! If certain people think I am doing something wrong in the way that I am living,then that's there problem. There is only one person that I answer to on judgement day, and only one person that I need to worry about pleasing, Jesus! I don't need to agree with a specific group of people on cultural living and certain practices. My faith and trust is in the Lord, period! Every person who comes to the Lord has a testimony, changed lives!! He takes your anger, bitterness, sins, insecurities and replaces it with peace, love, and hope! How amazing is that! Something once you experience is just the neatest thing ever! I'm always in awe of him.

  44. Merry Christmas all, Jesus is the reason for the Season!

  45. Pretzel, I'm so happy for you! I'm so glad that you have found this in your life, and you are right - that is true peace, joy and contentment. Not in 'the world's" idea of joyful living, but in godly living and purpose, and knowing that you are special in the eyes of God, and very much loved by Him!

    We've had rental houses for almost 10 years, and so often we've watched while people just can't seem to get it together. They have the opportunities to get established and have a good life but seem to sabotage themselves, or something.. sometimes the police are involved. What I wouldn't give to have some of them say the things you just did, it would be so wonderful. That's what I mean about 'the world' - not those outside a particular church, but those who do not have the Lord in their lives.

    Thanks for writing, I enjoyed reading your testimony!

  46. I know, if people would just let God be in control and let him guide and lead them and put their faith and trust in Him, their life I think would be so much better. I used to think I had to control everything, ha! What wrong thinking. And I used to think about myself alot. I have learned what die to self means and to just love, love people, love God. God will take care of me, I just try to focus on other peoples needs.

    He can change your life! I and many other people are living testimonies. I think testimonies are what help people believe. You can preach all you want, quote scriptures, lay the law, whatever, but telling your story of how God has changed you and your life is evidence that the Christian life works! Its a life with peace, love and joy in your heart. Nothing better than that!

  47. LLLreader to Norah--been away from my pc for a few days, just reading now about your accident. Am so glad you are doing OK. Nothing like a close call to put things into perspective!!!! I was thinking about the idea of putting the responsibility for our forgiviness into God's hands instead of handing it over to fellow church members, and realized that when I made that change I became much more honest with myself. I know when I am doing something wrong, and as I am dealing directly with God and not Toivo Sarriloulinenaukeetoivonami (made up name)for forgivness, I find I am more diligent in being faithful to God's laws, and a lot more willing to be honest with myself. He knows what is in my heart and He knows when I am in need of forgivness. Good old Toivo only knows what he sees on the surface. However, if I took Toivo's pulla then that Finn poy would hear me ask him for forgivness.

  48. Pretzel, John 10 where Jesus talks about being the shepherd and knowing his sheep..that is one chapter that really brought me around to realizing that he is concerned about me, personally.. so often I did not seem to get that support from sermons, (preaching, as you said) but found it in the Bible.

    LLLreader, that's funny but also true! yup, you're right. I am not a very emotional or public kind of person..that is not in my family either.. going to someone else for every little thing..hmmm..nope not going to happen. But I've often apologized and asked forgiveness from those I've wronged. I do believe in the Lord's Prayer and we ask forgiveness there, and we have to trust and believe that what Jesus taught us is true, and needs nothing added to it. About the Laestadian way, about laying on of hands.. I don't think there's probably anything wrong with it, but it should not be demanded either. Then it's a "work", an empty tradition. Just my thoughts.

    and thank you, I think things will be okay.. feeling better, hopefully no long-term consequences.

  49. I agree Norah, the bible is our guide in life.

    I think its interesting about the forgiveness of sins in the church. One person I talked to said, No your sins are not forgiven unless you physically ask someone, and it had to be a LLC member "believer". Another person said, no its only reassurance when I ask someone, the power was accomplished on the cross when Christ died.Then this same person also said in order to get into God's kingdom I must go to another individual in the church and repent. So their idea of repent is believing everything they say and asking an individual to preach the words of forgiveness to me. SO in other words if the forgiveness of sins is only reassurance, then why are they making it mandatory in order for someone to be deemed a believer? I would not be called a believer unless one of them physically told me that I can believe my sins forgiven. Isn't that a works? We are not saved by works.

    When I think about the words, "Believe all your sins forgiven in Jesus name and blood", the person is just telling you to believe it. There is NO power in the actual words themselves, the power is believing it in your heart. Someone can physically tell you those words and you still are not a believer if you don't believe it for yourself. So why the requirement? Tradition I suppose?
    They are not saying, "Your sins are now forgiven in Jesus name and blood, they are saying, Believe! Yah, I do believe! So someone has to tell me to believe before I actually do? Crazy, eh?

    So I wonder why two people from the same church would have different view on it. When I was in the church I was always taught I HAD to have someone tell me those words in order for my sin to be forgiven. That is false teaching!

  50. A few more thoughts on the subject.

    So then if some people are thinking the forgiveness of sins is only reassurance, then why do they continually need that reassurance from someone day in and day out, sometimes several times a day? Is it so hard to believe that yes, Christ died on the cross for my sins? He paid the penalty in full for my sins? Why is that so hard to believe?
    I agree confessing sins is good for a person, it helps to get things off your chest and talk about areas your struggle in with another person. But to feel like you continually have to tell someone every little sin you did and then hear the words of forgiveness from that person, what is that? Why is it preached that you cannot go straight to God and ask him for forgiveness for sins you have committed against him only? Do people really need to know every little sin you do? I personally don't think so. And I don't think thats being self-righteous. Some things are between God and myself and are really no one elses business! He knows all anyway, so why do people need to know it all?

  51. Norah, so glad that you are ok!

    Growing up, I always understood that you HAD to "have your sins forgiven" in order to go to heaven after you died. Every night my brothers and sisters would go to my parents and ask to be forgiven, scared that we'd done some tiny little thing wrong during the day, and if we died in the night, we wouldn't go to heaven. I remember being terrified if I hadn't had my sins forgiven before bed. Once I got older, I didn't really care. I wasn't go to go ask someone to "forgive me" everytime I "sinned". So, I just quit asking. I didn't know what to believe, I thought the forgiveness made sense (when I was in my teen years) but I just didn't want to go ask for it. Now that I've been out of the Laestadian church for a few years, I know that man cannot forgive another mans sins. Only God can forgive us. And I agree with Anonymous above, I am more honest with myself with I'm looking to God for forgiveness as apposed to another person. God is not so judgemental about what I've done wrong.
    Maybe "the forgiveness" was just meant as a reassurance, but it sure has gone a long way from that! Growing up, it was required. You HAD to ask to have your sins forgiven, or you wouldn't have a chance to go to heaven. It makes me sad that they still believe this, and that my little brothers and sisters are probably scared how I used to be, thinking that every time they haven't had a little sin forgiven, that if they die, they will be going to hell. ...Sad...

  52. Yes, it IS sad, and false, I think. It gives full power for your salvation to another person. I think this is very, very wrong and not something taught by Jesus, as far as I can tell.

    I recall an OALC preacher speaking of grace in a sermon back in 1984. (It obviously had a great impact on me since I still remember it.) He talked of his feelings of fear, as related above, that if all his sins weren't forgiven when he went to bed, or out to work for the day where something might happen to him, he was terrified that he wouldn't get into Heaven. Then he remembered Grace. We are saved by Grace, not by whether we had every last one of our sins forgiven, which is impossible anyway since we aren't constantly asking forgiveness.

    That sermon was a major turning point for me.

    Norah, I hope you are improving and that your aches and pains will be temporary. Blessings to you this Christmas.


  53. SISU~ hearing an OALC preacher preach on Grace and not only forgiveness of sins is surprising. Just this last summer I heard an OALC preacher tell us that if we were alone, dying in the forest (just an example) without another christian that then it would be alright to ask God for forgiveness, but only because there was no christian to go to, to hear those sins forgiven.
    this has never sat right for me. so many things don't.......