Our Redeemer Presbyterian Church

On April 11, 2017, in Inspiration, by speaker

Our Redeemer Presbyterian Church
Ephrata, Washington
Sunday Service 9.00 AM
April 30, 2017

 

Twenty Days Later by Lois Olmstead May 17, 2016

On September 30, 2016, in Inspiration, by speaker

Probably the best way to start this new stage in my life is to note the things I have already learned in the last twenty days without He-Who-Takes-Long-Steps by my side.
1. On our washer control panel is a ‘Small Loads’ choice. I switch to it now. Also it sure takes a long time to fill a dishwasher when you are just one.
2. Watching the Nightly News at 10 pm is no fun when you can’’t debate the issues and express delight or dismay over the weather when the chair next to yours is empty.
3. I have learned I can cry buckets of tears and there are still more buckets left …and in the same day I can get the giggles remembering a story that he loved to tell.
4. There are many things I’’m not sure about, like does He-Who hear me when I holler to him? You see the microwave/fan over our stove quit two days after the funeral. It is 14 months old. I called the house maintenance man. He said, “Did you fill out the warranty card that came with it?” I said, “No I did not but my husband did. He was fastidious about stuff like that.” He said “Great, we’’ll schedule a time to come fix or replace it.” I said bye and hollered “Thank you,” to He-Who. Did he hear me?
5. He-Who wrote and kept maintenance manuals on everything. He has detailed drawings of water lines and wiring diagrams for everything. Just ask Henry that bought our place in the hayfield. Along with the deed he got a big 3-ring binder with how to run the water system, the heat, where lines were buried and how to turn on the outlets for Christmas decorations along with other stuff. For the well pump to the lawn mower to his pickup, each owner’’s manual is in order on a shelf at our house.
However he missed one manual – Notes from a Green Thumb Gardener to Wifey who can plan but not plant nor grow! He-Who turned our hayfield place into a beautiful green paradise with tall trees and bountiful bushes. Now here I am with seven spindly tall toothpick thin sticks with a few green leaves on them each growing in coffee cans on our porch. “These are all going to be our flowering bushes,” he told me last fall. Where is the manual on this? So the lesson here, men, make the manuals! (Maybe that could go for wives too – will he know how to run the blender if you are gone?)
6. This is serious. Make a will and write your funeral wishes. When we did not know if I would win my battle with cancer in 1992 we did all that right down to the music we wanted (although I kept going to the safe and changing my songs when I’d hear a better one). It made all of the last two weeks easier knowing what he wanted and all those records were in order. If you do not have a will and plans in place, do it. What a difference it makes to those you leave behind.
Lastly for today, know Psalm 23 is true. Even though it is our ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’ psalm, there is more to it. Yes there are green pastures where He “maketh and leadeth” us when we don’t ‘stoppeth and thinketh’ but there is more.
I always thought verse 4 was for us when we were in tough shape and really sick. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Now methinks it is for me, the living left behind. And I am comforted.

 

Sad News – Robert Olmstead –

On September 30, 2016, in Uncategorized, by speaker

My dear friends, with sorrow at our loss and with rejoicing that our Savior took our beloved “He-Who” to heaven in ‘the blink of an eye’ . Later when able we will share God’s mercy.
Robert Lee Olmstead 79, of Shields Valley, Montana passed away, Thursday, April 28th, 2016 at the Billings Clinic Hospital. He attended Livingston schools graduating with the Class of 1955 “in the top half of the bottom third”. One week later he joined the U.S. Navy serving on the U.S. Hazelwood until 1959. He attended Montana State College (University) graduating in 1964 with a degree in Electrical Engineering.
He worked for the Montana Power Company from 1964 to 1994 retiring as Engineering Manager for the Colstrip Project. After retirement he enjoyed jobs as a Carquest parts man in Colstrip, transporting vehicles for Wolf Motors in Bozeman and his favorite job, 2010 Census taker for Park and Gallatin Counties. At age 12 he went to work at Browns Bookstore and was to start work in May at Riverside Hardware at age 79.
Robert met Lois Bohleen in 1959 in Livingston while “cruising the drag” when he was a freshman at MSU in Bozeman and she was a senior at Park High in Livingston. Their marriage was blessed with three sons and seven grandchildren. His love for God and his Savior Jesus Christ framed and was modeled in his immense love for his family. He was known as Abe, after being Abe Lincoln in Colstrip parades and was even asked for his autograph several times at Disneyland where they thought he was an actor. He was fondly called He-Who-Takes-Long-Steps by his wife.
He loved anything with a wheels and a motor. His knowledge of vehicles was nearly surpassed by his memory of trivia, a voracious reader he read slow and remembered it all. His love for people in every walk of life and the enjoyment of visiting leaves a vast number of people who will miss him dearly. Landscaping, growing things and fixing things were his passion. He served on the Colstrip School Board and appreciated serving on the board of Park Electric Cooperative where he could use his knowledge of electrical production and distribution with the appropriate concern for our future electrical needs. He was a member and trustee of Living Hope Church.us-try-4-good_crop

 

Moving Along

On August 4, 2015, in Inspiration, by speaker

TIME OUT WITH LOIS by Lois Olmstead ©

Some of you that have just joined our Time Out readership may not know that we have had a very busy life lately. A year ago this month we decided to move a mile. We moved from the middle of the hayfield on my folk’s ranch to across the yard from them. It was a decision we made together for this stage of their lives and ours.
Once the decision was made our work began. And it was hard work. We thank God we stayed married! Downsizing is not easy but we were determined. Lovingly we decided we would cut back ‘each to their own’ stuff. Joint stuff took a vote of two to take or toss.
When we moved from Colstrip to the ranch in 2003 we packed 120 plastic storage tubs since all our stuff would be in the barn until our house was done. This move took about that many, but half were for a garage sale and half, stuff to keep.
Lest you think we are materialistic, we try not to be. We had 53 years of living in those boxes – hobbies, winter sports, summer camping, tools, Christmas decorations and tons of books. Good grief, we even had 10 tubs of old tax returns so we could prove every deduction for those 53 years.
Our hayfield house was a regular 3 bedroom plus a large breezeway patio room we loved. Then each us had a room in the back of our garage, mine for sewing, his for car stuff. Next to that was his large shop. Our choice for our new dwelling was a small double-wide. We could build a garage with space for our two rooms (marriage insurance) and later a shop.
So may I say again it was hard work with great satisfaction as we pared down. Then came a flurry of activity when our place sold in 18 days. August and September were full with the garage sale and getting our kept belongings into storage. We found a vacation rental in Clyde Park, ten miles away to live in while we got a foundation built, electricity, a well, septic and all the permits and paper work and the house set.
Everything took time and winter weather slowed work. Yet we enjoyed our hiatus. We moved into our new home on January 29. We are very happy with it. He-Who-Takes-Long-Steps says “It is great, it is not very far to anywhere!” My folks like having us closer and we are finding it a precious time for sharing life these days. Now we are back to July, the garage is built, sidewalks and a porch are finished. Now we are up to our ears in landscaping, moving dirt, and rocks to get a yard.
I wanted to tell you our story for three reasons. First that you might know downsizing can be done and the freedom you feel after it is done is well worth the work, even if it is just a room at a time. We have yet to mourn the loss of the stuff we sold, tossed and gave away.
Secondly we could not have done it without the help of our family, our kids spent tons of hours moving and lifting and putting together things we couldn’t. Our contractors were top-notch and efficient. Friends pitched in and others prayed us through! If you are a helper to someone, God bless you!
And I wanted you to know I feel blessed. Blessed that we made it through this with surgery, illness, traveling and speaking and some trying times in the midst of it all. Blessed that the Bible guided us through with verses of strength. This is groundwork to be able to share with you some of the lessons of blessing God taught us in it all. One for today is feeling blessed that at this age we can still shovel dirt and move rocks!

 

Climb that Mountain!

On August 15, 2014, in Inspiration, by speaker

Mt Baldy   Have you ever been on a hike in the mountains? It is a wonderful experience – if you are in shape!  What a great adventure, especially when conditions are right. Like a clear day when the mountain flowers are in bloom and you can hear the sounds of creeks racing down the mountain.  We could add a breeze, just enough to keep you cool. And let’s make the trail easy, just a gentle climb winding up to the top of the mountain.

   What an adventure! Similar to life it is, a hike up a mountain. Only in life we are not able to set up perfect parameters for our journey. In real life we are on real hikes.

   Like the one our family tried up Mt. Baldy when our boys were 6, 9 and 12. We took their two cousins who were 8 and 10 with us. We got up at 4am, drove 20 miles to the trail head and off we went on our great adventure. Our backpacks held food and water.

   We soon discovered that the trail was not a straight shot directly up the face of the mountain. It was steep with lots of curves, some that seemed to double back where we had already been. And we would hike up, then we would hike down, then we would hike back up. We forded a creek several times that wound along the trail. Of course the kids loved that getting wet part. We discovered that we needed more rest breaks the farther we got.

   At two in the afternoon we could see the top of the peak. It would take 2 or 3 hours to get there. With the bear sign we had seen on the way up, no one wanted to make the trip down in the dark. So we waved to the mountain peak we had almost got to, turned around and headed back down. That was 36 years ago. We still wish we had made it to the top.

   Now I see Mt. Baldy out my office window as I sit here at my desk. It is does not make me sad. It actually encourages me – because it reminds me of life, often like a mountain climb. I Trails can look easy but be tough. It reminds me that even though I know heaven is ahead, there are still winding trails, hills and valleys in between until I get there.

   The good thing I know is that I am not alone. On my life trail, I have asked God to be my Guide and my Strength. What a difference that makes. I do not have to rely on just me.

  The key in our life mountain hikes – is remembering to ask for His help! After we got back from our mountain adventure all those years ago, someone told us there was a different way to get to the top of Mt. Baldy. It was from the other side and a much easier trail. (We still talk about trying it again, now that we know.)

   That is a good lesson for us today. I know many of you are going through some really tough bends in your trail right now and the mountain looks really steep. Keep looking ahead. God is with you. He knows the way. He will get you to the top, even if it is on a trail different from the one you had picked out. Your part is just staying in shape, prayed up and willing to follow where He leads.


 

 

 

 

Resolution Danger!

On January 21, 2014, in Uncategorized, by speaker

A Day In the Life of LoisHow are you doing on your New Year’s Resolutions? Are you sticking with your goals? This is the month of heart shaped candies and chocolate galore so tread softly. Treading reminds me of my treadmill experience. It would be a good safety reminder for you this week.

   I really know nothing about exercise except how many times I have started and quit. One year I called Colstrip Parks and Recreation and signed up for a fitness program.

   My personal trainer, Becky, thought that it would be best if I started on the treadmill.  After two weeks with her help, I could walk on level one, mountain one.  By the end of the third week I could walk without Becky standing there making sure I didn’t fall off. 

    There were people there who acted like they liked to exercise. I figured out why they smile. They wear plastic clothes. By the time they start at their ankles and pull those suits up to their shoulders, it is just an act of gravity. The muscles in their body get crammed up and it causes their face to scrunch. I did not buy plastic clothes. That would be a hideous sight. I wore my old “I hate to cook” sweatshirt and my old sweatpants. I didn’t smile much.

    One day I got a phone call from a friend who was in trouble.

    “I’ll pray for you,” I said. “I am going to the gym (I worked that into conversation wherever I could). I will pray for you while I walk.” That sounded good to her.
   I need to be honest about one more thing.  Sometimes I forget I’m praying when I’m praying. It’s a real problem. I can even fall asleep while having my prayer time. I will be praying along and then my brain forgets I am praying and it goes off thinking about something else.

   It happens like this:  I can pray, “Lord, please be with Molly now as she gets ready to have this baby.  Lord, keep her safe and make a smooth birth for the baby…no babies around here lately…we haven’t had a baby in our church for a long time either…I wonder if we ought to do something with that nursery…I wonder if we need new curtains…I wonder if Monica wants to go with me to get curtains.   I could call her.  I think she was gardening…I wonder if I should plant a garden…” 

   I can totally forget I am praying.  I know none of you do that? What I do now to compensate for my weakness is to fold my hands when I pray.  That reminds my brain that I’m praying.

    So that day I am on the treadmill. I push the buttons to select Level One, Mountain One. Then I fold my hands in front of me.  I start praying for my friend.

   I don’t know how far it is actually from my feet to my brain but pretty soon my feet said to my brain, “You’re going really, really, really fast!”  My feet were just flying! All I knew to do was what I’d seen those athletic people do, so I jumped to the sides and straddled the treadmill on its rails. With one foot on each side, I was fighting for my life. The belt was racing a hundred miles an hour between my legs!

   I finally got my brain slowed down enough to check the settings. I was going Level Ten, Mountain Ten! I could have been killed!  I could have been bounced right off the back wall.  I pushed the button to “STOP” and tried to catch my breath.  I thought I had got enough exercise for one day. My heart rate was certainly up.

   I needed a hot fudge sundae desperately. Or a nap. I couldn’t decide which. I did have one regret as I walked to my car. I wish my trainer, Becky, had seen me when I was going so good. 

   So beware – exercise can be dangerous. So can chocolate.

  

 

An Insight into Koffee Kup Ranch Autumn

On October 26, 2013, in Inspiration, by speaker

An insight into ranching! Each fall cattle ranchers ship their calves to market. Alas, this year the cattle on our ranch belong to a stockman who is leasing the pasture. However, our minds are with those Stockgrowers who are shipping calves now.  This story is reprinted from THE DUDE THE DUCKS AND OTHER TALES OF MONTANA (which can be ordered from this website).

My folks shipped their calves on Saturday. Translated for the city-bred, that means the independent businessman brought his product to market. For the rancher, it is the day of reckoning.

            Invested in the product (calves) are feed costs, health care, pasture, labor, taxes and general ranch maintenance. There is interest on the loan at the local bank to buy the aforementioned. Then the investment of the rancher’s time and labor to keep those calves alive from birth to market. The labor is directly proportional to the hardness of the winter and the spring moisture. Most folks go to a job knowing the amount of money they will earn. For the stockgrower, there is always an element of risk. It depends on market price and the weight of the calves.

            When October approaches, the stress starts up the spine of the individual stockowner. He has read market reports and listened to the agricultural news on the local radio station. He has an idea of the price of livestock around the nation. But the final sale comes down to the offer. The prospective buyer offers a price per pound for the calves. Then the fall guessing game starts. Is the market going higher or lower?

The rancher thinks back. Four years ago he sold at .64 and two weeks later the price was .69. Year before last, he toughed it out waiting for a better offer. He lost a dime per pound. If he sells at .74 and the neighbor down the creek gets .79 two weeks later, he won’t sleep for weeks. If he doesn’t take the .74 offer and the market drops every day thereafter, he will kick himself the rest of the winter – course he won’t sleep, either.

            He takes an offer and sets a shipping date. The year’s earnings will be determined by the weight of the calves. The rattle of the scales will tally his income.

            Stock trucks line up at the shipping yards. Surprisingly, there is not a lot of tension on the weather beaten faces. This is not new to them. This is a way of life. They’ve been here before. This year’s stock prices are up. But so are the expenses.

“You win some, you lose some,” says Hank as walks back to his truck. “Sure thought they’d weigh more.

            Grandpa, Hank’s dad, walking slower with a cane to strengthen worn-out legs, says, “Well, that bottomland just needed more moisture. But it could have been worse. Back in ’85 . . . ” The rest of his sentence is lost as he labors up into the truck.

            In an old International stock truck, a husband and wife lean back against the seat. “We did it. Another year is ours.” They sit rejoicing that the bank will not be able to foreclose on them this year. The payment will be met.

Across the way, another rancher jumps into his truck. It, too, has seen better days. He takes off his hat and bows his head. “Thank you for meetin’ our needs. You have never failed us yet. I just wanted to say thanks, Lord. Those calves of yourn and mine weighed in right respectable.”

            The trucks pull out of the shipping yards. The ranchers will all be meeting down at the Trail Rite Inn, a local café – a twenty-year tradition of saluting the departing stock. No one asks the weight of his neighbor’s calves – or the price he got. That information always comes second hand, “I heard the Double U got .73” or “Joe said the Curtis calves averaged 520.” Asking weights and prices is in as bad taste as asking a man how much he makes or how much money he has in the bank.

            In this business, the talk centers around the ifs. If it rains. If the hay prices is up. If the interest rate is down. If it snows. If the calving goes smoothly. There are no slumped shoulders around the table as the coffee cups are refilled. There are no newcomers to reckoning day here. When the grain is harvested, the hay stacked, the alfalfa seed cleaned, or the pigs loaded, the game of risk is run again. The profit will be in the tip of the scales and the going market price.

Their camaraderie has given them a good time. But the chores are waiting. They grab their hats and tease the waitress as they pay their tab. Beside the cash register is a plastic box with a roll of bright foil-covered Montana lottery tickets. No one buys a chance. The Big Spin doesn’t excite these folks.

*****Folks at Work

 

Taco Soup at the Ranch

On August 14, 2013, in Montana Recipes, by speaker

Taco Soup at the

Koffee Kup Ranch

 

#3 of Montana beef (or reg.hamburger)

2 pkg taco seasoning

2 cans green beans, undrained

2 cans whole kernel corn, undrained

1 28oz can of Busch Country Style baked beans

2 cans chopped tomatoes, undrained.

Garnishes:

Grated cheese, chopped black olives

Chopped onions, sour cream

 

Brown hamburger, stirring until crumbly. Drain off fat.

Add remaining ingredients. Heat until bubbly. Serve over broken

Tortilla chips and choice of garnishes. Great warmed up next day!

Serves 6-10 depending on appetite!

 

 

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For Your Comfort

On August 1, 2013, in Inspiration, by speaker

For Your Comfort . . .    No matter where you are right now, in a place of peace in your life or whether you fear being able to keep your head above water, whether everything is coming up roses or you see your entire life wilting from burdens, we all need encouragement at times.

   In some cases our circle of concern is about someone in our family with health issues or other problems. Other times our circle of concern covers our entire world as we hear of conflicts and crisis around the globe. Our focus has been drawn to Haiti and Chili, but all over our world people have needs. There can be people close to you who need help.

    So what do we do? First, we pray. The disciples said, “Lord, teach us to pray.”

   “In this manner, therefore, pray,” Jesus said, “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We go to God with our requests. That is a good way for us to pray, that His way will be clear to all people in all lands. That those hurting and in need will find His grace, that all of us on this earth will be instruments of giving and helping others.

   We do not have to search too far to find stories of individuals doing wonderful things to aid the poor, the ill, those who have nothing and those who are alone. What can I do? What can you do? In reality, what can we do today that helps someone else? Start with one thing, a first step in helping. It could be a phone call, a note, a check in an envelope, a ride to the grocery store, accompany someone to the doctor, give a tank of gas, buy some groceries, or clean a house.

   Remember when just before Jesus ascended into heaven and the question of love was asked of Peter? Jesus said, “Then feed my lambs.” In the next verse, the same declaration of love was answered with “Then tend my sheep.” It seems to me we can worry and fret and stew over world concerns or we can pray and feed and tend each in our own special way.

   If you reply, “I cannot think about the world right now. My eyes can only see my own crisis that I am living right now,” then please know this. We, those of us who read these words, will pray for you. That is what I want each of you to do. Right now, right where you are, stop reading and say a prayer for those who are suffering and hurting.

   Sometimes, I think when we say the prayer that Jesus gave the disciples, we do not consider the words. Yet in the words lies the directions. Let us never be guilty of rote recitation, whether it is the Lord’s Prayer or the Pledge of Allegiance or the Bill of Rights. We need to be thinking about what we are thinking, what we are doing. And what we can do to lift the burden of another. In that way, one holding the hand of another, we can all be lifted up and encouraged.

   So my request to you this day is three fold. First keep praying – for our world and all of us in it. Secondly, tend the sheep. In some way, help someone today and then tomorrow, help someone else. Make it a daily habit. It may be something little, it may be something big. Let God lead you. Thirdly, make a difference in the world. I am sure you can think of something. Volunteer. Give. Help. We may be surprised by what we can do in our world – by tending sheep it turns out we have been tending each other. That makes for a joyful journey!

 

 

 

 

 

The Publicity Shot

On April 16, 2013, in Inspiration, by speaker

   I remember being in my flannel nightgown, the sheep one, in my office doing a radio interview with a station in Seattle. The interview was about one of my books. I hung up the phone thinking about the irony of the whole thing. When you are outside of a public life, you think of the glamour, the prestige, the travel, and the thrills of it all. When you are inside the public life, it is just normal everyday work.

   With the tales of my tour travels in my books and column writing, you will know my public life mostly lacks glamour and prestige. It is more like a comedy. Only by God’s grace and mercy are we able to do what we do.

   All of this is to say another opportunity presented itself a few months ago. It had the possibilities of glamour and some prestige, Montana style. It came by way of a query “How about an interview for the Best Times paper?” she asked.

   “Sounds wonderful to me,” I said. I even dealt heroically with the fact that Best Times is mostly on seniors. I guess I am one. We did the interview over the phone and it was fun. She said a photographer would come to do pictures of me. The photographer set up an appointment

   I got up Thursday. My hair was like a mop. I forgot to sleep on my nose! I tried on 7 sweaters and 2 shirts. I had clothes strewn like a teenager in bedroom. – It took 45 minutes for me to re-curl and be reminded again that ‘real’ public people have hair dressers. I was very motivated to do makeup. I used stuff that has been in my drawer years! Even sharpened the lip liner, hurrying because he could pull in any minute when the phone rang.

   The photographer says “How bad would it be if I didn’t come today? My boss thinks I should come to where you are speaking Tuesday night. Then he wants me to come out Wednesday and get you and your Bible study.”

    I said – “Well I just spent an hour getting my hair to look good but….

   He said, “What food do you like? Pies? I will…”

    I said – ‘Scones, I like scones…

   He said, “Okay I know great scones, I will bring you one…

   I said – “And I put on all this makeup, just so my wrinkles would go away…

  He said, “Okay two scones..

   I said, “And I even used lip liner …and I am not a makeup person…

  He said, Okay three scones and that’s my limit.”

  I said, “Okay, I will see you Tuesday…but I just want you to know I look really really good right this minute…and there is no telling how many more wrinkles I will have by Tuesday. Okay, I’ll let you off the hook.”

   So the story is still unfolding and yes, I admit it. I am still somewhat pretty today. Of course no one is around with a camera.

Lois Olmstead

Take Time Out With Lois

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How I Came To Believe

I am at an age in my life where it is hard for me to remember anything. I walk into the kitchen to get something and when I get there, I can’t remember why I came there. ‘Course I don’t want to spend much time in my kitchen anyway because I don’t like to cook.

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Contact Information

"Time Out With Lois"
Lois Olmstead
78 Shields River Rd E
Livingston, Montana 59047
(406) 222-7484