Ken Stenstrom, 86, is seen at his home on Palestine Lake with a copy of his book “The Intimate, Uninhibited Life & Times of a Christian Dad, Wife and their Brood.” He wrote the book at the urging of his oldest daughter. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
Ken Stenstrom, 86, is seen at his home on Palestine Lake with a copy of his book “The Intimate, Uninhibited Life & Times of a Christian Dad, Wife and their Brood.” He wrote the book at the urging of his oldest daughter. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
While his first book tells quite a bit about his life, Palestine Lake resident Ken Stenstrom, 86, is contemplating writing a second book to focus more on his spiritual life.
It was his daughter Karen who got him to write his first self-published book, “The Intimate, Uninhibited Life & Times of a Christian Dad, Wife and their Brood,” which Stenstrom had published in November. He began writing the 127-page book about 10 years ago.
“I had a friend of mine up in Spring Arbor. He’s a professor up there. He’s written a few books,” Stenstrom said in an interview Monday afternoon. “So I said, ‘Dan (Runyan), how do you write a book?’”
Runyan told him to sit down every morning and start typing. There was no big secret, Stenstrom realized.
“Now, I’ve got to write another one,” Stenstrom said.
In “Life & Times,” he wrote about being 11 years old on a farm and being told to go milk a cow. He didn’t know how to do that, but mentions there will be “more about that later.” Later never came, nor did his stories about his cars.
“So now, what is prompting me now to consider thinking about writing another book, is the fact that I’m a Christian. ... I didn’t emphasize a lot on Christianity (in my book) because I was not preaching. I’m not a preacher. I’m just a kid in Sunday school and the church. So I thought, that could touch a few people’s lives, but I thought after I got done with it, there’s got to be more to me than that,” he said.
“I figure, if I do another book, then I want to emphasize a little bit more on the spiritual part of my life and I why did I leave California, why did I leave North Dakota, why did I go to Taiwan from Warsaw, why did I go to Africa from Warsaw.”
He said his whole life is centered around Christianity and “what we do and why we did it.”
Stenstrom served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War from 1948 to 1952.  He was in boot camp in San Diego, Calif., and the first place he was stationed was North Island. His squadron was sent to Korea, but at the same time Stenstrom was sent to photography school in Pensacola, Fla. He was then reassigned to the aircraft carrier USS Cabot, where he stayed for the remaining of his service.
“I enjoyed that,” Stenstrom said, recalling the places the carrier traveled like the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and New England.
After his four years of service, he went home to Minnesota and learned his dad had cancer; he died of starvation because he had two growths in his stomach and couldn’t eat.
“We didn’t know all that until later,” Stenstrom stated.
At 86, he said he’s an old man, but there’s one more trip he needs to make.
“It’s really emotional,” Stenstrom said, tears flooding his eyes. “My oldest daughter (Karen), she turned 58 in January. She’s got some vision problems, and she’s scared.”
He said he wants to go to Vancouver, Wash., meet with Karen and some others, and anoint her with oil and ask God to heal her.
“And I believe God will do that. So I told Karen, ‘I’ll come out there, and I want you to talk to your one or two doctors if you have them, and I want them and a preacher to get together so the five or six of us can have a healing service. And I know God can touch her,” Stenstrom said.
Stenstrom believes he experienced God’s healing firsthand.
In his book, he recalls how he contracted whooping cough when he was 2 months old. “That’s certain death,” he said. His dad, being a man of faith, called a close family friend and asked her to anoint his son with oil and ask God to intervene and heal him. Stenstrom lived and “was a very spoiled child.”
“What else but the love of God can do that? So I believe, and Dad was very, very strong on healing,” Stenstrom recalled. “We just believe that the Lord has an appointment with each of us.”
He and his wife of 60 years, Romayne, keep a prayer list and pray for the people on it every morning during devotionals.
“That’s one of my stations in life. I can’t run around, but I can pray,” he said.
Over the years, he’s worked at a pipeline, at Riverwood Ranch, as a dorm parent in Taiwan and at various places involving kids.
“Kids have been my life,”?he said.
He also worked at Sears-Roebuck for 12 years.
“So I’ve had a multitude of jobs, and jack of all trades and master of none, but my master is the Lord and I can pray,” he said. “I don’t know what the Lord has for me.”
He’s reading a book, “Draw the Circle:?The 40 Day Prayer Challenge” by Mark Batterson, that he says is “stirring his heart.”
“I just wish I was 20 years younger,” Stenstrom said.
Romayne and Ken have four children, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Stenstrom said he had only 200 copies of his book published, and has given over 100 to friends and family. He hopes to get the remaining copies to local bookstores.
For copies or more information, contact Stenstrom at kennestenstr@cs.com or 574-527-3651.
He asks only for a donation to cover the cost of printing and postage. Anything over these charges will go to Oakdale Christian Academy in Jackson, Ky., which is affiliated with the Free Methodist Church. He and Romayne were dorm parents there in 2006 and 2007.
“We’ve had an enjoyable life,” he said.