Tuesday, May 29, 2007


If all interested parties love to go thrift shopping, here's the equation of the day: Two college-age cousins + one mom/aunt = FUN!!! Anticipation is growing! We're posing right in front of the local Goodwill Store. What will we find? Furniture for John's new apartment? Treasures and trinkets for the home? Games? Brand new items with the tags still on for an unbelievably low price? Let's move it on inside! Looking for a round coffee pot? I found one! Jennifer's ready for cooking...too bad these won't fit in her suitcase. No, John, NO!! This shirt would not be appropriate for your summer internship! Some things are truly better off being left in the store. In a bin piled high with all sorts of odds 'n ends, I hit "gold" with this fur band that can be worn as a headband or neck wrap due to its adjustable slits...and the tag is still on it! What a steal at only $4.00!!! Checking out with the final "treasures"...John's best find was a cooler/boombox all-in-one (brand new with the tag still attached). He's now ready for trips to the beach! And Jennifer found some versatile shoes for her internship this summer. Me? I purchased the convertible fur neckwrap/headband and am disappointed I'll have to wait several months to be able to wear it.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Earth and All Stars

Engines and steel, Loud pounding hammers, Sing to the Lord - a new song. Limestone and beams, Loud building workmen, Sing to the Lord - a new song. He has done marvelous things: I too will praise him with a new song! This is the heavy piece of equipment I have seen outside of our front door most of the week. We are having our driveway, porch and sidewalks replaced and it has been incredibly noisy! For some reason, the hymn Earth and All Stars verse #4 has been playing over and over in my brain. Especially the parts with the engines and steel and LOUD building workmen! And now as I should be sleeping, when all is quiet in the front yard, the song is repeating, repeating, repeating in my brain. But, in a way, it is a good thing because it is a good song and one of my favorites. Many years have passed since I first heard this hymn, but I still find it as powerful now as I did then. I love the words, the melody, the images presented. Planets, hail, wind, rain, flowers, trees, trumpets, pipes, harp, lute and lyre, loud humming cellos, knowledge and truth, wisdom... all in praise of the Maker who has done marvelous things! Do YOU ever get a song/hymn in your brain that you just can't ignore and, if so, what is it?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Free Ride

My gift from John this year for Mother's Day was a ride on a carousel at a food court. Hey, I'll take what I can get! It turned out to be one of the most fun gifts ever with laughter non-stop and bonding with my son - ala CITY SLICKERS style. (I'll post later about my Mother's Day gift from Anne and Jed when I get to share an experience they've offered me.) We had a plan: I wanted the black, magnificent stallion and John wanted to be on the one next to it. We were first in line and he went one way and I went the other way so we were sure to get our horses. Once the carousel started up, we waved to our waiting party: Mom/Grandma, husband/father, sister/aunt. Without fail every time we went around. We laughed continuously. And when the first ride stopped, and the other riders were getting off, the ride operator came up to us and said she had so much fun watching us that we were going to be given a second FREE ride! And, yes, we could continue being silly! (FREE and SILLY...what permission granted to escape from adulthood for just a few more minutes!) During our second ride, John and I got a bit more daring...riding backwards, sideways, sprawling, flinging. A security guard may or may not have noticed our antics. But, remember here that the ride operator gave us permission to do whatever we wanted on our second ride! Such freedom; such creativity! When we got off the carousel after our second ride, my gut hurt from laughing so hard! It was just what was needed in my life at just the right time. Isn't laughter truly the best medicine?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Her mind is clear, her mind is foggy. Her internal organs are strong, her exterior structure is very weak. She remembers what goes on in the world. She forgets what day it is. She wants to move. She is stuck staying put. She wants to look nice. She wipes her face on a $10.00 bill. She collects plastic straws, shopping bags, leftover snack containers "just in case". She loves to sing hymns. At the Dollar Store, she buys a tiara and wand for her 2 year old great-granddaughter. And combs for her neighbor. She asks every week where she's going to live for her "permanent" address. She doesn't think she belongs where she is. And, this morning, she took yet another fall in her bathroom, hitting her arm and scraping up her elbow, and landing on her knee. This time she was lucky because she was able to reach the call button and have help come...last time she waited on the floor for a half hour because she couldn't reach the call button. Things change, and the daughters become more like the care-givers: placing bibs around her neck, asking all the questions at the doctor's office, buying her clothes, washing her clothes, combing her hair, pulling up her pants, making sure she washes her hands, putting a blanket around her because she's too cold, reassuring her when she getsconfused and/or upset, taking her for walks in her chair with wheels. Just like we did with our own until not so very long ago. For now we take it a day at a time, a week at a time, a month at a time. Mom's future is unclear and we will help her get through it - and to it - as best as we can.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


I have a confession to make: where we live isn't my first choice. I'm an ocean girl. The ocean fascinates me with its ever constant waves, sandy beaches and life underneath its surface. I love those silly little sandpipers darting in and out of the waves. I love watching the antics of seagulls. I am fascinated with jellyfish and their gracefulness in scooping up their food. I love whales and dolphins, and have been known to shed tears watching them. (Causing me endless teasing, at times, from my family.) I love the incredible, wild color combinations on fish like the clownfish. I love sea urchins and anemones. And sea stars. So, what does this have to do with a facelift? It was time to update my blog template, and I found the one with a lighthouse and harbor theme. Perfect! Summer's almost here and at least we have Lake Michigan nearby...not exactly an ocean, but a wonderful body of water none-the-less! In the meantime, here are some recent beach pictures: What feels better than dipping one's toes into the cool water and walking along the beach? And especially walking with a sweetie, a family member or a friend? Here Wes and I are on the beach in Texas at Galveston Island. And, by the way, I don't think I'll be one who ever gets a facelift. It is what it is. I am what I am.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Special Woman. Special Party.

Over the weekend, I attended a SURPRISE birthday party for a very dear woman: our pastor's wife, Kathy. Let me just say that this woman SOOOOO deserves a party in recognition of all the many things she does in and out of our church: she's a pianist, an organist, a vocalist, a banner creator, a chef for many every Wednesday night, a host for countless potluck/progressive dinners in their home, a teacher of Sunday School, an organizer of the kid's chime choir, an amazing wedding coordinator, a good listener, a partner in ministry with her husband, a nurse...and the list goes on. What's most amazing to me is how she carries off all of the above and more with a smile on her face and a willing, cheerful spirit. The world is a brighter place with Kathy in it! An overview of the party venue and guests, doesn't it look so cheery? This was the first time ever that I have heard the Happy Birthday song hammered out out the dulicimer, thanks to Linda K. We women always like our sweets table, don't we? The chicken salad before this was delicious, too. (Carol R., call me for details...) Here's the cake! A confection of whipped cream, berries and cake layers. Table decorations with a butterfly theme and home-made fudge for all in butterfly boxes...yummy! A book of memories, cards and notes was made for Kathy by the women attending the party and others from church. A fun game was played and a verbal tribute was given. Thanks go out to Karen and many others who made this party such a sweet success, and especially to Kathy for being such an amazing, giving woman...and always one with a smile on her face!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Thursday Night and I'm Meeting an Author

Our library sponsored a whole day event with the famous children's author, Gail Carson Levine, culminating with an evening book talk and book signing with over a hundred children and adults in attendance. Here I am pictured with the author and two of my co-workers. I feel so tall standing next to the petite author here! One of my favorite children's books is Ella Enchanted, written by Gail Carson Levine. It is also a Newbery Honor Book, and was made into a movie with the same name, starring Anne Hathaway. Ms. Levine had the audience enthralled with how the book was first "optioned" and the star would be Michelle Kwan performing as Ella on ice! Later, Ms. Levine told about meeting the very tall Ms. Hathaway and enjoying the hugs of the tall actress. She also told how her only disappointment with the film was that it didn't follow the book with Ella practicing complete obdience, but oh well. That's Hollywood! Gail Carson Levine started writing books when she was 39 years old, and hasn't stopped since. Thirteen books later - with a new one coming out this July called Fairy Haven and the Quest for the Wand - she's still going strong! When asked how she gets her ideas for writing books, these are her responses: (Pay particular attention to #5...my favorite!) 1. Read, read, read 2. Adding twists to familiar stories such as fairy tales 3. Going to new places 4. Meeting people 5. Peeling 100 potatoes. Following the book talk, the author signed copies of her books. It was a thrill for me to spend my Thursday evening being inspired by this woman!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

C and D get Married!

By now, the reader must have figured out that I love weddings, brides, grooms and everything connected to the subject. So, here I go again... It's not often we attend the weddings of our peers, and this one was one of the most special weddings ever due to the couple's sweet story, which is not mine to tell. Let's just say that these two, C and D, were very mindful of what it takes to start over again, and they have a deep, thoughtful, deliberate relationship with each other and God. The service was so beautiful and we were blessed to be in attendance. (Forgive me for not adding their heads to this photo - they are both handsome/beautiful, but I wish to protect their privacy). A lovely reception was held in the church Fellowship Hall. Mike from Studio West was the wedding photographer...the same one Anne and Jed used for their wedding, and who also took photos of Wes' sister's wedding when Anne was a flower girl in 1990, and who was the photographer when Anne's cousin was married and she was a bridesmaid in 2001 (with Jed as one of the ushers!!). WE LIKE MIKE!! The bride was radiant and stunning in her dress...I was bold and asked if I could take a close-up of the dress and she kindly let me do just that (but probably thought I was a little nutty). This is the new family with the two daughters serving as bridesmaids and the new son-in-law in the middle. All the best to you, our dear friends. Can't wait to hear about the honeymoon!!!