Herald Journal Columns
Feb. 26, 2004 Herald Journal
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Wearing the shoe on the other foot for once


I had the "opportunity" to switch roles recently when I was obliged to attend an assessment hearing for our home in Dassel, where the city is planning to replace the aging sewer in front of our house.

I think every reporter and editor should have the tables switched like this every so often. It keeps you humble.

We went through the process, and our family will probably end up paying $1,500 in sanitary sewer assessments.

I thought it was a fair trade, and we got off easy, compared to others.

This is the schedule for assessments per linear foot:

Water main $12.50

Sanitary sewer $10

Storm sewer $7.50

Street $37

(The cost depends on how much frontage you have facing the street)

Our assessment is set at 40 percent for the property owner, which is actually quite high for the other towns along Highway 12.

For a short while, one council member actually talked about going per hookup instead of per foot ­ a big break for the city, which owns the nursing home (and lots of frontage) there ­ but a bad deal for other homeowners on the north side of town. Thankfully, I don't think they will follow this idea.

The author of pop quizzes . . .

We don't always think of testing or pop quizzes as something related to God, but there are actually a number of examples in the Bible of people being tested ­ in fact, God allows us to be tested every day, according to respected author and pastor Lance Ketchum of Hutchinson.

The full meaning of the Hebrew word nacah (pronounced naw-saw), which is translated "tempt" in Genesis 22:1, is "to test or assess," Ketchum says.

That's a different kind of assessment, isn't it?

In the Bible, the adversary, Satan, challenged God that people would not worship Him unless they people were always blessed by Him.

This was proven wrong by Abraham, as well as the prophet Job, who proved to be faithful servants despite many final exams, so to speak.

Fair weather friends? I've got no use for them. Wouldn't it stink to have a friend who was only there during the good times, and not bad?

Who would want such a friend? No one!

Neither does God need fair weather friends.

Nevertheless, we are subjected to assessments every day. Think about that for a bit . . . (how much frontage is that? I suppose it would be sanitary sewer depending on our answers?)

"God is the author of pop quizzes," Ketchum says. In fact, every day, and at the least opportune times, there can be small and large moral tests that crop up.

In fact, God will even judge us according to how fast we make our decision (with or without hesitation), Ketchum said.

"Be ready. Be prepared. The test will come according to Peter," Ketchum said.

For those who wish to learn more about Ketchum, go online at www.blackmoon.com/mikeblack/pastor.html.

Might as well dance

This was written by an 83-year old.. The last line says it all.

I'm reading more and dusting less.

I'm sitting in the yard and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden.

I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time working.

Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experiences to savor, not to endure.

I'm trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.

I'm not "saving" anything; we use our good China and crystal for every special event such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, or the first Amaryllis blossom.

I wear my good blazer to the market. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries.

I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties, but wearing it for clerks in the hardware store and tellers at the bank.

"Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary; if it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.

I'm not sure what others would've done had they known they wouldn't be here for the tomorrow that we all take for granted!

I think they would have called family members and a few close friends. They might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles.

I like to think they would have gone out for a Chinese dinner or for whatever their favorite food was.

I'm guessing; I'll never know.

It's those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew my hours were limited.

Angry because I hadn't written certain letters that I intended to write one of these days.

Angry and sorry that I didn't tell my husband and parents often enough how much I truly love them.

I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives.

And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is a gift from God.

"People say true friends must always hold hands, but true friends don't need to hold hands because they know the other hand will always be there."

I don't believe in miracles. I rely on them.

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.

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