Second wedding ceremonyfirst wedding ceremonyMy Mom was the master seamstress for the five bridesmaids dresses and flower girl’s dress.  Since I paid way too much money for my gown that I bought at Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis, I thought I should use it twice. Once in the U.S. for our first ceremony on Dec. 24, 1994 and once in Central Asia.  So, my friend from Kazakhstan, Tatyana Kazanina was in both weddings as I was (including the groom). My students were part of our second ceremony which was held a month later in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Unfortunately, my friend Tatyana, who was my age, died about 10 years ago and I still grieve her loss.  Especially true when I hope to hunt up her parents, if they are still alive in Almaty, Kazakhstan.  If you want to find out more about our travels, look for Kazakhnomad under  I’ll keep you posted on my whereabouts.  For now, over and out! 


 According to S.A. Olsness’ diaries, if the weather in North Dakota up to this timein the 1930s seemed bizarre, 1934 was to surpass the four years before it.  The wind and dust storms continued through January into April where S.A. ironically commented on April 18: “Winds howling success with northwest dirt storm, soil drifts.”

On April 19 he wrote “desert-like dust fills the air;” and on April 22, 1934, he

also described the dust as “Egyptian darkness.”  The months May through August of 1934 experienced more of the same though seemingly worse when S.A. wrote descriptions such as:  “earth cryeth for rain, everlasting fire, crops near total failure, extreme heat, scorching day, eternal heat.”

By this time, the weather and economic conditions had devastated many North Dakota farmers, S.A. wrote Oct. 1, 1934: “Records show 140,000 acres of farm taken over by foreclosure by North Dakota bank.”  The winds continued, things went from bad to worse, and yet S.A.’s humor remained. 

On Oct. 6, 1934, “Verily the wind blew so fast and furious yesterday that it finished in one day what usually lasts three days!” S.A. ended his journaling the last day of December in 1934 with the following:

“…weather which is the outstanding freak feature of the year.  I have seen several arid seasons in North Dakota such as 1889, 1890, 1900 and 1910 but never anything to equal to this.  For the Bismarck district, the annual, normal precipitation should be 16.22 [inches], while 1934 shows only 8.55 or half normal – crop failure nearly total.  No feed, nor hay was raised in many sections of the state.” 

 S.A. Olsness made comments about the grain (Dark Northern Wheat) prices at least nine times in his journal in 1933 compared to the several times in 1931 and 1932.  The lowest price he journaled was $.34 per bushel in 1932.  By 1934, the grain prices had stabilized around $1.00 a bushel; due mostly to no crops on account of drought, but that does not mean S.A.’s pen was silent.  He kept writing and writing, see what he wrote in his journal about 1933 weather.  What was the weather REALLY like in Ukraine during 1933, I wonder?

Jan. 1933 – 6th rain; 10th NW high raging winds; 11th 2 girls die in MN in snowstorm; 31st ideal spring day

Feb. 1933 – 8th – 50 below zero, cold wave worst weather in 32 years; 10th storm w/high wind raging at 30 mph

March 1933 – 4th wet and heavy snow; 8th 35à70 mph strong NW wind; subzero temps; 11-13th earthquake in CA; tornado in TN; 25th sun melts snow; 26th dark forecasts; 27-31st golf

April 1933 – 2nd golf bad weather; 6th snow flurries; 16th glorious weather; 21st warmer; 26th started seeding on ND farm

May 1933 – 5th Louisiana tornado; 10th KY & TN tornado; 13th green garb in ND; 16th MO floods; 23rd tornado in ND; 26th windstorm losses great; 31st late growing in IA

June 1933 – 5th hot in Chicago; 16th hot high 102, crops suffering; 17th hottest 3 days in 59 years; 18th 100 temp, night winds; 20th grasshoppers, drought, heat wave; 22-27th heat wave, sweltering, continuous heat, hot weather and drought; 29th golf

July 1933 – 5th grasshoppers reigning; 9th heat, excessive humidity; 11th rainfall and hail cyclone;13th highest temps in Norway 32 degrees Cel = 89 degrees Fah.; 16th withering fields, rain 2” below normal in ND; 27th Sahara Desert or Death Valley; 28th extreme 100-101; 29th breaking high temps, no rain; 30th NE wind, hot

Aug 1933 – 5th Dry asSahara!; 9th Who said ND is cold? It’s a dry state; 20th same eternal heat, high SE wind

Sept. 1933 – 1st so extreme is drought; 6th hurricane storm in TX; 7th forest fires in northern MN; 11th 10” rain flood in South Dakota; 16th rainfall in ND at last; 19th wind velocity 74 mph; 20th beautiful weather; 23rd stiff gale winds

Oct. 1933 – 1st not having clothes torn off with fierce gale winds; 4th brush fire in CA; 15th inclement weather; 22nd fall, leaves fluttering

Nov. 1933 – 4th football games cancelled due to snowstorm; 12th 64 mph gale winds like hurricane; 13th heavy storm damage; 21st Norway reports abundant fruit; 24th superb golf weather

I would really like to know what the weather conditions were like in Ukraine while the tribulation of hot winds and no rain existed in North Dakota according to S.A. Olsness’ records.  Are there Ukrainian students who care enough about their Holodomor (Terror Famine) history able to find this information out?  While North Dakota and the rest of the nation may have experienced drought conditions during the Dirty Thirties, this does not mean it can be projected to Ukraine during this tragic period in their history. 

What is needed are the facts about 1932-33 weather, then the other numbers or statistics of 7-10 million Ukrainians dying during this two year period might make more sense.  The Soviet government edicts of forced collectivism went against the term used by G.K. Chesterton of “distributism.”  I just found out about this concept yesterday and need to read up on it more.  In the meantime, C.S. Lewis has some very good points about why we suffer pain, maybe why Ukrainians have suffered so much. 

The Necessity of Tribulation 

“I am progressing along the path of life in my ordinary contentedly fallen and godless condition, absorbed in a merry meeting with my friends for the morrow or a bit of work that tickles my vanity today, a holiday or a new book, when suddenly a stab of abdominal pain that threatens serious disease, or a headline in the newspapers that threatens us all with destruction, sends this whole pack of cards tumbling down.  At first I am overwhelmed, and all my little happinesses look like broken toys.  Then slowly and reluctantly, bit by bit, I try to bring myself into the frame of mind that I should be in at all times.  I remind myself that all these toys were never intended to possess my heart, that my true good is in another world and my only real treasure is Christ.”

Jan. 1932 – 7th cold at 15 degrees; 15th East Coast very warm, worry about Olympics; 25th H2O in streets; 27th cold spell starts with sub-zero temps to 6th of Feb.

Feb. 1932 – subzero temps 6th nice snow and 12 degrees; 11th severe NW wind; 23rd H2O in streets; 27th record climate of 65 degrees; 28th skating rinks are pools

March 1932 – 5th – cold snap w/strong NW winds; 7th subzero temps;  20th beautiful 40 degrees; 27th– extremely moody; 28th at 50 degrees

April 1932 – First five days highs in the 60s; rain from 16th to the 31st

May 1932 – 1 – 1st bright day in 2 weeks; 22nd too windy for golf; 26th snow

June 1932 – 3rd ideal temps, green; 4th Mexico earthquake; 6th California earthquake; 27th and 29th perfect and brilliant weather; 31st copious rains

July 1932 – 4th grouchy weather; 6th showers, windy, 10th perfect; 14th fine weather; 15th hot at Peace Gardens; 17th sweltering hot; 18th nation-wide heat wave 103 degrees; 20th heat wave broke w/rain; 24th scorching hot day; 27th high winds but nights dead calm; 29th no rain for weeks, south wind; 31st hot temps and high winds

August 1932 – 8th perfect weather; 14th hot dry, will it rain? 15th TX cyclone; 18th flood in OK; 23rd scorching hot; 24th violent weather w/rain & hail; 25th dusty; 31st 67% eclipse of sun

Sept. 1932 – 4th NW winds; 11th ideal day for golf; 14th autumn leaves; 18th tirade of winds; 20th cool; 22nd frost on pumpkin; 23rd Jack Frost; 30th bone dry!; 31st windy & dry

Oct. 1932 – 2nd grouchy day w/NW winds; 7th rain & sleet; 9th freezing snow; 13th fine day; 30th autumn gloom; 31st sunny day in 2-3 weeks, played golf

Nov. 1932 – 1st 30 degrees windy; 3rd 46 degrees; 5th perfect day, sunny; 6th cloudy & raw; 7th inclement NW wind; 8th 2” of snow; 11th Fargo gets 10”snow; 20th “neuter gender” weather; 23rd & 24th golf again!; 29th Indian Summer

Dec. 1932 – 3rd high winds; 4th fine day; 8th – 20 below zero; 11th same temperature in  Alaska and  San Francisco; 15-17th persistent, beautiful and calm; 28th no snow; 31st steady and mild 

S.A. Olsness regularly used to write articles and editorials for the Norwegian and English newspapers in North Dakota while campaigning for his Commissioner of Insurance position in Bismarck, ND.  He also used radio addresses in Bismarck and Fargo.  I would LOVE to hear his voice if any of the radio stations have kept those recordings from the 1930s.  The following is what S.A. Olsness wrote about 1931 “hot” weather conditions in the state of North Dakota. 

Jan. 1931 – Sept weather up to 12th; weather alarmingly warm

Feb. 1931 – calm, spring-like weather all month, people golfing

March 1931 – lamblike 1st and 31st but -6 degrees and snowstorm on 26th, climactic somersault

April 1931 – superb but windy; 19th grouchy, rainy weather

May 1931 – 25th done with spring seeding; Watertown, SD 9” rain, great rain, dry in WY

June 1931 – Draught in ND, east MT on 9th; 19th – hot day; 28th 104 degrees; 29th – longest siege of heat, extreme heat; 30th death toll – 500 people

July 1931 – 6th rains revive pastures; struggling crops; desperate conditions; 25th hot 106 degrees; 27th terrific heat

Aug. 1931 – 1st – 100s pray for rain in SD; 7th – 5,200 hail claims; 12th – poor crops; 18th – forest fires in WA; 19th – drought and grasshoppers in ND

 Sept 1931 – SAO is sick doesn’t record much

Oct. 1931 – 21st beautiful weather; 29th – northern storm; 31st spell is broken, good raining

Nov. 1931 – very mild Norwegian like winter, very clement

Dec. 1931 – 14th – severe storms in Europe; Arkansas storm; 30th 5” snow 

The talk show host and radio personality who interviewed me today in Fargo, North Dakota at West Acres on radio – LIVE! arrived a bit late. No worries.  But, there seemed to be some technical difficulties already before the noon show started from the sound truck outside the shopping mall.  

What was very strange in this half hour sequence of my interview about S.A. Olsness was as soon as I started talking about the weather that S.A. Olsness documented during the Dirty Thirties OR about the wheat prices, there were MORE “technical difficulties” and NO sound, the technicians immediately cut to music.  The global warming gremlins are after me.  (Bring it on, it only encourages me more!!!)

I’m getting the distinct feeling there are forces out there who want to silence the voices from the past, especially from the windswept, North Dakota prairies.  However, there WERE dramatic climactic changes as recorded in 1930 by S.A. Olsness, transcribed from one of his 30 diaries housed at the Institute of Regional Studies on the NDSU campus:

Jan 1930 – below zero temps, lowest -28, coldest since 1916

Feb. 1930 – Snowstorm in ND, 1 ft. snow, record temp in MO 81 degrees

March 1930 – very warm temps, 71 degrees on 15th, driest in 56 years

April 1930 – much high winds, drought in SW, pastures suffer, getting dry

May 1930 – more high winds, gale like winds, 87 degrees 25th of May, no rain since 14th

June 1930 – on 12th copious rains 2.05 inches, 24th severe heat wave in U.S.

July 1930 – on 9th 97 degrees, people dying; on 15th – 91 degrees, on the 25th 90 degrees and above for 13 days, 114 degrees in IN, IL, KY.

August 1930 – hot spell, 9th, record breaking heat period, 14th – serious drought in US, 18th rain 3” but too late for crops

Sept. 1930 – snow today, climate change on 1st; on 26th 22 degrees

Oct. 1930 – 14th – 56 year record for rain; frost, windy

Nov. 1930 – 7th– Indian summer; twister in OK on 19th; 24th  12” snow storm; 48 mph gale on 26th; worst snowstorm since 1908 on 30th

Dec. 1930 – ND Capitol fire on 28th – strong winds

mailboxAmerican flagwillow and pine

The consistency of witnessing the sun rising each morning I am confident that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever! Heb. 13:8

With so much inconsistency in our relations with other people, as Christians we can at least have confidence God is there for us.  Reflecting on the morning rays on my flatland horizon, I think of Romans 1:20: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they [unbelievers] are without excuse.”

Almaty skylineJesus said, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem…” in Luke 18:31

Oswald Chambers wrote, “We start with Christ and we end with Him—“till we all come…to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…” (Eph. 4:13), not simply to our own idea of what the Christian life should be.  The goal of the missionary is to do God’s will, not to be useful or to win the lost.  A missionary is useful and he does win the lost, but that is not his goal. His goal is to do the will of his Lord.

“The Fall” from The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis

“They [Adam and Eve] wanted, as we say, to ‘call their souls their own.’  But that means to live a lie, for our souls are not, in fact, our own.  They wanted some corner in the universe of which they could say to God, ‘This is our business, not yours.’ But there is no such corner.  They wanted to be nouns, but they were, and eternally must be mere adjectives.”

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