Finland is often called the land of endless summer. And even here at the southern most tip of the country, I would argue that this is still true. I took the picture above a couple of nights ago. I took a little after 10pm outside of our apartment. Yes the streetlights are on, but I think they are just timed to come on regardless of the sunlight.
It stays light well into the 10 o’clock hour and is light well before we get up in the morning. It’s pretty wild to not see much darkness. Of course this will change as we move closer to fall and winter where the darkness will overtake daylight in rapid succession. Each day we lose several minutes of daylight. I saw somewhere that by the end of August, we will have lost about 2-3 hours of daylight and that amount will speed up as fall goes on.
For now, we’re enjoying the warm weather and the daylight.
We packed our first three suitcases for our trip to Finland. We are allowed nine more plus carry-ons. This is a good start as far as I’m concerned. And we have a good system down. My wife determines what all is going in to the suitcase and I figure out how to get it all in. So far we have only worked on suitcases for three of the kids. There’s more for each one, but I was thrilled by how much we were able to get into a suitcase.
The big surprise was the weight. The limit is 50 lbs. I think the closest we came to that was 40.5 lbs. This was a bit surprising.
We also found something that we love – the Ziploc travel bags. You stick some clothing in, shut the bag and push the air out. We used this for our oldest’s winter coat. It worked wonderful. We ended up with a coat that was 1/3 the size it normally is, if not smaller. We’re searching out more of these bags.
When did the trash fairy come and visit our house?
It’s amazing how much stuff you can get rid off when you pack up your house to move. We pay for the green bags, and can put out one bulk item. Thankfully, we have great neighbors around us who will be allowing us to put trash out at their house, so it all goes.
But seriously, where’s that trash fairy? I have to talk with her…
Today was the first full day of the Lower Susquehanna Synod Assembly. For those you not familiar with what a Synod Assembly is, here’s the quick version. I’m a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. Our churches are group together in regions that we call synods. Each year the synod (group of churches in the region) gather together to worship, pray, conduct business of the synod, and hear about what else is going on in the synod and seeing how God is working in South Central PA.
It’s a nice event. We see friends from around the Synod, hear some good speakers, worship together, learn and eat (wouldn’t be a Lutheran gathering without food).
This year I got to lead a forum at lunch time. I chose to lead a forum on earned media. My wife asked me how many people were going to my forum. I said “I don’t know. They don’t tell us because people don’t have to register for which forum they are going to. I’m hoping for 10 people. That would be great.”
Well, it turns out that about 50 people showed up. That’s a best guess, the room was full. It went well. It turns out that there’s a lot of interest in learning how to obtain earned media (which is media attention you get because there is a story, as opposed to paid advertising). The session went well, which I was thrilled with – people were telling stories and asking questions and talking. That’s a sign of a good session as far as I’m concerned.
Some overall observations about this year’s synod. 1. We have an amazing Bishop. Bishop Dunlop has done a great job of focusing the message of the synod. He’s even stated it as “we want to be known as the synod that feeds people.” Nice, simple, memorable. It says it all. And, there is consistency throughout the assembly from the food packing event yesterday, through the educational forum, and everything else.
2. The synod is a small world. The people who come to Synod Assemblies are a small group of people who go to many synod events. You get to know who people are pretty quickly. You recognize others you haven’t met yet, but you know that at some point you’ll be introduced to them. This really helps in building relationships throughout the synod.
3. This synod assembly, more than the previous two, feels more focused on worship. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because there is less official business to take care of. Maybe it’s because we had a service of ordination and consecration. Who knows. I think it’s nice and sets a good tone.
Tomorrow is a shorter day, but I know it will be just as good.